Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What If the Tea Party was Black?

Yeah, I know they somehow got 4-5 black people to attend a Tea Party meeting a couple of weeks ago but what if, instead of being overwhelmingly white, the numbers were the other way around? Would this movement be dismissed so readily by the left or supported so strongly by the right and given so much positive press by Fox News? Here's an article being passed around by my friends, written by a white guy, by the way, that puts it all into perspective.

Paul is the one who showed me this article. He has a wildly diverse population of folks on his Facebook friends list and comes across some great stuff. Here's his take on the State of Arizona. He doesn't write often enough in his blog... but when he does...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona -- The State of Paranoia

So many reasons to be horrified about living even temporarily in Arizona this week. It's hard to decide if the biggest reason is the new immigration law requiring police officers to demand proof of citizenship if you don't look like a U.S. citizen (see the horror video below about what happened to this dark-skinned U.S. born Mexican-American in Arizona already!). Or how about the fact that they just legalized carrying concealed weapons for everyone without a permit. But I think the biggest insult is attempting (and so far expecting) to pass a new law requiring anyone running for president of the United States to prove to the state of Arizona that they have a U.S. birth certificate! The so-called "Birther" law makes me feel like the Republicans in this state are courting the "moron" vote because who else would try to create a law like this? Yeah, I know this spiritual counselor and healer is supposed to be all sweetness and light all the time but enough is enough.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Frog Art on Etsy

I made a Frog Art Treasury to feature Paul's Frog Pendant on. LOTS of really cute frog art here by lots of creative people...  http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4bd474a110ae6d9173374b42/frogs-a-hoppin39. Enjoy!

More Babushkas on Etsy

I couldn't fit all the babushka dolls I wanted to in the Treasury I made yesterday so I made a second one. You can find it at http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4bd3d05c511a6d91813832b2/babushka-matryoshka.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mama Babushka -- an Etsy East Treasury

Etsy has a brand new feature called Treasury East which makes it really easy to create a gallery featuring lots of people's work. I made my very first one today. It's called Mama Babushka and I think it's really fun. I found some really adorable stuff. Check it out -- http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4bd3b3f6511a6d91198b31b2/mama-babushka

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Snowing!

It started at the precise moment Paul and I finally decided to roust ourselves from the house and go for a walk. I tried to convince Paul that playing outside in the snow is fun but California boy wants nothing to do with it.

The photo on this page is the view from our front porch. Paul took it last winter and you can find it in his Southwest gallery on Imagekind.

Happy Earth Day!

Mama Love is committed to the health of the planet and will not knowingly use GMO (genetically-modified) or synthetic ingredients in my perfume, massage or bath oil at any time. 95% or more of the ingredients in Mama Love products are certified organic which means they were grown and packaged without chemical pesticides, fertilizers or preservatives. Half of them are 100% organic. And since I'm using FES/Healing Herbs as my exclusive source for flower essences, I know the essences I'm using are ethically wildcrafted or Biodynamically farmed with the highest degree of integrity possible.

Why aren't all my products 100% organic?
Truth in advertising: the Rose and Jasmine Absolute and Vanilla I use in some formulas claim they are certified organic but I don't label the products I make with those ingredients that way because the method of extraction used leaves a trace of synthetic solvent behind. I'm looking into alternatives but haven't found any I like yet in my price range.

Are all aromatherapy products organic?
No, not usually. Even those that say they are "100% Natural" or "Pure" can't be called "Organic" unless 95% of their ingredients were grown and processed without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Trust me-- people who put in the effort and expense to produce organically grown products want you to know. If the product contains organic ingredients the label will say so. But, remember, even products labeled "organic" can legally contain some synthetic ingredients. If you want 100% organic make sure the label says so as well.

Are organic products better for you?
They're healthier for the planet! And that makes them healthier for everybody.

What does "wildcrafted" mean?
The ingredient was gathered in the wild rather than grown on a farm. It's important that those who import or do the gathering do so with the strictest integrity because some native plants, especially those used for essential oil production, are becoming scarce. Mama Love makes every effort to track down companies who make a commitment to "ethical wildcrafting." FES, the flower essence manufacturer I work with, is a great example. I accompanied them on a wildflower gathering excursion and was impressed with the pains they took to scout out and only gather where the flowers grew in abundance and their policy of always leaving more than enough flowers behind to ensure the perpetuation of the species in those locations. The essential oil importer I work with feels the same way and sells Rosewood made from branches and twigs rather than dealing with those who would otherwise cut down whole stands of this species in the wild.

