Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Visited a Mosque

My friend, who was once teaching my daughter and me embroidery before I realized that I hated it and didn't want to learn embroidery, is Muslim. She is a practicing Muslim and recently had an open house at her mosque so her non-Muslim friends and acquaintances could come and ask questions and so we all could share some recognition of commonality.

It was a lovely, warm time.

I had met some of her Muslim friends before at a Weston A. Price meeting, and had seen another woman before at a science fair at a nature preserve, and at the recent homeschooling conference. These are some people who I have a passing acquaintance with and I felt very comfortable there.

My daughter had a great time getting henna decorations on her hands; it is also known as mendhi.

It kind of looks like brown, fine-tip marker, and I believe I know someone who will try to replicate this same effect once the henna wears off. I just think it's likely...

My son, unlike my getting-decorated-with-the-cool-henna daughter, was almost bored completely out of his mind. Like any religious tradition, the speakers tend to be a bit long winded. Yep. Check. We had long windedness. But, the recitation of the Koran at the beginning was beautiful. It was sort of sung and sort of intoned by an older gentleman and he had slight, intention filled pauses that lent it a grace and a spirituality that I didn't think I'd recognize there. I spoke later with my friend's husband and he said even if you don't understand the Arabic, people are sometimes moved to tears by it. I could see that.

I asked some questions after having gone online the night before. I didn't want to inadvertently offend anyone, and because my ignorance is vast, I thought I should have some basis for some of my questions. I wanted a basic understanding.

I found out about the 5 pillars of Islam.

  1. Faith and belief in God--Allah.
  2. Prayer 5 times a day.
  3. Fasting for Ramadan.
  4. Giving 2 1/2 % of your value to charity (Not 2 1/2 % of your money--your value. You include your car, house etc. in that figure.)
  5. Visit to Mecca at least once--The Hajj.
I wondered about fatwas. I had a vague understanding, but asked for more information at the mosque.

They instantly got a bit defensive and started talking about Jihad, and I explained that I wasn't really asking about that. I had seen online at a site a listing of new fatwas. A fatwa is a judgement based on Koranic law about an issue in a person's life. The fatwa is handed down by a scholar or someone with authority with knowledge of the Koran. I had noticed a question a college student had about whether he could cut his prayers short because he had a long commute to school. There was a fatwa issued about that. I didn't find out what the verdict was on that, but was more interested in the idea that Muslim life is so proscribed by ritual and etiquette and traditions that no one wavers from.

Again my friend's husband later explained to me that it is a way of life that they always know as they grow up and it is steeped in their daily habits. They eat with the right hand and not with the left. They enter a bathroom with one foot and exit it with the other. There are rules of etiquette that describe proper Muslim behavior and it is second nature to them. My friends don't think to question it--it is more than cultural. It is one of the ways they honor Allah.

The not quite Imam who was speaking and answering questions explained that a fatwa can apply to an individual person and not necessarily to the whole Muslim community. And online I had noticed that it said that the conscience of the person still must guide their acceptance or rejection of the fatwa.

I asked about the hijab. I had read that there is some discussion about the reference to covering yourself as a woman in the Koran and that it only specifically mentioned the wives of Mohammad. No one else was told to cover themselves in that way. They explained that it is in the Koran and that there were ways that Mohammed's wives should cover themselves and the way others do. They also said that the hijab is a way of following in the good example of Mohammed's wives. All of the women at the mosque looked comfortable and were very cheerful and welcoming.

There was wonderful food that my friend had made and that was also catered. We had curried chicken and rice and a bulgar, lentil, beef dish with caramelized onions on top. The kids found the dessert trays and enjoyed the various cookies.

At 6:00 everyone had to go pray. We were able to watch the men on a closed circuit TV, but were not to go into their side. The women had a different room and prayed in exactly the same way as the men did and at the same time.

My son was able to join the men and stayed in the back of the room. He later asked my friend, at my urging, why they kept saying, "Riiiise up white men. Riiiise up white men." Well, my friend laughed because that's a little bit what the Arabic sounded like, but that's not what was being said. She thought that was cute.

My son knelt down at one point, as the men did in front of him. Not in imitation or in a disrespectful way, but my son did it just to feel it in his body as they did it as part of their prayer.

We are not a religious family at all. My husband and I are agnostic/atheists. We leave a little wiggle room for the possibility of God and we feel the wonder of the universe and of life and of our children. We know life is fleeting. We know life is beautiful and has meaning--just not what all of the religions necessarily ascribe to it.

