Archive for July, 2014

Arbor Wiki – an underutilized resource for Ann Arbor

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Maybe you’ve checked it out for birthday specials. Maybe you’ve enjoyed the page I created on fountains and water features in Ann Arbor. Maybe you can add to it? That’s what a wiki is all about, and this one is special for Ann Arbor. Do you want to add your name and accomplishments? Check out a events? Wonder what restaurants have closed?

Like any wiki there is straight up practical information, as well as obscure and yet helpful stuff.

We can make this more of a treasure the more people participate. I learned about it from Ed Vielmetti who hosts editing parties and encourages contributors.

I’ve just made small contributions, but try and remember to add to it with useful bits of miscellaneous stuff form time to time.

Breastfeeding and CST

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I’m often asked which babies can benefit from Cranialsacral Therapy (CST). My usual response is any baby born either vaginally or by cesarean section. Do I really believe all babies can benefit from this work? Actually, yes. That’s why I offered it free of charge for so many years, and even now make sure it is affordable ($30 for a house call within Ann Arbor). I will also waive the charge if that is an obstacle for any mom who wants me to work with her baby under three months of age.

The primary reasons people come to me for CST are nursing problems; and birth trauma including hematomas, shoulder dystocia, irregularity in the sutures, frequent vomiting, or just for reassurance. Most of the time I only need to provide one session.

I suppose that in 32 years of doing this work I’ve seen a few thousand babies. In that time I’ve also moved from working on babies hours after birth, to just after (sometimes in a hospital birth I can do CST while a baby is being examined or even while being suctioned), to a few times when just the head has emerged, to now routinely doing CST on babies who are not yet born.

My perception of what the baby is capable of and how they respond has shifted completely. The words we use to describe birth imply that somehow the baby isn’t “here” until the birth. Women are asked “when is the baby coming?” We often say “She is finally here!” when a baby is born. As if the baby wasn’t present the whole time, albeit in a series of profoundly different states and ways of being.

I started off as one of those who pretty much thought there wasn’t much there (and certainly nothing to work with) until birth was imminent. But over the many years I found that babies are actually very responsive to CST – many weeks before they are born. The primary positive benefit of this early work is helping the baby be in a better position for birth. So I’ve worked with a number of transverse, breech, ascynclitic, and posterior presentations and helped the baby to turn him or herself. For me, that is the key. The baby does the moving with the very very subtle CST suggestions. There is no force, I have never turned a baby. The work can be done at any time, even during labor. Of course, with a transverse or breech presentation it is better to begin a few weeks ahead of time. I wrote a brief article about the first time we were able to have a baby turn herself after 45 hours of labor, and thus avoided a most likely c-section.

The idea of no force and no demands is also a prominent part of doing CST with nursing babies. It feels much more like teaching than adjusting. The baby’s cranial mechanism is so very malleable, so very sensitive, the lightest of touches and sometimes really just suggestions of touch are usually enough to bring better vitality to the mechanism and therefore a correction.

I know that my work is effective. I wouldn’t keep doing it if it wasn’t – and indeed since I’ve never advertised for clients but have stayed in business for 34 years full time I must be doing something right. But it is with the babies that I feel most in awe of the work, and also have such immediate and clear feedback that the CST is effective. Countless times I’ve been entrusted to do this work with a newborn having nursing troubles, done some simple CST, and then watched as the mom and baby have the most successful nursing experience yet. And then weeks, months, and even years later moms report how much that one session changed everything.

What makes me deeply deeply happy is being able to make the nursing experience better and more successful. It is about great nutrition certainly, but also reinforcing the bonding that occurs with mom and baby when nursing is (relatively) easy and also pain free. This is support that has profound and long lasting effects. I am so grateful that just a little help and support at that sage has such profound positive results.

This is work that makes my heart sing. It is an honor to be entrusted with this small precious beings, and an incredible joy to do such simple work that makes a difference, and improves the quality of life for the whole family.

I have also worked with babies who had serious problems. Mild to severe cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders that were apparent even early on, babies with damage incurred during birth, babies with heart defects. I’ve worked with some of these babies for many years continuing. Even the kids who are non verbal make it clear that they like the work, they find it relaxing, and they are glad to see me.

