Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mad Men Casting Call

Our very own Richard Boehmcke, affectionately known as Boomka, is vying for a spot on Mad Men! Granted it is just a walk on, but please - it's MAD MEN. We know this is just the beginning for this very talented young NYC writer who has already written an off Broadway play, and won a video contest that landed him in Miami, all at the ripe old age of 26. He is adorably funny and if you haven't visited his blog do yourself a favor and head on over, but first cast a vote for one of our own to be on MAD MEN!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stop The Madness!

It is believed that the accident in the Gulf is just a drop in the bucket compared to several other BP off shore drill sites that are primed for an even bigger disaster. I believe it is time to send a clear message to the White House that we no longer will tolerate our oceans being used in a gamble that rakes in billions of dollars for oil companies, but leaves the lives of those living in the water and on the coastlines in dire jeopardy.

The time has come for all of us to stand up and say 'we're mad as hell, and we aren't going to take it anymore'! Big corporations have run this country, through lobbying, for far too long. The result has been disastrous for the common man. Life on this planet cannot continue if we do not do something about it's decimation. We can no longer hide our heads in the sand.

Please join me in signing a petition to ban off-shore drilling. The amount of oil in the Gulf waters is just not worth the risk. It's time to force our government to find alternative technology for clean energy. If enough of us stand up for what we believe in, then the change will come. But it will not come if we don't raise our voices in unison.

If you have a few extra dollars, please donate to Oceana, as they currently have a sponsor that will match donations until August 31st, as they strive to find the real impact of all that oil in the Gulf.

All life will cease to exist without our oceans. They produce half of the oxygen necessary for life. Please help.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How To Be Alone

I borrowed this sweet little video from Secret Notebooks...wild pages. It reminded me of those days before I married my husband and I lived alone. I remember the challenge of those years for me, surrounded by cohorts that were getting married and starting families. I wonder what I would do now, thirty years later.

I think of my mother-in-law facing this test at the advanced age of 97 after 67 years of marriage, and I am startled by her strength. I think of a dear blogging friend at the beginning of this journey, and I feel her fear, pain, and sorrow. How do we traverse this uncharted territory when our lives have been about sharing with others?

I guess we do it one step at a time. I guess we do it by being patient with ourselves.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In The Flow

I'm one of those people who believe when things are going really well, then you are in the "flow." The flow being a river of consciousness that all beings enter at one time or another. When you read something that resonates within, when you write something that makes your fingers fly, when you are creating a piece of art that seems to make itself, when your body is doing exactly what it needs to do to help you stay in the race, or anytime that you feel absolute connectedness. All of these types of intelligences are within us all of the time, but when we're in the flow we feel energized and excited. Things come to us effortlessly.

I've been working on trying to prove all of this to myself. I have a wonderful life, but like all people there are times when I focus on the things that are not working well. Negativity, I believe, keeps us out of the flow. So when I feel negative, I force myself to start listing all the things I have to be grateful for. I start small, building to the really important things, and end with being appreciative for being here in the first place.

Which brings me to my last post. Fleas were causing havoc in my life. A mother feels unsettled when their youngest child is couch surfing. Believe me, most mothers like to know their children have a home, are safe and well. The flea situation was getting to me. I felt very negative and unhappy as we trolled Craigslist for rentals. All of them seemed old, carpeted (she has asthma), or creepy looking. At least when viewing them online. Not a place one wants to see their child living. She was willing to settle for places that made me feel uneasy. After all, she was the one without a home.

Where I wanted her to live was in the same complex as her sister. I feel settled when I know my daughters are watching out for one another. They always have, as they are very close. (Another thing to be grateful for...) Anyway, the complex where my older daughter lives is small, only 13 or so units. They were perfect for our needs. Newly remodeled so everything is new, hardwood floors, washer/dryer in unit, affordable, two bedrooms, which gives us a place to stay when visiting. Being close to all of them during our exceedingly rare visits these days was a huge plus. To not intrude on my daughter with a husband and son in their small apartment, but to be able to walk down and see them, was beyond perfect. She has needed help with her son lately, and our youngest needs help with her puppy. Especially when she starts graduate school next month. Only problem - several had just turned over, and they were not expecting another one to open up anytime soon.

Back to the flow.

So I sent out a special prayer before going to sleep, asking for one to open up before the end of next month.

My daughter's phone rang the next morning - an apartment opened up, the manager had tracked down her phone number, and she could be in by the first of next month!

