Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive".  Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Worm Party

Last night was a full Worm Moon.  I don't really know what a Worm Moon is, but the worms in my yard apparently do.  There were some strange worm happenings going on at my house the last two days, so I guess the moon is appropriately named.

First there was the worm pool party in my back alley.  I live in pothole city, so when it rains there are a ton of places for worms to go swimming.  Almost every pothole in my alley had a worm in it.  This is no small feat, as there are a lot of potholes.

The next day the party had moved to my front steps.  Actually, party is probably the wrong word.  These worms didn't look very happy, and some had lost body parts.  Or whatever you call worm body parts.  It was more like a mass suicide, a worm Jonestown if you wish.  I felt bad for the worms, but the robins thought they had died and gone to birdie heaven.

I have been paying more attention to the moon and it's phases lately.  I don't know much about it yet, but I do know I find it very peaceful to just sit and look at the moon.  I watched it come up last night, and I was up early enough to watch it the whole way to Chicago this morning.  At least I enjoyed it more than the worms did.  But maybe not as much as the robins.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rant Alert

Oh what I wouldn't give for a giant chocolate bar.  Or a glass of wine.  Anything other than this cardboard tasteless junk I've been eating for the last week and a half.  Look at the bright side.  Only 2 1/2 weeks left to go.  Oh joy. 

So what, exactly, is someone in my position supposed to do to relieve the stress of an absolutely shitty day.  Well, to be honest, it wasn't that shitty.  Just a huge waste of time.  The food I spent all day yesterday preparing, was left in not one, but two different places.  First, I left my nice green smoothie in the bathroom at the airport yesterday.  Then this morning, I forgot half of my food in the ice bucket in the hotel.  I've yet to see an airport sell rice cakes or quinoa or millet, or any of the other crap I'm eating, so this is a small problem.  Then, to top it all off, I spent an hour composing an email to a successful blogger to ask for advice.  I have now tried to send the email to two different websites about 8 different times, and nothing is working.  I've learned from previous experience that it's just not meant to be sent today, but it is soooooooooooooooooooooooo frustrating.  Yes, it's THAT frustrating.  Maybe even more, but I don't have time to write any more oooo's.

So what do I do to calm down?  My normal consolation of food is not available and I can't work out because I will start coughing my head off.  I'm at work and not into extramarital affairs, so that won't work either, if you catch my drift.  I've already beaten the pillows on the bed, and I will stop telling my son it's a good way to take out frustration.  It really doesn't do anything, except make the people in the next hotel room think you're having a much better time than you actually are.

Don't mind me, I'm just releasing toxins.  This is actually a symptom of the detox, and I guess it shows it's working.  I sure can't wait to get back to my happy, perky self.  Neither can my husband and son.  They've seen me cry over nothing twice in the past two days.  I haven't had this many mood swings since I was pregnant.

Ok, so I promised a more coherent, intelligent blog today.  Well, you'll have to wait til tomorrow for that, or go read another blog.  Actually, can't promise any better for tomorrow, as it will be a short night at home.  At least I'll be in a better mood.  If not, I promise not to touch the keyboard.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For the Ladies

I know, it's a cop-out.  But I haven't slept all week because of this crazy cough that I can't take anything to stop.  And I spent all morning cooking food for this 3 day trip, so I didn't have time to write earlier.  And I have to be up at 4 am.  And I can't bear to break the posting every day streak, even though I promised I wouldn't post just to see myself post.  So here's a funny little message from a friend.  I have no idea where it came from.  Good night.

And when someone breaks our wings………….
We simply continue to fly……………….on a broomstick…………….
We are flexible like that….

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Say I Want A Revolution

I have an idea that would save millions on healthcare.  Unfortunately, no one has asked my opinion.  It's a shame too, because it's a fairly simple idea.  It doesn't cost a lot of money, and it makes common sense.  I guess that means it wouldn't be approved anyway.

Whenever we have a medical issue, we rush to the doctor for a prescription to cure our ills.  The body knows when something is starting to go haywire, and it desperately tries to tell us.  An ache or pain is the first warning sign that something isn't right, and it is the bodies way of saying, "pay attention".  But instead of paying attention to these signs and seeking out their source, we want something to make the pain/boil/headache/rash go away.  Since we mask the first warning signs, whatever the condition is continues to fester until we have a major problem.

Many of these problems could be corrected with diet and nutrition.  I have a friend that complains of stomach problems quite often.  She doesn't seem to equate the fact that she always has a glass of Coke sitting next to her to her stomach problems.  What we need in this country is education about food.  Our children are the first generation that is not expected to outlive their parents.  The obesity rate in the country is skyrocketing.  But everyone acts like there is no correlation between what they put in their mouth and their health.

I'm going to talk about another tv show here, which is highly unlike me.  I am a huge fan of Jamie Oliver, also known as "The Naked Chef".  He has a new show on ABC called "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution."  If you missed it last week you should really check it out.  Jamie is from England, and he has worked in his own country to get people to eat healthier.  He managed to change the school lunch program over there, and is trying to help us do the same thing here.  Unfortunately, he is meeting some resistance.

I don't know if it's ignorance or arrogance, but some of the people he is trying to help act like there is nothing wrong with the way they eat.  Pizza for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch and dinner, what's the problem?  Their attitude is, "How dare this foreigner come here and say there's something wrong with me and the way I do things".  We always think our way is better, and everyone else should conform to our way of thinking.  Maybe if we closed our mouths and opened our ears (and minds) more often, we might learn something that would benefit us.

I'm certainly not saying it's easy to eat fresh and healthy.  I have been cooking 3 meals a day for about 3 weeks now.  And when I say cooking, I mean from scratch.  No cans, no cereal boxes, actual on the stove cooking.  I'm sick of doing it, and I'm especially sick of doing dishes.  I don't think I could keep up at this rate for good, but it certainly makes me realize the value of a home cooked meal.  What's more important than my health or the health of my family?