Parents usually ask about when to come back, and how often CST should be done. After all this time I certainly have some ideas, and I’ll share them with my clients, especially if there is a more serious need or my experience is that repeat visits would be advised. But I have a larger philosophy. Many of the moms I see have been disempowered – told they are imagining things, brushed off by busy doctors, or just left dangling with few resources and support. Part of my work is to undo that damage. And it is very damaging if women don’t have the chance to learn and become confident as a new parent.

So the answer is, I would like the mom to learn about what I do, and then learn how to recognize herself when her baby might benefit from a repeat session. And most moms do very well. Eventually, the baby grows older and they learn when they need that support. I am absolutely thrilled that there are so many kids who say “I need to see Linda Diane” – asking for my help even as young as a 2 or 3 year old. That is as it should be. They learn to feel what they need, to ask for it, and then get the reinforcement for their awareness of what their body needs. That is a most perfect answer.

I will be offering a class this fall “Cranialsacral Therapy at the Beginning of Life” for midwives, doulas, doctors, and other people who support women and babies. Please contact me if you are interested. classes (at)

Recipe: Almond milk

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

I wrote about milk in my last post, but sometimes there is a time and place for a non-dairy alternative. You can buy almond, soy, or other alternatives in specialized containers that are “shelf stable” for months or years. They normally contain other ingredients, additives, and the packaging certainly adds to the price. Why not just make your own milk alternative?

i like the taste of almond milk, and it only takes minutes to make. When my brother was living with me he wasn’t comfortable with the raw milk I had on hand, as he had immune system disorders. So every 3-4 days I made enough almond milk for him to use on his morning cereal. He liked it.

For about 3 cups, I would start by soaking a handful of almonds (about a cup – maybe more – depending on taste) the night before with your three cups of water. In the morning I would blend that with a stick blender, for about a minute, and add about a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring. You can strain that if you want, or just shake it up each time you use it. Put it in a jar, and store in the refrigerator. It lasts about 3-4 days.

You can use a blender of food processor, but the stick blender is easiest. You can sweeten it if you like. Some people prefer to strain the water after soaking and use new water, I never saw the point. You can also add raisins or dates to the soaking almonds and that will make it sweeter and interesting texture when you blend all of that together. Some people like cinnamon.

If you don’t plan ahead and so don’t have soaked almonds, in a pinch I’ve poured boiling water over them, let sit for about 15 minutes, and then blended them. Not as good, but it will do.

i make my own vanilla extract by placing a couple of split vanilla beans in 100 proof vodka in a 1/2 pint jar for about 6 weeks.

Making almond milk is simple, inexpensive, more environmentally friendly, and I think it tastes better as well than the processed stuff you buy.

I have to add a bit of depressing news, which is that it is very important to use organic “raw” almonds. If they are from California (and almost all domestic almonds are) They will actually be steam treated but they will not be “pasteurized”. Non-organic almonds are “pasteurized”, usually with with Propylene Oxide (PPO) to prevent salmonella. PPO is considered a carcinogen by California standards.

Why “Eliminating Dairy” is weird

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

There is dairy, and then there is dairy, and then there is dairy. At least three vastly different kinds of milk – and that is just from cows. There is also dairy from the many different mammals, and the many forms of dairy once processed into something other than simple fluid.

Lumping it all together and calling it bad makes no sense.

Conventional milk comes in many forms, but the bottom line is most cows are raised in appalling conditions with miserable lives, hardly see a blade of grass, aren’t fed the stuff (grass) that makes them strong and healthy, are injected with rBGH, end up living shorter lives, and have to be “pre-treated” with antibiotics and other drugs for illnesses and gut disturbances that might otherwise kill them. That milk? Not so good. And if we do consume it we have a very direct responsibility for supporting the conditions and treatment of those animals.

Another option is organically raised cows. It sounds like a good trade up, and often it is. Not always. Cows raised naturally are pasture fed. It seems contradictory, but not all organic cows are given that option. But the chemical load is much less, their intake is far better, and there is often better treatment as far as confinement, and the cows are healthier. Many of us believe this results in a better quality more nutritious milk. Especially when compared to conventional cows milk.

