Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Power's Back On

Once again, it rained and snowed and the problem we had last year with the combination inverter/battery charger happened again. The inverter is fine but the battery charger stops charging. 10 golf cart batteries combined with a way too small solar panel and a gas generator is our sole power supply. Works adequately in good weather but whenever we get that icy cold rain/snow combination that problem with the battery charger happens and the whole thing falls apart. We managed to hook up a spare automobile battery charger to slowly get things running again last year but it didn't work this time. Still, after a day and a half of trying various things (and a slight weather change) the system is now up and running.

It's easy to look at the situation we're in and see it as a poverty stricken one. But in this SAME time period we have friends throughout the United States living ON the grid reporting that, because of these weather patterns, they have been without power for the better part of a week! 5 days, even longer. And hardly anyone knew how to do ANYTHING but sit and wait for the electric company to get the power back on. The level of dependency is shocking in comparison.

The level of power creation we're living with here in the desert is a bit shaky. Barely adequate, takes a fair bit of daily attention, but it's supporting FOUR people—all of whom love to be on their computers, on the internet, while the TV is on. We're running a regular washing machine and dryer now. We also have a refrigerator and dishwasher.

Paul and I went to the local solar energy store in Snowflake where we inquired about what it would take to replicate exactly what we have today. About $5000 -- NOT counting the local regulations and federal government tax break we would get that would allow us to receive 25-30% back provided we could afford to spend the full amount we needed upfront. Add another $1000 and a second bank of batteries and we could stop using that gas generator (except as a back-up) altogether.

Oh, by the way, that's at retail. If you were to start a solar and wind-buying co-op you might be able to swing wholesale rates AND get government tax credits and the like. The solar energy store would like us to spend $35,000 for what they think is a dependable system... but let's be real here. A single fiber optic cable was cut -- melted actually by a hot water pipe bursting -- in Duluth, Minnesota last week and completely crippled the entire North Shore. Imagine if an earthquake or, let's make it scary, a terrorist attack were to disable more than that. Or, say we REALLY, want to reduce the level of our dependency on fossil fuels, avoid the most catastrophic predictions of climate change, or enable ourselves to use those oil reserves for a lot longer while we get even better fuel sources up to snuff. Under those conditions, $3-5000 of improvements per house would mean a lot!

In 1928 Herbert Hoover ran on the promise of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. Oops.
Now the battle cry we might need is solar panels on every roof and a windmill in every backyard.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Standing Up to the Fascists

Charlie Chaplin (and his producers) knew the truth way back when.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Changes In the Making

Paul and I are overhauling our website and working on ways to help people find us better. I changed our spiritual counseling and healing homepage tonight. We've simplified things and I feel like the page reflects how we've grown.

One addition we made is to make it clear that sessions with us include individualized instruction. We've been asked to "teach" so many times by our clients  that we've lost track... but we DO teach! The request ALWAYS comes in the context of them being grateful for something we taught them in the course of the session. But the odd thing is that we never have actually advertised that that's what people might expect in a session from us before. It's always perceived by our clients as an "added bonus" that they just happened to be lucky enough to get. In reality, it's pretty much a regular occurrence.  So now we're saying so.

Such an unbelievably simple thing -- the addition of two words ("individualized teaching"). You'd have thought we would have thought to say it before. Oh well. A lot more changes are yet to come.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Dilemma of Persistence

It's morning and my cat Chloe is frantically scratching at the bedroom door, pitifully meowing, to get me to let her in as she has EVERY DAY for the year and 2 months we have lived here. The door is closed because we live with family and want privacy. She is on the other side of the door because she is too nocturnal and wants to go in and out so many times during the night that it's better for our health to keep her out. We expect her to get used to living without us in her sight every minute. She says, sure, but now it's morning and enough is enough!

I feel determined NOT to reward her behavior by giving in. The last thing I want is a cat who is training us to let her have her way by persisting long enough at annoying behavior. Unfortunately, we have not been able to win at this because -- eventually -- we do want to leave the room ourselves and there she is! See! she says. I KNEW if I persisted long enough that door would open!

I have seen her persist -- and eventually win -- many times. I once lived with a housemate who had a cat of her own. That cat hated all other cats and Chloe wouldn't accept it. EVERY DAY Chloe would walk into the other cat's room and EVERY DAY she would get chased out. She would look confused. This is unacceptable. Why won't that other cat let me say hello? What's her problem?

So she persisted at this every day for more than a year and little by little the other cat gave up. She'd open her eyes, see Chloe in her room looking at her, and literally sigh. Chloe won. She got to hang out with the other cat in the house. They didn't play or do anything together but be in the same room but that was all Chloe wanted.

