Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking Pictures for Selling or Swapping Items Online

I have learned a lot about taking pictures to post online from my experience with eBay and my jewelry website. Taking pictures of jewelry is especially hard, and the part of making and selling jewelry that I hate the most! But I have learned a few tips that I thought I should share.

When taking pictures of small items, use the Macro mode on your camera. If you don't know how to change the setting, look it up in the manual that came with your camera. It helps that camera to focus on a small item close-up.

Don't always use the flash. Experiment with turning it off and on with the same photo and see which one works better. I have found that it is better to have the flash turned off when taking jewelry photos because the flash always makes a glare on the shiny surfaces of the jewelry and makes the picture almost useless for showing any detail.

When taking pictures of clothing, it is usually best to lay it out flat. Try to show the whole item so people will know how it looks. When you take a picture of a pair of pants folded up, no one can tell how they really look! Try to use a contrasting background, too, so that the item shows up. A solid colored bedspread is a good background for clothing.

Last, but not least, don't forget to describe your item! If you put a picture up with no description, some potential buyers will ask you the details, but some will just move on to the next item. It is less trouble for you and them if the information is available to them right then! Some details that might need to be included are: size (of clothing or most anything else), brand, condition, materials (is is silver, cotton, wood, etc.). Sometimes you need to explain what it is or what it is for.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Have a Drink of Water!

One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University study.

Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Asparagus: A Miracle Cure??

I received an email about the benefits and nutritional qualities of asparagus. This is what it said:

"My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus that she pureed and she took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week. Her oncologist said she does not need to see him for 3 months."

Her evidence included an article entitled, 'Asparagus for cancer' printed in Cancer News Journal, December 1979 which stated:

"I am a biochemist,and have specialized in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years..Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer.

Since then, I have worked with him on his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories. Here are a few examples:

Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.

Case No. 2, a successful businessman 68 years old who suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he went on asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No.. 3, a man who had lung cancer. On March 5th 1971, he was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August, x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared... He is back at his regular business routine.

Case No. 4, a woman who was troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She finally developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after starting on asparagus, her skin specialist said that her skin looked fine and no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus.

I was not surprised at this result, as `The elements of materia medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates!

For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as fresh. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.

Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink.

This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases. As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that 'what cures can prevent'. Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold.

For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.

Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer that accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic.

In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants."

I know that there are many tonics and teas and foods that are supposed to cure or prevent cancer, so it is hard to know whether to believe any of them. I thought it was an interesting theory, though, and one worth trying!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Need a new title

I have decided that I need a snappier title for my blog. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are you a stay-at-home-mom looking for a way to make some extra income?

Are you a stay-at-home mom looking for an income opportunity that will allow you to:

  • Spend quality time on something you care about away from the responsibilities of kids and home?

  • Do something that gives you an opportunity to use your talents and gain a sense of accomplishment and extra income for your family?

  • Enjoy the flexibility of working at your own pace and in your own way without the burdens of a boss or a schedule?

  • Own a real business that requires only basic computer skills and provides an in-depth training and support system to help you succeed?

Starting your own website with Site Build It may be your answer. Managing a website is a very effective and fun way to earn money at home. When I was looking for extra income ideas my sister recommended using Site Build It to me. I knew nothing about writing or creating a website, but she told me that SBI offers a unique opportunity to create a website about a topic that you know and care about and earn money from home on a part-time basis. There are no large investments required, and no special expertise is necessary. I now know first-hand that SBI does truly provide a unique experience in website development.

Site Build It!

Friday, September 18, 2009

National Health Care? A doctor's point of view

This is a letter written Zane Pollard, MD, an ophthalmologist at St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta, GA.


I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on health care. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table and as your friend by explaining many of the problems from the aspect of a doctor.