Untreated, unpasteurized, non homogenized milk is another option. In the US this is mostly called “raw” milk. Without being heated to kill off enzymes and other “live” parts of the milk, this is a truly different milk that has many claims for its nourishing abilities. For my part, I know that conventional and even organic milk and many of the milk products make me feel sick afterwards. Drinking raw milk did not have that effect. It was a pretty amazing difference. Even with raw milk, there are critical differences. The biggest is that we don’t just not pasteurize regular milk. Because pathogens are not killed off by heat treatment, the dairy practices of cleanliness and having healthy cows are much more important. Pasture feeding is integral to having healthy cows, so that is the only option. So “raw milk” is a whole set of understandings about the cows lineage, their breed, the size of the herd, how you milk them, how you chill the milk, how any infection is treated, and much much more.

Rather than “eliminate dairy” it makes much more sense to upgrade to a better source, or even a better type of cow. Considering all three of these kinds of milk as one suspicious food doesn’t make sense.

And then there is the processing. Are raw milk cheeses different from all other cheese? Of course. There are different organisms within the cheese. No question. Can that make a difference in how it is digested and the health affects? It makes a taste difference, and some of us believe the effects go further. Cheese making is an art. The subtleties and the varieties are amazing. Fresh cheeses, aged cheeses, cheese made different cultures (mesophilic and thermophilic processes). Even the wild cultures in your kitchen will affect the flavor of cheese. Someday I’ll write a whole blog that will only begin to touch on some of the awe I have for this art, which I have only slightly delved into. My experience? Raw milk makes outstanding cheeses. And it is stunningly simplistic to try and lump them altogether and say don’t eat any of them.

Fermented milk is a process that by necessity is thousands of years old, at least. Now research is confirming the importance of fermented products on gut health. It isn’t just about making milk last longer. This is both fascinating and complex, even something as simple as yogurt than can be made so many different ways with a range of different results of healthy bacteria and other organisms. The milk matters, the temperatures used matter, what you do next matters. The sugar added to most commercial yogurts in the form of flavorings affect the bacteria that you end up with when you go to eat it. Put simply, sugar feeds bacteria, kills off much of the healthy stuff, and you are eating a less potent and altered product than plain yogurt where flavoring or sweetener is added at the last minute. So even all yogurt isn’t the same!

Kefir, cottage cheese, soured cream, whey, the list of how you can process milk and the differing effects digestively and nutritionally are immense. “Dairy” encompasses a truly amazing range of products and ways of eating milk.

And of course in the US we think milk, we think cow. That is not and has never been the only type of milk consumed. Camel, horse, goat, sheep, yaks, water buffalo, reindeer are also just a few other milks that have been and are still used. Can they all be lumped together as suspicious for human health? Not rationally. We’ve been using them (and enjoying it!) as long as humans have been farming – or longer. Thousands of years.

Milk is the product of females. When we overstate and overgeneralize and are critical of dairy it is also devaluing what women produce, and the very beginnings of how we feed and nurture our babies.

If you think you have a problem with dairy, get specific. Very detailed. It is unlikely to be milk itself, but rather something about the source, the treatment of the animal, the way it is or is not processed, what other things have been introduced to the animal or to the processing. Try upgrading those things, and you can better nourish yourself.

There is a lot of evil in this world. Dairy is not included. There are evil practices associated with some dairy production. You do not have to participate. The broad negative conclusions that so many people (including health practitioners) make about dairy are absurd. Absurd because they dismiss thousands of years of use, our own individual responses to dairy food, and the myriad of forms and sources of milk. It just isn’t that simplistic.

Nostalgia for the Art Fairs

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Last week’s art fairs were unusual for having cool sunny weather. The fairs usually take place in scorching hot almost unbearable heat and humidity, broken only by often violent storms and rain. And more humidity. So I enjoyed walking around and seeing most of the fairs in relative comfort. I was glad this year I wasn’t wandering the streets pouring water over my head trying to keep cool.

This was my 44th time at the art fairs (yes, there are more than one – actually four or five or six depending on how you count). As I wandered, I was very nostalgic for all the other times I’ve been and what has changed.

