A Review of the Appreciated - Fic Rec from The Foxhole Court
I decided to start keeping track of the fics I read and enjoyed, along with some comments of my own. This is only my own personal opinion, but overall I do recommend all those fics. All of them will be Complete, unless I mention otherwise.
An AU where Death, aka Neil, is convinced to spend some time playing at being human. Working at the Laughing Fox coffee shop has him meeting ordinary people, as well as less ordinary people.
I really loved this fic so much. Neil failing at being human was hilarious, his friendship with Matt was precious, and the Coffee Thief Andrew was great! Easily one of my favorite. It’s apparently based on the Sandman by Neil Gaiman, but no knowledge of that story is required. I never read it and the fic made perfect sense to me. Not all of the characters are gods, magic or such, but imo they still all have Something Special about them.
Read it for: an endearing Neil trying to understand the appeal of human things such as drinking, eating, watching movies or shopping; an oblivious Neil; Andrew’s intense attraction to Death; express traveling to another country just to have dinner.
The pirate crew of The Fox find an unexpected treasure in the form of a captured merman named Neil. It might bring them more troubles than riches.
Set as my go-to feelgood read, I’ve read it multiple times and it never disappoints. The universe is rich and well detailed, especially under the sea. The parts in Neil’s pov are entertaining and transcribe the feeling of being from another species pretty well. A good point of this story is that there is absolutely no likeness to The Little Mermaid, which would have been ooc. Instead, it suits the rebel side of the characters.
Read it for: an etherealy beautiful mermaid, a bunch of kids adopt a pet but they have no idea how to care for it, Neil talking to whales and cleaning barnacles-ridden boats, an entertaining travel throuhg the seas.
The Urban Fantasy AU where Kevin is finally #1, they still fight Riko, Neil rents flat but doesn’t read the line where it specifies a Hellhound comes with it. The dog is Andrew.
Hard to define without spoiling the entire story, this is a fresh breath of air in the world of AU. An overall original setting that gives us fae and magic. I takes some time to really start, so the beginning might be confusing, but I strongly encourage giving it a try, if only for snarky Hellhound Andrew.
Read it for: a new approach of the Urban Fantasy theme, Kevin is still a Drama Queen, a reassuring lack of zoophilia, Neil cooking pasta.
“hi sorry I live below you and I hear your dog running around and
barking all the time and– no no it’s fine I was just wondering if I
could pet it?” Jeremy first falls in love with the dog, then with its owner.
An incredibly sweet reading. I don’t know what was cuter: the dog, or the men. Also features a cool appearance from Laila and Alvarez as Jeremy’s not quite helpful friends.
Read it for: a dog with a very cliché french name, drunk texting in broken french, unhelpful dating advice, Jean as a painter.
Three days after he signs his death sentence to Palmetto State, five
after Andrew Minyard sends him flying breathless to the ground, Neil’s
gaze snaps to the locker room mirror and stares, frozen, at the word threat scrawled along his spinal cord in terrifying, heavy bold.
This is the AU where your soulmate’s opinion of you gets tatooed on your skin. Effective writting coupled with punch-like settings makes this a one of a kind read. So believable you almost forget it’s an AU.
Read it for: soulmates refusing to be soulmates, an very andrew-like andrew, Neil is one the run, the sweet feeling of andreil being soulmates.
The one where Neil has a bad day, and they deal with it. A touching piece, that felt very in character. A believable interpretation of Neil’s feelings, while Andrew is There, ever present as his understanding and supporting self for him. Almost bittersweet but somehow by the end, all that was left was pure, positive feelings.
Read it for: a bag of neatly packed feels, a how-to manual on handling them, quiet time together.
In which the Foxes become parents too young, and Neil is truly just fine. Neil is somehow, suddenly, eight year old.
An interesting take on Neil’s childhood, with the added bonus of the foxes interacting with a child. I think this might be the most civil Aaron has ever been toward Neil in. Some are better at handling a child than others, and it’s surprising.
Read it for: a cute young Neil, an heartbreakingly scarred young Neil, unsurprising temper-tantrums, a lost Wymack, having your heart burned to ashes by how pure a child is.
It breaks my heart when I see people give up on herbs too easily.
More and more people are turning to herbs because there is a growing disappointment with using pharmaceuticals for chronic illness.