First off the government has involved very few of us physicians in the healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce. I have taken care of medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric group in an opthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. Why is this? For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list. Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was mailed in immediately via fax and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye. Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved list. Get the point- rationing of care. Over the past 35 years I have cared for over 1000 children born with congenital cataracts. In older children and in adults, the vision is rehabilitated with an intraocular lens. In newborns we use contact lenses which are very expensive. It takes Medicaid over one year to approve a contact lens post cataract surgery. By that time a successful anatomical operation is wasted as the child will be close to blind from a lack of focusing for so long a period of time. Again extreme rationing. Solution- I have a foundation here in Atlanta supported 100% by private funds which supplies all of these contact lenses for my Medicaid and illegal immigrants children for free. Again waiting for the government would be disastrous.

Last week I had a lady bring her child to me.They are Americans, but live in Sweden as the father has a job with a big corporation. The child had the onset of double vision 3 months ago and has been unable to function normally because of this. They are people of means but are waiting 8 months to see the ophthalmologist in Sweden. Then if the child needed surgery they would be put on a 6 month waiting list. She called me and I saw her that day. It turned out that the child had accommodative esotropia (crossing of the eyes treated with glasses that correct for
farsightedness) and responded to glasses within 4 days, no surgery was needed. Again rationing of care.

Last month I operated on a 70 year old lady with double vision present for 3 years. She responded quite nicely to her surgery and now is symptom free. I also operated on a 69 year old judge with vertical double vision. His surgery went very well and now he is happy as a lark. I have been told, but of course, there is no healthcare bill that has been passed yet that these 2 people because of their age would have been denied surgery and just told to wear a patch over one eye to alleviate the symptoms of double vision. Obviously cheaper than surgery.

I spent two years in the US Navy during the Vietnam war and was well treated by the military. There was tremendous rationing of care and we were told specifically what things the military personnel and their dependents could have and which things they could not have. While in Vietnam, my wife Nancy got sick and got essentially no care at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. She went home and went to her family's private internist in Beverly Hills. While it was expensive, she received an immediate work up. Again rationing of care.

For those of you who are over 65, this bill in its present form might be lethal for you. People in England over 59 cannot receive stents for their coronary arteries. The government wants to mimic the British plan. For those of you younger,it will still mean restriction of the care that you and your children receive.

While 99% of physicians went into medicine because of the love of medicine and the challenge of helping our fellow man, economics are still important. My rent goes up 2% each year and the salaries of my employees goes up 2% each year. Twenty years ago ophthalmologists were paid $1800 for a cataract surgery and today $500. This is a 73% decrease in our fees. I do not know of many jobs in America that have seen this lowering of fees.

But there is more to the story that just the lower fees. When I came to Atlanta there was a well known ophthalmologist that charged $2500 for a cataract surgery as he felt he was the best. He had a terrific reputation and in fact, I had my mother's bilateral cataracts operated on by him with a wonderful result. She is now 94 and has 20/20 vision in both eyes. People would pay his $2500 fee. However then the government came in and said that any doctor that does medicare work cannot accept more than the going rate (now $500) or he or she would be severely fined. This put an end to his charging $2500. The government said it was illegal to accept more than the government allowed rate. What I am driving at is that those of you well off will not be able to go to the head of the line under this new healthcare plan just because you have money, as no physician will be willing to go against the law to treat you.

I am a pediatric ophthalmologist and trained for 10 years post college to become a pediatric ophthalmologist (add two years of my service in the Navy and that comes to 12 years). A neurosurgeon spends 14 years post college and if he or she has to do the military that would be 16 years. I am not entitled to make what a neurosurgeon makes but the new plan calls for all physicians to make the same amount of payment. I assure you that medical students will not go into neurosurgery and we will have a tremendous shortage of neurosurgeons. Already the top neurosurgeon at my hospital, who is in good health and only 52 years old, has just quit because he can't stand working with the government anymore. Forty-nine percent of children under the age of 16 in the state of Georgia are on medicaid so he felt he just could not stand working with the bureaucracy anymore.

