Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Danielle Laporte has launched her new Truth Bomb Cards, and they look awesome!

This woman is a wonder. I've been getting the Truth Bomb emails for ages, and sometimes they're exactly what I need to hear for the day. Sometimes I use them as journal long prompts--a place to start when I need to say something or work through something, and I'm not sure where to start. Sometimes I print them up or copy them down and hang them on my wall.

Now, she's taken 134 of the best ones, and made a deck of cards of them! Think about drawing one each morning. Think about drawing three and using them as a sort of sentence-divination. Think about letting guests draw one to see what the world is trying to tell them. 

You can get them here: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/?dlap=11701 (note: this is my affiliate link to the front page, where they are right now) or here: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/shop/truthbomb-card-deck/ (the actual page).

The stats:
  • 134 #Truthbomb cards
  • Box: 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″
  • Cards: 4″ x 4″
  • Gold, foil-embossed icon on back of every card
  • Black satin ribbon for easy removal of deck
What would you use these cards for? I'm so all over the divination idea!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Baby sprooolings!

Yesterday, there were no signs of life, just like every other time I've looked over the last few weeks since I potted these little sea buckthorns up. I was worried. Should I have stratified them anyway? Should I have scarified them? Is our (admittedly cold) house too cold? 

It's been a study in not freaking out. In just waiting and watching. And this morning there was one little white root. By dinner time, there were two! Even if the three other seeds in there don't sprout, I've got two awesome little berry babies!

I'm not super good at being patient. But being a gardener is forcing me to suck it up and wait, because all the fretting in the world won't speed up a seed that isn't ready to sprout.

And I think I'm also waiting on metaphorical seeds, too, that I'll wait on through the winter and see what they're like in the spring, and I'll get back to you. 

What're you waiting on?

- The seeds are from the lovely Lynsey at biodiverseed.tumblr.com -- she sends out bundles of neat seeds if you pay shipping, and there were so many wonderful things in my bundle. Most are stratifying, and I'll plant them after we move.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Psst, Yarrow Tea looks like pickle juice, pass it on

This may be TMI, but I've had a recurring UTI thing and so I decided to look at herbal home cures for it. Because I remembered that I used to have a collection of, like, fifty herbs that I could cure almost anything with, and did, and I have no idea when I stopped using them.

Anyway, so I looked up urinary issues and everyone seems to agree on yarrow, uva ursi, and elderflower, so I got those three--and also elderberry and vitex because I've been meaning to get those. And I thought, why not do profiles of them on my blog?

So here's yarrow, good for UTI, also on the list for balancing hormones, and a bunch of other things. Like, yarrow is so useful for everything that I think I'm going to add it to my garden next spring so I don't have to pay for it.

As you can see, it brews up way greeny-yellow--just like dill pickle juice, as the title says, though it thankfully doesn't taste like that.

It tastes...well, herbal. It tastes like the air in an herb shop. It's only a little bitter, and even te end of the brew that had been sitting with the leaves longer, wasn't bitter. It tastes green, a little grassy, but not more than a good green tea. It's a little savory--like, if I was going to cook with it (I don't know if you can, but if), I'd avoid sweet dishes unless I can get that savory-sweet balance right. There's no sweetness here, but it's also not astringent or anything else. 

So, all in all, not bad. I've had much worse herbal wellness teas (they tend toward super-herbal, bitter, weirdly-combined flavors). And it feels smooth and useful when you swallow it, like it can actually do what everyone says.

I don't know how often it's safe, but I had about a teaspoon in two cups of boiling water, and it came out good. Next I'll try the uva ursi, also called bearberry, related to cranberry and supposedly with the same chemicals in the leaves.

Have you tried yarrow? What do you use it for? How? What're your thoughts?

Monday, November 10, 2014

On community

I recently joined the community that grew up around Emilie Wapnick's Puttylike.com, the PuttyTribe. I've been reading her blog almost since it started, and I've been on the waiting list to joint for, like, two years. Every time the doors opened, it didn't feel right, and since I'm working on getting back to paying attention to my intuition, I never joined.

Until last month. Last month, when it came time, it felt right and I signed up almost without thinking about it. I've been having trouble with my computer and the Internet (which seems to be a co stand thing since I moved up here), so I missed the intro video chats (called huddles), and the one for people writing a book, but this past weekend I made it to the first ever 24 hr collaborative Puttython. 

It was amazing. I had so much fun.

And it felt like a community.

