Thursday, November 24, 2016

Yodel-YAY!-Ee-Hoo

Vintage cornucopia dish found: here
Stand up and take chard of your holiday appetizer tray with this recipe for Boatyard Chard.  Move over Spinach Dip, there's a new spread in the slip!  The warm flavors of ginger root, and garlic bring a cozy heat to this otherwise mellow starter.

Here's what you need:
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1-2 Inch Piece of Ginger Root (grated) 
  • 1 Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1-2 Bunches Swiss Chard (sliced into 1/4 - 1/2" pieces be sure to use some stems too!)
  • 2 Cups Ricotta Cheese

Here's what you do:
Heat oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 4-6 minutes (just long enough to get fragrant, don't burn it!).  Add chard, and water, cover and cook until wilted and tender - another 4-8 minutes.  Season with salt.

*HINT* If you're going salt free, however, use more diced chard stems in your recipe, they give a great salty flavoring to your dish.  The stems also contain glutamine (amino acid) that aids in tissue recovery in the body, so they're great to have around after injury or surgery!

Once your greens are nice and wilted, combine them with two cups of ricotta cheese in a baking dish, and pop into your pre-heated oven you set to 425° and bake for 12 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  Serve with crostini or crackers of your choice, it's perfect straight out of the oven, or chilled overnight!

I stumbled upon this flavorful, yet gentle recipe when I altered, and combined one of my favorites (coconut chard) with the directions for a dip recipe that involved ricotta cheese, at a time when I had to engage in a brutally restrictive diet.  My body wasn't playing nicely with all of the other foods on the playground, or maybe it was the other way around, but this was one recipe that was a bit of a peace-maker, especially through the holiday season.  So, I thought I would share it this year for anyone dealing with food allergies, or mega-restrictions, or even weight loss, and diets that are leaving you with rather less-than-palatable options these days, because nobody wants to be unable to eat, and enjoy family gatherings, forever banished to loser-table ... it's a lot like the kids' table, but with no crayons.

xoxo

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rise & Shine!

https://jlk86341.isrefer.com/go/WB2017/Stormaculus/

The Leonie Dawson Shining Year Biz & Life workbooks are finally here for the masses (no memberships or pre-orders to fuss with and forget required).  For all of you swept up in the latest agenda craze, these workbooks, are weekly planners on steroids!  Mine are still in the mail, and this will be my very first year trying out Leonie's system for keeping all of my goals and deadlines on track.  I'm admittedly a little nervous (is that event the right word?) about diving into this packet, I am a complete and total minimalist when it comes to this kind of thing - like, 19¢ one subject notebook and black ink pen - minimalist aside from my old zip up calendar / address book with (ugly as hell) refillable pages from college. Almost nothing about the image above speaks to me on a personal or intuitive level, if I'm being perfectly honest.  No joke, it was like pulling teeth for my art instructors to get me to even entertain the idea of a sketchbook, and I kept maybe one and a half diaries during my entire childhood so, I am definitely not the constantly journaling / doodling / vision board-ing girl. I have, however, discovered this year that I work more efficiently when I have worksheets to check back with, and I already know that I closely follow the calendar to help keep me on task, but what drew me to this was the notion that I was missing a step in my planning that could push my productivity, and execution to the next level.  So, here I am giving it a whirl!  I'm curious to see how this all works out exactly.  If you are too, pounce on the images (hey, hey! They're links!) and snag a set that fits your life, or business goals, and see what all the hype is about!  I also recommend shaking a leg, these tend to sell out quickly, and thanks to successful pre-orders some stock is already running a bit low.

https://jlk86341.isrefer.com/go/WB2017/Stormaculus/

Seriously, people are bananas for this chick's products, and swear up and down that she has completely changed their lives and business, it's still too early for me to tell, but she just may be turning me into a believer.

And as always, you can check out some of Leonie's free goodies over here!

 xoxo

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ready for a Little World Building?


Alright gang, my annual Worldbuilders winter fundraiser post is coming out a little earlier than usual this year.  In years past I've posted about Patrick Rothfuss' end of the year charity extravaganza where geeks from all walks of life come together to change people's lives through Heifer International to kick off the holiday season around here on December 1st, and also help spread the word of a final two week push to the donation finish line.  This year things are a little different, Worldbuilders has announced that they have the ability to match donations made in 2016 up to a million dollars, meaning if anything near last year's total is achieved, TWO MILLION USD will be given to Heifer International to completely transform the lives of people in our own country and around the world who have been affected by the most devastating poverty imaginable.

