Thursday, December 17, 2009

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques®)

EFT is based on the idea that all emotional discomfort orginates from a disturbance of the body's energetic flow. Potentially, whenever a person experiences something negative, the body's energy flow is disrupted so that whenever they think about the incident in the future, or if an incident occurs that is similar to or reminds them of the original incident, the same kind of disruption occurs and leads to emotional discomfort and often even physical problems.

The technique involves recalling specific incidents of discomfort, feeling the intensity of the related emotions, using a setup affirmation, and tapping on various points on the body which correspond to the Chinese meridians. For unknown reasons, this technique allegedly consistently reduces the intensity of the emotions surrounding original incidents so that the person no longer feels the same intensity of emotions about past experiences. It has reportedly helped millions of people overcome depression, fears, phobias, and insecurity, as well as helped people overcome various types of physical problems such as, for example, pain, blood pressure problems, and tinnitus.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buddhist blessing

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crazy for God...

If Jesus were alive today, he would be a Socialist, a Green, or possibly a Democrat (I say possibly, because so many politicians who are Democrats have sold out to lobbyists and corporate interests), but he would definitely not be a neo-conservative Republican nor would he be a pro-GWB Evangelical. Jesus would probably equate such Evangelicals with the Scribes, the Pharisees and the money changers that he threw out of the temple, and call them hypocrites for supporting the war in Iraq and torture of other human beings, while at the same time taking a "pro-life" anti-abortion stance.

The pro-GWB Evangelicals were unable to see that although GWB said that he was "saved", he perpetrated many evils during his eight years of residency, not only upon US citizens, but also upon humanity in general. I have asked, "Would Jesus drop bombs on people?", "Would Jesus start a war?", "Would Jesus demonize a whole race of people?", and they have no answer. They don't see any conflict between their supposed faith and "saved" status, and their support of cruelty, torture, and demonizing and dropping bombs on other human beings, all in the name of "keeping America safe".  What about "turn the other cheek"?  They take the Bible literally only when it suits them.

I am intolerant of intolerance, which is something I guess I have to work on, and in the end I think it's not so important what we believe or what we say we believe, but how we behave and how we all treat each other. It doesn't really matter to me that someone thinks I will end up in hell because I believe differently than they do, however, I REALLY don't want to discuss it with them - my life and what I believe and my relationship to God/the Universe/All That Is is a private matter and not the business of any other individual.

Evangelicals believe the world began around 6,500 years ago. I think people who think the world started 6,500 years ago are living in LaLa Land. I cannot bear to listen to people who argue that because the Bible says that "man has dominion over all the earth" we should drill for oil in the Arctic wilderness instead of building smaller and more fuel efficient cars and developing alternative sources of energy. To me, the earth and all its creatures, forests, and seas are sacred, and it is our job to care for it all.

I have always feared that Evangelicals might take over the country someday, like a worst nightmare, shades of the Inquisition all over again, getting thrown in jail for not going to church on Sunday, or even for not going to THEIR church. They are still a minority, but their rabid proselytizing is effective with people who are weak or by nature fearful. The world is a random place where bad things happen, and such a rigid belief system provides comfort and a greater sense of security to some individuals. I just hope they will never be a majority. God help the world if they ever take over.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

love, longing, rejection...

Many years ago, I used to feel depressed and anxious a lot of the time. I don't know exactly what happened to me or when, but I rarely have such feelings anymore. I have come into some kind of emotional balance that I didn't intentionally seek, but that I quite like. Because I usually do feel positive and "up" most of the time, whenever I experience feelings of sadness or anxiety for no reason, it seems strange, surprising, a little confusing, and not really me. My experiences of the last few years have confirmed that these feelings usually do belong to someone else. I seem to be able to sense when someone I care about is having a hard time. I'll feel sad or anxious, and someone close to me will let me know, sometimes a day or two later, that something is or was going on with them.

Today I was sitting in my office and I started to feel anxious for no logical reason. About a half an hour later, my friend came in and told me the sad story that she found out that there is no possibility of ever being with the person she has longed to be with for the last two years. We have talked many times about her love and longing, and I shared her hopes that something would finally work out so that she could be together with the complicated man whom she finds so fascinating. She is really devastated and there is nothing I can do to help. I could only offer that I wished I had a magic wand and could make it all turn out in a better way.

It seems to be an unavoidable hazard of finally finding love that one has to go through the state of longing first. If only there was some other way! Longing, even if it does finally result in a loving relationship, can be such a waste of valuable time, because one can spend hours dreaming and worrying about the future and what might or might not be, instead of living in the now. During my sad and lonely years, I frequently found myself in a state of longing. I remember this state so well - how painful it was - and I hope I never find myself feeling this way ever again. I think that longing is really one of the worst possible emotional states to be in. One "falls in love", hopes and wishes for union, imagines all the ways in which one is not good enough for the other, is afraid to say or do anything to indicate to the other the depth of the feelings for fear of rejection, and then sometimes rashly does say or do something to disclose one's feelings and, in the worst case, actually does get rejected. It is really awful to be rejected by someone. Men are expected to make the first move in relationships, so they must experience being rejected much more often than women. I don't know how men deal with being rejected.

My daughter says I should just be there for my friend when she needs to talk and, in a little while, I should start finding fault with my friend's unattainable man - that this will help her get over him. It sounds like a plan, and since I don't have any better ideas, I will try it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

maybe it could change the world...

