Archive for April, 2007

On the rhythm of my work

Monday, April 30th, 2007

While I believe I influence my work schedule both consciously and unconsciously, I also have also felt there are other factors involved. Reviewing almost three decades of self employment, there seems a bit of magic or spirit involved as well.
I don’t get sick often, but I have also rarely had to cancel appointments. Less than a dozen times — except when I cancelled a couple weeks after my mom died. When I have a blank in my schedule, especially a few days of sudden openness, I wonder what is about to hapen? Usually these unintended free spaces occur with a birth, my illness, or a client who really needs that space.
It has really been extraordinary to watch this.

2003-2005 were different. Business was really poor. Not just for me but for many people doing bodywork and holistic health. The end of 2006, things began to pick up, and now I’ve been consistently busy for all of this year. Which puts me into the next interesting process.

Way back 20 some years ago, I was pretty insecure about my work and practice. I felt competitive with other people. So I thought that if I had a waiting list that would prove I was good. Next thing I know, I had a waiting list. It was horrible. Having a wait list means that when people call (and I talk to them all- I don’t have a receptionist or other help –) I have to say I’m sorry you’re in pain but I can’t help you.
It was just awful. I decided I didn’t like it at all and next thing I knew, no waiting list.

So for the last few years, my clients and I have gotten used to lots of last minute scheduling. Evenings and weekends do fill up faster, but it hasn’t been difficult to schedule people. The last few months there has been a little more confllict, a little more stress as I try and preserve some time off with people who need quick attention.

It is just a hard balance for me to take time for myself and for WRITING and also be able to respond to my clients as I’d like to. The combination of blocking out the time, letting that magical part happen that creates openings when I or my clients need them, and being OK with a full schedule is what I need to rely on.

I’m thankful to be busy and have a full schedule. It takes some getting used to how to balance it all. With the increase demands on my time, I need to get really good at this.


Monday, April 30th, 2007

I finally finished categorizing all the blog entries.
So it is easier to skip to what you actually want to read about.
Strange to categorize my life — not very holistic.
But if it saves you the reader some time and annoyance, it is worth the risk of fragmenting my perspective.

Enjoy the day

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Sunny, warm, windy, with just a half day of clients I was able to get out to the lake for kayaking. A bunch of my co-users where there, but they let my friend Laurie and I take the kayaks out first. It was nice to hang out with a friend.

There were three mute swans, a muskrat in the middle of the lake, and a sandhill crane circling very very high above us. We saw nearly a dozen turtles of all sizes sunning themselves in the cove, a lovely sight.

Back home on the porch with the Mac notebook, so glad I did the jump and bought it.

Life is far calmer this week, i had time to work with Stephen yesterday assembling bee equipment, choosing their location, and teaching him what came to mind. The bees come from Georgia Tues or Wed. I so look forward to working with them again!

Zomba is curled up under my chair, as she saw a bumble bee earlier and she is so afraid (and allergic as well…) but now she is asleep. She will not be working the bees with me! The queen bumble bees are making their last foraging efforts before they have their own workers hatch. They are so big and lovely, I like this time of year when they venture out in all their queenliness. They aften seem so much more confused than their better focused worker bees!

Food Safety

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

One of the issues that has emerged from the discussion on blog is that there is confusion and disagreement about how to be safe. Certainly this is an issue that has a microcosm and macrocosm resonance — Bush though his actors such as Cheney and Rove would keep us safe at the cost of Civil Rights, Privacy, and Due Process. The FDA, both MDAs, and other groups would keep us safe at the cost of choice, local control and traditional food and approaches to healing (using the word traditional as old fashioned, time tested, non-conventional and mostly alternative).
Actual nutritional benefit, sustainable and organic practices, and concepts such as promoting the intake of good bacteria and other foods that promote health are concepts that just don’t even register in the conversation and law making about safety. So much of the work that I do is beyond the comprehension of the regulators. I was reminded of one example fo this as I was explaining to someone in the last few days about the work we did a few years ago to stop regulation of massage therapy and other touch therapies in Ann Arbor. I was asked what was so bad about that.
The original proposal had requirements about opacity of clothing, locks on doors, providing showers, and not allowing genitals and nipples to be exposed at any time during a massage or even in classes. The supporters of this proposed regulation had never considered that some of our clients are INFANTS. A diaper change would become illegal, breastfeeding or lactation advice would be constrained. But they just never considered the breadth of practice or had any clue what we do. B ut yet felt qualified to regulate us – including deciding who was qualified to do these things that they didn’t know we were doing. Does that make sense?

