Monday, December 31, 2007

The Japanese Way of Health

The Japanese live longer than Americans (although only by 4 years on average), despite drinking and smoking heavily. There are all kinds of theories about this. Here's an article saying it's their diet that is the key. They eat fish, lots of veggies, fruits, and rice, and not a lot of red meat or dairy. But of course, there is no way to tell for sure, despite all the numbers. It might be something else entirely.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fairy and Human Relations Congress

There is going to be a meeting of the Fairy and Human Relations Congress this summer a bit north of here in the North Cascades, near the border of Washington and Canada. They are a group of people who believe they can communicate with fairies and other spiritual beings they refer to as devas. Apparently they meet regularly, and have writings about their experiences. The main purpose of their gathering is to promote peace on earth and to improve relationships between humans and fairies (and other spiritual beings). I have never personally communicated with fairies. I say anything to promote peace is pretty cool. My friend Stacy pointed out, however, that they charge money and still expect you to work. And she says that they are wrong that you have to go to the congress to experience fairy love. Perhaps a visit to a rainbow gathering, which is free to my best recollection, would be a better way to get together with alternative types. If that's what you enjoy, that is. A large number of people in the woods can be kind of weird, and sanitation is a real concern (when I went to a Rainbow Gathering, I got a nasty case of diarrhea and a nasty cold out of it).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Native American Profecy

I think the subtitles are either German or Swedish.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lakota Nation Secedes from United States

This is huge! Link

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.

The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence -- an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.

Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples -- despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.

"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.

Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.

Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.

"Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young.

"We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On Peace

In this season when so many are wishing for peace, or at least wishing each other peace, I thought it might be nice to post some quotes about peace:

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes from within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.
-Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Spiritual Leader (1863 - 1950)

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Short-circuiting the long-established principles of patient negotiation leads to war, not peace.
- Jimmy Carter
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
-- and
If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
- Mohandas Gandhi

Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.
- Robert Fulghum

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
- Jimi Hendrix

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Books about ob/gyn care in the US

In case you were wondering, yes, these books point out that we have a pretty high maternal death rate, and infant death rate, for a developed country. Most wealthy countries do far better with less money.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

By Hook or By Crook film clip

This came out a few years ago (before C was born). My good friend Carina has a major part in it so I couldn't help wanting to put it up:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow!



It snowed last night, melted, then snowed again today! It's quite beautiful, but I'm glad I'm not trying to drive around in it. It's pretty chilly, too. This is the earliest it's snowed up here since we moved here a bit over three years ago. It had been feeling like it was going to snow for several days, but it was still a bit of a surprise to wake up to a snow-covered world. It was too cold to make a snow-person, and anyway in an apartment, where would it go?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Video about global warming

This guy is kind of funny the way he argues with himself about global warming:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Danged grocery store turkeys! And Preschool is going well!

OK, so for Thanksgiving, I cooked everything we ate from scratch. I made my own stuffing using mushrooms, chopped pecans, onions, and a bit of homemade chicken broth. I made mashed "faux-tatoes" using cauliflower. I made mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk in place of the sour cream I used to use (because sour cream gives me migraines now). I made pumpkin pie using coconut milk in place of the evaporated milk and agave nectar, maple syrup, and smidgen of Sucanat in place of the sugar with no crush at all -- just used an oven-proof glass pie plate. (no, I don't think it was Pyrex brand, I think it was Anchor Hocking, and they do call it glass, Stacy, just ovenware). It used to be borosilicate glass, but apparently they have changed it and use lime now. I made roasted Brussels sprouts with olive oil on them. I also made dh some nasty boxed stuffing loaded with MSG (but didn't eat even a tiny amount of it -- I don't even like stuffing made from bread anymore anyway, it tastes like soggy bread to me -- which in fact it is, LOL). It took me quite a while. Oh, and I made homemade cranberry sauce using the same combination of sweeteners.

So I should not have ended up with a migraine. And the first day, I was fine. It was the second day it started to kick in, and I can only conclude it was the grocery store turkey breast I bought because I was in too much of a rush to go to the health food store to buy one that wasn't injected with an MSG-laced "solution." Big mistake. I should know by now that if I eat any meat that has been processed in anyway by a mainstream manufacturer (ham, lunch meat, ground or whole turkey, etc.) that I will end up with a migraine headache. They should have to put a big warning label, "Contains MSG" on these things, but they get to hide it as "broth" or "flavor" instead. Ugh! Anyway, after a ton of magnesium and some Petadolex and green tea, I got better, but never again.

I had gone to the supermarket for something totally unrelated, now I know I have to be super careful and plan these things out better. It's partially because I agreed to take someone else's day for preschool on Wednesday, and partially because I took a first aid class Tuesday evening. I just have so much less free time with ds in preschool -- who knew?

Preschool news!
Speaking of preschool, C is definitely doing well in school and enjoying it. He really craves time with other kids, and we just don't get that all that much on our own. Not with the same kids consistently enough, anyway. His friend A and he used to get together fairly regularly, but it was becoming less and less with her in school. Now he gets to see her at least those three days a week, plus often another day or on the weekend. He also sometimes visits the kids downstairs, but they often eat dinner at 7:30 or 8, right when he's ready to go down there. They are from India, and have kept the tradition of a later dinner (which they call supper, I think). His other neighbor friend, E, is in Kindergarten, and is in both before- and after-school programs because his mom works full time and his dad, who also works full time but has earlier hours, rides his bike to work (about two blocks away) and couldn't pick him up from school. And now that he's in school and going so early with his mom, he has to go to bed at 8 PM. So we generally only see him on weekends.

Being an only child, C has a constant desire to be around other kids (or maybe it's just being my kid), so school is really the only way he can get that. We've tried homeschool groups, but they meet irregularly and are never the same kids twice. It's just not worked for us. Plus, to be honest, when it's just the two of us, we don't do much. I get drawn into the computer, and C gets sucked into his DVDs, and the whole day will go by without our interacting. Now at least we interact a bit more when we are getting ready and when we are on our way to school and on our way home. C has been learning more -- he sometimes recognizes words, can count at least to 30, and we read more when we're at home so we're both learning more about insects, among other things (we have several books about them). I didn't realize that dragonflies went through incomplete metamorphosis, for example. Or even that there was an incomplete metamorphosis, for that matter. Pretty cool.

Also, I'm now able to go shopping without ds -- while he's at preschool. Before that, if I tried to leave him with dh or a friend, he would freak out and cling to me. He doesn't do that at school. He does sometimes cry a bit, but he gets over it and is fine. He still won't stay home with dh, even after being able to stay at school, so I know it's not a permanent change. He accepts the rules at school, but at home, with us he sort of is in charge, which I know isn't good but it's the way it's gotten to be.

Anyway, I again say that I will not buy another grocery store turkey as long as I live!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is so nice

Sesame Street needs to go back to its roots:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What is an offensive breast?

I enjoyed reading this post about how showing a breast being used to feed a baby is considered obscene, but using it to sell a product is not. I wanted to add that usually the non-offensive breasts are on waif-thin, Photoshop-retouched models. And that usually you don't see the nipple (although of course you don't usually see the nipple while a woman is breastfeeding, unless her baby pops off to take a peek around). The magazines aren't usually the same type, however. Parents or Baby Talk or whatever are targeted at mothers -- so you'd think showing a breast doing what it was made to do, feed a baby, wouldn't be that big a deal.
If you are in San Francisco, you can show your breasts in public as long as your nipples are not exposed (you can put bandaids on them, or electrical tape, and be legal because you are concealing that they are in fact breasts not just round blobs). I know from experience, you might say. Anyway, all this is to say that humans are trying to deny that we are mammals, and that women's breasts are made to feed babies, and that babies are meant to drink from them. We aren't birds, for goodness sake! Actually, even pigeons and many other birds feed their babies with food they first consume, at least. Not taking milk from another species and processing it until it's an imitation of the real thing.
Maybe humans are trying to create a new offshoot of the mammal order (or whatever the grouping is called)? Maybe there will be a new species that no longer bears live young, breastfeeds, or has hair? It will be used exclusively for pornography, modeling, and other aesthetic uses. They can all live in cities and live in condos.
Brilliant!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ack! Today is Blog Action Day!

