Archive for October, 2007

Nuclear Energy

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

It never occurred to me that one huge downside to new nuclear plants is that they use vast quantities of water – a resource we can’t spare in most of the world. Including most of the US. And the water that is used goes through the processing and is heated as the reactor is cooled.
There are all the other reasons to oppose nuclear energy that have been true since the 70s – but this is one that is more relevant today. And the cost of start up is just bizarre, that money invested in solar and wind creates some substantial results.

From the article:

… nuclear power is the most water-hungry of all energy sources, with a single reactor consuming 35-65 million litres of water each day.

That we can not afford.

On Whole Foods

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

i found this article on Whole Foods and their plans informative.

Especially as it talks about suppliers and opens up questions of local and small suppliers.

If you follow the links, Michael Polland (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Mackey have an interesting exchange (but long winded) that provides greater insight into Whole Foods ideas and intentions. The links are in the comment. Starting with this one.

Within that exchange are links to Mackey’s (now suspended) blog that includes this quote:

“To all the various defenders of consumer co-ops on this blog–I have nothing against consumer co-ops. I used to belong to 2 co-ops in Austin before I began Whole Foods. I wish consumer food co-ops nothing but the best and hope they flourish. I will say, however, that I don’t believe consumer food co-ops are ethically superior to corporations simply because they are owned by their customers or preach a philosophy of “food for people, not for profit”. Whatever the organizational form of a business–whether it is owned by customers, employees, investors, suppliers or the government–all businesses ultimately must create value for their various constituencies to flourish over the long run. These constituencies include their customers, employees, investors, suppliers, community, and the environment. In my opinion, food co-ops have never realized their great potential in the world because they’ve long believed that profits were somehow or another “evil” or simply based on “greed”. This philosophy prevented the hundreds of food co-ops across the country from accumulating the necessary capital required to grow and expand their businesses to meet the rising demand for their products. Investor co-ops such as Whole Foods (yes we are also a form of co-operative as well–one owned and controlled by the financial investors) have flourished because we recognized the absolute necessity of profits which we have used to benefit all of our various stakeholders.”

The Deeper Grieving

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Zomba had become such a part of my life I hardly knew it until she was suddenly gone.
Every aspect of my life and living included her.
A huge thing was that we worked together. She was there, quietly breathing, with nearly every client. She said hello and goodbye to every client, she let me know when anyone arrived, I could always gaze at her during my work and feel clam and loving.
She slept by my right side every night. If it was cold she would stretch full length against me, all night most nights I could feel her soft fur and warm breath. She would wake us up in the morning, she would get me outside for the first time each day.
She would follow me from floor to floor, watch my actions, guess my intent, be ready for a trip outside or a walk. She was a wonderful partner for any mid day nap.
Every meal was an event – hers and mine. She watched every bite, she waited for the empty dish, the last click of the spoon would wake her so she could take those final licks.
I learned to never set a dish down at dog level. It’s a ridgeback thing — and compounded by her being the hungry runt of a litter of 11. She was always figuring out how to get food. When I cooked nothing was ever unguarded, all food set on the far back part of the counters. I was well trained, but not perfect. She would investigate my purse my backback, remove the contents on some mornings looking for any bit of forgotten left overs.
She was welcome in so many stores, she loved Borders and Stadium Hardware where she was welcomed with treats. And of course we did th therapy work at Hospice together for so many years.

Leaving the house without her I would tell her when I would return, coming home I knew I would get a calm warm welcome. Nearly every move I made, nearly every activity every day, she monitored, she watched, she prepared for a dog participant or response. I would talk to her and her head would cock to one side — trying to understand and respond.

The house had her smell, my hands had her touch, we had our routines together (I haven’t made yogurt and butter since her death – she always braved the noise to come and lick the utensils and jars of cream and milk). All of my senses were entwined with her aliveness and presence. All the times of reading and relaxing I was holding and touching her. She had her affectionate moments, slowly licking my hands, placing her head in my hand, being in the truck and resting her head on my leg or just watching me drive us around. The passenger seat is the color of Zomba, her many road trips embedded in the upholstery of the fabric both literally and also in my memory.

This sort of relationship was unknown to me before Zomba.
And now every moment is memory and grieving and loss.

the redefinition of milk

Friday, October 26th, 2007

It is amazingly twisted thinking to take a natural product, define it as dangerous, and therefore make it illegal. This is what just happened with raw milk in California. By lowering the coliform count in raw milk to below what naturally occurs, below what is considered safe, below what is natural, they have effectively outlawed the natural good product of raw milk.

In the nearly five years I’ve been a raw milk consumer I’ve learned a lot that has only reinforced my understanding of bacteria and contamination and health and wellness. And the fear driven craziness to wipe out all bacteria to avoid all possible dirt and contamination is an integral part of the problem. Whay are we more concerned about dirt than estrogenic byproducts of plastic? Why is antibiotic soap so popular and good – to the point that antibiotic chickens and cows also seem like a good wise thing to consume?
Our fears are so misplaced, our knowledge still based on purity and cleanliness – which is an fundamentally unnatural and it turns out unhealthy state. We need the good bacteria in our gut to take up the space where the truly bad bacteria would otherwise grow. Just like we need that in our kitchens and cutting boards and sinks — if you wipe out 99% of the good bacteria, how virulent and nasty and difficult to wipe out is that 1% that is left?

Raw Milk in all its many forms – plain, yogurt, cheese, butter, kefir, sour cream, and more, is such a fabulous natural way to nourish the body, provide defense against the very illnesses we are accused of transporting, and providing great nourishment and healthy ingredients at the same time. We’re also supporting local food, sustainable farming, small farmers, and a creative economy.

i know in my gut (pun intended — and I mean this literally) that raw milk is different and contains active live principles that are different and better than pasteurized milk. Because I can’t drink heat treated milk without getting sick. I can drink all the raw milk I want and just feel calmer and happier.

I have researched and accept the small level of risk involved. I know my farmer. I know my cows! I’ve stroked their backs, I’ve gazed into their eyes. What they produce is real, safe, and natural. And has become essential for my health and wellness.

It is a slippery scary slope that California would seek to redefine and outlaw a wholesome natural product that has been used and enjoyed by generations of humans – that has been an essential part of our diet and that we have finally learned to return to.

Not only will I fight to make sure that raw milk is a choice informed consumers can make, but also that this attack on what is real and what is natural will be challenged on every front. This is an attack on the natural foods movement under the guise of safety.

Just like California almonds are now treated with a carcinogenic substance to make them “pasteurized” and safe, now milk will be rendered less healthy to protect us from a danger that doesn’t exist. It is fundamental misunderstanding of health and protection that allows this, but in the end it has to be the threat of loss of sales and the direct farm to consumer commerce that is the root of the trouble.

If it is accpted in California, it can be used as a standard elsewhere. For information on actions to take, click here.

and then there is life

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I had the honor of attending a birth tonight, a wonderful baby boy.
Words don’t even begin to describe the emotions and experience of this week. And it has all been less than a week.

These are wordless experiences ultimately, the most primal, the most important.

I am in awe.

So many minor miracles, including this. As I pulled into the parking space at U Hospital for some reason I wanted to put my keys my phone and my parking stub into the side pocket of my back pack. I opened the pocket, and there was a collection of plastic bags, something every dog owner has to carry. So pulled them out of the pocket, and felt something odd under them. I pulled out a purple pouch, a pouch I don’t recall seeing before. I imagien someone must have given it to me, but it didn’t look familiar in any way. I opened it, and there was a small pendant with a miniature picture of the Goddess of Willendorf.

I have no recollection of being given this, putting it in my back pack, or anything about it.

I put it on my pocket and showed it to the birthing mom. She immediately asked to hold it during the contractions – it was nearly exactly what she had just asked her husband to find, that she had prepared to hold.

How did this goddess show up at just the right time?

I think I should put her on a string to wear for the next while.

I apologize if this was a gift someone gave me and I forgot, but apparently she had her own magic to hide and then reappear. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect manifestation.

So life and death. I’m just in awe.

And my body just hurts in every place it can. Birth and death is hard physical work. It is a very real very physical pain and I’m just happy to be able to feel it.

A Good Death

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

It is so important. And that is what Hospice is all about. Dying with dignity, peace, comfort. Zomba was a part of that process, as a volunteer. So many of the guests at Arbor Hospice missed their dogs, loved dogs, looked forward to the therapy dog visits. In addition to some of the best nursing care in Ann Arbor, the patients at hospice enjoy a lovely facility, beautiful private rooms, activities, and an atmosphere of understanding.

I would like Zomba’s death to be a catalyst for people to support hospice by making a financial contribution. We’ll have some sort of small permanent memorial for her, but most importantly it would a a special testament to her work if she could inspire people to make a gift to Hospice.

Zomba made almost 450 visits to the Arbor Hospice Residence. At every one she saw anywhere from 1 to 10 or more people. She was also well loved by the staff, who always greeted her – often forgetting to say hello to me. Because this was where she was the star. I loved that.

So please consider making a donation in Zomba’s name. Up until she started to be disabled, whenever I mentioned it was a hospice day she would cock her head, look at me, and be ready to go. She loved doing her work there. There is so much more still to do there, I gave my time to hospice year after year because I believe in what they do, and have found it to be such a special and vitally important service.

Zomba died at home, with friends, we did it well partly because of what we learned from years at hospice. Please support this wonderful work in memory of a dog who ave 8 1/2 years to the work — and in dog years thats nearly 60 years!

Use any of the links to donate on line.
Or call Glenda Kime, Director of Donor Relations and Events 734-794-5122
Or send a check to Arbor Hospice and Home Care, 2366 Oak Valley Dr. Ann Arbor MI 48103

Then Zomba can have made one last way to big contribution to Arbor Hospice. That would be a fitting memorial. Thank you in adavnce!

Final rest

Monday, October 22nd, 2007


Adon isn’t pictured, who did most of the digging, not my 7 month pregnant friend Laura!


She is in a sunny spot, perfect for an African dog.


Adon created this marker this morning, a recycled slab on “Blue Cheese” marble from the old St. Joe Hospital. So she is buried under cheese — her favorite thing. She is also under an old blue blanket, she knew the command “under” when I held up a blanket for her, and always loved to be under covers and warm

It was a very lovely day to die. Laura and I went for a row boat ride afterwards.

she’s gone 3-11-98 to 10-22-07

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Zomba died at home a little after five this morning, my brother and I were there, but until midnight her friends Laura G., Frank, Laura S, Adon, were here, and earlier Larissa and sweet young Isaac came to say goodby.

Before that Sherry also came, Laura and Dan, my sister Laurie, Nadine, Joanne and her two wonderful kids Clara and Jonah, and Stephen was the first visit of the very long day. I may have forgotten someone because I haven’t slept for two nights now. The last few days a tearful but sweet blur of love and coming together.

What a good dog.

She is wrapped in my robe ready for a final trip to the lake where she will rest forever, near my cats Teda Bear and Orca. And my mom’s spirit through her cremains are not far away.

thank you to so many lovely friends who came throug for me and made this a very special time, so much less pain than if I had to face this on my own.

Dogs and people, a part of my heart and soul died this morning, but I just can’t be totally sad because she was such an extraordinary dog and she changed my life for the better. Almost exactly 10 years ago I woke up one morning and the thought came “get a dog”. I just suddenly felt my life would not be complete until I had a dog. And it was true. I’ve become a more loving person because of Zomba. And so much more.

Time to sleep.


It’s Time

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I couldn’t imagine even yesterday that this would be it, but about 1/2 hour ago Zomba made it clear that this is enough.

I wish I had the way to help her now.

I’m giving her arnica every few minutes.

I hope someone can come and help her tomorrow, I don’t see any future or any point in delaying.

It is the least I can do for such a wonderful love dog.

saying good by to Zomba

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Dear friends,

My heart is broken and as I write this – and Zomba is also quietly crying.
Her odd symptoms and issues over the last 6 months have taken a very sudden and devastating turn and it seems certain that she has a progressive autoimmune disease called degenerative myelopathy. It is sort of like Multiple Scelerosis for dogs, but the progression is much more rapid. And hers is especially fast.

There is no cure. She is progressing very rapidly, and we – she and I – will soon be faced with that very real question of when to give her release so that she can have peace. I expect it will be within the next few days.

She has had a wonderful full life with many friends, and she has helped hundreds of people face death over her eight and a half years (almost 450 visits!) as a hospice volunteer. So I know she has a lot of wisdom as to how she will exit this life, and it will go exactly as it should.

We all have our ways of dealing with death and life, and with dogs there is that special cross species connection that has evolved with humans over the last many thousands of years. So please say good by to her in your own way, and if you’d like to visit just let me know.

I’ll put more info on this blog as we move further down this last path together. I’d love to have anyone so moved to make memorial contributions to Arbor Hospice in her name, (contact me for details) and perhaps there could be a small memorial to her there in some form. It was a place where she was very happy and were she was also well loved.


Zomba with her bear, which she always chewed when upset – often if someone she liked at Hospice had died.


Zomba with one of her best friends at her 8th birthday party, where we celebrated her health :taking nothing for granted”. I’ve never taken her for granted. I’m glad.


Puppy Zomba and her favorite place to play. At least I think it is Zomba — it is certainly the pond she loves with her Ridgeback friends.

puppy Zomba with my brother.