The moral to this story? I think when we keep ourselves focused on the good, the things to be grateful for, we stay in a higher state of being, or vibration. That includes not allowing ourselves to react to hate and anger when we read or watch things that make us sad or angry. Not an easy thing to do, I know. One way to do that is to pay attention to what your body is doing - if it's tensing up and you are feeling heaviness in the chest area - then let the thought go. Relax your body. At some point you realize you are not automatically reacting - you're more in control - and it's easier to let it all go. Most of these things we can't do anything about anyway.

Okay, your turn, what do you think?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


WARNING: Gross topic, don't read while eating.

When all is said and done, I think fleas are going to inherit the earth.

My daughter has only been in her apartment for three months and is now living with friends as she tries to find a place with hardwood floors. Why, you say? Why is she going to great expense, not to mention the time and energy it takes to move, so soon?  She has asthma. Places with carpet are turning out to be very unhealthy for her. Especially if those places have problems with pests.

Let's back up.

She signed a lease that had a disclaimer stating that there were no "pests" in the apartment. Being young, she signed the lease. She hadn't noticed any pests during the tour, after all. What she thought she might see would be a mouse, or spiders, certainly not fleas.

But it wasn't long before her cat was infested with them. They were all over the carpet. She dipped her cat, put a collar on her, cleaned the apartment floors, used over the counter pesticides, had an exterminator come in, but eventually the fleas literally made her cat (age 13) so sick, she had to be put to sleep.

She has found them in her bed, on her boyfriend, all over the carpet, and the last straw was her puppy (despite Advantage). She has moved out, and after giving 30-days notice, she has vacated the apartment. Now they want to hold her to the one-year lease with one-month's rent as her default. We're thinking - why exactly do you have that disclaimer in your lease? Have you had this problem before? Maybe in that very apartment? And since you have that disclaimer, how do you know there were no pests living there?

At any rate, paying for two places for the 30 days is fine - but another month to get out of a lease for an apartment that is uninhabitable seems a little over the top. They need to pull the carpet from that apartment and replace it. Evidently it's the eggs that you can't see, and can't get rid of

I'm so glad that I live at an altitude that does not have fleas! Little #@$%^&!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Inducing Dementia

I found this post on Lynn MacTaggart's blog so interesting, I did what I usually don't do - copy something in its entirety. But this is a subject I have long felt very strongly about - the proliferation of pharmaceutical drugs in our society and others. We use drugs to combat everything. Every time we take a drug, even a simple pain reliever, it affects another part of our body. Especially note the last paragraph! Here then is Lynn's post:

Against holism

August 6th, 2010 by admin

Just occasionally, I come across a medical hero, a doctor willing to break the conspiracy of silence that exists among doctors about the damage caused by their tools.
My hero of the hour is an American psychiatrist called Grace E. Jackson.  Dr. Jackson is utterly, refreshingly horrified by psychiatric medicine. In fact, she is horrified by most forms of pharmaceutical medicine, period.  She spends her life lecturing and writing about the dangers of drugs and their ability to cause mental illness. 
So incensed is she about the current state of affairs that she felt compelled to self-publish a whistle-blower, entitled Drug-induced Dementia, which painstakingly catalogues a vast amount of scientific evidence showing that modern medicine is the primary culprit behind all forms of dementia, one of the most rampant epidemics of our time.

A new use for rocket fuel
One of her more outrageous snippets of information concerns the fact that in the 1950s, when doctors first began to treat psychiatric patients pharmacologically, they discovered that synthetic dye and rocket-fuel derivatives actually had what they considered some sort of medicinal effect. Thorazine (chlorpromazine), the first antipsychotic, was born. 

There was only one hitch – the drug caused the patient to become so lethargic that his symptoms aped those of sleeping sickness.  The doctors also noticed that over time, the drugs caused all the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease:  abnormal gait, tremor, dementia and involuntary movement. They also stupefied the patient, flattening out all feeling or excitation — leaving behind, in effect, a vegetable.
Nevertheless, with a brand of logic peculiar to modern medicine, these debilitating side effects were welcomed, on the premise that they were a damned sight better than a crazed hallucinator.
In fact, doctors began to view the arrival of parkinsonian effects as a benchmark in a patient’s therapeutic progress:  proof positive that the drugs were actually working.

Not-so-subtle brain damage
The damage caused by psychiatric medicine is only the tip of the iceberg. I began to look into this issue myself and discovered a good number of the major classes of drugs that doctors give patients as they age bring on dementia.