What really concerns me is the food we are feeding our kids in school.  I can do my best to give my son healthy choices at home, but I will lose the battle when he gets to school.  What kid do you know that would pick white milk over chocolate (or worse yet pink.  Have you ever thought about what it takes to make milk pink?)  What kid chooses fruit over candy or ice cream?  These things concern Jamie Oliver too.  He is gathering signatures on a petition, so that when he attempts to change things in our schools he can show he has considerable public support behind him.  Please consider signing it.

Come on, let's start a revolution.

Link to food revolution petition

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Like to Talk, But Not to Speak

Public speaking strikes fear into the hearts of many, myself included.  I don't remember having this fear all of my life, although maybe I have.  It has become fairly acute in the last few years, but that could be because I'm doing more public speaking.

I volunteer with an organization that encourages 4th to 6th graders to overcome the obstacles in their life by setting goals and having a "never give up" attitude.  Since I've started volunteering, I have had to do several public speaking events.  The smallest was a group of about 50 adults that work for one of our corporate sponsors.  The largest was almost 2000 kids at an assembly.  Both times my hands shook, my voice cracked, and I was pretty much a basket case until the event was over.

My fear is kind of strange, considering I speak on the PA to the passengers all of the time.  I realized why that doesn't bother me last week.  For one thing, everyone knows passengers hardly ever pay attention to anything said over the loud speaker.  That could be because everything said over the PA sounds like the teacher from "Peanuts".  I also realized that I'm not afraid of speaking on the airplane because of a little thing called the cockpit door.

We were sitting at the gate last week, and I was trying to make a joke to the passengers on the PA.  Normally the cockpit door is closed, or even if it isn't I just look straight ahead out of the window and speak.  This time, I decided to turn around and make eye contact while I delivered the punch line.  As soon as I saw all the passengers leaning out in the aisle looking at me, my voice started shaking uncontrollably.  Even after I turned around and looked out the front again I couldn't get it to stop.  I hoped it just sounded like static and a bad speaker, but I doubt it.  How embarrassing.

I've started reading a new book,  "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.  It is a twelve week course designed to help artists recover their creativity.  It helps the artist deal with limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, fear, jealousy and anything else that might inhibit the creative process.  I started reading it because I thought it might be helpful for writing the blog.  As I was working through the exercises, an amazing thing happened.  I found what I consider to be the root of my public speaking problem.  I won't bore you with the details, but it all stems back to a college communications class and a misunderstanding with my teacher.

I've learned a lot from this book already, and I'm still on week one.  I don't expect it to turn me into John Grisham, but it will be interesting to see if the blog is any better 12 weeks from now.  I'm really interested to see if this helps me with my public speaking, and it won't take me long to find out.  I'm speaking to another humongous group of kids in May.  Maybe I can get through it this time without my voice cracking.

The Artist's Way

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Free Your Mind, And the Rest Will Follow

Meditation.  To many people that is a scary word.  To some, it is scary because they can't imagine calming the chatter in their minds.  To others, it is almost blasphemous.

I have a young friend that is a senior in high school and lives in North Carolina.  He was having a bad day one day, and I inquired if he had ever tried meditation.  He said no, because people had told him he shouldn't do it.  When I asked why, he gave the very vague reply that it was "against God or something".

I can assure you that many people that believe in God meditate.  Many people that don't believe in God meditate.  Meditating doesn't have to have anything to do with religion, but for me it is a deeply spiritual practice.  I find that when I meditate I can more clearly hear and follow my internal wisdom, or what I consider to be God's plan for me.

There are a thousand different ways to meditate.  A simple way to start is to find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably.  Start focusing on your breath.  Follow the inhalation, feeling the air go through your nose all the way down to your stomach.  Now follow the exhalation the other direction.  Breathe normally, and just stay focused on the inhalation and exhalation.

You don't have to be able to completely shut your mind off to everything.  That is the goal, but it takes practice.  Your mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time, so if you are paying enough attention to your breathing, you won't be able to focus on much else.  If a thought comes to you, or you start replaying your day over in your mind, don't beat yourself up.  Just gently release the thought and go back to focusing on your breath. 

Most of us have the answers to our questions or problems inside of us, but our lives are filled with so much white noise that we can't access it.  By taking a few minutes each day to connect with ourselves, God, a higher power, or whatever you choose to call it, you are becoming more in tune with the knowledge that we all inherently possess.  Meditation is not something to be intimidated by, or afraid of. It is the simple act of quieting your mind to let your internal wisdom shine through.

Meditation in a New York Minute - Mark Thornton

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where's the Beef? Right here in my Oil of Oregano

So tomorrow will be one week on my crazy candida diet.  I can't tell you if I feel better or not, because I've had this cold for the last five days.  I'm finally getting my voice back, but I have this nagging tickling cough.  My normal cure for that is hot water with apple cider vinegar and honey.  On this diet I can't have the honey, and I can't have cough drops because of the sugar.

Last night before I went to bed I was pretty desperate.  I couldn't stop coughing and I knew I wouldn't sleep.  I googled natural cough remedies.  Of course, 90% of what came up contained honey.  I tried everything else.  Something worked, but I don't know what it was because I used about 4 different things.  I gargled with salt water, drank hot lemon water, drank hot ginger tea, and put Vick's (actually my natural equivalent to Vick's) on my feet and then put socks on.

When I talked to the nutritionist today, she suggested steaming a bunch of rosemary in water and then putting my head over it with a towel.  I just did that, and it felt amazing.  Like a mini facial.  It helped my cough for a while, but now it's coming back again.

