Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give Away & lovely goodies!

Have you checked out Etsy?? It's a fun shop-on line place for all sorts of lovely handmade items! My dau-in law sells her great all in one diapers & fimo jewelry & such there - if you know anyone with a baby or expecting, these are the best! She also makes flannel 'wipes' that are simple to pack & a great alternative to disposables! (Angelbums). Other shops feature aprons, jewels, clothing, bags, . . . .

Today I found this fun GIVE AWAY over on Two Thousand Things blog, for this delightful swirly skirt from Albie's etsy shop! To enter, you need to visit Albie Heart's shop, & give a short review of your fav item(s) back at Tigerlily's blog, & post a link to the blog on your own, & linkback.
Oh, & I almost forgot!! You can order from Albie & receive a 30% discount if you enter the code found on the Two Thousand Things blog :) The sale is good through Sept 29.
The prize is one of Albie's fabulous "cry on my tissue skirt" - how fun! I want it!! Perfect for ballet class, don't you think?

Last night I got to the teen/adult ballet class, a nice relief from our sweltering 100+ heat! There was a record croud in the AM for our water aerobics class, & the pool was NICE & cool! I wore my new swimsuit from Pennys (70% off summer sale!) cool blue. I danced in my yellow cami top rather than changing into a leotard - ooo, now I want a yellow leotard!

Monday my oldest granddaughter took several 'sample' dance classes at another studio - tap, jazz, hip-hop - what fun! Like her mom, she's very flexible & a natural dancer - so fun to watch her trying new things! She'll begin classes next week, but stick with our 'world class' ballet studio for those classes!

Staying cool - remember when the snow was 2 feet deep, & we wondered when winter would end?? This week it's over 100*, & everyone is looking for cool spots to alight! On the weekend I was camping with the family & church friends on the N OR coast, lovely overcast & cool, lol! Almost noon, & it's110* IN THE SHADE!

A trip to a spa like my friend Gwynne, or a mountain stream sound good :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Eye blinks

This came from someone on the Coconut Oil Forum - a protocol written by his Ambrose who, at almost 80, doesn't wear glasses & has very good vision!
Like Ambrose, I read under the covers when I was a kid.
I've HAD glasses since I was ~ 13, but only wear glasses when driving, & now (at times) when reading. This is such a good compliation of the info I've reprinted the whole letter - I've done most of these at times over the years, several are new to me, too. My mom wore glasses throughout her life, my dad got reading glasses later in life, spent quite a bit of time outdoors - so changing focal distance frequently, & had his own eye exercises.

Ambrose wrote this for a young eye doc in the Phillapines - who wears glasses :)


"We tend to take it for granted that, as people grow older, they will get sicker. More specifically, we take it for granted that, as people grow older, their eyes will grow weaker and they will need stronger and stronger glasses. Neither assumption is valid. If people do get sicker as they grow older, that's less the inevitable accompaniment of aging than the cumulative effect of faulty living;; and, if the majority of people need glasses before they have reached the mid-point of their lives, that's less the result of aging than of years of ocular maltreatment. If people lived right, there would be very little illness; if people treated their eyes right, few of them would need glasses.

Eye health depends largely on three things -- an adequate supply of eye-specific nutrients, a healthy set of retinal capillaries and a healthy set of muscles to "operate" the eyes.

"The most important eye-specific nutrient is Vitamin A, which is an integral part of visual purple, the substance that turns the surface of the retina into a light-sensitive film. If Vitamin-A levels are low, vision deteriorates. Best food sources of the vitamin are orange/yellow vegetables or fruit such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes and papaya. People who demand much of their eyes are well advised to use Vitamin-A supplements.

"Vitamin A alone is not enough to ensure good eye health. Other structures that form part of the eye -- the vitreous body, the muscles that "operate" the eyes – need other nutrients for optimal performance, among them Vitamin C, the B Vitamins, and several trace minerals. A good and balanced diet of natural, unrefined and largely unprocessed foods can be relied on to supply them. If there is one food that seems to have been designed by nature as the all-round food of eye nutrients, it is sunflower seeds. Do your eyes and yourself a favor by having sunflower seeds handy regularly for in-between-meals snacks.

