Archive for February, 2009

Finally, a photo of the car

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

nalacar

carsnow

a half cup

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

That’s how much maple syrup I made today.
Hurrah!
It took a over a quart of sap to make it, and it may not be as boiled as some would like but it is just right for me. A quart should actually make about 1/8 of a cup if you stick to the normal amount of boiling. 4 cups divided by forty. But I also had a but more than a quart as the jar was filled to the top.

I have three taps going in one tree so far, it is a huge double trunked tree. Permission given to tap it.

I have two more trees in mind that I’ll try out tomorrow. And I helped one of my many friends named Laura tap two of her trees. I got more than 1/2 gallon in an afternoon (one container had spilled before I got back – and it was the most prolific when I left). They are more secure now.

I’ve never done this on my own, just “helped” so I’m pretty geeked.

I think I can either can or freeze the finished product. So sometime next week I’ll start sorting that out. But tomorrow for breakfast I plan to walk over to the tree, collect more sap, and cook my oatmeal in it. Amazing.

numbers, denial, being public

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Being overweight has been an issue most of my life. Early on when I imagined I was fat and later when I truly was. My theory now is that early puberty (2-3 years before my then friends) made me “different” from my peers, and that difference of curves and maturity was labeled fat until everyone else was doing it too. And by then, it was a self fulfilling prophecy. I was overweight. But not much.

Family legacy created some clear trouble of poor diet and no concept of exercise. I did martial arts late in high school and for the first time enjoyed working out to the point of sweating and really pushing my limits. But that bug was pretty dormant until about 15 years ago, and it has been growing exponentially since then.

Except – except for the nearly 10 years I was anemic and ill and had some pretty serious health problems.

And that caused a lot of denial, as the fibroid tumors grew huge, and I managed to ignore the dangers and the realities. An amazing thing, denial. Truly impressive in this case.

Which is why I don’t ever want to go there again. And there is a sort of opposite denial going on now. That I’ve lost a lot of weight. A lot of weight. And much more in the last few months. Broken heart and change in metabolism? Great combo if it works.

Since the break up in November, I’ve lost over 15 pounds. And the year before that – being with an active athletic guy, I had lost another 15. So in a little over a year I shed 30 pounds of weight. And in the 3 or so leading up to that, I had already lost a bit over 30 pounds.

Now wait a minute. Here is where I get the urge to go foggy. I don’t want to admit I had that much to lose. I don’t want to admit I was there. I am finding it really hard to grasp the idea that about 5 years ago I was 65 pounds heavier than I am now.

And was it 5 years? or 7? Or …. yeah….. that’s the point here. I have no idea. Around five years. Since the surgery. I had gotten back up to my heaviest weight ever. I think. I know I was looking at the number, but my usually obedient brain that can put together dates and times and events with really good accuracy kind of goes away and changes the subject and can’t really pin it down to within a year or two or three.

The last time I was this weight? Again, I have no idea. I did get under 200 pounds – just – after my surgery for fibroids in 2001. Now that I’m well under that weight, I can’t recall. I have clothes I found that fit, but I recall them always being much tighter. And I can trace them to 18 years ago. I’m thinking late twenties or thirties. It has been at least 20—25 years.

Deep breath.

So let’s see, is that a sign of a problem — that the facts and figures get a lot fuzzy and never mind we can talk about some other part of this that is more comfortable? Yeah.

So this is part of my coming out, dealing with reality, and kind of sort of in a small don’t notice it way saying WTF I’ve lost 65 whole pounds – and nearly half of that within the last 14 months!

That is a HUGE amount of weight, a huge step towards being much happier and healthier and so very much kinder to myself. I don’t want to HIDE it anymore I want to celebrate it. Because I am very happy and I don’t want this crazy stuff and self image issues to get in the way of enjoying a really big accomplishment.

I don’t know why 65 has more psychological pull than 50, I don’t know why it seems like a number I would have never been able to attain (but I did!!) but hey, here I am and I wanted to put it in writing, in public, I have accomplished something really important and — I was going to say big. But it is not bigger it is smaller. I’m shrinking.