Religion feels very manufactured to us. My husband should know, he designs stuff for a company after all. It feels like other man made things. Catholics have incense and confession. Muslims have prayer 5 times a day and a set of rules for daily living. Jews (like Muslims) can't eat pork, have to use separate dishes for dairy items and meat items, if they keep kosher. It all seems a bit forced to me.

Having said all of that, I have an appreciation for everybody's right to their religion. I like this country. I like that we have encoded in The Constitution the right to believe whatever we want. That is supremely American.

I wanted to visit my friend's mosque because I did want to have a chance to ask some questions. But, I had another reason for going as well.

A while ago, my friend was driving and a friend was with her. Both had on the hijab. My friend's two daughters were in the back. These are girls who attend a performing class with my kids. These are girls that played with my daughter while I grudgingly learned embroidery until I got up the nerve to explain to my friend that I didn't want to learn embroidery. These are sweet girls.

My friend was driving through a kind of upscale community. It's a little bit horsey and lot white. A guy in a pickup truck drove her off the road, and yelled at her once she came to a stop. He called her a foul name and told her to go back to her own country. This is not OK.

The police did not file a report at the station after my friend told them what happened. This is also not OK.

We visited a mosque to learn a bit and try to see how we are all human and American. Gosh, that sounds so silly as I read that back to myself. Of course we are all human! Yet, we still see so many as The Other. I visited to show my friend support and to show the greater Muslim community at her mosque that there are Americans who don't see them as an enemy or as The Other.

Plus, there was great food, and that couldn't hurt either...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update on Robins: I

A robin pair have built a nest on the top of a birdhouse that's right in our living room window. Since the nest was fully formed, the mama bird has been diligently sitting there.

She seldom flies away, and her mate is in the trees nearby keeping a watch on her and the nest.

A while ago, the nest was empty.

I don't like going too often to check on the contents of the nest, because this guy looks a little nervous when I do.

A few days ago, I saw that the female had flown away and I decided to try and get a peek. Look what was there:

Hurray! An egg. Uh oh, there's the male again.

They really are very good parents. They are aware and pay attention and are nurturing and sheltering.

And, there's the mom again.

Still, a girl's got to eat. I notice that when she leaves the nest, she flies to the front of our house and tugs worms from the ground. That's when I can have another peek...

Two eggs! Look how beautiful the color is. I forget that robin's egg blue is that vivid. Somehow, I always think it's a little bit lighter. These eggs are beautiful, and I only snapped one picture because...

The male came back.

I haven't looked in the nest the past few days, because I didn't want to freak the birds out. However, today I thought I'd get another look and I can report that there are now 4 eggs. They're beautiful.

Updates to follow as conditions warrant. This is your avian reporter signing off... Well, homo sapien reporter specializing in avian reportage. You know what I mean...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Feel the Love

We have a blue cabinet in the kitchen that serves primarily as an art supply center for the kids. We stow phone books and old cloth diapers (our version of paper towels around here) in there as well, but it is mostly bursting with crayons, colored pencils, paper of various kinds, glue, glue sticks, homemade play dough (I add lavender and it is sooo nice to work with), markers, feathers, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners (does anyone else remember in the 70's when there were pipes and pipe cleaners were actually used for cleaning pipes?), anti-coloring coloring books, and non drying modeling clay.

The kids have free access to the cabinet and can create whatever they wish. We don't compel them to do anything. Sometimes, we make suggestions as I did the other day when my daughter was at loose ends as my son was busy with my husband working on "The Bug" (a subject for another post...). I thought it would be nice if she got out the modeling clay and she could create what she wanted. Maybe spring time flowers would be nice.

She started by mixing some yellow and some red and working it to soften it up between her hands. My son soon joined her, and while this is mostly her effort, my son was welcome to join her in producing this:

Both kids did some petals. My daughter did the stem . Each kid did a leaf.

It's not Mother's Day yet, but this heartfelt clay/construction paper creation made my day, and I love that my kids do this sort of thing with no prompting for my husband and I, their friends and their relatives. I've noticed that all of their friends do this kind of thing too. They write each other little love notes and make pictures for each other. It's wonderful to feel affection from these kids and to see all of the interesting ways they express it.

This particular flower is one of my favorite spring time flowers ever. I feel the love.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Young Folks

I don't know where I've been. Actually, that's not fair or true. I know exactly where I've been--I've been with my kids listening to Raffi and then as they got older graduating to Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Simon and Garfunkle and other music that my husband and I like and that the kids would also like. My son particularly likes The Monkees... It's not hip or current music, but it's got a beat.

