Acorns From The Healing Tree


"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." ~ St. Paul

Wishcasting Wednesday

The wishcasting wednesday question this week is "What do I want to accomplish in my lifetime?"

I want to stay healthy and fight off MS in my lifetime.

Come for Tea

You are invited for tea. What a wonderful thing to hear. Is there anything more comforting or healing than a real English cup of tea? It is relaxing yet invigorating and tastes so delicious. I love the tradition, the whole ritualistic sacredness of tea. It's not like grabbing a cup of "Joe" as we Americans are fond of doing. It's not a hurry up - get to the next meeting - kind of affair. Over it, you are invited to linger and breath a little, maybe sigh or smile.
I was raised on taking tea. I had a sort of English nanny when I was young, who was also our housekeeper. When I was ten she was about my size. I thought of her as old, though she was probably no more than fifty. She was a quick, small, sparrow of a woman, who danced the highland fling in my kitchen and spoke of ghosts and hauntings and fanciful things like that. She came from Yorkshire. and had been a young woman during the 2nd world war and remembered how hard life had been then, how hard it was to get food and tea on the table. When I was little she started me on something called Cambric Tea which was just hot water with milk and sugar - no tea in it. I called her Auntie Sarah, though we were not related. I learned to love all things British because of her, or maybe its genetic, for there were alot of Norman British folk in my background.
Just a bit of history, the Norman's came to England as part of the Norman Conquest, fighting the Saxons, you know, the Normans were the "bad" guys in the movie "Braveheart." They came from the area of France back in the 1000's. I don't think they even had tea back then, as tea came from India to the Western world sometime later. Tea plants do not grow in England!
But lets talk of taking tea, and not history, which I like, but am rather vague about. Okay, an elegant tea is nice, you know the kind, served with lemon on linen cloths with finger sandwiches and petit-fours? I much prefer the country morning sorts of teas on a bare wooden table, with nary a napkin in sight, and lots of warm sun pouring in. I've tried many different brands of tea, but my favorite is Tetley. It's good black tea with a strong flavor just like something you'd get in a real English tea room. You'll see the necessary elements for tea in the picture: a teapot in a quilted cozy; tea cup; sugar; cream or milk in a pitcher, a spoon. The cozy is important to keep the tea hot of course. Milk and sugar are just as important as the tea. Americans don't seem to get this: it drives me crazy! Black tea without milk and sugar is like toast without jam. A cute cockney term for white toast with strawberry jam is "Holy ghost and rosie." I learned that bit of slang on one of my vacations to "jolly old."
I admit that the use of a tea bag is rather inelegant and doesn't lend itself to fortune telling like Auntie Sarah did. But for my money, bags are are the most convenient and economical, and Tetley only comes in cute round muslin bags. The water is another element important to a good cup of tea; it's got to be good water without alot of chlorine. Heavy in lime deposits is the kind of water they have in England. The flavor of their water is probably hard to come by in America where the water is hard. Lime in the water makes it softer, I believe, think of the cliffs of Dover. Anyway, I think it's lime. By that I mean the chemical compound of lime - the stuff that makes garden's grow that you till into the soil that makes it more base than alkaline - not the small green citrus fruit for heaven's sake!
Turn on the tea-kettle once you've poured in some fresh water. The water must come to a full boil which will make a good tea-kettle toot. Besides the tea, the singing teakettle is the next most comforting thing about tea. When life gets hard it will make everything easier just hearing the welcome toot that says someone put the kettle on. Revere makes a great style of tea kettle. It is stainless steel and has the strongest voice of any I've seen. Just don't heat the water in the microwave or have it in a plastic or, God forbid, paper cup. It's just not done, and gives the tea a limp, weak and watery taste. Now pour the tea into a china teapot with two or three bags and let it steep until it's a nice rich brown color that is almost thick and not transparent. You might want to remove the bags at this point.
Then you become, what is called in England, "mother" or the person who pours the tea. At least a teaspoon of sugar and milk must be added. Some Brits even add this to the cup first, but I don't like to, as it cools down the cup. Now sip slowly, don't gulp it down like my Dad does. One must have time to savor, and converse. And don't forget the Holy Ghost and Rosie!
Thank-you for your company and lets do more tea tomorrow.


Our new parakeet is chirping wildly from the kitchen where Dad's been whistling at him from the sink while doing the dishes. We're trying to teach the bird "hello" and his name "Kelly". So far, only chirping, but that is always a happy sign. He is still shy, but you can just see from his expression how curious he is about the camera staring at him, can't you?