And it's all she wants now. And she knows she will win! The door WILL open and we WILL be in the same place together and, ta-da, the persistence of being a Chloe WILL triumph once again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This Week in History

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. —Thomas Jefferson, 1816

This past week we have witnessed two shocking events.

Event One

The Massachusetts Senate seat that had been held by liberal Democrat and adamant healthcare reform advocate Ted Kennedy for 46 years was taken by conservative Republican Scott Brown. Having grown up in Massachusetts I can hardly believe this could happen! But worse was the news from my family about how they perceived that it came about.

“It was like a huge political machine came in and took the state by storm!” My mother said her phone rang off the hook all night for a week before the election and every time it was from a campaigner for the Republican party, each with a different take on why she should turn her back on the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. My mother has been a registered Democrat since she first became eligible to vote.

“They even got some dumb ex-Red Sox player to call me up!” my mother said. “He said I shouldn’t vote for Coakley because she called him a “Yankees fan! Well, maybe that was a mistake in Red Sox territory but a reason to throw the election?!! They were using EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK!!!”

It snowed hard on election night in Massachusetts. Statistics from the polling stations showed that the wealthiest communities came out to vote in force. The poorer communities didn’t make it to the booths in anywhere near the same numbers. And many of the people polled in those neighborhoods were the most confused about the value in it. They didn’t vote because Coakley didn’t measure up to Ted Kennedy. She didn’t work hard enough at it— “she came across like a cold fish!” one family member of mine said—while Scott Brown was quite the opposite. And the national healthcare legislation she would have voted for in the Senate was a very poor substitute for the far more progressive healthcare policies in their own state. Why would they want to support a lesser one?

And yet, vote for a Republican in Massachusetts? For a lot of working class people it was a hard choice to brave the storm to go to the polls at all.

Event Two

The Supreme Court, last Wednesday, in a 5-4 decision took away any limits on campaign contributions by corporate entities. Corporations that are based anywhere in the country can now legally use their purchasing power to influence the elections in every state in the union.  Essentially, the Supreme Court said, if you want to buy the next election, go right ahead!


Words cannot express my level of disbelief. No limits on how much multinational corporations who may not even have the best interests of THIS country at heart are free to spend in order to determine the results of elections? With a net worth of 2.1 trillion dollars, JPMorgan Chase alone has potentially more resource than most small nations. 2.1 trillion dollars is approximately the Gross National Income in terms of PPP dollars (purchasing power parity) of France.

Now I do, of course, know that neither France or Chase has anywhere near that kind of money at their disposal at the drop of a hat. But if you don’t think a company of that stature doesn’t have enough disposable income lying around to be much of a threat, you aren’t paying attention. And Chase isn’t the only multinational near the top of Forbes Magazine’s list of the Richest Companies in the World based in the United States. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, General Electric, AT&T and Wal-Mart are even higher than that.

Think there’s no connection between the significance of these two events? Do you think the CEOs and Boards of Directors of these companies are stacked with progressive-thinking left wing liberal Democrats?

I don’t either.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Uses For Old Formulas

I used to call my "Inner Strength and Protection" formula "Balanced Caregiving." That particular flower essence aromatherapy perfume came out of my work as a family caregiving consultant for the Alzheimer's Association. When a person gets too caught up in taking care of someone who is demented and untrustworthy it doesn't take long before all their thoughts start to revolve around this other person. I would ask my clients how they were and they would tell me the condition of their patient. It would often take several askings before they could remember how THEY were and tell me that, too. This was the NORM, by the way, and not the situation with one or two. I developed "Inner Strength and Protection" to help people remain loving and kind and yet able to be clear-headed, grounded and firm in their own boundaries.

More recently I have discovered another, more important, use for this same formula. Do you have someone in your life who loves you and means well but is so intent on changing you, fixing you, telling you what to do that you're constantly needing to clear their influence out of your way simply to think your own thoughts? You know! Mom? Dad? Your lover, spouse or best friend? Maybe the office know-it-all or even your boss? A respected mentor or even a well-meaning guru can be just as harmful if your inner being is saying "zig" and they are constantly saying to "zag." This is a challenging situation but it is ESPECIALLY difficult when it's someone you care about and depend on in various ways.

But if you're going to be able to trust the integrity of your own inner guidance you HAVE to be able to let go of this influence... at least long enough to hear your own! You need to be able to evaluate what parts of what they are saying DO resonate with your own needs and desires and where they veer sharply to the left or right.

That's where flower essence aromatherapy comes in. Yarrow is a powerful healer in this regard and I use it in both flower essence and essential oil form in my "Inner Strength and Protection" formula. Roman soldiers used to carry sprigs of Yarrow with them into battle. In herbalism it's used to staunch wounds. In flower essence therapy it's used to tighten up the integrity of the aura -- the energy field that surrounds us as individuals. It staunches psychic wounding especially when it comes from outside influences that chip away at our defenses.