I am so busy today, I don't think I'll have time to do a real post that would do justice to what I feel is important. I have always felt that our environment is in need of our attention. That we have to take care of it so that it will take care of us. That around the world, people, especially women, already are doing what we can to heal our planet and protect our land for future generations. Here are some cool links in lieu of a more eloquent post: Transformational Prayer
Fifth World
Healing Mother Earth
Chipko Movement

And of course there is my friend Chasmyn's wonderful post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Action Day Monday

If you have time, please drop by the Blog Action Day website and see what you can do for the environment, particularly if you have a blog.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Boy remembers living on Mars

OK, so this is pretty far out, but I thought it was interesting.

http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/12257_Martian.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Socialization

Just wanted to post this link right quick on an article about socialization. Very interesting.

Breastfeeding in public (warning offensive content)

I loved this post about breastfeeding in public and how it's viewed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Purslane Recipes

Purslane, which is considered a weed by most people, is very nutritious. It's high in omega 3 fatty acids, including ALA, and is also high in beta carotene. It kind of tastes like oxalis, another weed. Here are some links to recipes for it:
Purslane
Purslane Recipes

Hidden Names for MSG you might not know about

I have a real problem with MSG -- it often causes me to have a nasty headache/migraine. I read labels, but it's often hard to tell if something has MSG in it, so I often just make my own stuff. From this website, here is a list of some of the ingredients that have MSG in them:
MSG Gelatin Calcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamate Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Textured Protein Monopotassium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP) Yeast Extract
Glutamate Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast food or nutrient
Glutamic Acid Sodium Caseinate Autolyzed Yeast

Imagine that? I knew most of these already, but there are others, farther down on the page, that I hadn't known about -- rice syrup for one. Pectin and gums, which I was avoiding for awhile, seem to also often contain MSG. What I wonder is, what about nutritional yeast they sell in the bulk bins? I would bet that has it in it, too. Too bad, because it's a good natural source of B vitamins.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Yurt

I wish I had a yard, I'd build one of these!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Unschooling -- Free At Last?

Say what you will about Abraham-Hicks, they are pretty well spoken about the difference between learning and schooling. Here is a clip from their article:
Abraham: The kinds of things they said to you were, "We thought it was going to be a whole lot more fun. We thought we were going to get to do more of what we wanted to do, and we thought we were going to get to choose." And that's the way you felt when you were born, you thought you were going to get to choose, that was the bargain.

And then somebody else says, "Well, here you are, and you don't get to choose. You don't get to choose where you sit, or when you come, or how long you sit there, and you don't get to choose what we think about. You don't get to choose when you talk, and you don't get to choose what we talk about. In other words, you are not free, you are our captives. And we are here to assert good stuff into you."

And they say, "Ah, give me a break! That's not what the bargain was. I came understanding that I am a creator. I came knowing that I get to choose." It takes years to beat that out of them. It takes years and years before they are willing to sit there and be quiet and do only what is supposed to be done when it is supposed to be done. It takes a long time to conform you into your unhappiness.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Universal Preschool?

This article basically says that schools are tools of indoctrination and standardization, and that they serve to remove children from the family. And that daycare/preschool is doing it at an earlier and earlier age. I think this is interesting, and probably true for the most part, but how do you survive outside the system? Read more of the Confessions of a Bottom Feeder article, I guess.
I was thinking of enrolling C in a co-op preschool, which is run with one teacher and the parents take turns helping out, one day out of three per week. Well, the afternoon class filled up, and neither one of us is a morning person (C slept until 10 am today, for example, and usually sleeps until at least 9). Mind you, he used to get up at 7, but that was when he was falling asleep at 7:30, something that hasn't been consistent for about a year. He doesn't settle down easily, and neither do I. I have a really hard time getting it together to get him in bed earlier than 9:30, for some reason. Time in the evening just slips away, and suddenly it'll be 10:00 and we're just getting in our jammies.
Anyway, about the school -- on the one hand, I was wanting him to have a chance to play with other kids regularly without having to drive all over creation for play dates. On the other hand, the concept of school scares me, particularly with how active C is. I worry, though, that we're not covering things that we should just because I am really bad about spending a lot of time on the computer while C watches videos from the library. I don't spend a whole lot of time talking with him, even when I'm not on the computer, because I tend to space out a lot, and worry a lot, which I hated my mom to do and now I'm doing the same. Argh!
Anyway, I understand that people are worried about preschool separating kids from their parents -- however, I think people forget that most kids already are separated from their parents most of the day, often starting at a few weeks old, in daycares.

There's a kid in our apartment complex that we have gotten to know who spends probably 9-10 hours per day at Kindercare. I don't know how this is any better than a public preschool. His parents talk about how smart he is, how much he's learned there (he's 5 and knows how to add and his letters, and some words). And how great it is that in his all day kindergarten that he's starting (a Catholic one), he will be learning social studies, science, math, and reading, among other things. In Kindergarten! This kid will also be in the before- and after-school programs there, so he will be there on the campus of the school most of his day. He gets up at 6 am to get ready for school, and doesn't get home until probably around 6 pm. He goes to bed at 8 pm. So he's with his parents probably less than three hours, much of which is taken up with getting ready for school, getting there, getting home, getting ready for bed, eating dinner, etc. Needless to say, we don't think we'll see much of him except on weekends (and Sunday is for Church).
I don't know what my point was. Just that kids are already mostly separated from their parents most of the day, with or without public preschool. Making it mandatory, however, does really seem wrong. I think even Kindergarten should be optional. It is here -- you don't have to file a "declaration of intent" to homeschool, or any paperwork, until your child turns 8, which usually happens in second grade. That is, unless your child has been in school before, then I think it starts in kindergarten.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Confessions of a Bottom Feeder

Excerpting from an interesting, kind of entertaining, article here
Many modern city dwellers survive perfectly well without a 'regular job.' We live like millionaires but would be hard put to tell you what our true career is. We survive on air. And no, we are not the crazy homeless you see rooting in trashcans. We live in picturesque, old homes with huge, jungley gardens. Not all are rented homes; many are owned, bought with land contracts (monthly payments to old owner) or those new poverty-sector Fannie Mae loans with a low downpayment and no proof of earnings or good credit, only proof of high, past rent paid by showing canceled checks.

How do we afford homes when we don't have 'regular' jobs? Well, I didn't say we don't WORK. We are well-paid for freelance work as artists, healers, mystics, organic gardeners or party caterers. We just never work 40-hour-a-week jobs hoeing other people's row--not unless we love the work; then we happily put in 80 hours.

Job-free people are easy to spot. We drive to mountain and beach on week-days--in old cars it's true--but with a proud smile because we're glad to be in the .0005% of the populace of the planet who own cars. We brake for trashcans in alleys and garage sales, because that's how we furnish our homes. We know that your second-hand, leftover stuff is as good as our firsthand. So we earned our nickname. We are bottom feeders.

Bottom feeders don't make a good living but we have a great life! We have the dollars for rent and utility money and the leftover change is for brown rice and tofu. We're into quality abundance in things other than cash: Gardens, sun, creativity, art... All we need is just enough income to get by. Often, we 'get by' with the help of our friends. Friends sleep on our couches and kick in rent and food. And in hard times, friends lend us their couches and we do the kicking in.

BFers don't have savings accounts; we have 'mattress money.' We don't have regular jobs; we have cottage industries, home businesses. True, we don't make as much as you do in your highly paid drone work, but look on the bright side, our money's all our own. We don't have FICA deductions, pension fund, Social Security deductions and we don't pay taxes. We don't have costly HMO's but not to worry. We don't have high blood pressure either.

We may be forgoing Social Security and Medicare coverage at the end of our lives because we expect--as Clinton predicts, that there will be no Social Security or Medicare by then. Not for you, not for anyone. BFers don't count on Uncle Sam or on pensions. We have learned secret techniques of Surviving on a Nickel that give creativity, earnings and bliss, and bliss is such a super vitamin that we expect to live forever.

Bottom feeders enjoy sunny days at home doing textured wall-painting or digging carrot rows in the yard, or sweating in their ateliers as much as you yuppies enjoy your caffe lattes, Beamers, IRA's and airless, gleaming, monochrome condo-sealed tombs scented with all the formaldehyde in those spanking new plywood boards.

What are the secrets of this mysterious tribe who listens for their own drumbeat and happily live at the bottom of the food chain? What are their methods of achieving a viable lifestyle in Post-Reagan times using advanced Trickle-Down theory?