We are being lied to about the uninsured. They are getting care. I operate on at least 2 illegal immigrants each month who pay me nothing and the children's hospital at which I operate charges them nothing also. This is true not only on Atlanta, but of every community in America. The bottom line is that I urge all of you to contact your congresswomen and congressmen and senators to defeat this bill. I promise you that you will not like rationing of your own health.

Furthermore, how can you trust a physician that works under these conditions knowing that he is controlled by the state. I certainly could not trust any doctor that would work under these conditions.

One last thing, with this new healthcare plan there will be a tremendous shortage of physicians. It has been estimated that approximately 5% of the current physician work force will quit under this new system. Also it is estimated that another 5% shortage will occur because of decreased men and women wanting to go into medicine. At the present time the US government has mandated gender equity in admissions to medical schools. That means that for the past 15 years that somewhere between 49 and 51% of each entering class are females. This is true of private schools also because all private schools receive federal fundings. The average career of a woman in medicine now is only 8-10 years and the average work week for a female in medicine is only 3-4 days. I have now trained 35 fellows in pediatric ophthalmology. Hands down, the best was a female that I trained 4 years ago, she was head and heels above all others I have trained. She now practices only 3 days a week.

Zane Pollard, MD

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ragdoll Kitties

Quite by accident I have discovered a breed of cat that I don't think I can live without! lol! I went to the dentist the other day, and the hygienist had pictures of cats on the wall. She explained that she had four-legged children instead of two-legged ones and these were her two children. They were Ragdoll cats, she told me. I had never heard of them before, but one of them was so beautiful and its fur looked so soft! I did a little research later that day and read about them. From what I read, it seems that they are just about the perfect cat... they get very large (I love big cats!), their fur is very soft, they don't jump up on things a lot (I hate that!), and they are gentle and friendly. One site said that they act like puppies. I stumbled on a breeder's website and it just so happens that they are located about 30 miles from our home.

Of course, my son is all for getting a cat. He has been trying to get us to get one since we moved here; he loves cats. I thought my husband would flip out when I mentioned it, because we have been saying for a while "no more pets". But guess what he said? "OK!" oh, dear! When he got home he said, "Where's my kitty?" So, I guess we are considering getting a cat!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Healthy Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Here is a recipe for a healthy low-fat milkshake-like smoothie that is not too sweet and full of nutrition!



  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

That's it! Enjoy a creamy, frosty treat without any guilt!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fresh herbs are expensive to buy but simple to grow

Why should you grow your own herbs?

Fresh herbs add life to a variety of salads, vegetables, dressings, and meats, but many of us find it hard to keep fresh herbs on hand for several reasons. First of all, it is expensive and inconvenient to buy a whole package or bunch of an herb when you only need a small amount for a recipe. Then there is the freshness factor: they are already several days or weeks old when you buy them from the store and always seem to spoil before you can possibly use them up. Wouldn't it be great to pick just the amount you need when you need it without having to go to the store or pay for an entire bunch? You can! Even if you have no gardening skills, growing herbs inside or outside is easy and fun!

How to grow your own herbs

Decide where you want to put them. You can grow herbs in containers indoors or out or in an outdoor garden. Most herbs will grow in partial shade, but they will do better with at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight each day.

If you plant your herbs in pots, they can be terra cotta, plastic, metal, or the foam pots that look like terra cotta but are light and less expensive. Be sure that your pots have adequate drainage at the bottom since you don't want the roots to sit in water. Pot shapes range from round to rectangular, so use whatever will work for your space. Choose pots at least twelve inches in diameter - smaller pots can't hold enough moisture on hot summer days.

Choose which herbs to grow. If you are not an experienced gardener, you may want to stick to just three or four herbs so you don't get overwhelmed all at once. You can always add more later. Several easy to grow, low maintenance herbs are available, so personal preference is the deciding factor. Some herbs that are recommended for the beginning gardener are: basil, parsley, mint, thyme, dill, chives, and sage.