I don't know about you, but I spent a lot of my life looking for communities to belong to, places to go and groups of people to join where they just get me--when I don't have to pass or hide or pretend, and I can just be my own weird self. When I was a kid, we moved around a lot, since Dad worked for the military, and so I was always having to make new friends. I wasn't very good at it, but it was easier when I had a class to belong to and a small, close town to live in. When I got older, it got harder--as I think it probably does for everyone, except we were starting over so often that none of us had those old friendships to fall back on.

I'm not complaining, though. That's just how it was, and sometimes it was lonely, and so I've always spent a lot of time thinking about communities, and the sort i'd want to belong to. I'm pretty sure I'm meant to found a country somewhere, or a colony on another planet, but that's not really feasible right now, so...

In college, I had my LobbyGirls. We were like a commune, different, with different goals and beliefs, but we somehow worked all together to be something like heaven, for me, anyway. We were all in weird places in our lives, and we were all emotionally compromised, but for those years, we worked and we had each other.

And then people started graduating and it fell apart. For maybe two years after that, I mourned that group like a lost friend.

In grad school, I found a new group--a place full of weird, wonderful, people who took the stuff I was doing and was interested in seriously, and it was like heaven again. Sometimes it was so great I just wanted to cry. But again, it was too fast and constantly in flux with people coming and going, joining and graduating, and I can't afford to travel there twice a year and be a revered alum and try to recapture some of the magic.

I've done a better job of keeping in contact with them, but now I'm looking for people who won't be graduating and leaving, a situation where I won't be the one graduating and leaving. I feel like this group might be one of that sort, and I'm so glad I finally joined.

But I think I still want friends I can see face-to-face. I'm looking for an arts lab I could join, or a writing group, or both or either I could start myself. I want to take classes, and soon as I have more money to pay for them, so I can learn some of this pile of stuff I want to learn, AND make friends. I want a life based on creativity with a heavy dose of collaboration, and I think the Puttytribe can definately help with that.

And I'm tired of moving on against my will and floundering for years afterward, so I'm working on ways to build the communities I want. If I build them, they will come, right? That's how they keep telling us the Universe works.

So what communities and groups do you belong to? How did you find them? If you built them, how did you do it? Let's talk about this.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Video - A quick primer on Synaesthesia

I'm a Synaesthete. So are two of my friends--which is neat, because we met randomly in a group of less than 200 people. I didn't know for a long time that there were people who didn't see colors when they heard music, or that there were names for people who did. I think it's a big part of my creativity and my writing ability--this video says it naturally creates metaphor, but I think it also gives me a sort of...already saturated world. Things are already linked, juxtaposed, given extra layers.

Plus, it's cool.

Some of my associations:

  • Wordsworth poems are predominantly green
  • A German accent is green on the bottom and sort of grey and brick-red on the top
  • 7 and 9 are the same
  • Bendict Cumberbatch's voice sounds like deep purple and gold when he's Sherlock, and a brighter, bluer purple that's less hard-edged when he's in interviews
  • Guitars are always somewhere on the red-orange-gold spectrum, and sort of jagged--so that sometimes, if they're too jagged, I don't like them
  • Crickets look like readouts on those old 1950s oscilloscopes
  • My ideal mate would look like light through the leaves
I don't think about it much, because it's just how it is, But I am fiercely interested in this and other sorts of minority perception-states. Any of you synaesthetes? Lets talk!

Tasting ALL the yogurt! -- Dreaming Cow honey-pear

This one has the same nice, soft gesture as the last one, with a good yogurty taste but without that excessive sharpness fancy yogurts sometimes have these days. But it doesn't taste like honey OR like pear. Maybe if they kicked up the percentages of both, but right now, it's just mostly a plain yogurt flavor with the slightest hint of sweetness and only the vaguest amount of fruitiness.

I like the other one better for just eating, but I think this one would be good with fruit, or granola. It won't get in the way of those added flavors.

Dreaming Cow
Grassfed, non-homogenized milk with cream
1.25 at Target

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tasting ALL the yogurt! - Dreaming Cow maple-ginger


I didn't realize it had agave in it until I was halfway through, and I was a little worried because I'm allergic to tequila and I think it's the same plant, but it didn't make me sick, so yay!

This is a looser yogurt than most around, the opposite of Greek yogurt, really, but not watery, slimy or stringy at all. Reads as yogurt when you're eating it, which is nice. I think the texture comes from the mix of thermophilis and bulgsricus in with the usual acidophilus and bifidus cultures. 

It smells like yogurt, but the taste on this one is ginger first, then a round, soft sort of sweetness that doesn't really ever taste like maple, doesn't have that caramelized sugariness I associate with maple, but is still pleasant.

I've got three more flavors to try, so I'm glad this one was good!

Dreaming Cow
Unhomoginized, pasture-fed milk
1.25 / pack at Target

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Things I've had to accept about my weight

I will never be as skinny as those charts want me to be, as I was, or as society deems appropriate.

