Broth: Real Chicken Soup the BodySoul


I recommend to my patients with upper respiratory infections and with GI bugs on a regular basis that they eat REAL chicken soup, made with the bones and the skin of the chicken.  It’s mucus thinning, cough suppressing, soothing to the mucus membranes (including those in the GI tract), provides needed water (as long as you don’t douse it with salt) and comforting.

Good broth resurrects the dead. – South American Proverb   I’ve been reading recipes from Anglo-Saxon English times and from Gotland Sweden, during the ninth century. I always wond…

Source: Broth: Real Chicken Soup the BodySoul

Gene splitting. Or something.


So.  Have been in a sort of an argument with the writer of a Folkish Asatru blog.  I think I quite upset him by saying that I don’t think you have to be white to worship the N. European Gods.  And that I would rather raise a horn with an honorable Black Man ™ than with a white guy without honor and full of hypocrisy.  Which was not aimed at him, but at the Fearless Leader of HUAR.

I also said that in America, given our history, it’s quite likely that said Black Man ™ has more than a dollop of N. European ancestry in him.  So if he wants to worship Odin, or Freyja, or whoever, I’m not going to question him on it.  Because I am an actual polytheist.  I believe the Gods have agency.  And agendas.  And they choose who they choose.  They call who they call.  I’m sure many have been called, but few answer. ETA  I do think the call is a LOT easier to hear if you share the same ancestry with the Gods, and a LOT easier to answer.  Those who do, though, have been bestowed a GREAT gift, in my opinion, by those Gods.

Said writer said I am right, that he and other folkish heathens have no desire to limit people from worshipping the N. European Gods, that said folkish heathens simply have no desire to worship with said Black Man(tm) – mind, he did not say those exact words.  But that was the gist of it.  He also said he would not worship with me (gist again).  Because of what I said. But I find it interesting that he never said he wouldn’t worship with a white guy without honor, which was the point of my response in the first place.

Which leads me to ask:  is the color of one’s skin more important than their deeds?  How white do you have to be to be in his tribe?  Is looking white enough, or do you have to produce a pedigree?  How about a cheek swab?  What if you have a wop in the wood pile, as my father in law likes to say?  Does that exclude you?

ETA after reading Stormwise’s comment.  I think I should clarify: I DO think many of those who *appear* to be without Scandinavian/Germanic heritage do in fact have it. I DO think those of those who “look” of another race are hearing the call inherent in their genes, especially here in America. And I DO think an understanding of the history, lore, culture, and values are an important part of the religion. You can’t have orthopraxy without some understanding and “buy-in.”  You certainly can’t have orthodoxy without it! Dogma….another thing entirely.

And what if you’re 100% lily white, Swedish and German in heritage, with grandparents who emigrated and homesteaded here, but you are also a narrow minded jackass who can’t be trusted not to beat his woman and his children, and cheats on his wife?  (I know this person personally)  What if this guy is a straight up racist jackass who calls Mexicans ‘beaners’ and African Americans ‘niggers’  and tries to teach his kids to do the same?  Is this guy OK because of his heritage, even though he behaves without honor?  And if I say that I care more about the deeds of someone, about how they treat themselves and their families and their neighbors and their bodies, and how well they keep their word, than I do about the color of their skin, that makes me not OK to worship with?

Puttin’ it out right here:  I am NOT universalist.  I do NOT believe Asatru is for everyone, any more than Druidism is for everyone.  Or Zoroastrianism is for everyone.  Or Yoruba.  I think we all can agree what universalist religions have gotten us….a couple thousand years of massacres of native peoples because their God is so greedy for ALL the worshippers he orders his followers to kill those who don’t want to worship Him.

Do I think there are cultural differences that sometimes simply cannot be surmounted?  Oh, of course, without a doubt!  And that’s an important factor in a religion like Asatru, where ancestry – and culture, and values, and mores – play such a huge role.  For instance:  Voudun.  I respect the hell out of it.  Believe in the reality of the Gods they worship as much as I believe in my own.  But that religion is not mine, I don’t understand much of the culture, those Gods don’t speak to me, because it’s not for me, I’m not from those people and I know it.