Mixing safety concerns across the vast complexity of farming practices, importation issues, food storage and preservation is also a big mistake. The concerns from my friend picking her own asparagus and selling it are far different than a farm in California growing thousands of acres, employing hundreds of people, transporting crops thousands of miles and finally sitting next to my friends in the produce section. They may end up in the same place, and even look the same but the concerns and dangers and risks each have been exposed to are far different. One style of regulation just can’t account for the radical extremes of how we get our food.

Regulation also (for better or worse) often intends to support one style or way of doing something. In this country, the regulations support the large farms, the heavily conventionally trained professionals, the multi national corporations that control most of what is on the grocery shelves. Money and political influence have big impacts on the system So guess who the regulators favor? Not small farms, not fringe practitioners, not those who are too different or with innovative and controversial ideas.

I don’t feel safer with Bush’s war on terror. Indeed we are far less safe now. I also don’t feel safer with regulations intended for the very unsafe farming methods such as feedlot cows, massive comingling of milk, slaughter houses that process sick cows with healthy and that can’t stay clean with the volume they produce, with huge farms using dangerous chemicals, mono farming that attracts problems that require more poisons, and farms so large that no one who cares is directly involved. And so much more.

Our food safety system has some benefit. There is a need for some oversight. But the rules and regulations come from the wrong people with questionable motivations, they don’t reflect reality, and they don’t take into account the variety of different needs and requirements based on the kind of food, the size of the producer, and how it is provided.

We know that overly broad sweeping laws without taking into account the myriad of issues involved will be harmful. Few people are aware of the size and strength of the players who have so much at stake – the small local farmers and practitioners like myself are a tiny voice of reason and resistance. Good luck to us all.

The raw milk settlement

Friday, April 27th, 2007

The terms of the settlement are posted on the Family Farms Website. The FDA’s case against the Indiana farmer is still in the appeal process.
For more details and analysis I still think that the stories and commentary on The Complete blog is a great source.

The first paragraph of the settlement is especially relevant to me:

The Settlement continues to recognize that cow/herd
share/lease contracts are not prohibited by law and that
Richard Hebron may continue to distribute raw milk only to
members of Family Farms Cooperative pursuant to their
cow/herd share lease agreement.

The greatest benefit from all this has been the coming together and learning experience we’ve had. I’v met some great people on line and then in person, and certianly learned more about e-coli than I eve imagined was possible. My interest in raw milk has been stimulated beyond where it was, and I’ve also experienced a merging of the issues and concerns of access to food we choose and the types of healthcare we want to have.

I have felt very supported in the work I do by a community of intelligent, aware, passionate people. Still emrging from 30 + years of skepticism and occasional condemnation that is always pleasant.

Now I need to go and make the yogurt and butter for the week…

Transit, Opinions, and Seaweed?

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Yesterday was another long and intense day – with fun and lots of information. Clients, class, and two gatherings. The first was the Ann Arbor News gathering of anyone who had written an op ed “other voices” in the last three months. So it was a group of opinionated, passionate, involved people — easy to approach and strike up a conversation! The food was good (catered by Whole Foods) and writers and editors were there to meet. And we all got a travel mug with an Ann Arbor News logo!

From there I left for the Ecology Center Annual Meeting. IT was an exciting presentation on rail transit in south east Mi, as well as rapid transit plans dovetailing with the mass transit. I’m glad I was there to here the plans. I picked up more info sheet sthat I’ll have time to post on the climate crisis web site later.

Seaweed? Well after another long day – 8 massages at hospice, a board meeting for Partners in Expanding Health Quality and Access, a non-profit 501(c)3 international service organization for reproductive health. A nice easy going short and productive meeting. I was elected for another term of three years. Quick run over to school to teach about abuse of prescription drugs, had a great session where I recieved one of the best foot massages in years and suddenly was grounded and my nervous system transformed.