Somehow, I missed P B and J. As in, Peter, Bjorn and John. This song, Young Folks, is already several years old, but I just heard it for the first time the other day and I like it.

Here it is for you to enjoy too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day...Wait, That's EVERY Day!

I have a bit of a problem with Earth Day. While I think it's good to raise awareness and hopefully bring into people's consciousness the idea that we are connected to the earth and responsible to it, I still have a problem with how it is celebrated and why it is celebrated.

Every day is the earth's day. Every day we could be conscious of our connection to Nature and to be mindful of our place in it. To celebrate the earth on one day, and then possibly go back to buying things we don't need, and driving our gas guzzling hummers and giant SUVs, strikes me as being ironic and a bit obscene.

Earlier this week, a friend of ours recently went to buy a new washing machine--theirs was broken and irreparable. They went to an appliance store and were greeted with a presentation of animals from a nearby nature preserve--snakes, turtles, etc. It was great fun for them and their kids. They also got pins that the store was handing out showing how the store was celebrating Earth Day.

IRONY ALERT! *woot* *woot* *woot* *alarm sounds*

Do you hand out a thing to celebrate Earth Day?! A thing that will advertise your store, but that no one will wear, because kids don't really relish the marketing efforts of local appliance stores, and it will be quickly discarded and therefore it will end up in a landfill tout de suite.

I don't like when companies try to green their products or their marketing. It's cynical and false.

Instead of giving you a thing, I'm going to celebrate Earth Day today with you now by showing you the robin nest building going on in my backyard. Nature at work.


A robin is trying to build a nest on top of our completely ignored bird house at our living room window. A house with a pitched roof...

Wow. That's a lot of material up there.

But, not much of it is wedged behind. Do you think it will slide off?

Uh oh...

See all of those dried grasses in the center of the above photo with a green leaf on top? That all used to be on top of the birdhouse. Hopefully, the birds will try again and it will work out this time...

Yep, they are trying again.

Hey, that's looking better.

It looks like there's more plant material wedged between the window and the back of the birdhouse. That ought to keep it from slipping off this time.

Hello green canoe without an opossum living in it! Currently...As far as we know...

You should be proud, robin. That is a fabulous nest you've built. Take a bow, or stand there while I quickly try to get a photo of you.

Look at that nest! Look at all of the mud you've added--very stable. That's not going any where.

Are there any eggs yet? Let's take a quick peek, while you are off somewhere else.

No. No eggs yet, but we will check whenever you and your mate aren't around, so as to not freak you out.

Nicely done, Mother Nature. Beautiful work, robins.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April Fool's...or Our Sponsors Won't Like This!

Dr. Jay Gordon, this past April Fool's Day, sent a fake press release announcing that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) was severing all ties to formula makers...which so isn't true, despite the understanding that breastfeeding is the optimal way to nourish babies. The AAP remains fully in bed with them. Cosy, really.

The AAP is not amused. In fact, they are right pissed off. They answered that in no uncertain terms are they severing ties to the formula manufacturers. But, why in the world not? Why wouldn't they sever a relationship with manufacturers that in several different ways sabotage women's breastfeeding relationship with their infants? Why wouldn't the AAP want to promote the absolute best food for infants--breast milk?

Follow the money...

There is a great post from Hoyden About Town, outlining how it all went down. Please go to her site to see it. I had it fully printed here, and at her request I've edited the piece. See it at her site and be amazed by the AAP's absurd reaction to Dr. Jay Gordon's practical joke. Further, be amazed at their list of sponsors and that they have no intention of severing ties with formula manufacturers.


Here is an excerpt of Hoyden About Town's post:


Dr Jay Gordon is well known on Lactnet, as a passionate and knowledgeable breastfeeding advocate, and as a critic of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s policy of accepting infant formula company funding.

The AAP accepts sponsorship from McDonald’s, the National Dairy Council, Abbott, Gerber, Mead Johnson, Nestle, Pepsi, Playtex, the Corn Products Association, and a variety of pharmaceutical and chemical companies. A lot of people find this funding approach to be unethical, since the AAP is, as they claim, “Dedicated to the health of all children”. (There seems to be an asterisk at the end of that statement on their website, but I can’t see a footnote anywhere.)

The AAP’s history of accepting formula and pharmaceutical funding for conferences, undermining the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign at the behest of formula companies, and allowing infant formula logos to be placed on A New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding are well documented. When the AAP was contacted by a group of their own pediatricians about the formula logo, they were uninterested, citing financial issues. The AAP also put out “Nestlé Nutrition Centre” advertisements in the header of Table of Contents emails for their flagship journal, Pediatrics.

