Acorns From The Healing Tree


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

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. This is the day to honor those men and women who fell in battle fighting for our country. We noticed very few flags in the neighborhood as we were driving around today. You'd think at least some American's had a relative who served in the armed forces.

We must not take our liberties for granted, since so many fought and died to uphold them. Though I didn't have any relatives who perished in any conflicts, I did have relatives who served the country during times of war. I hate war, and don't mean to show my support of it, just my support of the people who have done their duty to help us maintain our democracy when it was threatened. It is no small thing. A life. A child who came of age at the wrong time. A father or mother A spouse.

I've had relatives who served as physicians during WWII, and soldiers in the civil war and the revolutionary wars. My uncle was a surgeon stationed on a tropical island during WWII. After that horrible experience he was never the same, mentally and emotionally, and could no longer practice once he returned home. Fortunately my father was stationed at a hospital in the states, so his experience wasn't as horrific as my uncle's. But war effects everyone in some way. My great, great, great uncle served in the civil war and his wife kept the sleeve of his uniform that had the bullet holes were he was shot. Think of all the young lives cut short in Vietnam. We must always remember how terrible war really is, so we can try to prevent it in the future.

My father in law was in the Korean war and a parachutist. He caught malaria and still has effects from it to this day.

As a mother of a young man, believe me, I felt great relief when my son reached the age of 28, which is too old for the draft. I'm sure every mother of a son must suffer from this anguish. It's incredible to think what it must have been like to have a son fighting in a war. There are still people dying in the mideast. Yes, lets not ever take our lives and our hard-won peace for granted.

Today, my husband and I went to a local cemetery and read some grave-stones. The graves of people who had been in the service all had flags beside them, and many people were there paying their respects. It was a sad, and silent place, but good to know that there are some who haven't forgotten.

Bless our fallen and serving soldiers where ever they may be, and let there never be another conflict again.

Thank-you for the sacrifice of your lives.

Hot weather and ms

You know summer has arrived when your hubby is out all morning mowing the lawn! Despite all the long grass, dandelions and other weeds, we've had very little warm weather to show for it. But that's okay by me! Warm weather, the overheating of the body, tends to make anyone with ms feel worse. It is something about the nervous system being impeded by the heat. Of course most animals and humans feel lethargic and weak in hot weather. Just take that feeling and multiply it by 100, and it's ms.

Actually that used to be a medical test to see if someone had ms in the olden days, before MRI, which is now considered a definitive test for ms. They would put a patient in a hot bath to see if their symptoms became more pronounced and if they did, voila, the dx of ms was confirmed. Doesn't sound exactly scientific but hey, if it works...

I wish someone had told me this when I first got ms! Soon after my dx, I did what no one should ever do with ms. We went to the hot Napa Valley in the summer-time for a mini healing-break holiday. We went to a spa for 1)mudbath soaks, 2) saunas, 3) hot herbal wraps 4) hot jacuzzi soaks. Hell, by the time that was all over, I literally could not speak. I mean, I could think of the words, but I just couldn't say them! I believe this is medically called aphasia. Anyway, what was to make me better by driving out all the bad toxins in my system, made me worse.

Usually after an intense warming experience, one slowly regains function. I did, after a few days, but never, ever, fully. I was never again to speak in the self-assured, verbose, way I used to be able to. Now I am better, yet I still have trouble finding words, like it's on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't find them. This is hard for someone who likes to write. Sometimes thinking is just so hard to do, that I just get sort of mute. On other days, for some unknown reason, I feel like all those lost words have suddenly returned. It's a challenge to say the least.

But, I was talking about the weather, one of those really fascinating subjects. Well, yesterday, at least until the weather changed, I was out-of-it due to the warm temperatures. What helps is taking a cool shower or bath, drinking cold things, and wrapping a cool kerchief around your neck, so it cools the blood going to the brain. An air-conditioner helps too, which we got, just for one window in the bedroom. I'll resort to that if nothing else helps.

This reminds me of one of the treatments they did for my stepdad in the hospital after his last heart-attack. They wrapped him in cold towels. The doctor said that this cooling, was thought to allow his nervous system to function better. It was a new discovery, the doctor told me proudly, this cooling of the body. It tended to prevent neurological complications.

Jeeze, I thought, well, I knew that over 30 years ago. If someone had just asked me! Of course, who knew it would help post-heart attack patients recover?

But what I was really going to talk about, other than the hot weather, was our lilacs. I try to find something good in anything awful. Lilacs are my favorite harbinger of summer. We have two lilac bushes with two flowering sprays (there used to be more). I like the way they are almost trying to come in through the window, see above picture. We had a huge purple lilac tree in Wisconsin when I was a child. It was in the backyard, so every time I went out to play I would smell their scent, heavy in the air. It was mixed with the scent of peonies that grew beside our house, and violets. I never quite knew, or cared to know, how these plants got there, for my mother was not one to waste time gardening. I guess my Dad planted them, but I don't remember. Anyway, when I smell them now, they bring my childhood flooding back in all its joys and sorrows. They tend to almost bring back the memory of my dad, whose been gone now, over 40 years.

Summer and lilacs will do that, so it's not all bad.

I did it!

I have just completed something that in no way should have taken so long! I finished work on my degree in Natural Health from Clayton College. It's an online college and degree, but still, I'm happy that I did it. I do have a major tendency towards undermining myself. At first I worked regularly on the classes, finishing about one a month, then I began to slack off, then I began to give up just when I was starting the last class! What a weirdo, huh? My husband says that I am afraid of success. That may be true.

Yesterday I decided that 1) I was distracting myself with my internet projects 2) I had used other responsibilities and demands as excuses why I could not continue. 3) If all else failed to provide the needed escape from completion and success, there was always my health as a great excuse. "Oh, poor me!"

