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The Emboldenment Continues: A saga of small-scale terror in one of America’s most diverse suburbs

28 Jan
This is a second-hand story I heard from my mom this afternoon.
Earlier today, my mother was with her walking group of (mostly) seniors at the Columbia Mall. Afterward they went to Panera for coffee, or as my mom mistakenly called it, Pandora. (She still thinks McDonald’s has the best coffee. Some things in life are mysteries.)

Sitting with her fellow walkers, they were talking and, invariably, Trump’s activities of the last week came up. The bemoaning and groaning started. The incredulity of it all! Then one woman shared her personal story. Another did too. And another.

The first woman is about 80 years old and is from subcontinental India. She has lived in the U.S. since the late ’60s, had a formidable career here, raised a family in Columbia, paid her taxes, contributed to society, yada, yada.

Out grocery shopping a few weeks ago, two white guys came up to her and started harassing her. They told her that she needed to leave the country. Scared, but fiery. She told them that she had lived in America since before they were born.They said they were white supremacists and that she needed to leave. She purchased her items and left the store.

They followed her home.

She wrote down their license plate number and contacted the police, but as no crime had been committed, there was nothing the police could do.

About a week later, she left her house one day to do an errand. She started her car but it was driving strangely. All her tires were flat. Slashed. Dismayed, she told her husband. And he said that he would drive her to her destination. Alas, he couldn’t as all four of his tires were also slashed.

Another woman at Panera this morning told a story of an incident that recently happened to her stepson, a man whose family is from El Salvador but who was born in America and, of course, speaks English fluently. He also speaks Spanish. Recently, he was out and about, talking with a friend in Spanish while on his cell phone when a white guy came by and told him to go back to his country. That he wasn’t welcome here anymore.

And then this clincher: Another woman in her 80s–and a small, petite one at that–was in one of the Howard County libraries recently. She works in the social justice movement, particularly around Palestinian and Jewish issues, and she’d gone to the library to do some research. She was in a quiet area with few people around and was reading some books on the subject when a white man came up to her, pushed all of her books off of the table and said, “If you care so much about this, you should go there and leave this country!”

To a little old lady?

In my hometown of Columbia, Maryland, and Howard County. The land of open arms for diversity.

To those who feel so emboldened as to trample on another’s basic rights and dignity because of some perceived otherness, I say this. I AM ALSO EMBOLDENED. And on my watch, I will do whatever I can to continue the true story of America and Americans: We are all–at the end of the day–of immigrant background. And our strength as a country is in our diversity. Always has been. Always will be.

immigrants-trump-terror

Uncommon thoughts on bacon, cannibalism and religion

2 Jan

I closed out the year by doing a ceremony with the entheogenic grandmother medicine, known as ayauhausca, followed by another entheogen: frog medicine, or Kambo. Both have purgative qualities, the frog medicine much more so than the grandmother medicine.

When the opportunity arose to do these ceremonies, I couldn’t think of a more fitter way to end the year than with a powerful ceremony and purging: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

This was my fifth time doing ayauhausca, though my first time in 15 years. And it was my first time doing Kambo. Kambo is administered by first making a slight burn in the skin and then by applying the frog medicine. When it was my turn, and the person doing the administering started to burn my skin he said, “Meat eater?” To which I answered, “Yes, how can you tell?” Bacon, he told me. “You smell like bacon. Meat eaters do.”

This reminded me of a theory (perhaps more of a thought) that came to me a few years back when I was helping out a lot at friend’s farm where they raised pigs in a woodland setting. We talked a lot about pigs then. Pigs, sausage, bacon, curing. Pigs’ biology, how similar their bodies are to ours, how pigs and humans suffer from similar maladies, how pigs eyes and human eyes are the most similar.

It was in these few years of being around pigs so much that I thought there was probably a correlation to the religious prohibition against eating pork (something I could never understand–come on, pork has to be the tastiest of meats … and bacon! don’t even get me started on bacon!). In my earlier years, none of the explanations I’d heard of why certain religions prohibited the eating of pork had ever made a lick of sense to me.

So, this has always been a question in the back of my mind: Why would a religion deny people the right to eat pork? What’s the motivation?

Then, on the farm, talking so much of pigs, being around pigs, eating pig this and pig that is when this theory/thought/idea popped into my mind, and it’s this:

Humans probably taste like pork! And the religions didn’t want people having a taste for pork (for eating people) and thus banned pork. Yes, I know, it’s a bit of an out-there thought, but it seemed the only plausible explanation I could fathom.

Then, on the new year’s morning, as I prepared to receive my frog medicine, as I was asked if I was a meat eater based on my smell, this quirky (and possibly more true than might appear at first glance) thought came back to my memory.

For the sake of this blog post, I googled about the taste of human flesh and found that, yes, human-eaters of yore have often compared the taste and texture of human flesh to pork.

Stranger things have been true.

 

How you can help me. And how can I help you?

2 Nov

There’s this Polish guy I know. His name is Mike Turajczyk and he goes by the name Polish Mike; it’s an excellent brand, and he works it. I like Polish Mike. I find him smart, savvy, energized. Our lives intersect as he is, among other things, a marketing and management consultant for healthcare clinics and other businesses. And he loves to help people to live happier lives.

Over tea recently, Polish Mike said to me, “Put together a list of all the ways I can help you. Make it detailed. Add as many things as you want. I’m always networking, and I want to know how I can help you.”

What a fascinating idea.

Personally, I think one of the easiest, biggest-bang-for-the-buck things out there is to give a referral. Referrals take almost no time to give, they provide help to two parties (the seeker and the referred person), plus, when I make a referral, I get networking brownie points from not one, but two people. And the referral saves both parties so much. Trust cuts through about 40 percent of the clutter in relationships. (I got that number from a book I read, The Speed of Trust.)

Now, why would you want to help me?

Maybe you like me. Maybe you tolerate me. Maybe I’ve done a favor for you. Maybe you simply like to be of service. Or maybe you want to build your own cache of brownie points.

But I will tell you something that’s easier to say in person than to type. I’ve had a recent eye-opening experience about the physical health and financial conditions of an elderly family member. This person is not able to retire and stop working at this point for financial reasons, yet his health considerations are making things more difficult with each passing year.

Uber Chronicles - Field Notes - Trees.jpeg

My motivation

I’ve made a personal decision to help this person retire, to provide a reliable, steady stream of income to ease some of his worries in his later years. To do so, I need to get my own financial house in better order; otherwise, I’d be harming myself to help another … and I doubt that’s a good strategy, short term or long term. I’m particularly focused on the realm of streaming, passive and/or affiliate income.

And, with that, I present my list of how you can--if you wish to–help me.

I look forward to seeing your list–and your motivating “why”–as well!

Uber & Uber Chronicles

  • Encourage people to download and read my books.
  • Connect me to someone at  Uber’s HQ if you know anyone who works there. The higher up, the better.
  • Create backlinks through FB, twitter and blogs to my Amazon book store and/or my website. (These help me get better ratings with Amazon and help my book sale.)
  • Introduce me to anyone who does podcasts who might interview me.
  • Send my referral link to anyone who wants to drive for 1) Uber, or enter my referral code of w5p3q when you sign up on uber.com and/or Lyft or enter in  my code: JESSIE534662.

Atigro Digital Marketing

  • Introduce me to people who run marketing or IT departments at companies making $3-50 million in annual revenue.
  • Introduce me to people who run their own web design or marketing agencies.
  • Send leads my way for website, SEO, mobile app or database integration projects. The more technical, the better.

Nerium Anti-aging

  • Send people my link if they are concerned about anti-aging of their face, body or brain.
  • Introduce me to people who are interested in the business opportunity in this ever-green and fast -growing industry and company.
  • Keep your eyes out especially for people in Canada, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines, Germany, Colombia and, of course, the U.S.

Amazon Purchases

For Howard County

OK, that’s what I can think of for now.

Working in Antarctica

I am going to get a seasonal job in Antarctica, as an admin support person or something better. I’ve thoroughly applied for such a job in 2016, though my suspicion, as the jobs are so few in number, is that some insider connections may help. If you have any connections with the Antarctic missions and can make an introduction or put in a good word for me, I’d be most grateful.

How can you help Mike?

Mike gives practical solutions to chronic problems and constantly innovates business models to increase sales and profitability. If you (or people you know) are dealing with a business problem that is now chronic, please feel free to contact him on Linkedin or by email. And definitely check out testimonials on YouTube.

