Saturday, June 17, 2017

Not-So-Tiny Houses

Tiny houses aren't so tiny anymore!  This one is 37 feet long and was featured on Tiny House Swoon. It's called the "Denali". Great video:



Can I have this? I don't even care if it's not on wheels!! But someone needs to "gift" it to me because at $77,000 I might as well buy a real house...with property attached. My neighbor's RV cost them $80,000 and I remember thinking Good Lord...my house cost that much! LOL.

Dreaming....


Sunday, June 11, 2017

March for Equality and Pride

The March for Equality and Pride was on Sunday. At 11am everyone gathered at the local park to listen to speakers and poets. The poetry was really excellent and featured winners of a "slam poetry" contest who were heading to the nationals. One Native American poet sang a song in Choctaw on equality. There was a black-trans-vampire comic who was hilarious. When she said only nerds wear New Balance I tried to cover my shoes. At least no one was looking at them and thinking "white supremacy."


At noon we headed to the main street, assembled behind banners, the disability trolley, and the percussion band and marched our way down an empty four lane street with police blockades. There was first aid, security, and a guy with a bullhorn leading chants like:

"What do we want?" 
("Equality!") 
"When do we want it?" 
("NOW!") 

"NOW" was what was supposed to have been the response, but most people were yelling, "YESTERDAY!" This march, although not the largest I've been to, was certainly the most organized.

It was fun. Lots of friendly people. Lots of stinky people. Hmmm....


And, of course, for me it was all about the signs. I took a hiatus from painting for a couple weeks since I got so sick last month so I was raring to go.

Initially my friend who is in charge of finding the protests told me it was for Equality. Equality? What kind? Gender equality? Racial equality? LGBTQ equality? She thought a sign saying "Love Not Hate Makes America Great" would cover everything and I thought that would be a good idea so it could be used at a number of protests:


It looks like one of those Valentine candies with the sayings on them. LOL.

Finally I found march information and confirmed was for LGBTQ equality or gay rights. However, during the march we did chant for every marginalized group in America so it did end up being all inclusive, as the world should be. I was inspired. I think some of the funniest signs are for gay rights. I saw one online that read, "Leviticus Also Said, 'No Hair Cuts', But I Guess We Are Skipping That One!" or "If God Hates Fags Why Am I So Cute?" My absolute favorite sign that had me laughing out loud was a painting of Jesus holding his head in frustration and saying "I said I hate FIGS!" HAHAHAHA! Gay people have a sense of humor. (They are gay...) I wish I could be so clever.

Anyway...I jumped into painting and it didn't take long before I became ill and my body hurt all over. Will I never learn? For some reason my mask and other protective gear didn't seem to matter. My body load hasn't recovered from May's overexposure, but does that stop me? Heck no. I decided just in case there were some religious nuts lining the march with "God Hates Fags" and "You Will Burn in Hell" signs, I wanted a protest sign that addressed religion. A counter-counter-protest sign.


Love was our theme for the day. The back of this sign is a rainbow.



Flags...I had no idea there were so many types of flags. Most people know the LGBTQ community uses the rainbow as a symbol. The various colors mean: red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight/vitality), green (nature), blue (harmony/serenity), purple (spirit), and some flags add a pink (sexuality) and turquoise (art/magic) with some variation.

Did you know there are flags for bisexuality (pink, purple, blue), transgender (blue, pink, white, pink, blue), genderqueer/androgyny (purple, white, green), pansexual (red, yellow, blue), and asexual (gray, white, purple)?

It amazes me how much I don't know sometimes....


These two ladies hand painted their overalls with every protest slogan and filled them with buttons and patches representing the causes they support. They said they wear them to all the protests and don't have to carry signs! Great idea.




What was really fun is when we got to the rally at the end, there were many really excellent speakers. One woman represented a Black Alliance group and was a minister at a church. She started talking about Jesus and what he stood for "Jesus was all about love...I saw a sign that was perfect. Where was that sign?" She searched the crowd. Whoa! It took a minute to realize she was talking about my sign. I was sitting with my sign laying down beside me so I grabbed it and held it high

She yelled, "There it is! 'Love Thy Neighbor. That's It. That's All. The End.' That says it all!"