Kitchen Herbs: Rosemary
Buy at

Planting your herbs. You can plant seeds, or buy small plants to re-pot into your garden. The cost of a small plant is usually about the same as a packet of seeds, which will grow many plants. If you only want one basil plant and it is the right season to find plants to buy it is probably smarter to just buy the plant - it is less work then planting seeds. If you want a lot of plants or if there are no plants for sale in your area at the time, you will want to plant seeds.

Planting seeds. One of the easiest ways to plant seeds is to push a drinking straw into the soil about ½”, remove the dirt and then slide the seed right down the straw and cover it up. Leave a 1 ½ to 2” space between each seed, add some water, and set the container in an area with some direct sunlight.

If it is cold out and you plant your herbs indoors, you might want to create a mini-greenhouse for them.To do this insert a long straw in the middle of the container and measure enough clear plastic wrap to cover the circumference of the pot. Wrap it around and secure it to the top of the straw with a small rubber band or some tape. This will help to keep the plants warm and speed up their growth.

Check your plants every day as they grow. Keep them in good light and water as necessary - when soil is dry to the touch. In hot climates, they will need to be watered every day unless it rains.

Harvesting your herbs. Once they’ve reached maturity, you can harvest leaves as needed. Simply snip off what you need with scissors. At the end of the season, you may want to harvest all the herbs for preserving for the winter.

For more frugal food ideas, see

Monday, June 15, 2009

Planning a wedding? Make it a frugal wedding!

The average cost of a wedding in the United States last year was $20,398. If you are unable or unwilling to spend that kind of money on your wedding, there are many ways to cut your expenses and still have the wedding of your dreams. Start with checking out my Frugal Wedding Ideas page, and unleash your creativity with frugal ideas of your own!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cure Most Ailments With Two Things You Have at Home

The following was taken from an article that I read. Some of these claims are pretty fantastic (unbelievable), but I am intrigued, so I plan to give it a try and see for myself.

Facts: It is found that a mixture of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'am Ban' TB (very effective) medicine or all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January, 1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:


Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.


Arthritis patients may take daily, morning, and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research Conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors Treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon honey and half teaspoon cinnamon powder before breakfast. Within a week, of the 200 people treated, 73 were totally relieved of pain. Within a month, most of the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.


Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. This destroys germs in the bladder.


Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed in 16 ounces of water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured.


Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.


Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.


According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that if honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.


Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.


Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.


A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ingredient which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.


Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age.


Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.


Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.


Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach And at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.


Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.


Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. When the vitality of the body starts to decrease increases the vitality of the body within a week.


People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fighting the Wintertime Bulge

A winter of laziness and eating whatever I wanted has caught up with me... Now that spring is here, I decided to get some of my summer clothes out yesterday. I was not surprised, but was still dismayed that every single pair of summer pants that I own is too tight for me! Here they are - all stacked up - ten pairs of capri pants - a reminder of my chubbiness!

Something has to be done. I have to get into these pants again this year for a couple of reasons: first, I tried buying new pants in the next size up a couple of years ago when this happened. I looked like a clown - the next size simply doesn't work for me. Secondly, I can't afford new pants since I am unemployed and money is tight and I am feeding a 15-year-old boy! I guess I will be modifying my diet and making a renewed effort to exercise more regularly.

In the meantime, I plan to leave the stack of pants sitting out so I can see them every day and be reminded of what laziness and eating whatever you want will get you!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A new (old) way to view older women

Modern Western culture has developed a way of edging older women out. So much of one's worth as a person in our culture is based on either youth and beauty, or social status based on occupation or title. This does not leave a lot to look forward to for women who have finished with or are nearing the end of their careers and whose youthful looks have changed into a different type of beauty - a look of calm wisdom, perhaps. A look that is not always viewed as beauty in our culture.

I have been one of those women - torn between trying to look as young and attractive as possible, and looking "my age" - which pretty much to me meant just giving up. Not giving up on life, but giving up on trying to look my best, and also trying to make myself useful. (Somehow, the two of them seem connected to me.)