What about you? How can I help you?

And, if you make your own list, please send it my way as well.

Uber Chronicles Books 1, 2 & 3! A gift, a favor.

31 Oct

ducks

Well, I’m now an experienced and published author. At least in the ebook world. 🙂

Getting book #1 of my Uber Chronicles series published was certainly a learning process. I spent many hours listening to YouTube videos of do’s and don’ts for ebook publishing; I managed more aspects of a book launch than I thought were even possible; and I figured out the rhythm for how I want to publish my future books.

My first book, while not yet an international bestseller, garnered 600+ book sales, over 40 reviews and fans from the US, UK, Canada, Mexico and Japan. If you were among these numbers, thank you!

Book #2, Uber Chronicles: Reflections from the Rearview Mirror, will be published October 30th and available free, as a gift to you, October 30 – November 1st. (Book #1 will also be free those same days.)

It helps my Amazon rankings and sales to get as many downloads as possible, so even if you don’t think you’ll read my book any time soon, a click or two to download my books helps me. Would you kindly do this as a favor to me?

You can find the books on my author page. When you download the book, click “read for free;” however, if the free dates have passed, click “buy now with 1-click.” If you’re on a screen where Amazon is trying to get you to sign up for a monthly service, back out and start again. You don’t need a Kindle to read the books. Amazon offers a free Kindle app that allows you to read ebooks.

Book #3 — Needs a name and beta readers

Book #3 (currently in need of a name) is about to go into production. I’ll be looking for help in the form of beta readers who do anything from check for typos, to read for flow and consistency, to full on editing support. If you’d like to help out with book #3 — either by suggesting a name or by being a beta reader — let me know.

interview.jpg

Another favor (two, actually)

As you may know, I’m quite involved in the gig economy, and I do a number of things for active and residual income. I was recently interviewed on the Ever Better podcast. If you know anyone who runs a podcast and think they might be interested in interviewing me, I’d appreciate an introduction.

And, finally, with the business development work I do for Atigro Digital Marketing, I’m always looking to develop relationships with marketing directors of small and medium-size companies. Do you have any friends, associates or colleagues who manage the marketing, website and/or mobile app projects at their companies? If so, I’d love a referral.

Well, that’s it for now. If there is any way that I can help you, say so.

Thanks!

Links

PS — If you’re local to the DC Metro area and would like to get together for tea, a walk or a bike ride, let me know. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems that for as many people as I know, to actually reach out and say, “Hey, let’s get together; I’d like to stay in touch and catch up,” can sometimes seem a bit awkward. So, I’m putting it out there: tea, a walk or a bike ride.

Further away? I’m not afraid of the phone or skype. 1+443-794-7521 or jessie.newburn on skype.

thank-you

Flash floods and my dad is OK

10 Aug

As you probably have heard by now, Historic Ellicott City, a charming, quaint, vibrant, beloved town, some 244 years-old and counting, suffered a devastating flash flood on Saturday, July 30.

Restaurants, stores and businesses were demolished in the raging floods brought on by 5.9 inches of rain in two hours.

The normal river flow of 60 cubic feet of water per second escalated to 21,000 cubic feet per second … like that!

People tell stories of sitting in their apartments, enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant, or serving customers in a retail shop on a rainy evening when suddenly paintings started falling off the walls, buildings started to shake and water rose quickly from the floorboards into their buildings.

And that was just the beginning.

Dozens of cars were carried down the street in the raging waters: 120 daring swift-water rescues were made (including one by my friend David Dempster whose human-chain car rescue of a stranded woman was videotaped and has now been seen over a million times).

Over 200 buildings have been structurally damaged. Some buildings are possibly beyond recovery. Two are likely to collapse.

Two people died.

I personally know–as in I’ve been to their house or they’ve been to mine–seven people who own stores and restaurants in the area, and I know as acquaintances and friends a handful of other store and restaurant owners.

A friend of my mother’s, someone she’s known for 25 years, is married to someone I know from my childhood. They were on vacation when the flash floods came. They live–nay, lived, past tense–above one of the buildings where collapse is now likely.

My father’s office is also in Historic Ellicott City. And while he often works late, the flash flood came on a Saturday night and thankfully he wasn’t at the office.

His office is higher up the hill and it suffered less damage than buildings lower. But flooding is flooding, and water damage is water damage.

The entire basement of this built-in-1835 building was flooded and the basement steps were covered in a thick, gray, sludge that was still wet ten days after the flood.

When allowed in by the county, we’ve gone in (me, my dad and a few amazing friends and helpers) to clear out the soggy, damp, water-damaged and muddy items.

The flooding, whether it came from the basement or from the street, penetrated his entire office. His business and operations–while significantly inconvenienced–are recoverable. Unlike so many of the stores and restaurants in the area, he has an office, a land development business, that is not dependent on foot traffic.

But Robin took a heavier blow

My dear friend Robin, who quit her job of 26 years as a nuclear engineer so that she could pursue her dream of having an art gallery, has been devastated by this flood. (That’s Robin on the right. The short redhead.)

She opened HorseSpirit Arts Gallery in Historic Ellicott City less than a year ago. She features and sells all and only work from local artists who live in the county.

I’ve hosted and attended parties at Robin’s gallery, been to her house, met her for coffee numerous times, and have had her and her husband over to my home.

She’s not just a business owner I sort of know. And she’s but one of a handful of owners for whom I could tell similar stories; people I know and care for.

She tried to hold the front door shut against the raging waters. Her customers at her gallery had fled to the second story and were begging–screaming–for her to abandon her post and come to higher ground.

She finally retreated when the waters reached her armpits and the door frame broke.

Not only has she experienced the trauma of witnessing her entire first floor being flooded, having her one-of-a-kind art inventory and store furnishings washed away, but now she has been told that while she had purchased flood insurance, she didn’t have flood insurance for an art gallery and so the insurance company isn’t going to pay anything …  even though they knew she owned an art gallery when they sold her the flood insurance.

!!! Seriously ???

A friend has set up a gofundme page for her. Someone else has gathered all the GoFundMe pages for individuals and businesses impacted by the flash flood. Here’s a radio interview where she describes her experience for those of you aurally oriented.

In a flash. In a flash! But how life can change in a flash.

 

My first Uber Chronicles book is publisheed

19 Jul

I’m so excited. And tickled pink! Last week, I published my ebook, Uber Chronicles: Field Notes from the Front Seat, on Amazon.

My book, if you haven’t heard, is about my experiences driving for Uber. I write about each and every passenger. Yes, each and every one. For this first book (and I’m already working on the next), I chronicle 10 times that I went out driving and the 56 passengers I picked up during those times.

I tell stories about what my passengers look like (and sometimes smell like), what we talk about, where they are going. And I tell stories about what’s happening in my head while I’m driving them: what I’m thinking, the stuff I don’t say out loud.

From my earlier fans and readers, the feedback (and encouragement to write this book) has been great. Beyond anything I expected when I sat down late one night to write about what was happening in my car as I drove for Uber. I think you’ll enjoy the stories, too!

Please download my book today!

The next few days are critical

From everything I’ve read about book publishing on Amazon, and from all the podcasts I’ve listened to and YouTube videos I’ve watched, it seems Amazon likes activity. And it especially likes a high volume of activity at the launch of a book.

What does “activity” look like to Amazon’s algorithm?

  • Downloads (free or paid)
  • Reviews (especially reviews by people who’ve downloaded the book)
  • Backlinks (blogs and social media posts that link exactly and specifically to the book)

 

How you can help

I need help with these book-launch activities. In order or priority, would you kindly —

  1. Download my book
  2. Write a review if you read the book. It’s a pretty quick read.
  3. Post on social media and include a link and graphic to my book in a blog post (links and graphics below).
  4. Share my book announcement that I’ll be posting on Facebook (personal or book page), Twitter and Linkedin. (To do this, you’ll need to go to my accounts and share the announcement from there.)

Phew! Yes, I know. It’s a lot. A lot more than I thought would be involved. Haha. I remember thinking how easy this would be to publish an ebook. I mean, really, I already had the content written. All I needed was a cover and someone to convert my manuscript to an ebook file. Right? Hah! But that’s another story for another day.

Thank you to each and all of you who encouraged me along the way, gave feedback, helped me edit and proofread the manuscript and provided your vote (and in some cases your strongly expressed opinion, too) regarding my book cover design.