I would really like to get rid of the cough, or it will ruin my plans for this evening.  I'm supposed to go to a meditation to discover your Power Animal.  I don't know much about Power Animals.  As I mentioned in a previous post, many shamans believe that everyone has  Power Animals that guide them, similar to a guardian angel.  I've been curious as to what mine is, and I really want to go tonight.  Somehow I don't think everyone else will appreciate me coughing and hacking thru the meditation.

My other dilemma for the day has to do with an herb.  There are many Chinese herbs that the nutritionist would like to give me to help with my cleanse.  The problem is, we don't know if they will be a problem with my random pilot drug testing.  We don't think they will, but I need to make sure just in case.  I certainly don't want a false positive for something I'm not taking!  The last time I tried to get a Chinese herb ok'd by my doctor, they said it caused sensitivity to light and I shouldn't take it.  When I mentioned this to my acupuncturist, she said I would have to take it in enormous quantities to have any sort of problem, which would never happen.  That's the problem.  Medical doctors don't know much about herbs, so they tend to err on the safe side.  I guess that's good in a way, but it prohibits me from taking a lot of helpful things.

So I'm sitting here in front of a bottle of oil of oregano, which I know I can take.  The only problem is I just read the label, which says - Capsules made from 100% beef gelatin.  Now what do I do?  Pretend that beef gelatin is suitable for vegetarians - to help myself with the only herb I know is safe?  Or not take it because of the beef?  Problem is, I watched one of those Discovery Channel shows about how gelatin is made.  I swore I'd never touch the stuff again.

I think I've made my decision, but I'm keeping it between me, the oregano, and the beef.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Time for a Change

Change.  Some would say it's inevitable, even necessary.  I have changed immensely over the past year.  Is the change good or bad?  I guess that depends on your perspective.

I have learned from Louise Hay, author of "You Can Heal Your Life", that most of our feelings come from either love or fear.  The following link explains it much better than I can.  I've put it in the middle of the blog because I think it will help to understand what follows.
Let go of your fears - Louise Hay

I was born into a house of fear.  Not extreme fear, like there was going to be some sort of major world calamity, but a general distrust of everything and everyone.  People are no good, everyone is out to take advantage of you, nothing ever goes my way, keep your doors locked, have a gun ready just in case.

When my brother wanted to start his own business, we thought we were giving him helpful advice.  We made sure we pointed out everything that could possibly go wrong.  Did we really help him?  Or would it have been better to have been supportive, and talk about all the things that could go right?  We were operating from a place of fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the "what-if's".

Over the last year, I have transitioned from operating from a place of fear to operating out of love.  No longer am I the "glass half empty" kind of person.  I try to see the best in everyone, or at least understand why someone is behaving in an inappropriate way.  I know that if I think negatively, I am likely to receive negativity in return.  If I expect the best, I normally get it.  It has given me a completely new outlook on life, and I am happier than I have been in a long time.  A year ago 90% of what I worried about never happened anyway.  Today I don't waste my time thinking about the "what-if's and if-only's".

In my mind, these changes are all for the best.  I feel like the chrysalis stage of a butterfly, metamorphosing from a caterpillar and evolving into the true beauty that I know I possess.  But that's because I am no longer coming from a place of fear.  Some of my family members are still motivated by fear, and to them the changes I've made seem threatening or downright crazy.  There seems to be a growing chasm between us, because my behavior is based on love and optimism instead of distrust and immediately expecting the worst.

What can I do?  Well, other than assuring them that I'm not going to run off and join a gaggle of hippies or a cult, I'm not sure.  What if everyone let their fear of being or thinking differently overcome them?  How many inventions would never have come to fruition if people were afraid to think outside the box?  What if Columbus, Einstein, the Wright Brothers and the like had just followed the status quo? Following popular opinion might be easier, but it's not always appropriate.  With any movement, there have to be a few people at the beginning willing to stand up and take a chance.  To look different, or irrational, until the new way of thinking becomes normal.

I know it's hard not to be ruled by fear, and it didn't happen for me overnight.  In fact, I still struggle with it sometimes.  One of the best things I ever did was to stop watching the evening news.  I would be so depressed after the first five minutes I couldn't stand it.  The news channels love to perpetuate fear, with the "If it bleeds it leads" mantra.  People will say to me, "Well, you have to stay informed".  I can assure you I do.  I might not be the first person to spread the word about an earthquake in Haiti, but I find out about it shortly after everyone else.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from Einstein.  As I was searching for quotes, I realized that there is a reason he was a genius.  It was a tough decision, but this one seemed the most appropriate for today.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

Monday, March 22, 2010


I know I said I wouldn't post every day just for the sake of posting.  But since I haven't missed a day so far, I don't feel comfortable breaking the string just yet.  Unfortunately, I have had a hard time putting a coherent thought together today.  My head feels like a giant cotton ball from this cold.  I've lost my voice too, which makes some people in my family very happy.

Here's an article that should give you pause about high fructose corn syrup.  Think twice the next time you see the commercial sponsored by the corn industry that says something to the effect of, "Don't worry - it's natural".  If the government, our new health care provider, wants to get serious about obesity, maybe they should stop subsidizing the corn industry.

Article About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hey Y'all, Watch This

When I lived in the south and someone said, "Hey y'all, watch this", it normally meant you should move away from them and take cover.  Someone was about to do or say something incredibly stupid, and quite possibly dangerous.

In this case, "Hey y'all watch this" is a television recommendation.  You probably will never get one of these from me again.  I would be perfectly happy to get rid of the tv, as I find most of the programs to be stupid or violent.  I know I'm in the minority here, so please don't hold it against me.  I have this annoying trait of being completely honest, even when I should keep my mouth shut.  I will never be able to get rid of the tv anyway.  My husband is more likely to become a vegetarian than to part with his beloved 60 incher.  And he will become a vegetarian right after pigs fly, hell freezes over, etc. etc.  Remove your mind from the gutter please.

