The One Minute Rule

I’m catsitting two cats.  When I get home after having been away, there’s always a lot to do. I have to check their food and the water, and almost every time I need to wipe up cat urine by the door, and clean the litter box, not to mention all the tasks associated just with coming in from outside: take off my coat and scarves, pull off the shoes, find a place to put my bags …

… all the while the cats are over me in seconds. Sometimes even before I’ve managed to get in through the door. To suddenly have a cat on my back who’s eager to rub her teeth all over the back of my head and another meowing loudly and sitting up on her hind legs to reach up to get kisses on the forehead does not help me do any of these things I have to get done.

It’s easy to get frustrated at them. They don’t understand all of these things I must do before I can settle and calm down after having been out, maybe having carried heavy things from the store or had a very upsetting taxi trip. They don’t know that every bit of me might be hurting.
(Although to be honest, they might very well know that last bit. They seem to always know that bit.)

But instead of trying to shoo them off, most often I will sit down to properly greet them. All the other things can wait, because I have the One Minute Rule. (I readily confess that I just made this name up, because I suddenly needed some sort of catchy name for this thing I do now when writing this post, and ‘the One Minute Rule’ is as good as any.)

The One Minute Rule says that within one minute of me coming home, both cats should have gotten enough attention and cuddles/petting/head kisses to be purring. It’s not like I’m counting the seconds or measuring the time, but it’s a goal that I work towards, and very often I seem to succeed.

All those other things just have to wait. Unless for example I’m in so bad a shape I need to go take meds or lay down or something else has happened that I really instantly have to deal with right away, I will sit there and make sure those cats purr before I get back up. Anything else is secondary to that.

Because, while they might not understand all the things I have to do every time I come home, what I understand is that they don’t mean to be annoying or in the way of me doing all those things I have to get done. I understand that they are just happy to see me again. There is no way for them to know that when I leave I will only be gone for a little while. There is no way to explain to them at what time I will return. All they know is that someone dear to them left them all alone, and now this person is back and they want to make it known that my absence has been felt and that they are so happy to have me back, so very happy.

The One Minute Rule is the least I can do, and everything else is secondary to that: met with such love, the least I can do is to repay them for the amazing gift that is, and show that the feeling is mutual.

/pao – 16 apr 2017 – 04.16


I was just speaking on Twitter about heroes and the standard hero narrative and how I don’t like it.  About how I try to not do heroes and how my characters tend to be really broken and flawed people.  Through that I also got on a side track about how I doubt the story I’m writing will ever have a Happy Ending, because life doesn’t tend to come with a happy ending.

There are good times and there are bad times for all of us, but there is no happy ending waiting at the end of the tunnel.  And when one of our lives end, it’s not the end.  As this amazing tweet says; “Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you.”  Life goes on, and life in itself does not guarantee a Happy ending.  Life is full of dark and cruel and terrible endings.

After that I remembered that there is a character in the train world stories who collects terrible endings in her head as stories to tell herself as she waits for sleep at night.  Terrible ends to Protectors she has known and cared about.  As warnings.

So I tweeted parts of it, but here is a longer thing.  It’s about how she’s grieving the loss of a dear friend of her’s.  Who did indeed meet quite a terrible end.

She added another story to tell herself at night as she was waiting for sleep.  So many times she had been asked by new arrivals if she as an experienced Protector had any stories to tell them.  Just as many times she had told them that she did not tell stories.  Not a single one of the stories she collected in her head would she ever tell them.  They were not stories to be told to others over a cup of semi-coffee.  They were not stories to warm the heart.  They were all warnings.  They were all stories as dark as the tunnels outside, stories as hopeless as life.  They were all stories with as many bad endings to them.
Now she had another one, and hiding in the dark closet with tears trickling down her cheeks she closed her eyes and began to tell it to herself, her mouth full of the taste of his blood.

I think it is important to remember that in real life, there are no happy endings guaranteed, and often the endings to our stories are pretty grim.  These stories are just as important to remember and learn from as the happy ones, the lighter ones, the ones that give us comfort and joy.

Because sometimes, if we remember the bad endings we are told and taught about, we have a better chance of avoiding them.  That way perhaps, maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll find our ending when we meet it not as terrible as the endings of some of the stories we’ve been told.

/pao – 06 jan 2016 – 22.58


A few days ago, I wrote down many of these low spoon recipes for a friend, and I thought that I should expand upon them a bit and put them up here in service for other people who might need some low spoon cooking ideas for bad days.  Some of these need a bit more preparation than others, but those who need that generally make up for that in being great to cook a bigger batch of and then keep in the fridge and heat in portions or to eat cold in order not to have to cook again for a few days.

For these recipes, I haven’t added any measurements, because honestly I don’t really use measurements when cooking.  Most of these are pretty much just about using the ratios you want and are happy with.  Perhaps one day I feel like having a lot of tomatoes in something and another day I’m out of tomatoes and making it anyway.  None of them are set in stone.