And thank you for your support and help in launching my new book with good energy, community support and happy vibes.

Fondly,

 

Jessie Newburn

 

P.S. – Every bit helps. If you can do nothing else, and even if you don’t plan on reading the book, simply downloading the book from Amazon is super helpful to my short- and long-term goals with the books. Thank you!

 

Links

Uber Chronicles on Amazon

Website

Facebook page

Sign up for updates

 

Graphics to use on social media

 

Three graphics coming

One pill, 365 days later

12 Jun

I take a brain-health pill. A supplement. And I have taken said pill every day for 365 days.

This daily pill taking, in and of itself, is a miracle. See, even two decades or so ago, when I was taking birth control pills, I rarely remembered to take my pills consistently. The same has been true for me with other supplements. I’d take them for awhile. Then stop. Sometimes I’d get pumped up about supplements and set aside my pills in those little SMTWTFS pill-divider containers. Sometimes I’d forget about the supplements for months and months on end.

Don’t get me wrong: I like supplements. I like tinctures and tonics. I prefer pretty much any path, route or option that will keep me healthier and keep me out of a doctor’s office or hospital. I like the idea of being proactive, of giving my body more to work with. And, for the most part, I’ve taken supplements on faith. I know there is a difference between quality supplements and low-grade stuff, and I figured I’d always lean toward the high-quality stuff. (I once read about how some calcium supplements were mostly ground up oyster shells … not very digestible or bioavailable.) But even with these higher-quality supplements, I’ve never felt a change inside of me; rather, I hoped, trusted and assumed I was getting benefit.

Then along came this brain-health pill. And I knew this was for me. I knew and trusted its source. And, well, frankly, I’d gone from being interested in caring for my brain (having taken a variety of tinctures, pills and concoctions in years past that were purportedly good for my brain) to truly being concerned about my brain.

I’m 52. At 47, I went into menopause … earlier than I thought I would, and for all the literature out there, all the stories I probably heard (and ignored) and all the facts-data-science to be consumed, for some reason, I just never grokked the effects of reduced hormones on the brain: my brain, in particular. And, truth be told, I kinda figured that those effects would pass me over, affect someone else, and simply not be my worries.

But this wasn’t the case. I felt–with alarming concern–the slow but steady decline of my cognitive functioning. Most noticeable to me was my words. My beloved words. They would sit in my brain but they wouldn’t line up as easily. And they certainly didn’t pour out with the same rush of expression I’d felt in prior years. They felt stuck in me. Thick. Slowed.

If one is good, two is better

When I first got my brain-health pills, I decided I would take two per day, rather than the recommended one. I wanted to get back to “my normal “as soon as possible. A number of my friends were also taking the pill. (It’s called EHT, which may be easier to type throughout this post rather than brain-health pill.) We were among the first of the first people, beyond extensive testing, to try it out. We’d been told that some people have very quick results; others get results in a few weeks; and for others yet it might take a couple of months, but that, rest assured, we would all experience benefit; and that once we started using it, we’d never want to be without it. I trusted the person saying this, but I couldn’t imagine what he meant at the time. I do now.

Cognitive improvement in five days

I was one of those who experienced a quicker result. (I’d also add that I’m intensely analytical, always watching my brain and my reactions, and observant of microscopic details, so it was fairly easy for me to notice the change.)  Within five beautiful days, I could feel it. I could sense the decline abating. I could feel the return to what I’d had before in my brain’s cognitive function. People often ask me how I knew, how I could tell. The answer is that I could observe my thinking and speaking, and the speed and fluidity started coming back. I could find my words with greater ease. I could speak with more flow, with less halting and pausing. And even if my benefits were part placebo effect, I don’t care, because I got a real result that I love.

Sleeping better

Among my friends, when we’d get together and talk about who was experiencing what kind of benefits from EHT, many of them were claiming they were sleeping better. At first, I thought I had missed out, but then I realized that this change had come on more gradually for me. Since about the age of 40, I don’t think I’ve had a full night of sleep. In my earlier years, I used to climb into bed, put my head on my pillow and wake up eight or so hours later. Yes, I had some nights where my mind churned, but for the most part, solid sleep was an easy thing for me most of my life. But since turning 40, I’d had countless nights of not being able to fall asleep, of waking, of being restless in the middle of the night and of any other combination of sleep troubles. I eventually realized that I was OK, and that even if I hadn’t been sleeping straight through the night, I was waking up rested, and I came to peace with this.

With EHT, I started falling asleep more easily (more on this later), and I started sleeping more soundly. I still wake up sometimes, but it’s for shorter periods of time and I’m quickly back to sleep. In the last month or so, I also realized that I’ve often had this thought upon waking: Wow, that was a fun dream! Dreams are often/usually/by their very nature, wild, imaginative, beyond-the-everyday. But my dreams specifically started to become fun, a word that I don’t know if I would have used to describe my dreams prior.

A different experience with focus

When I first heard that EHT helped with focus, I imagined some sort of frenzied productivity where I’d enter a zone of action and activity, immune to outside influence. But my experience wasn’t that at all. Oh, how to explain one’s mind. Especially when my mind is different than your mind, and yours is different from the next person’s. I’ll say this: I have an ability to stay with, be with, focus on a thing, person, concept, project or idea more so than I ever have before. I think the reason is that, somehow, my brain doesn’t get pulled off into other directions as easily. Yes, I still go to Facebook looking for one piece of information and ten minutes later find myself laughing at funny cat videos… but when I want to be focused, I can stay with something longer, and it’s not a chore.

I heard many years ago that for women, diffused awareness was a natural state of being, and for men, a single-focused state of existence was natural. So, perhaps what I write has little meaning to men. I don’t know. I do know for me, that I find my thought process so much more enjoyable because I can stay with a subject or a project much more easily… and enjoyably.

Less spin

Among my EHT-taking friends, we started asking, why are we sleeping better? What is it? Improved sleep is not listed as one of the claimable benefits. One woman said, “It’s because we have more focus, so our minds don’t spin as much.” And when she said this, I knew she was right. That was exactly what I was experiencing: my mind wasn’t spinning as much. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had countless experiences where I’m thinking about something, say, for example’s sake, I notice the buttercup flowers in my yard are blooming and beautiful; then I start thinking of butter, which connects to a conversation I had with someone about butter being good for you and no longer vilified, which reminds me of a conversaatin I had with someone about animal protein vs vegetarian protein, which reminds me of an article I read about a surplus of quinoa in Bolivia, which reminds to give some older issues of The Economist to my brother, who enjoys the magazine. And that all happens in about 2.7 seconds … if even.

I’m not claiming that this doesn’t happen anymore, only that it happens less. Much less.

Less obsessing

I don’t think I understood how much I obsessed on thoughts (usually not positive ones) until I obsessed on them less. Since taking EHT, my mind is so much more my own. I’m much less prone to attacks of obsessive thoughts that leak into my mind and take over. For this alone, I am intensely grateful. My mind is such better company, so much kinder a friend when my thoughts are softer and more peaceful.

Overall, calmer and more relaxed

I can only guess, but perhaps it’s the combination of the better sleep, less spinning and less obsessing, but I feel significantly calmer and more relaxed this past year. I feel less emotional, irritable and erratic. Who knows, this experience could also be because I’m more mature, in mid-life, less affected by hormonal spikes and simply more chill. I wouldn’t pin this effect totally on EHT, though I do believe EHT has contributed significantly. I certainly feel a before and an after inside of me.

More logical

Hah. Well, perhaps this is subjective. But I will tell one story. I was having a glass of wine with a long-time friend, someone I’ve known about a decade or so. We hadn’t seen each other in about six months. As we were talking, he suddenly said, “What’s different about you?” I responded: “I don’t know. What do you mean?” He told me that I was more logical, that he could follow my train of thought better. (That makes me pause and wonder how illogical I might have been prior, but I took it as one of those left-handed compliments.) I told him the only thing I’d done differently was to take EHT.

Greater energy

When I first read that EHT helped with the body’s natural energy stores, I thought, “what the heck does that mean?” Now I know. My energy level has completely improved; I’m already what some consider a fairly high-energy person. And I’d agree.

