Archive for June, 2007


Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

It has never worked well for me. That continues to be the case. I’ve had three dates in the last three weeks, the first didn’t go as planned but was reasonably pleasant – he e-mailed me later that there was no spark for him. The second also very pleasant and relaxed, we’ll see what happens.

The last left me feeling more alone and miserable that I’ve felt for many months. Odd that you can spend time with someone and feel more isolated, not understood, and the lack of connection casts doubt on the rest of life as well. As a therapist I can understand and have compassion for people and find almost anyone mildly interesting. On a date, I like to at least be acknowledged and have some sense that the other person gets a small bit of who I am – even if they then say no thanks. That so didn’t happen. I don’t think I finished more than two sentences, and his attempt to complete my thoughts were so far off base that it was just plain bizarre.

While that is an interesting problem to come across, a degree of nervousness and social awkwardness that is remarkable, it was pretty uncomfortable to be a part of it. Now he may google me and read this entry – the whole public/private line here is a bit thin – I considered that and the possibility that such feedback might be helpful. Whether social ineptness stems from a spectrum disorder (similar to autism), mental illness, an untreated anxiety disorder, or really poor early modeling (parents who are clueless, drug addicted, or otherwise impaired) I’ve always felt that awareness can lead to some positive change.

But he didn’t go on a date with me to be psychoanalyzed. No feedback unless requested.

Meanwhile – I’m not ready to give up, I’m still optimistic, I’m still thinking that looking for one unusual guy who matches is not too much to ask for. And one date with someone who I know completely missed who I am and what makes me special doesn’t negate the love and appreciation of the friends and family who do. Men just can have that sort of impact on me, and I need to let it go.

Dating pretty much sucks. Of all the dates I’ve had, beginning with Danny Presswood in 7th grade (36 years. of dating with something less than half that time on break while in a relationship – perhaps I should be depressed) it has resulted in two friends, and nothing much else. Since I tend to pay my own way I can’t even list more than a couple free meals as benefit. My long term relationships came from working on projects together, being on staff together, immediate connections when introduced by mutual friends, and I’m sorry to say that long long ago I also had two significant connections made with fellow participants in group therapy – in violation of the rules.

I’m not really sure what is supposed to happen on a date. I’ve had the magical “love at first sight” experience. It isn’t terribly reliable as far as what happens next. My closest most wonderful friends I’ve gotten to know more slowly and deeply over time, that seems logical. I have an immediate sense of “this person is interesting” and given a chance to hang out and do things together I’m usually right. So that investment of time and experience seems necessary. I can feel the door of sexual attraction open and close – mostly I know when it has closed unlikely to reopen. I also know it has come about later on when I didn’t expect it. I don’t think I’ll go into those details….

There was a terribly bad TV show I sort of watched a few nights ago about “scientific” dating. They used “science” to pick someone and then “science” to design the date to fall in love. Things like walk by rushing water (ozone in the air helps feel calm and relaxed) followed by a hike (sweat releases pheromones), some sort of risk y thing that I think was bungee jumping – (I went out and did something else during the program), then a dinner with asparagus and other foods with potassium and protein, chocolate, and an open fire.

So their idea is you go on a date specifically designed to make you attractive and sexy and loveable. It worked on TV.

So my interest in getting out of the coffee shops, avoiding first fates where you watch each other eat, etc. seems to be right on. Although I once had a date for a dog walk who drove up, took one look at me and the dog, hid behind his car door and made an amazingly lame excuse about having to go see a friend…..

Which I now have to do actually. It is pouring rain, I can smell the dust kicked up by the water, I guess I will walk downtown instead of bike ride so I need another 10 minutes.

I wrote this all because after that last date I do feel a need to be heard and understood, to speak without interruption, and to address some of the weirder issues of the dating world in a more straightforward way. And all my “in relationship” friends should let their partner know how glad they are to not be out in this part of the weird world.

bad news on soda pop

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Can sodium Benzoate, a common additive in processed foods, change under certain conditions and create a potentially damaging ingredient? Seventh Generation Newsletter had an informative article on the subject that starts off:

The additive in question is sodium benzoate, a common preservative derived from benzoic acid that’s found in sodas, barbecue sauce, commercial fruit pies, margarine, pickled products, preserves, salad dressing, relishes, condiments, and other acidic foods.

