Saturday, February 28, 2009

More thoughts on Autism

I went down stairs at my parents house today, being nostalgic, and came across this paper that my mom wrote about living with children who have disabilities, back in 1991 when I was 12 years old. To me it is really telling about her difficult journey. I feel like posting a couple of excerpts.

Mom: Jonathan has not been an easy child. It is very hard to teach him anything, you have to go over it again an dagain. . . He has litte "ticks" that at times are very hard to deal with. (Some of which are particular facial twitches and hand twitches). . . One of the hardest things we have to deal with is that Jonathan does not like crowds, he gets very nervous and anxious when we are around big groups of people and if we have to wait for very long we have a big problem.

This is very interesting to me, why? Because I was living in my own silent hell of anxiety over "big groups of people." I had a lot of anxiety in these situations and I dealt with in different ways sometimes by hiding, sometimes by sitting down and being silent, sometimes by finding some of my cousins (people who were familiar) to play with, ie. I dealt differntly than Jonathan. My mom didn't notice that there was anything wrong with me because Jonathans symptoms were very pronounced. He would start stammering, twitch, and get physically nervous. I'm not saying that I am mad that she didn't notice, it's just interesting that my experience has echoed my brothers.

My mom mentions the use of forceps in delivery. It is terrible that she has not had an explaination for why my brother is Autistic.

"Jonathan's infancy was uneventful, he walked and started to talk at the normal times. He was almost 3 years old before we suspected anything might be wrong with him. Jonathan was talking, but very little. He would not ask for anything, and his communication was behind that of most 3 year olds. We did not suspect autism at the time because Jonathan was a loving child who loved to be held and played with."

(That has disappeared, you can't hug Jono right now.)

"We were advised to contact the Early Childhood intervention agency to have him tested. It was found that Jonathan was about 1 year behind most 3 year olds in every area they tested. . . During this time (that he was in kindergarten) Jonathan started to show unusual behaviors, for example, he would get on his horse in the middle of the night and rock for hours. We took him to the Doctor and he suggested that he might be hyperactive and he put him on Ritalin. This did not help and Jonathan became uncontrollable and cried and screamed all the time. We then took him off the Ritalin. His behavior did not improve greatly, but he no longer screamed and was more controllable. About a year later Jonathan started to have blackouts, you could call him and yell at him and he would not respond. One day he was in the neighbors driveway, they wanted to leave and they honked at Jonathan but he paid no attention, it was if he did not hear anything. We had his hearing tested, it was normal. During this time we took Jonathan to a state run clinic for handicapped children. He saw a neurologist and a medical doctor every other month. We had several tests done, including an EEG, Cat Scan, MMR, and several blood tests. It was determined that Jonathan had irregular brain waves and a tendency to have seizures (mainly in the form of blackouts). He was then put on dilantin to control his seizures and his behavior improved. There never was an actual diagnosis given to Jonathan's problem, they mainly labeled him intellectually handicapped with autistic behavior."

OK, this bit of information is very interesting to me as well. First of all, I had two seizures as a young girl and they did an EEG scan on me as well, I remember it. I was also put on dilantin but they took me off of it after a short period of time. (I kept wondering why because I felt there was something wrong with me as well). Also, when I was eatting so much gluten two years ago, to become "healthy" with bran muffins I blacked out frequently and I have had spells of "blacking out" a lot in my life.

This is what she had to say about me, "When Jonathan was small he was a good playmate for our duaghter A. 1 year younger. As they got older however Jonathan kept more and more to himself and did not intereact with the other children. A. became Jonathan's protector and guide, she would take him to the church activities and make sure that he was taken care of. A. is more like the oldest child instead of the middle child in our family. A. has never shown any signs of being embarrassed by Jonathan in anyway. A. has alway's seemed to understand Jonathan's handicap and it has not bothered her too much. Jonathan has always gotten along very well with A."

Jonathan has also been on an "experimental" drug called fenfloramin, which my mom claims helped to raise his IQ by 20 points over a 2 year period. I don't know what other types of drugs my brother has been on and I don't really know if fenfloramin helped him, hurt him or what not. My opinion at this point is that most drugs are terrible substitutes for a balanced diet free of allergins. Buy my opionion has been developed after looking at the effect drugs had on my family's life. My mom was searching for help and drugs are what she got. My other little brother Evan has also been on Ritalin I remember well how crazy it made him. My own experience with pharmacutical drugs has been terrible, every single drug that I have taken has had a terrible effect on me. Prozac being one that comes to mind immediately. When I was 14 or 15 I finally convinced my mom that I was depressed and the doctor prescribed Prozac. I took it one time, had a psychotic episode where I had a strong desire to kill myself and somehow made it until the drug wore off. I immediately threw the rest of them away. I have been given drugs to "reduce" the amount of water in my body to maybe "reduce," the dizzyness that was ever present and was due to food allergies. I have been given nazal spray's to get rid of the ringing in my ears, those were terrible. When I was bleeding from a miscarrage a doctor gave me some strong kind of pain medication that made me black out. Even the tylenol and ibuprophrin that I used to take habitually have been bad experiences. Every cough syrup, every mentholatim drop for sore throats, every single medicine that I have taken has not served me half so well as natural medicines and real food. Real food having had the most beneficial effect on me.

So anyway, that's my take on things. I don't blame my mom in the least, she is a strong and wonderful woman who has done the best that she could with the information and circumstances given her. But I do think that there is hope out there and a better way for all of us grasping for answers to the problems that are plauging our bodies.

HOPE :0)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wish my grandmother was alive...

Either of them, they are both gone. Somehow I want to reach out to some steady, wise woman. Who has already faced the deamons of uncertainty, faced them, stared them down and conquered. I keep thinking about how ignorant we all are, it's like we've awakened to the real world where there is not this endless supply of everything that flows easily into your life, easing your burdens. I didn't understand the concept of the economy before, the expanding economy, the shrinking economy, it's all been a big theoretical concept to me before. Right now it is as if I can feel it, the shrinking economy, sucking away the abundance, the jobs, the easiness of aquiring money. It's not as if we had a whole lot of money before, but it was alway's there and the idea of saving money in the bank or putting money away in a 401 (k) made sense. All of the theoretical models of economic expansion; free trade, trickle down economics, free enterprise. It all made sense, in school. The economic models, the theoretical stock market "investing," made sense. What always made me uneasy was when they would pull out there numbers and start off by saying, "by saving x amount of dollars at a 17% (the theoretical stock market returns, maybie it was 10% but it was still a bit out there), taking into consideration an inflation rate of 4%, you should be able to retire in x amount of years with x amount of money." This all put forth as an example of living a well thought out and virtuous life. It always made me nervous, out of good sense, or a general sense of increduality at this pie in the sky scenario. I have read a lot of these theoretical "How to Manage your Money" books as well. I have been steeped in the culture of capitalism, and I have read about other types of economic models as well (though the full explaination of them all escapes me at the moment that I am asked about them. I also cannot make much headway on compare and contrast of the differing models). What strikes me is that humanity has not found a way to put society into order, in order that we are all benefited. If you know anything about history their was a crucial time when Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were debating the fitness of their viewpoints. Jefferson was of the mindset that society should be set up with individual "yeoman farmers." Hamilton was in favor of a central bank which controled the money supply. Honestly, although I keep thinking about this, I don't know too much about it, I want to learn more about this. Hamilton eventually won out on creating a central bank and much of Jeffersons idea's were set aside.