Then I gave myself a good talking to. I realized this was a pattern in my life: giving up before ever finishing anything. I asked myself how I'd feel after five years if I gave up, and just knew I'd hate myself for it. Like I do for all the other degrees and jobs I've given up on (and there is a huge list!) I asked myself, what I was really afraid of. When there was no answer forthcoming, I prayed to be allowed to release my fear of whatever it was, and just be able to start again with the class, and I guess that worked! Really it is not difficult to do the work, it is actually easy, interesting and kindof fun. The last class was on Homeopathy and at first I was skeptical of what I had to learn. Now I find the subject fascinating, actually, even though it goes against everything I've believed or thought to be true about health.

I think the irony involved - me, a person with a chronic condition learning about natural health - seemed too crazy and stupid. But I realized that was my ego talking: my way too healthy saboteur. Then I reminded myself why I signed up for this study in the first place - to learn something I didn't know. To find out how to cure myself of MS. That sounds so presumptuous. But still, maybe I can discover something that has been overlooked. I have a lot of Homeopathic remedies to try now, since finishing my last class. This will be interesting.

There is more to do to complete everything I signed up for. The degree is now complete, but I have to finish a "concentration" in Herbology (SIX classes) and some electives (three classes) And then I will get a diploma. Yesterday I worked all day to complete my last class. Now I just have to wait for the final grade and to be approved for the other classes. These other classes must be finished in a year and a half, but I know, if I just don't give up, I can do it. Praying more, and being grateful will also help.

Roses, roses, food and drink of the Gods!

Roses are the best beauty secret there is! Roses can be in a beverage as Rose Petal Tea; eaten as Rose Petal Jam; and used in skin care as rose lotion or oil. Roses are the most magical of all the earths plants since they have the highest energetic frequency, or Hertz. Ayervedic professionals say roses are cooling to the body, soothing, and also prevent signs of age and redness.

Roses have the highest frequency, or Hertz, of any plant.

"For centuries the rose has been associated with feminine beauty and skin care. Bulgarian pure rose oil is a top note essential oil. Its frequency is extremely high and rapid. Rose oil has the highest frequency (320 Hertz) of all the essential oils on the planet. This in itself is an important factor. It means that the fragrant molecules of the rose oil, on inhalation or application, are able to quickly penetrate and travel the infinitesimal pathways of the body, rapidly energising every cell, bringing balance, harmony and beauty to the body. Rose essential oil has a long history in folk remedies, especially in the area of skin care. It is suitable for all skin types, but it is especially valuable for dry, sensitive or aging skins. It has a tonic and astringent effect on the capillaries just below the skin surface, which makes it useful in diminishing the redness caused by enlarged capillaries. It is important to ensure that the product you use contains the genuine rose essential oil. Many manufacturers label their products containing rose essence but it could be synthetic. Synthetic rose ingredients have no therapeutic value at all! Remember, with authentic rose otto, a little goes a long way."

Here are some old-time recipes for using roses in food. First, confirm that the roses are free of pesticides before use, and do not use cut roses sold at grocery stores! Use fresh from the garden or sold as "food grade" for making the following recipes.

Recipe for Crystallized Roses
Choose a dry day for gathering the roses and wait until the dew evaporates, so that the petals are dry. Before gathering the roses, dissolve 2 OZ. of gum-arabic in 1/2 pint of water. Separate the petals and spread them on dishes. Sprinkle them with the gumarabic solution, using as many petals as the solution will cover. Spread them on sheets of white paper and sprinkle with castor sugar, then let them dry for 24 hours. Put 1 lb. of sugar (loaf) and 1/2 pint of cold water into a pan, stir until the sugar has melted, then boil fast to 250 degrees F., or to the thread degree. This is ascertained by dipping a stick into cold water, then into the syrup and back into the water. Pinch the syrup adhering to the stick between the thumb and finger and draw them apart, when a thread should be formed. Keep the syrup well skimmed. Put the rosepetals into shallow dishes and pour the syrup over. Leave them to soak for 24 hours, then spread them on wire trays and dry in a cool oven with the door ajar. The syrup should be coloured with cochineal or carmine, in order to give more colour to the rose-petals.

Rose-petals have also been employed to flavour butter, for which the following recipe may be of interest:

Rose-Petal Sandwiches
Put a layer of Red Rose-petals in the bottom of a jar or covered dish, put in 4 OZ. of fresh butter wrapped in waxed paper. Cover with a thick layer of rose-petals. Cover closely and leave in a cool place overnight. The more fragrant the roses, the finer the flavour imparted. Cut bread in thin strips or circles, spread each with the perfumed butter and place several petals from fresh Red Roses between the slices, allowing edges to show. Violets or Clover blossoms may be used in place of Roses.
Make your own rose-petal jam: for a recipe go to this site:
You can purchase rose ingredients and plants from Make sure anything used is from real roses, not imitation, or rose-scented products.

Rose tea - a delicious indulgence -Please do not confuse "rose hips" with "rose petals". They taste completely different! Rose hips are the fruit of the rose bush, containing vitamin C and other beneficial nutrients, but they have a sour taste that is decidedly unlike the sweet flavor and scent of rose petals. One can easily obtain rose hip tea at your health food store, but rose-petal tea is harder to come by. (I first tasted rose tea from a tin purchased years ago at London's Harrods department store.) Now "The Republic of Tea" makes this variety, and it is occasionally available:
If you're at a health store that sells "bulk" ingredients you can often obtain bags of food-grade dried rose-petals, as well as black teas. Now just combine them in equal measure in a storage jar, mix, and you've made your own version of rose-petal tea. For the best cup of tea make it as they do in England with cream and sugar added after the boiling water to the cup. Also a tea strainer is needed since the rose petals make the tea very leafy. The tea has a wonderful effect on the emotions and the digestion. It is wonderfully calming to both.

Rose jam or preserves to purchase:

Once again do not confuse this with rose-hip jam! Rose jam is an Ayervedic favorite and often made with fragrant petals direct from roses grown in certain areas of India. It is delicious and very soothing, here is the link for obtaining rose jam:

Rose Water:

This is a fragrant water that one can use to sprinkle on cut fruits that will give them a wonderful taste and scent. (The nose is just as important as the tongue in tasting food.) At a local Moroccan restaurant I've often enjoyed oranges, peeled, sliced in circles, and eaten with the hands ofter the hands are sprinkled with rose-water. Maybe they used some of the rose water on the oranges too.. It is heavenly!