Previous research (see The Non-Toxic Times May 2006) has established that in soft drinks, sodium benzoate can combine with any vitamin C that’s present or added to create benzene, a serious carcinogen.

Now researchers have found that this ingredient may have the ability to switch off critical parts of cellular DNA and interfere with important cell functions.

That study underscores another concern: that the hazards created by combining multiple additives in a single product may be even more worrisome that the dangers represented by any one individual ingredient by itself. Evidence that this may be so is slowly coming to light. For example, a 2005 University of Ulster food study found that the additives used in potato chips and soft drinks, when combined, produced health effects seven times greater than those produced by the use of any one alone.

Combined with aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and using pop in place of beneficial fluids, the “fizz” (phosphorous) interfering with calcium absorption, there is just nothing good to be said about soda and pop.

Conflicting Priorities

Monday, June 25th, 2007

I’ve had some more time to revisit and consider the meeting last Thursday. Always looking for what could have been done differently, better, improved. Especially as it was our first People’s Food Co-op Board meeting as the whole board.
What comes to mind right away is the many conflicting priorities that were represented. From the actual items for approval as well as the decision making on the boycott, the manner of involving the members present, and all the more subtle aspects.
The boycott issue dominated, and for some of us that was a conflict. The issues of the world have their time and place, and especially a conflict of this magnitude where there are life and death concerns, it can make the smaller issues seem petty and unimportant. I was coming from a life and death concern, yet the quality of care and access to resources took it off of the scale of nearly all of the international conflicts and outrages that are ongoing.
Within the audience there were conflicting priorities and ideas about how to accomplish peaceful ends. Putting the Co-op board into the position of resolving that seems at best unfair, which is why I fully support taking it to the membership instead. The question of if the co-op should even be dealing with it at this point is moot – our current policies require it. Our future policies need to address that specific question.

My priority was that we make good decisions using good process, and that this initiation of the board be as positive as possible to set the tone for future board interactions. That was accomplished. The content I think is also very fair, but represents compromises on nearly all fronts. The length of the balloting (one month – some wanted longer some shorter), the timing of the balloting (all agreed ti had to include September, some wanted it to start far sooner), the cut off date for new members, (perhaps the most serious compromise between the cooperative concept of one member one vote and an attempt to forestall people joining just to influence the balloting), all are compromises.

I appreciate how we came to compromise, I appreciate the wisdom and responsibility the board showed in doing what had to be done. The audience was not as happy. In the face of so many variables, the audience was a low priority to me other than ensuring the rest of the board heard what Katie and I had already heard. Their participation in the decision-making was an uncharacteristically low priority, although I was careful to make sure we had their participation before the meeting – I felt that was critical. But I forgot details entirely like having handouts for them to more easily follow the boards’ decision -making. It was just not part of my awareness by the time the meeting began.

I care about process equally with content. If you have a good outcome without a good process it can destroy the implementation, it can invalidate the outcome. I’ve found that how something begins really is the foundation for the future. So that was what we were creating last Thursday. A foundation to set the tone and the way we will work together as a board for the co-op for the next year, and for years beyond that. Some of the membership may not be happy, and may feel we set the wrong priorities. But just as the board had to set our tone for our internal work on Thursday, we also have to set the tone for how we will go to the membership and ask for their guidance with this boycott. The perceived and often emphasized urgency of the issue can not preempt good process, fair and open decision making, and clear policies decided in advance with each detail set out in writing so that there are no gray areas or possible areas of confusion. I think we have achieved that, and the few remaining items in question are on track to be decided at the July meeting.