I read up on how to train parakeets. First, one has to train them to pay attention to you (and not the bird they see in the mirror!) which means getting rid of any mirrored toys or decorations in the cage. Then you have to take control of its eating schedule (2 or 3 times daily) by not just leaving the birdseed in the cage, but taking its food out and bringing its food back to it for its meals. This trains the little guy to be dependent on the flock (us) for its food. It seems to be working already! Admittedly, it helps if you are home most of the time, like I am, to do all the feeding.
We hope that he can be trained enough to come out of his cage and stay on my shoulder kind of like a pirate might do with a parrot. Is this too strange? Well, I've tried cats but I was too allergic to them. Dogs are too much trouble for me, walking them without having the safety of sidewalks endangered both our lives - there were always speeding cars, ditches, or other dogs to prevent walking! Birds seem like a good sort of pet for someone like me. And I like them!

The miracle of my step-father

This morning was a big tado, a bruhaha, concerning Dads lost prescription he got from doctors last week. My gosh. I think they should PIN important notes to his shirt like they do in kindergarten! He also lost a fancy manilla folder I gave him to put in all his important paperwork from the doctors (which probably contains the lost prescription.) I don't now what to do about his mental lapses.

Anyway, Dad, whose really my step-dad, had a heart attack last March which they attributed to a blocked artery. He actually stopped breathing! My son was there and called 911 and was instructed in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which wasn't working, the paramedics got there and shocked his heart back to beating. So, then Dad spends a few weeks in the hospital, unable to communicate, where they blasted the plaque out of the blockage. At that time his survival was still questionable and I got a late night call from a Doctor asking what I wanted to do with him. As he had been without oxygen his complete recovery was in doubt(There was also no advance directive that he ever signed!) Gosh! To be put in this position is quite difficult, to say the least. I'm his closest living relative and he's 89.

I tried to reason what he would want done and what was right from an ethical, moral view. Even that is debatable! And I was on the phone to the doctor at the hospital 3,000 miles away so I couldn't even see Dad! And the doc had to know now! Like at that point Dad could be taken off life support or kept on it. Finally I said that they should do everything they could to save him and bring him back, no matter the consequences. I didn't get much time to pray about it. But that night I prayed, man did I pray.

Anyway he's mostly back to himself now, in spite of the doctor's prediction (I think they just like to cover their asses in case something goes wrong). He is walking, talking, able to do everything for himself, thank God. The doctors are very impressed with the outcome. But now there is a responsibility on my part: Dad is really unable to drive anymore, cook meals, etc. So since my husband and I were empty nesters anyway, I thought we could easily add another hungry mouth to the nest. It's just that his memory isn't that great anymore. At times he's very difficult to get along with and he is totally deaf, which makes communication almost impossible. I never know if he understood some information, or just didn't hear me, or just nods! But he is still very much alive. I am glad I made the right decision that night.

I just wanted to mention this miracle of the step-father, and tell the world that no matter what the doctors say, there is always, always hope! I know he'd want everyone to know too. I also want to tell people to get their loved-ones to fill out an advance directive so you won't be faced with such hard decisions like I was! You can get advance directives from your doctor or even a form online, they usually have to be noterized when its signed.

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning is a time for stream-of-conciousness stuff, and a favorite quote, so here goes -

Remember other Sundays from the past: cool marble church so quiet, empty, old ladies perfume, jingling bracelets, kindly rouged faces coming at you, fur stoles. Surge of emotion singing a hymn -try not to cry - knowing something but not quite - something on the tip of your tonque - something about God or heaven or Jesus - something you were supposed to remember? The quarter for collection gripped tightly in fist. Grahm crackers and juice.The closing verse, always the same, haven't forgotton "there is no life, truth, substance in matter...all is Mind and its infinate manifestation" then, "sunday school is dismissed!" Everyone happy with the closing remark. Said with gusto from the lecture stand. Sunday schools shining big hall so clean and polished, round tables, small wooden chairs, bright morning sun from windows - many windows! Sometimes one teacher sitting alone in a little chair - no children - reading to herself. Best dresses, new patent shoes, grown-up purse, white gloves. Special dress-up day. People you saw each Sunday. Nice eccentric people - kind, different, fat lady with many chins, lady with scars winding up legs and arms. Not people from school, people who smiled alot. Hair in curls. Big and bright. Where are they now? Where is it? In memory. In a verse, smell, song or sound. The smell of lilies and lilacs. Hymn numbers on a wall. The sound of organs. Whispered voices. A fancy lady singing. Dad staying at home. Babies crying. I want to take off my shoes, but also want to eat blackberries. Can I do that?