Use it two-three times a day for at least a week and see how it makes you feel.

Buy some at my Mama Love website via any of the links above or through my shop on

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Are You Ready To Say Yes to Your Life?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Need a Little Renewed Faith and Optimism?

Well, I'm glad I still have a little "Renewed Faith and Optimism" left after giving most of it away to help the women fighting in Afghanistan. I thought I was going to have to retire that one due to lack of sufficient interest but suddenly, there IS more interest. By the way, I have a "warning note" on the description for that perfume. Don't be scared! It really works!

No More Hate

I don't normally post things like this but I can't help it, when I saw this video passed around Facebook I celebrated:

There's something truly wrong when people like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh are treated as "folk heroes." Want to talk about good old conservative Republican values? I'm going to take an old-fashioned conservative stance right now: There used to be a time when people who made the kind of hateful statements these people make on a regular basis would not be let on the air. There used to be a time when Republicans would have been mortified to be associated with people like this.

Why isn't it happening now? It's good for "ratings." It gets the rabble roused for the Republican team. It doesn't matter how vindictive these people can be. It's gets the racist moron vote into the booth! What has the Republican party come to? And why aren't more of them speaking up about this?!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sarah Palin "Pals around with terrorists"

New evidence that Fox News is a terrorist organization:

What's On Our Minds

On Facebook, in the comment area for people to write their "status updates" is a sentence that says "What's on your mind?" Equal rights is all Paul and I talk about these days. This video is two years old but it's far from out of date.

Posted in Support of Televising the Proposition 8 Hearing

Monday, January 11, 2010

United Aromatherapy Effort

"Peace and Goodwill" and "Renewed Faith and Optimism" are now on their way to serve the female members of our armed forces. Apparently an earlier shipment of aromatherapy products were GREATLY appreciated! So Mama Love has joined the effort.

The United Aromatherapy Effort was established just after 9-11 to help buoy the spirits of relief workers in the area. It was a success so now similar efforts are being made in disaster areas and war zones many place in the world. In Afghanistan, where some Mama Love products are going now, the women in combat were very excited. They're under A LOT of stress, their barracks stink, and the environment they live in is polluted. Smelling something besides the Pine-sol they use to disinfect the place was a relief.

If you'd like to participate, too, visit

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's New?

Wow, I let this blog go a whole week! That's because I've been busy!

Top of my agenda these days is getting a book published. I got so discouraged getting "rejection" slips from agents that I decided to find another way. Why do I put "rejection" in quotes? Because they're not really rejecting me—they're afraid to promote anything that doesn't come from a well-known author with a strong wide platform to stand on. So I've been attempting to get well-known authors to create one for me. Scary thing to try to do: ask total strangers -- celebrity strangers -- to read all or part of my book and send me an endorsement! But then... what exactly IS so hard? So what if they're too busy to follow through? There's a lot of them out there! It's just a matter of connecting with those who will.

Of course, that's NOT how it felt earlier in the month before both Paul and I got sick! But in the last few days I have sent emails to 15 or so people. I got 5 emails back right away. 4 of those said to send materials either by email or snail. All of them were very nice. And one -- Larry Dossey MD -- already sent a wonderful endorsement back. My first one and that feels sweet!

On the home in the desert front, we have finally gotten our first spiritual counseling appointment with an in-person client since moving out here. ALL the rest have been long distance. We're going to meet with them later this week.

And even closer to home still, the household has been sick with some flu bug going around. H1N1? I doubt it but at least one person here wants to believe in it. Two members of the house got pretty sick and have been battling it for a few weeks now. Two of us had a mild case for a day or two and if we take care of ourselves are likely to be okay. It's hard to know how much state of mind and/or heredity has to do with it. The two hardest hit were the two most closely related.

One last thing for now: We have 42 art pendants in our new Etsy shop right now and I plan to put new ones up several times a week. The pendant on this post is our newest one. You can click on the photo or right here to learn more about it (if it's not sold already!).

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Story of Cap and Trade

The more we know the more likely we can stop the people who brought us the war in Iraq, Exxon Valdez, the climate change issues in the first place, and worldwide economic collapse from furthering their campaign to make billions while trashing our futures. Annie Leonard makes a lot of good points in this video. It's well worth sharing. Please hit the "Share on Facebook, Twitter or email button" below this post!

The Story of Cap & Trade from Story of Stuff Project on Vimeo.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Newsletter - Jan. 2010

The online version of our monthly newsletter is up.  Enjoy!

Deep Peace

Once of my favorite pieces by Libana combined with a beautiful video.