Even if I somehow managed to starve myself to the weight those charts want, I'd still not be healthy--I'd be anorexic again.

Anorexia will always be there, a threat waiting for when I obsess too much.

I tend toward round; even when I'm thinner, I'm curvy. I may as we'll run with it.

Health is only part of what's made me so round. Aversion to exercise and depression helped a lot, as did ultra-poorness. All of these need to be overcome.

If I'm never thin again, i can still be okay.

What have you had to accept?

Friday, October 31, 2014

State of the garden - End of October 2014

My sister just brought me this enormous orange chrysanthemum! It's packed with leaves and flowers, should be perrennial, and all that was wrong was a little crack in the plastic planter, and the dude at the store said "it's dry", so he was going to throw it away! So my sister picked up one for her and one for me, and I just watered it really good and duct-taped that crack.

To show you how big it is!

Here's the rest of the garden. One of the tomatoes is already in the compost--the one that never did fruit and was super-sensitive to water and light changes anyway. The other two are still leafy and upright, so I'm letting them keep on, but I think the last few tomatoes are never going to red up; it's too cool at night and too little sun during the day now. They're cherry tomatoes, only a few of them, so it's not enough to make a green tomato salsa or some fried green tomatoes.

The peppers are finally actually making some peppers! I found two secret peppers under the leaves yesterday, so I'm going to leave them and see what happens.

There's one lettuce left, and I'm going to let it go and see if it survives the winter and flowers like last year, even though the one last year didn't make a single seed (infertile hybrid, I'd guess; those were store bought seeds). 

Mom's tail-flower (impatiens?) still have leaves but is looking a bit skinny and weird. The strawberries are super-full of new leaves! I'm gonna have to divide it next spring! The prickly pear and the jade plant are getting a little chilly looking, but it's still warm enough that I think they'll be fine.

I had planned to set up a winter-spot soon, but we have to move in two weeks, so I'm waiting to put the garden to bed / bring in the tenders until we have to move the garden anyway.

Ooh, and one of those green tomatoes spit and dropped during the rain the other day, and the seeds looked big and fat, so I stuffed the whole little tomato into the empty dirt in one of the other pots--if I'm going to get volunteers, they can at least volunteer in my own garden and not the dirt that used to be mine!

My little hawthorn baby! Look how pretty it is with it's first fall foliage! I think we don't have any haw in this area, because of all the reds and yellows and oranges around, I haven't seen anything this particular watercolor combo of shades. Next spring it'll be three or four years old (they said its 1-2 yr seedlings), so there might be a chance it'll flower next year. Prob not much chance, but maybe, if haw is a three-to-five-years-to-flower sort of plant.

The huge baby crabapple and the tiny crepe myrtle are both losing their leaves; the crabapples planted around our complex have already mostly lost their leaves, so maybe this is a different sort, or maybe it's just benefitting from being pampered by me all season.

The strawberry! Look how lush! This and the one really-good tomato were both planted in those peat pots with the plastic rim on top, and I just planted them whole. I think the plastic rim catches water and the peat feeds the roots, because both did better, overall, than the ones just from seed flats. So I think next year I'll be buying as many in the peat pots as I can, even though they cost more than the flats.

I got a lovely donation of seeds from a wonderful girl in Denmark named Lynsey (biodiverseed on tumblr), and among those were one fat moringa seed and some lovely fresh sea buckthorns, so they're sitting under the lamp on the side table right where I sit for tv so I remember to water them. Hopefully, our house is warm enough that they'll grow.

The seed-bundle! This was labeled "edible and medicinal seed bundle", and I paid a few bucks for shipping, and it was so much more than I expected! In spring, I'll be planting those peppers and the passionfruit, and most of the rest is currently in the fridge for a winter that I can be sure won't get too cold, last too long, or involve too many hungry squirrels. 

So the plan currently:
- when I move the garden over to the new apartment in a few weeks, I'll bring in the cacti, the strawberries, peppers and flowers.
- I'll also pile up leaves around the baby trees, and I'll probably wrap up the pots in heavy duty plastic bags some, for extra measure. I figure the mulch influences will keep them a little warmer and feed them as it breaks down.
- if there's anything left of the tomatoes, I'll take the strongest branches as cuttings and root them in a windowsill somewhere. None of our windows face the right direction to be ideal, but real light should be better than fake light, and they're replacing all the windows with new insulated ones, so it should be warmer.
- in December I should be able to plant all the stuff in the fridge...and will hopefully be able to afford pots to put it all in! (I'm saving yogurt cups and stuff in case Christmas uses up all my monies).
- in February, I'm starting on the stuff from non-stratified seed--those peppers, the passionfruit, as many fun kinds of tomatoes I can get to grow, herbs, etc. I'm going to wildly over plant all my decade-old seeds in the hopes of getting just a few hardy sprouts, and I'll grow them out to get seeds for next year.