These facts are not contested, to the best of my knowledge, by the organisation. Nor do they contest the fact that the feeding of breastmilk substitutes has harmed millions of children; again, this is very well documented. Every day, more than 4,000 babies die because they’re not breastfed. (Yes, some of these dead babies are even in America.)

The tide is turning - very slowly. Gradually, even doctors themselves are starting to realise that industry sponsorship is often unethical and inappropriate, and it has been shown over and over that it influences practice - though most doctors like to think they are mysteriously immune. Two weeks ago the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published “Professional Medical Associations and Their Relationships With Industry: A Proposal for Controlling Conflict of Interest“, co-signed by a large number of different doctors, including a past president of the AAP. The article identified areas of conflict of interest, and asserted that sacrifice is required by professional medical associations in order to maintain integrity. [JAMA. 2009;301(13):1367-1372]

The First Email

On April First, this post appeared on Lactnet, clearly marked as coming from Dr Jay Gordon.

Press Release

American Academy of Pediatrics—For Immediate Release

Dr. David T. Tayloe, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics which represents 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists has announced that it is severing all ties with the infant formula industry.

“This method of feeding substitution has harmed millions of children both in America and throughout the world and we pediatricians can no longer continue our relationship with the manufacturers of infant formula.” said Dr. Tayloe, who assumed the post of AAP President in October of 2008.

“Our alliance with the pharmaceutical industry is unethical. Our accepting millions of dollars and continuing to allow these business people to influence our policies while sponsoring our speakers, conferences and conventions is an ongoing embarrassment and we will end this ethical problem right now.”

“Further, I would like to apologize for our past mistakes involving the breastfeeding advertisement campaign and allowing the maker of Similac infant formula to print its corporate logo on the cover of a special edition of the academy’s book on breastfeeding.”

“Again, I can cannot express enough regret and can assure you that the AAP will immediately seek compliance with the WHO Code and will promote the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.”


David T. Tayloe, MD, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
April 1, 2009

Read more to see how it all turns out...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vaccination Stance Poll Results

Many of you took the time to answer my recent Vaccination Stance Poll and I thank you. I realize that some of you were slightly irritated that you couldn't answer with multiple choices; that was an oversight. But, I'm going to group two sets of answers together on your behalf, after I give you the numbers.

The numbers:

53 people answered the poll.

1 (1%) of you answered that they have complete faith in it.

8 (15%) of you answered that you selectively vaccinate.

No one chose that they do no research and just do what the doctor says, although I know this is true for lots and lots of people. But, thankfully not here, you free thinkers you.

1 (1%) of you said that you have researched and vaccinated.

A whopping 33 (62%) of you said that you've researched and NOT vaccinated. There is a lot to see once you start looking, isn't there?

No one answered that they're not even comfortable questioning it. That seems really hopeful to me. There is always room for questions, isn't there?

No one answered with the question, Why wouldn't anyone vaccinate?! That seems hopeful to me too. There is a load of room for questions.

7 (13%) of you answered with the question, How could you inject those chemicals into your kids? I think you guys have researched, at least to the extent of finding out the ingredients of vaccines and probably much more extensively than that... so, I'm going to roll you guys into the researched/not vaccinating group. That brings those totals up to 40 (75%) of you.

2 (3%) of you think I am a loon. Oh yeah? What if I am? Maybe I think you are too! Did you ever think of that?! Did you?!

1 (1%) of you are all about business and would like this conversation to go back to the original idea of not buying new things. They answered with, Can we please just talk about not buying things?

Yes, we can. We can talk about not buying things. But, I include in that all of the mainstream ideas we are sold over and over again through advertising, institutions like schools, and medical organizations like the AAP. They want us to buy it, and I don't.

Thanks for voting everybody!

Rock the vote!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Savoy Truffle, or Watch Your Teeth Eric Clapton

I like this song and always thought it was, "Savoy Shuffle", but that's part of my dysfunction. I mishear songs. I think the lyrics are something totally different than they are.

I looked it up and it's about the boxes of chocolate that Eric Clapton was constantly eating. Apparently, Eric Clapton had a sweet tooth. Not as bad as heroin, but enough to get a warning from his dentist, "You'll have to get them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle."

Thursday, April 16, 2009


You know what's jive?! I'll tell you--tax day protests, that's what.