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A snowy saturday

Ahhh. We have been transformed again. Snow on Friday night is always welcome. It means laying in bed most of Saturday morning. After all, there is nowhere to go, no errands and no work. Even if we had to get somewhere, we could not. There is a 4-foot drift in the street in front of our house! It's always entertaining to see who is going to venture out on the street, other than the local huskey who loves the freedom of no cars. The 4-foot drift is bad enough, but it hides a hidden danger to anyone driving down our street. We have deep ditches, instead of sidewalks, on both sides of the street. When snow is drifted on top of the ditches, an unsuspecting driver can go right into one. It's not too dangerous - how fast can one be driving, after all. Once the city snow plow did this and it took a huge truck to pull it out - an all day operation and quite ironic! Now we figure, if there was a true emergency someone would come to the door, call the police, or at least AAA. It's pretty dumb to drive down a street with 4 foot snow drifts! Maybe we've gotten callous living here.

So each snowy morning there is often the sound of shovels and general mayhem. That's how it was this morning. My husband used to run out to help, but now we've learned. Now we just comment to each other, sleepily, "oh, somebody's stuck" and nestle further into our warm and cozy Saturday bed. Later we will use our electric snow blower and join the block-party brigade. We never rely on the snowplow, but take clearing our street into our own hands. What a sight they make: four or five old geezers pushing a row of snow blowers down the street! Snow shooting high in huge clouds, motors roaring. I don't know, I almost wish we could stay snowed-in, what is that important anyway?

Snow again.

Finally the sky releases her pent up moisture. Snow like clouds of feathers float down, each flake discernible as an ephemeral entity. Pillowing white walls appear on rails and roofs; settle in white tracks where cars have gone; wrap windows in heavy quilts. Tree limbs get flocked in trace work, icy on the bare budding branches, thick as fox fur on the evergreens. A Huskey bounds in pure glee through the transformed landscape, joy evident in every stretching stride, each whirl and twist of his white and grey coat, each shake of his happy head. Home. He knows the smell of snow, the wet embrace of its fingers, the dark gloom of northern night descending. This is what he was bred and born for. The cold blast in his face, the cool dampness on his flanks, muscles pulling with the arctic blood of his ancestors driving him on. Passion and love for life. To be reborn on such a day!

I just wrote this in my journal, inspired by the scene out of my window this evening. The dog's joy was contagious.

My Idea For a Fun Life.

This is a better day today. Thank God. I'm not even going to read that drivel I wrote yesterday. Honestly, sometimes I think there are two people inside of me - one negative complainer and the other the innocent and happy woman/child. No, I'm not psycho, but sometimes I wonder, and that's healthy right?

I've got a bunch of students coming today, and I won't be able to get out at all. You know, I just realized something: In a marriage, where your husband works full time, the people at his office actually see your husband twice as much as you do. I mean, we see each other no more than an hour in the morning, and about 3 hours in the evening, and that's it. People see each other at work at least 8 or nine hours a day. I of course I am very grateful that he has a job, but this system sucks.

I think it would be a good idea to overhaul the American work ethic - tell Mr. Obama and Nancy Pillosi, cough, cough. It would even be better for everyone than the new health care system. I mean, what would be wrong if people only had to work 4 hours a day and had the rest of the time off for actually living? Everyone would have to agree on the new system. Really, whose stupid idea was the 8 hour day anyway and why do we all have to comply? I tell my hubby that we should either, one, go into politics, or two, sell everything and buy a camper and travel around like aging hippies. We just missed that era, being in junior high at the time. I admit there were some hippies even there, but not us geeks. But we need to do this before it is too late.

I think I'll plan the revolution...

Identity issues

Today is my one day off from my private teaching practice i.e. no students. It is surprising how much more relaxed I feel when nobody is coming to the house. One can let things get in a mess and it doesn't matter. I can look like a mess and it doesn't matter. And yet, I do feel that having the students coming keeps my days structured, and me intellectually stimulated and socialized.

But, sometimes I think it might be nice to stop teaching the harp - this instrument that due to ms dexterity issues - I don't even play anymore! This prays upon my self-esteem. If I manage to silence my egos noisy demands for attention, by telling it that I don't have to still play to teach, then I manage to save a shred of my dignity. But is it worth it? It's as though I have so much of my identity tied to the harp (so many strings!) that it seems to have hold of me. My mother was a harpist and now, somehow, I have to carry on the tradition in whatever manner I can manage to grasp hold of. I've played since I was four ,blah, blah, blah, taught privately since I was 20. But now I feel like a canary who can not grasp hold of her perch. I guess that's what is meant by "losing your grip" huh?