"There is one more nutrient which is of crucial importance for optimal eye performance, oxygen. When an ophthalmologist checks your eyes, one
of the things (s)he is particularly interested in is the condition of the tiny blood vessels called capillaries that criss-cross the retina. (S)he puts drops in your eyes that keep the pupils from contracting and then shines a light through them at the retina to have a good look at those capillaries. Healthy capillaries are necessary for an adequate supply of oxygen to the retina. How do you ensure that capillaries in the retina are in good shape?
For one, through good nutrition -- a diet that helps to keep the cardiovascular system clean --and then through adequate aerobic exercise.

"A diet that keeps blood vessels, large or small, clean is a diet low in foods of animal origin but high in unrefined foods of plant origin, in particular fresh fruit, legumes and whole grains.

"The kind of exercise that will put, and keep, your cardiovascular system in good shape is aerobic exercise, exercise which involves large groups of muscles and which makes your heart beat fast for an extended period of time such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming or a vigorous game of tennis. It may come as a surprise to you that a brisk walk of at least 45 minutes five times a week can make a big difference in the health of your eyes. It would of course be wrong to expect instant results; that is, to expect a big improvement in your vision if you walk or jog for only a week or two. It took years of physical inactivity for your cardiovascular system to deteriorate and it will take at least months for it to recover. But, if you persevere, your heart and all the blood vessels in your body, including the tiny capillaries that supply the retina with oxygen and other nutrients, will be rehabilitated. You will have taken a big step in the right direction towards the goal of rehabilitating your eyes.

"Apart from general aerobic exercise that benefits your whole body, there are several sets of exercises that are specific for your eyes. A big part of the process of seeing depends on the muscles that "operate" the eye. These muscles, like every muscle, need adequate exercise. If they don't get it, they deteriorate and perform the functions assigned to them either badly or not at all.

"We are talking about three sets of muscles here. One set, the muscles of accommodation, changes the shape of the lens so that images entering the eye appear properly focused; a second set of muscles, which move the eyeballs in their sockets, extend our ability to look left or right, up or down beyond the limits of the head's movements; a third set, finally, enables the eye to adjust to different light conditions by changing the "aperture" of the pupil. In bright light, the pupil contracts so as to protect the interior of the eye from too much light. But there is more to this narrowing of the lens opening. As with the lens of a good camera, the smaller the aperture, the sharper the image that is viewed and the greater the depth of focus. That's why we can read better in bright light, when the aperture of the iris, the lense of the eye, is small.. In dim light, by contrast, when the pupil opens wide to let as much light as possible enter the eye, we see less well to read..

"In a natural setting -- for instance in that of the farmer, that of the sailor or that of the steppe nomad -- all these muscles get adequate exercise naturally. Eyes focus now on near, now on far-away objects; eyeballs move frequently to cover the whole field of vision; and the pupils have to keep adjusting to varying light conditions, from sunshine to shade and back, from indoor to out. It is in the unnatural setting of our urban existence that eyes get too little of the right and too much of the wrong kinds of exercise. People sit reading for hours, with eyes fixed in the unnatural near-focus position. When eyes look off into the distance, the muscles of accommodation are relaxed; when we look at a nearby object, these same muscles have to strain to keep the eyes thus focused. If we do this for hours on end, day after day, the muscles of accommodation fatigue and eventually they lose their flexibility. Eyes then won't focus properly any more. That's when people who do a lot of reading complain that they have to hold the book further and further away and that their "arms simply are not long enough any more for reading." They need glasses.

"Now every crutch weakens the structure it supports. With glasses doing the muscles' work, the muscles deteriorate even further. Before long, stronger glasses are needed. These in turn further weaken the muscles of accommodation and in time yet stronger glasses are needed.

"A very vicious cycle is initiated. Eye doctors tend to make things worse by encouraging their patients to wear their glasses as much as possible. One wonders whether they do this because they don't know any better or because they want to sell more glasses. The sensible thing would be to wear the glasses only when absolutely necessary; that is, to wear them only when there is a task to be completed but eyes balk, either because they are tired or because lighting is not adequate, and to take them off when eyes can cope without them again, either because they have had a chance to rest or lighting is better."
[this is what I do!]
"You'd be doing yourself and your eyes an ill service if you wore glasses when your eyes can manage without them. But don't expect your eye doctor to tell you so.

"Let's have a look now at some of the things you can do to prevent the premature deterioration of the ocular muscles or to rehabilitate them if damage has already been done.

"When you do something that keeps your eyes focused at a fixed level for more than just a few minutes, whether it is solving a crossword puzzle, working at a computer or reading a book, look up frequently, vigorously blink a few times to promote the lubrication of your eyeballs and then slowly alternate between looking at a nearby object for a few seconds and looking at a distant object for a few second. Then close your eyes for half a minute or longer to let them rest. You'll be surprised how refreshed they feel when you resume what you were doing.