LOL! Whoa! Call out!! Very cool. Sometimes I make these signs and I often don't feel like anyone is really noticing them. Fun.

But my sign production momentum wasn't over. I had this urge and vision of one more. I think it's my best one so far and I've decided if I can create a handful of designs I really like, I might make them into cards and give them away as Christmas presents or something. LOL I'm saving this sign for a Black Lives Matter or Immigration protest:


Love it!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Fruit Fetuses

Oh, my fruit trees are fruiting! It's so exciting. It looks like I'll be once again up to my eye balls in fruit this year. I can't wait!

Apple babies:


Again, the apple tree is overloaded with some branches loaded with three to four little apple babies in a cluster.


Last year some of the baby apples fell off or later in the season I had to pick about 200 so the branches wouldn't get weighed down and break.

Cherries are loaded too. Babies are lovely:



Italian prunes are developing, but they aren't as loaded as the apple and cherry trees. Next year I'll have to chop off a branch to get it producing more.


So lovely.

My lettuce is ready to eat, already! Lots of green onions and radishes, too. I've eaten a few early peas and in another few weeks they should be ready to harvest.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

All Good Things is about the disappearance/murder of Katherine Marks, wife of psychopathic real estate mogul David Marks. Great performances. Just goes to show we never really know a person. The frightening aspect of this story is at the end David Marks is found not guilty of anything and he's now living in Florida still in real estate. ***

 Before We Go is about a woman who is stranded in New York after getting her purse stolen then she missed her train back to Boston. She meets a trumpet player who is busking in Grand Central Station to avoid attending his friend's pre-wedding party where his ex-girl friend is with her new boyfriend. He offers to help her somehow get her home before her husband gets home and they spend the night going from one idea to the next. Great story. Simplistically brilliant. Great middle of the night New York scenery. ****

Casual Encounters is about a man who is dumped on radio by his girlfriend. His friends at work get him to join an online dating site called Casual Encounters for casual sex. He keeps telling them he is a one-woman, committed kind of guy, but does it anyway. Then he falls for his co-worker. It was an odd comedy, trying too hard, but tolerable. **

Cloud Atlas I avoided this movie for a long time because I'm not fond of weird sci-fi stories nor movies that jump through time and this one did both. Blah. It features many different storylines, two set in the 1800s, one in 1930, one in 1973, one in 2012 and maybe two more in the future. I think. I don't know for sure as I couldn't keep track. The theme is love never dies and is reincarnated with each death so the characters are reincarnated in each time period. The make-up was fun especially when they changed a person's race. Hugh Grant was a sleazy nuclear something in one scene and a tribal warrior in another. That was fun. Susan Sarandon was an eighteenth-century noble woman and then some kind of witch doctor. Halle Berry and Tom Hanks were all kinds of people in love in each new life. But it was hard to keep track of all the different storylines and the bizarre sci-fi stuff. ***

Dancing, A Man's Game was a television special in 1958 featuring Gene Kelly talking about dance. He starts out comparing dance movement with sports including guests such as Mickey Mantle, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dick Button, Johnny Unitas and Bob Cousy. From there he demonstrates classical ballet, the history of tap dance, and modern dance. It was interesting, although at times really sexist. Men always lead and women must always follow, BUT women can do things men can't do...like birthing babies. hehehe ***