And in the meantime, I have a mango seed to plant this weekend, and I've been collecting up seeds from all the apples I've been eating and the ones all around us outside, there's potatoes sprouting in te compost that I'm going to let stay and see what happens (maybe living potatoes are what the compost needs to speed it up?), and I have my eye on pomegranates and, later, chestnuts when they hit the fancy grocery over here. And my sister is keeping an eye out for more about-to-be-mercilessly-tossed flowers, since with kids, she goes shopping a lot more often than I do, to a lot more stores!

How's your garden doing this late in the year? What're your winter plans? And, really, your spring plans? Because we all know you're already thinking about next year...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Four things I think would make elections less horrible to endure

We've got local elections going on right now, and whenever we watch network television, we're just buried in conflicting messages and meanness, and I'm about done with it. The fact that it'll start up sometime next year, bigger, for the presidentals the year after sort of makes me want to throw my TV out the window (except that I love TV, so I won't).

But I've suffered through piles of these stupid things, and, even if it's naive, even if it wouldn't ever work in the Real World*, I've come up with a few ideas that I think would make the whole thing less horrible.

1. Outlaw spindoctors, personal attacks, and misleading use of stats in ads
Any of the devices people use to make the other person look like a devil and themselves look like a saint, outlaw them. Because if A says B is too extreme while also saying in another ad that B is lax, that makes no sense and doesn't actually say anything. If B then says that what A said is actually nothing compared to what A did, how is anyone supposed to know what's actually going on?

They aren't, and that's the point right  now, and that's also the problem. Neither side wants you knowing what's going on, because they want you to believe whatever they tell you, and that's stupid.

And make a third-party, impartial fact-checker with money equal to the money paid by the parties, that exists to verify the claims in the ads. If any of them bend the truth or slander or otherwise get nasty in their ads, the third-party that has no horse in the race, as it were, puts out an ad of their own publicly shaming the bad guys right in the middle of the target market timeframes, and correcting, in clear, concise, and verifiable language, whatever the lie was.

2. Whoever comes in second is your Vice-whatever
It'll force the parties to not alienate each other, because if they do, they'll be stuck working with each other and they won't get their own stuff done any more than the other guy does. It'll make them elect people who are less polar opposite for the role to begin with, and, I think, it'll make them stop attacking each other to make themselves look good--because that person is going to be your right hand if you win, and you're going to be theirs if you don't.

I heard somewhere that they did this with the first few elections, and whether that's true or not, it's a fantastic idea.

3. Ban extremism
All extremism. Religious extremism is the one you hear about all the time--and the crazy people who are starting to say the Tea Party is too weak and basically implying that women shouldn't even count as people are religious extremists.

But there's also political extremism, and financial extremism, and personal extremism, and social extremism. All those government people who do everything in their power to tax more people so they can have more bonus? Financial and personal extremism, and there's no place for it in a fair government. People who want to tear down everything so they, personally, won't have to think about anyone's wellbeing but their own? Personal extremists.

Anyone who things all of any group not like themselves needs to do anything that hurts those people but helps themselves should have to check their sources and their reasoning, and do some major soulsearching. Outside of politics. Way outside. People who are that black-and-white in their thinking, who are so resolutely us-or-them-or-nothing, have no business ruling anyone. That's not strength, that's blindness.

4. Educate everyone
Put government and economics classes back in schools, but start them earlier so people grow up knowing what it all means and are less liable to be gullible when elections come around. But also educate the people who are out of school, and have been for ages--get shows that explain this stuff up on the TV, paid for my impartial third parties to minimize slant. Get newspapers and magazines that make this stuff accessible out to the people. Make it interesting--hell, find a way to make it a reality show, people love those.

Make sure everyone understands how it works and how it plays out, and can call the idiots out who use their power to block, warp or stall the proceedings. Back when we were a new baby country, everyone knew what it all meant; now, no one does, and it means there's no way for people to know whether politicians are flat out lying or not, and that means really inappropriate people get voted in just because they hit the right buttons, regardless of what they actually do.

I hate politics. It turns rational people into frothing assholes, and I'm done with talking and thinking and hearing about it. So I'm putting this out there, and that's all I'm saying on the matter.

*Not the reality-TV series, because that was even less actually real than campaign promises. Which is to say, not at all. Also, who cares about How We've Always Done It? That's an excuse for BS people to keep their BS.


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