"Now and then, take a somewhat longer break. Get a bowl large enough to
accommodate your face and fill it with clean, ice-cold water to within a inch of its rim. Having first taken a deep breath, dip your face in the cold water and keep it there for a slow count of ten. During that time blink your eyelids slowly but vigorously. The contact with the cold water stimulates blood circulation in your eyes. When they resume work, they will feel wonderfully refreshed.

"You can do your eyes a favor by spending an occasional ten or fifteen minutes lying on a slant board, head down. Normally, your heart has to work against the pull of gravity to get the blood to your head. When you lie on the slant board, head down, the flow of blood to your head increases and all the organs lodged in the head - - brain, ears and eyes -- benefit from the improved supply of oxygen and other nutrients that comes in its wake.

"The following set of exercises can, if performed regularly, be counted to rehabilitate out-of-shape accommodation muscles. Hold an extended index finger about four inches in front of the tip of your nose. Get your eyes to focus on the finger for one to two seconds. Then look up, pick an object as far from you as possible and get your eyes to focus on that object for the same length of time. Repeat ten to fifteen times and then, having blinked vigorously a few times, close your eyes and keep them closed for a little while, perhaps as long as half a minute. Repeat the whole cycle two or three times.

"For a variation of this exercise, cut a dot an inch in diameter out of black paper and glue it on your living room window at eye level. Stand facing that dot, four to six inches away from it. Then look out past the dot, pick a distant object and start looking back and forth between the black dot and the distant object as you did with the finger in front of your nose.

'"I perform this exercise in all sorts of places without anyone becoming aware of it. If I have to wait for a bus, I stand close to a light post or power pole, pick an object somewhere in the distance and then proceed as with the raised finger or the black dot. At a boring lecture, I hold a pencil in front of my eyes and alternately look at the pencil and at the lecturer's head.

"To exercise the muscles that move my eyeballs in their sockets, I imagine myself looking at the face of a big clock. Without moving my head, I look up at the 12 and from there, still without moving my head, I slowly look my way around the face of that clock -- 1, 2, 3, etc. -- till I get back to the 12. I do this four or five times, first in a clockwise and then in a counterclockwise direction; and then, as with the previous exercise, having blinked a few times, I close my eyes for a little while to let them rest."
[the Tibetan eye exercises and my dad's set give the same 'workout'!]

"Sunning" is the term I use for the exercise which I rely on to condition the muscles that make my pupils expand or contract. To sun, I face a bright source of light -- the sky on a sunny day, without looking directly at the sun, or a bright source of artificial light on cloudy days. I cup my hands over my eyes in such a way as to shut out all light for a few seconds and then I swivel them open and close them at intervals of perhaps three seconds, sure that my pupils contract all the way when my hands swivel open and open wide when my hands swivel closed. After some fifteen repetitions, I pause briefly with my hands cupped over my eyes. I repeat the 15-rep cycle two or three times.

"I had an oculist friend of mine check my vision a few days ago. When she was done, she shook her head as though she disapproved of her findings and snapped at me in mock anger, "Get lost. Not fair that someone as old as you should be blessed with nearly perfect vision."

"I am 76 years old. Few people dead or alive, I am sure, have asked as much of their eyes as I have of mine. When I was a kid, I was not allowed to read. Study, yes; but to read just for the fun of it? NO. In the eyes of my father that was both a waste of time and it would have made me lazy. So I spent hours reading with a flash light under the covers of my bed. If my eyes still serve me well, it is largely owing to the fact that I have treated them well. And I am sure that they will continue to serve me well much further into old age. If you'd like to be able to say as much of your eyes when you get to be my age or even older, all you have to do is treat them as well as I have been treating mine.

"PS: Though I am crowding 80 now, I still function without glasses, whether it is reading what’s on the computer screen or a magazine or looking off into the distance when I am driving. A good many of the people who take it for granted that, sooner or later, one needs glasses, could throw away their glasses if they treated their eyes the way I do for a few months."


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Moon wishes & fluoride dangers

New moon today. I read somewhere the suggestion to draw a red dollar sign on your right hand for the next 15 days before leaving the house - to attract prosperity! Sounds fun - & do-able!