However, within a few months of taking EHT, I realized that I had hardly consumed a cup of caffeine at all. I hadn’t tried to stop. I just had. I had moved from drinking coffee to tea about four years ago (a move I highly recommend), consuming, instead–and with regularity–green tea, black tea, yerba matte, runa and a host of other caffeinated teas. I often drink herbal teas, too. And, without trying, without even being aware, I had pretty much stopped drinking caffeine, and had not even noticed! Now when I consume caffeine, I feel jacked up, and not in a good way.

Also, a long-time and avid nap taker, I noticed that I was hardly taking afternoon naps anymore. I love afternoon naps. Just love them! But I wasn’t needing them. Once, when I realized I wasn’t napping in the afternoons as much, I tried to nap and just couldn’t. I do nap sometimes, and these naps seems to come and go in phases, but I don’t need them the way I used to.

I also noticed an odd ability to handle foods better. One of the reasons I eat so darn well is because I’ve always been very responsive to food’s chemistry (though I didn’t discover this or acknowledge this about myself until I was in my early 30s). If I eat a sandwich or a lot of processed food, I’m likely to zonk out and go into state of brain fog and low energy fairly quickly. That has really shifted for me since taking EHT, which has its pluses and its minuses in that I appreciate that I feel less subject to the food’s chemistry, but I’ve also been more willing to take on food I might not normally eat. I actually had a burger, bun, fries and a beer for lunch a month or so back, and I was able to work and be productive all day!

Reduced cravings

I am an ex-smoker, but since quitting smoking, I have taken up popcorn like the best of them. Crunchy, easy to slam into my face, buttery and salty … I just love it. And I eat it fairly often. Big, big, big bowls of it. A few months ago, I realized that my popcorn consumption had dropped precipitously. I’ll still have a bowl here and there–trust me–but how much I eat, why I eat it (the real concern) and when I eat it, has all shifted. I even ate some popcorn a few weeks ago, almost in nostalgia for my past cravings, and it felt like a chore to get through the bowl of it.

I feel I need to eat less frequently too. Most of my life I’ve been racked by needing to eat every few hours. I’m not quite sure what experience I’m stating here because I’ve only noticed this recently, but I don’t think I’m eating as much or as often as I have in prior years. Again, this could be from maturity and where I am in life and simply not needing as many calories.

Easier meditation

I used to practice Buddhism for about 15 years: an active, chanting, out-loud-prayers kind of Buddhism. Yes, it took focus to sit there, but I didn’t really have to quiet my mind. Actually, we often focused on what we desired, and chanted/prayed for that. I much enjoyed it. But I’ve never been much of one to actually sit, meditate and think of nothing.

Not only have I incorporated some occasional meditating in my life, but I’ve had some intense and powerful experiences doing so since taking EHT. One particular experience I had was a day I found myself confused, bothered and not able to make a decision about what to do next regarding some travel logistics and meeting up with a roving group of friends in D.C. I sat in my car, closed my eyes and decided to focus on people for whom I was grateful. I was able to go back in my memories (something I’ve not been particularly good at) and remember person after person in this particular timeframe in my life. It was almost like a memory exercise I was doing. I was able to keep at bay pesky thoughts and memories that wanted to pull me in another direction. And I was able to go deeper into the memories, at will. All focused. All at will. I felt as though I was opening up file drawers in my life and examining the contents. It was amazing. Then I had a sudden rush of understanding: the common denominator of all the memories rose up, and an flood of energy coursed through me, taking me deep, deep, deeeeeep. I rose up, smiled, said to myself, “That was lovely!” Then got out of my car and headed onward with a sense of peace.

More eye contact

About a decade ago, I was videotaped for a spontaneous interview. Later, when I saw the video, I was shocked and fascinated by how much my eyes move while I talk. Up, down, left, right. All over the place. I was also aware that when other people spoke, I would dart my eyes around a lot, too. For me, this has been my normal.

One of the completely unexpected and sweet benefits of using EHT is that I can track longer on people when they speak. I can look at them longer, focus my visual (and other) attention on them longer. This may be the kind of thing no one else has noticed, but I like it. It feels good to me.

Improved memory

One of the main reasons people take EHT is to improve their memory, and, for sure, my memory has improved. But I’d rather speak about what it has meant to my life to have an improved memory. I feel a greater integrity, a greater trust and a greater sense of self in having improved memory. I feel that I can move through the world and that my word, what I say to people (and myself), has more meaning and more value. Because I remember more, I can say to someone, “I’ll follow up with you on that.” And while I’m still a fan of writing things down and I’m a practitioner of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, the reality is that I usually don’t write things down when I’m out and about speaking with someone, but I do remember more of my day, my conversations, my experiences. And this makes me feel better about me.

No bruise?

I took a tumble awhile back while doing the Billygoat Trail at Great Falls Park in Virginia. My hair is too short to put in a pony tail, but it’s long enough that it sometimes blocks my vision, particularly when it whips around in the wind. And this is what happened while scrambling on some boulders. My peripheral vision was blocked by my hair in the wind. I fell and banged my shin something bad. My hiking buddy smiled at me and said kindly that I’d have a shiner to remember this hike by. And I figured I would. But while my skin was inflamed and a little tender, I never bruised. That could have been nothing, or it could have been (likely was) EHT in play. EHT was originally marketed to elite athletes for workout recovery.

Improved sensory ability

About six or seven months in to taking EHT, I was out for a walk one winter day. This is something I do here and there. No big deal. I walked a path I’ve walked a hundred times before. But this time I had a spark, a feeling, an awareness that I was picking up more information. Mostly with my eyes, though perhaps with my other senses. I’ve also noticed an enhanced sense of smell, though, of course, there were no baseline measurements taken before or after EHT, so this is my observation and not data that was tracked.

Better eye-hand coordination

I’ll tell a story here. This may be incredulous to some, but to me it was a big deal. I’ve never been very good at catching things thrown at me. Someone tosses me a set of keys, for example, I miss it, usually just letting them drop to the ground where I then pick them up. As a kid, I played sports and was athletic, but softball (even Wiffle ball), volleyball, frisbee or any sport that required having to catch an item flying in the air was a sport that didn’t appeal to me.

Then a couple months ago I was in a situation where I dropped something from a balcony of sorts. The person near my dropped item picked it up and indicated that they were going to toss it to me. I nodded. And then this thing happened: I watched the object (a pen) being tossed to me, and it was as though my vision-brain-hands mechanism went into some sort of slow motion where I was able to track the pen, reach out and grab it.

In the past when I’d catch something, it would feel like a fluke because usually my eyes were half closed as the item approached me through the air. This time I tracked it, and my hands knew what to do to catch the pen. It was, for me, an amazing experience.

I’ve also been typing with greater accuracy. Fewer corrections. More get-it-right-the-first-time typing. Mostly, that is.

Greater hope

Each to our own. Don’t judge. Or if you do, keep it to yourself. But I love talking to my brain and my body now in a way I never did before. I feel with my affirmations and gratitude that I have so much more appreciation for my body, so much more hope that my brain can do a great job taking care of anything I need taken care of, and so much more happiness to have as part of my daily experience, a supplement that helps my brain, my neurons, my body, function better.

A gentler life

Overall, I’m simply happier. My primary relationship in life is with myself. I am the person with whom I spend more time than any other person. And not only do I spend more time with myself than any other person, but I’m more aware of my mind, my brain, my thoughts, my body than anything or anyone else. With this brain-health supplement, my mind is calmer, my thoughts are gentler, my focus is better and my feelings are more peaceful. I trust myself more. The net effect of all of this is that I enjoy the time I spend with myself more than ever, and because my primary relationship in life is better, my life is better.

The product claims

The U.S. version of the product makes these claims:

  • Enhances memory
  • Enhances focus
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Enhances the body’s natural energy
  • Supports neuronal networking
  • Improves overall brain health
  • Enhances the body’s immune system

The Canadian version (same product, different regulations), makes these claims —

  • Enhances cognitive function in adults
  • Enhances memory in adults
  • Supports peripheral circulation
  • Metabolizes carbohydrates, fats and proteins

And I couldn’t find what the Mexican or Korean product boxes claim, though I assume they’re similar. Though here is a piece about EHT as a post workout-recovery supplement.

Now, some people, per the reviews I’ve read online, don’t do well with EHT. I’m much more metaphysical than my suburban exterior would let on, and I’d be most curious, if I could get into their minds and lives, to discover why EHT didn’t work for them. Oh, I’m sure they could say it did X, or made me feel Y. But, again, I’d ask, why? Why could they not receive the benefits of this near-miraculous supplement for brain health? I’m not their psychologist, but I’m always curious.

Is it a placebo? The power of suggestion?

I’m well aware that part of medicine and supplements’ efficiency is the placebo effect. And I know that I walked into this experience of taking EHT with a hope and a belief of its efficacy. And if those two things have contributed to my results, I am very OK with that, and I’ll take whatever percentage of those aspects are at play with joy. Add ’em up. Pile ’em on. I’ll take all the benefits of a healthier brain, enhanced energy, improved cognitive function and more.

After all, it’s my brain we’re talking about here. Why wouldn’t I want the absolute best for it?

How to get EHT

If you have a friend who sells Nerium, please contact them, and they can help you get the supplement. If you’d like to get it from me, you can do so here.

EHT is made by Signum Biosciences and is sold by Nerium International.

 

A cultural bias so present, few know it even exists

2 Feb

In response to this BloombergBusiness article: As Boomers Retire, Companies Prepare Millennials for Leadership Roles by Jeff Green.

***

Once again, the widespread cultural bias against recessive generations and toward dominant generations rears its predictable head.

In this article, the author goes on about the whoa-is-corporate-america problem of losing all the knowledge that Boomers have and needing to transfer it to the new Millennial leaders in their ranks.

http-::www.bloomberg.com:news:articles:2016-01-21:as-boomers-retire-companies-prepare-millennials-for-leadership-rolesAt one point, the author talks about how much money companies save in this brain-trust transfer and he writes, “The median tenure of workers age 25-34 is about three years, compared with 10.4 years for workers age 55-64, according to BLS data.”

Does anyone notice how he … just casually … neglects to include data about 35-54 year olds (which one might want to include when one is talking about companies and leadership). And one might want to include data about 35-54 year olds in an article about business because, well, those are kind of prime earning years for many.

But, most people will read this ridiculous article and say, “Yeah, that’s a problem with so many Boomers retiring; good thing those companies are preparing.” The author even concludes his article by saying, “The bottom line: Companies that don’t plan for generational management shifts risk falling behind and losing out to their competitors.”

Except how can we really trust what he writes when he curiously neglects to address the 35-54 year olds, which, if you happen to know anything about generations is well, almost the exact age of today’s GenXers in 2016 (35-55 years old).

Surprised? No, I’m not surprised. This cultural bias against the recessive generations — diminishing them, lessening their impact such as what this author does by neglecting to include BLS data on 34-54 year olds — happens so frequently that people don’t even understand their own bias, or the bias they swallow and thus participate in. And the reverse happens, the over-glorification, the selective choice of data to include about dominant generations is the other half of the story that supports the cultural bias.

I understand that GenXers’ strength lies much in being off the radar, being able to do what needs to be done without the light shining — and certainly without gold stars. And I respect the natural, archetypal cycles of generations: dominant, recessive, dominant, recessive and then back to the beginning for a repeat.

But, really, can we at least get some statistical acknowledgement? Some accuracy in journalism? Don’t do it for the GenXers, of course. Lord knows, we don’t need it. But Society needs the information. Policy planners need the correct perspective. And, for goodness’ sake, for the author’s conclusion to be truly helpful, i.e., “Companies that don’t plan for generational management shifts risk falling behind and losing out to their competitors,” businesses need accurate information.

****

DOMINANT & RECESSIVE GENS per Strauss & How
Dominant – prophets (boomers) and heroes (millennials and GI)
Recessive – nomads (genxers) and artists (silent gen and now homelanders)

 

To delete, or not delete, my blog

23 Dec

I came here tonight, to this virtual land known to me as “my blog” with thoughts of deleting it. This particular thought has been swirling around inside my head for awhile. I hardly blog, per se, any more: I’ve written five posts in the last year, down from my average of about a dozen per year for the last few years, and down from my average a couple-few hundred posts per year when I started almost ten years ago.

hmmEvery year, around this time of the Winter Solstice, I feel compelled to clean out old files and resort and organize content, databases, files … it’s one of the ways that I look back at the year. And tonight I deleted 58 blog posts. Really, after close to a decade of blogging, posts such as those claiming that Facebook will become a tool for community building seem quaint.

I’ve deleted hundreds of posts over the years, whittling my total conten down to a fraction of its earlier volume, but I wasn’t quite ready tonight to delete my blog wholesale. One of the reasons I still like having my blog around is that I often reference my own writing and send people links to posts I’ve written before. I imagine some day (maybe as the winter of 2017 arrives) that I’ll no longer need or want even that. But, for now, at least, the blog remains.

Personally, I find Facebook more fulfilling, as it’s much easier for me to write there and, frankly, Facebook is gobs more engaging than my blog has ever been terms of comments and likes. I’ve had some crazy success with my blog posts in earlier years, sometimes garnering  150k+ views on one post alone … on one of my Vitamix smoothie recipes, of all things! Well …

Happy Winter Solstice! May this coming season bring you much introspection, time for reflection and opportunity to prepare for all that’s new and wonderful in the new year ahead.

The Skin We’re In …

28 May

I learned recently that our skin and brains are the most closely related organs. Apparently, both the brain and skin start off as the same types of cells and then differentiate. Also, our skin (our largest organ) and the brain communicate in ways that provide a feedback loop for sensory awareness, registration of emotions and much more.

Learning this had me fascinated and curious, and I decided to explore what skin looked like close up, so I searched on “electron microscope photography” and “human skin.” I was blown away by the photos. So much detail. So much going on. Look here!

human skin under an electron microscope

I first thought of fish scales when I saw this image!

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.53.22 PM

And look at the detail in this image above.

human-skin-80012891-l

Another rather “scaly” looking close-up.

Well, people do talk sometimes of their skin feeling or looking scaly. It’s part of our lexicon when we speak of skin. Turns out we have about 35 billion skin cells, and as new cells emerge, they push out the older cells. We shed around 30,000 skin cells every minute, which results in the loss of roughly 43,200,000 each day. Word! 43 million shedded scaly skin cells a day. 43 million.

But then I found some information that really popped my brain and had me thinking. The epidermis, the outer layer of our skin (which includes the part of our skin we see every day) is comprised of more than just the skin’s surface. It consists of a number of levels, each with their own distinct role. As new cells are pushed upward through the other levels of the epidermis and toward the surface of our skin, they die along the way and eventually become filled with keratin, a very strong protein. “These dead, keratin-filled cells make up the outer parts of the epidermis and provide your body with the tough, protective overcoat it needs to survive. The dead cells on the outer parts of your skin are constantly shed and replaced by new ones. As a result, every 20-30 days, your body has an entirely new surface of skin.”

So I looked up keratin, and guess what? One type of keratin is found in the hair (including wool), horns, nails, claws and hooves of mammals. Another type of keratin is found in the nails, scales, claws, shells, feathers, beaks and quills of other animals.

In other words, the proteins in our outermost layer of skin are akin to the outer skin/hair/claws/scales of other animals. Now I can see when I first saw an electron microscope image of skin I thought of scales.

Fwiw, here are two close-up images of a human fingernail.

human fingernail, electron microscope

magnified fingernail

And here are two pics of human hair, the first damaged; the second, healthy.

microscope-human-hair-structure-damaged normal_hair_600x

Interesting stuff!

Beware, though, if you start googling electron microscope photography images. It might be a while until you emerge. It was for me. 🙂

How I created a whiteboard video on Fiverr for $15

27 Mar

As a wrap up to 2014, I decided to send out a “video card” of sorts in lieu of a holiday card, which I usually send out. To tell my year-end story, I decided to do what is called a whiteboard video.

After sending out the video, quite a few people asked me how I’d made it, so I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll do another whiteboard video to share how I did the first one.” The service I used, Fiverr, is one I recommend for an exploration of possibilities of what can be done in the world now for a mere $5. It’s worth a poke for the knowledge of what people will do for $5, and who knows, you might end up hiring someone for some gigs.

Here is my “How I created a whiteboard video on Fiverr” video; this one cost me $15.75 to produce.

 

And here is my 2014 wrap-up video. The cost of this was $45 (because it was longer).

 

And here’s what started my exploration into whiteboards, a one-minute video introduction to a new community calendar website I created: TotallyHoCo.com. The cost of this video was $15.75.