What does "Biodynamically-farmed" mean?
FES grows many of the flowers they use in their products on their certified organic Biodynamic farm.  Biodynamic farming follows the principles of organic farming and takes it further to include improving the actual health of the environment in which the crops are grown. It's based on the work of Rudolph Steiner. Want to know more? Read all about it at the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association.

What's wrong with GMO ingredients?
Don't get me started! There may very well be benefits to be had from the very careful and responsible use of certain GMO food crops, however, the abuse in this burgeoning business is rampant and highly unregulated. This is such a huge topic whole websites and watchdog agencies have been created to deal with it. Here a few resources to help you learn more:

Center for Food Safety

The Organic Consumers Association's Genetically Engineered Food Page

Video: The World According to Monsanto
(This link takes you to part 1 of 8 parts, check the sidebar on that page to find the rest)

Where can Mama Love products be found?
My own website at www.mamaloveproducts.com or on Etsy at www.MamaLovePerfume.etsy.com.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why Can't We All Get Along?

If you only watch television news you'd think that the United States is on the brink of a civil war and the racist undertones and cries about "socialism" seem to be what it's really all about. People are afraid of the new black president with the Muslim name giving away all their hard-earned money to everyone but them! It's a misperception and if you live in a place as right-wing Christian Republican and white as we do in eastern Arizona the air of mistrust and anger is very plain to see. Tea Partiers are a pretty visible bunch in these parts and the issues about multiculturalism and their deep fear of it tends to submerge the very real concerns they -- and we all have -- about what's been happening on the national and international scene economically. When the good-paying job you used to have is now done by a person of another race making pennies an hour overseas it's very hard to have a lot of faith that a dark-skinned president you believe wasn't born in this country -- Hawaii is part of the United States, people! -- is going to take care of you. (Especially if you've been a racist your whole life and you know it.)

But that's not all the news there is to print and it never has been. The problem with network "news" is that it's more about stirring the pot to create ratings than it is about serving and protecting the common good. If it's controversial and negative and scary -- that's news! (Fox News in particular.) But if the most diverse city in the nation can all get along. . .

Today I came across this article on AOL News (of all places). Apparently the most multicultural zip code in the nation is the Rainier Valley section of Seattle, WA. 60 languages are spoken there and a single block of this neighborhood might have half a dozen different ethnic groups. Because the area is so diverse interdependencies have developed across what would seem like insurmountable divides in other parts of the country. We need more reports like these on the mainstream television networks.

"Love is at the Source"- Digital Mixed Media

This design was done as a collage that I scanned into my computer and then added Photoshop effects. It's available in our Zazzle shop as a framed or unframed print as well as on greeting cards, mugs and t-shirts. There are lots of t-shirts to choose from. This one, the Ladies Baby Doll style, is probably my favorite.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy for PMS, Menopause and Postpartum Support

I just bottled up some more massage, bath and body oil for PMS, Menopause and Postpartum Support. I decided to use it myself a couple of months back when intense menopausal feelings of rage and scary days of menstrual flooding appeared to be taking over my life. I used it every day, two or three times a day, and then I had the most blissful, peaceful, EASY period I had had in months! The results lasted two months. But I'm using this oil again now because...well...change of life doesn't always happen overnight! I can't promise similar results for everyone but it sure makes me feel happier! And with Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Angelica, and Rosewood in it, along with the special blend of flower essences I use, it smells wonderful!

"Aspen Impressions" Painting Now Available on Zazzle

This digital painting I did of Aspen trees in the White Mountains of Arizona has been available in my Imagekind gallery for some time but now it's available in our Zazzle shop as well. They sell several different sizes on different choices of paper. You can even buy it printed on canvas and framed so it looks like an actual painting.