Also Aluna Joy writes: Maya Astrology shows that July 22nd is 13 AHAU! This is the culmination of the entire 260 day cycle we have been in. It is the most potent day of the sacred calendar. It is the anchoring of the highest vision! The Kiche calendar shows us that it is 4 E. This is the day we will begin a new path, a new journey. This will take place in a balanced way using the 4 elements, earth, wind water and fire!

& on another note - found this excellent site today Fluoride Action Network - finally, a group is trying to do something to get fluoride out of our municipal drinking water systems! If you have a chance, watch the video featuring a number of scientists, health care professionials & other public figures presenting info about this health menace.

Years & (mumbldy mumble) years ago, our La Leche League nutrition book was a sweet little tome "Open Door to Health," by Fred Miller, DDS (1971). He was against fluoridation 'way back then,' & felt the best way to insure healthy teeth was - um, eating well! Lots & lots of veggies, some fruit, whole grains & other whole foods, drinking raw milk, & avoiding the use of sugar!

From Open Door to Health - his chapter on fluoridation of water (which he opposed!) Dr Miller quotes Johathan Forman, MD, who headed the ad hoc commitee evaluating fluoride in 1957, "We are opposed to fluoridation of public water supplies because: no positive proofs of the safety of fluoridation have been offered; the suggested concentration of fluoride in drinking water is in the toxic (poisonous) range; fluoridation is compulsory medication without precedent; the function of a public water system is to provide pure, safe water for everybody, not to serve as a vehicle for drugs; the role & efficiency of fluoride in dental caries reduction is a matter of active controversy; there are more efficient, less hazardous ways of obtaining such benefits."

More than 50 years later, the Action network says many of the same things!
- No other medication is forced on an entire community, in a 'one size fits all' dosage with no regulation, no prescription, & no one overseeing/monitering the effect on individuals.
- since 2006, the AM. Dental assoc. has recommended AGAINST using Fluoride to make infant formula, & warns parents not to let their kids swallow toothpaste. (ingestion of a 'pea size' amount of fluoridated toothpaste is enough to send a child to the ER)
- Fluoride isn't effective in preventing cavities when ingested - topical use is more likely to be effective (& can be prescribed by any dentist)
- 1/3 of the children in the US suffer from dental fluoridosis, the number rises to close to 80% in some cities. (mottled teeth due to too much fluoride) In the 40s, only about 10% of US children displayed signs of fluoridosis. & what is it doing to their brains?
- Dental health is improving in all Westernized countries, regardless of fluoridation (97% of European countries DON't fluoridate their water!)
- Fluoride is also in pesticides, so when we consume non-organic foods, or food canned using fluoridated water, we're getting another dose
- the fluoride used in our water is an industrial waste
- Fluoride ingestion depresses the thyroid, pineal & pituitary gland, & depresses mental acuity, can cause brain tumors
- Consumption of fluoride disrupts neurological function (30 animal studies)
- Fluoride is considered more toxic than lead (by EPA) lower levels of fluoride cause negative effects
- Hypothyroidism is worsened by fluoride - this contributes to depression, inactivity, weight gain
- other risks include: brain damage (& lowering of IQ), raises risk of arthritis, increases bone fractures & bone cancers.

- there's no known reason for adults or children to drink fluoridated water

Please, please go to the website & 'cast your vote' by writing to your congress rep - if you've a proff. medical licensing or degree, you can also sign the Medical Professional's statement calling for an end of fluoridation worldwide.

The fluoride compounds added to water, include "fluorosilicic acid, sodium silicofluoride, and sodium fluoride - industrial waste products from the phosphate fertilizer industry." The fluorsilic acid has been found to leach lead from pipes, & "a recent study from the University of Maryland suggests that the effect of fluoridation chemicals on blood lead levels may be greatest in houses built prior to 1946. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems in children." & fluoride itself is rated more toxic - by the EPA - than lead!

Low income families (the families fluoridation is supposed to 'help') are at an increased risk, as individuals with inadequate nutrient intake have a significantly increased susceptibility to fluoride’s toxic effects. Parents are more likely to bottle feed (breast feeding increase with education levels) & are less likely to use bottled water when mixing formula. (& the bottled water might not be fluoride free, even if they did use it!) The consumption of 'chemically raised' foods is also higher, increasing the fluoride consumed.

Why did the US begin fluoridating water in the mid 40s - around the time of WW II & the production of the first atom bombs? In an article commissioned by the Christian Science Monitor, but never published, Chris Bryson & Joel Griffiths shed an intriguing light on this:
"Much of the original proof that fluoride is safe for humans in low doses was generated by A-bomb program scientists, who had been secretly ordered to provide 'evidence useful in litigation' against defense contractors for fluoride injury to citizens. The first lawsuits against the U.S. A-bomb program were not over radiation, but over fluoride damage, the documents show."

