Archive for March, 2007


Saturday, March 31st, 2007

My mom would have turned 74 today if she had lived.
She was ill for 13 years, and now on April 5 she will have been gone for 14.
I’m walking through the ages she never really got to fully live – 46 to 60. That feels odd whenever I consider it. I feel young. Healthy. So much more potential — so much still to live for and to live well in the process.

On Thursday I’ll kayak or rowboat to the end of the lake and visit where we put a lot of her cremains. I hope the sand hill cranes will be out there as well. Mom loved birds of all sorts. I wish she was still here. So much has happened since she died.

And damn those cigarettes. She would be alive today if she’d been able to stop smoking. It is almost certain. What a stupid waste – over a thousand people a day killed by cigarettes. How can we stop the slaughter?


Saturday, March 31st, 2007

I’ve been preparing for a sudden speaking gig at the medical school. Because it was a sudden opening, I get to choose the topic. When I was told they were especially interested in OB and women’s health issues I welcomed the chance to talk about the work I’ve been doing with cranialsacral therapy and newborns.

I have two case studies to work with, (CST on premature twins and persistent posterior presentation) an article from Dr. Upledger, and a lot of stories. I was also warned that they students and residents will not have heard of CST and I’ll need to provide evidence as well as details about the mechanics of how it works.

So I’ve been checking out some online articles and also reading the latest criticism of CST. The couple of articles I read focus on how unbelievable it is – bones don’t move after infancy, you can’t palpate something that subtle, it just doesn’t make sense. That’s a scientific argument?

What isn’t covered in the articles is first hand experience, testimonials, case studies, and other evidence. CST is under researched – but it is another therapy that is very subjective, more prone to observer influence than almost any other therapy I’ve experienced, and it is just really subtle. But it is really weird to read analyses that essentially say I’m nuts, what I do is crazy, people’s good results are placebo, and in the end everyone is being deceived and ripped off. Um, could there be another option please?

Of course that other option is an understanding of efficacy and evidence that can include observation, case reports, long term use, and a strong body of anecdotal evidence. We are able to cross the street every day without first conducting research, having a thorough understanding of physics, and conducting some placebo controlled double blind studies. We make those judgments easily – how fast is the car coming, how wide is the street, if we have a companion with us how fast can they travel, all complex calculations we can make and trust our lives to. Yet if we stopped and asked how did you do that? What was the basis for decision making? It would be hard to come up with good answers.

I put my hands on people and 34 years of experience, training, science, intuition, practice feedback, and insight comes together.

My clients deserve some assurance that they are receiving effective treatment. My clients are happy with word of mouth (which is how they find me), the bit they can read or research about the techniques I use, and in the end personal experience. They don’t seem to care about studies and research that either confirms or questions their experience. They are keen for direct results.

The medical community keeps demanding evidence but in my experience the consuming public – paying for this care from their own pockets – doesn’t much care.

Why such a difference?

The MDs are trying to make sense of it all and make referrals. They have liability and professional concerns. Medical school still teaches the “if it can’t be measured it doesn’t exist” way of perception. Once you buy into that way of interacting with the world there is a certain illusion of comfort and control. It isn’t real, of course, and with experience you find out there is a lot going on health and healing that is unseen and pretty darn mysterious.

It is a long topic for discussion, and of course there are alternative therapies that give the illusion of effectiveness when they can also be harmful. How can you protect people while still encouraging unconventional approaches? What sort of evidence is acceptable? What about when that evidence is distorted and misinterpreted? That is a question for conventional medicine as well as alternative therapies. People generally don’t intend to deceive or do harm – but whether it is a new drug therapy rushed to market before it is safe or someone doing colonics who believes the colon is caked with a rubber-like coating that must be removed through their therapy (normal colons aren’t coated with rubber like material – ask anyone who has had a recent colonic or a medical person who has done colon surgeries..) there is danger of true harm and deception.

I’ll enjoy the chance to talk on Wednesday about what is some of my most important and exciting work. I’ll welcome challenging questions and skepticism. But the focus needs to be on what works. The results. We can also get to a certain point in explaining how it works. But arguing about why isn’t there more rigorous evidence? Dismissing a technique just because it isn’t sufficiently “proven” out of the context of the therapeutic treatment? Where would medicine be if we had insisted on that over the last 40 years?