These feelings of doubt are worse when a brand-new student comes for their first lesson: they just naturally expect that I would still play the harp, like I used to. I wish I had an easy explanation, cause my ego demands that I go into detail, that, even though I don't look sick or handicapped, blah, blah, playing the harp requires much more dexterity and co-ordination than I have now. Of course that can change, and yet I have tried playing again, and it didn't work. There goes the self-esteem again.

What I hate most is the disappointed look on my student's faces! It seems like they think I'm a fake or something. That certainly hurts my ego. I need to stop caring what other people think. Forgive my reference to astrology, but all this is so hard for a double Capricorn with a 12th house sun and first house moon. Maybe somebody out there knows what I mean? I'm too sensitive and care too much.

I have all these unrented harps, standing like mute sentinels in my living room, it's like a haunting. They have served a noble purpose, but now, what to do with them? Sell everything, cut the cables and run for my life? I could do it, but, as my hubby is fond of asking, so what else will you do? What? That is the question. Maybe I would discover something else if I didn't have the harp to fall back on as income and identity? Or, maybe not.

In the end I must stop running around in circles with these questions, for it is enough to drive both myself and my family crazy. They often express the opinion that I should "put up or shut up". And so it goes...

My energy misdirected?

Back again after a long absence due to unforeseen events:

My canary died on Saturday. I admit that this was not in my positive thought program of the night before! I think she was sick. She had stayed at the bottom of her cage for a couple of days so I thought her problem was just her long toenails. I reasoned that if toenails get too long a bird can't wrap their toes around a perch. Finally my hubby and I got our courage up (we'd never trimmed bird nails before) so with small clippers and a bleed-stop styptic powder, in case we cut a vein, hubby held her and I trimmed. We could tell she was scared because she struggled so much, opening and closing her beak as though she wanted to bite or breath. Then she got still. I even remarked that "she seems to know that struggle is futile now." Oh God. She was still because she was dead. So here we were cutting the toe nails on our poor bird that was already dead. How stupid of us. We reasoned that she'd probably been sick a couple of days and the fright of being held was just too much for her.

Then the next death we had in the family was that of my computer. This also had been threatening. Dad had downloaded all kinds of stuff from online (without realizing what he was doing) and it has been limping along ever since. No, not limping actually, but falling down in a dead faint, sort of like our beloved canary. Finally we brought it into a computer - doctor, the computer, not the canary. We still haven't heard the diagnosis. Fortunately, I'm able to use my husband's laptop, so all is not lost.

Then the next day we had a big snow fall. This happened the day after a beautiful, but misleading, spring day. In the lovely warm weather, I actually got too warm in my car so I opened two windows. Ahhh. The nice fragrant warmth of spring! The only problem was - I forgot about the open windows and last night we had the snow. It mostly fell inside of my car! Four-inch drifts on both driver and passenger seats. Snow was layered on the steering wheel and the dashboard. With a sinking feeling I realized that for many of my problems I am to blame! It's still freezing now but, gee, when it melts, it will smell. Perhaps a hot dryer applied to the seats will help, once our garage dries out that is.

Oh, and to top that off we've been having electrical problems at our home. The lights keep flickering though we haven't lost power. Then a space heater we keep in a bathroom turned itself on last night! Granted, it was plugged in, but it was turned off. I think I'll give the electric company a call.

This stuff all happened after my positive-thinking visualization too, and that has me stumped. Of course maybe things could have been worse if I hadn't been giving a mind treatment - there is always that thought to cheer one up.

And my new bird - it's a parakeet. He's very shy and scared, but I know he'll warm up to us eventually. He is colorful with green and yellow feathers and a bit of iridescent blue on the end of his tail. He has started to chirp a bit - mostly when the microwave is running.

So today is the day to get back on track with positive and grateful thoughts. I am grateful that the canary only suffered for a short time and that the computer can probably be fixed and we live in a very dry climate so the car will recover and I woke up last night to unplug the heater!

Be a Self-fulfilling Prophecy!

I am well, strong and beautiful. Why is this so hard to say?

I want to consider how to live being a self-fulfilling prophesy for good. Instead of "malpracticing against oneself" which people are so fond of doing. To malpractice against oneself is to talk (or think) about yourself in ways that declare what you don't want to be true. People fight for this as a right, as being "realistic". For example, to say things like "beer never agrees with me"...if you say it, you raise the probability of it being or becoming true. Even if you don't really believe it, your subconscious will. Once you say something, it's in the subconscious and it takes a lot to get it out - if one is ever able to. It's like receiving a bad spell, rather than a blessing. Think of your subconscious like a fairy-godmother or godfather. It needs to be trained. It needs to hear you say good stuff that will bless you, instead of a load of negativity.