The 'litigation' the government was hoping to fend off included complaints from New Jersey farmers who lived downwind from a company (Du Pont) producing millions of pounds of fluoride for the Manhattan Atom bomb project, following a 'pollution incedent.' Their horses were too stiff to work, cattle were seen crawling on their bellies to graze, poultry died, the usually record peach crop failed, & farm workers who ate produce from the affected farms were sick & vomiting.

& the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) threatended to embargo the region's produce because of "high fluoride content." Hence, program 'F' was developed, (to counter these claims) & "Unfortunately, much of the proof of fluoride's safety rests on the work performed by Program F Scientists at the University of Rochester. . . . the bomb program needed human studies, as they had needed human studies for plutonium, and adding fluoride to public water supplies provided one opportunity."

Chris & Joel found a classified or 'secret' & a public version of a study of the dental and physical health of workers in a factory producing fluoride for the A-bomb program,by the bomb scientists & a team of dentists:

The secret version reports that most of the men had no teeth left. The published version reports only that the men had fewer cavities.

The secret version says the men had to wear rubber boots because the fluoride fumes disintegrated the nails in their shoes. The published version does not mention this.

The secret version says the fluoride may have acted similarly on the men's teeth, contributing to their toothlessness. The published version omits this statement.

The published version concludes that "the men were unusually healthy, judged from both a medical and dental point of view."

Go to the Fluoride Action Network site for more info, & for a letter to send your congress rep!
& you might consider switching from fluoridated toothpaste, there are lots of non-toxic alternatives!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coconut Oil & Altzheimer's

When I first began researching the use/safety of coconut oil, one of the first articles I ran across was Dr Mary Newport's 'What if there was a cure for Altzheimer's' - written last year, about a month after she & her husband Steven (only 58, but diag. with Altz.) began using coconut oil & his dementia began decreasing! Since my own mother had dementia, I've been interested in avoiding it - & that article tipped the balance to my 'coconut oil switch!'

Mary's blog
gives updates on Steven's progress - a year later, he continues to improve, is happy, & recently got 'bored' - so he's now volunteering at the hospital where Mary works! They have settled on a combo of coconut oil (together, they consume a gallon a month!) & MCT oil, as the MCT oil is faster acting & raises his ketone levels more, but the coconut oil is better at sustaining his mental clarity.

Altzheimer's is being called by some 'Type III diabetes' as there's a connection between how sugars are processed by the liver & brain.

In her most recent blog entry, Mary writes: "A St. Petersburg Times reporter contact me a few days ago, who is doing a story about Axona (the prescription MCT oil) and came across the MCT/CO information on the internet. He wants to do a story about the coconut oil and MCT oil along with the story about Axona and wants to talk with some other folks who have had some results with CO or MCT oil. If anyone would like to have some input, his name is Steve Nohlgren and his email address is ."

In an earlier post, Mary writes about a a report on BBC News that eating curry once or twice weekly "may fight dementia." Dr Newport comments that the assumption is that the curcumin in the curry makes the difference - but curry is usually made with coconut milk, which contains medium chain fatty acids (from the oil), which will be converted in the liver to ketones.
She ends with the comment: "If there is not enough curcumin in curry to make a difference maybe this other ingredient will!" I just picked up an Indian cookbook w/ lots of curry recipes - most gluten free :) when I was at Borders on the weekend, & look forward to trying them.

If you or a loved one is concerned about your memory - you might consider tring coconut in its many forms!! It's on the federal gov's 'GRAS' (Generally recognized as safe) list, suitable for people of all ages, as MCT oil is used for hospitalized infants & elders!

A fellow on the Yahoo 'coconut oil forum' also suggested checking into a product made from jellyfish that addresses 'calcium binding proteins' for brain health!
Intresting - watching a short video interview on the site, I noticed the researcher presenting the info had the round face & neck that I associate with a sluggish thyroid - wonder if the folks at Quincy Bioscience are aware of the benies of coconut?? :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My daughter, in her explorations on becoming gluten free, brought home some books on Stanley Burroughs' Master Cleanse, which uses lemonaede made from freshly squeezed OG lemon juice, maple syrup & cayanne pepper in pure water several times daily, for 10 or more days.
I've enjoyed reading 'the complete Master Cleanse,' & am looking at how it would 'fit' in my life. (as a massage therapist, I spend 1/2 - 1 1/2 hours with each client - too much of a 'purge' wouldn't be good!)