Disfigured is about an obese overeater and a non-eating anorexic who meet at a fat acceptance support group. The anorexic woman tries to explain she sees herself as fat and needs support, but members become very hostile and ask her to leave. The two embark on a friendship. This was a low-budget, amateur film addressing body image and how we perceive and usually reject our bodies no matter how they look. Judgment and negative feedback from others is a non-stop influential factor. Everyone has an opinion on how an obese person or thin person should live. The movie just barely hints at underlying emotional causes for eating disorders/overeating and totally ignores any possible physiological causes. I remember reading a study that indicated obesity might be caused by a virus. Or I wonder if overeating is directly related to some vital organ not working correctly (pituitary gland). Can it be a chemically-induced effect? Something poisoning people that  shuts down a normal weight-regulating function? My experiences with thyroid medication makes me wonder. I think throughout history obesity has been blamed on personal eating and exercise habits assuming people just need to practice self-control. Blame the victim mentality. The medical system has failed miserably at searching outside the box and finding real solutions. (What is new?) The writing was a little cliché and the performances were not good to the point of irritation. but for all its faults, the movie does inspire dialogue which is its redeeming factor. **

Gambit was about a Monet expert (Colin Firth) who works for a horrid, abusive man (Alan Rickman) who constantly berates him for being wimpy, spineless, and useless. As revenge he plans an art forgery and theft using a Texas rodeo star (Cameron Diaz). It was silly and a little stupid. Diaz's Texan accent was cute but I think she's getting too old to play cutesy sex kitten type rolls. Firth was adorable, as usual, but the role was beneath him. **

How I Live Now is a futuristic drama about World War III. Sixteen year old Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is sent to England to live with cousins as the war begins. Yeah, hmmm...not sure why if the war is breaking out in Europe her dad would send her to England Why not just say in New York or send her to California? She resents and rebels, angry at her father for wanting to "get rid of her."  Her cousins live on a really cool, yet dirty farm in the English countryside and Daisy is a bit of a clean freak, washing her hands constantly, refusing to eat gluten and cheese, sneezing around all the cats. (I identified with her immediately...hehehe.) Their mother is some kind of government employee who heads to Geneva.  Daisy falls in love with her cousin Eddy... her cousin? Hmmm... A nuclear bomb falls on London and the enemy invasion begins along with an evacuation. The kids all hide out in a barn until soldiers invade, separate the boys from the girls and they yell to each other to meet back at the farm if they get a chance to escape. Daisy and her young cousin Piper are sent to live with a couple and work on a farm until the enemy soldiers attack and they take off with map, compass and gun to find home. It was a great story although not very well thought out at moments. Saoirse Ronan has the most beautiful eyes. Performances are great. English countryside is outstanding. Can I move there now? ***

The Immigrant is about a Polish woman in 1921who arrives in New York with her sister after their family was killed in the war. The sister has tuberculosis and is quarantined. A sleaze ball pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) makes a deal with the immigrant officials and buys her right out of Ellis Island so they tell her that her aunt and uncle's address doesn't exist. Joaquin convinces her he's her only hope and then forces her into prostitution.  With no money, no family, and no work, she eventually complies as she's desperate to get her sister back. Excellent yet disturbing story. Wow. ****

In a Valley of Violence stars Ethan Hawke as a Civil War/Indian War veteran who is heading to Mexico with his dog to escape his demons. He passes through a town and the town bully, who is the sheriff's (John Travolta) spoiled son picks a fight with him, gets his ass whooped, and then with a few of his cronies, goes after Ethan and shoots his dog. It's not smart to shoot a man's dog. Ethan is out for revenge. It's one of those weird blood-driven comedy westerns with incredibly dumb caricatures of cowboys, a serious storyline and lots of violence. The female characters were especially offensive and obnoxious: airheads with loud shrill voices. Ethan's character wasn't very interesting...I was hoping he'd at least have superpowers or something redeeming about him, but he didn't. **