Anyway, this is a very long way of saying I highly recommend you watch the show "Life" on the Discovery Channel.  It is an amazing wildlife documentary, similar to the previous "Planet Earth" series.  I loved the show even though I had to close my eyes several times.  I realize cheetah's can't be vegetarians, but I still can't bring myself to watch a life being ended. (Other than the insects mentioned in a previous blog)  My only complaint is that Oprah Winfrey is doing the voice overs instead of David Attenborough.  That's probably just my infatuation with British accents though.  So gather the family around and be ready to see and learn some amazing things.  Did you know that the female octopus dies after she lays and tends to her eggs?  Now you do!

Life Series

An Ode to Garlic

Ahh, garlic.  Useful for warding off vampires and colds.  And husbands that don't like the smell of it on your breath.  Speaking of colds, I have a really awful one.  My normal arsenal against colds includes raw garlic and apple cider vinegar. (Not together).  The apple cider vinegar I use for throat issues, mixed with hot water and honey to make tea.  I mix the raw garlic with something like salsa, or make garlic bread and put the garlic on after I've toasted the bread.  Usually when I do this, the garlic inhibits the cold virus and I don't get sick.  This cold, however, is not taking no for an answer.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason.  Over the last year, I have expanded that theory to include "there is no such thing as a coincidence".  I think that when we're moving in a direction that's not in our best interest, something happens to gently nudge us back on course.  In this case, I am being nudged towards a book.

I have been buying a lot of books lately.  My interest in reiki has opened a whole new world of things that I know nothing about and am eager to learn.  One book that has been on my shelf since Christmas is "Healing With Whole Foods", by Paul Pitchford.  The title is pretty self explanatory.  The book combines Asian medicine and Western research to help with everything from the common cold to cancer.  I've been meaning to read it for a while, but it's huge and I can't take it to work.  When I'm home the only time I have to read is before bed, and by then I'm too tired to absorb much of it.  I finally opened the book today while I was laying in bed feeling sorry for my pitiful self.  I started flipping through it to the different pages associated with colds.  As I skimmed through the book, I realized how much I needed to start reading it because of all the useful information.  It even has recipes.

This all kind of ties together with the nutritionist I've been seeing, and the Candida diet I'm currently on.  Luckily, most of what I'm eating on the diet is great for colds too.  Lots of greens, sea vegetables, garlic, onions and ginger tea.  Sugar and dairy are two of the worst things you can eat when you have a cold.  Finally, a reward for this torturous food regime I've undertaken.  Actually, it will turn out to be really good for me in the long run.  I'm eating things I never would have touched before or known what to do with, like sea vegetables and Quinoa.  My 3 year old had Dulse today for the first time, and liked it so much he dumped half the bag on his soup.  Dulse is a  seaweed that's high in manganese and iodine, and a good substitute for salt.  Don't worry, I didn't know what it was either.  Now the trick will be converting my hubby to this way of eating, so I don't have to cook two meals every night.  It's ok honey, I won't attempt to take away your meat.  Not yet anyway.

Article about protein by Paul Pitchford

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Day At The Zoo

I have a love/hate relationship with zoos.  I love that they educate people about habitat destruction and over-fishing, etc.  I hate seeing animals that belong in the wild penned in tiny enclosures, neurotically pacing back and forth.

My junior year in high school I was trying to decide what career I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life.  I narrowed it down to aviation and either zoology or marine biology.  My mom liked to joke that my career choices went from A to Z.  My dad told me that I'd never make any money as a marine biologist, and thought I would have better job opportunities as a pilot.  He obviously didn't know any pilots, or anything about the aviation industry.

I'm actually pretty grateful  my dad did steer me towards aviation.  When my first airline went bankrupt, as they are quite known to do, I spent some time volunteering at the zoo.  At first, it was really interesting.  I enjoyed going into the enclosures with the animals, and being there before the public arrived.

This wasn't a big city zoo, but actually a camel breeder that decided to branch out and have some other animals.  Other than camels and zebras, most of the animals were petting zoo type animals.  I would clean out their enclosures, which were very small.  Most of them were penned in areas smaller than the size of a room in your house.  Dirt floor, no natural habitat, you get the idea.

After awhile, I found myself dreading the trip to the zoo.  Why was I driving an hour from home to feel sorry for the animals and pick up their poop, and I wasn't even getting paid to do it?  Upon further thought, it made me thankful that I had made the right career choice.  My paycheck didn't depend on shoveling excrement every day.  I would have enjoyed the close relationships with the animals, but having to clean up after them day after day would have become old very quickly.

As a pilot, I occasionally work with animals.  I don't have to shovel excrement, but I do have to listen to it once in awhile from know it all captains.  But for the most part, I'm happy with my career choice.  And as usual, Dad knew better than I did what was best for me.  Thanks Dad, I couldn't have done it without you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Pheasant From My Past

I was at my mom's house yesterday, which is very close to the city.  I was waiting in the car while my mom went into the house to get something.  While she was inside, I noticed something moving under her front window.  Next thing I know, a giant bird walks out of the bushes.  Now when I say giant, I don't mean Big Bird giant.  But it certainly wasn't robin or blue jay size.  It was a little smaller than a turkey with a long tail and completely brown.  It wasn't a bit afraid, as several people had walked right by it without even knowing it was there.

I grew up with a dad that enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid sportsman.  I'm pretty good at identifying animals -  by sight,  poop or tracks.  But I could not figure out what this was.  Too small for a turkey, too long of a tail for a grouse.  Lucky for me my mom is even better at identifying animals, and she informed me it was a female pheasant.  That thought never even crossed my mind, as I never expected to see one in the city.