As for my longing for my grandmother, either of them. It's terrible to feel so ungrounded, to be responsible for the well being and upbringing of my children with no steady voice to turn to. My grandma D. died the day after my fourth birthday, she was killed by a drunk driver. What I remember about this is that my family wouldn't let me come inside during the funeral. I have this vague memory of being forced to wait out on the playground with my cousins during the whole thing. I felt frustrated by it and I didn't understand. She would be a really good person to talk to, she raised my mom and her 8 other children pretty much on her own. My grandpa was a truck driver and he left my grandma for another woman. (We have had some strange tense meetings with "grandpa" in AZ and his wife. Who is actually a really nice woman. Grandpa D. has passed on now as well). My grandma D. sewed really well, even made dolls for all the grandkids before she passed on. I have a beautifully made Ragady Ann doll from her. Grandma C. was a really smart, beautiful, and accomplished lady. She was a civic minded Democrat (strange for my really red state). She worked for Mountain Bell for many years as a manager for the switch board operaters. I have a beautiful gold bracelet with little bells on it for every 5 years that she worked there. I think there are 5 little bells making 25 of service. Grandma C. also helped to start a womans club that is still in existance today (I have a post that shows me in one of their annual fashion shows at about age 5).

They lived good noble lives. They both worked hard and I think both remembered the great depression or at least were raised with the lessons learned from it. My grandparents were frugal, I especially remember Grandpa and Grandma C. Their house was decorated tastefully and they always bought quality, but they weren't "consumers" in the way that people have been used to in the past few decades. The only thing that is irritating to me, is that although I would like to emulate their example it has now become the necessity to learn how to do without. I can conceptually see how blessed we still are. I have fabric, a lot of it, which I need to take out and sew into quilts. We also have books, access to the park and library, free entertainment. Plus we have access to other services and as for me I am lucky that a couple of woman from our church have been working hard to put together clothing exchanges every few months or so. Tomorrow I am going to go help out as much as possible since I have benefited twice from there efforts and haven't known how to help before now.

What is missing from America? There is a void, a mass of people who have been left purposeless. All of the little jobs have been sucked away, to be filled by people in other countries. The quality in what we have is gone as well, I was contemplating that today. Families would purchase a beautiful well made alarm clock or some other item, from craftsmen who loved what they did and distinguished themselves by their trade. But those types of professions are missing, craftsmen, that's what we need.

Anyway, this has been a nice rambling post, hope I haven't bored you all (if you read this far).

~Strawberry Girl


This is my brother Jonathan

Wait, this is my brother Jonathan

Jonathan is my older brother, he has Autism. He has never done a bad thing in his life.

We grew up together and he was my buddy for the first few years of my life, until my little brother Daniel was born. Jonathan and I had a connection, I remember, it was like some kind of understanding from the premortial world. I say I remember because it has somehow been broken. I am not sure when exactly that it was broken, but it was. I can hardly reach him right now.

He seemed normal for the first few years of his life.

Then, he was diagnosed with Autism, and put on a medication called dilantin. My mom has her theory on why he has Autism. She thinks it's because the doctor used forceps when he was born. I have a different theory, it has to do with immunizations and food. I will explain that a bit later (though you might already be familiar with the argument).

Jonathan... used to be my young buddy.

But each year I have lost a little more of him. They brought him to a different school (out of necessity).

We lived in the same house and our paths crossed.

But each year, somehow his soul has seemed to be retreating into this strange shell that I cannot reach.

His life has not been particularly sad.

He Participated in the Special Olympics

He has had "Best Buddies," a program through the school/state that took him to dances and the movies. In fact he had more dates then I have ever had. He has also graduated from High School. He's gotten far for the problem that he has.

My Grandmother took extra special care of him. She watched him often, he would sleep over and she would play games with him. Her and Grandpa used to bring him out to eat as well.

I used to be jealous of it, but now I know better. He has those good memories, they made his life more full.

Now he works at the movie theater by my parents house and this is partly what prompted this post. I see him sometimes when I am driving around. He always has this vacant expression on his face, it's really disturbing. I call out to him and he doesn't hear. I saw him on Monday, I had a little leap of joyful recognition. He was standing at the light waiting for it to change. I was parked at the light, he was coming my way. I saw him and as I said I recognized him, in that same instant I knew he would not recognize me. I futally lowered my window and called out to him anyway, nothing.

Right now he is on medication for anxiety, he has had to take it before, quite a few years ago. Perhaps it was 10 years or so. He overdosed on them because he has no sense. The bottle was in the cupboard and he took one, then didn't feel less anxious so he took another... until he had finished the whole bottle. I found him, he was like a zombie. I found the bottle empty on the counter and called my mom. She took him to the hospital and they pumped his stomach. Then put charcoal in it to absorb the rest of the medication. When he got home he retired to his room and kept throwing up the charcoal. I went down to see him and found that he had picked up his matress and was trying to stuff it in the washing machine, it was strange. He wouldn't be reasoned with until my mom came and took him away.

Two years ago, Nov. 12th 2006. I was in labor with my youngest daughter. It started at 4 am then stopped and the contractions were never reglular all day. So I waited until my parents were to get out of church. I called up to their house and my brother picked up the phone. I said, "Jono (his nickname) is mom there?" His reply "D, d, d, dddd" (on a sliding tonal scale). I'm like, "Jono, IS MOM THERE?" "D, D, ddddd." So I say "Give the phone to Mom," "D, dddd." "Where are you at?" "P, pppp." Then he started alternating letters. So I told my kids to pack their stuff and my husband to get ready and we went up to my parents. My mom met us in the driveway "There's something wrong with Jonathan." I said "I know, I tried to call." He was continuing to utter nonsical letters. My dad was having a futile conversation with him "What's wrong?" "D, dd, B, bb, Ab, dd," "Are you hurt?" "P, p, pp. K kkkk." My dad started joking around, and copying the letters back. Jonathan started laughing. I wanted to smack my dad. They took him over to the hospital emergency room, the doctors couldn't make heads or tails of it and were going to start a whole bunch of tests. I came over about an hour later in the last painful stages of natural labor (hypnobirthing, it was an interesting experience, I will totally do it again)(ok - small speal for hypnobirthing, I didn't have hardly any pain until the end and then it was over before I knew it and I got right up afterward and felt terrific). My mom came in to be with me and she gave me an update. As soon as Jono drank some water he started to calm down, and talk normally again. He had been dehydrated because he didn't want to drink water, because then he would have to go on a bathroom break at work, illogical. Not long after that incident he lost his temper several times and even smashed my mom into the wall. Now he is on anxiety med's again. He really is not all there. It is hard to get more than hello out of him.