I have this number in mind where “health” is – and I’m less than 5 pounds away. At that point I’d like to do some serious checking in with my body and not go by the BMI, or insurance tables, or which jeans fit, but really get a sense – what size fits me? At what point do I feel I’m no longer hiding, what weight goes well with who I am? I don’t think I have to decide, I just have to fully emerge.

So having said that, people ask what did you do?

Two things. I stopped acting from fear. And I figured out some core stuff about being sexually assaulted when I was way too young (age 15), what I fear about men and what I want from men.

And then I let myself enjoy being active, and realized I’m not that hungry. I am still enjoying chocolate and I don’t feel deprived in any sense.

Kind of simple, but it had to all come together. And then look what happened. I have my proof. 65 pounds. When I pick up a 50 pound bag of wheat berries, I am just astonished. That was just so much to carry around.

Writing this is intense. And therapy. I wanted to say it in public. I’m 65 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest and healthier now than I was 20 or 25 years ago. I want to be in that daze of Wow! that is a huge accomplishment, rather than Huh? My body? Was I paying attention?

And you know, I’m excited. Because if I can lose 15 pounds Thanksgiving to the end of February, this is going t be an amazing spring and summer. Just watch me.

raw milk

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

You know, sometimes issues are very simple. I’ve been reading lots of stories all morning about how raw milk is dangerous, people can get sick, it isn’t worth the risk, and is it more or less dangerous than peanuts, spinach, CAFO beef, etc.

I’m usually willing to take a broad perspective on things, and not make it personal. But you know what? Today I’m making it personal.

EVERY TIME I drink regular pasteurized milk (organic, sustainable, conventional) of any type I get sick. 100% of the time. I feel full, nauseous, bloated, lethargic, and not wanting to consume anything else. Every time. Conventional milk makes me sick. Period.

So every time I drink I drink raw milk I feel good. Much to my surprise. And I avoided drinking milk for about 3 years even as I made butter and cheese and yogurt from it. Every week. When I finally overcame my revulsion to milk (because it ALWAYS made me sick) I was shocked to discover I liked it and I DIDN’T GET SICK LATER.

So it’s personal, not some theory or percentage or risk vs. benefit ration. Regular milk? It makes me sick. Always. Raw milk? Over three years of drinking and never an upset stomach. Over 6 years of consuming it in various forms, and never an issue.

So it gets harder and harder to believe the bull (pun intended) that is being spread around about it being dangerous. Because my direct long term experience is exactly the opposite. The govt. is asking me to replace something that makes me feel better with something that ALWAYS makes me sick. Not potentially could make me sick, not theoretically is dangerous. It makes me sick now, every time, and has as far back as I can recall.
So don’t mess with my access to raw milk. It is THE ONLY WAY I can enjoy it and all the benefits.
I’m going to now pour a long tall glass, run a nice hot bath, and enjoy.

And go ahead and argue the degrees of sickness. But ALWAYS vs. NEVER is a huge difference. And today I’m just pissed off that people in high offices say I don’t have the right to choose for myself. I don’t want to be sick. So I choose the expense, the hassle, and the risks of raw milk. And since I’m a menopausal woman who needs dietary calcium, you’re messing with my bones and my health if you try and prevent me from the only dairy I can enjoy.

thanks for listening.

A Varied Day

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

A long day, a varied day. A day with changes. I expected a long difficult day with four clients and a long class. The second client canceled, and I took off for the woods. The garlic mustard is up at Barton Dam. As well as some wild chives. Tasty. I picked some for my class this afternoon. The dam had no ice on it at all, and all 10 spillways were open and cascades of water were pouring from the pond above.

There was some open water in the pond, but not a lot. Nala was in heaven with all the smells and bare patches of ground to smell. The water was fast, and there were pillows of foam on the shore from all the dirty foam created by the cascades.

I had time for a bit of relaxation before getting ready for class. I brought mulberries, black raspberries, pesto and pasta, applesauce, and the garlic mustard and chives. I had asked Gary to teach the class, he is a great and enthusiastic teacher, and it felt right.

It went well. And it was a pleasure to see him in his element so to speak. The kids loved the applesauce and berries, also other things. Didn’t like the high bush cranberries – and were very local about it. It was fun. Everyone participated in some way.