It is a good group of board members. Intelligent, experienced, willing to work together, and able to listen to other ideas and views. All of that has been demonstrated. Fabulous. I really look forward to my primary role and priority as the board president – to bring out those talents, smooth the way for each member to do the work they were elected to do, and to facilitate efficient and effective processes so the coop can thrive. All within the context of building community and enjoying the work as it happens. I’ll review this in a few months and see how we’re doing! Love the honeymoon process.

the end to any chance of selling herbal products

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

The FDA has pretty ended the possibility of ever getting into the business of selling home made herbal products. I was not into it before because the simple label requirements were to much to cope with. Now, the law going into effect the end of August means that no small small manufacturer can possibly deal with teh requirements for product testing.

In theory it is a good law, assuring WYSIWYG – the product is what it claims and no adulteration has happened. Is adulteration that common of a problem, worth wiping out a whole tradition of homemade simples and backyard potions? I think not. But it is a hard argument to make and the more popular herbs become the more even I will admit it is a growing problem.

For the details, go the the FDA web site. The smallest companies (under 20 emplyees) have until June 2010 to comply. It sounds like a long way off, but those of us who make small (under a gallon) batches of tinctures and vinegars and oils can’t afford the manufacturing practices they require – at least as I understand it.

I’m OK to give away the stuff I make, or trade it. Teaching people how to do it themselves will be more and more important, since you can’t always get what you want – for example yellow dock (Rumex Crispus) oil which has become a favorite for broken bones, bruising, pain, and more.

After my close encounters with bugs at the lake last night I”ll also be making a large batch of catnip oil which is supposed to be better tha deet — it works for me.

I can sell them for a couple of years, and stop in 2010.

Deep sigh. It is just so not the issue or the solution.

stress reponse

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

First – my dad is doing extraordinarily well considering, he came out with the best possible outcomes on all fronts and is now home.

I had a bodywork session Friday morning, and my lymphatic points were all very tender. I was spacey, emotional, just really weird. A suggestion of a general stress response – prolonged because of having to keep it together until after the board meeting which was stressful because of the boycott decisions we ahd to make but also being the first meeting I set up as president — made everything worse. At a pretty deep level I was hanging on, tightened up, fluids not flowing.

As the session progressed the release was palpable. It may be that the night in the ER was similar to doing labor support – interrupted sleep, being in the hospital and the weird interactions, dealing with emergencies and making choices and doing interventions… but I have to admit core deep it is profoundly different when it is your father.

Seeing a parent go through those intensely vulnerable life issues is just different. I went through it so many times with my mom, that is also no preparation for starting it off with the other parent. I may be good at emergencies and I may be able to interact with conventional medicine and do well with blood needles and vomit and all the other stuff that is very real and very immediate about pain and birth and death — but I’m also a daughter and an empathic person and it has an impact. Had an impact. That’s OK — and I”m glad I can do the repair work and balancing for myself so quickly!

So I spent the night at the lake relaxing, lots of swimming, listening to birds, watching the sunset while submerged in the water, hanging out with my dog, reading and eating plenty of chocolate. Ahhh. Being with one of my many friends named Laura and her family.

Ready for a wonderful week.

Emergency Room

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I spent the night in the emergency room last night with my Dad. Short short version (and leaving out his personal info) – he called at 1:30 AM in trouble, I dashed over, and it was pretty clear when I got there that I needed to call 911. I had been unable to get to sleep and was actually wide awake when he called, but it still felt surreal to drive through the nearly empty streets and then have an even bigger adrenalin surge when I saw his condition and made the call. First time ever that I called 911.

As he lay there waiting (and calling out orders to me) I paced around, went outside, came back, and generally had a lot of anxiety but also was turning on lights, clearing furniture, getting his wallet, and all of that stuff.

It took a while once they arrived, ambulance followed by a fire truck and three firefighters.

I did the “ride along” rather than drive my own truck – I didn’t trust my driving with all that adrenalin and I also wanted to keep close as it was obvious that the hard of hearing issue was going to be a big one. He needed someone to speak clearly and slowly because people kept forgetting.

The first two hours went by quickly. The staff was jovial, willing to tease, one of my friends was working that night and it just felt good to know I knew someone there. That recurrent community thing again.

