Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight

Oprah has a 4-part interview of Jill Bolte Taylor available as a web cast. It originated on her XM channel. I listened to the first 2 parts in the car today (they're short, 15 minutes each I think). It's definitely worth listening to. Here's the blurb from Oprah's site and a link to where you can
watch or download it:

"Jill Bolte Taylor

When she was a young girl, brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor became
fascinated with the functions of the human brain. Jill, one of Time
magazine's 100 most influential people of 2008, has a brother with
schizophrenia, and his brain disorder led Jill to dedicate her career
to studying severe mental illnesses as a Harvard-trained
neuroanatomist. While she worked to uncover the differences between the
brains of people born with mental illnesses and those who were not,
something remarkable happened to Jill's own brain—it went silent.

On December 10, 1996, at age 37, Jill awoke with intense pain behind
her left eye—a blood vessel had exploded in the left hemisphere of her
brain, and within hours, Jill could no longer walk, talk, read or
write. She was suffering from an arteriovenous malformation—a rare type
of stroke. While Jill struggled to phone for help, she was aware that
the left hemisphere of her brain was shutting down, taking with it her
language, organizing and other analytical skills. Without the dominant
left side of her brain controlling her thoughts, Jill says her mind
went silent, leaving only the right side of the brain functioning.
Through the right side of her brain, Jill says her consciousness
shifted away from reality—and the trauma her body was suffering
through—and into a place of inner peace and Nirvana.

The experience was life-changing. Not only did Jill face years of
recovery after her stroke—and major brain surgery to remove a large
blood clot in her brain—she also discovered a better quality of life
through increased use of the right hemisphere of her brain. She's now
an artist as well as a scientist, creating anatomically correct
stained-glass replicas of brains that are sold as fine art. She's also
published My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.
The book explains in scientific detail exactly what happened during
Jill's stroke and how she recovered. It also takes a closer look at how
the right hemisphere of the brain works and how Jill says people with
normal brains can access it to find their own inner peace and improve
their quality of life and the lives of others."


The Importance of Dead Trees

"How is a Dead Tree Good?

Snag Facts With Impacts

** Over five hundred species of birds, three hundred species of mammals, four hundred species of amphibians and reptiles and nearly all fish benefit from snags for food, nesting or shelter.

** Only thirty bird species are capable of making their own nest cavities in trees. Another eighty animal species depend upon previously excavated or natural tree holes for their nests.

** The insulation of a tree trunk home allows many animal species to survive high summer and low winter temperature extremes.

** Tree cavities and loose bark are used by many animals to store their food supplies.

** Insects living in dead wood eat thousands of forest pests which can harm living trees.

** Fish and amphibians hide under trees that have fallen into the water.

** Woodpeckers and creepers feast on the wood-eating insects and provide "sawdust" for ants to process. Deer eat the lichen growing on the trunks.

** Standing dead trees, called snags, provide birds and mammals with shelter to raise young and raptors with unobstructed vantage points.

Cavity Nesters

Primary cavity nesters - Animals in this group can construct or make their own holes in snags. Examples include woodpeckers and nuthatches. Some primary cavity nesters excavate more than one hole annually. Many of these cavities are subsequently used by other wildlife.

Secondary cavity nesters - Animals in this group utilize old abandoned holes which were excavated by primary cavity nesters. Secondary cavity nesters include bluebirds, swallows. small owls, kesterels, and several flycatchers. These animals are dependent upon primary cavity nesters to provide them with suitable nesting holes from year to year.

The Cycle of Life

Each thing in nature has its place and part to play in the ever changing cycle of life and death. Snags and the wildlife that utilize them each play one or more roles in the "life cycle". Often the process which creates the snag, such as death-dealing insect attacks, provide food for the wildlife species that eventually utilize the snag for a home. Over 30 snag-associated species of birds and mammals feed on insects, thus helping to keep them in check. Most birds of prey that utilize snags live on small mammals such as mice, rabbits and gophers which are often destroyers of young trees. So the snag, often the result of destructive insects, plays a role in, the control of the other animals in the cycle of life.