The last few months I have been paying more attention to animals, especially birds.  Native American tradition suggests that each individual is connected with nine different animals throughout our lives that act as guides.  Each time I have a strange encounter with an animal, I google " ----- as totem".  I did this when the hawk flew into the branch right above me and just sat and cleaned itself, and when the turkey almost dive bombed my car, and the groundhog stood up on its hind legs and just watched us drive past, and the day I saw 4 blue jays in a tree at the same time.  The description of the symbolism of the animal has always been very accurate to what I was going through at the time.

The meaning of pheasant is right on in this case too.  I have to admit that pheasant's make me feel guilty, as they bring back a childhood memory I would just as soon forget.  My encounter with a pheasant around age 12 is probably what started me on the path to vegetarianism.

I can't think of anything my dad enjoyed more than hunting, except maybe Manhattans and cigarettes.  He desperately wanted me to share his passion, much to my dismay.  As the oldest child, he could not wait until my twelfth birthday, so I could join him on these morbid expeditions.  My dad tried valiantly to make me a hunter, and I think it was one of the few times in my life I disappointed him.

Once, we rowed into a swamp at 3 am to start shooting geese at daybreak.  Luckily for the geese, about 30 minutes after daybreak I was so bored and annoying that my dad couldn't stand it anymore and we went home.  By the way, did you know geese mate for life?  They sometimes circle the place where their mate has fallen out of the sky for days.  Then there was the time I was deer hunting with my mom, and a deer ran about 15 feet in front of us.  Lucky for the doe it was buck season.  After almost wetting myself, I told my mom that if it happened to be a buck she would have to shoot it because I couldn't.

Then there was the infamous pheasant hunt.  My dad thought that pheasant would be a great substitution for turkey for Thanksgiving one year.  We hauled ourselves off to a pheasant farm, where they raise pheasants and then turn them loose in a field.  You are pretty much guaranteed to shoot something, as you then go out into a field with a dog that scares the pheasant into flight.  I have many issues with this to begin with, but then I had to have a pheasant that refused to fly.  The dog just couldn't get him to budge.  So the owner of the place walked over to the bird, picked him up, and threw him into the air.  My dad yelled, "SHOOT IT", and in an effort to please him, I did.  Unfortunately for the pheasant, my aim was pretty good.

I don't have many vivid memories from the age of twelve, but I can remember that moment like it was yesterday.  The trip back home is a blur, but I can remember sitting on the step in the driveway after we got home.  I had the pheasant cradled in my lap, somehow trying to apologize to it and make peace with what I had done.  My neighbor yelled down from her yard, "Did you get a new pet?".  "No", I said, "It's a dead pheasant".  No wonder the neighbors thought we were a little weird.

That is the one and only thing I have ever killed in my life.  Actually, that's a lie.  I went fishing when I was a kid, I've set a few successful mousetraps, and I have killed countless bugs.  But that is the one snuffing out of a life that I feel the most remorse for.  My dad, however, had never been more proud of me.

So it is with great astonishment and pleasure that I find the pheasant re-entering my life, especially with the good message it brings.  Maybe it has forgotten about the past, or decided to let bygones be bygones.  Or maybe it's just decided that we need to co-exist.  Whatever the reason, I am grateful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Can't We All Just Get Along Part II

I talked in the last blog about Co-existing in the garden, now my thoughts are turning to Co-existing in the nursery.  My thoughts on parenting are still evolving, and I might feel differently when I'm dealing with a 16 year old instead of a 3 3/4 year old.

I am starting to believe, and this has been a slow evolution for me, that kids are just small adults without the life experience.  They are not here to be molded by us, but rather for us to safely guide and protect them while they're having their own life experiences to gain knowledge.  I'm not saying that we should let our kids do what they want and be out of control or rude, but I do think we should have the same respect for them as we do for adults.  Here are some examples.

How often do we tell our children not to interrupt, but then interrupt them or not let them finish a sentence?  Why do we expect our kids to immediately stop what they're doing and go do something we've asked them to do, when we hate to have our projects interrupted? (Try to remember the last time you jumped up immediately when your spouse asked you to do something).  Why do we expect our kids to always use a sweet tone of voice, when most of what we say to them is a curt command?  Why do we feel it's ok to walk over and turn the tv off in the middle of their program, when we would have a fit if someone did that to us?  Why do we tell our children it is not ok to hit a friend, and then when they do it anyway correct them with a spanking?  Co-exist.

I am currently facing my own challenges with these philosophies.  My son is starting to exhibit some of the notorious disrespectful behavior of a four year old.  My husband and I have slightly different ways of dealing with this.  He prefers the drill sergeant method, I prefer the "ask nicely first, and then lose privileges" method.  We'll see which works out best.  It's something we are all working on, as we learn to - Co-exist.

I know child rearing is a touchy subject.  It seems that we all think we know the right way to parent, and everyone else is ruining their children.  Some of you will completely disagree with what I've written, and think that family life is a dictatorship and not a democracy.  Children are not mini adults, and respect should be a one way street from child to parent.  That's ok if you feel that way, but let's agree to disagree. Co-exist.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Co-exist, as explained in the dictionary, means "to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy."

I was flying with a captain from Madison, WI.  We were discussing something and I said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”  He said,  “Yeah.  That’s another thing about Madison, all those liberals with their Co-exist bumper stickers”.  He said it with such scorn, like the word was causing him pain just to repeat it.  I said, “What’s wrong with co-existing?”.  To which he replied, “They don’t mean get along, they mean we should apologize to everyone for everything”.  At this point I knew we had a difference of opinion, so I respectfully tuned out of the conversation.  Co-exist.

Why can't we as individuals all just get along?  Why can’t we live side by side and you do your thing and I'll do mine?  Instead, we feel the need to convert everyone to our belief system, or our way of thinking.  Why can’t we agree to disagree?  Why do we humans have to impose our will on others, or try to dominate everything.  Co-exist.

