Showing posts from November, 2010

Reducing our Impact - plastic alternatives

Alright, it's no secret that I don't like plastic. I refuse to take a plastic bag from the grocery store, I make my own laundry detergent because I don't like being responsible for the bottle, I buy powdered dishwasher detergent in a box. I also try to bake my own bread, tortillas, english muffins, bagels - because I don't like the plastic bags they come in. But I'm not perfect. The amount of plastic that comes and goes in this house in a year would be more than enough to kill a blue whale (literally). But today I watched a clip of Sir David Attenborough talking about plastic , and I realized that I really need to get back to my conscientious non-plastic consuming goals. You see, evey piece of plastic we bring into our lives ... every one ... is permanent. It lasts forever. And eventually it ends up in the environment - either in the birds at the landfill, or in the oceans where albatrosses feed it to their babies. (Take a look at this blog from another writer last


Is it really possible for a person to one day say "I could never live in Vancouver again. If I wanted to live in China or India, I would move there", and the next week go on about how the Legion in our little town is a horrible, racist organization that is designed to exclude First Nations? It made me think - am I that inconsistent? I don't think so. I do try to be true to myself and my feelings. We all contradict ourselves, but I try very hard not to. Obviously, however, some people don't try not to contradict themselves or don't even know they are doing it. I think it is a case of them not knowing themselves at all, not caring who they offend (or maybe actually wanting to offend), and maybe not really caring what they say as long as it gets someone's attention. Does she even realize how contradictory she is? Does she just say what she thinks her audience wants to hear? What makes a person say two such completely opposing things? And what would it be like t

Sugar and the Immune System

A couple of times now I've mentioned how I'm not eating sugar. 42 years of experimentation has shown me that I simply feel better when not consuming the stuff. It used to be that I could have a little, but it seems that with age even that has changed. I know that certain people out there don't necessarily believe that sugar is a hindrance to the immune system, and for many of you it may not be. Or your immune systems may be strong enough to fight through any ill effects, but I thought I'd share a little something that just came to me today through an e-mail from Dr. Mercola . Dr. Mercola is a medically trained doctor who believes in nutritional and alternative treatments for things. He has been on Dr. Oz and seems to be a really wise person. (He does have a lot of products for sale on his site, but I ignore that and just read his research - which is well cited). So here it is. The five reasons he states for having an impaired immune system (which you have if y


If there is one lesson that a person should learn in their lifetime it is that of compassion. I'm not sure I'm there yet ... but I am trying. I recently posted a link on Facebook to a video made of a young man who found a baby hummingbird and nursed it back to health. It touched me. For one reason, most of the images we get of teenaged boys is of kids who don't give a damn - which is totally untrue. But the other reason it touched me is for the same reason that any story of true compassion between man and animal or between two different species of animal really touch my heart. Two souls being connected in a mystical fashion - it makes me more than content. And it restores my faith. This one about the friendship between the dog and the elephant is particularly good. As is the story of Owen and Mzee , the baby hippo and tortoise who bonded. Or the dog who risked his life rescuing kittens from a fire. And I particularly liked the one about the elephant seal who made f

'Tis the Season - but much better than last year

So, it is the cold and flu season. For those of you on Facebook, you followed my horrendous year last year - as I complained each and every time I got sick (including H1N1). I seemed to come down with a new cold every 3 weeks. I'm sure it wasn't quite that bad, but it felt like I was always, always sick. The fact that Daniel was in Grade 1 certainly added to the mixture. This year I've been sick once already - but not badly. And I've got another cold now - but, again, it isn't bad to this point. Bad enough that I'm going to go lie down with a cup of tea and a movie, but not nearly as bad as last year. What's the difference? Well, taking Vitamin D regularly and staying off the sugar certainly seems to be helping my immune system. But give it a few days. I might change my mind if this gets worse. My mood seems to be lifting a bit, though. And extra thanks to everyone who commented and supported me in the big blogs. Your input means the world. There is nothing


I've had a couple of people tell me that their comments weren't being posted. It has been set up so that after you post a comment you have to go back to the bottom of the page and type in a set of characters. But if you don't know to go back down to the bottom of the page, your comment won't be recorded. So I'll try setting it so that you don't have to type in the word. If I start getting spammed, though, I'll have to re-install it. I love getting comments, so please leave some. Sandi P.S. Written day after I changed the settings - and the spam has already started - but I can delete them, so that's good.

Apologies to my mother

As I thought could be the case, my mother is finding my posts about depression difficult. And I don't blame her. I'm not being at all fair to her. It was not her choice for me to write this blog, and I didn't give her the option to ask me not to. Perhaps it would have been nicer to clear it with her first. For that, Mom, I am sorry. It can't feel good to have something so private broadcast over the Internet for anyone to see, and I really do understand how this could be difficult. When you've tried to keep something quiet all your life, having your daughter broadcast it to the world could feel like betrayal. But I want everyone to know that my mother was a really good Mom. And when you consider the personal hell she was going through at the time, she deserves to win a medal. No matter what, if we needed her, she was there. Even when she was feeling her personal worst. I could just as easily written about the hours I spent sitting at the end of her bed talking about