Today, 21 September, is the International Day of Peace, which was first celebrated in September 1982 after having been established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in that year. You can learn more about the International Day of Peace at the following link:

International Day of Peace website

Even though it has been in existence since 1981, I heard about the International Day of Peace for the first time only three years ago. I think the existence of this special day has not been very well advertised, so that many people still don't know about it, which is why I am writing about it here. Spread the word to your friends and family members about the International Day of Peace so that everyone knows about this day, and will think about world peace on this day!

I think that the International Day of Peace should be declared a public holiday in every nation of the world. Since it would be non-denominational, it ought to be acceptable to every nation as a new holiday. I think it would be wonderful if everybody, everywhere could have a break from their normal routine on the International Day of Peace. I think this would have the effect of bringing peace into the minds of everyone in the world, all together, on one day, and maybe it could change the world!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

kinda weird...

I haven't posted anything in a while. Not a lot to say, really. Just living my life, adjusting to being back at work after a long vacation and wishing more of my vacation had been at home. There are so many relatives, and I feel it's important to visit them as much as possible during my vacations, but this means that I never get to spend enough time at home. There are so many things piling up at home that will just have to wait until I retire to get sorted out. That's just the way it is. Only four more years, though, and I'm sure the time will fly away before I know it.

I have been watching episodes of the West Wing with my significant other. We are about at the middle of Season Four. I am enjoying this series very much - it is intelligent, funny, and educational. We have also watched all of the available episodes of Bones and The Closer. I like spending time this way and, by simultaneously doing my bead crochet, I don't feel like a complete couch potato. Compared to what kind of programming was available when I was growing up, I think that modern TV provides great opportunities for learning a lot about people, personality types, and social interaction. Other favorite shows have been The Gilmore Girls, Army Wives, Friends, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Quantum Leap, Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, Kyle XY, Babylon 5, Heroes, and Deep Space Nine (there are probably others that I can't think of right now). We have ordered most of these series from Amazon as we don't get consistent programming in English here. Sometimes we do get various shows, but the first seasons are missed out, or they stop showing them after a season or two even though new seasons are being created and shown in the USA. There's something really nice about watching a series from beginning to end without having to wait a week in between each episode or agonize about possibly missing an installment. I love this modern world, for this and many other reasons.

On the energy medicine front, I have been collecting some crystals and I made a special place for them. I think they are really beautiful and looking at them gives me a peaceful feeling. Theoretically crystals can amplify energy work and be used for healing, but for now, I am just enjoying looking at them. When I have been crystal shopping, I have noticed that I have a sensation of electrical energy around my arms and hands when I pick up quartz crystals. I think I am very sensitive to their energy. Here is a photo of my collection:

Since the spring of this year, during the working week and about once a week, usually before noon, I have been getting a phone call on my cell phone from a withheld number where the caller just hangs up after I say, "Hello?". Today, the caller called much later in the day and played a beautiful musical chord before they hung up. It reminded me of part of a song by Jonatha Brooke called "Always". I haven't noticed anyone at work who appears to be particularly interested in me, and I don't feel threatened or frightened, I just wonder who it is. It's kinda weird.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap is my current favorite modern musician. I consider her the most interesting composer I have come across in a really long time and one of the most technologically adept female composers since Laurie Anderson.

Imogen Heap spent a year secluded in her apartment composing her album Speak For Yourself which brought her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2007 (an award she should have won, in my opinion). The songs on this album are rich with layers of sound that she is amazingly able to recreate in concert using synthesizers and other devices. Her voice has an incredible range of nearly three octaves.

Her song Hide And Seek (#66), which appeared on a compilation album of songs of Grammy nominees, was my first experience of her music and an immediate favorite. Here she performs this song live:

I like nearly every song on the Speak For Yourself album, but one that I like the best is one called Have You Got It In You (#67). Unfortunately, there does not yet exist in YouTube a live version of this song that isn't mangled in some way, so here is a rather boring to look at, but at least beautiful to listen to version from her album:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Michael Hedges (#65)

This is probably the song most loved by Michael Hedges fans - Aerial Boundaries. It is perhaps the best example of his unique style and amazing versatility. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Michael Hedges

Acoustic guitar is probably my favorite instrument in all the world, and Michael Hedges is one artist who explored the possibilities of this instrument like no one before him. Sadly, he died in a car accident in 1997 at the young age of 43. Fortunately for the world, much of his music is preserved in many wonderful albums, but who knows what might have been had he lived on.

To give you an idea of just how innovative he was, here he is performing the song "Because It's There" (#48 in my list):

Here is Part 4 of a seminar he gave in Pittsburg in 1991, where you can see some of his unusual playing techniques, and hear him talk about Bartok and the Fibonacci sequence:

Michael Hedges Biography

Michael Hedges website with links to Discography, Tunings, Transcriptions, and more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh, my God...#64

Linda Waterfall singing "Way of Beauty".

favorite songs...

Here is a list of some modern songs that, when I heard each for the first time, my reaction was "Oh, my God! What was that song???" and I immediately wanted to hear each one again and again. As much as I prefer silence, I would still gladly listen to every one of these songs again and again. Today I added the song "La Guardia" by Tito Puente, from the album "Carnival". The numbers are just a way of keeping track of how many there are and have nothing to do with any kind of a "most to least favorite" categorization. I pretty much like all of them equally.