Meanwhile, I got a few OG lemons & the suggested Grade B (more minerals, & actually the 'best' - & a bit cheaper!) yesterday, & drank a glass of the juice this AM. My sister-in law has suffered from gal stones, & begins her day with a glass of cayanne infused lemonade, so this felt like a good way to get some of the benefits!

Since beginning to use coconut oil almost exclusively, I've been steadily 'trimming' & my energy has consistently been good. I enjoyed seeing that Tom Woloshyn, the author of 'The Complete Master Cleanse,' suggests using coconut oil when you come off the lemonade cleanse.

I like to use Lalitha's chaparral cleanse several times a year, brewing a cup of tea each evening & drinking the following AM, & also have used Cleanse Powder, taking a spoonful & 'chasing' with water, & clear tea from the lovely Lincon City Herb Store. (from a 'rave' by a fellow shopper: "Mark will ship to all parts of the country. He is in my opinion, one of the BEST and most compassionate herbalists I have the pleasure to know. Here is the address and phone if you prefer to order through him. They have a FANTASTIC Chinese Herbal section, Bulk herbs and all sorts of vits. and minerals. Also books.
3417 N.W. Hwy. 101
Lincoln City, Oregon 97367
PH: (541)994-9733 )

Meanwhile, my daughter's been making great gluten free bread, & chicken noodle soup (using rice noodles), & a lovely chicken curry, for which I made fresh coconut milk! MMMmmm . . .

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Festivals

This weekend there were several local festivals to choose from - Who's on Third here in McMinnville (used to be 'Turkey Rama,' before the turkey industry faded), The Country Faire (Veneta/Eugene area), the Salem Art Fair, & the Lavender Festival (inc open houses at a number of lavender farms)

I played my harp Fri for a couple hours at 'Who's on Third' to the foot traffic on our main street - & was on the front page of our local paper (photo by Marcas Larson)!

Today I danced for a couple of hours to a favorite band, Boka Marimba. Toward the end, a group of 4-8 enthusiastic small kids joined us on the pavement shaking things up.

This evening, we finally watched the sweet movie 'August Rush,' with (fairly) local guitar player Doug Smith performing some of the music! From his website: "Doug's playing can be heard in "Dueling Guitars", which is a guitar duet between actors Freddie Highmore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers late in the movie (Doug's playing Freddie's part).
"Doug can also be heard playing guitar in the Rhapsody which climaxes the movie. Yes, those are Doug's hands you see on screen! (And if you look fast, you can see Doug sitting with the orchestra as actor Terrence Howard walks behind him.) This is an inspiring story of the power of music!"

Watching the movie, I kept saying "OH! I think that's Doug!" he has a unique finger-style sound. Love his music when he performs at one of the local Wine Bars. The movie is truely inspiring - & one that prompts a lot of 'talk back' during watching - 'DON'T go with him! Just don't!!' . . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

Natural beauty

I've always enjoyed playing with natural beauty 'fixings' - beginning with things like peppermint facial steams & such when I was in HS.

Recently found the ecoetsy blog, & this recipe for a natural deodorant! I love the Avalon Organics roll on - which I often find 'way cheap' at our local Grocery Outlet, but had to try mixing some up!!

Here's what I used:
3 T coconut flour (called for cornstarch)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 C shea butter
1/4 C coconut oil
5-10 drops neem oil (this is sticky, so had to gestimate!)
10 drops Lavender essential oil
10 drops Lemon essential oil
5 drops Clary Sage e. oil
heat oils (I put the container above the light on the hood above my stove for ~ 15 minutes) & combine. Add a bit more soda or starch if it needs it.
It smells yummy, a bit gritty with the flour/soda, & will give a report after I've used it for a few days!

For a face scrub, I grind some rolled oats in my trusty electric 'coffee' mill, with dried lavender, rose & calendula petals. I may add a bit of cornmeal & clay for more 'grit.' I keep it in a small jar in the bathroom, & use rather than soap for washing my face.

I tend to use locally made glycerine based soaps, BioKleen (made in nearby Vancouver Wa) for my laundry, with a tbsp of baking soda sprinkled on the clothes. (need to look for washing soda)

I've been using coconut oil for my main 'lotion' these days, but inspired by the shea/coconut oil blend, I just combined a Tbsp of coconut oil, one of shea butter, & a tsp of coco-butter, melting them above the light. Nice & smoothe!