Have all of you tax protesters agreed not to accept any of the services that your taxes pay for? What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear your answer?

You know what? I'll get quiet and listen. Shhh! All of us will now be quiet so we can listen to your very cogent explanation as to why you are protesting your taxes after Bush gutted the whole economy and ran up all of the deficit. No, really. It's your turn.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Como se Dice?

Does anyone know what this means?

Уважаемый автор, а вы случайно не из Москвы?

It is a question posed to me on my guestbook. I'd like to answer it, but no hablo.

And while we're looking at it, I'm leaning towards Russian, but is it?

NOTE: I just looked it up at a great site that translates languages for you. I think it doesn't always translate with any kind of understanding of what is trying to be said however...

It is Russian and this is what the translation is:

Distinguished author and you do not accidentally from Moscow?

So, I think that may mean, "Hey, I think you're a great writer. Are you perchance from Moscow?"

I love languages and people trying to talk to one another. Thank you my new Russian friend. No, I'm not from Russia, nor have I ever been there. I am, however, grateful that you like my writing.

Visit again!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny

I have a previous entry where I posted a video presentation by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny called, Vaccines: the Benefits, the Risks, the Choices. I think it might not always work for people, so I'm going to repost it here, and hopefully it will work.

If you have some time and would like to learn more about vaccines and where there may be problems or room for questions, please take a look at this video.

I Must Confess

In addition to all of my questioning about the efficacy, safety and necessity of vaccines, I am still conscious of stuff, or the lack thereof. We still are not buying it...except when I have. So, I confess.

My recent purchases have been food related though, so I'm giving myself a little wiggle room on those ones. Well, on one of them, the other one I didn't need.

This first purchase addresses a health issue and I have been keeping my eye out for anything remotely similar at Goodwill or any other resale shop I have frequented for the last year and a half--no luck. So, a few days ago, I broke down and bought some of these:

These are pyrex glass food storage containers to contain all of the leftovers that I create. I don't want to use the plastic ones that I have.

I basically no longer use the microwave (I just heat coffee in there) and I never did heat food in plastic in it. I know that plastic leaches into the food and I didn't want that in my husband, or myself or my kids. What I didn't realize was that it kind of leaches always. It's not uber stable. But, glass is.

OK I say fair enough on that purchase. But, then we went to the fantastic store, American Science and Surplus in Chicago (they also have an online catalog here) where I bought the kids some Harry Potter physics kits--we already have done some of the exercises--it's difficult to find the center of gravity when you make homemade mobiles out of thin dowels and circles of cardstock. That was a fine purchase. The kids were also allowed to get whatever they wanted with their own money. Prudent, and frankly imprudent, spending are both great lessons at this age. "Are you sure you want the giant squishy worm thingy that is offgassing and so I won't let you take it into the house, but you may enjoy it on the porch?" Yes, my daughter answered. "Is this really what you'd like to buy?", I asked my son. "Yes. I really want it." And so the chicken chucker is now languishing on the computer desk after it broke on the second day of ownership. Who knew that a chicken chucker could be a delicate thing?

I bought myself a coffee mug--an exact duplicate of one I already have, as my husband pointed out--but, I just couldn't resist. It has the store's name on it and its catch phrase, "Incredible stuff, unbelievable prices!" It announces when it was established ("Est. About 1937"), and I just love that it's vague. You know, 1937ish. And above the name is hovering an optimistic guy who is wearing a Da Vinci-like helicopter strapped to his back. His arms are outstretched and he is flying as if he's in a hanglider. It's so hopeful and creative. So, I bought it.

I confess.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Couple of Questions

Do you think that raccoons, being the scavenging kind of animals that they are, will be in any way put off by the Paas dye covering the eggs that my husband and I just now scattered all over the yard? Will there be any eggs left in the morning?

Raccoons as they might look were they in search of pastel dyed eggs in our yard.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Vaccination Poll

I think all of this vaccination talk may have disturbed some loyal readers out there. I think people may feel judged by me, because I have chosen a different path and have my reasons for doing so. (Yes, I am mad because I think we're being sold a bill of goods and it's not right.) I have listed some of my reasons here, and it may be that they've not considered some of these same things. Or, they just trust in science and can't believe that the whole vaccination program might be wrong, or terribly flawed. In any case, I think I've pissed some people off.

Sorry--I didn't intend that.

There's a new poll that asks about your vaccination stance. One of the choices is "Laura, you're a loon" and if you're the least bit pissed off at me, that might be a good one to choose. There are other choices as well, if you want to answer it honestly. Although, you may honestly feel that I am a loon, in which case go with that.