So, how can you join in all of the merry-making, you ask?  Go HERE and check out Pat's charity launch post for an in-depth description of how this all works.  The basic idea is that there are three ways to help out: Auctions, Lottery, and Donate, but as the fundraiser goes on madness ensues with new stretch goals added, and new lottery and auction items thrown into the mix, so it's great to check back in with his blog between now and the end of the fundraiser **DEADLINE EXTENDED!!!** DECEMBER 19, 2016 11:59 UTC-11 to see what other shenanigans have cropped up that you might feel you need to be involved with.  If you're feeling generous this holiday season, or looking to deviate from the usual gift giving of this time of year give it a peek and maybe drop a few dollars to help someone out!

xoxo

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Six Word Story: Going too Far



She demanded his soul.  He complied.


-Stormy Peterson

Monday, October 24, 2016

Rebecca Steele

Hanged as a witch in January 1663, she was reportedly lewd, foul-mouthed (I like her already), emotional, and possibly mentally ill, or just really fed up with her thieving husband's (and everyone else's) sh nonsense ... But a real witch? Probably not.  She was, however, the last person in Connecticut to be executed as one.

Three decades before Salem, Massachusetts put witch trials on the colonial map, Hartford, Connecticut found itself ground zero of a witchcraft frenzy all its own between 1647 and 1663 beginning with the sentencing, and execution of Alse Young, a woman whose trial we know next to nothing about.  In the next seven years, four more executions would follow: Mary Johnson, John & Joan Carrington, and Lydia Gilbert.  A fourth, and final wave of hysteria swept Hartford in early 1662, according to court documents, the fuss originally centered around a little girl in the throes of illness crying out accusations of witchcraft in her demented state.  The child subsequently died, and all hell broke loose. By the time 1662 had rolled around, my 7th Great-Grandmother, Rebecca Steele originally from Devonshire, England, and the widow of two (by all accounts I have found) upstanding men (Abraham Elsen & my 7th Great-Grandfather Jarvis Mudge) who had the misfortune of tying up for the third time with a certain Mr. Greensmith, a man that according to probate records seemed to have a difficult time with drunkenness, battery, truthfulness, and keeping his paws off other people's property, had been fully, and thoroughly dragged into the witch hunt.  The couple kept the company of a colorful motley crew comprising of blasphemers, thieves, liars, adulterers -- your basic rabble of undesirables from a Puritanical point of view.  It appears that this, and their late-night merrymaking under a tree on the green near the Greensmith's house which included drinking and dancing (gasp!) was a great jumping off point for neighborhood suspicions.  So basically they were those neighbors ... Every 'hood has that one house where they install a portable hot tub on their front lawn, get absolutely trashed, and then proceed to fight and yell loud enough so they can hear each other's insults over the constant thrum of jacuzzi jets ... Wait, what?  I can't possibly be the only person so richly blessed!  To be perfectly honest, if witchcraft accusations held the same weight as they used to, and I could get away with it, and depending on how much sleep I'd lost due to the "merrymaking" I dare say, I'd be tempted.  I mean, I get it ... And so it turns out that my grandmother, Mr. Greensmith, James Walkley, and Goodwives Ayers and Seager were those people, and the other villagers were sick of it and wanted them gone, granted, they went about it in a pretty savage way.

December 30th, 1662 in a Hartford courtroom, a formal witchcraft charge was brought against the Greensmiths (thanks to their next door neighbor, Ann Cole and daughter of John Cole).  Both were indicted.  Once in custody, Rebecca spilled her guts, offered a full confession, and went a step further according to A Case Of Witchcraft in Hartford by, Charles J. Hoadly:

I speak all of this out of love to my husband's soul, and it is much against my will that I am now necessitate to speak against my husband.  I desire that the Lord would open his heart to own and speak the truth.

She ratted out her ol' man!  Either she had sincere concern for her husband's life / soul, and believed some sort of leniency would be granted upon her testimony, whether here or the afterlife, or this is a classic, "if I go down, I'm taking you with me" moment!  Was this her opportunity to get even with an abusive husband?  Something tells me by this advanced age, and time in her life the "love to her husband's soul" might have been wearing a bit thin. Or did his actions of defending his wife's "honor" when accusations first began to fly, and which ultimately led to his own witchcraft charge, soften her heart for the old coot?  It is unlikely that we'll ever know the actual truth behind her decision, but we do know she didn't stop there...