Meeting Wildlife Needs

Habitat requirements of the various wildlife that use snags for nesting vary. Although snags do present some degree of a fire hazard, management guidelines must be tailored to fit the local needs of the particular kind of wildlife found in your area. For this reason you should contact the Forest Service office in your local area before cutting snags for fuel wood.

Uses of Snags

Snags provide homes for many kinds of wildlife. Included in the total are the following:

19 birds of prey
9 kinds of woodpeckers
5 kinds of ducks
22 kinds of songbirds
15 kinds of small mammals (including bats)
3 kinds of furbearers
6 kinds of squirrels and chipmunks
Home for Wildlife

Snags are used for: exterior nesting (birds of prey, brown creepers), interior (cavity) nesting (song birds, woodpeckers, squirrels), hunting perches (birds of prey, flycatchers), perching and singing (songbirds), communication (woodpeckers), food storage (small mammals), protection from weather (many groups), food source (insect eating birds), resting (bats, birds of prey, most groups), roosting (birds of prey, turkey, bandtail pigeon)

Spare That Snag!"


Sunday, May 25, 2008


I planted several herbs, but I have never cooked with fresh herbs.

I was looking at potato recipes for dinner to use up the red potatoes and found one with rosemary, so I thought I'd try it with my fresh rosemary. However, when I went out and smelled the rosemary I wasn't sure I would like it. From what I've read, it tastes like lemon and pine. That doesn't sound very appetizing to me. LOL

I am sure I've even foods with rosemary in them, but I don't recall ever having cooked with it.

I ended up just making the potatoes like I did to go with the pork loin chops before - olive oil, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, pepper and this time sea salt instead of regular salt.

Maybe I should have used some fresh oregano. I need to experiment with these things, or how will I ever know?? Maybe I can use the rosemary in some other way...

Rosemary, both fresh and dried, has numerous cosmetic, decorative, medicinal, and culinary uses, besides its ornamental appeal. The aromatic oil is added to soaps, creams, lotions, perfumes, and toilet waters. The leaves can be used in sachets and potpourris, as well as in herbal baths, facial steams, hair rinses, and dyes. Rosemary is used as an astringent and cleanser in bath and beauty products. Rosemary water is often called Hungary water since one of the Queens of Hungary was said to bathe in rosemary water everyday, and that she was so beautiful even in old age that she was asked for her hand in marriage at the age of 75.

Long included in herbalists' stores, rosemary is used as an antiseptic and astringent. Sixteenth century Europeans carried it in pouches and in the heads of walking sticks to ward off the plague, and judges placed it on their benches to protect them from typhoid. Until recently, rosemary purified the air in French hospitals. It has been prescribed for depression, headaches, muscle spasms, pains, sores, eczema, bruises, wounds, and to restore digestion. Studies show rosemary leaves increase circulation, reduce headaches and fight bacterial and fungal infections. It contains many compounds that are reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, usually a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Japanese researchers find it promising for removing wrinkles. However, prolonged handling of fresh rosemary plants or using cosmetics scented with rosemary oil may cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.

Rosemary is used to flavor poultry, fish, lamb, beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, potatoes, vinegars, and herbal butters. Both the flowers and leaves of rosemary can be used in cooking and for garnishes, and woody branches can even be used as skewers for barbecues.


Hungary water was first invented for the Queen of Hungary to "renovate vitality of paralysed limbs." It was used externally and prepared by mixing 180g of fresh rosemary tops in full flower into a liter of spirits of wine. Leave to stand for four days then distill. It is also supposed to work as a remedy against gout if rubbed vigorously on hands and feet.[3]

Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance (during weddings, war commemorations and funerals) in Europe, probably as a result of this reputation.[citation needed] Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." One modern study lends some credence to this reputation. When the smell of rosemary was pumped into cubicles where people were working, those people showed improved memory, though with slower recall.[4] A second study shows that carnosic acid, found in rosemary, shields the brain from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's.[5]

Don Quixote (Chapter XVII, 1st volume) mixes it in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras with revolting results.