Heart drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, sleeping pills, antidepressants, narcotics, stimulants, including Ritalin, the ADHD drug given to children, anti-cholinergics, anti-epileptic drugs, to name just a few, all can damage the structure of the brain.
Anti-depressants shrink the hippocampus of the brain, and statins lower crucial fats, or lipids, which compose much of brain tissue.
Beta-blockers and other drugs that aggressively lower blood pressure, such as calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors, also  lower blood flow to the brain, creating all the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease

Even good old painkillers – the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory class of drugs – can cause a variety of cognitive changes, from delirium to disturbances in memory and concentration.
Many of these drugs actually shrink brain volume, destroying the crucial fatty structures of brain cells, or causing abnormal accumulation of tissue in vital brain structures. 

Drug cocktails Even though they represent only one-seventh of the population, the over-65s take one-third of all prescription drugs – and usually a cocktail of them.  The average senior is on six drugs at a time, many of which can affect the brain.  
Given the fact that some 90 per cent of Americans from their mid-fifties onward are taking at least one drug regularly, and nearly one-third are taking five or more drugs, it’s small wonder that dementia is one of the world’s fastest growing diseases, now absorbing $90 billion per year, or one-third of America’s entire Medicare bill. It’s now expected that one in four of us will have some form of dementia by the time we reach 80.
To put this cost into perspective, America is now spending about 1 per cent of the US’s entire gross domestic product on a largely iatrogenic (doctor-induced) condition. Medicine has reached the point where it is chasing its own tail, attempting to mop up with yet more drugs and treatments a vast and costly problem it has caused in the first place.

Against nature I tell you all this not simply to rant against the massive carnage caused by our faulty medical system, but also to illustrate the enormous repercussions that occur whenever we go against our truest nature.  The drug-caused dementia epidemic is simply the result of the ongoing refusal of our current medical model to consider the body as a holistic entity. 
In 1970, a German physicist named Fritz-Albert Popp stumbled upon the fact that human beings emit a tiny current of photons, or light from the DNA of every cell, which he labeled ‘biophoton emissions”. 
In his research, Popp discovered something else remarkable. If a medicine was applied to one part of the body, a large change occurred in the number of light emissions not only from where he’d applied the ointment, but also from distant parts of the body. Furthermore, the size of the changes correlated all over the body.
Popp soon recognized that this light was a communication channel within a living organism, a means of instantaneous, or ‘non-local’, global signaling.

Whenever we atomize anything, but most particularly the human body – taking it apart and attempting to treat it in separate pieces – we invite calamity.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Near Death Experiences

Trish and Rob MacGregor did a post the other day on a Near Death Experience or NDE. It was a compelling story of a fellow blogger and her experience in her early 20's. My own fascination on this subject started in the 1970's with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and was responsible for a consummate shift in my spiritual foundation. Or maybe it began with the death of my mother. Either way, I have always sought answers when it comes to death and dying. I know I've written about this subject before, but it's been on my mind for several weeks. It seems many people that I know, or know of, are passing right now. Two of our best friends were just with his mother as she made the transition. My aunt a few weeks ago. Others are on my mind, as well.

One site that I found interesting was Mellon-Thomas Benedict's experience. He died, and remained dead for about 1.5 hours. This is one of the longest NDE's that I've read about. What seems interesting about his experience is that it also supports much of what science is beginning discover, especially having to do with the space between atoms. It also reinforces the Holographic Universe theory that I talked about in December of last year. Like most people who experience this phenomenon, he has a very different outlook on life now. Once very negative and judgmental, he now sees everyone and everything as perfect. Something that I found very comforting was his assertion that all is right with the world! He believes all of the bad things going on are just ushering in a new paradigm. Population explosion? Just getting to the point where there are enough people on earth to create a shift. Ecology? He sees the future with gardening and animal reserves being big. Which makes sense, if you think about it. We are all worried about the environment, factory farming, greed, etc. (I read this yesterday on how our thinking is changing, and how it is beginning to affect big conglomerates.) Why wouldn't that bring about changes in what people view as important to continuation? Humans are nothing if not inventive when it comes to survival.

I visited Amazon for new book titles. There are many available, but I didn't see anything that might shed new light on this subject, at least not for me. There was a time when I read everything available. But so much of what is written is on the experience itself, which I now take as a given. Like the profusion of UFO sightings, NDE's are too plentiful to just write off. Not to mention, most of the books are written by doctors who are on the front line when it comes to death.

I think the next step is going to be discussions on end of life issues. I think we are going to view the experience very differently in the future. Not only will we lose the fear, but may end up seeing it as something beautiful. I'm hoping that will be my personal experience.