I also testify that I being in ye wood at a meeting there was wth me Goody Seager Goodwife Sanford & Goodwife Ayeres; and at another time there was a meeting under a tree in ye green by or house & there was there James Walkely, Peter Grants wife Goodwife Aires & Henry Palmers wife of Wethersfield, & Goody Seager & there we danced, & had a bottle of sack: it was in ye night & something like a catt cald me out to ye meeting & I was in Mr. Varlets orchard wth Mrs. Judeth Varlett & shee tould me that shee was much troubled wth ye Marshall Jonath: Gilbert & cried, & she sayd if it lay in her power she would doe hin a mischief, or what hurt shee could.

Was she truly overwhelmed with concern for all of their souls, or was she just a spiteful old hag settling a few scores with her dirt-bag friends, or did she just think by throwing more names into the mix she'd take some heat off herself?  I'd love to be able to ask her, having been falsely accused of one or two things myself I can't help but feel for her, even though she'd probably cuss me out for bringing it up, then we'd get drunk, exchange vulgar stories, dance around a bonfire, and cackle like a couple of, uhm ... well, witches.

In an awkward twist, like Linda Stuhler of the blog Inmates of Willard, it appears I'm a descendant from both the accused, Rebecca (Steele) Greensmith, and Edward Griswold, my 10th Great-Grandfather, originally from Warickshire, England, and a tribunal member partly responsible for her conviction, and murder, but from completely different offshoots than Stuhler's.  Following the execution of the Greensmiths, 139 years later to be exact, Nancy Ward (my 4th Great-Grandmother, and Mr. Griswold's descendant) married Reverend Jesse David Braman (my 4th Great-Grandfather, and Rebecca Steele's descendant) in an 1802 ceremony in Coeymans, New York.  In fact, Edward Griswold shows up three separate times in my family tree, one of his grand-daughters even married into my dad's colonial family.  Perhaps this would be unsurprising to most, after all the villages were small, and the dating pool, I imagine, was quite shallow, but for me it was a shock to even find any lines of my family linking me to Colonial America at all, I thought we were just recent (4th or 5th generation) transplants before this little tree project came about.

  • Line from Rebecca Steele (married Jarvis Mudge) > Micah Mudge (married Mary Alexander) > Martha Mudge (married Jesse J. Braman) > Jesse D. Braman (married Nancy Ward) > Jonathan W. Braman.

  • Line from Edward Griswold (married Margaret Diamond) > Deborah Griswold (married Samuel Buell) > John Buell (married Mary Loomis) > Lois Buell (married Supply Strong) > Rachel Strong (married Samuel Beach) > Nancy Beach (married Jonathan Ward) > Nancy Ward (married Jesse D. Braman) > Jonathan W. Braman.

Soooo ... Half witch, and half self-righteous moral authority?
(No comments from the peanut gallery)

In recent years many 8th and 9th generation descendants of the accused, and quite frankly, unjustly murdered "witches" of Hartford have been eager to see the names of their ancestors cleared once and for all, like those of Salem.  Even attempting at one time to get pardons for the eleven persons wrongly executed for crimes they never committed, the efforts, however, seem to have been in vain since Connecticut does not issue posthumous pardons.  Perhaps for the other families involved, this is of some importance, but every time I dive into Rebecca's story, I can't help but think this broad wouldn't care what a single living person today thought of her, or remembered her as.  And that makes me smile.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Starting October Off Right

https://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Allan-Poe-Adult-Coloring/dp/1454921358/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475390772&sr=1-1&keywords=poe+coloring+book


A little Versailles double episode premiere on the tube for "ambiance" a pack of Crayola Super Tips, a fuzzy fleece blankie, and my fresh Edgar Allan Poe coloring book... What more could a girl want?


https://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Allan-Poe-Adult-Coloring/dp/1454921358/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475390772&sr=1-1&keywords=poe+coloring+book 






Ok, so I wouldn't mind a new vial of my favorite fall scent, but the store went out of business, so there's not much I can do about that except make my own, which I very much intend to do.  Stay tuned. 



xoxo
 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Six Word Story: Getting Lost in the Woods



The fresh canopy is my rotunda.


-Stormy Peterson

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Wind is Back...

That seems to be the only discernible difference between August, and September here -- the wind.  Before you feel that first bite of fall air, before the sun's heat doesn't seem to match up with its bright brilliance anymore, before the darkened mornings' fog horns begin their end of year song (... and the rain), there's the wind, and you know that fall is sure to follow.  The funny thing is, I forget about it every year.  Hard to imagine since it blows from September through June, but I forget about it.  I love it, but I forget. 