Some rose-waters come in a spray bottle and can be enjoyed as a refreshing mist on the skin and hair. It is slightly astringent and especially useful for the complexion in warm weather, as it calms redness, makes the pores look smaller, and is cooling. It also imparts a nice glow to the complexion if used regularly.
Rose water, oil, and essential oil can all be obtained from the cosmetic department in a health food store. Just be sure to dilute essential oil with another carrier oil, such as almond oil, also from health-food stores. Essential oils are very strong so do not use full strength.
Hope you have found this peek into rose beauty secrets I've discovered, interesting and helpful.


Lovage (Levisticum officinale).

This Lovage plant is the first herb to appear in my garden after the snow has melted. Now is the time that I am convinced my other herbs have died off after the harsh winter. But that is the beauty of perennials - even when you think they're dead - there is still a hint of life somewhere. This reminds me of my favorite childhood story, The Secret Garden! I loved the character Dicken. He could look inside of a plants stem and tell if it was still alive; he called this hint of life "wick". I was always so sorry that Mary Lenox didn't marry Dicken, but chose the rich, spoiled child, instead, who admittedly made the biggest transformation in the story, apart from Mary. Even the spoiled child was full of "wick" when placed in the right ground, metaphorically speaking.

But, back to my lovage plants, which make speedy transformations in their own right. I mean, look at those dead stalks, the plants limbs from last year. Wouldn't you be convinced the plant was a goner, seeing those? Life is amazing! Lovage, is a very hardy perennial and will multiply and crowd out everything in your garden if given its freedom. Don't worry, I'll be trimming away the dead parts from last year very soon.

Lovage is similar to Angelica in its uses, whatever those are? In summer the plant will grow tall stalks up to 3 feet high with flowers containing the seeds that can be dried and used as a spice. It takes no care once established, apart from thinning out. Thinning is something for which I have no talent. I somehow managed to kill off, for ever, our Iris patch when I tried thinning them. Consequently, the lovage plant is let to expand and thrive on its own terms, and it loves it.

Lovage is an "aromatic stimulant and a digestive tonic". Lovage cordial is an old- fashioned drink used to settle the stomach. The plant is also a diuretic (makes you pee) and diminishes a build up of fluid in the body. Meaning, it is probably good for a Kapha dosha, like mine. Its fresh leaves have the aroma and taste of celery and are good in soups, salads, stews, and on fish. Warning: lovage should not to be used during pregnancy or in the case of kidney disease.

This is a plant that I never see at landscape stores. It was already here when we moved into the house, a sort of welcoming gift from our homes past owners. I'm determined to show my gratitude for this amazing gift by actually using it more. That's the way to do it, by action instead of just words. This would mean gathering old recipes that might have Lovage as an ingredient, and finding out all I can about this plant. If it is so strong in "wick", perhaps eating it will spread the "wick" into me!

Quick and Easy Recipe for Lovage Herb & Potato Soup
A hand-held blender makes pureed soup preparation and clean-up even faster.


•1 medium onion, chopped
•2 Cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
•4 oz. spinach, washed, drained and chopped
•2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
•2 oz. fresh lovage leaves
•4 Cups chicken stock
•salt and freshly ground pepper
•a few fresh lovage leaves as garnish

1.Saute the onion in butter over a moderate heat in a large saucepan
2.Add the potatoes and cook a few minutes longer
3.Add spinach and lovage leaves and saute a few minutes more
4.Add chicken stock
5.Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes
6.Puree soup in a food processor or with a hand-held blender
7.Add salt and pepper to taste and float a fresh lovage leaf on top
A splash of light cream or dollop of plain yogurt can be added to each bowl for a richer soup.

Our budding aspens

This is a photo I snapped early this morning of our aspens - three trees that we planted about 10 years ago. We are so proud of them. They have been through so much! Gale-force winds. Crazy blizzards. 20-degrees below zero temperatures. Moth and ant infestations. Yet, look how strong and healthy they look. They are about the ONLY plants we have that have been brave enough to set out some tender leaves. So far, the scrub-oak (which is also called Gamble Oak)plants remain bare, a few buds in sight, but none open - this is SO late for them that I'm sure another snow is coming our way. It's hard to believe on warm spring days like this.

The leaves on the aspens look golden simply because of the bright morning sun. How they shimmer and twinkle even in the spring. They also make welcome shade in the fall when the leaves are mature.

It is a common misperception that aspirin actually comes from the aspen tree, but that's a fallacy. Aspirin derives from the bark of the White Willow tree. Its botanical name is Salix Alba which contains Salicylic glycosides. It's healing use dates back thousands of years, and was discovered by the Native Americans. Just imagine how many other healing plants have yet to be discovered.

All over the neighborhood is the sound of lawn-mowers and the pungent smell of fresh-cut grass. Maybe we'll be cutting the grass soon, although our yard is determined to revert back to the meadow from which it came. We are thinking of allowing this to happen. Oh, I forgot about the dandelions. They, of course, have the temerity to be blooming with lush abandon. When they are the ONLY flowers you've got, you learn acceptance. Anyway, I've always liked the color yellow.

Open the windows!

Be like the flower, turn your faces to the sun.
- Kahlil Gibran

A perfect, sunny morning to you! I have these pictures on my blog today, not because they are pictures of my home, but because they are pictures of homes with many windows. How many windows do you have in your home? Do you keep them open or closed, with drapes open or drawn? You would be surprised how many people live in nice homes and NEVER open their windows, blinds or curtains! Even if a home is not in the most beautiful, perfectly tidy condition, it will look better in sun than in a fog. Closed-up homes bother me, both living in one, or visiting. It makes me wonder what people are hiding from. I don't know much about Feng Shui, but that must be a #1 rule: let the sun and air in, for heavens sake! Its like walking around with eyes closed all the time - you never know what might be missed, and besides, you'll bump into things. The air gets close, thick and fetid, like bad breath. It is said that there is more air pollution inside of the average American home, than in the air outdoors. Our homes need an airing from all the fumes produced by cleaning chemicals, aerosols, fragrances and cooking odors. Spring seems like a great time to open up while the earth is going green.