Like Sunday, Like Rain is about a woman who dumps her loser boyfriend who has been treating her like garbage for too long. She loses her job because he shows up and makes a scene and she moves out of their apartment. With no job and nowhere to live, she takes a temporary job as a nanny. The twelve-year old boy is incredibly smart, filthy rich, but doesn't really relate to kids his own age. In one of the first scenes we watch as the maid wakes him up, puts his robe on him and actually ties the belt for him! He seems a little rebellious to this treatment, but his domineering mother (Debra Messing) is enough to make anyone rebellious. Now I thought this would be some typical Hollywood feel good movie about a spoiled brat tamed by a Mary Poppins or something along those lines, but it wasn't. She treats him with respect, admires his intellect, and maturity. He cooks gourmet meals for her, gives her tours of the art museum, and plays his cello for her. They fulfill each other's need for companionship and have the perfect relationship - if it wasn't for their age difference.  I also thought it might get weird since he is a twelve-year old adolescent and his one friend keeps saying his nanny is "hot", but it really didn't. Good story about relationships. ***

Lion WHAT AN AMAZING MOVIE!!! It's based on a true story about a five year old Indian boy who while helping his old brother work in the middle of the night gets too tired. His brother has him sleep on a bench in a train station and tells him he'll be right back. He wakes up, goes looking for his brother, gets on a train, falls asleep again, waking up to find he's locked in the car traveling for days to who-knows-where. He ends up in Calcutta, doesn't even speak the language and  joins the thousands of other homeless children surviving on the streets.  Lucky for him he ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty years he's tormented by guilt and memory which prompts him to use the latest Internet research tools to check train routes, calculating speeds to determine location, and with bird's eye maps search for the familiar landscapes of his former home. I can't imagine the terror that little boy experienced losing his family. Sunny Pawar who plays five-year old Saroo has got to be the absolute cutest. Dev Patel plays older Saroo and I have to say I have never watched movie with him I didn't love. He's awesome, talented, and so very gorgeous! Very heartbreaking story. Outstanding. I can't believe it didn't win any Oscars, but it was up against a lot of competition. *****

London River is set against the July 7th terrorist attacks in London. An African Muslim man from France and a Christian woman from Guernsey are each looking for their missing adult child. They come together when they realize their kids were a couple.  Excellent performances. The story was a little slow at times but I think maybe it was supposed to add to the drama. ****

Love's Enduring Promise is a Michael Landon, Jr. production so it's like watching a modern episode of Little House on the Prairie. It's about a community of farmers and families who struggle. Katherine Heigl and January Jones were the main characters. Lots of God talk. Beautiful scenery. ***

Magic Mike I've always meant to see this movie and am often reminded as it's constantly being referenced all the time in the media. And it features the best looking men in Hollywood: Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello. It's about a unemployed nineteen-year old who is sleeping on his sister's couch and works for one day as a temporary construction worker for another construction worker's assistant... Mike (Channing Tatum). After he gets fired, he runs into Mike at a nightclub and is introduced to the world of male stripping. Very interesting. It's filmed in a weird yellowy technicolor reminiscent of old porn movies. ***

Marion River is about a woman who goes home when her mother is dying and lives in the family home with her two sisters while dealing with past domestic abuse issues. Performances were great. The story was very intriguing because they never quite tell you exactly what happened during their childhood, just little hints throughout the story. ***

Mother's Day was a comedy about mother's of all kinds: divorced mothers, step mothers, lesbian mothers, grandmothers, obnoxious mothers, and even dead mothers. It had a star-studded cast with Jennifer Anniston,  Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Timothy Olyphant, Jennifer Gardner, Margo Martindale, among others.  It was really great, and this is coming from someone who normally doesn't like anything having to do with Mother's Day. ****

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee Robin Wright is a housewife married to an older publisher and they just moved to a retirement community. She's very docile, but was a bit wild as a young girl. She starts sleep walking and often ends up at the convenience store where her neighbor's son works. Wright's performance was outstanding. Interesting story. ***

Rules Don't Apply is about Howard Hughes in the late 1950s -60s. The soundtrack was awesome and the sets/scenery were really spectacular. They used some kind of colored filter so the panoramic views of Hollywood looked like an old photograph. The street views were amazing special effects along with all the costumes, cars, and details. Interesting story about one of Hughes's contracted starlets who is small-town religious, sweet, and enthusiastic. Her mother is played by Annette Bening.  All-star cast even down to the minor parts. Warren Beatty who wrote, produced and directed the film, as well as starred as Hughes,  was excellent. I didn't like the plot and how it panned out. Hmmm...***