And suddenly it comes back to me, bringing me back to life like a fresh promise after surviving the unforgiving summer heat. 

It's so strange to me, once upon a time an original Sun Goddess living for high elevations, dry air, and hot, hot, hot weather -- 120°F in the desert?  Who cares, let's do this!  I now find a wildness in subtleties more alluring, and intense in a slightly playful way that tickles the imagination in the same way my hair kisses the back of my neck as the wind moves through it.  Or maybe I'm just another (overly) Romantic in a long list of many who were better with words than I'll ever be that feels the need at least once per year to create another ode of sorts to a passing season.  What I do know for sure is when September comes around, the little slice of Earth I live on breathes a sigh of relief, and me along with it.


xoxo

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Motherly Advice...

Me: 15
He: 16
Mother: You're too young to go with boys who drive.

Me: 19
He: 21
Mother: And just what exactly are you gonna be doin' while he's out at the bar or club with his buddies?! No daughter of mine waits by the phone for some knucklehead to call!

Me: 25
He: 37
Mother: Are you sure? Men that age are usually ready for more, and want something different out of life...

Me: 35
Mother: You need someone around 50, these men your age today act like overgrown children, they'll never be enough "man" for you.

*sigh*


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#BoycottZara

Image: courtesy of AdamJK
ZARA, the world's largest apparel retailer, and notorious 'fast-fashion' copycat brand, is at it again this summer ripping off popular independent artists around the globe and selling their poorly-fabricated, illegal / unauthorized reproductions across their main, and subsidiary companies.  When confronted they clapped back at one LA-based, indie artist, Tuesday Bassen, with a very neaner-neaner we're more popular than you, so we can steal your work kind of response.  Which, I'm sure she was thrilled to receive after dropping 2k on a professionally drafted Cease & Desist letter to the company informing them of their misstep.

If Zara thinks acting like a stuck-up prom queen after being called out on their theft is winning them any popularity contests, they are mistaken.  It's very disappointing when the largest apparel, and accessories retail chain founded by Amancio Ortega (the second richest man in the world, and richest in Europe) has to steal from independent artists and sell ripped-off designs when there are much smaller businesses out there contracting with these same artists following all appropriate legal channels to bring lesser known or underground trends to larger audiences.  If these businesses can accomplish this task, I'm sure Ortega and his ilk can figure it out as well ... if they want to.

Original artists listed left to right:
Tuesday Bassen
Juliette Mallete
Adam J. Kurtz
Georgia Perry
Maria Inges Gul
Big Bud Press
Ivonna Buenrostro
Strawberry Moth
Gabriella Sanchez
Explorer's Press
Mokuyobi Threads
Anna Santaguida

The list just seems to keep growing ... At last count it appears ZARA has lifted 42 separate works from other artists and reproduced them.  For a frequently updated running list please visit ShopArtTheft.com, and support the original artists.

For your reading pleasure:
Shop ZARA's Art Theft Collection
(Adam J. Kurtz)
An Independent Artist Has Accused Zara Of Stealing Her Designs
(Buzzfeed)
(Co.Create)
Artist Claims Zara Doesn’t Care About Stealing Her Designs Because She Isn’t Popular Enough
(Complex)   
Zara Makes a New Enemy, Steals Tuesday Bassen’s Designs
(College Candy)
Zara copied an indie artist's designs but said it’s NBD ‘cause she’s not famous
(Cosmopolitan)
Indie designer accuses Zara of stealing work, Zara says artist's work isn't 'distinctive'
(The Daily Dot)
(Daily Mail)
(DAZED)
12 Artists Are Accusing Zara of Stealing Their Designs
(Fortune)
(The Guardian)
(The Huffington Post)
(Metro)

Friday, July 1, 2016

She Loves in Color

She Loves in Color - Acrylic on Canvas

                                "She sees
                                 in black and white
                                 thinks in greys
                                 but loves in color"
                                                      -JmStorm

Waiting to see if my submission for the 2nd annual Michaels Art Challenge has made it into the *top ten* is excrutiating ... I'm not exactly holding my breath, but waiting isn't something I'm particularly good at, and an extra vibe or bit of luck thrown my way wouldn't go unappreciated!  A jury of 5 art experts has the laborious task of narrowing down the thousands of submissions (I think last year's contest brought in 11k) to just ten semifinalists based on overall creativity, technique, subject, and individuality, that will then be released to the public to vote for the winner beginning July 5, 2016.  Frankly, at this point I don't know if I've hit any of those marks, but I did walk away with a painting that I'm not totally ashamed to hang on my wall so, in that regard it's been fun to play, and see this little project come to completion.