Now here is my rant. I have been awoken from a foggy world. Where I had high anxiety, where I couldn't think clearly. Where I was depressed all of the time and everything was different then it is now for me. It was food, I changed my food!! Gluten and other food allergies held me in that world.

As for Jonathan, my greatest wish is that he could eat clean food. No refined food and no gluten. Plus have allergy testing done. He asked me about it, soooo, I think he want's an explanation and an alternative. I hope he can have it some day.

~Strawberry Girl

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Organic Gardening

I am on the verge, the precipice of the mountain that I have been climbing of trying to become a competent gardener. Our church has set up gardening classes and a really knowledgeable gardener has been speaking to several hundreds of people every week trying to get us all educated about how to garden correctly. Last year I tried to start gardening, I bought a book on square foot gardening and set it up. My dad bought me some turkey manure and other soils and I set it all up, then phttt, it was a flop. WHY? Well I didn't know. Here is just a little bit of what I found out about why my garden flopped.

The turkey manure is a really great organic fertilizer it has little to no weed seeds (as horse and cow manure does) and is highly nutritious to the plants, but... It temporarily creates a nitrogen shortage because all of the microbes that go to work to break it down freeze the available nitrogen. So if you use this kind of fertilizer you need to mix it thouroughly into the soil and let it sit for about a month before using the garden. MY garden definantly showed signs of having too little available nitrogen. The professional gardener recommends adding ammonium sulfite to fix this problem which is something that I don't want to do because I am trying to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers which deplete the land and run off into the water shed. *(NOTE: AVOID STEER MANURE, TRY TO FIND GRASS FED COW MANURE IF YOU WANT TO GO THAT ROUTE, STEER MANURE IS EXTEMELY UNHEALTHY AND FULL OF THE SALT THAT MANUFACTURERS FED TO THEIR COWS TO FATTEN THEM UP. THIS WILL BURN YOUR PLANTS).

Here is what I am thinking to avoid this problem (of chemical fertilizers), FISH. The Native Americans used fish as a fertilizer, lo and behold there are ways to use it, I am going to use the fish that my husband keeps bringing home (and storing in the freezer which makes it nasty) to fertilize our tomatoes, tomatillos and corn. There are also companies that produce it (along with beneficial other components as well). Here is a link to an e-how article on fish fertilizer (including how to use fish that you already have).

But being that I have watched PBS specials on the depletion of the oceans by over fishing I am thinking of a few other ways to accomplish the healthy garden means. One of which is of course composting. The professional gardener recommends adding the compost directly to your garden inbetween the furrows, rototilling it in and letting it breakdown that way. That is, if you have a big enough garden. You can also have a two step compost pile where you frequently turn it from one spot to the other to add air and to help it break down. There is a lot of information about composting out there but I want to mention a few things that I know. You should save your egg shells to add to your compost as well as your grass clippings and the leaves in the fall. When preparing your garden dont remove the grass but rototill it in because it will have a higher nitrogen content then the soil underneath. When you add green compost such as grass clippings you need to let them break down because you will have a temporary nitrogen shortage during the first month or so.

Watering too often, way too often, and watering the leaves with a garden hose. In order to have healthy plants and a good crop you need to group the plants together by growing season and watering needs. Then you need to water twice a week, once a week and every 10 days or two weeks depending upon the crop. I will post the list that he gave us asap because it was a big help to me in planning my garden. Plus he gave us info about when we should plant, HALLALUJAH!! He explained, loosely, how to set up a drip watering system. I need to investigate this, including the potential chemicals that could be found in the hoses that are commonly used and that he recommended. But if I can find the way, chemical free way, I will be a happy little gardening bee. WHY? Because healthy plants don't need a lot of work and he even said that a few weeds wont hurt, YIPEE!! Because I am a busy lady, and I have a lot to do, I bet you do too.

SO lot's of information is on it's way, I hope that some of you can benefit from this info. as well.

~Strawberry Girl

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Direction or is it the old one?

Alright, I have a plan. I am going up to the Good Earth store that I love tomorrow and I am going to fill out an application for a wellness councilor which is someone who works in the herbal section of the store. I have a general knowledge of herbs and I think I can pass there wellness quiz. Even if I am not paid that much at least it would be experience in the right direction for me. Plus I would get a 20% discount at the store, which would be great, I think they even offer some benefits. But it all depends, they are not advertising for anything, but... I talked to one of the managers and this is what she told me to do. Plus there are not a ton of people out there who are as motivated as I am about health and wellness, and the use of herbs. So that's my plan... Like I said before, working at Good Earth would be fun for me. Geneology is great but health and wellness are my interests.

Now I have gotten out of the habit of writing word paintings, so I think I will make an attempt since I am in a good mood.

Lay in a hamock, sway with the breeze.

Back and forth I lazily kick the tree as I swing and listen as the breeze rustles the leaves on the thousands of trees that cover the mountains. A nearby stream flows and there is the sound of the general conversation of my extended family at the reunion.

Kids run back and forth some screaming and laughing, some crying because they fell down. Their little faces are dirty, but they are joyful, giddy even at the general freedom to run in the dirt.

The Browns are starting up their 4-wheelers again, don't they ever stop? I hate those things. Someone starts up their chainsaw to cut up wood, geeze don't they know the meaning of relaxation.

The hamock, still rythemic, but not able to drown out the rousing camp loses it's appeal. So I rise to find my brother.

We run up and down the rock pile, back and forth on the bridge. Then decide to walk down the stream in our "Water Shoes," that mom has bought us, to find the ghost houses.

We ford the stream and step carefully on the rocks, moving branches and stepping around the watermelons that someone has brought up to cool. There will be a contest later, I can already taste the melon.

We head deeper into the woods, sloshing along happily in the man made stream that was diverted from the natural one up higher.

Then we see one, a ghost house. Carefully we make our way up the bank, the anticipation building with each step. The house is so fascinating to look at, the front step is littered with debris and as you peek over the threshold you can see the peeling wallpaper and the other rooms behind the wall because part of the wall is missing.

The stairs are dilapited, but undaunted by the danger we step into the house on top of part of the ceiling that has fallen. You can see where there had been a fire at one point, the smoke had discolored some parts of the wall giving the whole place a sad and earie feeling.

We walk carefully up the stairs to explore and find several rather small rooms. I imagine that babies had slept up there once, and a mother had kept house. We walk down the hallway and down the back into what must have been the kitchen, I imagined the mother again and the father bringing in piles of wood to heat the old pot belly stove.

We make our way off the back porch and find behind the house the foundation of a log cabin, even more fodder for the imagination. We walk around it in the thick vegetation and find the square nails which they had used to hold things together.

