Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thoughts About Our Place in the Universe

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hooray for Maine and Marriage Equality

Bonding with the Maltese


Paul and I met an adorable little dog who looked a lot like this yesterday. He was wandering in the middle of the street in Taylor and acted very happy to meet us. He came right over on his tiny little legs and looked just like a little wind-up toy dog because of it. He was very friendly and sweet and followed us when we walked down the street so we decided to find his owner and bring him home. We didn't think he was supposed to be wandering into traffic and we were right.

Anyway this sweetie just worked his way into my heart. He kept looking up at me and jumping with a look on its face that reminded me of a two-year old who wanted to be picked up. And he did! I bent down, he jumped into my arms, and then immediately settled down and snuggled up. He was adorable!

We ran into a very friendly guy and his kid who had a cell phone. We called the phone number on the dog's rabies tag which turned out to be the number for the police department. We described the dog, gave them the rabies tag number, and the person on the other end said "Is that Stitch?" We didn't know but when I asked the little sweetie if his name was Stitch, he responded with great enthusiasm. This town is so small she knew the dog!

So then the process began of tracking down the owner. Turns out she was out of town-- in California as it turned out--and was quite elderly and a bit confused. It took quite a bit for us to get her to concentrate long enough to tell us where to bring her dog. Her sister was supposed to be watching him but he must have gotten out.

We brought Stitch home. Nobody was there so we put him in the backyard and shut the gate. There had obviously been some food and water left out for him so we knew it was the right place. But Stitch didn't want to go! It was heartbreaking! He wanted to be with us but I couldn't take him. Besides he'd be a coyote snack in two minutes if he got out where we live!

But now I think that someday, I'd like a pet like him. I feel guilty saying it because Chloe is doing her best to relearn how to be a more cuddly cat right now. I never fell in love with such a tiny dog before. But I never met this breed. He was SWEET!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chinese - Mexican Food

I know what you're thinking. If you're not from eastern Arizona, the thought is no-no-no, don't tell me you ate at a restaurant that calls itself a Chinese Mexican restaurant, you didn't, did you? Yeah, we did.

I'm absolutely sick of hamburgers and fries—the main fare around here—and curiosity got the best of me. How bad could it be?

BAD!!! The worst Chinese food I've eaten anywhere! AND the worst Mexican food, too! You would have thought they would have gotten one of them right.

Restaurants here don't serve vegetables. Salad is the only thing that qualifies but sometimes I think a side of nicely cooked vegetables would be just the thing. So we tried the Chinese-Mexican place. I was served a side of brocolli as part of my meal that was perfectly cooked—the only positive thing I can say about the dish—and everything else was awful. I guess you can say I got what I asked for. :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Love Bird!

And now for something completely ridiculous -- Love Bird on a tie!

Love Bird tie
Love Bird by paulnsheryl
Neck Ties created online using Zazzle.com


I love Love Bird! Check him out on a few other products we sell:

Love Bird mug
Love Bird by paulnsheryl
Design photo mugs online at zazzle.com


I Am Potential


I'm doing a lot of research on the internet these days in my quest for a publisher and/or literary agent for my next book. One thing led to the next and I found this website about Patrick Henry Hughes, a young man who was born permanently crippled and without eyes. But his mental capacities were intact and his family, once they learned to accept their fate, helped him develop whatever capacities he had available. Amazingly he started to play the piano at a very early age and could play whole songs on request by the age of 2. Now he and a teacher of his have written a book about his life called "I Am Potential". He's in college, plays in the school's marching band (in his wheelchair with his dad pushing it behind him) and has a pretty inspiring ability to show other people the importance of accepting what God/ the universe/life hands you and using it to bring the best of what you have to offer to the fore.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Add This—Share My Stuff with Your Friends!


Okay, I know most of you super bloggers found out how to do this years ago but it's new for me. And if it's something you haven't found before then maybe it's something you might want to do.

You see that share button with the little icons in it at the bottom of each of my posts? If you hover over that, the button will expand into a box with options for sharing my post with other people. You can send a link via email, put it on Twitter or Facebook or even help me out by recommending my post on Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon or many others.

So what? Well, if you're a blogger and trying to get people to read your blog this is exactly what you want to do. It makes it easy for readers to let other people know about you. And that's what it's all about, right? Who wants to blog without anyone reading?