To me, Co-exist doesn't mean to give in or pacify or not stick up for ourselves.  Why is it that being peaceful and kind and compassionate is nowadays associated with being weak?  (Or worse yet, unpatriotic).  So many times, the ego gets in the way of our Co-existing, and makes it impossible to back down and find a peaceful solution.  The ego causes so many problems, and I have to admit my own can be a raging beast sometimes. (Just ask my husband).  I'm working really hard at keeping my ego out of the way, and I notice it is making a big difference.  I might not be able to make nations stop going to war, but I am going to try to call a truce in my back yard.  Co-exist.

I love tulips.  After five years in this house, I have tulips that I have never seen bloom.  They come up beautifully (like they are doing right now), and right before they bloom something comes along and eats the top off.  Now, I don't live in the country.  My neighbor's house is about 15 feet away.  But the deer make a path through the yard each night, and in the morning I find their footprints next to the shredded tulip carcass.

I don't think I'm the only one having deer problems right now.  In fact, it seems there is a small civil war going on right now between homeowners and deer.  As mad as we are at the deer for eating our plants, imagine how the deer must feel.  We decide to plunk down a home plan in the middle of their field/living room, and pave over their bedroom with our driveway.  What if a deer walked into your house one day and decided to take up residence on the 2nd floor?  Then he waves a chocolate bar/Starbuck's double half caf latte/Budweiser in front of your nose and says, "Oh no sir.  You can't eat this.  If you do, I'll spray it with garlic or hot pepper or something equally obnoxious.  But I'll leave it right here for you to walk past and drool over every day."  Co-exist.

No, I haven't lost it.  And this isn't where the crazy part comes in.  I am actually kidding about the deer in the house thing.  Although, the next time I see a deer jump through a video store window on the evening news I no longer have to wonder, "What was he thinking?"  Maybe I will have more compassion when I gaze out the window at my tulip nubbs this year.  Co-exist.

There was a very lucky ant on my airplane this afternoon that benefitted from my new found compassion.  He was crawling on my sunglasses, and for the first time in my life, I wasn't able to kill him.  I just threw him in the trash, where he could feast on the remains of my rice cake.  Stop laughing, a rice cake might be a feast for an ant.  Yes I know I'm a vegetarian and we're not supposed to kill things, but my vegetarian compassion for animals has never extended to the insect world before.  We'll see if the next mosquito I cross paths with gets as lucky.  Co-exist.

I actually have more thoughts on this subject than I realized, so I am going to continue it in another post. I've decided that I'm going to take some of the pressure off of myself.  Instead of having to post every day, I'm just going to commit to 365 posts in one year from the day I started.  That way if I don't have time to do one or don't have anything to talk about, we don't both have to suffer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Laugh - It's Good For You

I'm still working, but I'm at home on an overnight tonight, and my son is coming to go swimming at the hotel pool.  Since I have to be up even earlier tomorrow morning, I know I won't have time to blog.

I've seen the following several times, and I don't think it's true.  Every time I get it, it is attributed to a different airline.  Not to mention the fact that the FAA doesn't have much of a sense of humor.  The logbook where this stuff is written up is a legal document, and we can get in trouble if we accidentally put the wrong date or forget to write the aircraft number.  I can't see the FAA having a laugh about this, but maybe you will.

After every flight, Quantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet,"
which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics
correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots
review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that
ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas'
pilots(marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by
maintenance engineers.

By the way, Quantas is the only major airline that has never had an
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire. 
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft. 
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit. 
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order. 
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground. 
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed. 
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level. 
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for. 
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode. 
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right. 
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search. 
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious. 
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics. 
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed. 
P. Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding
on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.
More original thoughts tomorrow.  Off to the pool!

Monday, March 15, 2010

An Afternoon In Detroit

Detroit.  How do I love thee - let me count the ways.  OK, done.  Actually I don't hate Detroit, I just find it incredibly depressing.  I live in a 100 year old house, and I love old houses.  To see the state of the houses in downtown Detroit just rips my heart out.

But what's worse than the condition of the houses still standing, is the totally empty blocks that were once lined with gorgeous houses that are now completely gone.  There is actually talk of bulldozing more houses in the city and turning neighborhoods back into fields and farmland.  As long as the houses are stripped of anything useful first, I don't think I have a problem with that.  It's better than having a pile of decrepit junk.  So long as they don't just grow corn in the fields, but I will rant about corn and high fructose corn syrup in another post.

So this new diet has made preparing to come to work very interesting.  I don't carry a cooler, and trying to cram a bunch of veggies in a non refrigerated bag gets kind of dicey.  I think I've eaten my weight in brown rice the last three days.  I'm tired of stir fry already, and I've got another month to go.

Packing in general has been a pain lately.  You'd think after 11 years of being a pilot, I'd have it down to a science.  Instead, it takes me a couple of hours every time.  Each time I go to work I swear I'm going to pack lighter, and yet every week it feels like someone has stuffed a couple of bricks in my bag.

Here's another interesting thing about going to work.  At home, I can't drag my sorry self out of bed before 8 am.  At work, I have to be up before 6am, and usually by 5.  I get to see a lot of sunrises at work, and it is one of the most beautiful times of the day.  I wish I would get up to see them at home.

Speaking of the sunrise, I need to get to bed.  Didn't sleep well last night, and 4 am comes awfully early tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Eat Or Not To Eat

Well, I guess I won't be going out to eat much for the next month.  On a recommendation from the previously mentioned nutritionist, I am cutting out even more food from my diet for a month.  Gone already are the meat, dairy, wheat, sugar, alcohol.  Wait a minute, it would be easier to list what I can eat.  Granny smith apples, berries, lemon, lime, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, almond milk, nuts, seeds, and any veggies I want.  I know what you're thinking, and I wish I wasn't me too.