Satisfied by our day's findings we decide to get back before we are missed and head back up the stream, it is a bit harder than when going down.

Sometime I will write about going down into the crystal mine, riding up in the back of a pickup on the hard and bumpy floor.

Defining Happiness

This is what I need to be happy.

A roof over my head, it doesn't matter how large as long as everyone has their space. We live in a 3 bedroom duplex with a large back yard.

A place to garden. I have a large back yard, I and I intend to make some nice gardens this year. I would also like to set up a place for chickens and I love to find way's to avoid waste and create independence from the government. I want to buy a solar oven that my friend told me about, but I think my dad could create one with sheet metal if I figured out the design. That's one thing I want to try and do with him. I want to set up some kind of clothes line to dry my clothes but I am a bit worried about relying on the weather and the yucky air that we have around here. I want to plant absolutely everything that I can that will stick around and continue to produce year after year, like peach, pear and apple trees. Also of course, a big patch of strawberries. I want to be able to can everything that I can but I know that is going to depend on my ability to buy the bottles and my ability to find the space to store everything (maybe under the bed?).

Time to think. I would love to just work on things that involve my skill set. I can cook and I think I have talent as a gluten free baker. I can write, I think I have talent but I know that I need to read a whole lot more in order for my writing skills to develop more. I like to draw but I don't make time for it. I love to read, but get distracted by all there is to read. I also enjoy scanning in photos and working on family history, but I frequently put this off as well since I have to work on other things.

Of course, I also love being a mom. I like to help my kids but sometimes get stressed out about all that I need to do. Mostly about how I can sort out what happened last year and figure out what I can do this year to help us survive. I plan on utilizing the public library and teaching them as much as possible, I hope they can become well educated and avoid the situation that I am in.

Lastly I know we need money, in order to stay where we are and to move forward. I want to avoid the need for too much money, I plan on buying stuff at yard sales and the like and I am happy with that. At least it keeps things out of dumpsters and reduces the great burden of stuff that people have over accumulated. Plus for some reason I find clothes that look better on me at yard sales than at the store. I also want to develop food storage and 72 hr. kits.

So basically, if I didn't have to worry about money, I would figure out how to write books, develop gluten free and healthy recipe's, and I would set up my house in a sustainable way and tell the government to shove it. That would be happiness to me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heart isn't in it.

I have just decided, again, that my heart really isn't in accounting. I can do it, but it is not thrilling to me. I want to do something with my health, GF, gardening, and cooking interests, i've gotta see if I can re-write my resume to reflect this. Of course it's hard to abandon the BS in Accounting up front and center...

Monday, February 16, 2009

It takes a village...

My friend Eco Grrl brought up the differnce in mentality between these two view points, "It takes a village to raise a child," and "Every man for himself." On the one hand is collaboration and I think the least amount of waste, and on the other is selfishness and a lot of excess. On a small scale I often will cook dinner and I will think it very good and I know a bunch of my friends would like it, but sometimes my kids just won't eat it, or I just cook too much. I try to use leftovers, but... they often get thrown out. But how do I share that? Maybe I need to pay more attention, not buy more than we need (veggies thrown out because they have wilted), call up the neighbors and ask them if they have had dinner yet and if they would like to share some of mine (I did this once, I should do it more often). There are collaborative groups that plan dinners, make schedules and cook for each other on one night of the week. That's great but not everyone likes that kind of a situation and people in that kind of group need to be open minded and have similar expectations about health and cooking. In my case, I would need a group of crazed foodies that like to cook gluten free, sometimes raw, absolutely no refined foods. I have 1 friend that fits the category, their may be others nearby, maybe I should put the idea out there and see who bites. The thing is, there are a lot of collaborative options out there. Like Craigslist and I even know of a yahoogroup called freecycle where people give away their random stuff for free to keep it out of dumpsters. I was thinking about community gardens, I am not sure how they work exactly, but as for myself it would be really hard to work on something like that and then not see the fruit of my labor. That is where the difficulty in collaboration comes up. Who benefits from the garden? Theoretically all of us, but what if you are planning on a garden salad and you want a tomato and cucumber that have been growing then you go to pick them and they are gone? That is the difficulty that people have, that I have. It is a little bit hard to lose that "control" over what you are doing. I would think about how much labor that I am putting into it, about how much labor others are putting into it. How do you divide the produce evenly... I guess that if people worked together, then a community garden could work. People sign up for 1/2 hour - 1 hour time slots and they pull weeds and prune then they are entitled to x amount of pounds of produce for x amount of time, anyone out there with experience on this? What I am thinking about though is what happens when disasters strike, hurricane Katrina and et al. is a good example. I watched a new's report with John Stosal (sic?) reporting, he pointed out the problem with government run programs. An amusing example was an ice skating rink. He showed us the difference between "organized" skating and the natural way people organize themselves. First of all he had people just go out and skate. They naturally fell into a pattern based on ability. People who couldn't skate very well hung near the walls and went slower. People who could skate faster hung near the middle and looked ahead to avoid those who couldn't skate well. Some people helped others to skate. Then he had an "expert" ice skater get up with a blow horn to shout out directions. It confused people, the ones who could skate well slowed down or ignored him, the ones who couldn't skate well got turned around. People started to fall over each other. In other words it didn't work. Then he pointed out the difference between the governments "rebuilding" after Katrina programs and private citizen rebuilding. The districts where the government is in charge are not rebuilt, only a very few people are able to meet the requirements, there are like 10 or so different forms. Even the lawyers that they brought in to sort them out couldn't do it, let alone any ordinary citizen. Then they showed us whole neighborhoods that had been built in under a month by people like Brad Pitt and Habitat for humanity. It is also amazing to me to see doctors and dentists who previously vollunteered in third world country's vollunteering in America. I ask, how well does the government run any program? The answer has always been aparent, not well at all. So in this current climate, with President Obama in charge, I do see some things that are intriguing idea's that he has brought into play. He did ask for a large amount of money, but he has also set up a web site for ordinary people to watch what happens to that money, will it work? He is apparently reaching out and it is clear he is trying to do things differently. I think he did mention in his inaggural speach that we need to work together. Well we need to, there is no other way but letting people fall by the wayside. Even I, and I have no money, can work with others. I will garden, I can share the bounty. I will sew bags for my shopping (I bought some drawstring bags online for vegetables but when I got them I think the fabric is like pillow cases, so I am going to refashion some). I can watch my neighbors little kids if she needs to work (as long as I can). Collaboration can work, we need more of it. I am also thinking that it is my duty to be more involved in the political process. I was really into it before the election, but the ferver died down a bit and so did my sense of urgency. But really I should be learning more about government and how to be involved. Because, as they say evil will win if good men do nothing.

The Age of Innocence Lost?

I have been thinking about the global economic crises and about how things have been in this country, in the world, for the past 100+ years.

America has been a land of freedom, a land of people searching for that freedom. Freedom has been an expanding, vague desire that has been sought after throughout the ages.