Health Precautions: In some cases, rosemary can cause autoimmune diseases. Rosemary in culinary or therapeutic doses is generally safe; however, precaution is necessary for those displaying allergic reaction or prone to epileptic seizure. Rosemary essential oil is a powerful convulsant; if applied to the skin, it may cause seizures in otherwise healthy adults or children.[6] Rosemary essential oil is potentially toxic if ingested. Large quantities of rosemary leaves can cause adverse reactions, such as coma, spasm, vomiting, and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) that can be fatal. Avoid consuming large quantities of rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding.[7]

Rosemary may also be useful in the prevention and treatment of headlice.[8]

Rosemary, for example, a cup of rosemary tea, can cause drowsiness.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Skin Care

I've been using Avon's Anew Alternative day and night formulas. I like it okay. But a friend turned me onto the Oil Cleaning Method (OCM) and I am giving it a try, because it's a more natural approach.

I've only done it twice so far. Basically I'm using a mixture of 2/3 extra virgin olive oil and 1/3 castor oil. Basically you massage the oil into your face, then steam it with a hot washcloth. My skin feels great afterward!

It doesn't seem like you should clean oily skin with oil, but it actually does make sense knowing that you use oil to remove oil (as we learned when Roscoe jumped in the oil pan and the only thing that would take the motor oil off was vegetable oil). I had also tried some olive oil products for cleansing and moisturizing that I got as samples.

You only do the OCM a couple of times a week. I'm not sure what I should use as a daily moisturizer. One thing I like about the Anew is the 25 spf. So when I was shopping for supplements on luckyvitamin.com I checked out their skin care as well and they have a large selection. I decided to try Kiss My Face's every day moisturizer, which is their olive oil and aloe moisturizer with 15 spf sunscreen added. I am anxious to try it. I think I'm going to moisturize at night with straight olive oil at least a few nights a week. I guess I have to experiment to find out what exactly works best for me.

I've also started using mineral makeup. Right now I'm using Physician's Formula face powder and Avon blush and eye shadow. I like it a lot so far. Although I may try a different powder, just because I read reviews after buying the Physician's Formula and I think it was L'Oreal that was rated very highly.

I'll let you know how all of this goes.

More on OCM:

"The reasons we have so much trouble with mainstream skin care products are numerous, but two reasons, in particular, lead the pack. These products strip the oil out of our skin, leaving our largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the oil stripped away. This leaves us in a cycle of being tight and dry followed by the inevitable oil slick. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of moisture by creating more oil. On top of the drying effects, these products are highly-scented. Fragrance is one of the top skin irritants and strangely enough, even the so-called "unscented" products usually contain fragrance. See for yourself and check the labels. Dry, irritated skin replaced by oily skin, inflamed and trapping debris?

If we know what our body is going to do and understand the process, we can then understand what it takes to control it and achieve the results we want. Clear skin is attainable.

Getting right down to basics, when cleansing and moisturizing your skin, it is imperative that you keep in mind that oil dissolves oil. Your skin naturally lubricates itself with oil, and as we are creatures of adaptation, one can believe that if this weren't the appropriate built-in care for ourselves, our bodies would have adapted to suit the need.
Do not be afraid of applying oil to your face. Oil, alone, will not bring you blemishes. Pimples, cysts, zits, blackheads, whiteheads...these are a result of several different factors including hormones, bacteria, dead skin cells and the buildup of these factors. Your skin naturally produces oil because it needs it. It is not a malicious force to be reckoned with; it is there for the benefit of your skin, allowing your largest organ to function properly. It is naturally occurring. Not only does your natural oil help lubricate, it also heals, protects, and moisturizes your skin so that it may function properly. Properly functioning skin is beautiful, clear, and glowing. Learning to work with your skin, not against it, will save you tremendously.
The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.