 

Turnips to die for … and some magical ingredients

27 Nov

Many things happen in cycles of seven: human development and consciousness being the biggest one. There’s the seven-year itch and relationships going through cycles of seven. Hair growth supposedly changes in cycles of seven; and tastebuds change in cycles of seven. Ever notice how you can hate/loathe/not like at all some food in younger years (onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, organ meats, for example) and then all of sudden, one day you wake up realize that you not only no longer loathe said offensive food item but actually like it ?

roasted turnips with white balsamic vinegar from secolari'sWell, apparently, when I wasn’t paying attention, turnips crept up on me and went from the No, Thanks! to the Yes, Please! category in my book. Here’s my favorite way to make turnips, and I think I could convert a turnip-hater into a turnip fan with this recipe. My magical ingredients are marked by the asterisks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then get a nice oven-safe dish out — one where your volume of turnips won’t be more than about two inches high. Place the ingredients directly in this dish.

Peel and dice a couple/few fresh* turnips

Drizzle good quality* olive oil on them; enough to coat them

Liberally add fresh or dried thyme

Drizzle some White Balsamic Vinegar** from Secolari’s

Add some super-good quality salt** (Piran Sel Gris or Meadow Flake from The Meadow)

Toss the ingredients together, coating everything well; I use my hands. Bake/roast the turnips until they transform, change from a thick opaque flesh to a lighter, clearer color, and carmelize. Try not to eat them all before you serve them.

Image from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Gen Z is here! (No, they’re not.)

28 Jul

Some friends asked me to comment on this article, Get ready for Generation Z. So I did.

****

I’m a Strauss and Howe purist. Generations are 20 years in length, plus or minus a couple/few years, there is no Gen Z (just as there is no Gen Y); the nomenclature is all wrong because it speaks to one generation coming after another in a sequence. Generations come after each other, of course, but cyclically, not sequentially.

Btw, the Homelanders (the generation born after Millennials) are only about 8-9-10 years old at the top end, not 16ish as stated in the article.. These pics and examples of kids in this article are mid- and late-wave Millennials, that’s all. You can call ’em what you want — call them GenZed if you want — but that doesn’t make them a new generation.

The Homelanders aren’t “smarter,” per se … of course not, but they will become “the credentialed experts” as they rise up the age ladder. Just as GenXers/nomads (the shadow gen to the Artists/Homelanders/Silent gen) rail against “the credentialed expert” — noticed the power of social media to create DIY experts and rock stars? yeah, that’s GenX energy to destroy the cultural hold of “credentialed experts” made powerful by the Silent Gen and to circumnavigate the power hold of Boomers (read: “I was here first, therefore, it’s mine”) — the next round of artists (the Homelanders) will bring back to front and center the importance and value of the credentialed expert. This will begin to rise gently in importance in their young adult years (starting around 2024) and will become solid and unshakable in the midlife years (starting around 2044).

More Carrots, Indeed!

30 Jun
more carrot burning man campHey loves, Many/most/all? of you know I go to Burning Man and am involved in a camp called More Carrot. Burning Man is much more (indescribably more) than just a big party in the desert. It’s a place of community, principles and values withwhich I deeply resonate. I’m asking for your support in our annual fundraising campaign. 
 
We keep our camp numbers small (30ish) and each camp member contributes $400 to our operating costs plus their own ticket and other costs (about $2500-$3000 each in the US and about $4000-$5000 for our many Aussies), and we do this so that the participation, community and intimacy of our camp is greater; alas, our costs and investments are more than our camp contributions provide. Please consider even a small donation to our camp and this amazing growing/developing/expanding space and experience that is Burning Man and More Carrot.
 
Thanks for your support!
 
Actions you can take to help —
  • Share our campaign link in your network
  • Donate to our campaign today, even $10 helps
  • Gift a box of fresh produce to a burner you love ($100 and $15o)
 
And at no cost, help us get more followers and reach a larger network —
 
 
Burning Man More Carrot

Please support my Burning Man camp with your donation today!

A spring fast, cleanse and detox

9 Mar

Some friends and I have decided to do a spring cleanse and detox. This is not my first rodeo, as They say, but it is theirs. I’ve done quite a few cleanses over the years, and that would perhaps seem normal, healthy and wise were I a European blogging to a mostly European audience. But I’m not European and my assumption is most of my readers will be /are American. I am not an SME, a certified whatever or a deep studier on the subject. I’m offering here my perspective and feelings.

So, first things first. There are many ways to cleanse and detox, many products, many approaches and many reasons. My friends and I going to do the Blessed Herbs product cleanse, with some of us doing the five-day fast, cleanse and detox (I’ve gone as long as 10 days with this sytem) and others choosing a lighter approach where they’ll be eating for five days and using the cleanse and detox products.

This post is aimed at the fast-and-cleanse group and I’m providing some tips that I can offer from my experience, namely:

  1. Get your products and go shopping.
  2. Find good juices.
  3. Find savory drinks.
  4. Find satisfying water alternatives.
  5. The hunger will pass.
  6. Cheat with coconut oil.
  7. Open to whatever needs to be cleansed.
  8. Make it a meal!
  9. Do your best and don’t fret the rest.
Get your products and go shopping.

You’ll need a bottle of the Digestive Stimulant (DS) and two 14-packet packs of the Toxin Absorber (TA). I prefer the ginger flavor as I feel it mixes better with other juices. Start taking the DS and TA, one per day, a couple-few days before you start your full cleanse. You can skip the kit, save yourself some money and just buy the two items. You’ll need a shaker jar to shake-shake-shake the TA. You’ll also need juice and other items, so check out my shopping list at the end of this post. If you use this coupon code for Blessed Herbs, you’ll get 20% off and I’ll earn $10.

Find good juices.

In a perfect world, you’ll buy organic fruits and produce, juice them in your world-class juicer (I have one, a Champion) and drink healthful, nutrient-rich juices. Right. Been there. Done that. You might as well take vacation days for all the time and effort it takes to prep, juice, clean-up and then repeat the process for a total of five times a day. You do need juice (imo) to mix with the TA; I prefer sweeter juice rather than vegetable-y juice as the TA gets thick quickly and it’s just easier to drink a sweeter drink quickly.

When mixing the TA, put half  juice and half water in the jar, add the packet; shake; have your glass ready to pour it into; drink quickly; do not delay. Juice has loads of sugar in it, so going forward, I’ll be cutting down the amount of juice I consume when cleansing and detoxing. If you purchase juice (recommended, though I used to be a purist and made all my own juice) get healthier alternatives where you can and stretch your juice with flavored teas.

Find savory drinks.

I find having something savory and tasty makes all the difference. I feel more satisfied and less denied when I have savory drinks. For me, this has included home-made beef broth, miso soup (a bit of a cheat as miso is a solid) and any sort of soup broth. I’ve recently purchased some Numi savory tea for my upcoming cleanse and feel this will be a big help to have something that feels/smells more substantial than “just” cold fruit or vegetable juice.

Find satisfying water alternatives.

Regardless of how many experts say “drink lots of water,” I do not believe this nor do I find it sound advice as it does not, in my understanding, match pre-industrialized human history and behavior. I personally think the “drink more water” mantra promulgated is really an unconcious battle against the crazy amount of cheap, low-grade, poor-nutrient, industrialized salt added to tens of thousands of food products. And it is my opinion that rather than dealing with the issue of crappy food, crappy salt quality and poor eating choices, our Society has collectively decided to declare that drinking more water is good , unconsciously attempting to lower the salt quantity in our bodies (by adding more water and diluting it) rather than dealing with the true problem in food and salt quality. But I digresss…

Personally, I do not find drinking water satisfying except in small amounts at key times, and yet to cleanse and detox with the Toxin Absorber packets, you’ll need more liquid moving through you. I need satisfying alternatives to water. For me, this is mainly tea; thankfully, in the realm of tea, there are so many choices. I’ve been experimenting with various flavors, quality levels and types of tea. Explore. Also, drinks such as unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, honey and water are nice, or the Numi savory teas, or barley water can be good. I’ll be doubling up on my homebrew kombucha before my cleanse so that I have something tasty to drink. Ginger and/or tumeric rhizomes, chopped up and placed in really hot (not quite boiling) water with good quality honey can be a nice drink too. Options abound.

And while this may seem sacrilege to purists, alcohol is liquid. Have a good quality beer, a really nice glass of wine or cocktail made with top shelf liquor. In other words, enjoy your liquids. The fast, the pills, the TA packets are enough of a challenge; there’s no need to suffer.