Then I read something recently that made me change my way of thinking and caused me to feel excited about my future as an older woman. I read a chapter in a book* that talked about this pushing out of older women in our culture, and compared this with examples of other societies that honor post-menopausal women and hold them in high regard for their experience and knowledge. Some women use the mythological term 'crone' to describe this role.

Part of the leadership of the Iroquois was a "Grandmother Council" which was the backbone of tribal decision making throughout Native American culture. In Japan, when a woman reaches the age of 61, she is considered to be at the highest and most venerated stage of maturity. Special respect, status and privileges are awarded to the elder women of Chinese and Native American Indian cultures of both North and South America, too.

The elder women in early matrilineal cultures of the Middle East and Egypt performed the society's most important and challenging roles: physicians, surgeons, scribes, and librarians. These older women were vital parts of their societies, and it is possible for each of us to become that type of vibrant older woman - if we can adjust our mindset.

Fairy tales and legends are full of crones - some evil and some benevolent: witches, step mothers, fairy godmothers... Most often in recent years, though, the word "Crone" has had a negative connotation. Webster's Illustrated Contemporary Dictionary defines it as "a withered old women". Wikipedia says, "The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman who is usually disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing."

In spite of the negative perception that modern times have, some women are beginning to use the term crone as a label for themselves and their new role as an important and vital part of the community.

Maybe the timing was just right - I don't know, but for some reason this information really resonated with me and made me re-evaluate how I see myself. Instead of feeling all washed up, I now see myself as on the brink of a new and exciting part of my life: A time when I can be free of the daily obligations of motherhood and able to focus on adult relationships (with my partner, my grown children and other adults) and personal growth.

To me, being a crone means freedom to be my real self and to be proud of my age; and relief from the fear of aging and from unreasonable expectations and demands that I had put upon myself.

Are you a crone? What does being a crone mean to you?

*Women's Sexual Passages by Elizabeth Davis

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring is here!

The trees have been blooming for a week or more, we have had a lot of rain and now the green leaves are really popping out!

This is our plum tree - we thought it might be dead because last year it didn't even have any leaves on it - what a nice surprise when I looked out a couple of weeks ago and it was covered with white flowers! It was planted two years ago, so it probably won't bear fruit until next year, but we will see!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where's The Outrage?

This letter was sent to the Wall Street Journal on August 8, 2008 by Alisa Wilson, Ph.D. Of Beverly Hills , CA . On July 31, 2008 the Wall Street Journal had an article titled

“Where’s The Outrage?”

Really. I can tell you where the outrage is. The outrage is here, in this middle-aged, ell-educated, upper-middle class woman. The outrage is here, but I have no representation, no voice.

The outrage is here, but no one is listening for who am I?

I am not a billionaire like George Soros that can fund an entire political movement.

I am not a celebrity like Barbra Streisand that can garner the attention of the press to promote political candidates.

I am not a film maker like Michael Moore or Al Gore that can deliver misleading movies to the public.

The outrage is here, but unlike those with money or power, I don’t know how to reach those who feel similarly in order to effect change.

Why am I outraged? I am outraged that my country, the United States of America , is in a state of moral and ethical decline. There is no right or wrong anymore, just what’s fair.

Is it fair that millions of Americans who overreached and borrowed more than they could afford are now being bailed out by the government and lending institutions to stave off foreclosure? Why shouldn’t these people be made to pay the consequences for their poor judgment?

When my husband and I purchased our home, we were careful to purchase only what we could afford. Believe me, there are much larger, much nicer homes that I would have loved to have purchased. But, taking responsibility for my behavior and my life, I went with the house that we could afford, not the house that we could not afford. The notion of personal responsibility has all but died in our country.

I am outraged, that the country that welcomed my mother as an immigrant from Hitler’s Nazi Germany and required that she and her family learn English now allows itself to be overrun with illegal immigrants and worse, caters to those illegal immigrants.