Children seek it when they are growing up, adults seek vacations and the freedom to do what they want with their time. The desire for freedom is a powerful motivator. Yet it can lead to an undesirable end.

Frontiers men seeking freedom left the company of people and wandered off into the wild to hunt and be on their own. Did they end up lonely and unfulfilled? One might think so, but can we be sure about that. My idea and your idea about what makes us happy are intrinsically different.

Children want to grow up, to be able to make their own choices, to earn their own money. This desire isn't bad, it just is. The consequences of growing up though are deeper than they first appear.

Yet, I think that people are happier when they can make their own choice, in fact I think that no matter what the circumstance taking control of your own mindset and "choosing" brings us satisfaction.

Back to my original subject of the freedom that has been sought and is still sought. Think about this the choices of our ancestors have to a large part made us who we are today. Could they have foreseen that their excess has led to our deficiency? Can we see that today?

There was this illusion, that the great trials of human kind had been conquered, health, disease, economics, government. As I was growing up, we talked about these things in the past tense. People used to deal with plagues, people used to be enslaved, people used to die young from mysterious diseases. Antibiotics were the miracle cure, as well as immunizations.

Now it's kind of amusing, but not really, that we are worrying about these things again. People thought that poverty was on the decline and that someday soon we would solve the great dilemma of it. Homelessness was an anomaly, those homeless people, crazy right?

Well it's like someone opened a can of worms, and people are realizing that these assumptions are overly optimistic. The capitalistic economy is being questioned (although it's not really fair because it has never really been given a chance). The use of antibiotics and immunizations is questioned and even being called a folly. Even the very foundation of our government is being questioned.

It is not all fair (although I do wholeheartedly agree with the folly of overuse of antibiotics and immunizations). Why do I say that it is not all fair? Because it has not been a pure experiment, other determining factors have been introduced and continue to be introduced. In fact all of the recent tinkering with bailouts have been a deviation from the course, both of capitalism and free government.

I think it is partially an issue of control and trust. For capitalism to work without being too harsh, there has to be a measure of public charity, for when things go bad. Instead of the government stepping in to feed the poor and look after the public welfare. There has to be people who are willing to devote their time and talents (such as doctors and dentists donating their time and money) to the public welfare.

Has there ever been a group of people (politicians) who could hold back and let things work without jumping in even when they know they are going against principle? Is there any way to keep greed out of public service? Maybe we can't really expect that. Think about it, we hire these guy's to do something, what are they going to do? Something, which is make laws and tinker.

Maybe we should require a certain amount of volunteer time from the people making the laws. Give them a challenge to do something collaborative with a group of people that's really going to make a difference. Like a community garden, or health care institute.

Benjamin Franklin set up a school with a trust fund that is still in existence today. George Washington devoted his time and refused to be king. If our country could have been run by George Washington’s and Benjamin Franklins (who did have his vices), could things have turned out differently?

What if we all had the same kind of education, the same viewpoints, would things work well then? You know I think there is something to the idea of more public service minded politicians. What if, instead of thousand dollar a plate dinners to benefit campaigning, these guy's held help your neighbor nights where groups of people got together and talked about their concerns and came up with ways to meet each other's needs. . . Anyway, I guess I have gone on long enough, I didn't even know where I was going with this. What do you all think?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wonder Woman

You know what? Sometimes, I just feel like I am missing something. Like I somehow needed to learn something or do something, but didn't.

Sometimes I feel like I need to prove myself. That I am...

Do you ever feel this way?

Well, I am bored. Roxie and I are playing "Princess Castle," because were the only one's around and she's asking for bit's of lotion to play with.

A Picture just for my friend Eco Grrl...

Wonder Woman Baby Shoes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Got a Second Interview...

Well, that went, hmm. I would like to say it went well, but I will say it went well enough. I am supposed to be getting a call for a second interview, hopefully they can reach me because my husband stole my cell phone (his broke) and I almost didn't get the call into this interview because of it. Luckily they called the other number (our home phone) and I just happened to get to the phone on time. When I got over to the interview (on time) I waited for an hour because of some communication error. That's ok, I sat and read a magazine (which I like to do but usually have to much to do otherwise). He asked regular interview questions; what do you know about the company? Give me an instance where you had to resolve a conflict with your supervisor, (just writing them down right now because I know I need to work on them), give me an instance where you had to pursuade someone to investigate a product. What made you apply here? (I need a job, what other reason is there :0) I didn't say that). What do you hope to achieve at this company?

Golly, I don't know, I hope to have a stable job with the opporunity for advancement. I did ask him a question, I am not sure if it was a good one, I asked how well the company is doing in this economic climate. He said they are doing better than expected, by 3%. I am not sure what else to ask.

I know that for this next interview I need to do a bit of research and give it a bit more thought.

I am also grappling with the terrible saddness of having to leave my 2 year old to other care. I haven't been away from her much, I have fed her wholesome foods from the time she was born and I was thinking about if I left her with our neighbor, how she would probably eat macaroni and cheese and/or hotdogs (don't make me gag). Of course there is the excuse of gluten intolerance, the only clues that I have that she might have a problem is that her skin breaks out, she get's diarrhea, and stomach aches, when I let her eat wheat products. Or is it something else? I couldn't sleep very well last night thinking about this situation and I was trying to think of another way, but I know that even if I worked at home it would be terrible for me and her to have a pile of stuff I had to do and no time to pay attention to her. Or, like my cousin, who does work for at home; she has to have total silence (or near to it) so that people don't know that she is at home. That won't work for a two year old.

I wish I had another option, that I could close my eyes and stay at home and let what come, may come. But I know that my husband owes a lot of money to his suppliers (it still rankles me that this happened) and there is not a ton of work for him to do anyway. He has had some calls for bids, but not a lot and people are really stingy right now. He also is supposed to have something coming up in March, but the situation there is that he and his brother will supply the labor and the General contractor will keep track of costs. I'm not sure how much he will get from this arrangement. Grrr.

I keep thinking about how lucky people are who get to be at home with their kids. Going for walks, gardening together, being together. But then, there is something to be said for having structure. It's hard to keep on track when there are no deadlines (unless artificially applied). That's why having an endless life, might not be the best thing, you might not ever get around to doing things, because you have forever to do it. (I have been struggling with this, since I have been bred to have deadlines from school work and such). So I don't know, maybe it's a blessing (though a tough one to accept) to have to go to work. I am still crying whenever I think of what my baby is going to have to adjust to. Plus I feel like a failure with my homeschooling efforts, I have been completely boring. For one thing, we never got over to the library as regularly as I would have liked, for another we haven't had any money to sign up for the many classes for homeschoolers available in our area. Plus I wish I was a more structured and fun parent. I know that if I got up earlier and got things done, then devoted my time to reading and playing around with my kids then things would be funner for them. I usually end up sleeping late (because my baby gets to bed late), not getting things clean (because my husband is home and watching game shows, because there is no work), not getting my exercise done (until almost noon), not getting a bath until after I exercise. Then I am not available to my son, who I am supposed to be devoting my time to for homeschooling, and I am not available to my daughter (well actually she's grumpy because we haven't been able to go on our regular walks). I just end up feeling guilty all of the time.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. That's what's going on in my world, thank you all for the good wishes.