I hear people with MS literally fighting for their right to be sick or their right to be angry when someone says things will get better. That makes me sad. They are only hurting themselves to think this way. You have a right to be well. Of course you have a right to be negative if you want to, but why?

Somehow it's more in style to take a negative point of view, of oneself or life. It's cool. It's funny. To be self depreciating is hip, somehow. God forbid to be thought a Pollyanna. I have been this way for too long. To reprogram myself I do this:

Each night before I go to sleep, I envision the situation in my day, giving thanks for each event (no matter how bad it was) and you don't have to be realistic here. Next, think about the next day and imagine events turning out wonderfully. Intend that this will be the best day of your life, filled with love and joy, etc. Imagine yourself feeling so happy and grateful.

Next day when you wake up, before doing anything, imagine your positive day again and give thanks for each wonderful event that you will experience. You need to give this your full attention.

That's it. Be brave. It takes a certain amount of bravery to act "as if" but it's far better than to act like you think you're "supposed to" which only serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. This really works. Please try it.

Happy St. Patricks Day

Happy Late St. Patricks Day to you!

We had a jolly time this evening - playing my husband's prize stash of Irish recordings. The Clancey Brothers. He knows all the words to all the songs (except for the Gaelic ones) so after a few beers he sang along and Dad and I toasted the songs with glasses of hearty Guinness staut - okay I probably spelled that wrong, but it was very dark beer (ick) with a picture of a harp on its label - cool.

Then we watched my old tape of River Dance - it completely blew me away when I first saw River Dance, but now, it sort of bored us. Then my hubby sang some more - he's Irish. He can understand Irish Brogue and I cant make heads or tails of it! When I met his grandmother (born in Ireland) I could not understand a word she was saying - and she was speaking English! I've never lived that down. :-)

Well, I played along and served up a real Irish seven-course feast - as my hubby says "a boiled potato and a six-pack of beer" - ha ha. But really, I made a great corned beef with boiled cabbage, potatoes and carrots. This was followed by a huge, Irish Soda Bread, enough for an Irish army. It was a very satisfying meal. The only thing missing was Irish Coffee. I know, the meat, beer and soda bread were not on my ms diet - but I didn't have much of it. Really.

Today my Dad got to his doctors appointment without incident. But later, when he departed the doctor's office he got into trouble. You see, he left the doctors without realizing he had to locate the taxi that brought him there and he forgot where they were to meet! He didn't have a cell phone and the office was closing for the day. So he wandered around and didn't see the taxi. That's when he prayed. He got a message to go down a flight of exterior stairs, which he would never normally do. He went down, and there was the taxi driving towards him, just like, as he said to me, "a miracle!" I should mention that I had been praying for him, as this was one of his first sojourns out alone since coming to live with us.

It was a good day for me too. My doctor was very nice for a change and the fact that I didn't follow all his directions ended up not being a big deal at all. I get another chance. Oh great.

There is something nostalgic about St Patricks for, being a retired harpist, I remember the many times I played in restaurants playing Danny Boy and such for jolly party goers. I always wished I was one of them and not the having- to- stay- sober- musician, so now I have my wish. Interesting. What do they say, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I wouldn't mind it, if I didn't have being the music to compare it to. It might not be that bad being a party goer. I can even learn how to sing with the Clancey Brothers, "Whiskey you're the devil, you're leading me astray." I wish I liked to drink, but I don't, I really don't. My next wish is that I actually could LIKE going to parties - instead of thinking where I'd rather be.

Faith is the thing hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I've been feeling discouraged. It's strange because last Saturday I was so happy - like someone was praying for me. Saturday these feelings of overwhelming peace and joy came over me - I guess one would call that grace. And it truly was amazing. So you'd think Sunday would be the same, and yesterday, but it wasn't.

I had some good students who were inspired yesterday too. My little autistic girl comes for lessons twice a week now and she is playing incredibly well. Her mom says the harp is good for her and she loves coming to my house because it is so peaceful, and that I am "a good influence on her". Well, I feel good about that especially since when she first came for lessons I was ready to throw in the towel. That is a situation of true healing.

Then yesterday this other student came who is an adult. She was very dense in the beginning but she plays beautifully now. Yet she was so discouraged and said stuff like, she'd "never play a wedding" and "at least the harp is beautiful" that she bought, as though she'll never play it beautifully. She used to always be so dedicated too. It made me feel as though somehow it was something that I've done. I used to serve nice tea when she came, but then she started acting like I was trying to dip into her "paid" hour, which wasn't the cozy and friendly thing I was hoping for. Now she says she wants to come once a month. Hurts my feelings...

