Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Truth About Solitude

I have been thinking a lot about balance lately. Balance of work, balance of choices, balance in personal discipline. When you live alone there is no one to tell you what to do or to pressure you to be someone or do something you may not want to do or that may be actually good for you. It is a solitary world with only the echo of your own voice inside your head to answer to. I know this voice well and sometimes it becomes deafening. Not really. And I am glad mine doesn't! Generally I get away with doing as I please. I have learned to balance income with liesure, rest with work, sacrifice with taking. It's all in balance yet the voices of the outside world are at bay. They are not welcome here as much as I might need them they are banished, for they are unreliable historically and are not to be trusted. The "voices" of course are the people I might have let in but did not. Which four letter word do you with to pick? I can't deal with outside influences. People rattling on about what I should or should not do as if I do not know. Most people are so vain they do not even know I exist let alone have a life or make interesting moves. Most people that I know are so self involved that they can't see the subtleties of my life. And that is fine but their words bounce off my world like rubber balls, mostly because they really have nothing to say that adds value to my world. It's all about them, their struggle, their challenges and their pain. I have one or two friends that force themselves to listen occasionally, and that's cool. But for now I am happy with no voices. No criticism and no pedantic behaviors to annoy jostle and pollute my daily routine. It's lovely actually. I love being alone. Send in the clowns. Nah, why bother?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Organic Eating - The Fundamentals

Do you know what vegetables

to buy organic and what is not worth the trouble?

Organic vegetables are wonderful, and well worth their price, say some. Growing your own organic vegetables is best, of course. You feel safer knowing exactly what was used on your vegetables before they got to your table. But if you cannot grow your own organic vegetables, the argument goes, it is worth the trouble to find a store or farmers' market where you can buy them. So let's suppose you take that trouble. Let's suppose you find a source of organic vegetables.

Do you know what vegetables to buy organic? Are all organic vegetables worth the higher price?

Organic vegetables that are certified organic under U.S. Dept. of Agriculture regulations must be produced without most synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, and feed made from animal parts.

Organic certification sounds like something most of us would want, but is it always necessary? Is it worth the extra money?

What Vegetables to Buy Organic

These 5 organic vegetables are usually worth the higher prices, since conventionally grown versions contain high amounts of pesticide residues.

1. Green beans: Conventionally grown green Beans can contain three organophosphates that are toxic to the nervous system: acephate, dimethoate and methamidophos. They can also contain endosulfan, an insecticide that disrupts endocrine secretion.

2. Potatoes: Non-organic potatoes are increasingly being exposed to pesticides, according to the Consumers Union. These potatoes may contain dieldrin and methamidophos. While this is bad enough for adults, children who eat potatoes are at risk for a high dose of aldicarb, a pesticide that pervades the inside of the potato.

3. Spinach: Spinach is ahead of all foods when it comes to DDT. Other pesticide residues are claimed to be falling as U.S. farmers are learning to use less quantities of synthetic insecticides. Nevertheless, spinach still can contain permethrin and dimethoate. Permethrin is thought to be potentially cancer-causing.

4. Tomatoes: Tomatoes grown by conventional means have been found high in chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos, also known as Lorsban for farm use and Dursban for home use, is the most heavily used insecticide in the United States.

5. Winter Squash: When tested, two-thirds of winter squash samples exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child of Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide. Heptachlor, another powerful carcinogen was also found. Winter squash in baby food contained DDT.

What Fruits to Buy Organic

Organic vegetables are only part of the picture when it comes to produce. Organic vegetables are often peeled and cooked before eating. Organic fruits are often eaten unpeeled, especially by young children. Young children also consume much greater amounts of fresh fruit per pound of body weight than do adults. The pesticides are concentrated more highly in children.

So while you're thinking about what vegetables to buy organic, you should also consider these 7 fruits.

1. Apples: Apples can contain methyl parathion. Whether fresh apples, applesauce, or baby food, they can also contain chlorpyrifos.

2. Cantaloupe: Like tomatoes, cantaloupes grown by conventional means have been found high in chlorpyrifos.

3. Grapes: Imported grapes can contain dimethoate. Grapes grown in the U.S. contain methomyl and methyl parathion. Methomyl is a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor.

4. Peaches: Peaches are perhaps the worst of all fruits when grown conventionally. They contain high amounts of iprodione residue, classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen. Peaches also contain methyl parathion, an organophosphate insecticide.

5. Pears: All conventionally grown pears, whether fresh or in baby food, can contain methyl parathion, as well as other insecticide residues.

6. Raspberries: Organic raspberries may be expensive, but you will be avoiding the fungicide captan, iprodione and carbaryl.

7. Strawberries: If you go for the beautiful red color of conventionally grown strawberries, you should know that it is caused by the fungicide captan, believed to be a possible human.

What Organic Vegetables Should You Buy?

Some organic vegetables are probably not worth the extra cost. When organic vegetables and fruits pose a health risk high enough to be listed by Consumers Union, however, you may want to take notice.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I wrote this post on It is about my hero. Bobby Snow. "This is a story about my Aunt Bobby. She was the most loved person I ever knew. As a boy I remember visiting her and her husband Bob, son Randy and daughter Patty at their Gross Pointe home in Michigan. I arrived one summer after school had let out. I found a family filled with love and a home that ran smoothly but with the usual family drama. But there was a difference in this home. There was no sadness. Jokes and silly fun made a light- hearted home a dream from what I knew back east. I learned that Bobby had started the first Boy Scout troop in Michigan, and was involved with Girl Scouting and Brownies clubs. She and her husband Bob were chosen to be the God Parents by every family on their street. At the time I thought that was pretty cool. As the weeks went on I learned how to read and I learned how to love through her firm way of coaxing me to learn. I was a very sad child from a very sad home in a very sad city. Bobby is my hero because she knew how to live and she knew how to love and she knew how important it was to be fair even when it did not give her the advantage. She knew that winning was not always good and she knew that losing was not always bad. There was something about her and her husband Bob I have never seen before in any person then or even today. It was a kind of class, a kind of knowing that they had that made them glow with cheer and confidence. There was a kind of mystery about them like they knew something that they held dear that they knew was special. I think it was love. The kind of love that is refined and yet easy, natural and filled with life joy and humor. I tell my friends today that they do not make folks like that any more. Bobby S. was my aunt and my hero because she knew right from wrong and she practiced the Golden Rule to the letter. She always said you could not go too far wrong if you stuck with the Golden Rule. I have ever since. And though my life does not have the sparkle or the glee that their family did I got to see it and feel the love of people who I knew for certain loved me. That is why Bobby and her husband Bob are my hero's."