We had some gruesome moments with IVs and tubes and it was bizarre how similar it was to coaching labor – getting him to breath during the pokes, helping him go through the excrutiating process of the tube placed in and then pulled out. Just like coaching pushing – I know it hurts just go through it you can do it….

If you want to be tortured, turns out I”m a good person to have around.

Things settled out by 5 AM so I left him waiting for a room to be admitted. Took a cab back to my truck at his house.

All in all just about as good a terrible experience as possible.

The decision was obvious, the profesionals were good (the ambulance driver told me she thought we got the best firefighters she has worked with) he got really quick attention in the ER, I was allowed to actively participate, people laughed at his jokes. There are the surreal parts – maybe the 2nd phlebotomist (they called in the excellent one) we had doing Forest Gump imitations for about 5 minutes was one of the more surreal things.

They didn’t do well with the heard of hearing – most had to be reminded again and again and the process of taking the history forced the nurse to have his back to us the whole time. So I had to repeat evey question. I can’t conceive of doing a history with my back to my cllient. It seems normal there, but it is way beyond bizarre.

It also took hours before they started to explain what was happening, what the procedure would be, to guess at how long it would be, even a simple thing like how to ask for help or if you needed the bathroom was just never mentioned. Someone showed up without warning and started moving him for the chest x-ray which no one had said was coming. People had color coded uniforms but we didn’t know what they meant. So there was some oddness but the people were good enough to let it slide.

I made it through the day, I made it through my first full Co-op meeting as president. I have deep sadness, lots of adrenalin still, a bit of lingering fear of the many complications that could arise, and a large amount of being tired slipping over me.

A good time for conventional medicine.

My father is doing as well as can be, more info and info gathering tomorrow. I will update later, but still in purposeful vague terms. It isn’t that I was so self centered during the process – I just need to write about my experience and also the learning part of this he would agree to but not more about him just to write about him.

I hope I severly crash into deep sleep now. The adrenelin is suddenly nearly gone.A different sort of feeling.

Review: Kilowatt Ours

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I just finished watching a short documentary Kilowatt Ours. It has a slightly different perspective on the energy issue, showing graphic scenes of whole mountains being destroyed in SE U.S.A. The connection between flipping yoru light switch and destroying the environment is made simply and perhaps simplistically.

Global warming is included, but somewhat de-emphasized, compared to shots of kids with asthma, the effects of methyl mercury poisoning from burning coal, air pollution haze, and shots of where mountains should still be.

The production and editing is a little rough, transitions a bit abrupt and the music is just odd. But the message is simple and clear – every small change like using compact florescents makes a big difference. He ends up talking about money savings more than environmental impact, which might be more effective in the long run to convince people but takes us one step away from what matters.

The solutions include lots of solar, saing an installation that tkes you totally off grid can be found for under $20,000 and will pay back in a short period of time. Maybe in the Southeast, and maybe if you already send thousands a year on energy.

Dating and Community

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I’ve never had a long term relationship that began by dating, but here I am again exploring that method of meeting men and going through the process. Because what else is there to do?
I meet people all the time and find engaging in conversation easy. Certainly I’m used to learning about people and asking questions to discover what is unique and special about a person. It’s what I do with new clients every week. So that part of dating is natural and relaxing.

I’m self conscious about not being attractive in a conventional sense. I don’t want to be conventional – no net ever – but my body has just never been what the media portrays as OK. I don’t need to go into details, but the basics were a bit different and then add being about 30 pounds overweight and having some left over bulges from the fibroid tumor (which has shrunk from basketball size to small grapefruit). Add to that a nearly complete confusion about clothes and fashion and just not being interested in that whole area (clothes shopping has no appeal, and the prices seem outrageous. It makes more sense to me to spend $100 plus on some great tool than something I would just wear…). And the truth is clothes don’t feel comfortable on me generally. I can’t tolerate anything on my neck, polyester makes me stink, walking in skirts chafes my thighs, I feel really uncomfortable in socks, and even in winter get too hot in long sleeves if the temp is over 68 indoors. It often feels physically uncomfortable to wear most clothes that are around.