Anyway, now that my stepdad has moved in with us, the atmosphere around here has changed. I'm very sensitive to things like that. His health and wellbeing has improved dramatically since I took him out of the retirement home he had to stay in after a near fatal heart attack, from which he was resusitated. His memory has come back and he is returned to his (really neurotic) self. But he is the kindest and most generous man one could ever know. Yet due to his advancing age and a bit of senility, he is rather difficult to get along with. Consequently, my hubby and he get into big fights - not knock down, drag out fights - but loud disagreements. My husband can really bellow when he gets pushed too far (Taurus). I feel like I'm stick between a rock and a hard place. I try not to take sides, but sometimes I resent having to deal with this, after we were the ones to invite him into our home, and how hard I am trying to make everybody happy.

Then on top of all this, both Dad and I have doctor appointments to go to tomorrow. I know my doctor will be furious with me, for I haven't done what he's told me to. It's a long story, but I don't have a good reputation with Doctors, as I refuse to treat them like God and I do what I feel is best for me. This makes them angry. I guess I really just hate it when people are angry with me - I need to feel like I am always doing the right thing. Sometimes it is difficult doing the right thing without making someone angry. Or maybe I put myself in the path of angry people? I'll pray about this.

Also! It is nice and quiet since the woodpecker hasn't returned since Saturday. But now I wonder what happened to him. Early this morning I heard a fox screaming (that's really the sound they make when trying to attract a mate!) and that was nice to hear, because we used to hear so many foxes and now their natural habitat has been pushed farther and farther away, so they don't come around very much and I miss them. Then I started worrying that perhaps the fox got our woodpecker! And I was not thinking very nice thoughts about the woodpecker the other day.

I feel a lot better after putting all of this down, but I must go and shop for St. Patricks day dinner which I need to start cooking early tomorrow, and the buttermilk for putting in the Irish Sode Bread. That will be festive, and tomorrow is green day in my 365 photo project too. I need to find something green. Its still snowy around here - nothing green yet. But,"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." I think I got that right?

365 photo project

It was a great day today. Very springlike. We did not even need our coats! Of course we still have snow on our grass, but the driveway is finally clear.

We took Dad to do his banking, and stopped at the Grocery store where I got a bunch of photos for submitting to this web-site I recently joined: it's been a fun photography project and is helping me learn to operate my digital camera - which had me a bit nervous until now. The site is called What the assignment is, is to take one photo every day, submit it and it gets put with a collection one can browse through, and that's it. There are special projects that are proposed which one can do if one chooses, or else you just take any old photo. Some of the people participating are excellent photographers, some, like me are not. Each photo you add is put into a calendar that we should be able to print up at the end of the year. The comradory is great and it is all free.

A project that is set to start tomorrow is called the ROYBGIV project - the colors of the rainbow. Tomorrow is the day for RED. I guess I'm breaking the rules a bit, but I started searching for colors today. The grocery store was a great place to start, especially the produce department, as the fruits and vegetables are so colorful and displayed so attractively. I asked the produce man if it was okay if I took some shots and he seemed pleased as punch - he even offered to tie up some radishes for a better shot. I got great photos of red radishes, oranges, and on the way home, a great shot of a violet Volkswagen bug(!), and an old tractor (not in a color for the project, so I submitted it for today.) Anyway, check it out if you're in need of a creative project! I think everyone votes for their favorites so there is a bit of competition but nothing to get all freaked out about. Someday I plan to get out really early and get sunrise on the mountain.

My hubby made a special dinner for tonight, which he likes to do on the weekends. It's so nice, cause I grow tired of coming up with meal ideas all the time, tho Dad will eat anything that's not moving, my man is more picky. Then for the next few days I'm working on washing the dishes, which would make an amazing photo rivaling those of the leaning tower of Pisa. He's a cute amateur chef, and I am very grateful.

Saturday morning

Hooray. It's Saturday. I love waking up early on a Saturday morning, going through my mental thankfulness list while the sun is blasting through the blinds in strips and birds are chirping that it is Spring! I thought I heard some baby birds chirping very early - they sounded hungry. Then there was the sharp hammering of our friendly woodpecker. But it's really not that friendly to make such a loud racket so early, especially on the week-end. The exterior walls must be turning into swiss cheese, and it makes my hubby furious. He will bolt out of bed and grab our son's beebee gun and go out trudging through the melting snow and start firing. At first I was upset by this, but he's yet to murder a woodpecker yet! First, he's not such a good shot, and second, woody is too smart for that! Then I go back to sleep.