If the eyes are the window to the soul then the windows are the soul of a home! My family was lucky enough a few years ago to move into our own home. My first rule of thumb was that there be lots of windows. Yesterday, I counted them. I know, obviously too much time on my hands. We have 35 windows and that is counting the frames around the glass, not how many glass panels there are. One skylight and then one window to the sky; this is called a "cloistery" window. Presumably it was the kind of window used in cloisters or convents, designed so that light and sun could get in, but people could not look in, or nuns disturb their reveries by looking out upon the world. We have some pine trees too, but our home is not hidden in a forest, which we had considered, but the darkness would have prayed on my psyche. It's just depressing not to have enough light, both physiologically and psychologically. Think of all the depressed people out there who are heavily medicated. They might even be my neighbors, who live in nice homes, but always have their drapes drawn or at half mast. It's not very friendly.

Of course it is a bit of work to open up curtains each morning, as they just have to be shut again at night, a chore like making a bed. But night is the only time when windows really need to be covered. The pictures of undraped windows (above) would only be possible during the daylight hours and, at night, only if the homes are isolated and very private. Open curtains at night must also be bad Feng Shui, as the darkness, once again, is so depressing, unless of course there is a sparkling few of city lights in the distance.

While on the subject of light, it is much nicer to have accent lamps around a room, than just one overhead lightbulb shining down, don't you think? Those overheads make noses look so big! Oh, and don't get me started on fluorescent lighting - they "suck out all the juice from your eyeballs" as Joe said in the movie, Joe versus the Volcano. I believe it, for that is the next thing I did after moving into our home (though it took me a few years to save for it.) We replaced the nasty fluorescents in our kitchen. They made the food, and people, look green and unwholesome. Now there are spotlights shining down on food and chef - so much nicer - though they are more expensive and I am eating and cooking more - which arguably is not a good thing.

If you read my post yesterday about the eating habits of my 101 old grandmother, there was an important element to her habits that I overlooked: every morning as soon as she awakened, at least by 7:00 am, grandmother would go through her apartment and open all the draperies. The windows too, if it was warm enough. This can take a bit of muscle but it can become a morning calisthenic!

Do you fight with your mate, as I do, about sleeping with bedroom windows open or closed? Mine likes to be warm and cozy at night, i.e. windows tightly sealed. I like to have more air, and will actually enjoy hearing a dog, coyote, fox or even owl punctuate my slumbers. There is too much to miss if everything is shut up.

I think it is amusing that people will go to great pains to "get out in nature" by going camping each summer, while living most of their days behind closed windows and curtains. Another thing my grandmother always did, without fail, was, make her bed. That used to be the rule rather than the exception in the olden days, or at least with grandmother's crowd. She was adamant about doing so. If my bed was not made I was "slovenly". It seems like the only people who make their beds now are, folks who were in the military or went to boarding school, or grandmothers! Am I showing my age? Honestly, I try to make mine, but have not mastered the daily habit yet. But really, it only takes a few minutes, and I've noticed that having a freshly made bed to greet one enables one to relax and breath deeply at the end of the day. It looks better too. Your mate will appreciate it, too.

Well, I hope you get some light and fresh air today. I'm going to make my bed and open a few more windows now. Next on my "to do list" is getting all 35 windows washed, inside and out. They really need it, and no more procrastination! I'm going to do the interior windows and hire someone for the exterior.

One final thought about these holes in our houses. Did you ever think what an interesting word "WINDOW" is? I mean it's wind with an ow after it. I thought it might be French, like perhaps originally, windeaux, but no, it is an Anglosaxon word, direct and to the point, nothing romantic about it. It says what it means: an ow to let the wind (sun and light)through. Everyone needs some of those to be fully alive!

Live to be 101

Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling stressed, everything from computers to major appliances and automobiles start to break down? My computer is acting strange - cpu at 100%, and all I asked it to do was to go to my blogger dashboard! Now my turning lights aren't working on my car, we need a new water-heater ("You mean they're not good for 50 years?") and to top it all off, I forgot yesterday was wishcasting Wednesday and forgot to post my wish! I wonder if there is a penalty? Does an evil fairy come out of my computer to sprinkle me with evil fairy dust?

To give you an idea of what my life is like now, I went to the wishcasting Wednesday blog site (thinking today was Wednesday) and just then my step-dad comes marching out to have his "brunch". He looks at what I am doing on my computer, and says "Humph, that looks interesting..." I tell him I just went to somebody's blog site, and then, after studying the picture, says, "actually it looks kind of pornographic." So who needs an evil fairy?

Please look over at wishcasting wednesday and tell me I'm not engaged in looking at pornography. Yes, the fairy is wearing something that might be a bit skimpy for a fairy, but that is not the idea! It is difficult explaining to a 90 year old that it is perfectly wholesome, if he sees it as something more. All in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Sigh. Yesterday was a special occasion and I needed to do cake baking and shopping as well as make a special dinner. That takes time! Especially when you have put things off.
We have a bit of a problem around here, concerning following an Ayurveda diet: my husband is a Pitta; I am a Kapha; my step-dad is a Vata. Finding a happy medium is challenging.

This morning was so nice in that I was finally able to get outside into some sun and vitamin D. At this altitude it doesn't take much. The birds were making lots of noise and I heard my favorite bird. I don't know what it is yet - it has a plaintive song that just consists of usually three or four notes either the same, or descending in pitch. It's not a mourning dove or an owl, but I can never locate the bird. It must be a ventriloquist.