So I took my son to my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant, which is my equivalent of going to a steakhouse.  To my great disappointment, everything on the menu that was wheat free had fruit or dairy, everything without dairy had  wheat.  The soy milk and almond milk both had sugar.  AARRGGHH!  If I can't make it here, I can't make it anywhere.  At least my son enjoyed the pinball machine.

The one thing that is keeping me going thru all of this is a dear friend who suffers from chemical sensitivity.  At one point, her body became so toxic that she could only eat 4 things.  One of them was parsnips.  How many people in America even know what a parsnip is?  I will confess that I never knew what a parsnip was until my first trip to England, so don't be embarrassed.  They don't eat many vegetables over there, but the parsnip happens to be one of them.  And that's not a knock on England, it's one of my favorite places. (If your curiosity is killing you about the parsnips, they look kind of like cream colored carrots.  Quite good roasted).

Anyway, this friend of mine has a much more limited diet than I do, and has had to deal with it for a much longer period of time.  She is teaching me about new things I can eat, and she also has a very positive attitude.  The last time we were at a restaurant together, I commented on how difficult it must be for her to eat out.  She said, "It's as difficult as I choose to make it."  And she's completely right.  In fact, I could apply that logic to a lot of things in my life.  My friend chooses to focus on the things she can eat, instead of what she can't.

So, needless to say, I am eating in a way I never thought I would.  For breakfast yesterday, I had brown rice, steamed bok choy, broccoli, and a fried egg mixed together.  A month ago, I never would have thought of eating that for breakfast.  And a month ago, I would've thought it sounded pretty disgusting.  Today, it was delicious.

I am also blessed to have a friend from Taiwan, who was kind enough to show me around the asian grocery store the other day.  It's amazing how much more appealing (and gross) things become when you actually know what they are.  It's also strange to be buying food from China, when I won't even buy Chinese toys for my son.  No thanks - lead paint, but yes please - whatever toxins might be on the vegetables.  What is the saying, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger?  I hope that applies to my stomache and intestines too.

My friend and I  came home from the store and made sushi, several kinds of tofu, and egg pancakes with green onion and radish.  I watched her make the sushi, and she made it look so easy.  When I tried it myself for the next meal, it was kind of like a sushi vegetable blob.  I couldn't even cut it, so we ate it like a burrito!  Like anything, I'm sure it gets easier with practice.

So I find myself quite literally trying to think outside the box for meals.  Getting ready for work today has been a challenge.  It's hard to pack food for three days without a cooler.  I'll let you know how that goes in tomorrow's post.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Everyone wants to bang a drum

7:30am.  Going to try the morning blog one more time.  Frantically typing before the battery goes dead in my computer.  The charger is downstairs, and from yesterday's post we all know what happens when I go downstairs.

I attended my first drum circle last night.  I don't really know much about drum circle's, and to be honest they always seemed a little hippie-ish to me.  I'm finding the older I get, the more fascinating I find activities that I used to consider tree hugger or hippie.  And I don't mean the drugs, for anyone associated with aviation that might be reading this.  I assure you, I am still of sound mind and pure body.

The reason I felt compelled to write those last two sentences, is because of a conversation I had with my husband the other day.  When I asked him what he thought of me writing a blog, he said, "I think it's fine unless you have some sort of airplane accident".   To which I replied, "Well, then I won't be around to worry about it".  To which he replied, "True, but we will".

And he has a point.  If something did happen, everything seems to boil down to pilot error in the end.  If someone were to discover this blog, and take something out of context, then it could potentially be a problem.  I find it incredibly sad that things that used to be commonplace many years ago are now considered strange or crazy.  Things like intuition, communing with plants and animals, and energy healing have been around for a very long time, but now they seem to have some sort of bad connotation.

I guess the reason I'm writing all this now, is I want to put some local links on my blogs.  That obviously makes it easier to find out who I am, which I'm about to do anyway.  The secrecy is not something I'm enjoying.  There are just some subjects that I won't be able to go into as deeply as I would like to, because of what I've mentioned above.

But I digress from the drum circle.  It was a great experience.  I have my own drum, from a "Transformational Reiki" class I have taken in the past.
The energy in the room was amazing, and I found myself almost going into a trance with the rythmic drumming.  I would find myself staring at a place on the floor for long periods, and not even realizing I was doing it.

Drumming is said to help people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, Autism, the list goes on and on.  It promotes physical and mental relaxation and relief from stress.  And it's also just a whole lot of fun.  I can't write anymore about it, because I don't know anymore about it.  You can google it as well as I can. Besides, my battery is just about dead. - Transformational Reiki

Friday, March 12, 2010

Something I never thought I'd do with oil

So it's a little after 7am, and I am writing while swishing a tablespoon of sesame oil in my mouth.  Sounds disgusting, I know.  When I first heard about it, it actually sounded impossible.  But I'm learning that nothing is impossible unless you make it that way.  It's actually not that bad when you get used to it.  It's called oil pulling, and it's an ayurvedic practice.  You can learn more about it from the links below.

Oil pulling is supposed to remove toxins from the body.  I can't tell you if it works or not, because I haven't been doing it long enough yet.  And quite honestly, I've been forgetting a lot.  You do it right before breakfast, and before you've had anything to drink.  I wake up so thirsty that sometimes I've had a drink before I think of it.

It's also difficult to do when you have a 4 year old firing non stop questions at you from the minute he wakes up.  He's getting better at sign language, but not being able to talk for twenty minutes becomes frustrating for both of us.  I tried to do it today before he woke up, but unfortunately the staircase in our hundred year old house is not conducive to sneaking down to the kitchen.  It creaks like the bones of any other centenarian.  The good news is my son will never be able to sneak in or out of the house when he's 16.