Browse all submissions here (you really should take a peek, there's some great stuff happening over there, I've already got several favorites!).

***

Well, I didn't make the cut, but no one ever wins the game by warming the bench.  At least I got up and ran around on the field, so to speak, whether they wanted me there or not ... Does that make me the streaker of the art world, because I'm totally okay with that!

Voting is live until July 19, 2016 so, if you're interested in helping any of these artists win a trip to London here's your chance.  The page is now showing only 8 of the 10 initially chosen finalists ... One was disqualified in the first 12 hours for an alleged copyright violation, which seems odd to me in the first place since the jury of 5 had two weeks to narrow down the selection and vet each piece before voting was opened to the public, add to that the piece in question was never replaced by an alternate because of "unfairness" even though this entire leg of the competition is based on how hard you can rally on social media to get votes so, a 12 hour delay really isn't that big of deal when the entire voting span is 14 days.  The second has vanished for some unknown-to-me-reason.  Frankly, this entire contest looks like it's unraveling at the seams.  No sour grapes, just plain observation.  Maybe they'll have all the kinks worked out by next year, but it's not looking entirely hopeful based on how this has been handled.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Breaking The Cycle Of Peddling The Pill

Since its inception, the Pill (oral hormonal contraception) has been almost synonymous with freedom, and a huge player in the women's equality movement, so much so, that now to come out as a woman and renounce this form of birth control (or hormone "balancing / regulating" agent as it's prescribed for some) is to be labelled "anti-feminist" or seen as someone fighting against the hard earned rights of women to look after ourselves as we see fit, and the necessary access to what we need in order to accomplish that.  Ok, ok some of our sisters are fighting on the wrong side, I'll give you that.  We see it everyday on the news, especially in an election year; women keeping other women down because ... well, I don't exactly know why, and I'd wager neither do they.
There is, however, another completely different anti-Pill (or more accurately anti-hormonal contraception) movement that's been rumbling for decades but is recently getting a little more recognition thanks to women voicing their concerns about the ravaging effects hormonal contraception (and other hormone based medical treatments) is having on women's bodies, and it has absolutely nothing to do with taking choices, or rights away from any of us.  Quite the opposite, actually, it's about empowering us to make healthy decisions for ourselves instead of relying on governments worldwide that could NOT care less about a single one of us (says the disgruntled ex-PoliSci major ... Just ask Flint, MI), a misogynistic, not to mention corrupt, medical system (especially in America, think AMA the Rockefeller Drug Empire, et al) that still seems to be thoroughly befuddled by female anatomy, and its intricate functions even in 2016 where we continue to be treated as hysterical little girls, and "prescribed" marriage and babies to fix us. Really?  When's the last time a man went to the doctor for a real physical problem, and was told to go have a baby? This is real.  This is the nonsense women have to deal with just trying to get legitimate medical help ... still.  Partner this with a wildly out of control pharmaceutical mafia that really doesn't care if each of us sprouted two tails as side-effects from the poison they fence just so long as they'll be allowed to create and manufacture a new medication to make it fall off, and then another after that to help us grieve the loss of the tails their side-effects created, and I think anyone could begin to see why women white-knuckle their freedom to choose the Pill as a form of contraception so ferociously even if it's probably not the safest, healthiest, and most accurate choice for hormone management, family planning, and cycle correction available to us.

Do I sound a little biased?  I admittedly am.  I have very strong opinions on not just this topic, but the entirety of the cut-now-ask-later, pill popping madness that is Western medicine, however, more than this I believe it is for every woman to decide what is right for her own health and well being, and to follow the correct path for her life, not mine.  We've all got our own walk to walk.  I don't want what I write here to be read as if I'm shaming anyone for choices, or decisions that need to be made, my purpose is to share what I know to be true in my own life, what I've found during my personal research, and to simply add my voice to this growing conversation in the event that a randomly googling woman facing a turning point with a head full of questions can find an answer here that she needed to find at this point in her life, like I (and many others) have had to do when we were unable to find the help we needed down traditional avenues.  I am by no stretch of the imagination, a medical professional, physician, or practitioner of any sort, nor do I pretend to be, I am, however, annoyed that women's wisdom has gone from being this sacred and celebrated knowledge to considered nothing more than wives tales and cockamamie nonsense.  With that said, what I write here will not be medical advice, it will be information, and lists of resources ready to be utilized by anyone interested in furthering their understanding.  