I've devised a good plan for scaring woodpeckers away. We tried getting a big plastic owl and putting him up on the roof but it kept blowing off and one never knew if one might get hit in the head with a plastic owl and that can hurt. Today were going to look for some kind of a long plastic snake, for birds and snakes are mortal enemies, I think? So anyway, we'll throw the snake up to the roof - it's far upthere for we have two stories. Just seeing the snake might strike fear into woodies hammering little heart and my hubby will get his sleep. That's the hope. I'll let you know...

Multiple Sclerosis - My Approach to Defeat it.

I'm here in my home office waiting for a student who is consistently late. Thought I'd take the time to write. I did allude to some important stuff I believe anyone with ms should do. But first a bit about my background with ms:

My diagnosis came when I was 25 - that was 27 years ago! This was from MRI and spinal tap. I have r/r which means relapsing/remitting ms. I think the first few years were the worst as far as the "attacks" went. Now they are few and far between. I have been on Copaxone injectables now for the past 9 years - yes, I hate taking the shots but I think it helps. My advice to anyone new to ms is - try not to let it consume your life - you are so much more than some dumb disease! God has not forsaken you but given you a challenge. Try not to do what I did - when I was young I read that people with ms don't live beyond a certain age - so I stopped living. What I heard is now a bunch of bullshit. I am still alive and kicking. Don't give up - things will get better!

This is what I've done that I believe has helped me to be well for a long time:
1) have and give love and support and prayers to, and from, a wonderful family.
2) cut back on saturated fats - the bad kind of cholesterol.
3) take the good kind of fatty acids - twice a day every day religiously - Flax seed oil 1000mg 2x daily .
4) make attempts to decrease body inflammatory index - more about this below.
5) stay out of saunas and hot tubs and raising body temperature.
6) drink black and green tea all the time - 3 cups or more daily.
7) avoid diet sugars like splenda and aspartame (carefully check all labels called "light", many have hidden aspartame or splenda) - more below .
8) treat depression - meditate or medicate.
9) avoid stress - meditate or medicate.
10) Take aspirin as soon as ms starts to flare up - it decreases inflammation.
11) If you are taking blood thinners, meds for heart disease or high blood pressure, do NOT take the flax-seed oil or aspirin for they thin the blood naturally - strokes are worse than ms. Ask a doctor first.

Inflammation is either the cause or an effect of ms, in my opinion. Nobody, especially doctors, want you to believe you can do anything about this. I think you can! Doctors are not God.

You need to avoid foods that cause bodily inflammation and eat foods that decrease it. Meats and dairy foods increase inflammation, especially lamb and veal - the young animals have enzymes in them that promote inflammation. (Two bad attacks I've had were after eating lamb.)
Foods that decrease inflammation are: citric fruits and green vegetables, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cayenne aka red pepper and black pepper, oily fish.

Sugar - too much is never a good thing - but did you know that aspartame was never properly tested by the FDA but was pushed through by various lobbyists. Profits are the name of the game! Aspartame turns into FORMALDEHYDE in the human body! Get this - some baby foods even have aspartame in them - why? Splenda is supposed to be a "natural sugar"? Then why does it cause constipation? They've tried to solve this problem by adding fiber pellets to the sugar crystals - come on! But fiber does decrease inflammation too, so get some, but not from splenda.

Anger and stress also increase inflammation, meditation and prayer is a good way to help these emotions.

Okay, I could go on and on, and I will in some of my next posts. I hope this will help someone out there!

astrology facts

I'm back, I couldn't stay away for a whole day - writing here can be addictive or obsessive or well...just plain fun! As long as I leave time for the things that need to be done, like the grocery store. Today writing seems like a more pressing need.

I want to talk about something as equally off-putting to all my potential new friends out there in blogger land, as speaking of religion might be, and that is astrology. Fads come and go, and it seems astrology is now out-of-style. Ha. I wonder what a planet would say about that? But if you are not "into" astrology please come back tomorrow for I promise to talk about something else. Okay? I think it best to cover all the heavy, offensive details before making small-talk don't you? I was never any good at small talk anyway.

I won't debate about astrology being dumb or true or whatever. I just think that if the process works: use it! My mother was an astrologer and she taught me alot of the basics. It seems to me that there is an overwhelming lot of stuff to learn about the art, and it is very interesting to ponder. Often astrology is helpful, but it can also be damaging: self-fulfilling prophecies and all that. Being told of bad stuff in one's personal chart might not seem like a danger but we humans are a highly suggestible bunch. It's the subconscious. What goes in, stays in. A person can't just decide what information their subconcious will retain, and "believe", or what it will forget or discount. That's why I absolutely hate violent movies and books - why subject oneself to damaging images? That's also why I am leery of making pronouncements on any one's chart; yet knowing certain influences can be very helpful, especially the good influences. When I do charts I focus on the good stuff, like when I teach my students how to play the harp (more on that soon.) Let the good stuff become a self-fulfilling prophesy! There's a happy thought.