We know how to cross a street. That’s amazing. We have these skills and it is OK to use them even as we evaluate how to make the pedestrian crossing even safer.

Recipe: Polenta Soup

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

I was wondering what soup to make yesterday and was scanning my pantry for inspiriation. My pantry is anchored by 7 tall shelves of half gallon jars filled with beans, herbs, seeds, nuts, grains, salt, etc. It is tucked against a wall in a doorway. Great use of space, and it goes to the ceiling with higher shelves for tinctures and canned goods and my stash of cooking alcohol.

But one of the things that caught my eye was a glass jar of whole corn. Polenta soup? Worth a try!

I made a smaller batch of soup, in my medium soup pot, anticipating a small group of diners.

So I sauteed two small onions, chopped, in a bit of olive oil. I added about 6 cloces of minced garlic, and one minced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed. Once that was nicely browned I added a can of diced tomatoes. Let that heat for about two minutes and then put in about 3 cans of water.

I let that heat, adding a pinch of salt, while I ground about 6 cups of corn meal. The fresh ground taste is unmatched — I don’t know what would happen if you used regular corn meal.

Once the soup was heated I slowly added the corn meal, stirring constantly. Use pretty low heat. Once it was all stirred in I stirred it often, and let it cook for about 10 minutes. During that time I went out to the garden and cut about two cups of new fresh greens. I found lots of yellow dock, some kale newly growing from last years old plants, dandelion greens just popping up, mustard, and some wild carrot. I added those small treasures to the soup for the final few minutes of cooking.

And it is ready to go! So this is a pretty fast soup as well.

Because I served it with cheese bread, I didn’t add cheese to it – but with left overs today I’m grating some sharp cheddar onto it before eating. Yum. A bit of cracked pepper is also nice, add aslt to taste.

When reheating the next day, don’t be afraid that is it pretty much a solid mass. You can reheat it with a bit of water, or slice it and broil it. Left over polenta is fabulous as thick slices with tomato sauce poured over it and baked or broiled. Or melt some cheese over it.

9th grade

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

I started the 9th grade class today, understanding addictions. Even though I am pretty much ill i made my apearance as teh health (if not healthy) teacher and got a few laughs and enjoyed getting to know them a bit.

Seems like a good group. Made it through the material – what is an addiction? difference between addiction, habit, compulsion, dependency, was there one more?

Addiction – you develop a tolerance, have to use itmre than once, creates symptoms of withdrawal, changes brain esp. pleasure reward centers, use it even when there is cost, and there is craving beyond what is needed to prevent withdrawal. i think that was it.

Then we talked about what was around them that might be addictive. About then someone asked is marijuana addictive?

All the recent research says no. So we talked about that. Is it still damaging? I left some of the question open, since we need to talk about the issue in the context of being a teenager and using drugs. The brain is developmentally different and there is some interesting research showing some problem with marijuana when it is introduced earlier in life. So we get to go into that over the next few classes. Addiction isn’t the only concern when it comes to drugs. For example, losing inhibitions and then making dumb (and sometimes dangerous) choices is an excellent reason for teenagers to stay away from drugs. Maybe one of the best! They don’t have full frontal lobe development. As a group, the already suck at understanding consequences.

Some days I remember why I LOVE teaching. Today was one. Other days I just feel beaten up and wonder why I endure it. But I really love this age group and all the potential.

changes and more changes

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Tomorrow I buy gas from J.B.s for the last time. Damn.
The new google office hasn’t created much change in the building except — the time and temperature sign is gone. Damn again.
That was about the only thing I liked about the building. It does make the lovely Burton Tower the only time source in the area — but what about temperature? It was bad enough when they stopped reporting it in both Farenheit and Celsius. Of course Farenheit won. Now — nothing.

The Jefferson Market (a block away) no longer sells “sundries” – they took out the whole center case for seating. So it is spacious and without convenience foods — many of which were organic and healthy. And a great selection of hot sauces. All gone.

So it is more restraunty and open — is the neighborhood feel still there? They didn’t expland the menu so not much appeal to me.

Things change.

The spinach is up!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

The spinach is up! That is a joyous wonderful thing.

And the inside plants? Past the dicotyledan stage and well on their way to be differentiated! Oh my goodness I have over 70 tomato plants to care for!!!

Spent the AM at the lake – the willow was in beautiful spring green bud already opening, the service berry was plump about to open bud, the water was cold but not frigid, things will start to change very fast now!