Please vote at the left there if you feel so inclined.


Uvula Poll Results

There is no consensus out in the greater world as to the purpose of a uvula, and so it goes here too.

Two of the voters thought it was to close off the nasopharynx. Maybe, quite possible. Two of the voters thought it's main purpose is to cause a gag reflex thereby preventing choking. Possible, but not proven. And finally, one person voted for my favorite choice, as ever--irony.

Thanks for voting.

Rock the vote!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Words of Wisdom

I just read some very sage words on a young mom's blog (Presidio Unschooling). She is just starting out unschooling her little kids and she's feeling some impatience and guilt over not being fully available to her kids at all times. Been there. I've experienced that too.

Here are her very wise words:

Don't do a fancy craft project when you're PMS.

Bingo! Words we can all live by...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Homeschooling Lesson of the Day

Today's lesson is that if you sit on the trunk of the car in front because you want to watch the treetrimmers from the village absolutely mangle the neighbor's tree across the street, your mom will make you get off the trunk of the car and you will have to drag chairs from the wood shack in the backyard instead and bring them to the front yard and watch the workers from there.

Also, the chocolate chip cookies you were going to help mom make will be made by her alone, but she will fix up a tasting plate, so you don't miss out on any of the dough goodness.

And, you will see how long the workers' break lasts. You will note how hard they worked beforehand (very).

Please notice how the chipper grinds up a huge amount of trimmed material and how cool it is to see it come shooting out into the truck in front of it.

This will be independent work, although you may partner up if you so choose. All observations are to be shared.

Mom will routinely look out the window and make sure that the workers are not getting creeped out by two highly curious kids sitting in the front yard staring at them. So far, mom notes that the workers are not impeded at all by the onlookers.

At the end of the lesson, cookies will be served and there will be a conversation where we will talk about: what they did, why the did it, who paid for them to do it, how it effected the trees, its necessity, or lack thereof, how the chipper works, its ability to handle that much material, what fuels it, where the wood chips go, how quickly the shredded matter would decompose, whether the village composts, how we will compost, how quickly a banana peel would decompose in our pile. Or not. We might just talk about how loud it all was. Either way, a lesson will be had of some kind.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am is Spring, right?

Well, as much as I love beautiful, fluffy, flaky, crystalline, icy snow, I think it really stinks when it's supposed to be Spring around here. Its timing is waaaay off. We need daffodils and tulips and magnolias and nest building sparrows twittering amid the buds on our maple tree. I need to wash clothes and hang them on our clothes line. My daughter needs to be able to transplant her flower seedlings outside.

My husband loves to initiate projects with the kids. He and my son are going to build an 8 ft. trebuchet and launch things with it in the Summer. (No, I'm not concerned, why do you ask?) Any way, he thought he could help my daughter plant up some flower seeds and we'd see what happens with them. It is her job to water them and see how they're progressing. She's doing a great job of it.

My husband set up a long table in the living room, displacing our other furniture--because this is more important, that's why--in front of the windows where the seedlings will get some needed light. And, there they're growing beautifully in the egg cartons we saved from the farmers, and the plastic trays our friend Neo-agrarian lent us (and thanks for the seeds too!).

Let's look at these hopeful, bright, tender shoots leaning hard into the light. Grow little ones, grow!

Look how earnest and innocent they are:

This one still has the seed attached...

Look at this beautiful leaf growing into form.

And here, past this micro grove of seedlings, on the other side of those windows, you can see snow piled up on the bushes outside.

It's in the crooks of trees where mighty branches join up with thick trunks.

It's on the buds that are setting out their maple propeller seeds that will litter our lawn in a few weeks time.

And, the snow is on my clothes line.

Springtime in the Chicago area is a fickle thing and always has been. How I am lulled and seduced by the first hints of it every year is amazing to me. Why, why, why do I never expect any more snow after we've had our first freakishly warm day of the 70's way back in March? Why? How do I not learn from my mistakes of the past?

It will ALWAYS snow again. Always. I must remember that and never forget it again.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raise Your Hand if You Love Amadou and Miriam!

*My hand raised* Oooh, I do! I'm raising my hand like Arnold Horshack here.

Amadou and Mariam are a rock/blues/folk duo from Mali who met at a school for the blind and discovered that they both shared a great love of music...they married, and have continued to make beautiful music together for the past three decades.