Sun is so important to we humans. Actually there is a theory that sun deprivation in childhood might be linked to MS. I can see that, as I grew up in a northern latitude and my dad was a retired intellectual and my mom a musician - not pursuits that would take a child out of doors very much. But, I really can't believe that is the cause. Frankly, I believe it is related to the use of aspartame. You know that fake sugar that is put in diet sodas (which I used to have for dinner every night - not with dinner, but FOR dinner!)Now it is in so much more! Anyway, a few months of that and there I was, with MS. I just bring it up as a warning. The stuff is not made for human consumption. It should be off the market, not now added to baby-food!!

Speaking of food, it might be useful to tell the world what my grandmother ate - she lived to be 101. Though, I think her longevity was mostly due to her spirit and faith, her diet was one in which she ate and drank the things she liked most. First on the list for beverages, was grape juice and whole milk. She never touched coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol, or water, except to drink daily "hot water, with lemon, please" when ever she went out. Next, she loved Rice Krispies for breakfast and hot chocolate, which she made by hand, not from a mix. For lunch, I don't recall her ever eating anything, but dinner was a can of tamales or a fried piece of beef fillet and homemade french fries or macaroni and cheese. She always had a box of Stouffer's cremes (soft chocolates) on her desk and M&M's. Also with dinner she would often make herself a can of spinach on which she put vinegar. She never "excercised" a day but walked alot and never drove, to my knowledge. Furthermore, she never seemed to get stressed, and things never broke down around her. So, presumably if one eats and lives like this, and prays unceasingly, one will live to be 101! Oh, and her #1 rule was this: never go to a doctor!

I got a blogger award!

I received this blogger award. It is so encouraging for a beginner blogger such as myself, not sure if I deserve it. But I am proud of getting the hang of posting photos so I am making some progress. Thank-you, Athena!! Sometimes it's good to be reminded that life is good!

Missing: some red planetary rings.

My husband informed me just the other day that one of the planet's, he thinks it was Jupiter, has just done something unheard of: it has lost a band in one of it's rings! Not just any old band, but a band that has "always" been red! So...what can this mean? Why hasn't this been explored on the daily news, or if it was, why didn't I hear about it?

Since the world seems to be unconcerned that a planet has just, somehow, lost a piece of itself, or had a major part of itself "disappear", I would like to talk about planetary rings. Really, why not?

You may be thinking I'm a moron because everybody knows that Saturn is the only planet with rings, right? Well not so fast. Every large planet has them. We know more about Saturn's because they are seen more easily with a telescope. It's the largest planets that have them, because the sheer hugeness of their mass traps particles in thier orbit, from moons, to gasses, and other stuff. Probably Jupiter's rings are as big or bigger than Saturn's but they just seem smaller and somehow insignificant compared to the massiveness of Jupiter's size. Also Saturn's rings are made of ice and so, look brighter. Anyway this is the current scientific theory.I like to think there is more to it - an explanation of rings touched on the subject of "dark matter" being somehow involved in forming rings. Now this is interesting! If dark matter is involved in rings formation, it might be involved in their disappearance! That is exciting. But what exactly is "dark matter"? I think no one exactly knows...

Beginning of astrology lecture: I had heard that Saturn has the most rings because of Saturn's nature, the rings symbolising limits and containment and structure. So now that Jupiter's lost some, what can this mean, on a symbolic and global scale? And, a red ring, at that! Who knows?

The astrological world must certainly be abuzz with this news - sort of like they were when Pluto was voted against it's planetary "status". Overall this past blow to the astro community was dealt with in 1. disbelief and then 2. denial. It didn't change a thing! They all decided to take a vote. That didn't quite work. So basically it was determined that astrologers should act "as if" nothing had changed, and just press on, which we have been doing, like good little sheep. But it seems to me that by not coming to a clear verdict, a verdict was made none-the-less. Once again astrologers veer away from astronomers observations.

It is funny that Jupiter should lose a ring just as we start to leave the happy era of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, and start to enter Capricorn's realm. Now what would be really amazing would be if Saturn suddenly gained another ring, and a red one at that!
Sort of losing the energy of the collective unconsciousness to be placed on the ring of another planet's. An idea to ponder.

Okay. Tiring of not really knowing what I'm talking about, I checked the news releases from the website pertaining to the Hubble telescope. There is nothing on there about it! I may have started my own elephant story here, and this is how gossip gets started. If anyone knows about missing planetary rings, please let me know! And please see this site:

The world's astro forecast

My ephemeris in light and shadow. It's like a ribcage, or a scaffold, perhaps indicative of holding everything together in a symbolic way.

I'm reluctant to give astrological forecasts for friends and family, but I've been thinking about something my mother taught me about astrology: the location of the planet Pluto is the indicator of world events and eras. My mother was an astrologer in addition to being a musician, and astrology paid our bills when we moved to CA, before she built her musical career in our new hometown.

When she was teaching me the astrological arts, and told me about Pluto's influence on the world's collective psyche, I tuned out, only interested in how the planets were going to influence ME. I was about 16 at the time. I suppose my selfish focus, was natural for my age. But now that I'm older, I realize that the world's problems are my own. All of humanity is influenced, whether you want it or not.

Checking my ephemeris (the table of the planets daily sign positions)I see that Pluto is now in Capricorn. Interesting on a personal level, since I'm a Capricorn with Capricorn rising. This sort of brings Pluto closer into focus, you could say. A force to be reckoned with. Now the world will be facing Capricorn issues too. I am not alone.

Capricorn issues often read like a list of an evil fairy-godmother's hexes, or at least, traits that don't get one voted as most likely to succeed. Contraction, pessimism, conservatism, withdrawal, taskmaster, discipline, work, loss, melancholy. Yuck. It seems as if the world has dove deep into Capricorn already. People are fond of saying, "when the economy recovers..." Bad news: astrologically speaking, I do not believe the economy will ever go back to the way it was! (But this is a Capricorn speaking...)At least not in our lifetimes. Pluto is a distant planet so it stays a long time in each sign. This influences, and creates an "era".