Many people are getting fed up with taking a pill that never really cures their illness and gives them awful side effects. Maybe they are concerned about acetaminophen giving their young child asthma (1) or they see the growing evidence about the risks associated with statins (2) and they say enough is enough!
From this moment forward they vow to never resort to drugs again and instead try a more natural and holistic approach thus leading them to the world of herbs and herbalism.
But sometimes their love affair with herbalism is stopped short.
They reach for the closest herb book, try a few remedies and then declare that the herbs don’t work! They tried using horehound for coughing with no relief. They tried meadowsweet for their headache to no avail.
They begin to wonder, “Are herbalists a bunch of delusional wood fairies touting the miracles of something that never works?”
As much as I would love to be considered a wood fairy, I’ll have to say no, this is not the case. I’ve seen herbs work hundreds of times. I’ve seen them work for serious infections as well as serious chronic diseases. I’ve seen them work when modern medicine failed.
Yes, herbs work!
I want to share a handful of reasons why herbs might not work in a given situation.
1. Improper dosing (either too little or too much)
When buying over the counter drugs like NyQuil or Tylenol, they come in a package that is clearly marked with the dosage instructions. Generally these are very simple instructions. “Adults take 2 tablets, three times daily.”
Herbs don’t always come with directions. If you buy bulk herbs the dosing instructions are absent entirely. If you buy a tincture or a bottle of capsules the dosage listed on the bottle has most likely been chosen by the FDA’s labeling mandates and not by an herbalist.
I am not going to lie to you. Dosage in the herbal world is confusing.
In herbalism dosage varies from person to person, from plant to plant and from preparation to preparation.
A 15 minute infusion of a teaspoon of nettle leaf will not extract the same vitamins and minerals as a four-hour infusion of an ounce of nettle leaf in a quart of water.
A few drops of lobelia tincture can promote relaxation. A strong cup of lobelia tea could make you vomit.
One way I commonly see dosages being flubbed in herbalism is people using small amounts of tonic/adaptogen herbs in tincture, versus the traditional use of large amount of tonic/adaptogen herbs as decoctions or powders. (As always go with what works, but if you aren’t getting the results you’d expect after taking 5 drops of ashwanganda tincture twice a day, consider your dose!)
Frequency of dosing can also be an issue. During acute illnesses we generally use slightly smaller amounts but with more frequency. I may take elderberry elixir 1-2 times each hour at the onset of an illness for example. General recommendations are to take herbs 3 times a day, but that won’t cut it for acute illness.
2. Low quality plant material
Herbs often don’t come with an expiration date. Quality can also vary significantly and will suffer greatly if the herbs have been improperly harvested or improperly processed.
Plants decay. They simply go bad. The rate at which they do this varies significantly from plant to plant. If you’ve just pulled a bag of herbs from your back shelf and had to blow off an inch of dust… well, they are probably not at their prime.
*IF YOU HAVE A SERIOUS OR RECURRING MEDICAL AFFLICTION YOU SHOULD SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL IMMEDIATELY. THESE REMEDIES ARE FOR MINOR AILMENTS AND TEMPORARY PAIN RELIEF.
ALSO PLEASE BE AWARE OF YOUR OWN ALLERGIES OR SENSITIVITIES WHEN IT COMES TO HERBS AND OINTMENTS*
(IMPORTANT: Herbal preparations should never be boiled in aluminum
vessels! Use only copper, earthenware or pyrex to avoid contamination of
the medicines. Please follow all directions carefully!)
ANIMAL BITES (MINOR WOUNDS) - The powdered root of angelica (gathered when the moon is in Leo,
preferably)mixed with a bit of pitch and laid on the biting of dogs, or
any other creature, helps to cleanse the open wound and makes it heal
ANXIETY - A tea made from catnip, chamomile or skullcap helps to relieve anxiety and nervousness.
ARTERIOSCLEROSIS (HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES) - Combine one pint of grain alcohol with one ounce of powdered dried
Hawthorne berries. This tincture should be given in doses ranging from
one to 15 drops. (NOTE: Although hawthorne is non-toxic, it can produce
dizziness if taken in large doses)
ASTHMA - Place the soft fuzzy leaves of the mullein plant in a teapot with hot
water and inhale the steam through the spout to relieve the symptoms.