BFers are often outdoors. They are a fresh-air lot. They have suntans, smile a lot and have no visible means of support. You'll find them unloading a picnic basket in the parking lot at a public park on a week-day. They carry thrift store tennis rackets, drive old Volvos, VWs or 4 cylinder Japanese cars from the early 80's. Look in the picnic hamper. It's full of SALAD. Bottom feeders are frequently vegetarian, recognizing that cows must know how much good protein is in greens, hence they have ruddy complexions and never NEED medical coverage. Their cuts and gashes actually heal without stitches, as they have amazing immune systems.

Friday, August 24, 2007

mmm, spicy peanut sauce

OK, so I haven't actually made this particular version, but when I found it, I was glad. I used to love spicy peanut sauce, but usually it's made with soy sauce, which doesn't work for me. This recipe has you use either soy sauce or salt! Cool! I do have some wheat free tamari that I use sometimes, but it's the soy that's the issue for me. Guess I had too much of it for too long or something. I like it also that they have a sweet version, which would appeal to C, since he doesn't like anything spicy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Captain Dave's Survival Store

Just in case you were wanting to know how to survive various types of disasters, Captain Dave's has lots of stuff..

Laughing Baby

This is funny -- the baby laughs like an old man! I have a feeling the baby was an old man in a previous life...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lots of birthdays

Two of the kids in one of the playgroups we regularly hang out with had birthdays over the weekend -- both girls, both turning two. And both moms are pregnant, and due with their third babies in the spring (one of them was planned, one unplanned and unexpected because the mom had had to use IVF for her previous pregnancy). We went to a birthday party at Gymboree on Saturday, and the other party was just a playgroup this morning. What fun! And just last week we went to another one for another little boy turning two, and we have invites for one dad's birthday party and at least one other toddler turning two.

Whew! It's hard to keep up with all this. I'm thinking I have got to start learning a craft just so I don't have to got to Half Price Books and look for a nice-looking book so often (some of them we've just regifted some of of C's old books, but we are running out of toddler books of his that are in good condition). I get so jealous, too of all the moms I know who are pregnant (three at least).

However, I have met one other mom who has only one and will not be able to have another (not only does she have PCOS, but she also has *two* blood clotting disorders). Her son is almost a year older than C, but he's about the same size. He's in daycare all day, so we only see him in the evening and on weekends. Things go fine as long as either we are outside or at the other boy's home, but if we're here, C gets all possessive of his toys and mad about the other boy having fun with them. I hope he learns to share better soon. I don't like the way he gets all bent out of shape about it. He went and closed himself in his room about it last night. Bleh!

Costa Ricans are long-lived

Pretty cool story about how people in Costa Rica live a very long time. Always knew it was an awesome place. I really want to go back to visit. It's so beautiful!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hidden Ingredients

If you didn't make it yourself, really you have no idea what is in it. It could have gluten, MSG, or many other ingredients not on the label, or not listed. Ugh!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dear Kitty

No time to write much, just a link to ponder.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dean and Delucca

If I wanted to pay almost eleven dollars for a pint of ice cream, it would have to be organic, pastured cream with just a tiny bit of organic sugar with some other natural sweeteners like honey. Exotic flavors might be nice, although I don't know about a goat cheese flavor. Oh, and it should be made by hand, as in stirred by hand in a bowl set in a bowl of ice. Seriously folks, who spends money like this? Talk about conspicuous consumption!
It's amazing what people will pay for if it's presented the right way!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Seattle Waterfront photos

Just got a link to photos of the Seattle Waterfront from 1907 and 2002, showing how much it has changed. One thing that struck me was how tiny the buildings from then looked compared to how huge they look now. What is with this gigantic building thing? Is it that we have to dwarf ourselves more? Or just an economic thing -- make more money from the same amount of land? The water is much less used in the 2002 photo, which kind of makes sense since we now have a lot more cars and trucks and such. But you'd think people would at least do recreational sailing? Then again, nobody has any free time these days, do they? Workaholism has practically become institutionalized.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Plastic Bags Are Killing Us?

According to this article in Salon's website, plastic grocery bags are the worst type of litter in the world. They are choking waterways and killing wildlife. They don't break down, pretty much ever, and they are generally not recycled (our local grocery stores do have bins for them, but you have to remember to bring them it regularly).
It's better to use the cloth totes, or at least the reusable bags made from recycled plastic. Although the latter aren't really washable. You can buy cloth totes at a craft store and decorate them yourself. Or even make your own totes if you have a sewing machine and a bit of talent for that sort of thing.

reusablebags.com has a wide selection of cloth bags, even ones for bagging produce (you can't store the produce in the fridge in them, though).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Why I stay away from restaurants

I had what should have been a fairly innocuous meal yesterday at a Mexican restaurant -- refried beans and grilled chicken with mole sauce. Wrong. I have got to remember that most restaurants use MSG liberally, and sauce = extra MSG. I should have just gone home to eat, we had food. I was just tired. But now, I am beyond tired because I woke up about 4 am and just could not get back to sleep, and I'm convinced it was the food. I am going to do what I can to purge it from my system -- lots of fruits and veggies to detox it, I think. Ugh.

Headscratching moment

I decided to try to read an article that was the transcription of a channeler. Part of it addressed how global warming may not be so bad after all. I was intrigued, given that they've been predicting all kinds of dire consequences for the past 25 years or so. That somehow the global warming phenomenon will trigger us to take better care of the earth.
Then I read about micro-magic, and about how you can possibly merge with a tree. Wow, how cool, I've always loved trees! Who doesn't -- they are so wise and so green! Anyway this is what the channeled spirit said:
For example, how do you know that a part of you may actually not be, or be, the tree that is near your home? Or is it possible that a portion of who and what you are is also experiencing tree, and how would that possibly add to the language of your Being, and thus, add to the definition of who and what you are. You also make a very clear distinction between who and what you are and your dream self. But what if the apparently distinct separateness is not as distinct or separate as you've assumed? Does this make sense?


It was about language more than magic, but I just had to share. I am so sleep-deprived it isn't funny, so maybe tomorrow, I will see it differently. But right now it seems really cool.

Ashwin's Blog contest

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Be the Change

There is a movement, called "Be the Change" that was inspired by Mahatma Ghandi's statement, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world.” It is a movement of people who try to do something every day to improve things, to change things for the better. Their principles are:
* Identify and pursue your life's passion and purpose
* Aspire to be your greatest self
* Make at least one conscious, positive contribution or act of change each day

Here's a link
Here's another one (apparently there is more than one "be the change" movement)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Peace Pilgrim

From January 1, 1953 until her death in 1981, a silver haired woman calling herself only "Peace Pilgrim" walked the streets of this country, spreading her message asking for peace, both inner and outer. She gave up all her possessions and lived completely without money (when people sent her money, she spent it on postage for letters she sent to people who wrote to her -- this was back when snail mail was pretty much it).
She said:
This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good,
and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.

NEGATIVE vs. POSITIVE: I have chosen the positive approach - instead of stressing the bad things which I am against, I stress the good things which I am for. Those who choose the negative approach dwell on what is wrong, resorting to judgement and criticism, and sometimes even to name-calling. Naturally, the negative approach has a detrimental effect on the person who uses it, while the positive approach has a good effect. When evil is attacked, it mobilizes, although it may have been weak and unorganized before, and therefore the attack gives it validity and strength. When there is no attack but instead good influences are brought to bear upon the situation, not only does the evil tend to fade away, but the evil-doer tends to be transformed. The positive approach inspires - the negative approach makes angry. When you make people angry they act in accordance with their baser instincts, often violently and irrationally. When you inspire people they act in accordance with their higher instincts, sensibly and rationally. Anger is transient, whereas inspiration sometimes has a lifelong effect.

Here is a link.

Cancer New Moon

We're in a Cancer New Moon now. For those of you who are interested in astrology that is.
My dad, were he still alive, would be turning 88 in a couple of days. The 18th to be exact.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Chakra test

You can do a questionnaire about your chakra health. Cool, eh?

Mutant (?) Fish baby


The Newborn Baby Fish (comic)

www.NewsTarget.com
I have to add: this guy can scare the dickens out of you if you read a lot of his site.

Child Labor Awareness

I think this site is tracking some very important information, like how to buy chocolate that wasn't produced with child labor. Rock on, dude.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Do your own Tarot readings

This is pretty cool. You can do your own tarot readings online, from several different decks. See: http://www.consciousone.com/c1Cards/

Nigeria's "Lady Mechanics"

This is a pretty cool story. Interesting how things around the world are so similar to what they were when I was in college. Back then they kept saying to help developing countries, help the women.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0126/p01s03-woaf.html

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The immortal hamburger

This is kind of funny and kind of scary:


Note: I wouldn't bother going to the url mentioned in the video -- it's a raw foods guy selling access to his site for some outrageous fee.