Somewhere is about a celebrity...who has a daughter.  I lasted through forty minutes of excruciating boredom before turning it off. The daughter shows up for about 10 minutes then back to his mundane, directionless life. Maybe it would have gotten interesting, but I wasn't seeing it. The first two minutes of him racing his car around a desert race track set  the tone. I should have taken the clue then. *

The Station Agent is about a man (Peter Dinklage) who has a fascination with trains and works in a model train store. His boss dies and leaves him an abandoned train station in the middle of nowhere. He just wants to be left alone but the quirky town's folk won't go away. Bobby Cannavale is hilarious, Patricia Clarkson is wonderfully weird, and Michelle Williams is adorable. I didn't want it to be over. I wouldn't mind if someone left me a train station although I don't know if I'd want the trains roaring by in the middle of the night. You'd have to really love trains to tolerate all that noise. ****

Tracks is based on the true story of Robyn Davidson's 1700 mile trek across Australia with four camels and a dog. Mia Wasikowska stars with Adam Driver as the National Geographic photographer who meets her every five or so weeks. Excellent story and performances. She was so dirty and sun burnt and all that dirty, tangly, stringy hair hanging in her eyes - I think I would have cut my hair off just so I wouldn't have to deal with it. It amazes me she didn't have more problems. Every time a car with people drove up I kept thinking they were bad people. She sure had a lot of courage to attempt this alone as a woman. ****

Trouble with the Curve was a baseball movie about an aging baseball scout who is losing his vision (Clint Eastwood) and his attorney daughter (Amy Adams)  who helps her father for a few days while struggling with their somewhat estranged relationship.  Justin Timberlake plays one of the other scouts who was one of her father's recruits and ends up being her love interest. Good story especially with a strong female character who knows more about baseball than most men, but the performances were not good. Or was it the dialogue? The script? It sounded like everyone was very carefully reading their lines for the first time as if they didn't know their characters. Especially Eastwood. He was tripping over words and I could hardly understand what he was saying with that gravelly voice and his articulation issues. It was as if he couldn't breathe when he spoke. Watching (listening) to him was uncomfortable and he spent most of this time grunting and scowling. Even Amy Adams seemed to pronounce each syllable too carefully like she was trying too hard. She's normally an outstanding actress. Maybe it's bad direction? Even so, for a baseball movie, it had a lot of heart which made it enjoyable.***

World's Apart was good, but too abstract for me. I like a simple plot. This is Greece with all its socio-political-economic problems and there are three different, but interrelated stories with a second chance theme and Eros, god of love. One is about a Greek girl who falls in love with a Syrian refugee. Her father has joined a group that goes out and harasses, beats up, and shoots immigrants claiming they are ruining the lives of Greeks. The second story is about a Swedish woman who has been sent to Greece to prepare a Greek company for a corporate takeover, slashing departments and firing employees: globalization in the worst possible way. She falls in love with one of the company's managers creating a conflict of interest. The third story is about an older German man who begins meeting a married Greek woman at the grocery store every week. She speaks just enough English to tell him his country ruined her country and their family is miserable because of it. None of the couples speak the language of the other person, but can communication in English, although not always fluently. There was some message about how emotion in speech is more easily understood than words. There was way more symbolism and meaning than was comfortable. It's one of those movies where I felt like my pea-sized brain was constantly missing the point which is always frustrating. ***