So do you want to know how to add this handy little button on your posts? Okay! Go to AddThis.com, select your blogging service, select the look of your button, decide whether you want to track how many people actually use it (there are some things I decided I'd rather not know) and then click the "Get Your Button" button. Follow the directions for adding it to all your posts automatically. It's free!

Making it show up on each of your posts is a bit more complicated than adding it to your sidebar -- you could easily do that, too, like I did-- but it's well worth it! Someone might not be interested in sharing your whole blog on the day you write about how much you hate Fluffy, your yowling neighbor's cat, but when they find a post with your really great recipe for serving Fluffy for dinner with. . . okay, I'll stop. I love cats, I'm just being sick. Anyway, it's worth doing.

Now you will have to take a deep breath and read the step-by-step tutorial. Keep breathing, chant OM if you have to. I know, it involves editing your own code. But I swear that if you relax, take your time, and follow the very simple and brief (MUCH shorter than this blog post) instructions you can do this. You just have to be patient and find the itty-bitty little piece of code that says < class="'post-footer'"> and paste the button code in after that. Preview it without saving to make sure you did it right. Then save and you're done. The button will show up after every one of your blog posts after that. Yeah!

I did it. It wasn't as hard as I made it sound. And now you can go ahead and tell people about anything on my blog you'd like other people to see. And now that I know what this little button is all about I'll do the same for other people, too!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Healing the Cow!

Earlier this week I reported that there was a bull wandering the countryside near here with a long rag stuck halfway down its throat. We were seriously concerned that it would kill him because he couldn't cough it up and the cowboy in charge either couldn't find him or didn't heed our repeated requests to come out and help at all.

About a day ago Paul sent healing to the animal with the visualization that it could find relief by bending down low enough to step on the rag and have it be pulled out.

Early this morning Paul's mom went to refill a small pond she keeps for the local wildlife and occasional cow to use. The rag the cow used to have in its mouth was there on the ground.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flowers in Greer

These tiny wildflowers were delightful to see in Greer, Arizona, up in the White Mountains. I don't know what they're called though. I haven't found a site online to use to identify them and don't have a wildflower guide for this area. If anyone knows, let me know!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Think Healthcare Reform is "Too Expensive"?

Think again.

Cow Abuse in Eastern Arizona

I don't have a photograph and I don't know the rancher in charge of these animals but I wish I did so I could expose him. There is now a wonderful looking bull wandering the countryside just outside of Snowflake Arizona with a rag stuck halfway down its throat. It can't cough it up. And now it can't eat or drink either. He's looking miserable, drooling, chewing frantically to try to get rid of the rag and he can't do it. We called animal control and talked to the cowboy in charge of these animals and he just brushed it off. He didn't believe the animal was in danger. "Oh, those cows get into everything!" Well, we're calling again. This animal is dying now because in Arizona free range cows are allowed to run free anywhere they want to go and nobody does anything to protect them or to protect the people whose property they're ruining.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free Range or Just Neglected?


We're not getting much sleep these days. There isn't much green grass for the free-range cattle to eat so they've invaded the backyard and are spending all night attempting to eat anything they can find--including the drapes from the open windows!

We're having a bit of a drought in eastern Arizona. Very little rain, the monsoons everyone promised would make summer "the nicest time of year" haven't shown up. And unlike the owners of the fenced in cows we see closer to town, the rancher in charge of these animals isn't leaving anything for them to eat at all! So much for free range beef being healthier! I'll be thinking twice before believing that bull**** again.

I was very grouchy this morning about the whole thing but Paul makes me laugh. He greeted me this morning with "How did you sleep?" And then proceeded to say "I mean after the herd of cows came through and the cricket stopped chirping, my stepdad stopped shooting into the ground to scare the cows, and mom stopped barking at them and banging pots and pans. Oh yeah, and after the air compressor was turned on by mistake right by your head! How'd you sleep then?"

So much for trying to beat the heat by sleeping in the barn.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidiums print
Cymbidiums by paulnsheryl

I've been busy posting things in our Zazzle shop most of the day listening to Pandora internet radio. I'm currently listening to a preselected "genre" station called Alternative Country and it's been great! I also have been creating my own stations by selecting my favorite artists. But the real fun has been having the software this site uses to find new artists that are similar to what I like who I didn't know before. It's a really good computer program—the selections are perfect for me!