The fairs had many more commercial booths interspersed with the artists. I found that disconcerting. And of course, those booths has people pushing their product much more crassly “selling” than the artists normally do. Although I was reminded of a time 25 years or so ago when I was swept up in the sales pitch of a guy selling pewter figurines with crystals. He talked me into buying it. Although at a deep discount he was a good salesman who wouldn’t let me go.

I used to buy a wooden box every year, until about 5 years ago I figured I probably had enough wooden boxes by now. About thirty or so. I also started liking the ones over $200 more than any others, and that was not a rational way to use my money. So that collection is “closed” to further purchases.

I do like the wood, and am still more attracted to that art than any other.

Back in the ’70s, when I first started going to the art fairs, there were a lot of “hippy” srtists with fancy wax candles of rainbow colors and I bought a lot of those. Incense, bongs, antler pipes, macrame, a number of remnants from that time that you no longer find.

Perhaps the biggest change is that long ago there were true street musicians and performers – slack rope artists, magicians, others who would travel and earn money being talented on the streets. They are gone. Even the musicians from Central and South America were missing this year with their pan pipes and small amplified guitars and traditional instruments. Where have they gone?

So the fair seems quiet. It used to be that everyone I knew went to the closing night – Friday night – at the “Graceful Art Stage” on E. University for Madcat and Gemini to close out the evening fairs. Dancing, hugging, talking, flirting, it all went on that night with great music and a sense of a wonderful tradition we were part of.

Even the water sellers and other venders were mostly silent. Was there a proclamation made against announcing your wares loudly? Pizza sellers, bottled water pushers, roasted almonds samplers, all seemed very restrained this year. Very quiet.

That was near to the non-profit booths that used to assemble at the Engineering Arch, S. U and E. U. I staffed a lot of booths there, for McGovern in 1972, for Ozone House for many years – we did face painting and were one of the first to offer that. I got into some heated arguments when I staffed a booth for the American Friends Service Committee opposing the death penalty. I even got applauded for one of them when I stayed reasonable while being shouted at.

The non-profit section was very quiet this year, and I walked by a few times without engaging with anyone including the Salvation Army guy who may not even know how that group has spoken out against gay marriage and urged celibacy as the only option for LGBT people.

I don’t think there are as many true bargains as there used to be. I still use the panniers I got from Bivouc almost 30 years ago when Eclipse was going out of business. Two pair of very sturdy paniers for my bike for just $20, the special rack to hold them another $10-15. I still use that as well. I bought lots of sandals and sneakers and other stuff deeply discounted. Orchid Lane would have sales and especially since I lost weight that has been such a great bargain that this year I had to pass by as I really don’t need more clothes. Have I changed or have the sales changed?

Every year I see certain artists, most notably a friend from high school (he was on staff st Community High School) who sells colorized sports prints. He used to sell antler pipes. It’s nice to get a hug and kiss from him every year. Sometimes we have a chance to talk, sometimes he is too busy with sales to say much at all.

I mostly go alone to the fairs, there is enough to see and do and having to keep track of someone else is distracting and sometimes I want to move more quickly than a friend. And part of the fair is stopping to talk to people you meet on the street – old friends, strangers, I make a point of striking up conversations with the artists and sometimes linger for a while. Most are friendly, some are bored, some try to sell something heavy handedly, some are clearly not people friendly.

I love this event. I spend a little money – usually not more than $100, and that hasn’t changed much over the ears. My biggest most expensive purchase ever was a large photo limited edition print by famous National Geographic photographer Steven McCurry, of a sacred gilded rock at sunrise in Burma. It was great to meet and talk with him. That was about 20 years ago. I still love that photo.

The summer has turned, the art fairs are over, now starts the winding up for fall.

Talking to Plants

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

About 30 people came to the class tonight titled: “How to Talk to Plants and Avoid Giving the Impression of Lunacy”. Here are the highlights, and one important point I forgot to include.