Here's Toubala Kono:

And from their recent album...uh, I mean CD (sorry, a flashback to my childhood terminology there. Although, it is still an album of music, isn't it?) Welcome to Mali, the song, Sabali:

Here's Djama:

This song is beautiful. Fete au Village:

Je Pense a Toi is also beautiful to hear and the images in this video are stunningly beautiful:

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Answer a Reader's Question About My Vaccination Stance

In the comments section in my recent post about vaccines shedding and what doctors say about that, if anything, a reader, Susie, wondered if I worry about diseases that vaccination is supposed to prevent. She wondered if non vaccinated kids are more at risk for catching those diseases, and wondered if that was a worry for me. She wrote,

Anonymous Susie said...

Hey Laura,
I'm new to this topic. I've got an almost two year old who has been vaccinated on the recommended schedule. Her doctor is great (she's my doctor as well) and did give us information on side effects and when to not have the vaccine (during illness,etc.).
I've heard of the Dr. Sears method where you space out the shots given to your child,etc. But, how does not vaccinating your child work? Are your kids at a greater risk of developing some of these viruses,etc. because they haven't been vaccinated? As a daycare provider I'm sent letters every year that update me on what dangerous sicknesses are spring up around the state, and children in past years have even died from some of these random illnesses.
So...that was a lot of rambling :) Sorry! I'm just curious about whether you worry about your kids getting sick and how you deal with all of those worries or fears. Or..maybe you don't have them at all!! Thanks!

April 2, 2009 12:57 PM

The big answer to all of that is no, I don't worry. However, I do proactively do things that strengthen my kids' immune systems and that I think fortifies them against disease. Not that they may not catch a disease, they might (as might a vaccinated kid--the vaccines fail all of the time) but that their bodies will be able to clear a virus, or snuff out a cold easily and quickly.

I had no invasive prenatal testing. I didn't have a single ultrasound. I gave birth at home without any kind of drugs. I held my babies almost constantly and breastfed them on demand for years.

We eat very little sugar. We drink raw milk. We eat organic foods as much as possible. We eat meat from grass fed, pastured animals. We use coconut oil in smoothies and in cooking. We eat raw honey. We don't take allopathic medicines of any kind.

My son has never had antibiotics--no medicine from a doctor ever. My daughter and I both had antibiotics once together when I had a breast infection and we were both sick. That was over 7 years ago and no one since that time has had any kind of medicine from a doctor. We're not Christian Scientists and if we ever needed to take something, we would. But, we would first find out how to support the body to heal naturally. It seems to be working for all of us.

My kids do not have asthma. They have no food allergies. They have no skin ailments. They rarely get sick, and when they do they recover quickly. I think they have robust immune systems partly because they've not been tampered with.

As a pregnant woman with my first child, I knew I would have a homebirth. I already knew I would breastfeed as my mother had done. I knew that if I had a son, he would remain intact. I also knew that I didn't want to inject any chemicals into my kids.

Realizing this, I knew I should research and learn what I could and as much as I could.

What were the diseases that had vaccines? What were the current rates of infection? How were these common childhood diseases treated in the past? What were complications in these diseases? How were they treated? What was the risk of complications?

If my kids got sick, in general, how would I care for them? I read Dr. Robert Mendelsohn's book, How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. I read with great interest the areas about fever. I found out that that's the body's way of burning off a bug. The body increases in temperature and the invading bug can't survive. It's curative. I knew then that I wouldn't try to treat fevers, I wouldn't ever give Tylenol. If It got crazy high, I might. But, it's never gotten crazy high in either of my kids. They get warm, briefly, and the next day they're fine.

I read Neil Z. Miller books, Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective? and Immunization Theory Vs. Reality Expose on Vaccinations which both showed graphs, obtained from Vital Statistics from the government, that showed the precipitous decline of diseases, before the introduction of vaccines. Hmmm... That was very interesting to me. I saw other graphs that showed a low incidence of death from measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus well before the onset of vaccinations. Interesting.

I read the almost completely unreadable book by Viera Scheibner, Vaccination: 100 Years of Orthodox Research Shows That Vaccines Represent an Assault on the Immune System that showed through orthodox research published in mainstream journals like JAMA and Lancet that vaccines are ineffective and are recognized as an assault on the immune system. Scientific studies showed this, but those are not what's quoted by the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics. These studies are also not what doctors look at. They're busy looking at patients. They're not scientists--never were--they treat patients with what they know. What they know is what they learned back in medical school. The medical school curricula is written by pharmaceutical companies. I find that interesting also.