~Strawberry Girl

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Job Interview!!

I finally got a job interview!!

It's for The Generations Network or My cousin actually works for them, at home, lucky girl. My interview is at 11:30 am tomorrow, wish me luck, cross your fingers, whatever you can do. . . ;p

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What Line?

In life we are alway's straddling a line, what line? The line between good and bad, real and imaginary, healthy and ill. Is there a point in staying on the "right" side of the line? How do we know what the right side of the line is?

You could spend your time being endlessly pedantic talking about this, but I guess the right side of the line is where you are the happiest. Is there some kind of ultimate happiness out there for those of us who can figure out what the right side of the line is, the good and real and healthy side?

Most people would agree that it is better to be healthy than ill; good than bad; and living in the real world is usually the only way to have a normal life. But then why do we do things that lead to illness, that we know to be bad? I guess revelling in an imaginary world now and then is not so bad, so I will leave that out of my musings, unless we are not facing reality. I guess most people do things to try and avoid pain, but sometimes the "cure" that they use will lead to a worse pain.

I don't know who agree's with me here. But I see government programs as taking away our freedoms. They are expensive and poorly run and people are better off managing there own affairs (except the mentally ill). Who am I to talk though we are, on foodstamps, I hate it!! I would much rather work and manage my own affairs than be where I am, but I am here. Where is the line for government involvement in our lives?

So here is the sticker, if I was altruistic then I would get off all government programs, throw CHIP and Medicaid and PCN back in the governments face. Sit and suffer it out, starve and beg for money from my family (going all the way I would go clean there house).

Maybe I should do that, I believe in being self sufficient, am I willing to do that? Actually yes, I am trying to do as much as I can to be self sufficient by growing a garden, buying a pressure canner to preserve meat, learning how to cook and how to preserve food. As to health care I don't know, I am doing my best to learn how to keep my family healthy without using the doctor but there are things that come up like broken arms (Baby had one last year) so I just can't throw away government health care that easily. It still makes me mad though because it is run so haphazardly and poorly.

Plus I hate that people don't take the initiative to try and become healthy but rely on the "backup" of medicine and doctors. I don't really blame them too much though, I think that the greedy "health" care industry is part of what has ruined this country. Starting with greedy corporations producing low quality food with poor quality ingredients. Leading to a population with poor health and mental illnesses (yes food can make you mentally ill). Leading to people seeing the doctor all of the time and never getting well. Leading to the prescription of various and assundry drugs that also cause and further illnesses. Leading to people who don't think, don't question, become apathetic and stuck who live and breath and die without ever knowing what it really feels like to be alive. Where is the line for corporations? What is an honest profit and what is greed?

Also think about this, our country is in big, tremendous debt. We have no money, we've spent it. Now the government wants to print off more and they keep promoting stimulus packages. I believe that these "stimulus" packages are going to ruin the value of our money, create inflation/deflation whatever you want to call it and we are not going anywhere. Why are people not saving? Because there is not incentive to save (too low of an interest rate), and we don't have money to save anyway. People are being sold the ideal of ME NOW, and not the ideal of WAIT and be happy with what you have.

Maybe it's a good thing, people will have to stop spending so much on junk. People are turning to gardens and cooking and community again. It's still hard, and I hate being in this position, but what can I do about it?

I guess that's enough of a rant. :0)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Illusion of Control

I was feeling a lot happier earlier today, then I did a stupid thing, I ate pork ribs with microwaved veggies at my mom's house. I rinsed the sauce off the ribs (I have problems with tomato sauce sweetened with HFCS) but it still gave me a headache. I kind of got over that but now I just feel kind of down, but part of that could be thinking about the economy. I've been reading a book called "Stumbling Upon Happiness." In what I have read so far the premise about happiness that he is putting forth is that happiness comes somewhat from a sense of control. That makes sense to me, as right now my sense of control is totally missing from my life it creates despondancy and sadness in me. My way of regaining control is being stricter with my diet and cleaning. Since I have four kids I have a lot of stuff to clean but they quickly erase any dillusion that I might have that I can control how clean my environment can be. My "clean" house poofs on the wind as soon as I cease to be picking things up, washing dishes and telling the kids to clean (also an illusion of control because they don't really follow through very well on what they are supposed to clean). Yeah so my diet is usually what I turn to. Luckily for my body I am no longer a Weight Watchers junkie and am not counting every point that I eat. Also Lucky for me is that I know what to eat to help calm myself down and deal with stress. For instance I know that Banana's and milk, cheese and apples, nuts and apples, 72% and up dark chocolate, Roobios tea, chamomile and tulsi tea are all calming. Unfortunanatly they don't solve the problem of a messy house, that I can't get clean; a good but not great resume; owing a lot of money (not my fault, but our business did terrible last year); and no money coming in. Plus to me this is annoying, and probably a lot of other women, it doesn't matter how healthy I eat my body has a mind of it's own. I don't get "overweight" eating like I do, but I won't get toned unless I make an extrodinary effort to get out and do it. There are some girls in my church going to run at the indoor track nearby on M, W, and F but they go at 6 a.m. and the first and last time I tried that I woke up at 5:40 and went to their house for a ride then exercised (I think ineffectively because I hadn't started to track anything) and it left me extremely grumpy. I know I need to get my two year old to go to bed earlier, I just haven't been able to do it yet. That would help with being able to wake up earlier, but I did read an article about not waking up earlier than 7 because your body hasn't made enough melatonin or something like that, so it will make you grumpy to wake up early, good excuse? I think so. So... I keep looking for someway to improve my resume/find a job/save or earn money and cleaning and exercising and eatting healthy. Am I going to regain control? Maybe not, but maybe I will regain the illusion of control. Hopefully it will be enough.


Life feels so much better when the sun is out!! Yesterday, the sun was shining like a beacon of hope. Hope that spring was on the way, that we can do something outside again. (It's raining today but that is alright with me).

This year is the year of the garden, beautiful organic garden. I'm going to make it work and make it the best one that I have ever had. Last year was an experiment, we tried out square foot gardening and put the boxes up against the fence. Unfortunantly morning glory grew up under the gardens and popped out everywhere and no matter how many times I pulled it just came back. The only garden that was "spared" quite a bit was the one that my dad made about 8" high instead of 6." SO I am going to double up the boxes that we already have so that will make them about 12" high and were going to get more boxes to spread the love around ya know.

I also have plans to build a little shelf off of our kitchen window (the bottom half of our duplex is about 6' down) that way I can open it up and "cook" with a little solar oven that I have plans to get and not waste energy using our oven all the time.

Maybe I can find a way to make a clothes line in the back yard as well (wouldn't that be "swell?" My ancestors wouldn't have thought so, would yours?)

It's funny, last year when gas was over $4 a gallon, I bought this push lawn mower. It's an antique really, but it worked. The blades are dull though, I think I will take them to the local knife sharpener and have them sharpen them up. The neighbors have been using it since they are getting a little discount on the rent to take care of the yard, but it's not much so the gas on the lawn mower kind of eats up the money.

Something that's funny about the way things grow around here is that things start out managable in spring, everything keeps in it's respectable place, but about mid-summer the plants explode and there is green everywhere. Then suddenly everything starts to die off and it becomes cold, fall and winter show up and everything shuts down again. GLORIOUS!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Check out that glow!!

I went over to my friends house yesterday to see if she happened to have a SCOBY (a simbiotic "mushroom" like culture) laying around for making Kombucha Tea. We are culturing our Kombucha from Roobios tea to avoid the caffiene from Green Tea (black, white etc.). Roobios is said to be even higher in antioxidants than green. So we've been culturing our tea, or I should say, she has been culturing the tea because I keep killing my Scoby. Whether it is because the tea is too hot when I add the mushroom, or in this case I had a weak mushroom (from adding it to too hot tea) and I added it to tea I had thoroughly cooled but the sugar hadn't disolved very well and the mushroom got attacked by an outside mold or something, it didn't look to good. She has a bit more time to research these things since she only has one kid and no husband. So that's my excuse ;p But I think this time I am going to do some more research. She had the most radient, gorgeous glow!! I know it's from eatting a few more raw foods than I do (I have been slacking). I think I will go out and buy a bunch of raw foods. But besides for that I want to take the raw foods classes that she took. Though I have to watch it because they use things like flax seed, beet powder and sesame seeds (if you read my previous post you'll know why I have to avoid these, especially sesame seeds ;p). Maybe I will get a raw foods book and work on my non-cooking, cooking skills.

Besides for that, it is tax season, yikes!! Now last years mess from not having financial software all year is coming out to bite. (Besides for running over costs and losing a bunch of money). Hubby finally got me the software I had been asking for all year in November and I put a lot of our info. on it, but I still have a lot to sort through. GROWL!! So I am going to be busy with that, for a bit, luckily he came and got the kids today so that I can get things sorted.

I hope everyone has a good day. :0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Effect of Food on Your Body

This is a topic that I have been meaning to get to and I feel that it is importaint enough to post here as well as in my health blog. Over the past two years, I have gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. Begining at being super skinny from being on Weight Watchers, to now where I am at a healthy weight (though I will be happy to get out an exercise again). I am not super, super skinny and I feel a lot better for it. I do think though that eventually I will be able to get back into my "skinnier" jeans if I feel like it (I am a size 4-6 right now, size 4 is my skinniest).

At my thinnest on Weight Watchers I felt devoid of all feeling, like a shell. I wasn't happy with my body, it left me with little satisfaction since I still thought I needed to lose even more weight.

Let me tell you what I think happened. Weight Watchers claims to be a lifestyle change instead of a diet, I guess if you know a lot about food and are committed to a completely whole foods diet it can work for you. I decided to do the "points" program and therefore only bought things that were packaged because I could then determine the points values more easily. This worked, I lost weight. The drawback was as I said not feeling anything, slowed thought process, a loss of energy, feelings of inferiority, anxiety. I had a hard time making up my mind on what clothes to wear, and I always felt uncomfortable in what I did choose to wear. Doesn't sound like much fun does it?

Well here are a few things that I learned from my experience.

Your body needs fat, and not just any type of fat. Your brain really needs fat. Here are a few that I have learned to stay away from. Canolla oil, vegetable oils, refined olive oils, refined oils of any kind. Some people can handle these next one's but they really affect me flaxseed oil, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil. In fact over the past two day's I have had a terrible headache and I have been really touchy and angry because I ate some Gluten Free Crackers that have safflower oil in them. I am finally feeling my natural calm again because I figured out what was doing it.

Here is a list of the fats and oils that work really well with me. Unrefined natural organic oils, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, walnut, sunflower seed (to a lesser degree). Unrefined Palm oil is said to be healthy by many people now. I have a bottle and it is a beautiful rich orange color indicating a high degree of caratanoids, but my body doesn't like it much. Then there are animal fats, fish oil works really well for me, (especially if I eat wild caught Salmon). Organic lard (really hard to find I had to order some online from Amish farmers). Grass fed beef contains a lot of beneficial fat, you don't necessarily need to eat a lot of the fat, but you don't need to fuss about taking all of it off either. Plus beautiful yellow butter from grass fed cows, Yumy!

You need to soak seeds, nuts and grains, at least over night. This might not be immediately obvious to you, but try it a few times (even if your almonds look like swollen ballons in the morning). The water that you soaked your nuts will be a dark brown or reddish color. This is the enzyme inhibitors that keep the seeds/nuts from sprouting until soaked and they block your body from absorbing the nutrients from the seeds/nuts. Grains also contain enzyme inhibitors, try soaking your oatmeal overnight and then cook it in the morning. You will feel a difference in the amount of energy that you feel after eatting, than if you didn't take this step. I am not positive, but I think that you need to be careful with how long you soak your nuts. I have gotten a strange taste after eatting almonds that have soaked for a few day's. Really intense almond flavor, but with a really strange bite to it.

I recommend throwing away your microwave. Before you think I have lost it, let me tell you the result that I got after doing it. Number 1, I learned to cook really well. Number 2, the food that I cook tastes really good. Number 3, I feel a lot more energy from lightly steamed veggies than from "nuked" veggies. Number 4, soup and stuff doesn't take that long to heat up on the stove anyway. Number 5, I put a toster oven where the microwave used to be and use it all of the time. The biggest reason I did it was because I researched the issue and found that even if the research was incomplete the possible risks of continuing to use my microwave were to great.

Here are a few observations on how foods that my body doesn't like affect my body. Beets- make my heart rate increase, as well as my breathing. So do tomatoes but not as bad. Cabbage makes my stomach swell and I get gas from it (I don't think it's worth eating the food if my body has a reaction to it). I already mentioned safflower oil. Let me mention sesame seeds, this one is kind of funny, but not really. My good friend who happens to be a Vegan suggested using sesame seeds to replace the calcium lost in your diet from not drinking milk. So I tried it out and thought I was ok. At first things seemed great, I felt like I was on top of the world (if not for the light sensitivity). Every nerve in my body seemed alive, everything tasted great (ice cream was a blast, I know, I was replacing milk right). I was incredibly attuned to other people, I felt so happy and calm. In fact all of my inhibitions (almost) were lifted. Then I started having headaches and extreme light sensitivity. So I stopped eatting the sesame seeds (actually making them into a "milk"). My mom told me that what I described sounded like what people on LSD describe, not really funny. (I don't eat sesame seeds anymore).