First, that talking to plants implies lunacy and you might as well give it up.
The communication process takes many forms including visual cues (wilting, leaf discoloration), chemical signals to other plants, taste, smell, visual, how other plants respond, vibrancy, etc.
Plants also ask for what they need by virtue of where they grow, triggering water release if possible (olla irrigation again – the plants trigger additional osmotic release by root growth and pulling water into the roots), and also responding to nutrients in the soil.
How you perceive plant communication is a function of knowledge, observation, possibly synesthesia, and Gladwell’s ideas of Thinslicing also come in to play. As does Neuro Linquistic Programming, although I didn’t mention that by name. So while I may describe an interactions in words, I recognize that the plant does not use words.
Being in relationship with plants is part of our DNA.
We also talked about Findhorn and plant Devas, the suggestion that utilizing that understanding is especially meaningful with psychoactive and other more powerful plants, that synthesis and other potentizing may remove some of that connection.
Finally, I spoke of the Gaia Hypothesis and how seeds are truly awesome and bring us to a state of wonder.
I forgot to mention a simple beginning of relating to plants, starting with trees that have patience. Of course. I would have liked to also talk about the difference between annuals, biennials, and perennials and relating to them.
There is a tree in Wurster park that is a few hundred years old, with a great view from a hill to the city below. I find that just hanging out with that tree, maybe with your back against the trunk, is a very special experience of communicating with plants. Certainly natures wonders – and that tree is one – can inspire thoughts and feelings that are unique in what they communicate.
I loved teaching the class, and am glad so many came from so many places in the world!

Garden Update

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Squash is the plant of this season. On purpose but also with a number of strong volunteers, we have more than 20 squash plants happy and loaded with blossoms. Zucchini, Acorn, Pumpkin, Spaghetti, Butternut, and ?? are all flourishing and winding their way throughout the garden so that each path is a bit difficult to walk through.

The beans are also tall and loaded with flowers. We got the pea pods in late but they ahve producing well, and we may have just had the last of those.

Tomatoes look strong and vigorous, but I am always concerned about them maturing fast enough.

The earlier best achiever was radishes – I’ve never had so many so fast. Radish butter and radish pickles helped ease the load there.

We just froze jalapenos and serrano peppers, as well as some broccoli steamed with garlic scapes. The broccoli was loaded with worms – a few dozen disgusting green worms hidden everywhere. It took a alot of work to get them out – they have ended up in the compost bin. I rinsed, I soaked, I used a fork to comb through them. Yuk. I feel confident that I got them all. Soaking worked the best.

My garden at home got in very late but I am planting late crops of chard, kale, collards, some cilantro, and most recently radishes spinach and I’ll look for some turnip seeds. TOm get some scraggly plants for a couple cents a piece and we’ll try them – Kohlrabi being the one most likely to succeed. I have green tomatoes here, they are in a pretty sunny spot.

Two more beds to clear and plant, they may go to kale and other greens but also turnips and onions.

The Ollas are working well, and we have another whole bunch in place and providing stady water – although the rain has been plentiful. Great for the seeds I just started.

We will have a well stocked winter! But also continuous food for the rest fo the summer and well into the fall, especially if these squash do as well as it looks like. I only got two pumpkins in and they weren’t the type I wanted. The volunteer is a pie pumpkin – I think – that was really tasty, but didn’t last as long as I had hoped. So I may have dozens of pumpkins to eat all fall and winter as well. Time to perfect my pumpkin pie recipe!

My Cars

Friday, July 11th, 2014

I was just at the Rolling Sculpture Car Show downtown. Many of the same cars come every year, but it is still fun to look at the older cars and think about this “car culture” that includes old beaten up hunks and the muscle car hot rods and the very expensive very sleek models.

i like the old cars, I liked seeing four electric cars sitting together – a brand new Tesla, a Citicar from the 70’s and two Detroit Electric cars from around 1920. A Volt would have been a good addition to those four.

I love seeing the old VW’s, probably because my first car was a 1965 VW Bug.

i like functional cars, so the very old trucks and cars with built in campers, the Jeeps and Land Rovers that look like they have been to Africa and back are also fun.

i learned to drive with a 1965 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon. Once I got the hang of the shift, I could drive the 1969 Red VW Squareback that we got in Germany. Both cars were what my parents had in 1975 when I was practicing for the drivers test. But I got my license the morning of my 16th birthday driving my boyfriends parents green Plymouth sedan – we didn’t think my parents’ cars would pass the car part of the inspection.