1. My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
2. Aspirations - Gentle Giant
3. Icarus - Paul Winter Consort
4. Bird Song - Linda Waterfall
5. Solisbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
6. Worry About You - Ivy
7. Love At The Five And Dime - Nanci Griffith
8. My Father - Judy Collins
9. Catch The Wind - Donovan
10. Excellent Birds - Laurie Anderson
11. The Flat Earth - Thomas Dolby
12. Crazy - Seal
13. Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
14. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
15. One Of These Things First - Nick Drake
16. Railway - Dando Shaft
17. Mama - Spice Girls
18. Message in a Bottle - The Police
19. Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits
20. Anybody Seen My Baby - Rolling Stones
21. Bo Radley - Bruce Hornsby
22. love is more thicker than forget - Jonatha Brooke
23. We Can Work It Out - The Beatles
24. Classical Gas - Mason Williams
25. 10,000 Miles - Mary Chapin Carpenter
26. Rain - Patty Griffin
27. Tango - Patty Larkin
28. Sweet Bird - Joni Mitchell
29. Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan
30. Honey And The Moon - Joseph Arthur
31. Know By Now - Robert Palmer
32. Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
33. And You And I - Yes
34. Black Coffee - All Saints
35. For Emily Wherever I May Find Her - Simon & Garfunkel
36. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) - John Cougar Mellencamp
37. A'soalin' - Peter, Paul & Mary
38. Goin' Up To Country - Canned Heat
39. Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procul Harum
40. Morning Has Broken (Traditional) - Cat Stevens
41. Passion - Raya O'Coal
42. Bloszfueszig - Broadlahn
43. Shotgun Down The Avalanche - Shawn Colvin
44. Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
45. Small Blue Thing - Suzanne Vega
46. Thank U - Alanis Morissette
47. Lady Of The Island - Crosby, Stills and Nash
48. Because It's There - Michael Hedges
49. Stolen Land - Bruce Cockburn
50. All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) - Jimi Hendrix
51. Sorento Moon - Tena Arena
52. Could I Be Your Girl - Jann Arden
53. Sand And Water - Beth Nielsen Chapman
54. Hammond Song - The Roches
55. Raincloud - Lighthouse Family
56. In The Arms Of An Angel - Sarah McLaughlin
57. Learning To Fly - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
58. One Of Us - Joan Osborne
59. Keep Your Distance (Richard Thompson) - Buddy and Julie Miller
60. Change The World (Sims, Kenney, Kirkpatrick) - Eric Clapton
61. Highwayman - Jimmy Webb
62. Bramble and the Rose (Barbara Keith) - Kate Brislin and Jody Stecher
63. La Guardia - Tito Puente
64. Way Of Beauty - Linda Waterfall
65. Aerial Boundaries - Michael Hedges
66. Hide And Seek - Imogen Heap
67. Have You Got It In You - Imogen Heap
68. First Circle (Live in Japan) - Pat Metheny

I have a different list for classical music that I might post someday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I have hesitated to write about the issue of abortion directly in my blog for some time now. It is a very controversial issue and I have not wanted to upset anyone by sharing my thoughts on this subject. Persons on both sides will probably find my views upsetting.

First of all, let me make it clear that I see absolutely no difference between the "Islamic" brand of terrorism and that of "Christrian" extremists who bomb abortion clinics and murder physicians in the name of some misguided "pro-life" stance. The murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday was an act of pure terrorism and definitely not Christian in any way.

Although I am a woman and a liberal, I think abortion should normally be allowed only within about the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks, so before then, going to term with a healthy baby is just a potential. A woman should know by the 12th week (which is actually 10 weeks since conception, because the weeks are counted from the first day of the last period, with ovulation occuring two weeks after) if she wants to go to term or not and should decide, within this time, to abort or not. If she misses this deadline, then society should provide her with before and after health care, living facilities if necessary, and with adoption possibilities if that's what the woman wants, or with job training and social services including child care if the woman chooses to be a single mom and to work. Of course there could be very exceptional circumstances, like the woman develops a case of toxoplasmosis or German measles and doesn't want to bring a physically challenged child into the world. There should be provisions for safe later-term abortion in very exceptional circumstances having to do with the health of the mother or the viability of the child-to-be.

The dialogues that go on about this subject are usually either/or, black and white, with conservatives "against" and liberals "for", when what is needed is some kind of an in-between place. What really gets me going is that most of the people I have ever spoken with who are dead-set against abortion are also rabidly against government-provided social programs and services that would be truly needed if abortion were to be banned again, and most are also against programs about safe sex and birth control. Banning abortion will not prevent women from seeking abortions in ways that are not safe, as they did before abortion became legal, so that as before many women will die, along with their unborn fetuses.

Many of the people I have spoken with about this issue also supported the invasion of Iraq that has resulted in the deaths not only of more than 4000 US soldiers, but also of an estimated more than 1.3 million Iraqis whose country will never be the same again - who will not be able to go anywhere without reminders of pain and sorrow - so many lives and loved ones lost in this ill-conceived misadventure. So, conservatives who supported this war and who support war in general, how is war okay and abortion not okay? I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to this question.

I think a woman should have a right to choose to a limited extent, and that society should be prepared to assist women who choose to continue their pregnancies. Maybe more women would make pro-life choices if they were assured of a social safety net.

Monday, May 25, 2009

close call...

Some weeks ago, I started experiencing a progressively worsening dull ache just below/underneath my right bottom front rib cage area. Lucky for me, I had recently ordered a book about liver and gallbladder cleansing, so started doing the simple seven-day cleansing program described in the book.