I DO believe in the science that supports genetic expression and epigenetics, and I believe in spiritual inheritance from our ancestors.   Hel, I even believe in genetic memory, I’ve experienced enough times of knowing something I just really shouldn’t know to prevent me from dismissing that out of hand.  I DO believe in the importance of honor.  And honoring one’s ancestors.  And doing what you say you will do.  And being a responsible member of one’s community.  But apparently just saying that I place so much value on the values of our ancestors, means I am not welcome in some Asatru circles, because I would not exclude someone who met the standards of those values, based on the color of his skin.  And I certainly don’t want to go back to the times, not that long ago, when someone had to “pass” as white in order to gain acceptance in society at large.

When I was a child we moved 18 times in 11 years.  I always felt different, uncomfortable, like I didn’t quite belong.  Every time I would finally feel like I understood what my place was, or could be, we moved again.  I was a quiet kid who felt more comfortable in the woods, making a camp, or being in a tree with a book, than with other kids my own age.  I spent my childhood soaked in the fairy tales of Europe in every iteration I could find.  Between the moves and the family, I spent a lot of time watching tribalistic behavior, watching cliques develop and break down, figuring out who would stand by their word and who would not.  I learned to see the true value of people based on their deeds, not their status. And I sure as hell learned to read their bodies and their eyes!  So perhaps I place a lot more value on quietly DOING the right thing than being the LOOK of the right thing as a result.  I don’t make friends easily.  I have a lot of friendly acquaintances, very few friends.  I don’t give friendship lightly.  The ideas of Inner and Outer yard are innate to me.  I grew up with them.

It’s funny but the older I get, the more value those same sorts of people who would have never considered me as friend when I was young, now find that appearances can be deceiving and that deeds actually do matter.  I find myself part of a tribe of people who all happen to value those same virtues.

Ironically, it is my understanding that some of the most vociferous opponents of Americans worshipping the Old Gods come from …. Norway.  And Denmark.  Because American peoples’ ancestors left the Old Country and left their rights to worship the Old Gods there when they left.  And BTW we’re not Norse enough:)

 

 

 

Heathens.


Just read a post on a FB page by someone who considers themselves both a Thelemite and a heathen.

So if you have UPG (unverified personal gnosis) you should keep it to yourself or expect to be kicked in the ass by higher heathens who know more of the lore.

WTF ever.

Do they really think our ancestors didn’t have UPG that they shared (or not) as they were told they could (or could not)?  Do they really think THE LORE (TM) is a static bunch of verses written down in the medieval era that sprang, perfectly formed, from the Gods themselves?  Cuz it sure as hell was SOMEONE’S UPG once.

I AM a heathen because of my UPG.  If you want to know why I am, you HAVE to know that.  So should I shut up about it and say Nunyabidness when asked how I am come to this faith?  Or, because I’m new to the actual practice of heathenry – but not new in any way to the Germanic Gods (or a lot of Pagan Gods actually).  So 20 years of practice in the Pagan faith means nothing because I’m not a 20 year heathen?  OK.  Again, WTF ever.  Believe me, the self examination, the moral preconceptions examined and discarded, the self discipline honed over 20 years of belief has only made it easier for me.  I don’t have any Christian notions to scrap – I did it a long time ago.  Which I notice has not happened for a lot of these self proclaimed ‘elders.’

I’ve had talks with Stephen McNallen about esoteric stuff (ETA over the space of a few days at a gathering, not like he’s my friend or anything).  He of all people should be arrogant, close-minded about the Lore and UPG – but he’s not.  He isn’t standing up telling people YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.  He WORSHIPS THE GODS and devotes himself to them.  He doesn’t waste his time posting things like above self appointed heathen police.

Now there is a time and a place, that I don’t disagree with.  But.  It’s not for you to determine validity.  Except as it seems to be in character with a given Divine person.

And I SOMEWHAT agree that you should be very afraid if the Gods have placed their eyes on you.  ESPECIALLY if that God is Odin.  But.  Still doesn’t mean every experience with every God is necessarily bad, or going to tear up your world, or that you’ll die a horrible death (or live a horrible life).

ETA I suppose this could be taken as whiny.  In reality it is frustration.  I really think those kinds of heathens have a real NEED for dogma, and they’ve simply switched out Catholic or Christian type dogma/religion for heathen lore/reconstruction.

What is it about heathenry that attracts arrogant assholes?