Closer to home the lilac leaves are emerging, the poor bees are looking around frantically hoping to find any bit of flower to work, I have lots of green from bulbs but no flowers yet, and every day the nuances of green are greater.

It will be time for wild harvesting soon — I predict pesto from yellow dock within two weeks!


Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

The previously mentioned letter to the APTA board was received, and we’re told specifically and with intention kept out of the meeting and the minutes and the corporate record. ??

Here is what I wrote to the polarity council mail list, a group of about 25 APTA members –

Lewis let us know that the letter was specifically NOT considered
during the board meeting, so that it will not be part of the minutes
or corporate record.

The reason was because it wasn’t actually from the new “president’s
council”. It was however from a number of members, my guess is one of
the only times in APTA history a group got together in such a way to
address the board. The fact that it included four ex presidents, the
ex executive director and two former editors of the newsletter gives
it some extra attention. If nothing else, many people know us.

Why would the board go to the trouble of ensuring such a
communication was not part of their deliberations? Why make a point
of telling us it is not part of the record? Why isn’t extensive
detailed communication from the membership considered a positive
thing to enthusiastically use?

Richard has asked that it be published in Energy. No response yet.

We’ve asked Lewis to let us know the board’s reaction and also — did
they continue with the legal process that was intended that is in
violation of the bylaws?

I’ve been serving on boards for 34 years – since I was just 14. If I
EVER got such a letter from a group of members like this I would be
on the phone with them the next day to begin the process of working
something out. Even if it was to say “hey – got your letter, thanks
for the input and I’ll have to wait two weeks to give you a formal

I think the letter needs to be sent to a larger number of the
membership. Let’s do it informally, while we wait to see what
develops. We all know at least 10 members. You’re welcome to include
what I’ve written here as well.

The link is

It just gets curiouser and curiouser.
The microcosm/macrocosm comparison between this administration and another one in teh news lately is fascinating. We do indeed force others to endure what we’ve been forced to endure.

The seriousness and consequences are incomparable, but the process is just stunningly echoey.

Why is this blog so mixed up?

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I write about gardens and food and politics and people and community and music and health and raw milk. Why?

Because this blog is like my mind. I look for links and patterns and ways to perceive the whole. This is how life is.

All of that stuff is interrelated. I’m not able to help people out of the context of community. So I find the links and connections and ideas and I share them. Sometimes that is helpful to people. Sometimes it triggers things in other people. Sometimes I get some really interesting experiences in return.

I really like life and and how it is interrelated. Someday I’ll have a blog that is more clearly devoted to health care and you won’t run into my dreams or reporting on more personal stuff, but I do experience life holistically and I’ve been training that way for over 35 years. So that is why this blog is so mixed up.

I will slowly re create the topic areas I had before the whole thing crashed in January – that will help but they are all about the same thing. Life and awareness and developing compassion..

additions to web site

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I finally had a chance to add my first aid handout to the site. It lists what to have, but not yet why. This link is to the page with all the herbal wisdom notes so far – first aid is at the bottom.

They are all Creative Commons, some restrictions apply but you are free to reproduce and use them as long as credit is given and changes are OKed by me.

I’ll keep adding class material – check back.

Building Community – more comments on the process

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I interact with many different communities that I ahve often felt only partly part of. The Steiner School is one. Four years into being an adjunct faculty there I feel more connected but still out of synch – teaching just half the year, attending a few staff meetings, being out of the loop in so many parts of the school with no real communication method.

Developing a closer friendship with a couple of people who can fill me in more regularly has helped this year, but it is limited to those two people.

So I invited the entire faculty to a Friday dinner – both last Friday and this coming. While there are about 5 or 6 full time people there are another 40 or so part timers like myself.

I heard back from five of them (one was my friend). None of the full timers. No one came except my friend who would have come anyway.

There are many obstacles to building community. One is convincing the community that it matters and is worth a bit of time and travel…

Here is part of the letter I sent to them:

I’m addressing this e-mail to many of you who are strangers to me, as well as colleagues I’ve now worked with for what is now my fourth year at the high school. We are part of a large and important (and interesting!) community, yet I have had a hard time feeling a part of the community. This is an experience I know is shared by many, in so many of the groups I’m a part of. It has become harder and harder to slow down and find the time and means to build a sense of community and connection with each other.

(invitation details followed)