Archive for March, 2008

camping

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I spent Friday night in a tent in the cold and it was lovely.
Nala did well, it seemed like she had never been in a tent before but she liked the cozy closeness of her pack of people and only shivered in the morning. She had her own sleeping bag and thermorest pad.

Sunrise with the lake and the colors visible from bed was a lovely treat, the sandhill cranes called as the sun set and at times throughout the night. An amazing sound. Of course there is the horrible realization that you have to get up and pee and it is 20 degrees or less where you have to go to do it — the reality is never as bad as the anticipation of leaving a warm sleeping bag. I kept telling myself t was a clear night and the stars would be worth it. They were. And having a friend to warm me up upon my return also made it better than expected.

On Saturday we took a long hike in the woods (maybe four hours?), with lunch. On one side of the hill there was snow three inches thick, on the other moss and ferns and garlic mustard starting to emerge with mud and no trace of snow. We kept shedding layers of clothes. The catails were just up and they were tasty, garlic mustard was clear as can be. I’ll still have to wait for the rest of my plant buddies but they are just below the surface ready to pop up with the slightest excuse for warmth and sun.

Nala slept the rest of the day, and all night as well. But she loved it. So much to smell!! I think she has also never been in the woods before, and she is easily overwhelmed by all the dog friendly smells and stories. When I first took her it was already cold, late November, is I imagine the spring in the woods smells are new and wonderful for her.

The Pinckney Recreation Area really is an awesome area of land and lakes. How could I have spent so little time there?

music

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I had a couple of small clients this week who came in screaming. Mad, pissed off, cranky, not happy.
When I started to sing to them they got quiet, happy, one fell asleep, the other gave me flirty smiles.
The two star songs were “Sing together” Lyric: Sing sing together, merrily merrily sing. Sing sing together, merrily merrily sing. Sing Sing Sing Sing.

The other was “Coral Bells” Lyric: White coral bells, upon a slender stalk, lily of the valley deck my garden walk. Oh don’t you wish, that you cold hear them ring. That will happen only when the fairies sing.

Imagine repeated, dozens of times. More fun than the wheels on the bus, the bullfrog song, and a bunch of my other standards.

The point being, singing is powerful. Wonderful. Amazing. It is like magic and does soothe the wild child. I’ve learned to do cranialsacral therapy while singing, and maybe it even helps it to be more effective. I love feeling free to just start singing while I work. My adult clients don’t really know what to do when I sing to them. My young friends smile, stop crying, and listen carefully and let me do much more with them than they would otherwise.

Singing. It is a great therapy.

movie review: “Everything you wanted to know about separation of Church and State but were afraid to ask”

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

There was a free showing of “Everything you wanted to know about separation of Church and State but were afraid to ask” tonight at Quality Theaters. I’m glad I went.

The film was a sort of talk show format with music and comedy as well as going over eight areas of concern. The importance of science, academic freedom, reproductive rights, democracy not theocracy, right to die, support of all families, and I’ll have to add the other two later…

I certainly felt that much more could have been said about reproductive freedom. The focus was on abortion, which is just a small part of it. The whole growing movement to try and suppress ALL birth control was mentioned only briefly, the affect worldwide of our crazy policies and lack of funding (after pledging more) not mentioned at all. The problems with abstinence only education (seriously – exposing kids to dangerous diseases and ending up decreasing the use of birth control with teens who are sexually active…) I suppose I see so much teaching it that I think more people should be aware of the issues. I went through the repressive times in Michigan when no teacher could mention birth control even in response to a direct question form a student. I acted out, did my part ot both give out info and also end the law. And that was in a school with a nursery for the kids of students….

There was mention of “they” a lot. Without really exploring “who”. Because just blaming “the religious right” I don’t think is helpful. I know it was a short thing, about 2 hours, but understanding the people who are insisting that there is only one legitimate religion, and one interpretation of the bible, and that everyone must knuckle under to that conservative viewpoint — that would be helpful and insightful. Because the reality of this sort of domination and intolerance is really scary and also important to expose.

So I don’t think it went far enough. It was feel good, look at the people who have fought the good fight.

There was a fascinating contribution from a preacher providing a religious basis for choice based on his interpretation of Genesis. That was very interesting and surprising.

I’m not sure how the film will be distributed, how it will be used. It’ll be a helpful step but the darker side is still waiting for exposure.

There is more info on their web site, http://www.firstfreedomfirst.org/

Keeping things in perspective

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Until Zomba died, I was a regular at Hospice. Each Tuesday I had a reality/perspective check. Whatever mood I was in, by 2 on Tuesdays I had reoriented to a palce of gratitude and appreciation of life, health, and being able to pursue my passions.

My brother’s illness is playing a similar role, watching him lose function and ability to do and enjoy even basic tasks (walking, holding a book, typing, being comfortable sitting or standing, sleeping well) makes me want more activity, more walks, more enjoyment of my body and how it can be used.