Choose vegetable oils for facial massage

We will need two oils. The first, and most importantly, is Castor Oil. If you don't have this medicine cabinet staple already, it can be found online or in the laxative section of your grocer or drugstore - usually bottom shelf. Castor Oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties, but is also healing and cleansing, which is why we're focusing on this oil as our primary oil. Castor Oil has been the focus of many books and medical discussion because of its seemingly "magical" healing properties. As quoted in The Oil That Heals by Dr. McGarey, he states, "Castor oil will leave the body in better condition than it found it." Though it may be our most important oil, we won't be using it in the amounts that we will the other oil (or combination of oils for those who want to take this a step further). A little bit of Castor Oil goes a long way and too much will leave you, surprisingly, with dry skin.

Since Castor Oil is so thick and its cleansing properties so strong, we need to dilute it with another oil, thinner in consistency, but no less nurturing to the skin. Sunflower Seed Oil has become my personal favorite, though in the past, I've suggested Extra Virgin Olive Oil. "

Lots more info here: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

Dr. Weil on vitamins and supplements

I really respect and admire Dr. Weil. He is a Harvard educated physician and a believer in integrative medicine. I'm buying supplements today and was looking for more information and found this.

"In a special three-part series, the
“Today” show tries to clear up some of the confusion surrounding
vitamins. We know they're important to our health, but what's the best
way to get vitamins and which ones do we really need? Dr. Andrew Weil,
author and director of the program in integrative medicine at the
University of Arizona in Tucson, was invited on the “Today” show to
navigate through the nutrition maze.

it comes to obtaining the micronutrients your body needs, your best
possible source is food, especially fruits and vegetables. But
circumstances may prevent you from eating optimally every day. The main
reason I take supplements is for insurance against gaps in my diet.
Also, researchers are finding that some important vitamins (D and E
particularly) and minerals are protective against disease in amounts
that may be difficult to obtain through diet alone, no matter how
conscientious you are. This is another reason I take supplements
faithfully and encourage my patients to do so as well."

Lots more here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9402607/

Dr. Weil sells supplements also. On his website, he has a questionnaire you can fill out and it will give you advice on what you should take. You can buy from him (expensive) or like I did just have the results emailed to you and you have that to refer to when you're shopping.


I do think his products must be very good. I've been taking his omega-3 complex already for the past few months, because he submits his fish oil to an independent tester I linked to some time ago. But they are expensive. If I could afford it right now, I would buy from him. He'll send you packets to take daily with the supplements you want, and I think you can have them automatically shipped to you every month. But I did find a less expensive alternative I'm going to order from today. Lucky Vitamin had excellent reviews as a store and they have great prices. For example, the omega-3 I'm taking is less than half the cost of the same thing on Drugstore.com (where I bought it last time, but it was on sale then). Here's the link:


I haven't actually purchased from them yet but I'm going to. They seem to have a good selection of products.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I has roses

I love the first roses of the season!!

First, my favorite, the Jackson & Perkins Sunbright hybrid tea rose. I adore this rose. Unfortunately, so do the Japanese beetles. But they aren't here yet.

The Jackson Perkins Cherry Parfait floribunda rose. Not nearly as pretty. But does bloom a lot. It was actually the first to bloom.

I have two other bushes, a red hybrid tea called Mirandy (not JP) I thought I'd killed but it is alive! It is very small though and has one tiny bud on it. The second is my new Jackson Perkins Brigadoon hybrid tea that I just got this year. It doesn't have any buds just yet. It does appear to be healthy and growing though.

Hungry Girl's Sangria-Seltzer Twist

"Cocktail Time!

When you’re at someone else’s BBQ, your beverage choices may be limited. But before you give up and start guzzling the frozen margaritas (which can contain as much as 500 calories each!), try our clever Sangria-Seltzer Twist! Easy to assemble -- anywhere, anytime!