The hunger will pass.

There are times when you will be hungry. No doubt. The Blessed Herbs Toxin Absorber can provide a surprising sense of fullness.  There may be times when you feel lethargic and spacey; other times when you have such a surprising amount of energy (because your body isn’t expending so much energy to digest food).

Cheat with coconut oil.

For this upcoming fast, I’m going to “cheat” with coconut oil. Most any other fast — even ones that allow eating during the fast and cleanse — will have admonitions about avoiding processed food, animal protein and fat. But we need fat for vitamin absorption, to feel satisfied and yada yada. I’m not a SME here. Google it. Coconut oil is king among fats. Or at least royalty. I’ve recently discovered that a teaspoon of coconut oil added to hot tea is quite enjoyable, especially a fruity-tasting tea. I steep the tea, then add the coconut oil; wait for the temp to drop just a bit and then drink it. I will definitely be having this drink a lot on my next cleanse and fast. Plus coconut oil helps with expelling parasites … which some people have. It happens.

Cheat with chia seeds.

Super small, known for suppressing appetite, providers of great energy and chockfull of nutrients, these little seeds help with so much, including hydration, and are a most-excellent cheat. When I did a 10-day fast and incorporate daily consumption of chia seeds, I had no hunger. It was amazing!

Open to whatever needs to be cleansed.

With every cleanse I’ve done, something else has been going on. Sometimes I’ve gone through my wardrobe and reviewed what I wanted to keep or pass on to a thrift store; other times I’ve gone through years of old paper and/or computer files; one time I helped a friend thoroughly clean the scrub growth encroaching into her yard and we cleaned and prepped her yard for spring. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter, imo, that you’re aware that the physical cleanse and detox is the anchor, but your whole life — or a part of it — may also need a cleanse and detox. Be open to it. And fear not the sudden wave of saddness or some deep emotion that appears “out of nowhere.”

Make it a meal.

There will come a time when you’re facing your fourth Toxin Absorber packet  of the day is just not a pleasant thought. So make “a meal” of it. First, when possible, try to take your packets and pills with another person. Celebrate that you’re doing a cleanse. Acknowledge what you’re up to. When cleansing and detoxing, I often pull out of the back corners of cupboards any abandoned or forgotten bottles of tinctures, vitamins or supplements. I keep them on the kitchen counter and make a bit of ceremony and effect out of the process. If I’m already swallowing one pill (the Digestive Stimulant) why not also swallow a handful more of pills, use up the bottles around my house and get some more nutrients and curative elements in me?

Do your best and don’t fret the rest.

The fast, cleanse and detox outlined by Blessed Herbs is an “optimal” plan. Do your best. Enjoy the ride. Have the experience. And enjoy the benefits.

My shopping list for a cleanse

  • Blessed Herbs cleanse products (Digestive Stimulant and Toxin Absorber)
  • Somewhat healthy juices, various flavors
  • Teas (good quality)
  • Good quality broth (or ingredients to make your own broth)
  • Coconut oil (Kelapo is my favorite)
  • Miso soup – bonito flakes, miso and kombu
  • Chia seed
Optional Liver Cleanse.

There is an amazing liver-cleanse drink — garlic+olive oil+lemon/citrus+sweet juice drink+ginger liver-cleanse — that you may find is a tasty and satisfying (it helps with hunger, too). Each day the amount of garlic and olive oil increases one notch, starting with one clove of garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil; day two, same drink but two cloves of garlic and two tablespoons of olive oil. Here’s how I make it —

  • Peel a clove of garlic.
  • Peel a 1/2 inch of ginger.
  • Juice (not puree or blend) a lemon and lime (seeds removed, rinds included, trust me).
  • Juice several apples with some grapes (or buy unpasturized apple juice), or juice a couple/few oranges and grapefruits.
  • Place all of these ingredients plus a tablespoon of olive oil in a blender, blend on high until emulsified; drink.

Liver Cleanse Shopping List

  • Garlic
  • Really good quality olive oil
  • Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit (for the optional add-on liver cleanse)
  • Ginger
  • Apples and grapes, or unpasteruized apple cider, or lots of oranges and/or grapefruits

This whole text is yet to be proofread.

Dennis.

29 Jan

I wrote this post the day after Dennis Lane’s death. I didn’t publish it then, posting something shorter instead. His birthday is today, and his life is one I will always celebrate and cherish.

***

Dennis.

I first met Dennis in 1991. It was then that I’d started my first business, Do The Write Thing, and I had not a clue of how to get clients other than by advertising. But I’d heard of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and someone suggested I attend some of their networking meetings, so I went. I was scared, intimidated, clueless how to show up for the events and — at the time — significantly younger than easily 90% of the Chamber event attendees.

Dennis Lane, Blogger, Commercial Real Estate Agent

Dennis Lane

But there I met Dennis, and there I met a jovial, welcoming, kind and warm gentleman who always made me feel welcome and included. And as it was, I went to many such events in those early years, saw Dennis once or twice a month and developed a friendship that included some more in-depth conversations  over drinks at — yeah, you guessed it — Clyde’s.

Our lives continued to cross paths — at the Columbia Business Exchange, being involved in the then-called Columbia Business Monthly newspaper and running into each other at community event after community event. While I have my own version of bubbly-ness and extroversion, I often need to first get grounded to a place and event before I can connect with others. Dennis has for many years and many events been one of my grounding points, making me feel welcome and included.

Over the years, I’d see him at coffee shops with a frequency higher than “just random” and we’d often catch up for a few minutes while standing in line together. I’d see him when I was out and about running errands, and we’d stop and talk for a while. Sometimes we’d go out for an impromptu drink after finding each other at an event. Whatever the case and whatever the place, he always seemed to have time for a conversation.

When I came back to my hometown, Columbia, after being out of the country for a while, there was this relatively new thing called blogging. I was quietly experimenting on my own and I started to find some local bloggers. One day, I commented on a post by Wordbones (who at that time had not revealed his identity as a blogger, but I was 99% sure it was  Dennis). My comment was a snarky one, and I posted anonymously.

I emailed him shortly after to say I was back in town and to see if we could get together for lunch. He asked me then, “Hey, did you comment on my blog about (xyz)?” “Yes,” I told him. To which he responded, “I thought that was you! It sounded like you.” And at that exact moment in time, I made a decision. A big one. I decided that I would never post anonymously and that I would take a stand for people owning their own perspectives online, in particular and with passion, when commenting on blogs in a local community.

Ian, Me, Dennis and Bill at a Columbia Foundation party several years back.

Ian, Me, Dennis and Bill at a Columbia Foundation party several years back.

When I decided to create HoCoBlogs.com with Robin Abello, back in 2007, Dennis’s blog, Tales of Two Cities, was one of the most regularly updated, locally focused blogs around. Ian Kennedy’s HayDuke was the other, and there were smatterings of other bloggers, though Dennis held then and continued to hold the spot as the most long-term, consistent local blogger. I couldn’t have — and wouldn’t have — started HoCoBlogs without Dennis as an anchor blogger. We started with about a dozen or so bloggers. Today HoCoBlogs has over 350 Howard County bloggers in its database. Not all active each day or even each month, but all local. And much of what has happened with HoCoBlogs is because Dennis was part of the DNA and seminal energy of our local blogging community forming. He provided, with his writing, his perspective and his personality, a center of gravity.

A short while later, the small posse of bloggers had gotten into a fight of sorts. A he-said, she-said fight where He and She were Democrats and Republicans. It got nasty. So nasty that the bloggers took their conversations off the public blogs’ and into private emails with the intent, I presume, that no one else would see the mud slinging that was going on. After a week or so of this, Dennis said in a stentorian voice, “Enough! We are a community. We’re neighbors. We know each other. It’s time we get together and have a drink together. I’m buying the first round!”

To which, I piped in and said, “And I’m happy to organize it,” and, thus, the HoCoBlogs parties wer born. (We called them blogtail parties at the time._ Nine of us came to the first such gathering and — yes, you guessed it — we met at Clyde’s. Nine became 12. Twelve became 15. Fifteen got stagnant for a while. And one day, after a dreadfully boring party where we all sort of stared at each other in too small of a space for way too long, the parties almost ended. But the blogging community was growing, with Dennis and Tales of Two Cities as a steady — the steadiest — voice in our community. And the parties found their groove and grew.

dennis lane at the library

I found this photo on Dennis’s Facebook page and I love it! Here’s Dennis popping his head in for a photo opp (photo bomb?) at the library’s Choose Civility Symposium

One of the more simple yet of-impact statements Dennis said to me a few years back was this: “I want to make sure that writers get paid.” I remember how deeply this sunk into me when he said it, and it motivated me. I think Dennis always dreamed of a life where he could write professionally, perhaps not full time, but enough so that he could earn a living and provide for his family. He had his profession, his connections, his career and his industry; but if I had to guess, I’d say he’d trade all that in a sec if he could have made his living writing.