The program involves drinking apple juice every day for six days to soften the gallstones, and then following a timetable for taking two doses of epsom salts in water, followed by a mixture of virgin olive oil and grapefruit juice, followed by sleep, followed by two more doses of epsom salts. According to the book, one must repeat the cleansing program about every three weeks until no stones pass out in two successive treatments. As prevention, the book recommends performing the cleanse about every eight months.

I was amazed to see all the stones that passed out of me, but the pain continued for some days, perhaps because the gallbladder became inflamed from having been stretched by the stones to nearly its limit. The dull ache is slowly subsiding, I'm feeling better with each passing day, and I think I possibly avoided emergency surgery.

Since doing the cleanse, I have found various similar cleansing programs online, some using lemon juice instead of grapefruit juice, some with and some without epsom salts. While conducting this search, I remembered finding some years ago online a simple lemon juice and olive oil remedy for kidney stones that worked like charm for a friend of mine.

I just wonder how anyone discovered that using large amounts of olive oil and citrus juice could have the effect of shifting stones out of the body. It is mystifying how these remedies come into being.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

a weekend away...

Photos from the southern wine-growing region of Styria, in Austria, near the Slovenian border...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

unnecessary hurtfulness...

There's this very interesting blog I found because of a post in another blog of a friend of mine. This interesting blog has got a lot of historical stuff in it, plus commentary about politics and life and circumstances in the USA vs. other places. The blog owner is authoring a book and works for a rather prestigious magazine, and most of the people who read this interesting blog seem to be very highly educated and/or are writers themselves so are good with words and sharp of tongue. The blog posts are very understandable and I have felt inspired sometimes to make straightfoward comments based on my own life experiences, as I have done fearlessly in other blogs, only to notice later that all of the other subsequent commenters were saying things that were not so understandable - i.e., it was not always obvious to me how they got from the understandable blog post to their witty comments - and I felt embarrassed to see the stark contrast between the simplicity of my comments and the complexity of those of the others. Recently, I had the impression that one of the clever commenters had noticed me and, in an indirect way, implied that more time should be spent thinking before commenting, if one even should choose in the end to comment at all. Thankfully, at my request the blog owner, reluctantly because he thinks all comments are worthy, deleted my comments, thus saving me from indefinite public humiliation.

I have come a long way in my life towards learning to be strong and positive, but this meanness instantly reduced me to tears and I felt surprised that I can so easily crumble simply because of mean words of a person who doesn't even know me. I guess I still have some growing to do in that area. I feel better now that all evidence of my comments has been obliterated and I have also decided to be more careful about posting anything into the interesting blog in the future. I have found in my life that it's usually best to just avoid situations that potentially create emotional discomfort, like finding an excuse not to get into the same elevator as someone who I know doesn't like me so well. I really prefer to avoid all unnecessary hurtfulness in my life.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wiener Schnitzel revisited...

I had been living in Austria for more than 25 years before I tried to make Wiener Schnitzel myself. What a surprise! Not only is it very easy to do, but it tastes so much better than any Wiener Schnitzel I have ever eaten in a restaurant. The family agrees, so Wiener Schnitzel has become a favorite and regular family meal.

Nearly every restaurant in Austria offers Wiener Schnitzel. In my earlier post about Wiener Schnitzel, I mentioned using pork, but authentic Wiener Schnitzel is actually made with veal; the restaurant menu will usually indicate what type of meat will be used. It's not unusual for a restaurant to serve a Schnitzel of one piece so large that it hangs over the edges of the dinner plate!

Here are some pictures from the preparation of the latest meal. I used about 2 pounds (900 grams) of pork. Sometimes more than four eggs are required - better to start out with less and then add more if needed.

+ + + + + + + +

Prepare three large plates with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs...

Beat the eggs...

Get out a large cutting board and a mallet...

Work from the cutting board towards the stove, in this case, right to left...

Pound the meat until it's the desired thinness (remember to salt and pepper each side!)...

Coat each side with flour...

Coat each side with beaten eggs...

Coat each side with bread crumbs...

Place gently into a skillet of heated peanut oil...

Fry until deep golden brown on each side...

Don't forget the lemon!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

my obsession of the last six years...

I'm really not a very patient person, which is why I hate sewing. It can take days to make something nice, and almost every sewing attempt has ended in some kind of a disaster, like sewing one piece to another at the wrong place and having to rip everything out and start over.

Knitting also requires a lot of patience, especially if one wants to make something interesting. Knitting something beautiful not only takes a lot of time, but it can be very tricky to recover from mistakes with it. I decided, after stabbing myself with a knitting needle during an attempt to make a simple sweater for one of my children to be, that knitting wasn't really my thing either.

I do like crochet very much, though. I have made numerous scarves, and in my younger years even invented a small bag to hold my set of jacks and rubber ball. I made bags for my sisters, too. Crochet only requires one tool, the work goes relatively quickly (it's possible to make something beautiful in just a few hours), and it is also rather intuitive and easy to recover from mistakes.

Another type of handwork that I have always appreciated is beadwork with seed beads, especially that of Native Americans, and in my teens, I experimented with weaving beads and trying to replicate some of the patterns. I remember making a rather complicated and beautiful amulet of an eagle on a chain of beaded flowers for a close friend of mine and although I was very satisfied with the result of my efforts, I found the work tedious and didn't feel inspired to try making anything else after that.