A year or so later my dad got a huge Ford truck. In the 70’s cars were still mostly small. No minivans, only a few other pick up trucks. When I drove the truck I was above all of the traffic. And it had this powerful engine with a passing gear that was awesome. I drove that truck a lot.

As I was leaving home the got a Dodge Colt, a little blue thing that was pretty cheaply made. I set them up with a relatively new Datsun that a friend was selling before moving to Australia. That was a really nice car.

On my own, I biked or walked almost everywhere. I sometimes would borrow my parent’s car for a longer trip but it was a hassle to go and get it. I didn’t own my first car until 1981. I cashed in my penny collection (a bit over $200) and sold my waterbed (another $200) and bought a dark blue 1965 VW Bug. It was great fun and worth every penny I paid for it. I called it Grover.

Eventually it began to cost a lot to repair, so I sold it for $200 and bought a 1971 Volvo from a family friend for $1,000 that seemed far safer. It was an automatic, which I didn’t like, but it did well for a couple of years until I sold it for $400 in about 1983. I found another 1965 VW that was in far better condition and had had some things like new seats put in. I drove that until 1987.

At that point I wanted something for hauling stuff and building, and I got a brand new Mazda B200 pick up truck. It was silver, and new, and seemed pretty amazing. I loved having a new vehicle and I loved having a truck. In 1995 I inherited some money and also a sudden fear of that truck. It didn’t ave any safety features, including no head rests. I got another new truck, a 1995 Ford Ranger with an extended cab. It was purple, is was roomy, and that thing hauled all sorts of stuff for myself and for friends and for family.

I became very interested in cars that were different. I wanted an electric car but the pricing made that impossible. I saw a smart car and fell in love. Since I don’t drive much it seemed perfect as a little city car, but with four airbags it would also be the safest car I’d ever owned, and the gas mileage was great. I had to wait a year before one was available, but in November of 2008 I brought one home.

I tried to keep my truck for the next year or so, but it was getting old and expensive and there was no place to put it. I had to keep leaving it with other people. So I finally gave up and was happy that a friend wanted it for his son. I got to borrow it back a few times over the years, and that was fun.

That’s it. Just 6 cars in all those years.
I’ve had as many bicycles. I started with a tiny green thing with training wheels when I was about 5, and soon got a gold “real” bike. I’m thinking it was a 3 speed Robin Hood, but I’m not sure if that is right.

So that lasted from about age 6 or 7 until I was in Junior High. I didn’t ride much the next few years, but when I moved away from home in 1977 I got a really nice Motobecan that lasted until 1995. I gave it away to a guy who had just moved here from Honduras. I got a purple Bianchi then, and loved it until just last fall when everything seemed to fail at the same time.

I was lucky to be gifted with a great Canondale that is so far better than any bike I had before, it is a real pleasure to ride. So I’ve been pretty easy on the bikes as well. Most have lasted a very long time.

I hope I am now set for the foreseeable future. Bike and car paid for, reliable, and in good shape.

Marijuana – now we get to ask more questions

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The decriminalization of marijuana is essential. I’m thrilled it is slowly taking place. I wish it was more rapid. When I taught 9th graders about drugs and addiction it was hard to explain why a seriously addictive substance like tobacco was legal, a potentially devastating drink like alcohol was considered normal, and marijuana could land you in prison.

I’ve always considered education and treatment to be a better way to deal with drug abuse than incarceration.

One of the serious problems we are now facing is that because marijuana was illegal and “bad” for so long, we haven’t done the studies – the research and the investigation of what the positive effects are, what are the true down sides, and especially what are the long term consequences.

Here is what I’ve observed.

Casual occasional use is no problem for most people. It isn’t a gateway drug, it is a pleasant easy high, and not much of a big deal. Daily use seems to be a big problem for some, a moderate concern for others. Getting high every day is possibly diagnostic of other issues – no matter the substance. Someone who needs to smoke daily is likely self medicating or covering up issues that would be better dealt with. But there is nothing special about marijuana in making that statement. It is generally true.