This particular image used to hang over the fireplace in our spiritual counseling and healing office. Cymbidiums are sometimes used as a flower essence to help ease difficult transitions. We thought it helped give the office a more cheerful uplifting kind of feeling.

Desert Buglife

One thing I never expected in a place like this is how many bugs there would be and how many of them are really strange! They seem to have come in waves. The moths were the first to wake up after the winter freezes went away. No big deal there except in terms of how many of them there were. Then came the invasion of the really tiny black beetles and the not so tiny flying ants. Both of these bugs seem to have an affinity for drinking water. It seemed you couldn't take a drink without some flying thing winding up in the glass so we've switched to bottled water for now.

Then came the invasion of the bright green beetle-like bugs. They're almost round and kind of pretty to look at. The only problem is how many of them there are--hundreds! Once it's dark they become attracted to the light in the office and practically swarm the lamp in there and all the computer equipment under it. I actually started to worry that they would create "bugs", computer malfunctions, by getting stuck inside.

But the green bug invasion seems to have subsided somewhat. Grasshoppers and crickets are now here and earlier this week we saw a small praying mantis. And just yesterday these gigantic flying things with very long wings arrived. I have no idea what they are—maybe a very large variety of green lacewing— but they have narrow bodies and with their wings are as long as a person's hand.

There is some sort of large black beetle-like bug with bright orange wings. These look almost as large as hummingbirds as they fly by. Today we saw one dragging a dead tarantula across the dirt road. The spider was so big I would have expected the food chain to go the other way around. It was pretty gruesome to see. It turns out these bugs are called Tarantula Hawks. They are a type of wasp and have what is considered to be the most painful sting known to the bee and wasp kingdom. Oh joy! Another thing to be aware of. But at least they keep down the tarantula population.

And that leads to the most recent things to have arrived— giant hairy spiders! AAGH! Not just tarantulas (which are venomous) but Wolf Spiders, too. And a number of different kinds of small spiders, too.

I'm not fascinated enough to be amused. Someone else might think this was cool.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Get the Facts on Healthcare Reform

Note to spammers who intend to leave vicious comments about the evils of Socialism and "Obamacare": I moderate all my blogs. Don't waste your time here.

Healthcare reform is THE most important thing on the national agenda right now. I burnt out on my last job working with caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and other dementing illnesses NOT because of the sadness of illness and death. It was the stories of people going into bankruptcy and facing financial devastation in addition to the heartbreak they were going through that got to me. Now the job I had at that agency might not even exist anymore. The California legislature just cut that agency's funding by 73%! Now even the inadequate level of care we were providing there won't be available. We need reform NOW!!

Click this link to learn the facts, share it with as many people as possible, and stop the promoting of hate and misinformation.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

New Flower Essence Aromatherapy Body, Bath and Massage Oils



Well, it's taken a good part of a week but I finally have the ability to offer all my Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy oils in an economical 2 oz size appropriate for an after bath body oil, bath oil or massage oil.

I've known for a few years now that my favorite Mama Love perfumes are much more effective when used more liberally than one would normally use an aromatherapy perfume. I already recommend that people use them on specific chakra points. But sometimes I rub "Releasing Worry and Fear" on my shoulders when they're feeling tense and sore and it does wonders! I always have used "Restful Sleep" more liberally than you might think to use it. And there was a time (last winter) when I used "Comfort and Joy" all over my body whenever I got out of the shower--it just felt so good! That's how I use this stuff--why shouldn't you?

Problem was, I thought it would be way too expensive. . . that is until I discovered that the large size bottles cost about the same as the small ones! Can you believe that? Plus, without the intensive packaging I do (by hand) for the perfumes it actually costs me less -- except for the ingredients inside-- to produce the large ones than the small size. So I can offer 2 oz of my Mama Love formulas for $16.

That's a good bargain! Because it's powerful stuff you don't have to slather it on. But now you don't have to be chintzy either. Use it as liberally as you want. It soaks in, the 100% organic jojoba is very good for your skin, and it helps you absorb the healing benefits of the flower essences and essential oils and use them well.