I was therefore thrilled when my older sister taught me the art of beadcrochet in 2003. This craft which puts seed beads and crochet together has given me countless hours of pleasure in the last six years and I still feel driven to find new patterns and color combinations. I've made more than 400 bracelets and more than 40 necklaces. Each bracelet takes about four hours; necklaces take longer, depending on the length.

Following are scans of a few of my favorites.

This one with the dragonfly has a matching necklace and I wore them with a red gown to a ball at the Vienna Hofburg one year. The dragonfly is not crocheted, but is made with beads and wire.

The above bracelet was inspired by the colors in a painting in the home of a friend of mine. I like to wear it with an orange braclet on one side and a red one on the other.

This flower pattern is one of my favorite patterns. I made the above bracelet for a friend of mine who suggested the colors. I really enjoyed working with the bright orange beads.

I made the bracelet above for another friend of mine who wanted something with yellow, orange and red in it. There are approximately 30 different beads in the pattern. The pattern was kind of an accident, but a good one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Donna Eden and Energy Medicine

One of the most comprehensive books on the subject of energy medicine is, in my opinion, the book entitled "Energy Medicine", by Donna Eden.

Donna Eden has been able to see colors around people since she was a child, and didn't realize that this was a rather unique ability until she was in her early twenties - she had believed until then that everyone could see the colors that she could see. Her ability to see colors helped her to develop the many techniques that are described in her book. She had a private energy medicine healing practice for many years and worked with thousands of people during that time. She also used her own techniques to overcome a number of her own health problems. More recently, she founded a school with a two-year programme for becoming certified as a practitioner of her methods (which, if I win the lottery, I will immediately sign up for).

Because I find it easier to learn by seeing someone do something vs. reading about it in a book, I recently ordered the 3-DVD "Energy Medicine - The Essential Techniques", described as "A Companion to the Book Energy Medicine or an Independent Program to Optimize Your Health", from her website. The quality of the videos is very good (although the user interface to them could be better), and Donna Eden is a delightful presenter. The videos contain six hours of Donna Eden demonstrating the exercises and techniques described in her book, including how to work with the meridians of Chinese medicine and the chakras, and her own unique exercises for improving the flow of energy within the body for better health, such as her Five-Minute Daily Energy Routine.

Whereas the videos are demonstrations of all of the many techniques described in the book, the book provides more background information and includes selected accounts of experiences with people Donna Eden worked with in her many years of private practice. She also touches on subjects such as the colors and meaning of the chakras. Since she is able to sense energetically and to see so much when she works with a person, everything she describes about the chakras is coming from her own personal experience and is sometimes very different from the explanations or interpretations of them that one finds in most other sources. For example, she is very definite that the first chakra, the root chakra, governs sex (in most other texts, this is assigned to the second chakra). She also says very firmly that, while the standard colors do serve as a guide, she sees many other colors in every chakra - that the various chakras in a person are frequently other than the colors assigned to them in the standard literature and that they often contain multiple colors.

I highly recommend her book!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wiener Schnitzel!

Tonight I made Wiener Schnitzel for dinner. It is so good when it's homemade, and so easy! Basically, you need rather thin slices of pork which you should then hammer with a mallet on each side until about 1/8 inch thick or even a little thinner. Salt and pepper the first side before turning over to hammer the second side, then salt and pepper the second side after hammering it. Dip the hammered meat first into flour so that it’s dusted all over, then into beaten egg until completely coated, then into fine (like coarse sand) bread crumbs. The breaded meat should be fried in a flat skillet with about ¾ of an inch of heated peanut oil. Fry on each side until the breading is a nice deep golden brown. Remove to a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. It must be served with lemon wedges - squeeze the lemon over it before eating.

You can use chicken breast instead of pork, but you need to then hammer it a little more gently, because chicken breast is a much more delicate meat. When chicken is prepared this way, it is called “Huehnerschnitzel” in German.

As an accompaniment, I cut some broccoli into florets, peeled some brussel sprouts, added a fair amount of virgin olive oil and some salt, mixed it all up well with a slotted spoon, then put the mixture on an oven tray and roasted it at about 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) until a bit brown (about 10 minutes).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

20 minutes on the bus...

Since the beginning of November last year, I have been working towards becoming a Quantum-Touch® Certified Practitioner. One of the requirements is 60 hours of practice sessions, of which I have completed 53.5 hours, so I hope to achieve Certified Practitioner status by the end of April. Since late January, I have been giving free (since I am still an apprentice) QT sessions to people at work during my lunch hour in order to accrue the 60 hours. A part of me feels like this energy work is kind of like "hocus pocus", especially since none of the people I have worked on so far have reported any long lasting effects from their sessions with me, although most do report feeling relaxed, refreshed, and that their energy seems to be flowing better at the end of a session. I know that I feel energized at the end of a session or whenever I work with the breathing and imaginative techniques.

What keeps me going is the hope that this kind of energy work really does have a positive effect. I have heard and read about various results from QT work such as the realignment of bones and quick relief of pain, but I have yet to actually see or experience anything very exciting. The most amazing tale I have heard so far was related by a participant in one of the Quantum Touch workshops that I attended. She described the unexpected and remarkable healing of her father who had been hospitalized and had not been expected to pull through. The man, more than 70 years old, became very ill and no one knew what was wrong with him. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance and had been in hospital for nearly a week and was not expected to live. She called her friend, a Quantum Touch practitioner, and asked that he do some distance healing for her father. While he was on the bus, he did the distance healing for twenty minutes for her father. That evening, her father started vomiting violently. This went on off and on through the night. The next day, he started to improve, and he was discharged from the hospital two days later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Some inspiring blogs...