So, why this sudden attack on hormonal contraception?  First of all it's not exactly sudden, co-founder of the National Women's Health Network, author, journalist, and activist Barbara Seaman's book The Doctor's Case Against the Pill first hit shelves in 1969 where she questioned the use of high doses of estrogen coming at us in the form of a daily medication, and the potential for very serious, if not fatal, health risks.  Thirty-four years later she penned The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth where we see that she wasn't so wrong to be waving red flags the first time around.  I mean, we're talking about a drug where the side effects include:
Abdominal / stomach / chest pain including shortness of breath
Severe headaches, and migraines
Severe mood-swings, rage, depression, and anxiety
Blurred or loss of vision Swollen, aching, or throbbing legs (which can be a sign of Erythema Nodosum) Increased blood pressure
Gall bladder disease
Benign liver tumors
Increased cervical, and breast cancer risk
Heart attack, stroke, and blood clots
Deep vein thrombosis
Pulmonary embolism
Infertility
All of this can be mine for the low, low price of a monthly co-pay just because I don't want a baby right now?  Sign me up for some liver tumors, and a heart attack, please!  This sounds like utter madness to me, why are we accepting this?  I think part of the reason is because many women are straight up lied to in the doctor's office, I've had several friends (and strangers for that matter) tell me, "The doctor told me there were NO side-effects connected with the birth control pills I was being prescribed."  No ... None ... ZERO.  Has this physician just come back from a parallel universe where this is actually true?  For the record, right here and now there is absolutely NO birth control pill that is absolutely side-effect free.  For the rest of us, I believe the side-effects are majorly downplayed (many of which are only discussed if other risk factors are involved such as smoking, drinking, or obesity) and even then the words "slightly increase your risk" are used in a way that I feel offers a very false sense of comfort, and safety to the patient.  If your doctor, or healthcare practitioner HAS extensively discussed side-effects, and possible dangers with you count yourself lucky for finding a responsible, and well-informed provider, but know that this is not the norm for everyone, it is still a massive struggle for many women to get crucial, and accurate information during office visits.  Another reason I think we accept this dangerous drug into our daily lives, aside from sheer convenience, is that the list of side-effects is so abstract to young women today, kind of how the death, destruction, and absolute horror of foreign war is so incomprehensible to most spoiled Americans (myself included!) that we'll probably never fully wrap our heads around it until our peaceful and idyllic neighborhoods are reduced to rubble, or we're the ones suddenly, and inexplicably (to us) dealing with terrifying adverse health concerns because of some tiny tablet we were told was safe.  This is not a slight to all our little sisters out there, I was the same way.  Strokes, as far as I was concerned, weren't something young, healthy people had to worry or even think about until my thirty-six year old sister (THIRTY-SIX!) ended up in a hospital bed rendered unable to speak or move her body because of a left-brain stroke in the same week she was given a full, and complete "clean bill of health" (her doctor's words, not mine!) by her GP at her annual check-up.  At the time this was beyond shocking ... Now?  Knowing what I know about the healthcare and insurance industries as a whole, and the rampant gross negligence of both, I'm not surprised by what happened to her.  The point being, however, that this was my (possibly my entire family's) personal crash course in blood clots leading to stroke in young people, which like most pharmaceutical side-effects' severity it had all been too intangible for me to really grasp in my daily life.  This event in my sister's life had once, and for all made these things real, and visceral, and frankly terrifying to the degree that it forever changed how I viewed my health, physical body, and how I would be caring for it moving forward.  This is not to say that all of my decisions have now become fear-based, not at all in fact, I believe my decisions have become even more information-based, and that the well I draw from has just become larger in order to include true, first-hand health, and wellness accounts from regular people who have lived what they are telling, as I am no longer comfortable placing my trust solely with a dangerously inadequate medical system.

What's a young woman in a committed relationship, and in the prime of her reproductive years to do then, if not go the route of hormonal birth control?  Perhaps, implant a device (that comes in both hormonal, and non-hormonal options) that up until recently wasn't even recommended in the States for women who've never carried a pregnancy full-term, and can tear through her uterine wall, cause excessive pain, cramping, miserable sex, decreased libido, heavier and longer periods, infections, blockages, scar tissue, damage to other organs, the inevitable copper-poisoning, and unplanned pregnancy like our old friend the IUD, or "coil" as some people call it?  Jeepers, what a generous offer!  Thanks, but no.