The neighbor's poor baby

The neighbors' baby cries. A lot. And they are obviously of the "let them cry it out" philosophy. I even knocked on their door once at around 11:30 PM to "see if everything was OK" and tell them that their baby's crying was waking up my son, and they explained they were "Ferberizing" the baby. Ugh. This has been going on for several months now, so it's obviously not working, if their goal was to teach the baby not to cry. The poor thing cries off and on much of the day and a lot at night, too. The cries vary, from screaming disturbed cries to repetitive rhythmic cries. He woke me up this morning with his cries at around 6:30 am, what with everyone's windows open from the heat. He's cried on and off this morning. It was so nice and peaceful when they were out of town last week, I had forgotten how obnoxious the crying was. I don't know what else to say except I feel bad for him.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Too much sun again!

So, we have been out in the sun a couple of times in the past few days, and I find that I'm extremely sun sensitive. I get a rash from the sun going through my clothes! Sure, the summer sun here is very intense, but this didn't happen last summer. My low blood pressure may be a part of it, or it could be some of the supplements I've been taking. I have got to read up on them! This is ridiculous. I have been having a hard time with the sun for several years now (I recall feeling really woozy after riding on the back of a friend's motorcycle for the Dykes On Bikes contingent of the San Francisco Gay Lesbian Transgender Pride Parade over ten years ago), but this year it's the worst. I don't like having to stay inside all day! Ack!

Friday, June 29, 2007

On the beauty of the Pacific Northwest

I can't really explain the ways I have come to love it here, other than to say that it's gorgeous here and so open.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Up until now, I have always been really bad at making decisions. I get a quick blast of a thought about what I want, and then later on I get other ideas that contradict that. Fears? I don't know...not wanting to be wrong? I guess fear of making a mistake can be paralyzing. Wanting to do more than one thing at once? Is that a fear? Not wanting to work at something -- is that also a fear? Maybe of putting a lot into something and failing? Fear of failure is a big one for me that I have to get over. Also though, I am convinced that living in three or four places at once will be possible some day, I just have to figure out the trick to bending time and space enough to be able to do it. Ha ha!

I do love living here in a lot of ways -- partly because I am here. Partly because the trees are all so green all year. The air smells so clean. There are so many parks. The library is great. People are very friendly and helpful. Puget Sound is so smooth. Riding a ferry on it is so different from any other ferry I've been on, because the ride is smoother than being on a car. Lake Washington turns a certain shade of blue on a sunny day. It's so very deep. Almost primeval. There are so many farms. And farmer's markets. There are a ton of natural foods stores. And supplements store. Traffic is not as bad as it was in California. My wonderful Aunt Janet lives a few hours' drive away, and she is a grower of fruit. My Uncle Walt lives in Seattle (though we don't see him much). My friend Becka and her wonderful daughter who is C's best friend. My friend Faye whose sons are fun and who always has great food to eat. The playgroups. The Seattle Center. Our apartment complex, which has suddenly become full of families with kids of all ages. Even our Ferberizing neighbors seem to be getting better after I tacked a La Leche League magazine to their door. The malls with the play areas. The homeschooling groups. The museum of Flight. The Children's museums. The beaches in Seattle that we've been to, particularly Discovery Park. The South 47 Farm. Minea Farm. The Berke Museum. The Sammammish River.

What I miss about California: San Francisco. San Rafael. My friends. Alameda. BART. The La Leche League Leaders who made me feel so welcome there (the ones here never did). The warm September/October Indian summers. The beaches. The dunes. The grazing cows at Pt Reyes National Seashore. The campus at UC Berkeley. The Castro District. The Mission. Berkeley. Orinda. Redwood Regional Park. The art museums. The J Church. The N Judah. Coffee shops everywhere. The Palace of the Legion of Honor museum. Golden Gate Park.

What I miss about Tennessee: my friend Stacy and her wonderful family. My brother Charlie. Being relatively near my other brother Stan. The warm spring weather. The Appalachian mountains. The local festivals. The creeks. The memories I have (although many involve leaving to go on trips, to places like The Blue Ridge Parkway, The Outer Banks, Washington, DC). The slower pace of life.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Messages of Love for autistic children

This is a short excerpt from a message of love from Amris:

Do you know that the writer was autistic? In a time when this illness was not so widespread, she experienced it, she lived it. A forerunner of the ones of tomorrow, she was. And today, is her tomorrow. Today, these children are everywhere.

These children are so much more sensitive on every level. And they all carry gifts as grand, or greater than the one you witnessed unfolding in the writer. The difficulty that you have is watching in this time before the unfolding. In doing the daily work of reminding this little one that he is perfect, just as he is.


See: Messages of Love

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What's up on Planet Earth

Hm.

Living off the land

Cool site: Link

The Maya National Council of Elders of Guatemala asked us to pray for our world on May 22

I just found out about this, a bit too late:

Date: May 11, 2007

From:

Don Alejandro Oxlaj, Guatemala de la Asuncion

Don Alejandro is charged as the primary keeper of the teachings, visions and prophecies of the Mayan people. He is head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, a 13th generation Quiche Mayan High Priest and a Grand Elder of the Continental Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of the Americas. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan Culture.

Don Alejandro gives us this timely message: a call to action, a call to come together and be as one. Don Alejandro Hill be performing a Sacred Maya FIRE Ceremony in Guatemala , and be joining the thousands of others around the planet during the Break through Celebration.

“Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.”

Dear Brothers Joseph and Carl (Giove and Calleman):

In the name of the Heart of the Heavens and the Heart of the Earth, greetings to you. In the name of the Maya National Council of Elders, Spiritual Guides of Guatemala, we address the following to you for your great magnetic connections at the global level:

The Spirit of the Maya Nation and the Spirit of Mother Earth make us look for ties of friendship with all peoples of the world. The Maya Prophecy tells us “ …We will meet for we are one like the fingers of the hand”. We all are children of the Earth, we are flowers of the garden of our Creator coming in different colors, in different shapes, in different sizes, with different aromas; speaking different languages, and each one worshiping and meditating in their own way to the same Creator who has different names according to their own culture.

We hope this communiqué reaches all institutions, in private sectors as well as governmental ones; landowners, scientists, and all people in general. Brothers and sisters, there has been over 500 years of extermination in the face of the earth, extermination of humans, extermination of our brother animals and ancient trees, every day at a faster speed. The elders from the National Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of Guatemala are keepers of mystical and millenary knowledge. Like the birds, tirelessly in their flight, they live to see the prophecies fulfilled. We want to make all people and governments in the world conscientious, and have them analyze and reflect at the situation of the planet in the present time. Let us start by remembering that the Americas were a paradise 500 years ago. Virgin forests, cities of beautiful animals, cities to an innumerable variety of colorful birds, flying in freedom; they provided food for everyone. The waters were abundant and pure; and the people, they lived in their own traditions, guarding their cultures and conserving the beauty of Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived to be over 100 years old, free from contagion and illnesses. They were respectful and obedient to the laws of our Creator.

Let us talk now about our present times. We enjoy new advances in technology, inventions that make everyday life easier for us, we all use them, but the negative side is that we are finishing up our forests, and contributing to the contamination of the planet, the rivers are drying out, the waters are being contaminated. Our crops are affected by plagues as well as plagues killing our animals. We are threatened by contagious illnesses, incurable illnesses unknown in the past. Very harmful are the use of chemicals, the insecticides, transgenic seeds, etc. And most of all, these days, the nuclear testing: nuclear bombs and a great deal of war weapons, and the war in itself sterilizing or killing the planet Earth and affecting all living beings. Many people are homeless, children begging in the streets, others are involved in prostitution. Predators are on the rise. Dead people appearing daily in the streets, kidnappings, extortion, shootings in the schools, parents killing children, children killing children, parents raping their own kids. All this is a direct result of the contamination. There is no respect; no respect for life. The authorities sell themselves. The justice can be bought or sold.