It is painful to watch him slowly crumble. Not as painful as his experience though.

But that is the silver lining I’m trying to draw – a harsh reminder of our precarious health and happiness. Appreciating every day. Every movement. Now I’ve gone to the extreme that most days I’m sore in many unused muscles – but it is a god sort of pain that I associate with being alive and active. Glad to have a puppy who demands the activity each day (1 hour walk minimum) as well as new friend who is challenging me to keep up – with my full enthusiasm and dedication.

Here is to enjoying being alive and active!. Too easy to take for granted.

babies

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I love being a part of births, knowing I can make a significant difference in how it goes.
I’ve developed a lot of skill after somewhere around 10 births.
It is just really hard to deal with the waiting and “any moment” of it. Every year that part is harder.

And it is also physically hard work. I come home hurting all over. Last night my hand was squeezed so tightly my fingers were swollen this morning.

It is also so intense to be deeply involved — and then leave alone.

But honoring the women who dare to bring new life into the world. I just feel so right and so wonderful doing that. I may need to change how I do it, but I am just so grateful and honored to be part of such a sacred act.

And there is a new one in the world last night, no name yet, and he is a strong beautiful boy with loving parents and a happy older brother.

food bliss

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I’ve had some exceptional meals recently – lots more eating with people, lots more basic good food.
Yesterday was a fabulous day beginning with buckwheat pancakes (fresh ground flour) cooked in raw milk butter (home made) and topped with maple syrup made the night before from local sap. That is how food should taste.

For lunch (after a walk in the woods with snow and bright sunshine) left over stuffed manicotti with home made ricotta like garlic cheese. And an apple pastry created from the left overs from the pie we made in the morning. Dinner with the whole family and more — instead of a restaurant dinner we saved much $$ and did a modified pot luck. My sister made some awesome lasagna, we brought pie and a beautiful salad featuring rainbow radishes, grated golden beets, olives, green peppers, grated carrot and daikon, and sliced mushrooms. It was a startling array of color and nutrition. With a homemade tahini dressing it was tasty as well. The garlic bread from my ex-sister-in-law was also loaded with garlic and was a good whole wheatish bread.

Fabulous.

Friday I made a soup featuring chard, kale, and collards with carmelized onions and garlic and potatoes. Yeah for spring! (Followed by enough snow to put us over the record of snowiest winter EVER recorded….)

But the building excitement for the coming greens and wild foods, berries and roots and all is building. I saw dandelion shoots before the snow covered them. Yellow dock pesto can’t be far behind.

I am just happy to be eating wonderful happy food. The maple syrup has been a treat reminding me of doing sugaring 30 years ago. Perhaps some chocolate peanut butter cookies are also in the near future….

Peace

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Nala and I went to the demonstration against the war and for peace today.
People wore black, the idea was to put the war to rest, give death to the war.

There were black biodegradable balloons that said no war. There was a song, there were speeches. And there were groups who had other agendas, other issues they tried to make dominant. There were people advocating (loudly) violence for Bush and Cheney.

It was difficult – we aren’t all supposed to think alike, or even have the same ideas on how this conflict should end, but it wasn’t peaceful. And that is what I wanted to experience.

What makes the larger difference, what helps end the war? Well nothing yet, we’re still there. So I can’t even be critical just unsettled by the gestalt of the experience.

McGovern has a book out that is supposed to be about how we can end the war in a way that will work – save lives and build something for the future. I suppose I should read it, he remains a hero of mine even after 36 years. Tom Hayden had some wonderful sensible ideas two years ago. Or was it last year? It is hard to hope, it is hard to confront the realities. So I suppose that is the best part of what we did today, remind people out for a little St. Patrick’s Day partying that we are a nation at war. But many of those drunken guys came out to yell and swear at us, call us names and accuse us of vile things. That was different. Seems a bad mix – a peace march on a day that is also the day for drunken craziness. Not a good healthy mix.

Nala was nervous, but carried two balloons to the end at the Federal Building. Standing around for speeches made her distressed, walking was just OK if we stayed away from the dense part of the crowd. She wasn’t socialized like my other dogs, but she does pretty well. I love her for being willing. And she was willing to give lots of hugs and kisses to people who bent down for it. She was well photographed.

We need to end this war. We need to find peace.

filling in the blanks

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Long time no blogging.
I’ve been having a very full life. The time before the Co-op board meetings is stressful and full – and this week looking for candidates without success made it worse. I think we have that issue resolved, but I was suddenly violently ill DURING the board meeting Thursday and had to leave in the middle. So I wasn’t part of the final ideas and decisions the next day.