A year ago we saw the end of the era of Pluto in Sagittarius. This may have been unusual for Sagittarians as life must have seemed "fated" or that "destiny" had intervened into their lives, never to be the same. Where Pluto's influence was most felt would be the house ruled by Sagittarius in your natal chart, or its opposing house, Gemini, respectively.

For the world, it went true to form for Sagittarius. All the upbeat Jupiter (ruling Sagittarius) buzzwords would apply: unparalleled growth, optimism, speculation, bigness, brightness, luck, expansion. Good stuff. They are the opposite of Capricorn's (ruled by Saturn) traits. The world had it good for a while. We may go down in history as the most runaway optimistic, richest, generation since the golden age of Egypt.

Now the world needs to get its bearings. It will probably take a while, and it certainly feels uncomfortable. Collectively the world needs to act like a Capricorn. Be cautious, patient, parsimonious, see if you can thrive on less, scale down, be disciplined, tighten our belts, downsize. Feels so different than our last era. What one could remember is that, Yogananda was a Capricorn, Howard Hughs, Elvis, maybe Jesus too. So its not all bad. Only if you want to live irresponsibly and like there is no tomorrow. Get it? Find what works and invest yourself heart and soul into seeing it through in a disciplined yogic way. Shopping sprees should go the way of the model-T or Thunderbird.

What is next for the world from Pluto's perspective? Aquarius: Revolution and overturning of the powers that be. To be followed by the Pisces era: universal love or the end of it all. Hopefully, as the world turns, the cycle will all start over when Pluto enters Aries: the pioneer and new beginnings.

Consider the past: before our big Saggitarian era, was the Scorpio era - the sexual revolution! No one has been the same since. These are not just bumps in the road but new turning points, a new direction. Exciting but scary. Change always is.

These are just thoughts to ponder...yet it sort of makes sense. Mom always is right.

Questions and a gift

Wow. I think I just won a blogger award! It is from my generous daughter. I am so new at this that I'm not sure I deserve it, but it's nice to have. Thank-you, Athena!
She also sent some questions I am supposed to answer - uh oh - I will try to do my best. Here they are, I love questions, and my daughter is so good at thinking them up.

1. What is your favorite book of all time?
"Gone With The Wind" I have fond memories of getting completely obsessed with reading it when I was around 14 and traveling on a concert tour with my mother. At the time we were in Amsterdam. We had a beautiful, spacious hotel room (with a crystal chandelier!) and I stayed there, like a hermit, reading my book the whole time. I think I missed the concerts too. The crocuses were in bloom and also had good food at the hotel, but I never saw anything of the city. Oh wait, I remembere Mom dragged me to the Rjyksmuseam to look at some wonderful old paintings, Rembrant and others, but all I could think of was Rhett Butler!

2. Where in the world do you most want to visit? Why?
Right now, I'd really like to visit Paris. This was another place I went with my mom, and loved. Now I'd like to see it as an adult and with my husband.

3.Craziest thing you've ever done?
Oh, you would have to ask this! I don't do that many crazy things, but probably pulling up roots and moving to Colorado, sight unseen, would take the cake.

4.One celebrity you absolutely cannot stand?
Dennis Quaid - sorry. I don't know why, he just looks too smarmy and his movies aren't very good and I think he's a bad actor.

5. What do you most like about yourself?
That I am a compassionate person.

6. What do you wish you could change about yourself?
I'd rather be a pear shape than an apple shape - thanks Dad!

7. What job would you love to have for a day?
I'd like to be a buyer for a ladies upscale clothing store.

8. What superhero power would you like to possess?
Gosh, I really don't know my super-heroes very well. I guess it would be Catwoman, because she was cool. But really I'd like to have the ability to fly and become invisable if I could, oh also to read really really fast and do incrdible math problems in my head. I don't think Catwoman did any of those things, so...who did?

9. What person (living or dead) would you most like to meet?
I'd like to meet Jesus, you know, just to ask him about God and how he did his healing work.

10. What was one of the best moments of your life?
When I gave birth to you, Athena!

Wishcasting Wednesday

WISHCASTING WEDNESDAY: THE QUESTION: What do you wish to experience?

MY WISH: I WISH TO EXPERIENCE THE REST OF MY LIFE FREE OF FEAR. Specifically, I would like to heal myself of all my phobias!

My mother's day

A huge bouquet of tulips and iris for Mother's day from my son!

Mother's day was very special this year. First, was a trip to my daughter's area for a high tea. She knows that I love teas. This was at a quaint old house/teashop that served delicious food all in a Victorian atmosphere of antique treasures. We feasted on sweet treats and rich egg salad sandwiches, that were divine, while catching up with our girl-talk.

The eyes are the "window to the soul" daughter, Athena's eyes, that speak 1000 words.

Then we drove up higher to her house. We reviewed some yoga poses from the book she gave me. This funny road sign illustrates the crazy drive, as well as some of the seemingly impossible yoga poses.

Before we knew it, we were hungry for dinner, and she made the best vegetarian dinner imaginable! It was stuffed zucchini and a spicy Moroccan style carrot salad. I could not believe how filling and satisfying it was and all without hardly any calories. It's also best for my "dosha" which I have found out, thanks to the yoga book, is called "kapha" and I am not supposed to eat meat and wheat.

Then we watched at least two episodes of the TV show "lost" which is her favorite show and one I've never seen. I liked it. It was very exciting, a bit scary, but not too bad.I'm sorry the show isn't going to be on anymore, but there will probably be reruns.
Then it was time to get me back to my quarters for the night. This was a fantastic small lodge in the area. My room was built in fragrant knotty-pine, had a down quilt, and was the cleanest place I've ever stayed at. I drank so much tea during the day that I almost didn't sleep a wink. I also suspect it was because my hubby wasn't there. Old couples get like that. It also snowed during the night. This is a picture of one of the many stained glass lamps in the beautiful room:

Then next morning we had a fantastic breakfast at a favorite place of my daughter's. Being a vegetarian, she knows all the coolest places to eat. I was able to get foods to satisfy my "dosha" and they had great health drinks too. Green ones, and many other fruit combinations (just like types of yoga poses) it took forever just to decide on one.

Then it was time to make the drive to take me back home.

Next day my husband surprised me with some long stemmed roses for mother's day and he made dinner! After all of this, I felt like a queen!

Then the surprise delivery of the tulips from my son!

All in all, it was a fantastic mother's day! I feel so blessed to have such wonderful children!

The matriarchal tree of life

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, so to observe this day, here is a photo display of pictures of the special women in my own maternal tree of life:

My beautiful daughter, Athena-Marie. So far, the last in a line of very strong women!
5-7-10 At our mother's day high tea, Colorado.

Me, Laurel, circa 1967. Pastel painted in New York City on tour with my mother.

My mother, Phyllis, a famous concert harpist. Portrait painted in oil, circa 1970. California.

My grandmother, Kate. Painting from a playbill for the play, "The Volunteer Organist" circa 1920. She was a stage actress and a Christian Science Practitioner who lived to be 100.

My great, great, great grandmother, Maria-Louise. Painted in oil, circa 1850. Illinois. She was a housewife and mother of four sons.

" a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart." (Louise Bogan)

Love to you all, Athena-Marie, Laurel, Phyllis, Kate, Maria-Louise, and any grandmothers from the past that I may have omitted. You all had huge hearts and their loving effects beat on, still. A very Happy Mother's Day.

Springs concerto In E flat

Wishcasting Wednesday: What rules do I want to make and or break?
My Wish is to be able to break my unspoken, but always painfully obvious rule of having to make everyone happy all of the time, and making a rule that saying "No" is okay. (I'm copying this wish from Rochelle and I hope she doesn't mind!)

It's Wednesday and that's a good day. It smells like spring today. There is just that certain scent that spring evokes. It's different than the scent of winter, summer or fall. Scents and sounds trigger so many memories and emotions. When I smell the fresh scent of Spring I am immediately transported back home and at Sunday School at Easter. Easter used to be my favorite holiday so the scents of Spring tend to make me feel content and loved.

Scent is processed in the brain by the limbic system, or what is commonly called, our "animal brain." It is the part of humans that is tied to instinctual behavior. It is a part of the brain to which the nose and sinuses directly feed. That is why one can change the way you feel just by smelling something. Aromatherapy in action.

The scents of spring pour into my open window now. The moist, melting, damp smell of the earth when the snow has finally disappeared. The eager bursting into life of each tree branch. Each tree has it's own scent probably related to it's pollination. The pine trees give off clouds of vanilla-smelling green pollen that settles onto everything. The aspens we planted have grown tall and lanky like adolescents. They reach to the sky with straight, skinny arms all gangley and knobby. The have a sweet, raw scent. The scrub-oak is our final gauge for the true end of winter: when the leaf-buds appear, we know the snows are over. The branches are still bare, dry and skeletal as though dead. It pains me to admit, we may still have more snow coming. The scrub oak knows but I don't; how can that be?

I'm more aware of my breathing now. This is rather important for a living thing, and I've held my breath way too much over my life. I stood tall this morning and took lots of deep, deep breaths. How good that felt. The lingering croupy cough I had all winter has finally gone away. I haven't done yoga for a while, but remember the way I used to feel after yoga breathing: so high and light, I could fly. That's the way the air of spring makes me feel. I think, as humans, we are part of the earth and respond to the seasons more than we know.
It's like the invisible pull birds must feel when they take flight for the northern climates they'd abandoned in the fall.

The birds have returned to our mountain. Their sounds wake me up with a smile each morning. I never appreciated birds in California, like I do now in Colorados changeable climate. It just goes to show how we can take such miraculous life forgranted when it is seen every day. I opened my kitchen window this morning and saw on the closest fir tree a pair of Chickadees are conversing and hopping about. I imagine they have come back for the seeds in our bird feeder we put out each spring. This sounds strange, but I was going to go out and tell them to be patient, but they probably already know that! They've probably seen how their favorite perch, the scrub oak, has yet to bud. Suddenly they are joined by a large, shiny black and white Magpie. Already the birds are claiming their territory. The chickadees fly away with wings moving in quick small bursts through the warming air as the magpie preens its blue/black shiny tuxedo feathers. Will the magpies again try to build their huge nest right in front of my kitchen window? Then the fox will probably be hanging out in my backyard again. I call him Franklin the fox and he has inspired quite a few stories with his amusing but sly antics. The foxes stayed all winter, screaming with haunting shrieks under full "wolf" moons.

Even the night sky looks different now that it's spring. Orion no longer reclines over our roof, as if to guard us from the dangers of winters bleakness, wielding his star- studded blade. Now when I look up to the skylight which focuses the night sky as a telescope, I see more stars. They were always there but hidden by clouds. Two stars in particular seem to orbit around each other. Often they are parallel to each other and sometimes not. Come spring, these two stars are our nightly silent companions. It's somehow comforting to know they are always there. Did you know that stars make a sound too? It is the vast tone of silence. Completely enveloping. I can only stand to listen for a short time. It is so loud, in a way it's deafening. I don't know why this is, perhaps it is just the physiological effect of bending ones head back to look up to the heavens. It makes the blood rush to places it hasn't been for a while. Maybe we need to look up more often. The two little stars are just a drop in the bucket of life. Really, they are huge pulsing giants. Yet they look like two tiny pin-pricks, taken for granted by we ants scurrying around our little planet. They illustrate how life is never how it seems.
The stars make humanities sense of self-importance disappear into insignificance. The silence after the cacophony of life shouts, in a whisper, about God, and our meaning in the scheme of things. There is so much in this concerto of life that we can not even sense or understand. Perhaps we just need to listen more and tune up by breathing in the scents of life. Maybe we'll make sense of it, eventually, but for now the main thing is to listen and to breath, especially through the change of each new season. Especially now,
into this Spring.

Dancing with the Stars...

I am feeling a bit more positive today. It is spring (again, and finally!) And we were able to watch "Dancing with the Stars" yesterday, which we have been following religiously. This is the ONLY thing we ever watch on TV anymore. But first, I must rant.