Now lets speak about the future. We, the traditional Mayan elders, and all indigenous peoples in the world, meditate on the future. We don’t think only for today, the present, we think for tomorrow, for our children, grand children and future generations. We see a dark shadow approaching, a shadow that will cause a lot of harm. It is the great contamination. All this is due to man’s creation. We are digging our own graves. Wars are being transported to other countries; they reason in their speeches it is on behalf of freedom, but the result is more slavery. They speak that it will bring new development, but the result is more hunger for the underdeveloped countries. If we continue like this, the time will come when there are no more soldiers to form battalions. The Maya National Council of Elders of Guatemala ask all nations of the world – their governors and the governed ones – to put a stop to the contamination; and to the big and small enterprises, to find alternatives. We don’t want any more wars, no more death, no more nuclear testing, no more chemicals, because the warming up of the planet is unbearable to Mother Earth. If we don’t change, sooner or later, she will strike back with millions of lives lost.

Our Creator created us here over the face of the earth to worship him, to love and respect each other. We all are equal, we are flowers of the earth, in different sizes, of different colors, with different songs, with different smell, but all looking at our Creator, honoring him with different dances, different music, different ceremonies. We all plead to him,
we are his children, he is the creator of all that exist, all that we see and all which is beyond our senses. He has given us our life with an intelligence to do well. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.

May 22nd 2007 is 5 Ajpu, the Day of Grand Father Sun, he shines upon all of us equally, he doesn’t know discrimination, he doesn’t get lost on his path, he doesn’t get ahead or behind of himself. He gives us warmth, he gives us life. One Sun, one Air, one Water, One Mother Earth. May 22nd 2007 day of Grand Father Sun, Grand Mother Moon.

The Maya Prophecy says: “Arise, all arise, not one nor two groups be left behind, together we will see once again the place from where we have come from”

Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj/ Wandering Wolf
Grand Elder of the National Council of Elders Mayas,
Xincas and Garifunas of Guatemala

Friday, June 22, 2007

Unconditionality

So, Scott Noelle talks about letting in unconditionality. Being unconditional not just with your kids but with yourself. I think that's an admirable goal, but it just sounds like so much an out-there concept. He says:
Unconditionality is a state of mind in which you are willing to allow well-being into your experience... NO MATTER WHAT

This definition implies that the experience of well-being is always available to you — that you can have more well-being simply by letting it in. There are many people in this world — perhaps you know some of them — whose lives seem to prove this point. They have a high level of well-being despite poverty, disabilities, an abusive childhood, or other circumstances about which most people would feel quite unwell. But it’s not that well-being is somehow more available to them, it’s that they are more skilled at achieving the state of unconditionality that lets it in.

Unconditionality is selfish in the best sense of the word, because your own well-being becomes your top priority. You give to your child only what you can give happily, and that sets in motion a pattern of giving that continually increases your well-being instead of feeling like a drain. This leads to more generosity, not less.


Hm, something to think about. Sure sounds cool.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Camping, just mama and son


Two weeks ago, C and I went camping together, just the two of us. I had worried that it would be too hard with just me and a four year old boy, but really it wasn't too bad. His main motivation was that I had said that he could have marshmallows when he was four and we went camping -- last fall! He has an amazing memory for such things. Anyway, we found a close by state park with a campground, Kanaskat-Palmer State Park.

Since it was the middle of the week and before Memorial Day weekend, there were plenty of spots, so we didn't need a reservation (otherwise we would have had to reserve it a year in advance or something). All we had to do was get everything we needed to bring packed into the car and go. Which would be a much bigger job than I had realized. As you will come to see as I relate the crazy tale.

On Tuesday evening (or was it Monday?), we went to the local big box store, Fred Meyer, and bought a tend. We needed a new tent, because our old one, a Target brand tent, had lost a "shock cord" -- the elastic cord that holds the pieces of pole together. Who invented this style of tent pole must have known that this would happen, particularly if you have to camp in a damp environment a lot and don't have a chance to take the tent home and put it up in your yard to dry out on a sunny day after you come back from your trip - which we can't do being that we live in an apartment.

C enjoyed the little pull-out description of all the tents they had to offer. He kept insisting we get a tent right then and there; I wanted to ponder things a bit more, given how short-lived our last tent was (less than two years). Anyway, we ended up getting a four-person Coleman brand tent (I wasn't so sure about the store brand). Bill showed up at the store around then, having walked there from work on his way home (thank goodness for cell phones), so he helped carry the tent to the checkout.

Then, the next morning, C was still very determined to go camping right that minute (I wasn't so sure at that point, although the idea of just packing up and going did seem kind of cool). I realized we also needed some more fuel for our camp stove, and maybe also a propane lantern. So we went to Target and got their cheapest propane lantern along with some fuel for it and the stove (they had their own brand of propane, two canisters connected together, which was cool, almost like an omen telling me yes, buy a propane lantern, not one of those battery ones).

We have a tiny battery powered lantern, and about a dozen flashlights, you see (C loves flashlights and went through a period where he had to buy one every time he saw one), so we really didn't *need* a propane lantern, but somehow, it just doesn't seem like camping without one.

At that point, it was probably around noon or so, and I was hoping to leave soon. But somehow, between going shopping, cooking, packing, the afternoon just passed. We had had to go back to Fred Meyer for some ice for the cooler and some snacks, and by the time we got home, Bill was coming home from work! He gets home early compared with a lot of my friends' husbands, but still it was nearly 5 pm! I had hoped to leave by 2 pm at the latest, but I am notoriously slow anyway, and with all the last-minute things to do it just got past me. So we had a big snack to tide us over, finished packing the car, and left around 5:30. PM. On a weekday. Boy, did I not look forward to a drive to a new place through rush hour traffic!

I hadn't even known how bad it would get. It took us over half an hour just to get through Issaquah. Lots of people live down there, or further south, and go that way on their way home from work. It was quite warm, and we were sitting in traffic with all kinds of people on their way home to their overpriced condos and McMansions in Issaquah. Not to mention all the people on their way to places like Maple Valley and Black Diamond, which are slightly more affordable, if you consider affordable anything under half a million dollars.

I was pretty mad at the traffic, but also at myself for taking so long to get ready to go on our first camping trip of the year, which also happened to be our first camping trip without Daddy ever. He couldn't have taken the time off on such short notice, but also it was something I'd wanted to try, just to see if we could do it so that maybe we could do longer trips later on.

We finally got through Issaquah, passing over a dozen paragliders on the way -- apparently there is a big site there they use for that -- and began to get into the semi-rural area. I say semi-rural because this area is known for trying to preserve the rural qualities while still allowing some, very exclusive, development. So you will pass an old, broken down farmhouse with rusting assorted farm equipment in front of it, then a sign for a gated community or some such right next to it. It's very odd.

By limiting development, the housing that is built is kept very expensive, yet it is intermixed with very trashy looking old places from before Microsoft and all its money and before the population started to expand outwards. Kind of surreal. Like, if you happened to have been a farmer type twenty or thirty years ago, and fell asleep, and woke up now, you'd think someone had played a joke on you by randomly turning half your neighbors' farms into subdivisions filled with these weird super shiny SUVs and houses almost as big as their lots.

Anyway, we drove through a bunch of this, until we got to an old run-down country store on a corner. My directions, which were printed out from one of those online websites, said to turn left on a particular road, but I couldn't see a street sign. I pulled into the parking lot of the store, noting a Sheriff's car parked next to it. Before I could get out, a woman holding a paper walked out of the store.

C, being conscious of delays to getting his marshmallow fix, said, "ask her what the street name is," and I, ever obliging, leaned my head out and, when she greeted me with that ever so Seattle friendliness, asked. Sure enough, she knew the name of the street, even telling me to take the left fork at the Y. When I seemed hesitant, she asked me where I was going, and when I told her, she gave me directions all the way there. She said "I know that's how to get there because my delivery route takes me there -- wouldn't have known last year how to get there."

I can relate to that -- I know most of the Bay Area based on my bread delivery routes that I had many years ago. Chris asked me what she delivered, but I was at a loss. She had a paper, so I said "maybe newspapers" and he said "but then why was she buying a paper?" I had no idea.

Anyway, we made our way there, and found a spot to camp at. I had brought cash, but not the right amount. You were supposed to pay by putting money in an envelope and putting it in a box, but you had to have exact change, and the price had gone up from the published $15.00 (which I had) to an awkward $19.00.

How many people just put in a twenty and left it at that? I'm sure they count on that happening. I am ever so conscious of paying no more than the right amount, so we drive back to the entrance, where I'd seen a light on in the little hut there, although the blinds were drawn. We went in, and asked the ranger for change. He seemed a bit confused about what to do, as if nobody ever asked that of him. He thought about it for a minute, then said, "let me see what I can do."