We — individuals and the community — benefited from his dream because he did love to write, and he loved his community. As others have quoted in their memories of Dennis, his blog profile says, “I live here. I work here. I love this place.” In some ways, Dennis didn’t compromise. He didn’t give up his dream of writing because he couldn’t earn a living at it. He did it anyway. And he wrote a newspaper column. And he did a biweekly podcast. He found his way to be in the world as a business man, community member, board member, friend, advisor, colleague … and he found his voice and a way to express himself while being deeply integrated in the institutions and organizations of our community. He spoke his mind without being mean, and when he didn’t like someone, he was clear about it … and such people made me pause if they didn’t pass the Dennis-o-meter of Good People-ness.

When it was time to vote, I read his blog posts, his perspectives and his thoughts, trusting his voice more than I did the local newspaper recommendations. Day in and day out, I read his posts. I came to know him even more, in the way that many people who read his blog did… we followed the community through his eyes and felt the ups and downs of his own life.

And then, yesterday, Friday, May 10th, he died. That’s what I heard first, that Dennis was dead. (Sad!) Then in the tweets and Facebook updates and news updates, I heard he had been killed. (Shock!) Then I read a tweet that used the M word, “murder.” (Tragedy!) I’m not going to process my feelings here in this blog because I don’t even know what to say.

I can tell you my experience though. There was a gathering. A spontaneous gathering of others in shock. Yes — you guessed it — they went to Clyde’s. Out of town for the earlier part of the day, when I walked in, I was greeted by an open half circle of people facing the door. On each person’s face and in their hearts was the shock, the sadness, the grief. Usually at bars, groups of people face in to each other. They put their backs to the outside and form an enclosing. With this gathering, it was more like a basket, an opening, a welcoming into the circle of people united in their love of community and their love for one of our greatest citizens. In this group, I felt welcomed and included.

And time after time, story after story, I heard the same common denominator, the same thread. People who didn’t even know they registered on Dennis’s awareness beyond a hello were often surprised to discover that he knew of their dreams, read their blogs, knew if they had or hadn’t been blogging lately. They told tales of his encouragement and how he motivated them to start blogging, or to pick it up again. And in these stories there was a note that rang true: to a person, each of them felt from Dennis welcomed and included.

There’s a happy hour in celebration of Dennis’s life tonight. Clyde’s, 5 p.m. I’m sure that when you show up there, you’ll be both welcomed and included.

#HoCoBlogs

Dennis Birthday Photo plus happy hour

Now, with 50% fewer blog posts

21 Jan

It’s been a long time coming: this purge of posts. I’ve cleaned, sorted, reorganized, tweaked and deleted posts before, but this purge was significant. I deleted over 200 posts. And I know I’ve deleted that many and more over the years. What was my filter for the mass purge? Just like going through one’s closet to see what clothes to keep, I had to ask myself what still “fit.” Did it still represent me? Had it been around too long?

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 7.19.42 PMOne filter was de-localizing my blog. I started out as a local blogger in Howard County with many a post about this event, or that org; this community issue or that community-related observation. Most of those are gone. Many of them deleted years prior when I decided to be a personal blogger rather than a community blogger. Now, my local focus occurs mostly over on HoCoBlogs’ blog, and I have much more freedom to get hyper-local and specific there.

Then there is the once cutting-edge-now-almost-silly swath of posts on social tools. One of my posts was “Facebook is heating up” and it was written in mid-2007 with the intent of encouraging people of a certain age, businesses and local government to get involved in Facebook. In the post I made the claim that Facebook wasn’t just for kids and that was, instead, a powerful tool for community engagement for companies, organizations and governments. To which you may be saying, “Yeah, of course. Everyone saw that coming.” But not in 2007. And so, easily, a hundred or so posts in that category are gone. They weren’t wrong, but they seem rather antiquated now.

Then there are the rants. I left many of them in, these rants of mine, as blog posts, by nature, are often rants. I also deleted quite a few. I observed what I observed, felt what I felt, said what I said, and now it’s done.

I’ve appreciated blogging these many years, particularly as an unlike-any-other way to express my feelings, my thinking, my observations and my vision. And in this expression, to have it organized, collected, shared and available for others to see … and for me to review over time. It’s quite something that someone who doesn’t blog can’t quite grasp, I imagine.

I’m glad for the change, the cleanse, the purifying. It’s been a long time coming.

RIP, Dennis

12 May
Dennis Lane, Blogger, Commercial Real Estate Agent

Dennis Lane

I know of no guidebook that prepares one for the death of a friend. In my shock, my disbelief and my grief, I grope in my mind to find words to pay homage to a long-time friend. What I have written about him is long, as though somehow the retelling of my stories and experiences with him will breathe life into his lifeless body. But that is not to be. Perhaps I’ll post what I wrote. Another time. Another day. For now, I am in shock, barely able to comprehend what has happened.

Others have, in their own grief, shock and sadness, poured their feelings, their appreciation for his life and their prayers for him and his family into words. I watched this stream, picked from it, gathered it. Assembled it in a way that would capture the feelings, perhaps giving my own life a window into the immensity of the sadness and loss of a friend, a pillar of the community, a part of my life.

Bless your soul, Dennis. May you rest in peace. Bless your family and all those connected to your life and your death. I know not of how such things work in the after life, but I pray, I beseech you to help those of us still here on Earth to find greater connection to each other and this place you so loved.

God bless, Dennis. God bless!

hocoblogs@@@

Seed-saving libraries, my sis and NBC Nightly News

22 Mar
nbc nightly news seed saving rebecca newburn

My sis, on NBC Nightly News, talking about the seed-saving lending library program she created.

My sister, Rebecca Newburn (Becky to those who know her from Thunder Hill Elementary and Oakland Mills Middle and High Schools) has championed seed-saving for years. She’s partnered with her local library to create a seed-saving program. She’s learned through trial and error, by attending many workshops, reading, sharing, connecting and networking. And, the Taurus that she is (think fixed Earth energy), she loves to create foundational information. Her work has paid off, with speaking gigs, dozens of libraries across the nation modeling the program she founded, an article in one of the Martha Stewart mags and now this, a highlight on NBC Nightly News!

My heart swells with love to see her recognized and honored for the wonderful woman and gift to the world she is.

I couldn’t get the vid to embed, but you can watch the segment here – http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/51296978/#51296978

Greens, Eggs, No Ham recipe

17 Nov

This simple meal keeps me sustained. It’s my go-to meal/snack, morning, noon or night when I needed something quick, tasty and nutritious. Here’s the simplest version of what I make, and, as you can probably see, variations abound.

The eggs, like my photo orientation, are scrambled. Ingredients

  • 1 good egg
  • ½ cup of cooked rice
  • 1-2 cups of dark leafy greens
  • Nama Shoyu (the critical “secret” ingredient)
  • Olive oil, good stuff

Directions

  • Get your greens ready to go: cleaned, drained, de-stemmed and chopped
  • Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a skillet
  • Partially scramble an egg
  • Add in the rice and cook for a minute
  • Add the greens
  • Add a teaspoon or so of Nama Shoyu and cover the pan for a minute
  • Lightly toss all the ingredients in the pan
  • Serve … or pack for lunch 😉
nama shoyu at roots market in clarksville md

Nama Shoyu is available at Roots Market in Clarksville, MD.

Notes and variations

  • Nama Shoyu is not always that easy to find. In Howard County, Maryland, it can be purchased at Roots Market in Clarksville, and it’s a miracle ingredient.
  • It’s best to heat Nama Shoyu as little as possible.
  • Any greens will work: kale, broccoli greens, turnip or beet greens; the bitter of the greens works because it’s balanced by the emami taste of the shoya.
  • Splurge on organic, free range eggs; it’s worth it.
  • Get wild with your rices.
  • Sautee some scallions or hot peppers to change the flavor direction slightly.

 

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