I haven’t been that sick for over ten years. Luckily it was horrible and fast, a lot like food poisoning, but I can’t imagine anything I ate that would have caused it and every time I’ve had food poisoning it comes on about 2 AM. This was a twinge while eating dinner at the Co-op around 5:45. Then diarrhea during the meeting, and made it home (on bike) to more of that and violent vomiting.

By 6 AM the next morning all that was over, and I just feel beaten up from the inside out and have little interest in food but some hunger.

I’m a wacky sick person – not wanting to be alone, embarrassed to ask for help, wanting assurance from the person helping me that they still like me, doing a push me pull you give me attention but please don’t notice how pathetic I am. But I really did need help and I asked for it and appreciate it but still feel very vulnerable and uneasy about it all.

Some friends have heard the story of giving the keynote address at a conference at 7,000 feet and getting altitude sickness just before it was time to speak. I suppose the last time I was this sick actually. The coincidence continues – I started to get cold which is a bad sign. I never get cold unless I’m sick or it is totally frigid.

I did the speech, and realized I was going to be sick. There were 200 people between me and the bathroom at the back of the room. Most would likely stop me to be nice about my speech. I looked around frantically for a trash can, a bag, anything that would spare me from vomiting onto the floor. No luck.

But I had brought my wonderful lovely sacred Tibetan bowl with me, and had played it during my talk to provide a break for breathing and centering. It was a bowl, it is about 8 inches in diameter, it was all I had.

I used it. The rest is a blur, except it is a rare gift to be ill in a room full of healers. I got to pick two people to help me, and Bruce Berger who founded Heartwood Institute became my angel who stayed with me for many hours as the altitude sickness took hold with headaches, peeing every few minutes all night long, and misery.

About 36 hours later I was fine.

The funny tag line is a few years later at a conference a woman came up to me and was friendly, I didn’t recognize her but she clearly knew me. She finally let me know the extent of our connection – she said that she was the one who emptied, washed, and then returned the Tibetan bowl to me. No wonder I didn’t recognize her….

So Thursday night I sat up to say goodbye to the friend who had come to help, feeling the worst had passed, and felt another wave of awful. I had just seconds to realize what was about to happen, and it seemed obvious to grab the only bowl present, again the wonderful singing bowl that was not made for this purpose. But interesting that the two times in the last dozen years or so that I’m vomiting that is the only bowl around. And now I have another friend who has done me that favor or returning the bowl to a pristine state ready for the proper singing use. Thanks Gary.

Life is weird.

Enough of that self indulgence.

Zomba’s birthday was Tuesday. She would have been 10. She should have been 10.
I cried a few tears, I recalled her death, I especially remembered a lot of her life.
There will never be another dog who is as wonderful as she was. Because she was Zomba, and because she was the first.

A few hours before the illness hit I also found out the bees didn’t make it through the very last part of the winter. DOn’t knwo why yet, but I’m sad that they couldn’t live to fly this spring. They were gentle good bees. I will try again.

Otherwise, teaching infant massage and sex ed in the same week is a lovely pairing. My friend Joanne did a wonderful job of talking about sexuality and birth and abstinence and then passing out birth control devices and even having a few of the kids go over the 10 (yes 10!) steps of proper use of a condom with the models she brought.

And for the sake of curiosity and education what are those 10? These may not be the exact steps planned parenthood has, but basically – check the expiration date, check for the bubble in the package, open with your fingers not teach or with sharp objects, unroll with the right side in (if you reverse it by accident start with a new condom as pre-cum can then be on the inside and you don’t want that), pinch an inch of the top so there is space for ejaculate, unroll to the base of the penis, only use approved water based lubricants that don’t weaken the condom, after sex withdraw while the penis is still somewhat erect holding at the base of the condom so it stays on, remove the condom, don’t flush it but rather put it in the trash – tied is preferred.

Ten steps.

Busy week. I got my bike back out, some new equipment including a new seat that my behind has to get used to but it is better than the overly soft seat I foolishly bought two years ago. It feels good to be on the bike again. Although Thursday’s ride home feeling so sick was not so good.

So that is my long catch up post – I have links and more to write later, but at least this lets out a bit of my need to write and tell a weird story or two. If you’ve read this far I appreciate your indulgence.

if you need to cheer up

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

this video should do the trick.
Sometimes life can just be silly –

I’m off to the circus this afternoon, a small event at the Steiner School with Opus Mime. Borrowing two kids to take with me…
Happy monsters, happy people. Buy discount oem software

spring

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Last week I started seedlings indoors, and the tomatoes are already up and reaching for the light.
The peppers are next, they should show leaves any day now. I hope today to plant kale and an assortment of flowers.
Next week a cold frame of spinach outdoors and then squash and melons.

By the end of the month the beans and peas go in the ground, with radishes and more.

The wild weeds are just weeks away, and I can hardly wait for the first tender lambs quarters.

Milk weed sprouts, yellow dock pesto, soon—