I am outraged that my hard-earned taxes help support those here illegally. That the Los Angeles Public School District is in such disarray that I felt it incumbent to send my child to private school, that every time I go to the ATM, I see “do you want to continue in English or Spanish?”, that every time I call the bank, the phone company , or similar business, I hear “press 1 for English or press 2 for Spanish”. WHY? This is America , our common language is English and attempts to promote a bi- or multi-lingual society are sure to fail and to marginalizes those who cannot communicate in English.

I am outraged at our country’s weakness in the face of new threats on American traditions from Muslims. Just this week, Tyson’s Food negotiated with its union to permit Muslims to have Eid-al-Fitr as a holiday instead of Labor Day. What am I missing? Yes, there is a large Somali Muslim population working at the Tyson’s plant in Tennessee . Tennessee , last I checked, is still part of the United States . If Muslims want to live and work here they should be required to live and work by our American Laws and not impose their will on our long history.

In the same week, Random House announced that they had indefinitely delayed the publication of The Jewel of Medina, by Sherry Jones, a book about the life of Mohammed’s wife, Aisha due to fear of retribution and violence by Muslims. When did we become a nation ruled by fear of what other immigrant groups want? It makes me so sad to see large corporations cave rather than stand proudly on the principles that built this country.

I am outraged because appeasement has never worked as a political policy, yet appeasing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is exactly what we are trying to do. An excellent article, also published recently in the Wall Street Journal, went through over 20 years of history and why talking with Iran has been and will continue to be ineffective. Yet talk, with a madman no less, we continue to do. Have we so lost our moral compass and its ability to detect evil that we will not go in and destroy Iran ’s nuclear program? Would we rather wait for another Holocaust for the Jews - one which they would be unlikely to survive? When does it end?

As if the battle for good and evil isn’t enough, now come the Environmentalists who are so afraid of global warming that they want to put a Bag tax on grocery bags in California; to eliminate Mylar balloons; to establish something as insidious as the recycle police in San Francisco. I do my share for the environment: I recycle, I use water wisely, I installed an energy efficient air conditioning unit.

But when and where does the lunacy stop? Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map, the California economy is being overrun by illegal immigrants, and the United States of America no longer knows right from wrong, good from evil. So what does California do? Tax grocery bags.

So, America , although I can tell you where the outrage is, this one middle-aged, well-educated, upper middle class woman is powerless to do anything about it. I don’t even feel like my vote counts because I am so outnumbered by those who disagree with me.

Alisa Wilson, Ph.D.
Beverly Hills , California

Monday, March 9, 2009

Starting the Garden - Part 1

We started our garden today! The weather has been so beautiful - 70's and 80's for the past
three or four days. It really puts one in the mood for growing things! We didn't plant anything outside, though - we know it will get cold again before spring arrives for real.

Steve bought some little starter greenhouses that had pellets of soil in them that were as flat as coins. We added water and they got huge! So now we have these little towers of soil (they are wrapped in some kind of mesh to keep them from falling apart) that we planted the seeds in. With luck, we will have strong, healthy plants to put out into the garden (that we still have to get ready) in about 6 weeks. I haven't had a garden since I was 24; I am pretty excited! (I tried a couple of times in Florida, but never could grow anything but jalapeno peppers, there...)

We planted:
  • Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, an heirloom tomato from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

  • Red Grape tomatoes

  • Rutgers tomatoes

  • Beefsteak tomatoes

  • Cucumbers

  • Watermelon

  • Yellow Star hot peppers (a free trial seed from Baker Creek)

  • Sweet Chocolate sweet pepper (brownish-purple heirloom pepper)

    We will be planting more things directly outside when the time comes - beets, squash, okra, etc.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Night Sky

It was such a gorgeous day today! I am sure it will get cold again before it's all said and done, but today was truly a promise of spring!

When I stepped outside this evening, I saw such a pretty sky that I had to take a picture! That is the moon up there, looking tiny... It was just a perfect day.... :-)