There is a new branch of astrology called "evolutionary astrology" and in this, one's chart is seen more as a map of one's current growth. Thus even "bad things that happen to good people" can be spun, or interpreted, into a good thing for one's soul that one will ultimately learn and evolve from. A great astrologer with this approach is named Steven Forrest some of his books rekindled my waning interest in astrology.

But let me expand on some of the details that my chart shows that I am dealing with this time around. Not from a fortunetelling angle or good and bad - just the facts.

My sun is in the 12th house, my moon is in the 1st house. My sun squares my mars. The moon exactly squares my midheaven and north node. I have a mutual reception between Venus in Sag, and Jupiter in Libra. My mercury is on the ascendant going retrograde. Those are the high and low points of my chart. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, Neptune is the most elevated planet near my midheaven. Uranus is in the 7th and Saturn in the 11th. I think my moon may be the problem with my health issues - it also opposes Pluto and is the ruler of my 6th house. There I go - calling the moon my "problem"! How presumptuous. Please forgive these digressions - it's stuff I like talking about.

Later, more news about ms and the burning bush - maybe tomorrow! Also ways in which ones life can become a self-fulfilling prophesy for good fortune!

The burning bush (or tree)

This is my very first blog entry and I'm nervous. It's funny: while I hope someone will take the time to read this, I hope they won't. Whoever 'they' are! I know what my family would say, "c'mon Laurel it's not such a huge, earthshaking thing," then they would roll their eyes and sigh. So okay, whatever. Thing is, I want to be organized on the page - not have a bunch of bitchy rantings. I promised myself I wouldn't take this all too seriously.

So what do I want to talk about first: not ms! That is always like the elephant in the living room, which may explain why I dream of elephants a lot. It's not like I really love elephants or anything, though the babies are cute. I think I'll talk about the first quote I put on this page, and what it means to me. Maybe tomorrow I'll speak of the elephant-thing.

My first quote (look to the right, over the tree of life picture) begins with the line: I burn now. What to make of this? You've probably heard of the burning bush? No? It was this bush that Moses saw when he heard God speaking to him on Mt. Sinai. Pretty holy and magical. Well I've always thought that the burning bush represents, or is symbolic for, life. Our amazing brains look like bushes or trees, for heaven's sake, but not dead ones. They are living with the spark, or fire of life. That's you and me! And yet, as described in the biblical account, the bush burned, yet was not consumed! How odd. What can have a strong electrical charge or fire go through it, yet never actually burn? Living things. You and me. Our brains! Our hearts! Etc. etc. Neat huh?

But anyway, I found this quote from a current poet named Hugh
Pendexter III. It was the conclusion of a poem that I knew I should have written, or could have maybe written, if I could just get off my rear end. I want to give the poet credit.

Next I want to explain, that in spite of all this biblically-inspired
rhetoric: I am not some crazy religious freak. God forbid. I believe in a higher power and do think there is lots of wisdom in the bible (and alot of crap too) but I don't think its good to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Arguably it may not have been the best, most attractive, way to begin a blog. But hell. I say what I think. No! Unfortunately, I mostly like to write what I think. And it's so nice having a reader. Thanks, and I'll be back tomorrow maybe talking about stuff like the laundry or the dishes. I could get used to this! I like it - alot!

out here and "burn"...

About Me

Hi! I'm Laurel. I live at the top of a mountain with my husband of 33 years, my elderly step-father, and a yellow canary. I have two wonderful gownup children. My current "job" is that of housewife and harp teacher. I used to be a harpist until health problems forced my retirement - I'm still dealing with these issues.I am a scanner, which means that I have many interests that change. Some of my more abiding interests are, writing and astrology. With that in mind, I'll tell you that I am a Capricorn with Capricorn rising and an Aquarian moon. My favorite writers are Emerson, Frost, Dickens and Hesse for their noble ideas and love of the goodness in mankind. I'm fond of all animals and nature and recently of photography.

I will use these pages as a tool for discovering myself - because I think that it's never too late! Herein, I will also keep track of my healing journey with ms - multiple sclerosis - in the hope that I may help other people dealing with this challenge. This will NOT be a journal of aches and pains. I will report on various approaches that have worked for me, and maybe those that have not. Health is a state of mind and my mind is focused on gratitude for the miracle of life.

I hope you'll come on the journey with me...