HG’s Sangria-Seltzer Twist - Grab a glass and make a beeline for the fruit tray. No fruit tray? Hit up the bar for slices of orange, lemon, and lime. Give your favorite fruit wedges a little squeeze before dropping them into your glass. Add 1 oz. of liquor (rum or vodka is yummy) and top with calorie-free seltzer. If your party-throwers are winos, top your glass with a splash of red or blush wine. Now you’ve got a fancy, signature drink that only contains around 100 calories!"


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are."

~ Osho

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Saturday

We had lunch at Rio downtown. We haven't been going there since we like Casa Garcia so much better but it was really good today. And it is closer. Since we were at the mall, it was convenient.

We went to the mall to get Husband a hair cut and some (smaller!) jeans, but his hairdresser called in sick. I picked up some hair products for myself at Trade Secrets. Then we got two pair of jeans for Husband at Penney's.

Then it was off to do grocery shopping. We usually go to the Kroger's closest to us, in Elkview. But I wanted to go to the one in South Hills specifically to see if they had California Pizza Kitchen garlic chicken frozen pizza. Our Elkview has the brand, but they only have 2 kinds (one of which is the sicilian which is EXCELLENT, and has a surprisingly reasonable amount of fat).

I am never going back to the Elkview Kroger again! The South Hills Kroger had all of the CPK pizzas!! We got the sicilian and garlic chicken and margherita. They have a much better selection of EVERYTHING. A wonderful produce section with a large selection of organic. Sushi (yuck). A great meat counter. And best of all, our checkout person was fast and efficient, and we had TWO people bagging our groceries. At my Kroger, I usually bag half our groceries!! And if there is a bagger, they are usually terrible at it. I am a better bagger than most of the Elkview baggers and I am an amateur! LOL It's also nice that they have those check out counters where you don't have to take your groceries out of the cart. Definitely my new grocery store of choice.

After we got home we did a little work outside. Husband got the gutters cleaned out. They were pretty stopped up in the back and the water overflow was washing dirt out of my veggie garden. I used the decaying leaves we got out of them to fill in the garden. I also got my new plants in containers. And moved my pansies to new containers. And weeded a little. I need to get out there and get the side bed weeded and mulched the rest of the way. My cherry parfait roses are blooming, and my yellow rose bush out front is just about blooming.The alyssum I grew from seed is blooming too. I think I'm going to plant it in the front bed, where I also moved my small everblooming daylillies (or whatever they're called). I have purple pansies in that bed too but the slugs eat them all as soon as they bloom!!


25 uses for olive oil

Thanks to a friend, I'm going to try the oil cleansing method and I'll report on that later. But I was wondering what other things I can use olive oil for.

"1. Shave. Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. Rub in an extra teaspoon after washing your body or face once finished. [I got a free sample of some kind of shaving oil and really like it, and I was wondering earlier if I should try olive oil for shaving. So maybe I will!]

2. Wood Furniture Polish. Wipe with a teaspoon of olive oil and a soft rag. Add a bit of vinegar of citrus juice to bulk up the cleaning power, and add a fresh scent.

3. Fingernails. Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or mix oil and water and soak your hands before a manicure.

4. Lubricate Measuring Cups and Spoons. Rub or spray olive oil on your measuring tools for easy clean-up of sticky substances like honey, grain mustards, and sugar syrups,

5. Control hair frizz. Comb a bit of olive oil through dry hair to tame the frizz and flyaways on humid days or in the winter.

6. Free a stuck zipper. Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the teeth of a zipper, then gently ease the tab down.

7. Care for your kitty. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, and provide a shiny coat.

8. DIY Lip balm. Mix olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio, with an essential oil for fragrance, and say goodbye to dry and chapped lips.

9. Stop Snoring. Take a sip of olive oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop yourself, or your partner, from snoring.

10. Shine stainless steel and brass. Rub a bit of olive oil on a clean rag to prevent streaks, corrosion, and tarnish.

11. Exfoliate your face and hands. Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.

12. As you bathe. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your running bath water. You’ll be amazed when you towel off.