So all of that makes that part of dating – showing up and being judged based on physical appearance – upsetting. Hard to look forward to.

Last night I was feeling pretty OK about my choices, I bicycled downtown for the rendevous. Stopping for some ATM business I ran into some friends/former students. I mentioned my plans for the night. Ian immediately offered “well you look wonderful!” I said thanks, and offered a far shorter snippet of the above nervousness and that these first dates are hard. He then said “and you are a wonderful human being” and a bit more.

What a lovely piece of encouragement for the evening. It really helped. And that is just part of what having community is about – out of nowhere comes the encouragement and support that I exactly needed at exactly the right time.

How did the date go? Judging from past experience, I would have to say I have no idea. Thanks to on-line matchmaking I’ve now repeatedly had the cliche experience – nice date, guy says he’ll call you, and you never hear a word again. I’ve often thought I met someone who I would like to get to know better and they have made the immediate judgement that there is no connection. I’ve been both right and wrong about immediate connections. So I really have no clue. Even with tentative talk of getting together again.

I get the immediate nos – easy – but the maybes and hmmmm…. interesting is when I tend to be pretty dense. Very dense. Rather clueless.

I think there are some similarities with dating and my work. Advertising for clients hasn’t worked – my work is unusual and people who come in with no advance connection don’t know what to expect and often don’t get as much out of the session. Those who are referred by word of mouth are always better prepared, understand what they are getting into, and overall have a far better experience. I’d rather date the same way – by word of mouth and the person knows a bit about me in advance. But that requires my community helping out, and so far that hasn’t happened at least not in the last 10 years or so.

Much of it is a mystery and out of my control. What I do trust is my friends and large community. It helps fill the empty space in my life of not having a partner, it helps make the connections that may lead to that connection, and the assurance and support I get from so many people in different situations helps me know I’m OK with or without a partner. And of course one of the reasons to even bother to write this – there are others in my community experiencing very similar roadblocks and frustrations with intimate relationships. We can share that frustration and confusion.

And a bunch of people are hoping and praying for me in this area, so that has to eventually help as well!


Monday, June 18th, 2007

Stephen and Blanche and I tried to capture a swarm yesterday. They were the perfect beginners learning swarm – about 2 feet off the ground. Very gentle, easy to settle bees but they have been hanging out there for about a week and need a home!

We got them in a super with old old comb, but they came back out after we left and returned to their odd temporary home. So another be keeper may give it a go tonight.

I think that part of the obligation of being a bekeeper is being willing to rescue the bees that need it – so I will be well set up next time and have all the equipment ready. I think that was the trouble.

Oh well, we tried. It is a lovely experience to shake a swarm out of a tree and have the air erupt around you with thousands and thousands of bees and just be in tune with them and not afraid. The sound, the smell, the adrenalin, the energy of it is just so lovely – the moment when they are figuring out whatis going on and the collective buzz is broken and then they suddenly regroup and are one hive again.

Magical creatures. I am so glad to ahve them back in my life again.

home improvement

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

I’ve owned my home a very long time, and the cabin more than ten years. In that time I’ve done some pretty sketchy things to “improve” the dwellings. Many of them have since been redone when I learned more. My favorite TV show right now is “Holmes on Homes” – a contractor comes in and rescues homeowners who have been screwed over by dishonest unsrupulous contractors doing shoddy work or leaving a job half done. Not only is it Canadian, all about renovations and carpentry, but Holmes is kind sweet knowledable and a total hunk. Love to watch a man doing carpentry! It is just the way I am.

Anyway, I have just a few boneheaded errors I made that I have to live with (the biggeest is the slope of my basement shower). But I felt much much better watching the “home inspection slide show” on the This Old House Web site. I’m not such an idiot after all, the bar is set too low.

But is does show great creativity – coupled with a lack of understanding of basic issues of electricity, water, fire, as well as gravity (the first photo I saw was a deck cut out for stairs — directly in front of a sliding glass door).

If you’re a fix it up home improvement geek like me this is a very fun series of photos.