He didn't actually have change for a twenty, but he did have a single one dollar bill, along with a twenty. So I said, "why don't I just pay you and you can give me the dollar as change?" This seemed to be quite a revelation for him. Again, I don't think many people try to get change from him. In order for me to pay him, he need to put it into the computer. It took him a while to figure out how to do it without logging back into some special area of the computer. He said he'd just logged out and didn't want to log back in again. Anyway, eventually he figured it out and we were out of there.

We went back to our site, and I started dinner, which consisted of some frozen stir-fry veggies and hot dogs. Remember, I had very little time to plan, and we aren't really eating much in the way of processed foods, so couldn't just buy a bunch of canned stuff (I really don't like most canned stuff anyway). I used the camp stove we brought. I discovered I'd forgotten to pack any sort of oil or butter, so the stir fry had to be cooked in water (tap water, no less, since I hadn't brought bottled). Not exactly a gourmet meal, but it had to do. Oh, and lots of miniature marshmallows for C. Lots. He had no interest in trying to toast them, which was fine since we had no wood for a fire anyway (the ranger didn't sell any, and our trunk had been too full to bring any from home).

As we were getting ready to set up the tent, a man came into our camping spot to ask for matches. I was a bit creeped out by having a strange man approach me in the middle of a nearly deserted campground, but he seemed ok. I found my large box of strike-anywhere matches, and began to get it out. He said, "are they..." and I finished the sentence, "yes, they're strike anywhere," so he just said, "great, I'll just take a few then." And smiled. I was glad to have my wedding ring and engagement ring on (which I was to lose later, see the post about Bainbridge Island). I hoped he'd assume my husband was just in the bathroom or something. But I figured if my mom could take us kids camping for weeks every summer without any incident, we were fine.

So, we set up the tent (which I didn't really like -- it didn't really sit right on the ground -- I much prefer our old Target brand tent over this new Coleman tent), and then I filled the air mattress. At this point it was getting dark, so we started up our new propane lantern. I didn't read the instructions first, so I just tied on the mantles and then tried to light it.

I didn't realize you were supposed to burn them first before starting it up, so the combination of the mantles doing their first burn along with a generous amount of propane nearly singed my eyebrows off. I quickly turned off the fuel. At this point, I decided to read the instructions. Why did I think that growing up with one would make me a natural at this? Anyway, we got it started, and found it very bright. It was also a perfect magnet for mosquitoes, apparently. We sprayed each other with some all natural DEET-free mosquito repellent (which smells nasty, by the way -- eucalyptus mint does not combine well in a bug spray).

We went to bed, after I'd gotten the all-important air mattress inflated (I have a battery operated pump, which works way better than blowing it up with your mouth). It was freezing cold. The two of us snuggled into one sleeping bag was quite a snug fit. Also, it turned out the air mattress had a slow leak in it. So, between the air mattress losing its air, the cold air, and being tightly packed into a sleeping bag with a four year old, I got very little sleep. I woke up with a nasty sore throat. I a was also very tired.

The next morning, we had turkey bacon and eggs for breakfast, again cooked without any butter or oil. They stuck, of course. We brushed our teeth with the water from the spigot (which looked kind of orange in the water container -- yikes), deflated the already mostly deflated air mattress, and took down the tent. C really wanted to go home at this point. He had eaten almost the entire bag of marshmallows at that point, and I think he was tired of them.

I really wanted to at least look at the local river (I think it was the green river), so we drove down there. There wasn't a lot to see at first, because the banks of the river were well covered with trees. But then we hiked down to the water, and it was beautiful. The water was clear and cold and it was so quiet. All you could hear was the sound of rushing water. It's a big whitewater rafting river, and they have signs giving the ratings of the rapids. We were at the point where beginners were supposed to get out, because it becomes a Class IV river after that (only experts can handle that). We walked down to the edge and put our fingers in the water. It was freezing. It is melted glacier water, so you'd expect such, but wow, was it cold.

Then, we headed home. We drove back through Issaquah, stopping to eat lunch there. We lost C's jacket there, I think, because I haven't seen it since. Why do I lose so many things, anyway?

Anyway, we had a good trip for a first shot early in the season. It felt good to be outside. Next time, though, I'm bringing a new air mattress and a bigger sleeping bag!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Our Trip to Bainbridge Island


We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island on Memorial day, and then rented canoes and paddled around the marina there. It was pretty cool. I hadn't paddled a canoe since I was a kid, yet I could still do it pretty well. We saw sea life, and got to peek into places that were homes of the leisure set. Lots of cool boats, including old tugboats, too. It was very relaxing, and serene.

The only bad thing was that I lost my wedding ring and diamond engagement ring. I am now ring-less! My hand feels kind of naked without them. We haven't gotten around to shopping for a replacement -- we kind of decided that I should probably just get a wedding band, since the engagement ring was so darned expensive, and since most diamonds are used to fund war (blood diamonds). Besides, diamonds are overrated. Their prices are kept inflated artificially by a cartel, a lot like oil. If I had the coloring, I'd wear 18 carat gold like the Indian women I've known, but it washes out my pinkness.

Visualize World Peace -- how would it look?

You know the bumper sticker, "Visualize World Peace"? My mom probably had it on her car, at least at some point. Anyway, what do you think it would look like? What would a world without war be like? Where would we be spending our time, energy, and money? Would countries use just the United Nations (expanded greatly, to deal with the increased use), or would there be smaller bodies around the world for conflict resolution? What would the groups that are currently at war with another do with their time? How would they relate to one another?

What would our government look like if it weren't constantly fighting wars around the world? Where would the money be going instead? Would we be coming up with alternatives to fossil fuels? Inventing new ways to communicate? Open up your imagination and set up some expectations to demand of our government. We have to start somewhere, and it makes sense to me that we should be solving our problems, like health issues (increasing allergies and developmental disabilities, illnesses like AIDS), energy sources, food sources, and clean air and water.

The next Manhattan Project should be about creating a better world.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The President is just one step from being a dictator

So, in case you haven't heard (and even if you do watch the news on TV which I don't do you probably won't have), there is a new law in effect that gives the Unites States President, who is currently George W, essentially dictatorial powers. You can read about it here if you want. It's a presidential "directive" (something that didn't even exist until recently) , which is basically a law that the US president can create without the approval of congress or the Supreme Court (whatever happened to checks and balances?). The directive states that if there is a catastrophic emergency, which could be one of many things, the president of the United States, along with a separately selected group that he chooses (and is not elected) the power to take over and run the country.

Does this make sense? I don't think so. What can a person do to work on having it revoked? Can only the president revoke it? Can we impeach him if this is in effect?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

They're trying to mess with our chocolate! Mockolate is real!

So, there is an industry lobby group that is pretending to be made up of concerned citizens who want to "modernize" the definition of chocolate to allow it to be made with transfat, artificial sweeteners, and just a bit of chocolate flavoring. That's not exactly what they made it with on "Friends" when the guy who used to play Lenny had Monica make a bunch of things with "mockolate", but not far off. Yuck! I don't want chocolate like that. And this at a time when they're starting to say that a bit of dark chocolate can be good for the heart, because of all the antioxidants in it (tea, too, supposedly). Why on earth would they do it? To make more money, of course! Supposedly there may be a shortage of the real stuff, so in order to keep the populace supplied with cheap chocolate (marked up of course), they think they need to make fake chocolate and pass it off as real. Why not use that other fake chocolate, carob? It's actually not that bad, as long as you don't think of it as chocolate. It's brown, it's sweet, and depending on how it's made, it can actually melt in your mouth.

Anyway, let's tell them we'd rather have expensive real chocolate or even carob that the junk they are trying to get the government let them pass off as real. Where do I sign up to do this?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Baby carrots -- they aren't really baby carrots

OK, so I knew this already, but still. Ugh~
http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cheney's lesbian daughter has a baby

So, Cheney's lesbian daughter recently had a baby with her lesbian partner. He's gotten his photo take with their child, his grandchild, but the baby's moms were not in the picture. Wonder why? According to this site it's because they are trying to play both sides of it, getting points from lesbians for acknowledging their lesbian daugther's baby, but leaving the lesbian daughter and her wife out to keep from angering the religious fundamentalists who support the Republican party. Boy, what a mess!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

One Hour no power

To help spread the word about global warming, a group of people have decided to ask everyone out there to unplug and turn off everything -- TVs, cars, etc. -- for one hour at noon on Sunday July 1, 2007. Since everyone would use their local time, not everyone everywhere would have everything off all at the same time, but it would be all the same day, which would still be quite effective.