The class is focused on nutrition for now. So it was a great chance to do something different and unexpected. Next class we get into the less fun part – a showing of the film “The Future of Food”. When I talked about the director, Deborah Garcia, they didn’t know who her husband was – Jerry Garcia. Now I feel old.

When I got home I discovered that Nala had not only ripped a hole in the laundry bag so that she could destroy a lot of my underwear, she also learned to open the swinging door to the kitchen, and had removed many many objects from the kitchen and taken them to the living room. She must have pushed open the door multiple times to get in and out. There was a fair amount of damage. And she ran into the basement, guilty as hell.

Another client, another cancellation, so I was able to walk to a meeting called for bicycling advocates to give input towards an application for another recognition as a bicycling friendly community. I learned a bit about the players and the groups. There were about 20 people. More than half men. But the odd part was more than half of them had gray hair. This was an older crowd.

Now what does that mean?

I think mostly that a lot of riders just ride, and don’t think attending meetings has much to do with what they do.

Talking to a friend on the way home – by phone – he observed that Ann Arbor seems downright dangerous to him. Not a bike friendly place at all. But then his comparison is Europe – and he is Dutch. So no wonder.

Home again to a quieter dog who had done no further damage. I’m tired, the house is a disaster, tomorrow will be fine for getting things back in order.

Adventures in Customer Service

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Thursday night Feb 13th I was sickened by my newspaper. Macy’s had an ad insert that was drenched in chemical “perfume”. I’m chemically sensitive, and this stuff does me in. The results – headache, panic, and confusion. I couldn’t finish reading the paper and set the whole thing outside to air.

And complained to Macy’s, as well as the Ann Arbor News. The Ann Arbor News has been mostly great about pulling the paper if it has perfumed ads, and giving me one without inserts. So I’ve come to rely on the them — which is a big mistake. I have to test the paper every night again, but even that testing can set me off.

Both on line complaint systems guarantee a quick response – Macy’s was yes we got your complaint and will get back to you within 72 hours. I got this e-mail this morning –

Dear Linda Diane Feldt,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I appreciate the
opportunity to respond to your inquiry and address your concerns.

We apologize for any discomfort that you experienced as a result of our
perfumed inserts with your newspaper. Please be assured that we are
sensitive to the particular needs of each of our customers and every
effort is made to address each concern promptly and efficiently. Your
comments are being forwarded to our management team for their future
consideration.

If you have further questions or comments, please contact Macy’s Credit
Customer Service online at http://www.macys.com and selecting Macy’s
Credit Card, or by telephone Monday through Saturday 9:00am-9:00pm and
Sunday 11:00am-8:00pm at 1-877-493-9207.

Sincerely,

Nancy Mobley
Credit Customer Service

Well it is nice to have a quick response, although it couldn’t be more canned.

No word yet from the Ann Arbor News, which makes me think their on oine complaint system may nt be working at all.

I find it unbelievable that anyone likes and is motivated to shop by those perfume ads. And certainly my conscious as well as unconscious association with Macy’s is one of sickness, headache, panic and mental confusion. I cut through Macy’s to get out of Briarwood quickly the other day — and was approached by the perfumers and I absolutely felt some panic and revulsion.

I couldn’t slow down enough to see if there were things I might someday need and might want to purchase. I just had an overall impression of makeup, jewelry, and shiny stuff that all seemed superfluous. Does Macy’s sell any worthwhile stuff? I’m also afraid to look at their ads….

I am a minority shopper, I know, but my complaints are based on self preservation and I really would like to continue to get the newspaper. It is a fabulous service the Ann Arbor News sort of provides, but when it breaks down with one failing, I can’t trust it and the cost is really high just to try and read the paper. And if they have changed this policy/service based on cuts and buyouts and shrinkage then shame on them for not telling me and people like me that we are no longer being protected and no one is watching out for us. That is damaged to customer relations that pretty much cancels out all of the good will they have from being willing to help me in the first place. And unlike Macy’s, I am exactly the sort of consumer the Ann Arbor News needs and must retain.

a misunderstanding

Monday, February 16th, 2009

A couple people have said I enjoy hanging out at the hospital. Being part of a crisis. I use some of my experiences (names, details, and other identifying info changed) in my high school class. Which led one student to comment that maybe being my friend seems risky. Yes, I tell a lot of stories, spanning many decades now. And there have been some tragedies, some adventures, and if they can’t be turned into learning experiences then what is the point? I teach safety, addictions, nutrition and sex ed. I think it is important to use whatever material I can to make the very serious points, although I also look for humor as well.