I've made the switch to mineral based cosmetics - ordering them online, or occasionally picking some up at a shop in town. If you order from CMH, be sure to check for the monthly special! I especially enjoy her 'chameleon sparkle,' the shimmer veil, & the sampler sets. A small 'sample' size is < $2, so it's easy to try these.

Well, off to the 'salt mines,' & then this afternoon I head downtown to play the harp for our 'Who's on Third' Festival! If you're in the area, stop by :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Roses n Rose Beads

Ooo - just stopped by Jane's blog & found this wonderful post on rose concoctions!
& a link to Kiva's blog & her new book for kids: 'I'm a Medicine Woman, too!' - sweet!

My grandmother Mary grew herbs & worked with them. Sadly, I never knew my grandmothers (this blog is named for my other grandma: Minnie Vestella). As a teen, I experiemented with making rosebeads, as my mother had an old necklace grandma Mary made 30 or 40 years before!

My first attempt to make rose beads, using a recipe from 'American Girl Mag' looked rather like raisins, as the instructions didn't include any mashing! Next go - round, I ran the petals thru the foley mill, & later ground them in the blender, with better results.
I used little brass beads from the fishing supply (my dad was a fly fisherman), as we didn't have any bead shops, & often strung them on fishing line. The outer necklace is ~ 40 years old, & made by this method. The inner, strung with rose quartz, about 20 years old, & made with my dried petal method.
Here's an article on making rose beads. (unlike the author, I haven't found other flowers to work very well for beads! I do add some lavendar to the rose petals at times, but I find rose petals to work best, & usually have an abundance.)

In an herb class in the late 80s, Glen Nagle suggested drying herbs whole, then whizzing in a small coffee mill (crispy dry) when ready to use.
Ah- ha! I could do that with the rose petals, as I tended to use a combo of fresh & dried for my beads. Viola, an easy way to store the petals (powdered or whole in zip lock bags or tins) & simply reconstitute ~ 1/4 Cup of prepared petals with a rose petal, lavender & rose geranium leaf 'tea' when ready to make beads.Bold
I usually add ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cardamom to the roses, & have found that a small 'simmer pot' is ideal for the heating & mash making process. My original recipe called for simmering the petals an hour a day for 3 days. These days, I pour rose 'tea' over 1/4 - 1/2 C petals in a simmer pot, stir a bit, & cook for an hour or so.
Pour some tea for yourself as well - ahh :)
You can pop your mash in the freezer at any point, if you can't make the whole batch into beads!
I often simmer the petals the day before a class, then reheat the next day. You want your mash a 'playdough' consistency. Roll the beads in the palm of your hand, about twice as big as you want - they'll shrink! Yes, it's messy! But oh, so sweetly fragrant! I make several size beads, & like to string in patterns of 3s & 5s.
Set the beads on a small dish to dry for a day or so, till slightly firm, before piercing with a large needle. (if it breaks, just drop it back into the 'mash') Then, string on waxed carpet thread, hemp cord, or fishline, about a dozen beads on a string, & hang from pushpins along the edge of a shelf or above my pantry door.

I store the strings of beads & finished necklaces in tins & jars with rose potpourri, a few whole roses & sprigs of lavender.
When teaching a rosebead class, I buy small tins at the thrift stores, & make a bag or sprinkle potpourri in the bottom, to gift the students. The beads smell more fragrant when worn, as your body heat warms them. Just keep them dry, & they'll last a long, long time!

The necklace with pearls & glass beads was given me by a galfriend, (probably made with white or yellow petals, as the beads are paler) & the one with dark pink beads one I made for my mom, each of these are about 20 years old. Matching earrings are easy to make as well.

About 10 years ago I was interviewed for an article in the local paper, & have taught my 'dried petal method' for an herb group, at a local garden shop befor Valentine's Day, & at Country Gardens Nursery during the 'Tour de Plantes.'

Rose flower essences are some of my favorites! & a pinch of the dried rose powder is great for staunching blood - what a nice way to deal with a bloody nose! Italic Link

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Shacks

This week, author Wm PAUL Young came to give a talk to folks interested in his record breaking book, The Shack.
An 'unassuming' man, at 5' 6" we were eye to eye, a relucatant author - after years of 'prodding,' his wife Kim convinced him to write this book 'for our children,' to explain some of his pain, & his healing, a humorous, kind man, Paul is a delightful speaker.
Several years ago, riding MAX in & out Gresham (OR) for one of his three jobs, he finally began jotting down ideas, first on paper, eventually on a computer. & finally had a 'finished product' to run off - at Kinko's, 15 copies - for their 6 kids. Mission accomplished, project finished . . .