13. Remove makeup. Dab a bit under your eyes, on your cheeks and forehead, then wipe with a damp cloth.

14. Cure an earache. Very carefully, use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.

15. Remove paint from your skin. Rub on olive oil onto messy hand and arms (or faces) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes, then rinse with soap and water.

16. Treat lice. Apply olive oil to your youngster’s hair, and leave on for at least 40 minutes. Shampoo twice, then apply a preventative.

17. Stop a throat tickle. Take a sip of olive oil to stop the itchy flicker that is making you cough.

18. Fix a squeaky door. Use a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge in your home or automobile.

19. Shoe polish. Rub down your shoes with just a spray of olive oil to maintain their shine.

20. Personal Lubricant. It works…

21. Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.

22. Easy clean up of garden tools. Spritz some olive oil on your tools to cut down on dirt buildup.

23. Condition leather. Rub olive oil into worn leather, such as a baseball glove, and let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.

24. As a hair tonic. Comb some olive oil through your hair for the vintage look of pomade without the build-up, or add a bit to wet hair for grungy, but clean, look.

25. Cure diaper rash. Gently wipe on olive oil to your baby’s bottom to help with the irritation of diaper rash."

Source: http://www.curbly.com/Chrisjob/posts/1799-25-Alternative-Uses-for-Olive-Oil-

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add on for firefox that lets you post to blogs & facebook

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lethargic? Take a Walk

"Eknath Easwaran’s Thought for the Day
May 16

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.
– Samuel Johnson

Plain old inertia is the underlying cause of many of our day-to-day difficulties. You will be feeling listless, oppressed, weighted down by lassitude; you won’t want to do anything at all. You may feel persecuted: “Why shouldn’t I sit around if I feel like it?” You may feel you are not in the best condition physically, with aches and pains that nobody understands.

To release yourself from this inertia, the first step is physical. The worst thing you can do is rest. Rest is what you have been doing; what is required is to get moving on something. Superficial physical symptoms may come by way of protest: a dull, throbbing headache, nerves on edge, a head as heavy as your heart. Get up and go for a walk – and walk fast, even if you don’t feel equal to it. Try to walk a little faster than you feel you can.

After ten minutes or so you will find yourself breaking through that physical lethargy. Keep walking, and you will see that the rhythm of your breathing has improved, your spirits are lighter, you are ready to face the next challenge of the day.


National Geographic Wallpaper

Gorgeous photos from national parks:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Honoring All Experiences (even the bad ones)

"May 15, 2008
When Pain Comes Our Way
Honoring All Experiences

Honoring the experiences we have in our lives is an invaluable way to communicate with life, our greatest teacher. We do this when we take time at night to say what we are thankful for about our day and also when we write in a journal. Both of these acts involve consciously acknowledging the events of our lives so that they deepen our relationship to our experiences. This is important because it brings us into closer connection with life, and with the moment. Only when we acknowledge what’s happening to us can we truly benefit from life’s teachings.

It is especially important when pain comes our way to honor the experience, because our natural tendency is to push it away and move past it as quickly as possible. We tend to want to brush it under the rug. Yet, if we don’t, it reveals itself to be a great friend and teacher. As counterintuitive as it seems, we can honor pain by thanking it and by welcoming it into the space of our lives. We all know that often the more we resist something, the longer it persists. When we honor our pain, we do just the opposite of resisting it, and as a result, we create a world in which we can own the fullness of what life has to offer.

We can honor a painful experience by marking it in some way, bringing ourselves into a more conscious relationship with it. We might mark it by creating a work of art, performing a ritual, or undertaking some other significant act. Sometimes all we need to do is light a candle in honor of what we’ve gone through and what we’ve learned. No matter how small the gesture, it will be big enough to mark the ways in which our pain has transformed us, and to remind us to recognize and value all that comes our way in this life."


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vatican says we can believe in aliens

Well I'm glad we got this cleared up!

"VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican's chief astronomer says that believing in aliens does not contradict faith in God. The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes says that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures.

The interview was headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother." Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom. "

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D90KSE100&show_article=1

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day 08

As you may know, every year for mother's day my mom, sister and niece go on a little trip together. This year due to money and time issues we decided to just stay around home and have a sleepover at Mom's.

Saturday Mom, Sis and I spent the afternoon in Huntington. Niece didn't think that sounded very exciting, so she opted to stay home and go to her soccer game and join us later. We had great weather and a pleasant drive up. We had lunch at our fav restaurant, Chili Willi's and shopped at Pullman Square. I used to live in Huntington but Pullman Square was built after I moved away. And even though I go there at least a few times a year if not more, I had never been there! I don't think I had ever even driven by it. It's such a nice, pretty area. There are several restaurants and shops, a horse drawn carriage you can ride, and a pretty fountain (where we took the pics I posted yesterday). It was also graduation day for Marshall University so there were a lot of people around. There's a very nice book store there, Empire Books and News and that's the only place at Pullman Square I bought anything, Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life", which I've been meaning to get for some time. I guess I'll put it with the pile of other books I intend to read. :-O I haven't even finished A New Earth yet!

After we left Pullman Square we drove by Ritter Park just to enjoy the view. Did some more shopping on the way home at the new Wal-Mart in Hurricane. Then picked up Niece and spent the rest of the evening at Mom's eating pizza, talking and playing 20 Questions.

On Sunday the weather was not as good and it rained and stormed most of the day. We picked up Nephew and went to Cracker Barrel for brunch. Then drove to Charleston to the Barack Obama HQ to try to get tickets to see him speak the next day, but they'd already been given away.

We stopped by the Capitol Market to shop for flowers and plants. Then a trip to Dairy Queen for dessert.

After we took Mom home, Sis and I and the kids went to my Dad's to take flowers to Step-Mom and had a short visit with them. I dropped Sis and her family off at the house and then headed home.

We had a great time and we all agered it didn't matter where we go for our "trip", so long as we do it together. I think we had as much fun staying around here as we have anywhere else we've gone. I love hanging out with my family. I am so lucky to have them.

DVR Alert: Brian Weiss

From Hay House:

"Watch Dr. Brian Weiss on Oprah!
Hay House author Brian Wiess, M.D., bestselling author of Many Lives, Many Masters, will be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show this coming Tuesday, May 13th, 2008!

Dr. Weiss astonished the world of psychiatry with his theories of past-life regression therapy and has become known as the nation’s foremost expert in the field. Dr. Weiss is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami. The theme of the show will focus on his work exploring past life regressions. Details are posted here: http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200805/tows_past_20080513.jhtml

Mark your calendar now to ensure you tune in to The Oprah Winfrey Show scheduled to air across the United States on May 13th, 2008. Check local listings for show times in your area."

This week's quote

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks about changing themselves." - John Randolph

Friday, May 09, 2008

Whitewater Grill (for Charleston folks)

Whitewater Grill at the Marriott has a lunch buffet every day - around $8 which includes your drink. Wednesday is Husband's favorite day (roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, etc.). Tuesday is make your own taco day - we haven't been to that one yet.

Friday is fish day. Today they had salmon with a Marker's Mark glaze, wild rice, mixed vegetables and german chocolate cake.

I don't like salmon so I ordered quesadillas from the menu. All the food we have had there has been very good. Maybe next week we'll figure out what chicken day is and go then.


testing Facebook's BlogIt application, which will cross post to LJ, Blogger, Facebook mini-feed and twitter

8 Healthy Habits for Weight Loss

"Eat slowly. Chewing and swallowing your food at a leisurely pace can help you keep from overeating. ... It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to "tell" you when you feel full. Until then, you continue to feel hungry and want to eat. ... .

Make changes gradually. Don't expect to change your diet and activity level overnight. Instead of switching all at once to a low-calorie eating plan, try gradually decreasing the calories of your meals and snacks. ... .