I started this blog because of reading something in a book that I disagreed with so strongly that I wanted to express my opinion in such a way that more people than those with whom I live would read it. I really still feel very strongly that life on earth is random and that, while there may be a universal power or being, there is no universal power or being micromanaging everything that goes on here.

When I started this blog, I never expected that I would ever post as much as I have, since I really am a person of few words. Also, prior to starting this blog, I had only ever visited a handful of blogs, most of them political. Once I joined blogspot myself and had access to my own personal dashboard and its "Blogs of Note" page, a whole new world of really beautiful blogs written and assembled by very thoughtful and creative people was revealed to me, and my interest in my own little insignificant and unremarkable piece of cyberspace faded. I'm finding it more fun to keep up with what other people are writing and posting than to add much to my own blog, plus there is so much going on in my life right now and I don't have a lot of extra time to write. I do feel inspired by these other beautiful blogs, though, and maybe someday, if I ever get any extra time, I will try to make my blog a little more beautiful, or at least a little more interesting with photos or something.

If you look at my Profile, you can see all of the blogs I've been following. All of them are interesting in some way. Of all of them, three of my favorites are:

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners : Such wonderful, colorful, magical photos!
Strawberry Fields : More beautiful photos by Merisi!
Miradas Cantabricas : Amazing close-up photos of birds!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everyone can be an artist...

"Are not painting and color inspired by love? Is not painting merely the reflection of our inner self, whereby even one's skill with a brush is surpassed? It has nothing to do with it. Color with its lines contains your character and your message. If all life moves inevitably toward its end, we should during ours paint it with our colors of love and hope. In this love lies the social logic of life and the essential part of each religion." -- Marc Chagall

I love this quote from Marc Chagall, because he seems to be saying that it doesn't matter if you can draw or not - that every person can express their own unique character and message through color. I think everyone can be an artist and should try putting color on paper or canvas. I don't have time in my life right now, but someday I hope to find time to do this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Chicken Bryan

I really enjoy cooking and eating good food, and have collected many good recipes over the years. I've been thinking I might morph this blog into a recipe blog with photos, but I just haven't gotten myself organized yet.

One of the most amazing dishes I have ever had at any restaurant is the "Chicken Bryan" at Carrabba's. I found a copycat recipe from a Google search, but I think that it has way too much butter in it (nearly one cup!). Here is my variation. I'll try to remember to take a photo next time I make it, but that might be awhile, since BBQ weather is not exactly around the corner!

Marain's Chicken Bryan
Serve with steamed broccoli or spinach and a dry white wine
Serves 6

* * * * * Sauce * * * * *
1/2 cup dry white wine (110 ml)
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tablespoons butter (55 grams)
4 Tablespoons Chavroux (mild goat's cheese) (55 grams)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste)
at least 1/2 cup cream (more or less - to taste) (110 ml)
ground black pepper
* * * * * Grilled Chicken * * * * *
6 chicken breasts, skinned
olive oil
black pepper, ground
* * * * * Topping * * * * *
fresh basil leaves
10 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil), drained (285 grams)
11 ounces Chavroux (mild goat's cheese) (300 grams)


1) Sprinkle each chicken piece with salt and pepper and rub each piece with olive oil. Grill the chicken pieces on the BBQ for about 20 minutes.

2) While the chicken is being grilled, put the white wine into a small saucepan on medium heat and put in the chopped onion and the crushed garlic. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the wine is nearly gone.

3) Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition while the butter melts. Add the 4 Tablespoons of goat's cheese. Add the lemon juice and cream, but add it gradually and taste the sauce while you do this and add more lemon juice or cream, according to your taste. Later add some ground black pepper.

4) Rinse the sun-dried tomatoes under cold water. Just squeeze the tomatoes to remove excess water, then chop them into strips.

5) Just before the chicken is done cooking on the grill, preheat oven to highest temperature using grill setting.

6) When the chicken pieces have been cooked through on the BBQ, put them in an oven-proof dish large enough to hold all the pieces and the sauce.

7) Cover each piece completely with basil leaves, then cover the basil leaves with drained sun-dried tomatoes, then put about 3 tablespoons of sauce over each piece. If there is sauce left over and it will fit into the dish, put the extra sauce around the chicken pieces, then top each piece of chicken with a couple of scoops of the goat's cheese.

8) Put the dish into the oven (the rack should be at the highest setting that the dish still fits under the grill).

9) Grill for approximately 8 minutes (or until the the sauce around the chicken is real bubbly).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

a long-dead horse...

I've been a little under the weather, but also at a loss as far as what to write about, since what has captured much of my free mental space for the last eight years has shifted. In 2000, after the (still) unbelievable success of legal arguments not to count votes, I joined the ACLU. After 9/11, I started studying Arabic as a kind of rebellion against the demonization of Arabic-speaking people by the neocons and religious right. I wanted to be able to read their magazines and newspapers, and to have conversations with real people, and not just get the Western opinion and propaganda (this has since become a very long-term goal, as Arabic is unbelievably difficult). In 2003, I hoped and prayed that diplomacy would be chosen - that the inspectors would be allowed to finish their work - only to despair. In 2004, I found the book "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11" by Dr. David Ray Griffin, suggesting in a very convincing manner other explanations than the official story and I became and will remain interested in this issue until a proper investigation is undertaken. The 2004 election result was a shock, since it was not in line with the exit polls or with polls in the run-up to the election. Further research produced information that electronic result flipping had likely occurred. I agonized nearly every day for approximately eight years about the erosion of democracy in America and, time after time, I watched Democrats in Congress cave in to every demand of the "administration" - it seemed inexplicable, as though the resident had some magic potion that turned everyone into obedient zombies.