Another preventative against mild attacks calls for one tablespoon of
sunflower oil taken at night before going to bed. A brew of skunk
cabbage, garlic, onion and honey was favored by many witches as a remedy
for bronchial asthma. A very old asthma remedy used by the Native American calls for the smoking of ground red clover blossoms. The leaves
of the California gum plant combined with those of the stramonium were
ATHLETE’S FOOT - Rub onion juice between the toes two or three times daily until the condition disappears.
BACKACHE - A tea of nettle or rosinweed is recommended for aching backs by many witches.
So, I’m currently going through a process of training myself to regularly cleanse. As an empath, I soak up other people’s emotions like a huge sponge, and eventually all of the heaviness gets me so frustrated and helpless-feeling that I start to drown in it. Being highly sensitive can be great, but not when it makes you socially, physically, or emotionally impotent. And I’ve realized that I need better coping mechanisms than the ones I’ve been using (i.e. shutting down and not doing anything but the bare minimum for weeks at a time). I have to take better care of myself or I can’t take care of anyone else.
Maybe that’s why the Shinto spirits have been calling me. Self-purification is a huge part of Shinto–ridding yourself of the filth (the resentment, frustration, anger and rage, etc.) that accumulates over time and keeps you from really living life.
So I’m taking a three-pronged daily approach to self-purification.
Exercise. I realized not too long ago, when I started working out again, how much exercising makes me feel better. It gets me to stop thinking about the past or possible future and focuses me on the now–what my body is doing and feeling in the present. That’s a huge help. It also is a great purge for negativity. If I do happen to think of something that starts to overwhelm me, I push myself harder with whatever I’m doing and it really feels like I’m purging it from myself. After I exercise, I feel both more elated and relaxed.
Ritual physical cleansing. AKA showering with mindfulness and candlelight. I’ve been doing this 2x a day–after I exercise and right before bed (to rinse away the emotional and physical build-up from the day). At night, I’m really just rinsing myself off instead of full-on showering, but just being under the hot water, letting it soothe my muscles, helps me relax and clear my head so that I’m not lying awake in the darkness with all of these thoughts pummeling me endlessly. While I shower, I think of all of the negativity–things people have said, things I’ve heard about on the news or read online, other people’s feelings I’ve picked up throughout the day, etc.–being washed away and going down the drain. I separate it from myself and let it go.
Meditation. I used to meditate regularly, but since I had the baby, it’s been really hard to find the time. But I’ve started doing it again at night, after my shower and before turning off the light to go to sleep. This is a way to get any of the remnants that escaped the shower to be dealt with and let go. I focus on breathing deeply for a minute or so, and then I envision a light creeping into my body, starting at my toes and filling my whole being. And then I tackle my chakras, one at a time, clearing out the miasma so that the light there glows brightly. If focusing on a chakra center brings up some negativity, I breathe deeply and envision it flowing out of me with each exhalation. I also repeat affirmations associated with the chakra center–i.e. for the solar plexus/manipura, I say something like, “I am strong; I am stable and able. I have the power to accomplish what I desire to do.” And then, once I feel that I’m at a good place there, I move upward to the next chakra. Then, when I’ve reached the crown chakra and everything has been cleared and affirmed, I envision that light I mentioned earlier radiating from me in all directions, connecting me to all things (dark and light), and realize that everything has its place and purpose, everything is interconnected, and I am a part of that interconnectedness. I have the power to influence and to be influenced by virtue of that interconnectedness, but also–most importantly–I have the power to control that ebb and flow of influence. Finally, I clear my mind of all thought and feeling and sit in emptiness for a while. Then, when I’m ready, I open my eyes and lie down to sleep.
This has really been helping me. During a week that might normally feel extremely overwhelming, I’ve been positive and energetic. Things have happened that would normally get me down, but I’ve been able to acknowledge them without letting them become part of me and then clear them away when I realize that they’re not useful. It’s important to make taking care of myself a habit, not a luxury. I may need to do a bigger ritual at some point to deal with bigger issues (those root issues that are the food source for the smaller, everyday things), but for right now, this is a good start.
Anyway, I thought I’d post this because I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed, and maybe it’ll inspire someone else who needs it. I really think that instituting these techniques as daily rituals is important because if you take care of issues when they’re small and as they come in, they’re much easier to handle and dispose of. You don’t want it growing into a big, festering, sticky lump of nastiness that’s going to take a lot of energy and reprogramming later on to heal yourself.