 

Not such a lost art


Spinning in Donegal, 1978

My grandparents on my father’s side come from Mayo and Kerry.  I see the ruddy complexion in my boys (and me) is a ‘thing’ for those of us with Irish ancestry:)

When I first sat down at an antique wheel it was as though something ‘clicked’ in my hands.  My hands knew what to do before my brain caught up.  I suspect something like spinning, a skill with such a long history, is carried in genetic memory.

While I can’t speak for my ancestors, who may very well have hated the task, I can say that spinning gives me comfort, a time to meditate, a peaceful space in which to contemplate everything and nothing.

So. Running a business.


Well, I got a Medicare number which enables me to back bill for up to 6 months worth of visits.  I got a Medicaid number which enables me to back bill for up to a year’s worth of visits (though I will only be reimbursed at the out of network rate for those that occured before credentialing with the contracted insurance companies).  I am in the process of credentialing with the insurance companies and have signed contracts with several – which completes my part of the deal, it’s them I await.

I also got a part time job with a physician in town.  I wasn’t planning on taking a job, but my friend talked me into applying.  We, the doctor and I, are a good fit – she is interested in alternative therapies and tries to keep people off meds if possible.  It was also apparently in the Gods’ plans, because my husband got laid off from his job a month after I started.

Anyone reading this remember back this past summer when it was predicted that the Wild Hunt would ride early and ride hard this year?  Yes…well.  When one’s husband is a hospice nurse, and most of his patients die all at once, it means no work.

I am working 6 days a week now, 3 for my employer (and busting my @$$ to make sure she doesn’t regret hiring me!) and 3 for myself.  The paperwork, as with any job, is the time sucking mind killer.

My spiritual practice has shrunken considerably, mostly due to fatigue.  It’s hard to remember to do more than a ‘hey hail thanks’ and leave an offering on my way to bed.  I do a lot of devotional stuff on my way to appointments and to/from work.  Probably not the best solution but it’s the one I’m currently utilizing.

The good part?  I spend the better part of three days every week working for myself, and the business is at least paying for itself in co-pays.  I have not had to come up with money out of pocket for supplies, the co-pays are paying for them.  Doing house calls means almost no overhead – no separate office, no separate electricity.  My office is on the wall right as you come in the front door, and my exam room is the patient’s own home.

So business has been going, not expanding as quickly as I had hoped, but expanding all the same.  An ad placed in a local free paper paid for itself in one house call.  Word of mouth has been my best advertising though. My hunch was right, there really is a need for this business in this community – and word is getting around.

 

 

 

I had a dream


I had a dream last year that an enormous falcon gave me a ride on its back.  It told me things, most of which I can’t now remember.  And then it raked me on my leg.  When I awoke, I had marks on my right thigh, exactly where the bird raked me in my dream.  I knew somehow the species the falcon belonged to was a real species, and I looked for months, on and off, trying to find a photo that looked like the bird in my dream.

I found it today: Gerfalkon

Gerfalkon, one of the largest falcon species in the world.

For more information:  http://animalia-life.com/birds/gyrfalcon.html

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me, after all I do worship Freyja of the falcon cloak.  I’d imagine feathers from a bird like this would be eminently suitable.

 

Why I’m going Viking – and why you should too


If he ever gets to the Gulf of Mexico and wants to see the Grand Canyon, I’m happy to host – I live 3 hours from it and it’s a day trip we’ve made several times before. Plus Sedona is pretty cool, and that’s less than an hour.

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

IMG_4613

I don’t know what the future holds. But I know this: When the time is right, I will leave my home shores and go Viking. In this blog post, I will try to explain what that means, and why you should go Viking too.

First of all: Going Viking doesn’t mean dressing up as a Viking. Going Viking has nothing to do with how you dress. Although, I must say that personally, wearing Viking clothes is my natural state and it’s when I have to look like a modern man that I’m «dressing up».

Going Viking doesn’t mean that you sail out to raid monasteries either. It could mean that, but last time I checked, it was sort of illegal. Going Viking means that you leave your home for an extended period of time and go in search of adventure. Yes, I know it sounds a bit romantic. But it’s…

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New Year, Big Changes Part 3


Gods I hope I can get this into one last post.  I tend to elaborate too much or else I assume people know/understand things they couldn’t possibly, unless they were there.  so.