I, like many women, don't think it's fair for it to even be an option to risk our own health and very lives just because we want to time our family planning around what works for us, and our relationships.  Put the pitchforks, and torches down ... This isn't some subversive call to action.  I'm not suggesting that we pull all options from the shelves that may pose health risks; some people are fine with that trade-off.  All I'm asking is why hasn't anything better ever been created for us?  Why did doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical reps, and everyone else in the chain stop with a job half done after developing such mediocre products?  If this were happening in a classroom it would be C- work, at best, and yet we're out here singing praises, and chanting "freedom" over things that simply don't deserve it.  Meanwhile, "new" and "improved" models of the same, dusty, old hormone based contraceptives are paraded around in front of us as if it's some how less of a pig because it's wearing lipstick now.  That's not to say advances in this area have all been an enormous waste of time, I think all study in this field have been a step in the right direction, but we're hardly at the goal line, and at this rate we'll never get there without scrutinizing potentially dangerous methods of birth control with valuable critical analysis methods.  An examination of what's working, and what isn't, is not a step backwards, in fact, it's the only way to move forward.

"Liberty is about our rights to question everything."
                  -Ai Weiwei 

And that's exactly what the people at German born Valley Electronics GmbH and sister company Valley Electronics AG (the makers of Lady-Comp®, Baby-Comp®, Pearly®, and Daysy® [daily synchronization]) have done for the last 25 years, and are continuing to do -- ask questions about birth control, and rethink our approach to it.  For so long we've talked about cycle tracking and the Fertility Awareness Method as a means to have a baby, but couldn't the same body literacy, and information be used to not have a baby as well?  The short answer: Absolutely!  Frankly, that's all I needed to hear to spark my own research into this world that reaches beyond natural contraception, and dives deep into the whole Pro-Period movement where women are discarding the shame and stigma surrounding our reproductive organs and menstruation, and embracing once again the wisdom, and knowledge we've become so removed from concerning women's health, and vitality.

My first step was connecting with other pro-natural-health women whose expertise ranged from skincare, to film making, to authorship, gynecology, holistic health coaching, and more to see if I could glean anything from their expertise that surpassed information that my 9th grade Phys. Ed. teacher relayed to us in a borrowed classroom whilst boys giggled every time a female body part was mentioned ... And I did.  So, maybe I wasn't exactly bowled over by new information, but I was impressed with the frankness with which it's shared, the lack of ego, and embarrassment during discussion, and the coming together of like-minded sisters looking for answers and to help one another find theirs as well. Grown folks having open, and honest dialogue that hasn't been bought and paid for by some entity with an agenda of its own, maybe that's what I found so wildly refreshing on this expedition for truth.

My next step was actually ordering the Daysy® fertility calculator, learning how to use it, syncing with the DaysyView app, and letting it get to know me (I will be one month into it by tomorrow, and according to the website, it takes about three full months for the device to really understand your body fluctuations, rhythms, and cycles covered in their extensive FAQ section).  Once it has familiarized itself with your personal cycle it can determine your fertility any day of the month with an accuracy of 99.3% using the same algorithm as the Lady-Comp® device which falls on the Pearl Index at 0.7 ranking it better than cervical caps, condoms, certain contraception patches, and even above NuvaRing, and birth control pill failure rates.  So, I can plan or prevent a pregnancy without harming my body, and with a failure rate less than some of our current most popular and trusted methods, and all it takes is a 30 second temperature reading per day?  Why isn't this being screamed from mountaintops?  I guess it's starting to, and that's a large part of the reason I'm adding my voice to the conversation -- This deserves our attention.  Women, and their partners need to know what's available to them in order to make informed, and healthy decisions for their own lives.

Now down to the brass tacks ...
How much does a Daysy® fertility calculator cost?  The Daysy® is currently retailing for $330.00 USD and is covered by many insurance companies using CODE: A9279 (note that you may need a letter from your doctor saying that you need or want the device), you may also shop THIS LINK (shameless plug) and receive a $10.00 reimbursement on your purchase, also by joining the Daysy® referral program as well you will receive an additional $10.00 USD referral commission on each device purchased through your own unique link like mine above.  TODAY ONLY (September 26, 2016) use code: CONTRACEPTION24 at checkout for 20% off your purchase price! Ok, so now you might be thinking "Girl, get real!  You want me to drop that kind of cash on a thermometer so you can get a kickback? Nice try!" 