One of the exercises in the class is about being part of an emergency. What role are you comfortable in? I have them stand up and place themselves on an invisible line that represents a continuum. On one end, those who would be ready to help, assess what is needed, and be part of the solution. the other end I identify as those who can memorize 911, but not much more. Because some people are not good in emergencies. And that’s OK.

Then we talk about the skills that make a difference, the personality traits that people have that may help or hurt in a crisis, and how to upgrade those skills.

One thing that I do well is I’m willing and able to talk about hard things. I’ve talked to countless people who are dying. 9 years of hospice volunteering. And I will cry with people, I’ve been doing counseling for about 36 years now, since I was a volunteer at Ozone House at age 14. I don’t think there is a subject I find difficult to talk about. Some of those conversations have been hard. One of the hardest ever was talking to my grandmother the night my mom died.

I think being part of nearly 200 births also has changed me. I can be with a women in the most pain ever, in her most powerful moment. And encourage her to go through the pain. Often these days it is with a woman I’ve just met. We get very close and very intimate very fast. I was there holding my dad when they stuffed a tube down his throat and that was torture for him. And really hard to do but I helped him through it.

So there are a lot of skills I bring to a crisis situation. I can figure out the medical jargon, I can make jokes in the midst of a tragedy (mostly appreciated), I can provide physical support and comfort, and I’m told I have a calm presence that is appreciated.

Anyone with a skill likes to use it. Likes to be useful. It feels good to do what you do well.

So my skills are often about helping people in pain, who are suffering in one way or another. People come to me often in crisis. So this is what I do. Do I like it? Do I enjoy it? Those questions just don’t work. I do my best to care about people, to help them, empower them, and certainly to teach. It is often a profound honor to be part of a transformative point in their lives. And I mostly do find energy and balance and affirmation in doing what I do well. And sometimes it drains me totally, especially helping at a birth I’ll wake up the next day and feel as though i’ve been beaten up form the inside out.

And I wish I could come home from a particularly hard time and have someone home who will just hold me for a long time. When that happens I feel very good.

I do what I do because it is who I am, because being able to help someone in pain or in a scary place is the right thing to do. It is not about enjoying it, it is not about liking to hang out at the hospital.

There is one thing I do enjoy. Being a part of something very real, touching up against that place of life and death. The trees seem more amazing, the greens of the plants are more vibrant. The sky is more vast, the people I meet more real. I love my dog more, I taste food more fully. There is a quiet amazement and everyday life is more surreal and beautiful. I started to find that as my mom was dying. I had the experience again and again. And that is what I like. That reminder of life and love and what is important, I really value every reminder of that.

It is a strange thing to depend on other people’s pain and suffering for my livelihood. And sometimes I do have clients who are coming for support and who are not in crisis. But this has been what I do for a very long time – on Tuesday I ‘ll celebrate 3 years of doing massage. And I had better be good after 36 years. 30 years of studying polarity therapy, and almost 20 of cranial sacral therapy. And closing in on 36 years since I did my first counseling training.

It is just who I am now. It is an honor to help people. I’m happy to be used, and used well. And every time I enter a hospital – since the time my mom was so frequently ill – I think, “I’m spending too much time here”. And there is a sadness. That hasn’t changed.

“Don’t Divorce Us” video

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Please watch this video and pass it on. It is a very powerful message. Sorry, I couldn’t get the embedding to work.

Hopefully this will help overturn the disasterous CA vote against gay marriage.

Celebrating a Birthday and Free Stuff

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

3:30 AM is an awkward time to begin a birthday, but I often have no choice about waking hours. I did get back to sleep around 5, and of course Nala is a regular day break up and about dog. I was on line and forgot to eat breakfast again, a recent problem. I never want to eat breakfast, it is just a god idea for weight loss and to keep blood sugar levels level.