So I think there is some benefit to oil pulling, and will continue to try it.  I do notice a lot of post nasal drip while I'm pulling, so it must be doing something.

I used to be able to wake up, get ready, and be out the door in twenty minutes.  Now my morning routine has expanded to brush teeth, tongue scraping, oil pulling, glass of water, glass of water with lemon, and then finally breakfast.  That doesn't even include the yoga and meditation I've been trying to do in the morning.  I'm going to have to start getting up at 6 am just to make it out the door by 8.  Then I need to find time for blogging and reiki.  Is there anyway to stretch the days to 26 hours?  I just need to start sleeping for 6 hrs. instead of 8 and I'll be fine.

This is the first post I've tried to write in the morning, and I see I will go back to pm posts.  Not quite awake before 8 am, and I'm being pleaded with to go play legos.  I can't write, pull, and try to do sign language that I need to finish this before I can play.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

“And the Day came when the effort it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anias Nin

The title of this post was in an email I read when I got up this morning.  I felt it was quite appropriate for this new endeavor I'm undertaking.

So I had my first visit to a nutritionist today.  Considering I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years, it was long overdue.  The woman I went to see has helped people cure all kinds of illness thru dietary change.  She also works with "The Cancer Project", a non-profit whose mission is to advance cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.

To explain how I ended up meeting with her, I have to give you a little background info.  Actually, this will help explain what got me started on this path towards alternative health.

When I first became a vegetarian, my diet consisted mainly of french fries, cheese, pasta, and the occasional green leafy thing.  After gaining about 20 pounds, I realized that even though I was helping Bessie the cow and Lulu the pig, I was not doing myself any favors.

So my diet evolved to be a little healthier, but still heavy on dairy.  Because my family was freaked out about me "not getting enough protein", I went heavy on the milk and cheese to appease them.  Although not having ever met a cheese I didn't like, I was quite happy with this arrangement too.  Then when I turned 30 I started developing some seasonal allergy symptoms.  I went to see an allergist who informed me that I wasn't allergic to anything.

By the time I was 35, the symptoms were not just seasonal, but year round.  This is what led me to start acupuncture, which is a wonderful modality that I will discuss more in another blog.  So the acupuncture led me to Reiki, because my acupuncturist was also a Reiki I practitioner.

Around this time I also started reading books by Dr. Andrew Weil.  I started with "Eight Weeks to Optimal Health", but it was "Spontaneous Healing" that taught me the most.  After reading that and cutting out anything partially hydrogenated, high fructose, or anything with "fake sugar", I was able to lose 30 pounds and fit back into my "pre-baby" jeans.  I would highly recommend "Spontaneous Healing" if you're having trouble cutting the bad stuff out of your diet.  After reading what it does to your body, it might not seem as appetizing anymore.

About a month ago I decided to do a 3 day fruit and vegetable detox.  Since I hadn't eaten wheat for 3 days, which I realized I was eating almost every meal, I decided to see if I could stay off of it and see if I felt any better.  I had already cut out meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol, so after cutting out wheat too I really needed some ideas about what was left to eat.  It's amazing how good a rice cake tastes after you've cut out everything else with flavor.

My weight loss mantra used to be, "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels".  I guess I'll have to change that to, "nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels."  So that's what led me to the nutritionist.  If you're still with me, congratulations for slogging thru.  I know you'll be waiting with baited breath for my update after my second meeting next week.

Well, I'm off to bed to dream about my favorite meal.  A glass of zinfandel, a plate of cheese, followed by coffee and chocolate for dessert.  Those were the days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Am I Doing Here?

If you would have told me even a month ago I would be writing a blog, I would have told you you were crazy. I consider my writing skills to be on par with that of about a fifth grader. On top of that, I'm the computer illiterate of the family. My husband will fall off his chair laughing when he finds out I'm doing this. Just today in fact, I had to call him because I couldn't get the dvd to come out of my computer. I know it's in there, but I can't figure out how to eject it. It's his fault actually. He bought me a mac thinking he would spend less time as my personal tech support. Sorry honey, the jokes on you.

So the purpose of this blog is to detail my continuing journey into the realm of alternative health and healing. I'm an airline pilot by trade, and yes there is a certain irony that computers don't like me, given my profession. It's only ground based computers I have problems with though, the ones in the airplane actually like me.

About a year ago I started taking Reiki classes. The best way I can describe Reiki is that it's a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. It is done on a massage table or chair, and the practitioner uses different hand positions over the body. The recipient feels relaxed, sometimes tingly, and their body will begin to promote healing from within. I'll describe more about Reiki in a later blog.

I have since gone on to become a Reiki Master, and along this journey I have been exposed to many different "alternative" health practices. It still makes me laugh to think that non invasive things like nutrition, acupuncture and herbs are considered alternative. Meanwhile we're all focusing on the reactive part of "dis-ease" and how we can cure our ills, instead of being proactive and not getting the "dis-ease" in the first place.

So this blog will detail my journey from a fact based, logical, type A pilot - to a more spiritual, accepting (even things I can't explain or quite get my mind around), alternative healer. I haven't quite decided what to do about my identity. I don't intend to keep it hidden forever, and if it comes out it's no big deal. I just feel more comfortable writing anonymously for awhile. Many of my friends don't even know this stuff about me, and may not agree with some of it. I can be more candid this way, because some of the things I want to discuss are not things you normally hear pilots discuss. I'm not talking about anything crazy, just things like crystal healing, Native American Shamans, animal signs etc. Well, I guess it depends on your definition of crazy. I guess what I'm saying is that if someone has a big desire to "out" me before I "out" myself, it's no big deal. To be honest, I may not be computer savvy enough to keep it a secret.

So thanks for joining me on this ride. Now this should be interesting. (At least for me!)