I didn't follow everything in detail. It was all so much - too much - the warrantless wiretapping, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary renditions, Guantanemo, authorities no longer needing court oversight, probable cause, knowledge or permission of residents to conduct warrantless searches of private residences, the threat of indefinite incarceration at the whim of some goverment official. Even within the last weeks before the inauguration, further icky things were approved, like the dumping of millions of gallons of toxic waste from cruise ships one mile offshore of the eastern USA coastline.

Fortunately, about half way through these long dark years, I found some websites that became my daily dose of sanity: Glenn Greenwald, The Brad Blog, and The Existentialist Cowboy. Glenn Greenwald has the ability to explain legal matters in a way that is captivating and understandable and spoke eloquently and forcefully against the legal arguments used by Bush&Co to justify their lawbreaking. He is still speaking out about legal issues in a very understandable way, and it is worth subscribing to Salon to read his column without all the ads. Brad Friedman has been working tirelessly to inform public officials and anyone who will listen of the dangers inherent in the use of electronic voting machines - a true modern day hero of democracy who will go down in history as such. And Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy, raging against all of the atrocities, not only of the last eight years, but also of more distant times, showing connections between so many seemingly unrelated persons and events, and frequently putting into words frustrations that I had felt but could not voice - like a good thunderstorm to clear the air, he cleared my mind and helped me to see so many things.

I'm glad for and relieved about the regime change and believe that at least the intentions are more in line now with what the founding fathers had in mind, but I'm kind of wondering what Obama thinks about bipartisanship now that ALL of the Republicans and 11 Democrats in the House voted against his economic recovery package. Bipartisanship died even before Bill Clinton. The only "bipartisanship" has been Democrats going to the dark side. I wonder if he will somehow be able to revive this long-dead horse.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

beautiful birds...

Many years ago, during the last winter I spent in the Pacific Northwest before I moved to Europe, I had the good fortune to experience the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count, an annual event that has been going on for more than 100 years where volunteers from all over the United States go out into the cold winter weather to count birds. The volunteers that year were organized by the husband of a friend of mine who had been an Audubon Society member for many years and who had a good many Christmas Bird Counts already under his belt.

Our task was simple: Go outdoors with our binoculars, notebook, and pen or pencil, look for birds, make note of their types and numbers. Ultimately, our data was sent to a central Audubon Society office where it was tabulated and used for creating a census of birds in the entire country for that year.

It was wonderful trudging through the snow, scouting for birds, finding and watching them through the binoculars for a whole day. When I returned to the warmth of my house at the end of the day, I remember having a feeling a peacefulness that I have never felt since.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing about this is that the Blog of Note from 21 January 2009 was Miradas Cantábricas and consists of some of the most beautiful photos of birds that I have ever seen. Except for not being outside, looking at these photos of the birds is as good as the Christmas Bird Count and makes me want to venture out into the cold this weekend to see what birds I might be able to find. Check it out! It's in Spanish, but you don't need to be able to read the words to enjoy the photos, although it's useful to know that if you click on the words "Entradas antiguas" at the bottom right of the page, you will get a new page with more photos from earlier blog posts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Energy Medicine

One of my interests is energy medicine. I have explored various approaches. The ones I currently find most interesting are Zdenko Domancic Bioenergy Therapy and the work of Donna Eden which is based on Touch For Health which has procedures for testing and balancing the 14 primary Chinese medicine (TCM) meridians.

This morning, I was looking at a book called "Vibrational Medicine: The #1 Handbook of Subtle-Energy Therapies", by Richard Gerber, MD. There is a chapter in this book about scientific studies that have been done with persons who describe themselves as spiritual healers. These studies show that, even from a distance, such persons can have a positive effect on plants, animals, and water, and that, in general, the effects are always towards life, health, and improvement, and away from entropy. One of the studies suggested that anyone could learn to do this kind of work and that effectiveness seemed to improve with practice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

by their fruits you will know them…

What I don't get about Christian fundamentalists, apart from their inability (unwillingness?) to see that much of the Bible is metaphorical (Jesus himself is famous for his metaphorical stories - the parables), is that they pay so much attention to quotations from the Old Testament (to be discussed in some future post maybe) and to what the apostles, his imperfect followers, had to say. In my view, the most important and only entirely essential information required by a Christian is to be found in the gospels.

Although the apostles were delegated by Jesus to carry on his work, they were still fallible and made mistakes. They were different from you and me only in that some of them knew him personally, but that wouldn't automatically make them great teachers themselves. I have known at least one great teacher in my life, and I can tell you that neither I nor any of the other students who learned from him could ever presume to convey more than an imperfect remembrance of only a very small portion of all of the things that he said and did during the time that we knew him. Great teachers speak truth from a place of inner certainty and knowing. Jesus spoke from his own inner awareness and certainty of the fact of his divinity and of ours (from the Christian viewpoint, logic dictates that if God is our father, we are his children, and therefore also divine – another future post, maybe). When Jesus said "follow me - I am the way", he was instructing his followers to BE like him.