No.  I don't care where you shop for this device.  I ordered mine, and joined the referral program in order to obtain first-hand experience, and understanding about the product myself to find out if I even like it let alone if I'd ever consider recommending it to anyone.  It turns out that I love it, the referral program works, I've already got a redemption pending, and I was able to score a coupon code from the ladies at The Fifth Vital Sign (which may still be available!) for an additional amount off, just find them on Instagram and ask for it, they'll fork it over if it's still live.  If you're still not sure you can swing it, contact Daysy® in the US & Canada at info@usa.daysy.me and ask about payment plans (for Europe: info@eu.daysy.me, and Switzerland: info@ch.daysy.me).

But it doesn't protect against STIs / STDs!!!  No, no it doesn't, and neither does the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant, IUD, caps, or countless other contraception options that have been trumpeted for years.  This device will help you plan or prevent pregnancies, and familiarize you with your cycle and more fully understand your body. That's it.  This is a device for women in situations they are comfortable not using barrier methods, it is not pretending to be something that it isn't.

So, it's basically just the Rhythm Method?   No.  The Rhythm Method (along with many period tracking apps available today) base their fertility predictions on a lot of assumptions when a woman documents her menstruation data, one being that every woman's cycle is the same length every month (28 - 30 days), and that ovulation always falls at the midway point.  This, as you can imagine, is not true for all women.  The Daysy® device is much more sophisticated than jotting down stop and start days, and guessing somewhere between a stop & start is a fertile window.  Read more here: The Problem With Period Trackers - Holly Grigg-Spall

I have painful, or heavy periods, acne, PCOS, migraines, endometriosis, etc.  Do I need to stay on birth control pills?  Not necessarily.  There are a few resources for you to check out if you have non-pregnancy reasons for using birth control pills, and you may be able to leave them behind for good if you've become unhappy with them and their effects on your body or mood, and mental health.

Christiane Northrup M.D. - What Are The Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?
Holly Grigg-Spall - Author of Sweetening The Pill here, and here.
Jill Strom - The Basics of Birth Control 
Laura Briden - Author of Period Repair Manual - find her here
Nicole Jardim - Fix Your Period Quickstart Kit
Organic Olivia here, and here.

Further Reading:
Alanis.com
Jessa Blades
Lisa Lister - Author of Code Red & Love Your Lady Landscape
Ricki & Abby

Above all else, be your own guru.  Do not take my word for it, research, read, listen to your body, follow the signs you've been given to realize your goal of optimal health in all areas of your life.  

xoxo 

The Fine Print: 
FTC Affiliate Disclosure
Occasionally on this site you will find links to products I use regularly, have thoroughly vetted for my personal use, and stand behind. Rarely are these links to products or items from companies that I am affiliated with, however, if my affiliation with a particular company I have researched, and support can bring financial benefits to my readers in the form of extra savings on purchases through affiliate-link shopping or coupon codes, and as commission for myself, then I join up, and share it for regular readers, and the casual passersby alike to benefit from at no extra cost to you, or me.  These links will always be clearly, and obviously marked, or discussed.  I don't dig sneaky sales tactics no matter who or what they benefit. All opinions, or reviews posted on this blog are expressly my own, unbiased, and supported by my own testing and research, and belong solely to Stormy Peterson the author, and owner of The Longshoreman's Daughter. Below, you will find products and companies I'm passionate about, and thoroughly support.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Raindrops on Roses

Is there anything more beautiful than a cool summer morning?  I seriously doubt it.  I love a good break in the heat when everything seems to exhale, and recharge itself.  Things feel fresh again, and it seems as though all the cares that clung to you in the rising temperatures have all been washed away.  Ok, ok so it may have taken a thunder and lightning storm that lasted hours into the pre-dawn morning, and sent shock waves through the very marrow of my bones, and left me with a splitting headache (as all electrical storms do for some reason), but like all others before, it too passed, and left everything / one waking with a new, and much needed sense of calm this morning, I think -- I mean, I can't speak for every living thing in the entire Universe but, for me it was a welcome interruption to the sweltering stagnation of late.

So today, I will say goodbye to an old friend that tugged on my heart for many years, taught me more than he probably ever imagined he had, and who was desperate to convert me into a cultural anthropologist.  The sky has already opened up and released passionately, and more eloquently everything I could've possibly said.  Bon voyage, my darling ... Maybe I'll catch you at a Yuwipi ceremony sometime, and who knows?  You may just find me in the ethnography and ethnology publishing business in the future, and thanks to you I'll know the difference.

xoxo
William Willard 1926 - 2016

"The trouble is, you think you have time"
-Buddha

A lesson I'm surprised I'm still learning...