The Great Depression - Part Six

Continued from Part Five : I need to clarify here that I'm talking about chronic depression. There is also the short-term variety that is caused by a trauma like a death in the family or being fired from your job. The latter can be treated and "cured" - or can resolve itself without treatment. Chronic depression is much longer-lived (often permanent) and is usually a genetically inherrited chemical imbalance in the brain. No two people will need exactly the same treatment for depression. This a very individual illness - and different people will accept different side effects and results. Again, I can only speak to my experience and make no pretense to telling someone what they should do. I know many people with these issues and we all treat it differently. My own method of treatment is oriented a specific way because I don't trust the medical profession, and I don't trust pharmaceutical companies. So I don't trust that long-term drug use will be free fro

home made deodorant recipe

I don't know about everybody else, but I don't like buying deodorant - the aluminum is suspect in things like breast cancer, and the plastic container doesn't impress me. So a friend of mine gave me this recipe for a natural, home-made deodorant: 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup corn starch 1/4 cup baking soda (they specify aluminum free, but I'm not sure what the concern is there - my baking soda doesn't include aluminum - maybe some do?) Put all ingredients into a saucepan and heat over low, stirring constantly until the oil is melted and it is all smooth. Pour liquid into any container - an old deodorant container apparently works. I poured mine into a toilet paper tube - that way I can rip the tube off and still have it all together. If you live in a warmer climate than we do, you may have to refrigerate - or apply with your fingers. I haven't done it yet, but you can also add a little bit of grated beeswax (1 tbsp or so) to the mix. It apparently keeps i

The Great Depression - Part Five

Continued from Part Four : Wow! I really didn't think it would take that long to get my background summarized. Wonder what would have happened had I gone into more detail? Anyhow, thanks for sticking with me. I hope by now that I've established credibility in the subject. I've lived with this beast one way or another for as long as my crippled memory serves. It is an integral part of my life. I have to admit that even the process of writing about all of this has caused my moods to dip. Dredging up all this crap is either going to be therapeutic in the long run, or send me into a spiral. I'll let you know.  (It ended up being therapeutic for me, horrible for my Mom). And that brings up a good point. This is probably obvious, but depression and anxiety are not constants. They come and go like waves on a beach. I even notice a manic/depressive (bipolar is the more modern term) pattern at times. I can have a really "up" day (and, boy, can I talk), and when I

The Great Depression - Part Four

Continued from Part Three : Thanks to everyone for the really supportive comments - both here and on Facebook. It's going a long way to scratch that itch I have for external validation (old habits die hard). And it means I've touched some people. Which is what this was intended to do. I also want to point out that what I've been writing about are the hard times associated with my mood problems. There has been a lot of really wonderful stuff in there, too. I don't feel like I've been cheated out of anything or that my life has be ruined by what I've had to deal with. In a lot of ways I feel blessed to have this opportunity to get to know myself and others better because of it. My life has been richer and happiness more appreciated because I've know the other side, too. Life is grand. And the really great people I share it with (both now and in the past) have all helped me learn along this odd, winding, bumpy road. So, back to my mom (sorry, Mom). In the

The Great Depression - Part Three

Continued from Part Two . So I managed to graduate from University with my Master's Degree. Quite an accomplishment, really. It's a lot of hard work, and considering that I was obviously dealing with an untreated mood disorder, I should have been more proud of my 20-something self than I was at the time. I worked through it, ignored a lot of shit I should have addressed, and got finished. And then I moved to Texas. If there is something that can both cause me to ignore my moods as well as ultimately add to them, it's a big adventure. The excitement of going on a trip or moving I suspect actually distracts me from how I'm feeling. The physical- ness of the adventure takes away from the emotion of it and allows me some reprieve for a while. I don't understand why, because moving and traveling are incredibly stressful and ultimately add to my problems, but for a while they help me ignore them, I guess. So Texas. I moved thousands of miles away from home for an

The Great Depression - Part Two

Oh yeah - here are a couple of things to add to the previous post . In the 70s you might have depression, but you certainly couldn't talk about it. You were crazy if you had any kind of mental imbalance. Visions of psychiatric wards and electric shock therapy were enough to clam anyone up. And living with depression and anxiety (even at the best of times) can do a number on one's self-esteem. And it's not just embarassment or shame - the physical part of depression can cause the self-esteem to drop without even thinking about it. The self-doubts come along hand-in-hand with the lows. And it is exhausting both for the sufferer and their support system (and imagine what it does to an insecure teenager to live with an insecure adult - let's just say it wasn't the worst situation in the world, but it didn't help us through those troublesome years). One thing my mother dwelt on for a long time was the fact that she lost friends over her depression. A seemingly good

The Great Depression - Part One

Here's a postscript (March 13, 2013).  I'm very proud of what I wrote in these 6 posts, but I have to tell you that I hurt my Mother a great deal by posting them.  At the time I didn't think much about it and thought that she was over-reacting.  I was just getting this out because I needed to.  But after re-reading it over 3 years later, I can see that I said a lot of things that could do nothing BUT hurt her.  I am sorry that I put the truth so painfully out there, and I am sorry that I hurt her, but I am not sorry for sharing our story.  I think it is important to tell these types of stories so that people know they are not alone.  So to my Mother ... I'm sorry I "outed" you and aired what you consider to be some dirty laundry (I do not - I consider it to be life), but truth be told, there has never been anything but sympathetic feedback for all involved. Text as it was written: As I mentioned in my post about sugar highs and lows , I want to blog about

Fungus Gnats

As part of a grand experiment, I have brought 8 tomato plants, lettuce, peas, garlic and basil indoors for the winter. I have a south-facing room that gets tonnes of light and thought it might be possible to grow some veggies over the winter. So far, it's not looking great - aside from the basil which has huge leaves and is doing about 2000% better than it did outside this summer. The lettuce is a wash, the peas don't look so good and I doubt that the garlic will do well, but I'll keep you posted. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the little, annoying, gnats that came in from the garden with the plants and the compost that fertilizes them. You know the ones. Anyone with houseplants has had them. They are small and especially bad when you water. Right? Well, they are called fungus gnats. They aren't particularly damaging, just annoying. Apparently they are related to the mosquito (and like damp places like plants and drains). I used a 1:5 par