I incorporated, I got a Tax ID, I got a group NPI (a must to take insurance payment), a bank account, and I researched what all was involved in getting credentialed with Medicare and Medicaid (or in my state’s case, AHCCCS).  But.  I drug my feet HARD on actually starting it.  Because that, in my mind, was the final step – the step that meant I was really going to do this.  Which meant I was really going to quit my not cushy but mostly predictable job.  Which is a rather frightening thought.

I suppose I should say what I wanted to do for a business.  I never wanted to compete with the other office, that was never my intention.  What I wanted to do was make it easier for those with debilitating chronic illnesses, those without their own vehicles and dependent on medical taxi services, those who were too sick to go to the office, to see a medical provider.  I wanted to do HOUSE CALLS.  I did a lot of research on the idea and it really seems like an idea whose time has come once again.

Mr. TinFoil was initally EXTREMELY against the idea of starting our own business.  He asked one of his medical directors for advice – without consulting me.  The medical director, who just the week before had told Mr. TF he was making so much money working for Mr. TF’s company that he was only seeing patients in his *own* practice 2 days per week, said it was a very bad idea and “the only way to make any money at this is to save up to buy your own business and have the waiting room full all the time.”  Hmmm…not a very reliable source in my opinion, given the apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency between the two statements.

But then he asked some of his coworkers what they thought of it, and all were universally enthusiastic about it.  One of the NP’s who works for his company even asked him to keep her in mind if I expand enough to hire someone else.  Which I thought was a fairly ringing endorsement.

I had already done WEEKS worth of research on Medicare pricing structures for our area so our superbill could be updated (and corrected).  It was simple enough to add in the pricing for home visits to my research.  I kept the results of my research in a separate folder on my computer and also in hard copy to make sure I had access to it even in the event of a computer failure.  Thank the Gods I did, because with the change in ownership and the loss of my job, it was already done and easy enough to put to use.

So after I got canned, I started the processes for getting credentialed.  UGH.  It took me 2.5 days to wade through the Medicare applications, IRS forms, etc I needed for myself and for the business.  And I mean 10 -12 hour days, not 2 hours here and there.  I suppose it’s faster if you’ve done it before though.  Then I began the process for getting credentialed with the insurance companies.  Which has been a problem, because if you don’t have a Medicare number you basically can’t get credentialed with the insurances.  Much of that work time has been wasted, and will have to be done all over again when I get my Medicare number.

This week I will begin marketing my business in earnest.  I live in a retirement state, there are huge numbers of people that this will appeal to!

 

 

New Year, Big Changes Part II


So, I lost my job.  But I didn’t lose my dream.  You see, I knew this wasn’t going to be a long term place for me unless my friend and colleague the doctor went in with some other people I know to buy the practice.

My first paycheck bounced – I had to wait until the next paycheck a month later to get what I was owed, and I still had to insist on a separate check to cover my credit union’s bounced check fee from his bad check.

Then I discovered the owner cheating us, the contracted providers, out of money two months in a row.  When I confronted him about this he denied me access to the accounting section of the electronic health record program (EHR) we use – which is technically illegal to do to a contract employee working on a percentage.  No big deal, when I told the doctor how he was being cheated he offered me his user ID and password which I did not take him up on, because the biller was happy to print out the information I needed.

The owner refused to sign a contract with me, and paid me 5% less than his original offer.  To be cheated on top of it was an insult that could not go unchallenged.  But he stopped returning calls, texts, and even coming to the office.  October 29th was the last time he returned a text message.

So why would I stay there?  Because it was my own community, it was NOT his.  My dream was to work in my community.  But working in this office was not the original dream.  My dream was to own my own practice, to go to the people without transportation, the home bound people with major health problems.  Working here was a stop gap, a way to try to save money to get to a place where, if we were the owners, me and the doc, I could incorporate it into our business; or, if we didn’t, I would start doing part time.

I had, in fact, already been doing home visits as part of my work week, and gaining business via the percentage he collected for the use of his EHR that he never would have had without me as a result.  When I was let go so suddenly, those people were more than happy to stay with me.

The response in the community has been universal shock and outrage – and concern over what will happen to the doctor who remains.  I’ve had patients calling me both to see how they can continue to keep me as their provider and irate that this happened to all of us.  And more than a few to complain about the new staff’s treatment of them.  One of my patients was given a drug screen – I would as soon suspect my cat of drug use as this person.  Way to go there, way to alienate an entire family of 9 patients.  Nice job.

Well, I had suspected something was up for a while.  And in the first part of December, I decided to take action.  So I began looking at available names for incorporating my own business.  Come to find out, the legal name of the business, the name they received their billing under, was NOT the name they had been using before I was hired  – and it was available.  So I trade marked the name and incorporated my business under the name.

The day I was let go, I heard the new front desk person answering the phone with *my* business name, the one that hadn’t been in use since I was ‘contracted.’  I informed the new owner that he could not use that name.  He, rather pompously said he could do whatever he wanted since he owns the business, and since he rather liked that name he planned to change the name to that.  I responded, “That’s nice.  But you can’t.  Because I own it.”  Stunned silence was his response, and the accountant for the former owner (who was there helping them) asked me how I did that.  I said, “It was easy.  I researched the name, it was available, so I bought it and incorporated under it.”  Again, stunned silence.

Score one point for me.  One small satisfaction in a morass of disappointment and disgust.

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, Big Changes


So.  Working in my own community has been a dream of mine since I still worked for the local fire department.  Yes, I worked for my community, but I wanted something more.  Then I hurt my back on the job and re-evaluated my entire career choice.  I went back to school, then went back for more, then went back for my master’s degree.  And got my national certification.  And started working.  In my own community.

Well, the lesson was Be Careful What You Wish For.  My boss literally hated his business and all of the people working for him.  When I started there he was on the verge of both business and personal bankruptcy.  He hired someone I’ve known for years to be office manager/biller and then we hired someone who has extensive (30+ years) experience in the medical field for the front desk/referrals.  We brought in friends and spouses and we spent our weekends there, unpaid, working to make the office presentable.  We cleaned carpets, washed walls and windows, scrubbed floors.  We brought in our own cleaning supplies because he wouldn’t furnish them.  I brought in my own furniture to make the waiting room more pleasant and less like a bus station.

We turned the practice around.  When I started there it was losing about $15,o00 per month (estimate).  Every month since I’ve been there we’ve made at least enough money to pay the bills, and every month since September we’ve made a profit.  A small one, but a profit nonetheless.  In December we made nearly double what is needed to break even.  We brought people back into the practice that had left years ago due to bad management.  We were nice to the patients.  We knew many of them because we too live here.  And they knew us.

But he lied to us the whole time.  He wouldn’t even buy supplies needed to see patients, the doctor bought our supplies out of his own pocket.  He sold the business out from under us – the doctor and I were working on a deal to purchase it – to someone else with cash in hand and a slick line.

And the new owner let all of us go.  He bought the practice on a Tuesday night, and we were all fired by Wednesday at 130pm.  He said he didn’t need us, he was bringing in his own staff.  The irony of this is that if he had seen the practice when I came on board, or when the office manager came on board, he NEVER would have looked twice.  We made it work.  And for that we are out of jobs.

The new owner is from the East Coast, New York or New Jersey, and he doesn’t understand how word travels.  He’s a physician’s assistant, and he needs a doctor at the office to be able to work – the doctor is the only one who didn’t get fired.  But he doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t like how he works.  Which is very slowly.  Because, while he wants to make a living, he’s not in this to get rich.  Which is why he is still here in this community – the patients know that.  And they are loyal to him.

I don’t think this new owner understands small town politics.  At all.  The patients who were coming to see me were coming to me, for the most part, because they wanted to see ME.  Not just anyone.  I’m not a number to them, I’m their neighbor.  The office manager is as well, and so is the front desk person he let go.  And by firing us, by assuming that people would just see him instead and just have to deal with his new office staff, I think he has badly miscalculated.  We are not interchangeable.  If the phone calls I’m getting are any indicator, I think the physician’s assistant owner may be in for a nasty surprise in the financial department.

You see, common sense doesn’t mean what most people think it does.  Common sense is what the peasants have – hard won experience based on the realities of struggling for a living day to day.  It isn’t common, and it’s not something wealthy people have in any degree whatsoever, because they lose it as they get more out of touch with every day realities.  And this guy has no common sense.  He sees dollar signs instead of patients.  I see my neighbors.