How much impact would all of this have? Has anyone calculated it?

http://www.onehournopower.com/

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Alki/Seacrest beach in Seattle

We went to the beach in West Seattle, and the weather was perfect. We saw sea anenomes, lots of barnacles, some mussels, seaweed, and seagulls. He chased some seagulls, and interacted with a toddler boy who came by for a few minutes. Lately he's really been wanting to play with other kids, like every single day! Totally opposite of the way he used to be. It's amazing how much they can change. I'm sure the trip to see Stacy had an impact. I'm so glad we went to see her. I know it did him a lot of good.
It was such a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline and waterfront, and ferries and other boat traffic going by. The area looks a lot like the coastal areas of the Bay Area, particularly bits of Alameda and Berkeley. Kind of quaint. I forgot my camera or I'd add some pictures. On the way, and on the way back, we got to see the Port of Seattle, with all the Container ships being unloaded and loaded and moved by tugboat and such. Pretty cool.
We didn't stay that long because C wanted to see the lighthouse out that way, but when we got there it was closed. An elderly man sitting in front of his garage told us about another one north of there, which we tried to get to but got lost. I think next time we'll just stay at the beach we start out at. Carkeek park next time, because they have a playground there, and a train goes by right there.

C fell asleep on the way home. So it was harder for him to get to sleep tonight. But I'm still up! I should go to bed!

No more corn for us!

Well, I had hoped that at least ds could have some corn in his life, since he loves it so much, but after some major intake of corn, he got nosebleeds each time -- once only a few minutes after eating it! He had kettle corn two Saturdays in a row, and each night, he woke up in the middle of the night with a nosebleed - the second time both nostrils bled. Then the next day, we had Mexican food, and he ate half a fried corn tortilla, a bunch of tortilla chips, and part of a steamed corn tortilla, and on the way home his nose started bleeding. And later on, and this is one of those too much information things, he passed bloody mucus on the potty. Mind you, that day he'd also had a chocolate covered ice cream bar and a bunch of Xylitol gum (and Xylitol is usually made from corn), but I think it was the corn. Since he hasn't been having it, he hasn't had any more bloody noses (or bowel movements). Sigh. I already knew it can give me a migraine when I eat it too much, but I had hoped he could at least have it.

He has had nosebleeds in the past, especially if he eats a ton of fruit and nothing else. I'm thinking it's the salicylates. I hope not because he loves things that are high in salicylates! But really, he had gone a while there with very few nosebleeds and now all of a sudden, when he's eating lots of corn, he gets lots of them. And this was the first time he had passed blood as well, even counting other days when he had ice cream.

Maybe some day. Maybe just whole kernal corn.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wow, the weather has been great!

The weather here has been really nice -- in the upper 60s during the day, but cooler at night. The sun has been out just about all day every day for most of the week, which is such a nice change! I love this weather! Can we please have more of it? I would love to have it like this for the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the honey chicken

OK, so I made the chicken. Now, it didn't cook as long, and I had it on high to compensate, so I can't say for sure, but I didn't like what turned out. It was entirely too sweet for my taste. Then again, I only put in six chicken thighs instead of eight, but still...I kind of had a feeling it would be too sweet, but wanted to try it anyway since it's made from 100% SCD legal (allowed on the specific carbohydrate diet) ingredients and since lately it seems like most of my cooking has depended on tomatoes for flavor. Maybe if it were to cook more the chicken would soften up. And maybe the fact that I left the skin on and the bones in changed it a bit. But the main problem was the sweetness - the honey plus all those dried fruits just made it taste like candy. Not my favorite. This one will be going in the recycle bin! Sigh.

Crockpot honey chicken with dried fruit

So I think I'm going to give this a try but with bone in skin on thighs because they are much cheaper:
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup mixed dried fruit pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
Cook for 8-9 hours on low in a slow cooker
http://busycooks.about.com/od/chickenrecipe1/r/chixdriedfruit.htm?p=1
It's basically cooked chicken with honey and dried fruit. I think the recipe needs to explain what goes where in the crockpot -- I know usually you put the veggies on the bottom, but what about the honey and the chicken broth? Do you pour them in on top of everything? Should the fruit go on top of the chicken so as to flavor it, or underneath so it gets moist?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

You Tube


This was done 15 years ago. I wonder what this girl is doing now?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Our trip to TN


This is ds sitting on a canon that is in front of my old elementary school. The school is gone now, torn down, and they say they will be building some condos there (this is in an old neighborhood with very expensive houses most of which are old and antebellum style). We went to Tennessee to see family and also drove over to North Carolina to see my Aunt Fran, who is 85 years old and still going strong.
We did too much in too short of a time. I am still burnt and it's been several days since we got back. I had fun to some extent, but it was exhausting. We were staying with my friend Stacy and her husband Paul and their two daughters, who are 3 and 6. The kids played a lot while we were there, and I think it was tiring for all of us. Also, we tried to squeeze in seeing my two brothers, and we went out to eat a lot, so we ate food that wasn't the best for us, and it affected us. I got a migraine, ds had a bad temper (and even hit the six year old). I get so frustrated with him, but when away from home, I have a hard time getting him to behave. I sort of drop my guard or just give in a lot because I don't want to fight him. And he gets more stubborn -- and he already is that. Not a good combination, especially not with exhaustion and jet lag on top of it.
I did enjoy the warm weather, the green trees, and getting to see my family and friends. I hadn't seen my older brother Stan or Aunt Fran since my mom died back in 1996. My older brother's wife and I had a falling out not long after my mom died (and really we never were all that close), so I just hadn't seen him even when I went back to visit and saw my other brother in 1998 and again in 2001. Boy, Stan looks different! He's got glasses now, and is going gray. He will be 50 in June, and while he has a somewhat youthful face, he is definitely older than he was the last time I saw him. But a lot changes in 11 years.
I liked the weather and while I was there and right after I got home, I was thinking again (for the like millionth time) about moving back there, but later had second thoughts. I get so attached to my place. I like how liberal it is here, how the evergreens are everywhere, how the ocean isn't that far away, how you can see Mt Rainier from any hill just about, how you can get pastured milk at a corner store, how low the crime rate is, how many many jobs there are here...I could go on. I know it would be nice to see my family more often, and the cost of living is a lot lower there (although it's coming up lately). I do much prefer 80 degree days to 56 degree days -- I think. Or do I? I think I have less tolerance for heat than I used to, but I also don't like cold either. Give me a place where the high is somewhere between 60 and 80 most of the year, or at least a half of it, and I will be happy. TN gets way too hot, this place is too chilly for my taste. I like to go around in short sleeves, not in layers, LOL.
Anyway, I'm glad to be home to sleep in my own bed again (really ds's but that's what I always sleep in).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

the haircut


So, C cut his own hair (with some help cleaning up from mama), and now has very short hair. I think he got tired of being mistaken for a girl, although it never seemed to bother him until he was around a friend's daughters and got mistaken for one of them. He would always correct people, and say "I am a boy, I just have long hair."
You can see his eyes now! One problem is now he's getting sunburned! Have to use sunblock, LOL.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Arsenic in chicken feed

It's ridiculous that they would put arsenic in chicken feed as a growth promoter. Factory farming has always disturbed me -- for years I was a vegetarian at least in part because I wasn't happy with the way meat is produced in this country. Adding arsenic, antibiotics, and hormones to animal feed is polluting our water supply, creating antibiotic resistent bacteria, and raising unhealthy animals that have nutritionally inferior meat, eggs, and milk. I think just about everyone agrees it's bad for us and the environment. A chicken's natural diet is grass, bugs, slugs and snails, caterpillars, and some seeds. Feeding them a monotonous diet of corn, soy and additives is not good for them. Keeping them enclosed, either in tiny cages or in a large coop, may protect them from preditors and make their meat more tender, but it also causes them to be stressed out. Same with cattle -- they are grazers, and naturally eat grass, weeds, and other leafy greens but they are fed in this country tubers, corn, and soybean meal and kept in pens. Their meat may be more mild tasting and tender, but they are stressed and unhealthy, and must be treated with antibotics, etc. That doesn't even begin to go into the environmental cost involved in transporting these animals to huge slaughterhouses (which I don't want to even get into -- not pretty).