Want more than one? Be sure to check the bottom of the "Mama Love Products" page to get a quantity discount. Want one of each? An order of 12 oils or more qualifies for wholesale pricing--check my wholesale page for full details.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Oh, the Joys of Living in the Country

We haven't been using the car much lately, working on books, photography and trying to save money. So what happens? A mouse or some other creature crawled up under the hood of our car, made a nest in the ventilation system and died. We got in the car for a short trip today and aaagh! It stunk!

We can't figure out how to get the mouse out. We found some obvious screws that can be undone to get into the ventilation system but the windshield wipers appear to hold part of the covering in place and we're not sure what to do about that yet.

Paul's stepdad was more pragmatic about. "Yup, that happens out here. Leave it alone and it'll just go away in a couple of weeks."

It'll decompose. But meanwhile. . .

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Business of Making and Selling Art

My boyfriend Paul has been doing an in-depth examination of the art scene from a photographer's point of view. Trying to analyze the markets to determine where his/our work might fit in. I really like his latest article and wanted to recommend it to all of you. His Imagekind gallery is also growing by leaps and bounds. You might enjoy that aspect of who he is, too.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Internet Community and Developing a Global Worldview

Community is an interesting subject for me. I was an outcast in my childhood community, one of those kids who didn't fit in. My personal community were the kids who were left— the other outcasts—and I didn't choose who was in my group. In college that changed. I purposely developed friendships there, some of which have lasted my whole life.

But I saw a interesting phenomenon at the college I went to: the friendships open to me (and others) tended to become stratified by class. This was in Boston in the late 70s. One thing many people might not know about Boston is that you can tell a person's class background by their accent. That used to be done by the clothes a person tended to wear as well (L.L Bean, for example, as opposed to Red Sox sweatshirts and caps). But you can fake that. Far better to go by the accent alone. People in London understand this. Think: Cockney vs upper class. You know the difference and you might think you know what it means. Separation, difference, otherness, perceived superiority. It plays out exactly as you might think.

In California social class is hard to perceive. There's the Beverly Hills persona -- which might not even be real -- and then there's everyone else. The society in coastal California, at least, stratifies more subtly. But you see it there, too, again typified by the clothes one chooses to wear and not much else. Tie dye, dreadlocks and tattered shorts identify one group. Italian shirts, a tie and pressed pants another. There's a large cross section who proclaim their individuality by wearing clothes from Indonesia, India and other Third World countries—they're all about "diversity." But they rarely if ever choose to diversify enough to include people who wear sweatshirts with a sports team logo into their mix. If clothes are who you are, in California that game is played to the max!

In eastern Arizona almost everyone off the reservation seems to dress the same. The guy with the pink mohawk and baggy pants stands out like a sore thumb. . . but his car is covered with uber-Christian bumperstickers proclaiming the need to repent before the coming apocalypse. Coming from Santa Cruz this is the opposite of what one might expect. He's just as intense about his Christianity as his neighbors—he just expresses it in an unusual way. Everyone else dresses like they bought their clothes at Walmart (and most of them probably do). Bland, nothing special, nothing extreme and nothing, usually, that would identify anyone as creative or artistically-inspired in any way. This community, compared to California, is at the opposite extreme.

And then there's the internet where nobody knows what you're wearing when you're sitting in front of your screen. There are so many versions of community on the internet it's hard to know where to even start analyzing the trends going on there. But I have noticed one thing: a lot of honest conversation going on mixed in with the junk and mundane stuff. And while there are groups specifically designated by interest or difference it's impossible to regulate. You can fake identifying characteristics and infiltrate a conversation if you want. I haven't been interested in that but, if done with purpose, it does allow for some interesting possibilities.

Another thing is that the players are never restricted to only who is in your own backyard. Paul just received a very nice helpful comment on something he wrote from someone in England. People from India, Iceland, Poland and Norway contact us fairly regularly. And now on Facebook I'm reconnecting with community members who I may never see again face to face. I love it that we can share a semblance of community that way. It's bringing us together in a way we couldn't imagine before. And almost everywhere on the internet the conversations frequently start without the perceptual barriers in place that might otherwise keep people apart. I don't know right away what class background you're from, the color of your skin, if you're right wing or left, conservative Republican or Democrat, or even what country you may be from unless you tell me. There are no identifying factors to get in the way.