It won't help those left behind, however. Grief is pervasive and all-encompassing. I don't see that ever changing. As I watched my husband's plane take off yesterday, right after reading about two plane accidents, I could feel that sense of vulnerability like a wet blanket around the shoulders. If we love, we're vulnerable. It's just that simple. I hope this post does nothing to increase your sense of pain, if you are grieving. It is merely me trying to find answers that could possibly bring some consolation.

I will continue to deal with the inevitability of death with my only weapon - intellectualization. Books are my touchstone, and usually help me see order in chaos. Whether or not they hold the right answers, I won't know for sure until it's my time. But until then, I take some solace in the experiences of those that have passed and been brought back. It seems we don't have anything to worry about. On the contrary, in fact.

Has anyone had this experience?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thank you Phantsythat!

I won this sweet little watercolor from a give-a-way at Phantsythat. It just returned from the frame shop and I had to show it off! My picture doesn't do it justice, but it turned out beautiful. Thank you so much to Susan, a terrific artist.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Unemployed

The rapid spread of unemployment shocked me. This is worth watching:

I remember arguing with people back in the 1990's when I was convinced the jobs being shipped overseas would one day cause social havoc. If you take away a person's means to make a living - especially a decent living with healthcare benefits - society will pay the price. This visual doesn't represent the underemployed, or the part-time employees. What would that look like?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Helping Pakistan

The people of Pakistan are in desperate need of help. 20 million people were made homeless by this natural disaster. Crops are underwater, businesses ruined. Water-born disease is eminent.  From Huffington Post:

"We are here like beggars," said Mukhtar Ali, a 45-year-old accountant living on the side of a highway along with thousands of other people. "The last food we received was a small packet of rice yesterday and 15 of us shared that."

• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged Americans to donate $10 to Pakistan flood relief by texting "SWAT" to 50555. Clinton said the funds would be used by the United Nations to provide food, water, medicine, tents and clothing to affected families.

I truly believe that anything you give with an open heart comes back to you ten-fold.

We are One.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Grand Puppy

The decision has been made. Little Lhasa goes home with my daughter on Monday!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Quiet Returns

The house is already too quiet. Order has been restored.

The refrigerator is too full of all the things I wanted to cook in the short amount of time that they were here. The kleenex and television remote fished from under the couch. The frosting wiped from the back of the chair.

My grandson is gone.


His mother took full advantage of having grandparents to babysit, however. Several play dates with old high school friends gave her the respite from motherhood so desired in this life stage. She mentioned that the friends she grew up with also have the ability to keep her laughing. They've had years of helping her create a shared sense of humor, after all. She started kindergarten with most of them.

So quiet it will be for another few days.

Then the vegetarian cookbooks come out for my youngest daughter, who is currently obsessed with finding a puppy. At twenty-three she doesn't believe me when I tell her the desire to nurture a puppy is often a precursor for wanting a baby. She doesn't draw the correlation. But that doesn't stop her from wishing she could have a "puppy shower" for needed puppy accouterments such as a puppy stroller - so needed when puppy needs a nap, or "has had too much sand," she says.

And can also be used for transporting stuff at music festivals, of course.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Toy Story Three

So off we went to the movie with our 21/2 year old grandson today. He is all things Toy Story, and transports his Buzz Lightyear and Woody everywhere he goes. What was surprising? The tears in my eyes at the end of the movie. I won't be a spoiler of endings - but just let me say - I'm glad I saved my older daughter's Polly Pockets and my younger daughter's Floppy Dolls.

Pulling them out of their boxes for my grandson to play with, and watching his mother enjoy her toys as much as he was, made hauling them around for three moves definitely worth it.

After all, toys are people too!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wowing My Guests

I've been busy with company, one right after the other, and this has been a big hit for summer dinner parties. I found a beautiful salmon, sustainably grown in Norway, at Whole Foods. It has a bit more fat, which works well when cooking on a plank.

The plank makes all the difference, and you can choose from applewood, alder, or cedar.  You can find them at Whole Foods, or even Costco. If you haven't tried salmon cooked on a plank - then you're missing out.

I used a cedar plank and soaked it for about 20 minutes. You can use whatever seasoning you prefer,  but I found a seasoning in Hawaii that is wonderful with fish. Grandfather's Royal Hawaiian Seasoning has a mixture of sea salt, raw pure can sugar, and other seasonings. The sugar adds to the flavor of the salmon cooked this way, for some reason. I've also been known to use a light coating of brown sugar, garlic salt and fresh ground pepper.

Throw some corn on the grill still in it's husk, toss a salad, add some home-made ice cream for dessert, and you have an easy summer party!