Keep a record. Keeping a daily log of what you eat and what physical activities you engage in can help keep you motivated to stay with your diet and exercise plan. ... .

Seek social support. You'll find it easier to maintain behavioral changes if you have the support and encouragement of others. ... .

Use a list when buying food. Stick to your grocery list, and steer clear of those aisles or areas with the kinds of calorie-dense foods that you need to avoid.

Out of sight, out of mind. At home, put the most tempting foods high up in the cupboard, at the very back of the fridge, or in other inconvenient spots. ... .

Don't go all out when eating out. Eat a low-calorie snack before going out; you're less likely to go off your diet if you're feeling full when you get to the party or restaurant. Go elsewhere for after-dinner coffee so you are less tempted to segue right into dessert.

Make a plan for special occasions. Decide how much you're going to eat before an event, and do your best to stick with that plan. ... .

Be a copycat. When eating with a group of people, look around. Who's eating the least? Who has the healthiest food on their plate? Model your eating habits on those people's.

Find physical activities that you enjoy. For example, if you don't like exercising outdoors on cold days, join a fitness club, or get an exercise bicycle and hand weights to use at home. If the problem is a time crunch, exercise in increments of 10 minutes whenever you have the time — before work, after work, or during your lunch hour.

Reduce stress. If you overeat when you are under stress, find a stress-reduction method that works for you: meditation, relaxation techniques, listening to music, exercising, or talking to a friend."

More here: How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off: Adopting Healthier Habits

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Container Gardening

Along with my plants in the ground, I have one tomato, one cucumber and one green pepper plant in containers. As well as one tomato in an upside down container, with basil planted on the top of the planter.

I still need to go back and get a grape tomato plant (I thought I had one but got the wrong one) and rosemary. Maybe garlic too, if I can find some.

Some info on container gardening:

"Here is a sample of things you can grow at home.

Small pots can be used to grow herbs of all kinds: basil, chives, oregano, rosemary and many more

Crops in an 8 inch pot: garlic

Crops for a 2 gallon pot: cucumber, squash, peppers, eggplant

Crops that can be grown in a 5 gallon windowbox: lettuce, onion, radishes, spinach, carrots, beans

Crops for a 5 gallon pot: 1 plant each (3 in a 15 gallon pot): broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, chinese cabbage, tomatoes

More here: http://drknow.newsvine.com/_news/2008/01/19/1238898-container-gardening-for-city-folk-saving-money-on-food

Bug Bites

I have bug bites all over my lower arms, back of my hand, fingers and they are driving me CRAZY itching. At first I thought that it was because I walked down by the river Monday and they started getting bad Monday evening, but I think it must have been the gardening on Sunday, because I had my hands down in the dirt. The dirt I was working in had a bunch of little ants around it but I didn't think they were where I was working. And I saw several spiders too. I don't know but I hope it goes away.

I thought they were mosquito bites at first. I decided to try some home remedies last night for itch relief.

Salt. First I tried this. I wet the areas and rubbed them with salt. That did give some relief but it didn't last very long.

Deodorant: I rubbed stick deodorant over them when I went to bed. Nothing.

Toothpaste: Over top of the deodorant I rubbed toothpaste. That was probably the best but still didn't give complete relief.

Before I tried these I was using hydrocortisone and still am. I guess I just have to wait it out.

More home remedies for mosquito bites here:


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stop Thinking This is All There Is

Stop thinking this is all there is...

Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.

Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.

Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious... there's your opening!

And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.

Mark Morford (Adapted)
Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor

via Inspiration Peak

Advice from a Tree

Advice from a Tree
By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Copyright 1993-2003 Your True Nature, Inc. For Advice from a Tree books, journals, posters and other nature products, visit www.YourTrueNature.com or call 800-992-4769.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." - Samuel Butler

Hocking Hills Getaway

Last week Dave and I took a little vacation in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. Travelogue and photos are here: