Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teach people how to fish...

Do you remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs from back in your school days? Maslow drew a pyramid, with human needs stacked according to their importance to us. The lower 4 are considered deficit needs... meaning we actively seek them out when we are deficit (lacking) in them. The needs are stacked in order of importance to us, with the lowest layer being absolutely primary. Even within layers, there is an order of importance: If you cannot breathe, you surely are not concerned about food and shelter at that precise moment.

The top level is actually different, it's things/traits we'd like to have in order to really feel fulfilled in our lives. Things like Truth, Goodness, Morality, Meaningfulness, Creativity and quite a few more that capture the essence of self-actualization.

Do you think in this desperate economic downturn that the starving, unemployed and/or homeless folks are thinking about those things at the top of the pyramid?

My bet is they are thinking about food and shelter (the basics to survive) which is the bottom, foundation level in Maslow's chart. I'm thinking that many folks now have nothing left but frustration, nothing else to lose, and even food and shelter seem elusive to them. Time bombs ticking...

If they cannot get those basic needs legitimately (like they could with the ex-paycheck from the company that closed its domestic doors and moved manufacturing overseas for more profit), they will ultimately resort to whatever means is at hand, including
violence or unlawfulness of some sort if that's all that's available. Unlawfulness might be as benign as a mother shoplifting a can of Spaghetti-O's to feed a starving kid because she can't get food stamps, but it could be a purse-snatcher looking for a few bucks for groceries (or drugs or alcoholic beverages), or worse yet, home invasion.

Do you think their frustration or anger doesn't build when they hear of bonuses in the millions of dollars being paid to the people perhaps responsible for their dire straights? And to rub salt in the wounds, those bonuses are often paid with federal bailout money the now-unemployed people paid into for years as taxes, and their children (if they live long enough) will have to repay?

To be sure, there are always freeloaders who think the world owes them something for nothing. I'm not talking about them because I have no clue as to why some people are like that.

And I'm not even talking about those who would rather get food stamps and cry 'poor me' than have a job that pays minimum wages. I see those people in my small town all the time. A friend's daughter is out of work, has been for over 2 years. She gets free housing and food stamps because she has 2 dependent and "fatherless" children. She has no real incentive to get a job because she knows the system will take care of her as long as she has dependent children, but she also has no need to resort to violence because she has food and shelter.

I do not believe being on the dole is a Right. At the same time, I do think most of us feel some obligation to help others in an emergency if we are able, for instance victims of tornado, or hurricane devastation, and floods. That's not the same thing as a 'required' handout or someone being on the dole.

I believe that we owe it to ourselves and our children's children to clean up this mess, somehow, someway.
And truthfully, I have absolutely NO earthly idea how we can do that. Like many people, I am never more than a few days or weeks away from being homeless and hungry myself. Our 'system' takes care of the children, but unfortunately not the elderly.

There must be a way of
creating some opportunity for "Joe and Jane Average" to survive (which probably won't include cable and a 60 inch HDTV); and if they need some help UP, then we help. By 'we' I do not mean the federal government. I mean me... and you. Local, community involvement. Maybe even just 'on your street, or on your block' involvement.

Some of our biggest banks are sitting on large profits from the bailouts (profits made by using our tax money) but they won't lend it if you don't have both a job and excellent credit. Even then, they might not lend it.
But look at it this way: who really needs debt anyway, except for maybe a very large purchase like a home? Who convinced us anyway that more is better, that we aren't 'worthy' unless we have a McMansion and a new car every 2-4 years?

It's time to stop favoring the Good Ole Million Dollar Boy Network. It's time to get lobbyists out of the pockets of our legislators and out of our Laws.

Time to start teaching people how to fish... somehow, someway.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why Butter??

WHY butter?Butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acids, including even small amounts of lauric acid. It is rich in antioxidants as well, in the form of beta carotene, vitamin E, and selenium. It is one of the best sources of vitamin A. Because living grass is richer in vitamins E, A, and beta-carotene than stored hay or standard dairy diets, butter from dairy cows grazing on fresh pasture is also richer in these important nutrients. The naturally golden color of grass-fed butter is a clear indication of its superior nutritional value.

By nature, cows are grazing (grass-eating) animals. 85-95% of dairy cows today are raised in confinement on a diet of grain, particularly corn, because it is far more cost-efficient for agribusiness. This grain-based diet can cause changes in the ph in cows, creating many abnormal physiological conditions in the cow, which can increase the need for the use antibiotics.

The CLA Advantage
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring free fatty acid found mainly in meat and dairy products in small amounts. CLA was discovered by accident in 1978 by Michael W. Pariza at the University of Wisconsin while looking for mutagen formations in meat during cooking. The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grass-fed animals. Research conducted since 1999 shows that grazing animals have from 3-5 times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grain-fed to grass-fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA.

I often make my own butter and cultured butter from local cream, but it has been pasteurized before I can get it, Thanks to government regulations that make the dairies cook out all the good enzymes. It's not bad butter, but not great either, except compared to commercial butter.

A friend sent me a link to a site that sells imported close-out cheese, charcuterie and things like butter, at good prices. This time they have pastured butter from New Zealand for $4 a pound (Anchor brand). It's hard to really know if this pastured butter is made with raw milk rather than pasteurized milk. They say it's made from "fresh milk collected twice daily" but never actually say if it's pasteurized or not.

Either way, I'm ordering at least 5 pounds because butter freezes well. Got to be better than what I can buy here, and for more $$.

About this butter:
New Zealand Anchor Butter from grass-fed, free-range cows has a richer taste versus barn raised non grass fed animals. Butter from grass fed cows is higher in Omega 3, Beta Carotene and Vitamin A.

Free Range
Means cows are feed on grass only, 365 days of the year. Therefore no grain, artificial feed or meat & bone meal is feed to cows on New Zealand’s farms.

Means naturally raised and humane living conditions for cows 24/7.

No Hormones
The New Zealand government prohibits the use of animal growth hormones in dairy, sheep and beef farming. There is mounting evidence that growth hormones can adversely affect the heath of cattle and humans.

Made for 100% from fresh milk
Our milk is collected twice a day from the farm.
Not made by reconstituting milk power and anhydrous milk fat.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Else I'm doing...

Well, my health is preventing me from doing much, but here's the pea shoots I just bought. If you haven't ever tried pea shoots, they are marvelous! I love them topped on a baguette hat's covered with fresh soft cheese and lightly dressed with EVOO, or in a salad. They can also be lightly cooked in a stir-fry, or sautéed with some garlic. Do not overcook them!

Pea shoots are showing up more and more at farmer's markets because they produce 4X what fresh peas do. I couldn't find any information about their O-6 to O-3 ratio, but being a green shoot, I would expect it to be good.

Then, on the not-quite-so-good-for-me list, I bought a box (18 pcs) of Champagne Mangoes that I'm slicing to freeze. I grew up with Florida mangoes, and as my mother always said, "I could just waller (wallow) in them". These are close in taste but with an added hint of lime to the fruit. I figure if I only eat a few frozen pieces once a month, it will satisfy my mango cravings, and not disrupt my O-6:O-3 ratio too much.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Too Good Not to Share...

God Made A Farmer

This was Paul Harvey's Dodge Ram Truck Super Bowl Commercial "God Made A Farmer"

I never watch football, so I did not see it air. Perhaps you didn't either...

It's really a great short video, and no mention of Dodge except a couple of Ram trucks shown in 2-3 of the pictures. The rest is about being a Farmer.

No Farms, No Food. (Unless you have a garden!)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Seed Starting and Germinating

In my zone, it's getting to be seed-starting time, and I have actually started one flat of beans and summer squash. Still too early to start seeds like tomatoes, and we'll have frost (or close to it) for the next week or so. Our last frost date is May 15, so it's always iffy until then. 

I was gifted a nice small portable greenhouse that I just put together, and have sitting on my front porch. In addition to the flat of seeds I have started, I purchased a few lacinto kale plants, and some thyme that are in the mini greenhouse, along with some garlic, onions and shallots that need planting if I can ever get someone to till that bed for me.

I got these 2 charts from a friend but she didn't say where she found them. I prefer to note the source of things I post that are not mine, but the information in these is very good so I decided to share them anyway. The charts are based on AIR temperature. 

Edited to add I found the source: http://cultivatorscorner.com/when-to-start-vegetable-seeds 
Hope they are helpful to you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Worst Foods for O-6 to O-3 Ratios

Worst foods for high Omega-6 and low Omega-3. This does not mean that these foods are not healthy, but rather it means you need to eat a lot more high Omega-3 foods to help balance it out.

For my own diet, I eat almost none of the high O-6 foods, although carrots, sweet potatoes and some of the fruits are often included on my diet, especially fruits in the summer time. I succumb to grits (shrimp and grits) occasionally, and I love hummus (which is made with chick peas) although I eat a lot less of it anymore.

Beets, and Beet greens
Carrots, raw
Sweet potato

Pear, Asian

Corn grits
Brown rice, brown rice flour
Sprouted wheat
Sweet corn
Hard red winter wheat

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Dry roasted peanuts
Peanut butter


Brazil nuts
Pine nuts

factory grain-fed meats

Corn oil
Sunflower oil

Bread (whole grain is 3X higher in O-6 than white bread, go figure!)
Corn flakes
Portabella mushrooms, raw
Shredded wheat
Spaghetti (WW is worse than white)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Best High Omega-3 Foods

Lacinto Kale

There are many things necessary for our bodies to Heal, although the very best is a good diet from the get-go to be healthy and never need healing. As a part of a healthy diet,
a good ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is necessary, as is the pH of the foods we feed our bodies. Here I'm just touching on a good ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids.

This is NOT a complete list, just the best foods I know about with a good ratio (4:1 or lower) of Omega-6 to Omega-3. Both fatty acids are necessary for our bodies, but the ratio needs to be low for good health. There are other considerations to examine for these foods, like the glycemic index/load (sugars), but I'm not covering that aspect in this post.

There are some foods that are really healthy for us in spite of a high O6-O3 ratio, like the avocado I just ate for lunch. I'll have to eat a ton of spinach or kale to balance it out, but that's okay because I love those greens as much as I love avocados. Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is another that's very healthy yet has high O-6 and low O-3. 

I'll put up a list of some foods with the worst O6-O3 ratios in a couple of days, but here are some of the really good ones (ratios of 4:1 and lower):

Artichoke, Globe

Pak Choi
Broccoli Flower, Broccoli stalks, Rapini (Broccoli Raab)
Brussels sprouts
Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce
Spinach and Savoy Spinach
Dill pickles

Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard and Spaghetti squash
Turnips, turnip greens


Sweet Cherries
Dried Figs
Lemon, Lime
Canned Peaches in Light Syrup (drained)


Navy, Pinto, Black, Green (fresh), and Kidney Beans

Breadfruit, Chia, Flax

Acorn, Almond (roasted), Coconut (from raw coconuts),

Meats, Seafood
Almost ALL except grain-fed beef

(grain-fed beef, conventional pork, and conventional chicken or turkey are the worst)

Most EXCEPT Avocado, Corn oil, Sunflower and Walnut oils

Cider Vinegar

Blue cheese, cheddar cheese
Eggs except conventional eggs
Honey, maple syrup, molasses

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Something Light for a Change

Yes, I know I've been far too serious lately, but it's called for in a serious situation. So here's a bit of fun... Plus, I believe laughter is a big part of Healing and I don't laugh enough!

Swami Beyondananda's Guidelines For Enlightenment

Be a Fundamentalist--make sure the Fun always comes before the mental. Realize that life is a situation comedy that will never be canceled. A laugh track has been provided, and the reason why we are put in the material world is to get more material. Have a good laugh twice a day, and that will ensure regular hilarity.

Remember that each of us has been given a special gift, just for entering--so you are already a winner.

The most powerful tool on the planet today is Tell-A-Vision. That is where I tell a vision to you and you tell a vision to me. That way, if we don't like the programming we're getting, we can simply change the channel.

Life is like photography. You use the negative to develop. And, no matter what adversity you face, be reassured: Of course God loves you--He's just not ready to make a commitment.

It is true. As we go through life thinking heavy thoughts, thought particles tend to get caught between the ears, causing a condition called truth decay. So be sure to use mental floss twice a day. And when you're tempted to practice tantrum yoga, remember what we teach in Swami's Absurdiveness Training class: "Don't get even, get odd."

If we want world peace, we must let go of our attachments  and truly live like nomads. That's where I no mad at you, you no mad at me. That way, there'll surely be nomadness on the planet. And peace begins with each of us. A little peace here, a little peace there, pretty soon all the peaces will fit together to make one big peace everywhere.

I know great earth changes have been predicted for the future, so if you're looking to avoid earthquakes, my advice is simple. When you find a fault, just don't dwell on it.

There's no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the world, and we'll never have to change it again.

If you're looking to find the key to the Universe, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is---there is no key to the Universe. The good news is--it has been left unlocked.

Finally, everything I have told you is channeled. That way, if you don't like it, it's not my fault. And remember:  enlightenment is not a bureaucracy. So, we don't have to go through channels.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Expect Upcoming Posts on Good Nutrition

I've been taking a harder overall look at nutrition since I was in the hospital (again) last week, even though I know my nutritional intake is probably better than 90% of Americans. The first things I will be looking at more closely are my Omega 6/3 fat ratios, and body pH.

Two days ago I got the results of the ultrasound done last week, where they were looking for a build-up of abdominal fluids (which turned out to be non-existent). However, the report shows they also found a lesion on my left kidney, and a growth (hopefully just a cyst) on my pancreas. I'll have an MRI scheduled soon to get better definitions of each, but both are worrisome.

So I've been (and will be) taking a deeper look at the nitty-gritty of the vitamins, minerals and healthy fats we can get from Real Food, and how they impact our health. Most of what I've read so far has to do with how cancer cells grow in our bodies, and while my kidney and pancreas anomalies hopefully aren't cancerous, my doctors have told me for several years that any liver disease puts someone more at risk for cancers of the liver and pancreas.

I am a firm believer that most disease wouldn't occur at all with a nutritionally balanced diet of real foods, containing all the vitamins and minerals we need to function. Our food system is woefully inadequate at providing them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dandelions: 2 years BAD, then 4 years GOOD

Dandelion Photo by bob_jenkins

The first 2 years I lived on this property, I had the typical suburbanite attitude that dandelions in the lawn are BAD. I must have dug up a zillion over the first 2 years here.

Then I started to learn a bit about Permaculture, where dandelions are revered because they have several important functions. First, they are dynamic accumulators, meaning their deep taproot brings nutrients up from deep in the soil, especially calcium, making it available for more shallow-rooted plants like tomatoes.

Secondly, the dandelion leaves that emerge early in spring are quite tasty as a salad, full of Vitamins A, C and B's (esp. B6), and a variety of minerals. Later in summer the greens can be bitter, but if you eliminate the central stem, the leafy parts are still pretty mild. The flowers are also edible but the base of the petals tends to be bitter. The flowers make a wonderful and colorful garnish or added to a salad!

Thirdly, the roots can be washed, dried, and ground for a nutritious beverage. It really is NOT a coffee substitute, but still healthy and nutritious.

Fourth: Bees LOVE dandelions, so they feed the bees... and we all know our honeybees are at risk.

Have you appreciated your dandelions today? Have you actually tried a dandelion salad??

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Deer in the Headlights

We all know that vitamins we get from natural food sources are more easily assimilated in our bodies than synthetic vitamins. So are essential fatty acids.

I posted a blip about the importance of a proper ratio of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3  fatty acids a few days ago. Those fats are considered essential because our bodies cannot make them, and they really ARE essential to us. 

Here's a copy from a post by Ted Slanker with specifics about humans and cattle eating green leafy plants and/or grains.... and what each choice does to the O-6:O-3 ratio. He explains it so much better than I could...

"Scientists have determined that the “essential fats” in the membranes of cells have a very powerful influence on each cell’s ability to function. These essential fats consist of the Omega-6 family of fatty acids and the Omega-3 family of fatty acids. Via laboratory experiments on rats and in some cases humans, scientists have determined that the appropriate balance between these fats is one to one.  That means the O-6 and O-3 fatty acids must be in nearly perfect balance for proper cell function. When the balance between O-6 to O-3 exceeds 4:1 cells malfunction and chronic disease is the result. All chronic diseases are body failings. They include, but are not limited to, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, attention deficit syndrome, autism, and most other mental disorders, Crohn’s disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and the list goes on and on.

A chemical analysis of the fatty acid profiles of the cells of cattle tells the story that is common for all animal life. Cattle, which are raised on pastures and only in major emergencies are fed hay, have a 1:1 fatty acid ratio. Feedlot steers that have been fed grain have a ratio of 15:1 or higher. Skinless chicken breasts from chickens fed all “vegetarian diets” (grain) have a 18:1 ratio. 

Here are some additional ratios:  
wheat 11:1
rice bran 32:1
corn germ 59:1
raw kale 0.5:1
raw spinach 0.1:1

Many of the vitamins required by animals and humans come directly from the leafy, green plants or the meats from animals that ate the leafy, green plants.  Without this tie animals can experience severe vitamin deficiencies. For instance, after 180 days in a feedlot eating grain a steer can lose as much as 80% of the vitamin A that would normally be in its liver and 75% of the vitamin E that would be in its muscle tissues!

But what about grain?  Why is it bad?  Grain is the seed head of grasses.  Grain is one of the ways the grass-plant kingdom perpetuates itself.  Consequently, the plant kingdom does everything it can to protect its survival as a species.  Grains can host defensive fungi (endophyte) and mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins are nearly all cytotoxic, disrupting various cellular structures such as membranes and interfering with vital cellular processes such as protein, RNA, and DNA synthesis. 

Of course, they are also toxic to the cells of higher plants and animals, including humans. In addition, the chemical composition of seed heads differs significantly from the leafy, green plants themselves. Green plants can be clipped over and over again and they grow back. A green leaf falls to the ground and it becomes a food source for microorganisms that break down the leaf into organic matter that ultimately feeds the next generation of green plants.  The green plant creates its own perfect cycle.

A seed head has a strong protective coat that protects the “internal workings.”  When a seed falls to the ground it can remain in the soil for decades (under appropriate conditions) and still sprout when favorable conditions occur. For grain to perform its natural function it has to have a totally different fatty acid profile than the grass it will be once it sprouts. Seeds cannot re-grow. They are the grass plant’s one-time shot.

Man invented grain farming by isolating certain grasses and protecting them from grazing pressure until their seeds had ripened.  Then he harvested the seeds in a narrow window of time and was able to store the seeds for future use. This turned a minor food source into something that was more abundant. 

Unfortunately, even though grain farming increased the quantity of “food” available for the masses, it dramatically lowered the health of the people who ate the new food source.

Today, in America’s grain-based food system in which nearly all livestock products come from grain-fed livestock and nearly all food products have grain additives or are made from grain because it is cheap, the food system is more grain-based than during any other civilization in the history of the world except that of India. This is why 70% of all deaths in our nation are due to chronic diseases. Most other deaths are from accidents, infectious diseases, murders, and wars. Very few people die of natural causes in our country.

Here's why. Take a steer off pasture and put him in a feedlot. As he comes off pasture his O6 to O3 fatty acid ratio is close to 1:1. After about 180 days in the feedlot his fatty acid ratio will have increased to the 15:1 to 18:1 range. As his fatty acid ratio changes his vitamin levels plunge. Vitamin A in the steer's liver can drop as much as 80%. Vitamin E in his muscle tissue can fall 75%.

This is the same thing that happens to people who eat grains, grain-based foods, and food products from grain-fed livestock. Alarmingly, scientists in the know estimate that due to "modern" foods the average American consumes a fatty acid ratio of from 20:1 to 30:1. 

It's no wonder then that children in America (grain-fed from conception) have ADD, diabetes, are obese, and suffer from many other chronic diseases unheard of 60 years ago.  Their parents are in deeper trouble, yet they are none the wiser. 

The entire population resembles deer in the headlights.  It focuses on materialistic consumption while its health and well-being wallows in the sewer."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hospital Food

Well, once again I ended up being taken by ambulance 2 hours southeast to Wake Forest Hospital, where I spent most of the last week. That makes 10 days of bring incarcerated since the end of January... and I say "incarcerated" simply because hospital food tastes like prison food (not that I've ever tasted prison food, but that I believe all institutional food is alike: ghastly).

They had me NPO for 36 hours while they did some testing, then on a clear liquid diet. The next day they allowed soft foods, including yogurt. I was surprised to read on the Yoplait Light Strawberry Yogurt label they served that it contained aspartame... Wouldn't you think a hospital dietitian would know better??

I don't even want to talk about the other foods they served, even though they had a menu where I could make my own choices. The choices were almost all pitiful, both in taste and nutrition. The closest thing to healthy was some cooked spinach, but I question the sauce ingredients (not stated) even though it was tasty.

One thing my doctors discovered is that my blood ammonia level was very high, but they found no reason for it after 3 days of tests. (I really didn't know we all have ammonia in our bloodstream.) The other blood work showed that I'm still way below normal in red and white blood cells, platelets, etc., and in fact I have lost some ground since the last labs on March 12 when they had shown slight improvement following my GI bleed in February.

The food advice my doctor gave me was to cut down on proteins. When I told him that all of my animal proteins are from grass-fed animals (or wild fish), his eyes glazed over... it meant absolutely nothing to him. To be fair, undigested proteins can increase ammonia levels, but the target should be how to improve digestion, not to eliminate the foods. The protein portion of my diet is within normal limits.

However, I DO think I'm slowly getting some sense of what's really going on with my health, and I think it all goes back to years of workplace chemical exposure that has damaged my liver. Kinda like the chemical exposure that is killing our honey bees... same syndrome, different chemicals.

I believe it is going to be up to me to take the data my allopathic doctors find in tests and integrate it with what I know, or can research, on solving the problem. I believe good nutrition is essential to both heal disease, and to prevent it, but most doctors do not hold the same beliefs. To me, there is a BIG difference in treating the symptoms, and finding and treating the cause.

For example, the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in our food intake needs to be 1:1 for optimum health, yet our diets generally fall short, to the tune of 20:1 and even as high as 40:1 on a fast food diet. I thought mine was pretty good, in the range of 4:1 (acceptable but not great), but reviewing my food intake since January 1, I find I have strayed. Just that fact all by itself, could have an impact on how my impaired liver is able to function, and how it affects my health.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Do you ever wonder "What If..."?

Sometimes I awaken with thought that somewhere just around the corner, or in some brief moment like an epiphany, I will suddenly find, know and really understand "the answers".  Does that happen with you?

After 72 years, I have yet to find any answers, and my Judeo-Christian childhood reminds me of the phrase "the finite mind of man is unable to understand the infinite mind of God". However, this is NOT a post about religion, so please don't go there.

Sometimes I wonder why I have spent 70+ years being taught an impressive number of unconnected skills and ideas (except they exist in real life where I believe everything is somehow connected). WHY was I taught all that? Who is there to inherit and continue to promote all this stuff? Who, in today's generation, even gives a damn? (Yes, I know there are quite a few of you out there... and hopefully the numbers are increasing.)

Sometimes I wonder about what's really in our genetic makeup. We have come very far in researching and understanding genes in the last few years, but I haven't seen posted anywhere if there's actually a gene for war-mongering, or if there's a gene for greed, or one for corruption. Yet those traits seem pervasive world-wide.

If those things are caused by genes, do we all carry a bit of them? If so, do we have the ability to overcome them? If we simply take the concept of "greed" from the corporate level down to the individual, personal level, what do we find? 

Is it greed when we find a very under-priced item being sold at a yard sale (perhaps from an elderly person who no longer has a clue about its current value), and we know we can re-sell it for many times their asking price?

Do we bring home pencils and ball-point pens from the office, or maybe even copy paper and trash-bag liners? Does saying "everyone does it" make something right?

What percentage of people do you think (who might be wealthy or even flat broke) still manage to return extra change accidentally given by a store clerk (who no doubt makes only minimum wage and has to make up the monetary difference in closing out the register at the end of the day)? One in 2 returns the overage? One in 10? One in 100? Or how often does the typical customer keep it as a "windfall" without ever considering ethics??

And as far as buying something... Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) is a huge principle in commerce: without a warranty, the buyer takes the risk

What ever happened to good old handshakes where a man's word was his bond? Or the days when you could leave your house unlocked, and children could walk to school all the way from home, rather than just from Mommie's car in the school parking lot?

Where do we draw the line on what is right and what isn't? And is corporate greed really any different than filching pencils and pens from the office, except for the scale?

WHEN do we generate a loud enough voice (and clout) to insure a healthy food supply that's not tainted by corporate greed with hands in the pockets of our legislators? The 2011 Average CEO Pay at Standard and Poor's 500 Index Companies was over $12 million dollars EACH, and in my opinion it came at the expense of MY food supply and thus MY health.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dropping the Other Shoe

A couple of days ago I posted about perfumes, and here's the other side of the story...

Like many people, I have a lot of allergies to fragrances, but surprisingly I have none to good quality perfumes that are not chemical-laden. So... is it the chemicals???

When I was in my 20's, I started breaking out in a rash from all my freshly laundered clothing, especially underwear. I tried almost every brand of laundry detergent on the market, and finally settled on hand-washing my underwear in Ivory soap or Woolite, and machine-washing all my outer clothing in Tide. It wasn't perfect, but it basically worked as long as I didn't use any fabric softener.

It was only many years later that Tide and some other brands started marketing "fragrance-free" detergents, and that helped. I can only assume there must have been a real hue and cry from lots of people suffering from some of the same allergic reactions to chemical fragrances that finally forced a few manufacturers to reduce or eliminate fragrances in laundry products.

However, the inclusion of chemical fragrances is not limited to laundry products. They exist in thousands of items like bars of soap, air fresheners, hand-sanitizing gels, candles, almost all commercially prepared food products, every household cleaner, fabrics still on the bolt, and probably a gazillion more that don't come to mind at the moment.

So if I go back to the implications of the signs in hospitals saying "no fragrances", is that really about true fragrances, or simply those that are chemically produced and exist everywhere?

What are they doing to us with all those chemicals? (And, if we lose all petroleum supplies, will all those chemical products disappear?)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Perfume, and Memories

Moon and Stars perfume bottles by Lalique

Ah, perfume... This may seem like a strange post from a woman who now dresses in jeans, flannel shirts and work boots 95% of the time, but I've had such a love/hate relationship with perfume most of my adult life that I thought I'd write about it. (Reminiscing about things I love.) The majority of my relationships with perfumes were in the "hate" column, at least until I was in my mid 40's.

I remember my mother always wore some kind of scent, and although I didn't much like most of them, they were simply a part of "Mother". (Remember, this was in the 1950's.) When I started dating, wearing some kind of perfume was as important as wearing clean underwear, and I started with those perfumes and colognes my mother wore. I didn't know back then that perfumes and colognes don't smell the same on everyone, due to the makeup of our individual body oils and pH.

After not much liking the scent of my mother's perfumes on me (and finally having a job and my own money), I started buying the scents my friends wore. Chanel No. 5 was very popular, as was Joy by Jean Patou. There were many others, names I've long forgotten.

As I moved up the corporate ladder (working then in the medical equipment sales field), signs began to appear in the lobbies and elevators in the hospitals where I made calls. The signs said no perfumes fragrances, as they can severely affect anyone with a respiratory problem. I think we've all been trapped at some point in an elevator with someone wearing a very strong perfume, cologne, or after-shave... enough to make us gag.

So I was relieved of wearing any perfume with my business attire... but I still had personal relationships in my non-work hours, and the belief from childhood that a woman should wear perfume. 

I don't even remember how I came to know my favorite perfume in the tiny blue bottles, but it's the only one I wear to this day (but not very often anymore). About the time I discovered this perfume, I also learned of "walking into the perfume", which is a great way to have the perfume remain a subtle scent, rather than over-powering. ("For a subtle perfuming of your hair and clothing, spray your perfume in the air and then walk through it. If you prefer a lighter overall smell and not concentrated on one part of your body, this may be the method for you, especially wonderful for a social event where there will be lots of people.")

Je Reviens Cologne

The perfume I finally discovered is Je Reviens, which means "I shall return", and is made by Worth in Paris. The famous glass artist Rene Lalique made the bottles for this perfume (and they are very collectible). I have one bottle (Moon and Stars) like the photo at the top of this post, and even after being empty for many years, just removing the stopper releases a whiff of pure pleasure for me.