It's also available on greeting cards, mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, even a mousepad. Here are a couple of examples. Visit the "Aspen Trees" section of our shop to see them all.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir Singing "Lux Aurumque"

Imagine 185 people from 12 different countries singing together as a single choir from all their various locations at the same time. Most of them are sitting in front of their computers singing into the video cameras built into or sitting on top of their screens. The individual recordings were then posted to Youtube and compiled into a single unit. Awesome! And the music is something special, too.

Looking into Buying an RV

I woke up very early the other day with the thought that we should get ourselves an RV. We've been stuck in the desert for far too long and even minimum wage work is impossible to find. Besides we've had a glimpse of the good life recently and we want ourselves a piece. (If we can figure out how to get there.)

We're not sure how to do any of this. We just know that attempting to do it from a distance, especially when fantasies and fears cannot be balanced by seeing things in person, talking to people, etc. has been way too daunting a task. At least if we can bring a cozy (and fun) little mobile house with us we could do it without imposing on friends too much, and without excessive expense. And if the first place or two isn't right we just hop in the RV and drive away. Selling Mama Love and other products and services along the way.

Yesterday Paul and I went on a local excursion to visit the RV sales lots we always pass on by up in Show Low and Pinetop. Prices for used RVs ranged from $2500 to $25,000 in one lot. I saw an ad for the RV pictured on this page on Craigslist today for $2500. The owner would be willing to drop the price in exchange for a handgun. Yeah, really, it's Arizona. He'll trade it partially for a handgun or best offer.

The most important thing, of course, is what kind of shape it's in and what we could realistically do with it. $2500 doesn't mean the vehicle is bad. We found a converter van yesterday for that much that needed work cosmetically on the inside (new curtains, our own bed to replace the seats) that ran like a charm and had relatively low miles. Why? DUI impound and the guy never bothered to pick it up so the title reverted to the towing company. But, while the van would have been great for a short camping trip for a week or so, it could easily become nightmarish if our relocation dreams take a bit longer (like everything has in this recession).

Then we came across a very old version of an RV like the one above. People keep their RVs for LONG periods of time out here and they don't get used constantly as a daily commuter car so the miles can still be low. The one we saw didn't look as nice as this on the outside and it would have cost $5000. But the inside was gorgeous! Perfect upholstery, a nice bed, bathroom, full kitchen with pretty wooden cabinets, lots of storage. They even had a basket of flowers on the counter to make it more appealing. We didn't get to test drive that one though. If we're interested we'll have to call the owner who wasn't available just then and make another trip.

The one above looks great in the picture on the outside but the inside could be trashed... or perfectly great. You never know with these things -- price isn't the determining factor. Why the person doesn't need it anymore or needs the money more often is. (I don't even want to know why he needs a gun.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thanks Gabrielle

Slam poet Gabrielle Bouliane recently died. Paul and are very thankful that she made this video to share what she felt was the most important message she wanted to leave the world with before she did.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Desert Rhapsody Revisited

Last summer Paul and I spent a fair bit of time photographing the local landscape. I happened to find this quite challenging as, even though it is very peaceful here and beautiful in a quiet way, the landscape is not striking in the way that Sedona or Big Sur might be. It's a subtle beauty, easy to miss if you're not willing to sit quietly and soak it up.

One of the least inspiring and yet pervasive features of this environment is the dried out yellow clumps of desert grass. But, nonetheless, I was determined and headed out one day with my camera and a macro lens to get a closer view. Unfortunately, it was also a very windy day and getting a clean shot even if I had had a tripod would have been impossible. So instead I got some truly amazing looking abstracts. One of my favorites got used in some jewelery Paul and I made. You can buy it through our Etsy shop by clicking here. Or see the original, which is available as a framed or unframed print, in my earlier blog post from last summer.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Healing Communication Press

We have a bookstore! (and we have for years but I've forgotten to mention it for awhile). I sell copies of my "The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving" there and Paul and I both have several blank journals for sale featuring our flower photography on the cover. Check it out at http://stores.lulu.com/healingcommunicationpress

Friday, April 02, 2010

Successfully Standing Up to Hate

This school and the town is a role model for us all.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Our April Newsletter is Out

You can read it online and sign up to receive it in your own email mailbox every month at http://healingcommunicationnews.blogspot.com/2010/04/april-2010-healing-communication-news.html