The bad news is that people who think they know me as part of their group are now sending me hateful emails intended to convince people that Obama is the next Hitler. Ironically, that's not just extremely offensive to me as a Democrat. Imagine how the neo-Nazi groups must feel! And yet, isn't that interesting? This crap isn't able to just go on behind closed doors anymore. I, theoretically, could have an email conversation with this person or send a different kind of email to the same group. If she grew to like me because of our distant internet interactions she might even grow curious enough to pay attention to what I have to say!

It could go the other way, of course. I'm considering the tactic of asking her to take me off her list and that would also be a perfectly legitimate thing for me to do. What we want to do with these new means of communication is part of the task we have in front of us today. We created the technology but, if we're not aware of it and make choices about what we use it for, technology will tend to shape us. We can use it for flame war and to fan the flames of discontent like the person spreading Obama hate above or enjoy connection with all kinds of people that cut across race, political persuasion or even international boundaries that really never had a good reason to exist. We think we need these boundaries and, maybe, in terms of emotional safety we used to. But the world is forever changed. It's a global playing field now—even Paul and I have clients in other countries now. It's fun to get to know people with very different world views. People who have been participating in internet communities as educational and science professionals (the purpose for which the internet was originally designed) have known that all along. And now —as long as we insist that the Internet remains a neutral, freely accessible environment (there's a move by certain entities to change that)—we could change the world just by allowing the merging of global identity internet interactions tend to create.

We created the technology but like ALL technologies we invent (agriculture, the wheel, stone age and bronze age tools and weaponry, etc.) the innovations we come up with will eventually change us. Having fun getting to know our neighbors across the globe —indeed, becoming able to think of people from other countries as our neighbors again—is the first step to becoming a world community and that's the first step to what we all say we've always wanted: peace on earth, goodwill towards women and men.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Publishing House Mergers Are Ruining the Industry


Lately Paul and I are beginning to feel like rabid conspiracy theorists although there's nothing "theoretical" about what we're seeing in business all around us. I've been busy trying to find a publisher and/or literary agent to get my latest books published and what I've discovered has shocked me.

I used to work in the publishing industry. I was a book designer and, for a while, the acting art director at Crossing Press. They were a small to mid-sized publishing company started by a husband and wife on their kitchen table. They specialized in alternative health and healing, metaphysical spirituality, feminist and gay and lesbian literature, and cookbooks. Cookbooks were their "bread and butter". They published some really great ones that made it possible to publish whatever they cared about without worrying about whether any single title paid the rent.

It was great to work there! We really cared about the books we did and it was working there that launched my career as a spiritual counselor and healer. That's where I was introduced to most of what I now like to do. I read every book I worked on and had access to every book on the warehouse shelves.

Elaine and John Gill, the publishers of Crossing Press, lived less than a block away from where Paul and I lived in Santa Cruz. A few years after John died Elaine retired and the press was sold to Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, CA. That was about 5-6 years ago. Yesterday I looked them up. The books I have to offer right now are exactly the kind of thing John and Elaine liked to do. I don't think there's anyone I know there anymore but I thought, because of the past association, that it was worth taking a look.

The press barely exists! They still promote their backlist and seem to have at least 1-2 new titles on their Fall list but that's a far cry from the number of books we used to do! And that goes for Ten Speed, too!

Ten Speed, Celestial Arts and Crossing comprised a small publishing group just a few years ago. Then they were bought by the Crown Publishing Group and just this year Crown was purchased by Random House. Then I looked a little further and found out that Random House isn't as far as it goes. They are now a division of an even larger entity called the Bertelsmann Group.

Bertelsmann started as a small conservative Bible publishing company in Germany in the 19th century and have grown to be the 2nd or 3rd largest media conglomerate in the world. One might wonder how they got so large. Well, one determining factor is that they became THE publishing company for the Third Reich when Hitler was in power. Jewish slave labor was used in at least one or two of their printing presses. Elaine Gill was Jewish. John, later in his life, came out as gay. I don't know if Elaine is still alive or how well she is if she's still kicking. I do know that the two of them would be sick if they knew what has become of their publishing baby today.