It is my opinion that the writings of the apostles in books other than the gospels could be compared to this or any other blog post where someone writes about what they think about some subject, and such writings may or may not be of any value in terms of ultimate truth. I think one must really consider and decide for themselves whether or not to accept as truth anything that is written, no matter where it is written or who the author might be.

Some of the breadcrumbs of Jesus' thought processes, however, which could be useful for someone who wanted to emulate him, remain in the few things that he is alleged in the gospels to have said and done, although likely not everything was recorded accurately or completely. Nevertheless, it seems to me that what Jesus had to say, and his reported behaviour as recorded in the gospels should provide the definitive behavioural guidelines for anyone wanting to be Christ-like, and while there are some inconsistencies, mostly the messages are pretty consistently:

- "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
- "forgive others"
- "do not judge others"
- "feed the hungry"
- "visit the sick"
- "give to the poor"
- "be merciful"
- "love one another"

and, moreover,

- "love your enemies"

I have wondered, since many supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, how Christian fundamentalists reconcile with their supposed faith and "saved" status the dropping of bombs on anyone, since Jesus admonished "love your enemies", and taught such things as "Blessed are the merciful", and "Blessed are the peacemakers", and "whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of judgment", and "for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil", and "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not him that is evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also". I can't find anything in any of the recorded words or deeds of Jesus that would justify dropping bombs on anyone.

Jesus also allegedly said some pretty amazing things like

- "greater things than these shall ye do"
- "if you had the faith of a grain of mustard seed, you could move a mountain"

I don't see any Christian fundamentalists trying to move mountains or perform miracles, or even trying to convince anyone else that this is possible, and I bet if anyone started moving mountains or performing miracles, there would be a huge outcry that the miracle worker/mountain mover is the anti-Christ. If Jesus came back again, would he be recognized? Would the fundamentalists accept him or call him the anti-Christ? How would they know it was him and not some impostor?

These long dark past eight years, I have wondered how those who think of themselves as being Christians could continue to support and defend an administration that, among all the other terrible things it has presided over, so obviously cares nothing for the poor and has done everything possible to facilitate further filling the already over-full coffers of the very rich.

Jesus is also reported to have said "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits". A lot of bad fruit has come out of the Bush administration - we now have a 10 trillion dollar deficit (this seems like minus fruit to me), there is a huge financial crisis with more and more people losing their investments, their retirement funds, their jobs and their homes with each passing day, more than 1.3 million Iraqi people are dead because of an illegal war undertaken on the basis of known lies - these are but a few examples of all the bad fruit. Bush and his minions are at least false prophets and Bush is himself possibly the anti-Christ, except he will be gone in a few days and hopefully won't feel inspired to push the button as his last dastardly deed before we see the backside of him. I hope that the next time we must endure the frontside of him, he will be sitting in a court of law where he will be made to answer for his many crimes. He claims to be born again, but his fruit says otherwise - a bad tree (my apologies to all trees, but please blame the Lord for the analogy) who won't be gone soon enough for me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

my favorite luxury...

I like a lot of different kinds of music, but mostly I prefer silence. If any music that I know or like is going on, I can become totally distracted from whatever task is at hand. Music can take over my mind completely, so that anything requiring careful or analytical thought becomes impossible. Even worse, listening to just about any music can have the effect of it repeating endlessly in my mind for days or even weeks afterwards, which can be especially annoying if the songs are ones I don't particularly like, or thought I liked very much but after hearing them for the five thousandth time in my head I don't like them so much anymore. I suppose on the plus side, this capability that I seem to have of being able to replay any song in my head repeatedly can be convenient because I don't need an iPod or a CD player when I want to listen to my favorite songs, but I feel happier when there are no songs playing in my head and there is only silence.

I sometimes enjoy listening to lively, energetic, "up" music when cleaning house - I can get a boost in my energy level from such music, with the knock-on effect that the work seems easier. Sad music, on the other hand, can leave me with a feeling of melancholy for days, and since I do tend to find the sadder songs more beautiful, I have to be careful not to listen to them too much since I prefer to be in a good mood.

Any kind of interesting, complex, or beautiful music can space me out to the point that it's dangerous if I happen to be driving at the time. I once nearly caused an accident while listening to such music in my car, but fortunately other drivers were paying attention. I rarely listen to music in my car anymore.

I purposely never play music in the car when other people are with me, as I prefer having conversations with people when I am driving. Maybe other people can talk when music is playing, but I don't seem to have this ability. Music takes over my mind and I find it very difficult to carry on a conversation. My children have never been very happy that I never play music in the car while driving them to school and back, but we have had many interesting conversations over the years and I am certain that the silence allowed these conversations to happen.

Before the days of radio and other modern audio devices, most people only ever listened to music at church, concerts, and special events, unless they were musicians and could play an instrument or sing for themselves. I think that the modern world suffers from an unfortunate gluttony of sound. Nearly every public place plays some kind of music, as if silence is some sort of negative state that must be avoided at all costs.

For me, music is a type of noise, not always unpleasant, but always distracting from what's going on inside me. Silence allows me to hear my inner voice and to have control over what thoughts I think and what feelings I feel. Silence helps me to know what I feel and to deal with how I feel. I prefer silence whenever possible. It is my favorite and most valued luxury.