Years later, after both of my healthy kids were born, I came across Dr. Sherri Tenpenny. As a conventionally trained doctor, Dr. Tenpenny has turned around on her understanding of routine vaccination. She has conducted thousands of hours of research into disease and vaccination and has produced an informative video explaining her change in thinking. She used to believe that vaccinations were a panacea, an answer to all that ails...she no longer believes this.

If you have some time, please view this video and see what you think.

As Louis Pasteur said on his deathbed, "The germ is nothing the terrain is everything."

No, I do not worry.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's All Been a Joke--Suckers!

God are you guys push overs! Again, you have fallen for my ruse here. This is all a joke. I don't really not buy new things--that would be impossible!!

I've been pulling your legs. I buy new stuff all of the time. I get things on sale, I get full priced things--it doesn't matter. I just love to shop and feel I deserve whatever I can get. Doesn't everyone?!

Who would espouse such a hard way of life? Who would actually suggest that Americans, Americans (!) should deny themselves anything?

Aren't we in hard economic times now?? Don't we need to spend our way out of it? If people stop spending, won't that put all sorts of people out of work? It's not the behavior of the guys at the top that have messed up this economy--no, it's people who have slowed down their buying.

Come on people. Step up. I don't really care about my neighbors and the larger community any more than you do--selfishness is really self-interestedness--there's a difference! But, if you buy for yourself, you're really helping someone else too. It's a win,

So, on this April Fool's Day, I want you to think about what junk you can go out and buy today. Maybe you're in difficult economic straits yourself. You can still buy a blouse you really don't need. Just go charge it. You can still go out and buy the scented candle on sale that you'll throw out in 6 months 'cause it doesn't burn evenly, and now looks ugly. Those things don't have to cost too much.

The point is I think you should go buy, buy, buy! Oh, and while you're at it, eat a lot of junk filled with chemicals and mercury tainted corn syrup and genetically modified corn starch. That doesn't effect health and it tastes soooo good! Also, I think you should slather on a bunch of sunscreen and not let the sun touch you at all.

Follow every piece of conventional medical advice--even though it might not make a lot of sense when seen through the perspective of evolution or history or anthropological norms around the world. Just blindly follow what the doctors say...

And speaking of experts, I think I'll enroll my kids in school today, because I'm not a trained teacher--how can I possibly educate my kids?! They're not learning enough about bullying or arbitrary institutional rules that serve only the flow of group management and have nothing to do with learning. My kids should learn at this tender age about red tape and busy work and a dulling of their curiosity. It's sink or swim kids! That's how the world works and you're not learning enough of that here in the confines of your loving home. It's off to school with the two of you.

Daughter, you can no longer grab your Harry Potter book and read it for however long you want in the morning. You can't have a playdate with Unnamed's kids in the middle of the day while I take Son to a lesson. Son, you can no longer build robots from kits your grandparents bought you for Christmas. No--go learn things on the school's timetable and in the school's way.

I've been joking around about my concern about pollution and ice caps melting too...It's fine! The world has been around for millions of years, billions of years, only 6,000 years (Hello young earthers! Nice of you to visit my blog!!). How arrogant of us to think that we are actually affecting the very climate of the earth! Besides, lots of religions feel it's all in God/Allah/Jesus's hands. Don't worry!! Let God take care of it. We are nothing and as the nothing beings we are, we really should not care about pollution or anything having to do with ecology.

If there's an eminent domain issue where a development company wants to build a mall and they need to knock down the last habitat of a mouse or a butterfly or an owl, I say "When will the mall be open and where's the nearest Forever21 store!!!"

You see what my true feelings are here. I've just been kidding. I want everyone to do whatever makes them happy because isn't that the best thing we can all do for oursleves? If everyone is happy, would there really be wars? Would there?? So, ultimately, if I worry about the soldiers still in Iraq, it doesn't help to end the war. Whereas if I shop, then I will be happy and that will help the world be more peaceful and then that will end the war. See??


The point here is to just go buy and not worry your little heads about things. "We Don't Buy It" now buys everything: stuff, mainstream ideas about health, ideas from women's magazines about how we should look as women, commercials that show us what products we should use to wash ourselves, our homes, our kids (what's a little formaldehyde in bath products?...afterall it's in vaccines...dont' you think they would've taken it out if it causes cancer or something...oh, they don't test if it does...well, any way what's a little formaldehyde??). We're not questioning anything else around here any more. Who am I to question anything?! Where do I get off?!

Have a happy day shopping today. Enjoy your various swiffer products! Just use 'em and throw them out--what could be easier??

Be happy. Shop...
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