I have also found that a lot of food should be eatten raw, but I don't like the all raw food diet. Some foods that are definantly better raw are, most veggies and fruits, milk and cheeses, fish (I like tilapia prepared raw), nuts and seeds (soaked), grains (though I just don't like most of them raw, except buckwheat).

I have a really great chart that describes the different Neuro Transmitters in our brains. I wish I could just scan it to the web, but since I don't know how to do that just yet I will attempt to write it out.


Effects- emotional stability

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of rational emotion; feelings of irritability; sudden unexplained tears; sleep problems.

Suppliments Required- Calcium, Magnesium, Chromium, Vitamin A

Foods in Which Found- Turkey, Ham, Milk, Cheese


Effects- Staying Calm

Deficiencies Result In- Free floating anxiety; fearful, insecure feelings; feelings that things are closing in around you; unexplained panic.

Suppliments Required- L-Glutamine, Vitamin B6

Foods In Which Found- Fish (especially mackerel), wheat bran


Effects- Psychological pain relief

Deficiencies Result In- Feelings of incompleteness; lack of fulfillment; feelings of inferiority or indequacy; never feels "equal."

Suppliments Required- D-Phenylalanine, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid

Foods in Which Found- Fish & Algae, Wheat Germ, Green Leafy Vegetables, Egg Yolk


Effects- Pleasure, Reward, Good Feelings Towards Others, Maternal and Paternal Love.

Deficiencies Result In- Anhedonia: no pleasure in life; world looks colorless; inabilitiy to "love"; no remorese about personal behavior.

Suppliments Required- L-Phenylatanine, Vitamin B6

Foods in Which Found- Fish and Algae, Blackstrap Molasses


Effects- Arousal, Energy, Drive

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of ambition, lack of drive, lack of energy, depression.

Supplements Required- L-Phenylalanine, Vitamin B6

Foods in Which Found- Fish and Algae, Beef Liver or Kidney

I also have a chart of the Affect of Drugs and Alcohol on the body, the first few seem repetitive but the next few are different.


Function- Arousal, energy, drive

Drugs that Affect it- Cocaine, speed, caffeine, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of drive, depression, lack of energy

Amino Acid Supplement- L-phenylalanine


Function- Staying calm, relaxation, focus

Drugs that Affect it- Valium, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Free-floating anxiety, fearfulness, insecurity, can't relax or sleep, unexplined panic.

Amino Acid Supplement- L-glutamine


Function- Psychological/physical pain relief, pleasure, reward, good/loving feelings toward others.

Drugs that Affect them- Heroin, marijuana, alcohol, sugar, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Overly Sensitive, feelings of incompleteness, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure normally), world lacks color, inability to love.

Amino Acid Supplement- dL-phenylalanine


Function- Emotional stability, pain tolerance, self-confidence

Drugs that Affect it- Sugar, marijuana, ecstasy, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Depression, obsession, worry, low self-esteem, sleep problems, hunger, irritability.

Amino Acid Supplement- Chromium, Picolinate -increases L-Tryptophan availability.

On a last note,

I really like Dagoba Dark Chocolate (you can find it online if not in your health food store). I also like Tulsi (holy basil) tea and Roobios tea. All of these have helped me deal with stress and anxiety and they taste great to boot!

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Experience with the Ocean

Stifling, numb, tierd, and sick. The drive had been long out to California to pick up my brother from boot camp. It was August but the heat out there, along with the humidity was clinging to me and my hair felt sticky on my neck. I had my swimming suit on in the hope that once we reached the hotel we could go for a swim. But a more alluring possibility presented itself before we reached our destination, still a good 20 minutes away. The ocean was calling us, my Dad was pushing on, but we were begging for a visit. This would probably be our only chance. So he turned towards the ocean and a calm satisfaction settled into me in anticipation. We parked in the parking lot on the edge of a dune, but easily found our way down to a trail that led to facilities and the beach. I was so eager, I tore off the hot clothing which had suffocated me during the trip and ran towards the cool breeze that came from the waters breath. The sand was wet quickly, I was suprised at the sand, dry on top and wet beneath. The fresh salty air invigorated something deep down in me and I felt to run into the arms of the sea. I had little experience with such matters, and no one warned me of how powerful the surf would be, I quickly learned. The water was a beast, strong and more powerful than any human hands could ever be. I was tossed, like a doll and I swam for the top. Swam as it were for my life, the fear I felt was excrutiatingly real. I couldn't really see since my contacts were out, so to gauge how far I had to swim to reach the others was a bit daunting. Somehow, deep inside I pulled out my reserves of calm and concentration and swam with my might towards the others. Feigning unconcern with the situation and my scare I stepped out of the water and onto the beach. I reached for my towel and walked over to the shower facilities. I shivered, from the newly cold wind and from the thought of the ocean beast still roaring in the background. Sometime I will get back again, sometime the ocean will be calmer and I will play in the surf and sand. Until then, my respect for the forces of nature is great.

Can't a girl find a job?

You know what, I said I was going to take a sabatical from the computer but I feel like ranting a bit. I am a smart, energetic girl, good with people, really good at keeping things in order but is there a job out there for me? Nope. Along with a couple hundred thousand just like me.

This wouldn't be so bad if there was a decent way to live my life without working 9-5. This is when I look at the world and see how terribly wrong we have all gone. This is where Thomas Jefferson and his ideal world of independent families on their own land with their own sustainable business makes a lot of sense.

How did we get here? It is tempting to blame it on the short sightedness of our ancestors and their push for "progress." But then, aren't we all short sighted? My grandparents were pioneers, they fought for their freedoms and they worked hard. When my great grandpa died my grandpa and his brother sold the land and divided it up. How ironic that this land that used to be owned by honest pioneer stock is now inhabited by people who may or may not wish to earn their lot from farming but couldn't do so anyway. It is all parcelled off, buildings and parking lots, stores and gas stations. Selling goods made in China, not even as good by half as the clothing that our Great Grandmothers made by their own honest labor. We have trinkets and bobbles and not enought sense in our heads to know that we are slaves to some greedy corporate big wigs that control the quality of our lives.

I live in a duplex, right now I consider this a blessing. There is a large back yard, full of stones, but nevertheless a yard. I found fencing though craigslist last year, through sheer grit and stubborness I brought a bunch of 6' X 8' lengths of pre-manufactured fencing home in the back of my husbands truck and it's been stored up against the side of our house ever since. I have wanted to fence off the back yard and make things grow, but don't have the physical strenth to lift up these fence pieces to put them in place. (Though I did manuvere them out of the back of the truck by myself).

I want to have something productive to do. It is crazy sitting around each day, when things should be getting done. It's driving me nuts!!

That's my rant for now. May be I will rant later about the feminist movement and/or the loss of jobs to people oversea's. Or may be I will try making that quilt I keep promising myself to make and try not to see things as so hopeless. ;p