What's the answer? Everyone who eats animals should try to eat most of it as grass fed, free range beef and poultry or wild caught fish. Unfortunately, that's often not available, or extremely expensive. The food production system makes it very difficult to obtain, in an affordable manner, healthy food. That has got to change. Each little bit that everyone can do -- like finding locally produced eggs by someone who has some chickens in their back yard or by hunting for wild game or fishing for wild fish -- can help. It's good to eat lower on the food chain if possible -- like eating vegetables instead of animals that eat vegetables -- but many of us need animal protein to be healthy. I know I do! I used to be a vegetarian and was quite sick often, and was also rather depressed (although the latter seems to still be a problem for me).

If I had a house, I would buy a deep freeze and buy my meat from a local rancher, or even maybe game from a local hunter. I would grow as many of my own veggies and beans as I could fit into my yard. Those of in apartments could band together and buy a whole, grass fed free range cow and divide it up among us like people used to do. If I had a bigger storage closet, I'd get a plot in a local community garden, but I don't have anywhere to store the shovels and such, at least not without getting rid of my Christmas and camping stuff.

To sum up, eat locally, eat low on the food chain, and try to get the best stuff you can find for your budget.

Here are some links:
http://www.eatwild.com/
http://www.localharvest.org/
http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/localfood_dir.php
http://www.realmilk.com/where.html
http://www.living-foods.com/articles/whywildfood.html
http://www.eatwellguide.org/
http://www.realfoods.org/
http://find.mapmuse.com/re1/interest.php?brandID=FARMER_MARKETS
http://www.beyondorganic.com/

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn believes that children should neither be punished for bad behavior nor rewarded for good behavior, because it's coercive. He also believes that the current school system is not good for them, but I think his kids are in it, because he and his wife both work (at least that's what I hear), and I'm assuming their kids have been either in daycare or with a nanny since infancy. Kind of odd, don't you think? I know in our case, ds being in daycare would be coercive because he won't even stay with a friend for five minutes while I go to the bathroom! I would think it would be a lot easier to be tolerant with your kids if you spent that much less time with them, don't you? Give me 40+ hours a week away from ds and I would bet I would treat him a lot differently. Although getting him to bed would probably be a lot worse of a problem, since he would be wanting to spend more time with me.
I do like more the stuff that Marshall Rosenburg says about non-coercion. http://www.cnvc.org/raisekds.htm

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy New Year to you!

I heard that April 1 used to be new Years. Sounds good to me! I sure wish it would get above 60 degrees -- the high here today was 48, and it's supposed to snow tonight! I really would like to live in a place that has a real spring! Cold weather for a couple of months is one thing, but half a year -- please!
That's it for today.

Friday, March 30, 2007

How do I fit yoga in with a four year old?

I have got to do my Yoga 4 Fertility video today, but ds is using the VCR. I have the VHS version from the library, they don't have it on DVD.
I think I'll buy the DVD, unless there is a better one. I'd like one that has both short and long workouts. This one is about an hour or more, depending on whether you pause the tape.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

gratitude entry for today, 3/28/07

Things I'm grateful for: my friend Becka and her wonderful daugher Amelie, who met me and ds at the park today and played. Playgroups like the Eastside AP, where I can talk to other moms. Message boards, where I can post and read other posts from other moms and people. Books from the library that I can read. Being able to read books. Reading to ds tonight. Holding him as he fell asleep. Watching him play with his friend Amelie, and then another girl later on tonight in our apartment complex. Cleaning up the kitchen and having it not be too bad. I need sleep!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

gratitude and joy entry for today, 3/24/07

Things I am grateful for:
1. Having a mommys group to meet other moms -- I actually ran into one of them today and enjoyed talking with her a bit. 2. Having a wonderful son who lives well 3. Having a loving husband with endless patience 4. My health, which is improving 5. the fact that ds's health seems to be impoving as well 6. being able to buy food at the food court at crossroads mall 7. Being able to go to Redmond Town Center and see the new sensory garden and get a backpack with free stuff in it for ds
Things that brought me joy:
1. Sleeping in this morning 2. Playing games with ds 3. eating dinner 4. making yogurt with mango for ds 5. Posting on MDC 6 reading to ds tonight

Monday, March 19, 2007

gratitude and joy entry for today, 3/19/07

I am so grateful to my loving, patient, kind husband, who did the dishes tonight without being asked or reminded. I am grateful for a sweet, loving, happy, funny son who did really well last night, not waking much at all. I am grateful for my yoga video, which is helpful and makes me feel good. I am grateful for my wonderful friend, Stacy, whom I will be visiting and staying with in less than a month. I am grateful for the flowering trees and milder weather -- even went without a sweater today! I am grateful for our warm dry apartment, which is getting cleaner and more orderly all the time.

Things that brought me joy: going to 321 Bounce today with ds and playing with him on the equipment. Doing yoga and having it relax me and help the crick in my neck. Reading to ds. Seeing dh walk in the door, having walked through the rain on his way home from work (I keep the car so we can go places, he walks nearly 2 miles each way to and from work). Breathing.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

gratitude and joy entry for today, 3/1/07

Gratitude:
I am so grateful for my loving husband who did the dishes for me tonight, and also got ds ready for bed (except the teeth brushing, book, and nursing, LOL).
I am endlessly grateful for my wonderful, imaginitive, intelligent, sweet little son.
I am very grateful for my friend Becka, who came over today with her beautiful daughter.
I am grateful for my brothers, who have been there for me over the years.
I am grateful for the sun that came out today.
I am grateful for my Aunt Janet, recently returned from a trip to the South Pacific, who emailed me today. I am picturing her grandson, my cousin, healing from some illnesses that he has had recently.
I am grateful to the earth, for providing us with delicious food.
I am grateful for having a computer to write this on.
Joy:
Cooking black bean soup brought me great joy, as did eating it.
Seeing ds playing with his friend brought me joy.
Holding ds in my lap brought me joy.
Kissing dh when he came home brought me joy.
Seeing dh and ds play together brought joy to my heart. They have so much fun together!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Messages of Love

Messages of Love
This is a website by a really cool mama who sends out messages of love to people. They are way cool.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Isn't this a cool drawing?

My friend Chasmyn introduced me to this artist, William M Perry, who is selling his drawings on Ebay. He's selling them every week so if you sign up to see his new stuff, you will get a new image in your email every week. Pretty cool, huh? And he also sold a cool love poem called "Until Bananas Turn to Ink" which he wrote and illustrated and self-published, and it's really awesome. I bought a copy for DH for Valentine's day and he loved it. I just wish I'd left more positive feedback -- I was stressed and rushed so it was a bit terse: "item in good condition" was all. Oops!

Save money going to college Video!

I don't have the patience to listen to this guy, but the idea sounds cool -- go to college for $11 per day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

gratitude entry for today, 2/14/07

I am grateful for a loving, handsome husband, and wonderful, attached son, great friends, and a healthy, sound body. I am grateful to have a nice place to call home, lots of good food, and fun things to do. I am grateful to be able to stay home with my son full time, and to be able to get around with him in our car regularly. I am grateful to have a mommy's group that meets regularly relatively close by, and to be able to spend time with them and their kids. I love kids!
Things that brought me joy today included going to a mommy's group Valentine's party and seeing C play with the other kids and eat whatever they were serving without any unusual reactions (sure, he was hyper, but so would any kid who ate the sugar and stuff they had). Being with my husband and son brought me a great deal of joy in different ways. I really enjoy seeing C laugh and smile, and playing magic tricks with him really makes him excited, which I love to see. Loving DH and celebrating Valentine's Day as a couple really brought me joy too.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I love Hanna Andersson!

Here is a bid I missed on ebay for C's favorite jammies, Hanna Andersson -- his favorite are the striped ones. They make cute prints, too, but they aren't as soft or durable as the striped ones. That is especially important when you buy them used -- the prints are usually at least slightly faded and definitely don't last as long. Anyway, I need to figure out the best way to win an ebay auction without driving up the price, because these things can get pretty spendy if you keep bidding on them. I can get them new at the outlet store for $28.00, although they aren't always available in the size we want. So I don't want to spend more than say, 20 bucks, shipping included, on them on ebay, but often the bids get way high on the popular ones. I intend to have good jammies for a decent price.

We love Hanna's long johns!