I stopped by Zongerman’s for a free 1/2 dozen bagels. They are so happy to be giving away food! I munched on a half while driving to my bodywork appt. The highlights were hand and foot massages, but also progress on the tumors becoming much smaller. Fibroid tumors, no cancer. There is notable and palpable change in size – a really remarkable thing. The largest change is this exploration of men and male energy, apparently there is a strong link. I need to explore that further but meanwhile — it’s working. I may be able to skip additional surgery. And that is good news on a 50th birthday!

I swung by the Co-op and bought fun stuff to eat, and cream cheese for the bagels. Someone suggested I sit in on a meeting — no no no, it’s my birthday. I don’t do that.

I went to Seva for lunch on my own, it has been a long time eating at a restaurant with table service by myself. I didn’t do a lot of eating out the last year. I indulged in yam fires but only got part way through, and same with a smothered burrito. It will be lunch today. But entrees are free on your birthday.

I had a moment at home and with Nala before heading back to the co-op to meet with Laura M – picke up her daughter and headed to the Botanical Gardens. IF you’re a friend, my facebook page has lovely photos of the flowers and plants and Sylvia enjoying the fish. Oh, that one year old curiosity. And she kept signing “fish” rather insistently as we wandered around. Back to the fish!!

I worked one summer at the Gardens, when I was 16. It is both weird to see the plants that are still there 34 years later, as well as sad that so much changes, as well as of course it changes!

That was a great summer for me. I learned so much. And taking home plants, being a new driver with my dad’s massive ford pick up, being in love, working hard and I even learned to drive a dump truck.

I bought a few new plants for my living room. And back home to pick up my patient dog.

We drove over to our favorite place – Barton Dam – and walked in the lovely light snow. But it got COLD! with the wind. I took some photos of the ice, again, on facebook.

Home again for a bit to catch up on all the facebook greetings, enjoy a few cards that arrived, and some phone calls. Back out again to pick up one of my many other friends named Laura, Laura G. She enjoyed the trip in the smart car, we parked and went to Gratzi’s. It has been a very long time since I went to a nice restaurant with great fod, attentive wait staff, and wonderful ambiance. I remember this! And I hadn’t been to Gratzi’s for at least a decade.

The buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes was amazingly good for this time of year. A light dressing was perfect. I had the butternut squash ravioli, and although it could have been just a little hotter, it was excellent with the sherry flavor coming through perfectly. A side of polenta with asiago cheese was amazing. Laura went nuts over it. Perfectly creamy, just a light bite from the cheese, the sweetness of the corn was present, it was something to savor.

A free cannoli with candle was the end piece. Laura and I discussed what to wish for – so many possible things — and we found the perfect expression of hope and future thinking. No, I can’t tell you here. It was great to catch up with her, getting ready to move away from Ann Arbor. The inclination is to pull away form people who are — technically speaking — abandoning me. But instead, enjoy and appreciate them and hope this is for the best. And now one more reason to travel to California. She is another friend I will always be able to just drop in on by phone or e-mail or in person. Glad I have so many of those.

I watched a few episodes of The Daily Show I had taped, and got a phone call from one of the men I’ve met online to wish me happy birthday. That was nice.

Through out the day, the facebook and e-mail happy birthdays were frequent. Strange and fun. I was friended by a woman who was a student teacher at Community High when I was there. She thought it was significant that she found me on my 50th. Yeah, 35 years ago when we first met no one would have imagined we’d be back in touch! We are old old old! How wonderful.

But I truly love the birthday wishes from old friends coast to coast.

So I have indulged, I am indulged, there will be a bit more of this on Friday when I have an actual party. And then a fundraiser/birthday party in May.

50. I feel as though I am on the other side of something. Slightly different perspective. I went on line and raised the age of who I am looking for to 58. But you know, at this age, 58 is both very young and alive as well as those looking old and moving slowly. There is a lot of sorting out, and also paying the price for earlier lifestyles.

For a great list of free things on your birthday, go to arborwiki.com

What a great resource!

Mpemba effect

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I ran across this explanation in some random blog entry. Love the idea. Always wondered. It may be poetic to place this next to a blog about morphogenetic fields, but hey, I’m thinking about the nature of reality and the reality of nature a lot today. This talks about why sometimes warm water will freeze faster than cold. Very cool. Pun intended.