Except . . .

They gave some of those copies to friends, & people kept wanting to give it to thier friends, . . .
& somewhere along the way, Paul gave a copy to the only 'real author' he knew, who had some friends in LA (movie folk) . . . who became interested, & flew Paul down . . . . ehem, Paul flew himself down, to talk about 'movie' possibilities . . . slight problem.
For a book to become a movie, the producers would like to see 100,000 copies sold. Now, most books, even good books, only sell ~ 5000 copies. A really good book, one that becomes a 'best seller' sells ~ 7500 copies, . . . & he didn't even have a publisher at this point.
So (after being turned down by 'secular press' as 'no nitch, & too much Jesus,' & Faith based press as 'no nitch, for it, it's too 'edge-y' . . . a couple of friends ('Windblown press') put together a publishing company, & they did their first run of 10,000 books (only the printer sent 11,000), set up an ordering website, & they were in business.

After several runs, selling 1.2 million books out of Brad's garage, with < $300 spent on marketing, & folks calling Barnes & Noble & Amazon wanting it - but since it was 'self' published, no one had copies to sell . . . & a major company finally picked it up.
It's now sold > 4 million copies.

What's so special about 'the Shack'??

A story about 'Mack' (told from his perspective - through a 'friend') who has had a 'great sadness' & is invited by God (whom his wife calls 'papa') to come to a shack in the remote Wallowa mountains . . . where he meets Papa, Jesus & Serayu (Se rrra u - Iranian for 'Wind'), & begins a journey of inner healing.

Paul's own 'great saddness' experiences, a overtly 'religious,' & angry, missionary father, spending his early years raised by tribal New Guinea tribespeople, the Dani, & being molessted by them, going to boarding school at 6, where the 'big boys' come in & molest the little kids the first night, . . . (u-tube clip on this)
He spent 11 years coming thru his saddness, visiting the shack, walking down railroad tracks at night, screaming into the wind, . . . .

& came out the other side cleansed, with humor, with a great love for the human condition, & a sense that we're loved by Papa & the rest beyond our wildest imaginings. His stories about people touched by the Shack, & their own journies of reconcilliation (which Archbishop Tutu also bespoke) are inspiring, heart rending. You can read his blog, or watch him on u-tube & again. (I love this 3 part series - with an interviewer in Atlanta).
You'll also notice some 'stay OUT of the Shack!' clips - Paul comments that his most public of these critics hasn't read the book!

An 85 year old man, who called the 'office' (Windblown press - his friend's garage in CA) from Australia - & broke down in tears. 6 phone calls, & many tears later, he got out his request - he was on pension, he didn't have a bank acount nor e-mail (necessary, at that time, to order books from the web-site), the book had brought him so much healing, he wanted to order books to give others. They helped him set up both account & e-mail, & - at 85 - he took up 'odd jobs' to earn money to buy books . . . .

He spoke of the unexpected response among perpetrators - the woman in a WA state prison, (20 - now 40 - copies were circulating among the inmates) who asked Paul after a talk, if he thought 'Papa' really cared about her . . . he whispered 'Papa's especially fond of you' & the tears cascaded down.

From Paul: What has really resonated in people - people are tired of 'working their way into God's heart' systems - people are tired of that!' He talks of folks' idea of God often being 'Gandalf with an attitude!' Paul sets out to change this image for others, reflecting how it changed for him.

Personally, I've felt more connected to Goddess traditions, Original Blessing, & a sense of being cherished by that essence, this isn't 'new news,' but there's such power in these 'group conscious' raising books!

A decade + ago, Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield was particularly powerful for me. Also personally published, this book & it's sequels offer ways of looking at our own control dramas, & shifting into a higher way of relating to each other.

Another Year (quoted with permission)
In the dawnbreak stillness
Two steps past dew lights fading
She wonders at the First Born’s kindness
And at the world’s parading

What will become of mice and men?
Why does an inch of growth take years?
Who will remember unsaid longings?
Who’s close enough to wipe these tears?

Another year, somewhere past noon
And in the quiet breathing
It’s Grace that fills the largest wounds
And brings us back to being.

-William P Young