Take them more as inspiration and some sort of foundation, then experiment with the ratios and the seasoning to suit your tastes!  I use basil a lot, but perhaps you want other herbs and like them better, so go with what you want.



Pao Pain Scales

I’m not pleased with most pain scales I’ve seen out there.  Many seem to be for sudden and not chronic pain.  So thought I’ll make some for myself, relevant to how I function.  They will be for overall pain levels, local pain levels, and headache pain levels.  Perhaps they might also be helpful for other people, but mostly they are meant to explain how I myself work, for future reference and for people who are wondering what I mean whenever I start sounding like the Shipping Forecast, going; “Right hip five, stabbing.  Left waist seven, constant.  Head three and rising slowly.”

Here is a first draft for my pain scales.  I have experienced all of these pain levels, and I try to provide examples of what they might be like where I can, but sometimes pain is difficult to explain.  I’ll improve them over time, and they might change when/if I keep on experiencing new kinds of pain and reaching new pain levels, but it’s a start.

Note that overall pain levels might be very much lower than any local pain level for parts of me.  If for example I have an arm and a leg which are both at five or six temporarily, I might still rate it as an overall four for the day or the moment if I can still function decently.  An overall ten would be much, much worse than having just a local ten, even if at those levels I tend to fall unconscious, and that’s probably a good thing.



And I always make sure to remember:

Helping people.  Helping people makes me feel hopeful: we create the world we live in, every day.  I try to create a better world and I know that at least I make the world a better place for some people.  I hope it spreads.  I hope we will have a world to be proud of, one day.

I try to accept help.  I’m terribly proud and stubborn and usually I don’t accept help offered to me even when I really need it and should.  Accepting help and leaning on others is pretty much the most difficult thing in the entire world for me, but I’m working on it and it’s getting better. It’s something worth fighting for, because we all need help. We all need one another.

Sometimes I am weak and need support, and sometimes I’m a burden on people I love.  Sometimes I make them sad, because they love me, and of course it makes them sad when I’m miserable, just like I’m sad when people I care about are hurting.  That is what love does to people.  Love is empathy.  Sometimes I’m a burden, and that is all right: we all are.

We are all weak sometimes.

We are all a burden sometimes.

We all have our own problems and weaknesses and our myriad different impossibilities.

And do you know something?

That is all right too; because we are not alone.  Together we make little of our weaknesses and impossibilities, because our impossibility is what someone else excels at.

Together we are whole.

Together we are strong.

I honestly believe in all of this, and that helps me cope too.  That helps me believe that there is a future, even when it is too dark for me to see it.


About how I cope with life

A few days ago, I logged into my art tumblr, and was met by this:

I’ve been following you on Twitter for over a year (maybe two?) now and really think you’re a great person! I’m kind of shy to talk to you, but I just wanted to say that I suffer from depression as well and seeing you cope as well as you do has helped me cope better too. If you’re up to it, I’d love to see you draw a picture depicting different things that help you cope with your depression. Anyway, thanks for just being you. :)

I got really happy.  I like helping people, and I know how difficult it can be contacting new people, so I wrote a quick reply.  A thanks.

I decided to work on this.  Drawing about things that help me cope and make me happy; what’s not to love about it?  Today I sat down to think about it.  What helps me cope with depression and my life being difficult?  What can I actually draw?  How does one draw ‘conlanging‘?  How does one draw ‘remembering‘?  I wrote it all down.  First sketch notes: this is what I want to have in the drawings (because by this point, it was clear that this could not be just one drawing), this is what I want to say.  Then real text: this is what these things mean, this is why.  Then I began drawing.  I slowly realised how to draw ‘conlanging‘.  I still struggle with ‘remembering‘.

It will take several days to finish this, so I thought I should make it a blog post while working on it.  This blog post is pretty much my second sketch text.  I put it here, because perhaps it can help someone.  Perhaps it can make someone smile.  Perhaps it is just a good thing having it here on my blog.  For future reference.  For remembrance.



(to know the rain)

i want to throw my head back and scream
“nothing matters but the rain!”

i want to whisper back to the sound
“i love you – i love you, rain”

sounds of remembrance, sounds forgotten
the sound of thunder, the sound of rain

the darkness who has always been the same
the only one who can outlive the rain

the thunder who was before fire was
the thunder who is always chasing the rain

i want to walk into the world reborn
the world and my spirit washed by the rain

i want to pray with the sound of the water
for a new beginning all shrouded in rain

i want to read the old secret languages
the streams on the window and sand by the rain

i want to share this with you; the smell
and the taste and the caress of the rain

i want to take your hand, lead into the dark
i want you to know the rain

i want you to know the rain
my heart was drowned in a torrent of rain

i want you to know the rain
because nothing matters but the rain


Suddenly saw a tweet from Muddasheep about PHQ being ten years old now and remembered the happy funtimes (sarcasm) when I was much younger; when people hurt me all of the time and PHQ was the only place I felt accepted.  The only place where people weren’t hateful at me for being who I was.  When people in school bullied me and threatened me and were generally terrible at me for standing out, I had a safe place because of the community at PHQ.  I had a place where there were others who were standing out, who were also going through rough and terrible times.  We could feel comfort in knowing that we were not alone even if we were countries apart from one another.  I had a safe place in which I could take my anger and frustrations out on nameless victims, faceless things, and pretend they were people who had hurt me.

Back then, I was not feeling very happy at all about anything.  I was probably not the best friend one would have; I was pretty caught up in my own darkness.  My own problems.  I did what I could to help others, but I was not as grateful back then as perhaps I should have been.  I wasn’t good at feelings.  I wasn’t good at talking to other people and telling them I cared about them.  I hope that somehow people knew in some way how much they meant to me.

And the winters.  The times I almost killed myself and ended up in the psychiatric hospital and people from PHQ sent “get better soon”-emails, which I read from the computer in the library when I was allowed to go there.  I remember one time when I disappeared a while and people from PHQ tried to make sure I was still alive.  Showing that I mattered to them, in times I felt as if everything was hopeless; that no one cared if I lived or died, or probably would be happier if I just disappeared.  But that was not true; it took me years to realise that, but it slowly, slowly begin to sink in.  A community of people playing a game about killing people were the ones who cared about me when society and teachers and family failed me and didn’t seem to care.  A community of people who played a game about killing people were the ones who had places in their hearts and minds for a broken creature like I was back then.  Who had patience, love and compassion to share with me, loyal and kind people who refused to give up on me even when I myself did.  I don’t think this equation makes sense in many people’s heads, but I think that by acknowledging our anger and inner monsters we could keep them under control and do something creative with them.  We could turn them into things which worked for us.  PHQ gave our monsters a place to play and blow off steam while our hearts and minds hung out and helped create a place where we could grow as people.

Most of those who I talked to back then will probably never know how much they helped me and mattered to me, but they were a great help growing up and getting better.  How they helped me keep some grip on sanity and how they helped me grow.  And I do feel much better nowadays; I feel strong and creative and rather cheerful usually.  When I have bad times (and my, can they still be really bad!) and people are rude and cruel to me, I know by now that if I just carry on, putting one foot in front of the other and keep on living through sheer stubbornness, things will get better again.  PHQ helped me to get through times like that over and over again until I learned that bad times pass, and this would not have been possible if it had not been for the friends I had back then.

Countries and worlds apart, but together in my heart.

I must of course give a special thanks to Muddasheep as well, because his kindness did get me through some really bad things.  His encouragement when I tried to do things.  Gave me someone to send strange letters to and sent letters in return which I could read when I was feeling lonely.  He was great company, and so was his music.  It kept me company through endless nights of insomnia and nightmares and writing.  It kept me company in school; carried on a CD I had in a small CD player I always brought with me.  I brought it with me to the hospitals when I was committed there in the winters, and I could cry to that music, I could growl it very, very angrily.  With his music in my head I did not have to feel alone, even when I was cut off from everything else, locked up in a small, yellow-walled room.

And it kept me company through joyful times as well; I brought it with me on trips and on vacations.  I once forced my family to listen to his music for several hours straight while they were trapped in a car with me while we were going somewhere; I cant remember where.  I suspect they mostly put up with it because it was one of the few times they could see me looking genuinely happy.

I still listen to his music almost daily.  Create new memories to it, remember who and were I used to be and how far I’ve come.  I realise how much better I am feeling now, how I eventually came to a time and place where I can be happy and sad and strong and weak with people I would never have met or loved or cared about if I had died all those years ago.  I’m still drawing nowadays, because Muddasheep didn’t laugh at my hopes of becoming an artist back then.  I have taken up music and I hope to one day be brave enough to put it on the internet.

I am still around, I am still alive and I would probably not have been if it had not been for people like the ones I met through PHQ at a time when I really needed it.  Even if I have drifted away from PHQ almost completely, I do remember you with fondness.  I hope that you are all doing well, that you have found happiness and joy and love.  That the hard and bad times passes quickly when they visit you.  I hope that you are surrounded by friends, that you meet challenges and that you overcome them.  I hope that you have friends to drink tea and eat cake with.  I remember a time when I felt alone, and you were there, and you will always be a part of who I am.

You will always be with me, worlds apart but always in my heart.

/Pao (Panterdjuret)


Yesterday I wrote a bit about how adults constantly lie to children while at the same time telling children that lying is a bad thing.  Today I thought I should take up a few ways one can attempt to become more consistent.



There is a really worrying double standard in how many people treat children.  On one hand they tell children that lying is wrong and bad and punish children who are caught lying.  On the other they tell their children about Santa and the Easter Bunny with a straight face, and in some cases punish the children when the children figure out the truth.

I am of a very firm belief that this really has to end.