I’ve had a number of clients – male – who smoked a lot and actually started developing enlarged breast tissue and had other brain changes that seemed to be clearly related to lots of marijuana use. Depression, isolation, lack of motivation, failed or incomplete projects. When they stopped or drastically cut down on their marijuana use they were changed physically as well as a lot more started going well in their lives. About a dozen guys in total took it to that degree, but it is worth noting.

I’ve seen a number of female clients who were long term chronic users, and mostly they were just having trouble with motivation, being known for being chronically late, and they talked about not living their dreams and being frustrated and even depressed. A much smaller sample of about 5 or 6. Again, cutting way back or stopping was very helpful in a sudden ability to do some powerful and effective work.

Now I’m seeing some very long term users – male and female – who I would say have some alarming similarities. After 40 plus years of using, personalty changes that include anger, bullying, lacking skills for conflict resolution, distortion of facts and reality, holding grudges from many years ago, even paranoia. These are not traits I would normally link to marijuana at all, yet the common thread of very long term use is there. Is there something else that happens with long regular term use?

I’ve talked to other people who are equally curious to know if there is a link. They have seen similar behavioral changes in long term users and wonder if marijuana might be contributing to the negative personality changes we’re observing. It is also possible that this type of personality is attracted to marijuana for self soothing and self medicating. But It would be very good to know what are the effects of very long term (more than 3-4 decades) use of marijuana.

We may have many more very long term users, now that it is more acceptable to use marijuana. It would be valuable to have honest and serious research so we can understand the value in marijuana’s use, especially its medical use. I have had a number of clients and friends who have benefited greatly from its use, especially for appetite stimulation during chemotherapy and while using other drugs that created nausea or lack of interest in eating. What about hemp oil and cancer? Knowledge on the many characteristics of this herb would be invaluable. Can we finally get to the point where we can collect and disseminate some honest information?

I do expect the good news to outweigh the bad. I also expect that just like so many drugs, this potent herb is just not a good choice for a fair number of people. If we know what and why that will help people make the choice that is best for them.

I enjoyed smoking marijuana when I was a teenager. There was a period of time when I got high five nights a week to watch “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”. It was a great show to watch stoned. With sobriety with alcohol, the marijuana fell away as well. I’m not a fan of smoking at all, and ingestion was always too intense. So it isn’t something I’ve done or even wanted to do for many years. So I’m watching all of this as a non-user.

I look forward to the learning ahead of us, and hope it will be helpful and without the influence of money and the lies that used to be told to scare people away from drugs in general and marijuana especially.

Why Work From Home?

Monday, July 7th, 2014

I’ve had a home-based office for all but one of my 34 years in private practice. While there are some challenges and problems, it is well worth it for me. First, the downside.
– there isn’t as much of a line between work and time off. What is left to do is often sitting in front of me. I can’t get away from work easily.
– I loose some privacy with clients coming to my home and seeing y messes, the untended garden, or other projects.
– I’m responsible for making sure they can drive or walk here when it snows.
– if other people are around there can be noise or distractions.
– my dogs want to meet and greet whoever is here, and bark when people come and go.
– there are some people who are put off by the non-clinical setting. I’ve lost some referrals because MDs are as comfortable referring to a home-based office.
– it can be isolating, and there are no office holiday parties or people to share space with.

On the positive side:
– my overhead is far less, and that is a savings I can pass on to clients. I count it as at least $20 less per hour that I have to charge. That makes a big difference.
– my life is easier. I can eat lunch at home, walk the dog, do some gardening, or other things while waiting for clients and between sessions.
– my books, computer, and other materials I might need are right here and handy if I need them for a client. I have salves, oils, and other herbs available to give to clients.
– my dogs can be part of the sessions and don’t spend as much time alone waiting for me to come home.
– I can set up my office as I like, and utilize more energy saving and environmentally friendly options.
– when a client doesn’t show up (like right now as I write this) I have plenty to do at home, at a remote office my options for filling up that time are more limited.
– I save time by not commuting. I have more flexibility with scheduling and can have gaps in my schedule without concern about how to fill time.
– I am not carrying laundry back and forth. And there is a lot of laundry.
– if a client is early I can often be flexible, and even sometimes when they are late.

I like working from home. I’m very grateful that I have that option. I think it has made a huge difference in being able to do the work I love for so long.