TV has become so focused on sex and violence, that we really find it offensive. Or is this because I'm getting older now? I don't think so. Where are the old warm-hearted shows that used to entertain us? Why does everything have to focus on who is killing whom, or having sex with whom? It's stupid, juvenile and damaging to one's values. Those old sitcoms were funny, and it wasn't fun at other peoples' expense. It's like the old musical/comedies. Why did they have to disappear? Maybe because there is nobody writing them well enough anymore? I wonder if it is art reflecting society or society influencing art? Are we all being reduced to the lowest common denominator?

I have to admit that even Dancing with the Stars tries to be sexy at all costs, and lately the shows seem more focused on who has the biggest breasts, then on dancing. And I love dancing. I'm sure there are people who love the scantily clad bosoms, but they can always see that somewhere else. Ballroom dancing is such a joy. It's one of my favorite forms of exercise. You have nice music to do it to - and I love waltzes and songs by old blue eyes and Nat King Cole -and it's really the only thing you can do and be dressed formally anymore, and I love getting dressed up, and it's something you do with a partner of the opposite sex. So what's not to like?

I probably look like a real kook when I'm dancing, because it's the one thing I do where I seem to constantly smile. I just smile. I can't help it. Dancing is just such a kick.

Dancing with the stars, of course, has to make a SHOW out of it, so there are judges and point systems, and a call-in to vote for one's favorite. That all makes it interesting too. If you haven't watched it, they have professional ballroom dancers who are paired up with some famous person; they are given two dances to learn a week; each dance is to good music; they dance and are judged by three judges who are all professional dancers themselves; their scores are then added to the call-in votes. The dancing is done on Monday nights show, and then the results are presented on Tuesday nights show. That's tonight. Hurray.

Of the competitors who are left, about five couples who haven't been voted off, I think either the girl who is a pussy-cat doll (give me a break) or the olympic ice skater, who will win. The pussy-cat doll is really an excellent dancer, and the olympic skater is great too. We've found that, of course. the "stars" who have previously done some dancing, always do the best, and end up the winner. It also helps what pro they are paired with. Some of the pros are much better choreographers than others. And that is a very important part of the dances, as I said, they don't just dance, for it's more of an act, or a show, but always "strictly ballroom".

The olympic skater is often too balletic for some of the less graceful dances that call for more hip action (which men seem to find difficult). And the pussy-cat doll, though moving with good balletic lines, is just too sexy, like she's doing a strip-tease or something. Of course that goes over well, so I'm sure she'll win. So why isn't Pamela Anderson going to win, since she is by far the winner in the biggest breast contest? She is still in the running. Lately I've noticed that she isn't trying too hard to be Marilyn Monroe anymore. It was really too much. Like when the show started, Pamela, even when standing still, was writhing around all the time. It must be difficult being an aging sex symbol, as my husband defended her by saying. Ahem. I guess you can't just be a normal person, you've just got to writhe, because you're soooo sexy. Revolting. Even the pussy-cat-doll, and I'm sorry I forgot her name, doesn't writhe in self-inspired ecstasy and appears more normal! I mean writhe during the "dance", but not when standing and waiting for the judges results, for heavens sake!

But anyway, we've watched Dancing with the stars since it first came on, and the show has influenced our tastes in movies and exercise. Here is a list of some of our favorite movies that are about dancing which I know you might like:

  • Strictly Ballroom

  • Dirty Dancing

  • Shall We Dance? (American version better than Japanese version upon which it's inspired.)

Watch them, they are all great, and you won't be able to stop smiling! (Dancing has gotta be good for you!)

Sunday Stealing questions.

Sunday Stealing: The Question Meme

01) Are you currently in a serious relationship? Answer: YES

02) What was your dream growing up? Answer: First to be an Astronomer, then in my teens, to be an airline stewardess.

03) What talent do you wish you had? Answer: I wish I could paint, draw, be artistic.

04) If I bought you a drink what would it be? Answer: Black tea with milk and sugar.

05) Favorite vegetable? Answer: Fresh corn on the cob.

06) What was the last book you read? Answer: It was called "Atlas Shrugged" by Ann Rynd. didn't like it.

07) What zodiac sign are you?Answer: Capricorn and Capricorn rising.

Piercings? Explain where. Answer: I've had my ears pierced a couple of times. That is it, forever!

r: I never hang up my clothes (until I can't stand it and then work all day hanging them up.)

10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?Answer: probably not.

11) What is your favorite sport? Answer: I love to wartch football games.

12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?Answer: Very pessimistic, but I'm trying to change that.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me? Answer: Introduce myself and have a conversation.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?Answer: to be diagnosed with MS.

15) Tell me one weird fact about you. Answer: That I used to be a harpist.

16) Do you have any pets? Answer: yes, a parakeet.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly? Answer: I'd be polite but freaked out.

18) What was your first impression of me?Answer: A bit weird but I never thought about it much.

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary? Answer: Neither, they are just dumb.

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?Answer: I'd want to be more curveacious.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience? Answer: probably your conscience.

22) What color eyes do you have? Answer: very dark brown.

23) Ever been arrested?Answer: No.

24) Bottle or can soda?Answer: Neither, I never drink it. But if I did, I like bottled. Stuff tastes bad in cans.

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it? Answer: buy a used car and invest the rest.

26) What's your favorite place to hang out at?Answer: the library or Starbucks.

27) Do you believe in ghosts?Answer: Yes, I've seen some.

28) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?Answer: read a good book.

29) Do you swear a lot?No.

30) Biggest pet peeve? Television.

31) In one word, how would you describe yourself? Compassionate.

32) Do you believe/appreciate romance?Yes.

33) Favorite and least favorite food?Favorite: Indian food. Least: Liver.

34) Do you believe in God? Yes, my own version of.

35) Will you join us this week for Wednesday Wickedness? (Bud has on a mission to make this Wednesday's most popular meme. Maybe, I'll have to see what it is all about first.

Please play this week so I can stop promoting it.)