Then, one more client and a trip in the rain to teach a class on mushrooms, seaweed and weeds. It was a small but very involved group. Great questions. April has been an interesting and full month.

Progress for Raw Milk in Michigan

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I just read David Gumpert’s blog and he has announced a resolution for Richard Hebron, who was the target of a sting last October in an effort to shut down his delivery of raw milk. Go to the link – he gives the background and what this decision means.

While it seems to put our small herd share on stornger legal ground, this issue is far from over.

And of course, there is no accounting for the governmental over reaction — taking personal property, intimidation, destroying thousands of dollars of food, seizing business records, it was such an over reaction. And they can do it.
But for now, it is a relief and something to celebrate. Blogging made a difference, as did the personal testimonials and letter writing. Victory!
The family farms web site is not responding tonight, but I assume there will be more info on that site soon.


Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

What a wild couple of weeks. So much going on in so many diverse places – The article on Hospice and volunteering, the Contributions to Wisdom Article being published, interesting gatherings and parties, kayaking, today the time with tehe medical resident was really enjoyable with conversation about research and language, working with a newborn and his family, teaching at the Steiner school with a really sharp group of kids, getting the bee equipment set up for the bees that are coming May 1, the love and wonderfulness of the communit that came for Audrey’s service, the great process on the APTA craziness and connecting with old friends, I sold a record number of cookbooks this month to Amazon, some wonderful walks with Zomba, good cleaning and organizing accomplished, so much.
I love the diversity, I love so much inspiration, I am appreciating the interesting people in my life more than ever.
Looking forward to a slightly slower week next week – but overall, very sweet and full.

More of my time is spent noticing how much is wrong in the world. I’m grateful for what is sweet.

Waste Knot

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Tonight was the annual awards ceremony for the County’s Waste Knot program. It is the second year I’ve gone, and it was fun. I enjoy those networking type of events — maybe more than most because I’m self employed. It is a diverse group, not just the Ann Arbor Hippy types. Large corporations and businesses are saving money by practicing the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle.

Waste Knot has a link so you can choose to patronize a business that is also environmentally aware. It is also really interesting to read about all the ideas people have to conserve. Very inspiring as well as productive.

There were two presentations – one on using the felled ash trees for building and projects and the other on installing solar panels on the Ypsi Co-op. Hearing about the new technology for solar was great. I’d like to do that for my garage, and this way around makes it more affordable. No storage cells, a simple dc to ac system, wired directly to the circuit panel.
What I also liked about his presentation was talking about the amount of energy lost in the TRANSPORATION of energy – so locally produced energy saves much more than what you read on the meter. It actually saves three to four times that amount of what the energy company has to PRODUCE in order to meet that need. I never knew that!

The ash conversion project has been a success. I asked her afterwards how they are dealing with using urban trees that tend to have more nails nad other metal in them. I thought people who have saw mills wouldn’t touch that sort of lumber — hit one nail and your blade worth thousands of dollars is destroyed. Well apparently these small portable sawmills have far cheaper blades – some are only $25 or less. So even if you hit a nail every third tree it is still cost effective.


I’d like to recruit at least 20 other businesses to join Waste Knot. That’s my goal for this year. I certainlyknow more people than that who own their own business.

I also got dressed up in some of the wonderful things that Joanne forced me to buy. IT was a very different feeling to go to an event looking very sharp. I did fel more professional and secure.

Now tomorrow night the Ann Arbor News is hosting an event for everyone who has written opinion columns in the last three months. That will be an interesting group of people! How to be well dressed and walk or bicycle — a bit of a new challenge! If it is hot it will be especially challenging. But I’m really looking forward to this collection of opinionated people!


Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I ate my first leaf of spinach from the garden today. Nice.
I have tulips, daffodils, the dead nettle is already in full bloom, dandelions are blooming (yeah!) milk weed is poking up, camfrey is well along, and I’ll be making pesto in about a week with the yellow dock.
No clear sign yet of the greens I planted last week. Any moment…
I transplanted my pansies outside. Some creature dug them out almost right away, but replanting them has been fine and I put out some chicken wire.
Can’t wait for the Rhodedendrons…