The World's Greatest Dad is about a father (Robin Williams) with the worst teenage son you could imagine. He's a rude, disrespectful, mouthy, belligerent, hypersexual bully who cares about no one and nothing. His father is a failed writer teaching poetry at a high school. His girl friend is another teacher who wants to keep their relationship a secret but is dating the other English teacher who is far more popular. His life is dreary and depressing. He's also a wimp who can't stand up to his spoiled teenage brat, lets him mouth off, lets him be rude and disrespectful, buying him whatever he wants. Bad, pathetic parenting at its worst. He finds his son dead from asphyxiation while masturbating and stages it as a suicide writing a heart-felt suicide note. The note ends up published in the school newspaper and it starts a cult-obsession with this kid who treated everyone like garbage and no one liked. He's now a martyr-like figure, idolized as a celebrity of sorts fueled by this father's lies when he decides to publish his son's fake diary he writes himself. Everyone thinks they misunderstood him and now see him as the epitome of teenagery. It was very weird and the fact that Robin William's committed suicide by hanging made it even more bizarre and creepy.  It was anything but funny, although the promotion for it says it's hilarious. Hardly.***

Friday, May 26, 2017

EnviroKlenz (product review)

EnviroKlenz is a "laundry enhancer" designed to take stink out of clothing. It actually sounded too good to be true: a product that would clean my yard sale and Goodwill purchases poisoned by toxic laundry detergents...a product that might even clean new, formaldehyde soaked clothing purchases from toxic smell? Would it work on perfume-soaked garments? I was curious, but then I found a few reviews that said it didn't work. Skeptical, I backed away not wanting to spend the $14.99 plus $10.50 shipping charge for the 58 ounce (15 load size) bottle.

Then Mrs. Washington International 2017 who explained in detail how ultra-sensitive her husband was to scented products highly recommended it. This was the same day I bought a whole new wardrobe of [toxic smelling] clothing from the outstanding Cancer Society sale and got incredibly tired of trying to wash each sweater six times and STILL not getting the stink out. So I caved. And ordered.

They ship it priority so it arrived in two days. I couldn't find the ingredients online, but the bottle lists water, magnesium oxide, magnesium hydroxide, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide. Looks like a process of oxidization. Not sure about that titanium?

I started on my new black spy coat which didn't stink as much the other items. I had machine washed it once in regular unscented detergent, but I could still smell something. This was a machine washable coat on small load cycle, with a tiny bit of detergent and 1/4 cup EnviroKlenz. The instructions warn not to use with bleach or vinegar and warm water works best. Hmmm...it's a black coat...it gets cold water.

At the same time I hand washed a cotton sweater in a tub of water, tiny bit of detergent, and 1/4 cup EnvironKlenz. Yes, that's a lot of EnvironKlenz for a tub, but I want this to work. Too little might not work and be discouraging. For the sweaters I used lukewarm water. I place the sweater in the soapy water, move around a little, squish it a little, swirled it a little, and raise it for a dangerous sniff - no stink. I don't smell any stink!

I continued washing with some soaking for about twenty minutes or as long as a normal machine washing, then transferred the sweater to a rinsing bucket. I'm planning a frugality experiment. I placed the second sweater in the washing bucket used for the first sweater, swished, soak, swish. The water turned murky. After a few minutes I smelled the sweater - it still stunk. It was as if EnviroKlenz stripped the first sweater of the stink, but deposited it in the water. I was washing the second sweater in stink oxidized right into the water. It is necessary to use EnviroKlenz fresh. There is a warning on the label to not leave the cap off or it will lose its effectiveness. I assume if you let the garment soak for too long it would stop working, too.

Meanwhile back in the laundry room, the spy coat is finished. It has a smell, but it's not the toxic laundry detergent. I think it's the EnviroKlenz. Now I did overuse it and probably could have used less than 1/4 cup even in a laundry load with only one garment. Maybe I didn't get it rinsed enough? So I put it through another rinse cycle.

The sweaters also smelled, the cotton ones not so much, but the cashmere reeked. Wool often latches on to stink of any kind. I washed it again by hand with detergent and rinsed all the soap out of it. Much better. Lesson: Don't overuse EnviroKlenz. It has its own stink. I rinsed the cotton sweaters again as well.

Still, it's one thing to smell freshly washed, wet clothing and quite another to wait until the clothes are dry. As they dried, I kept checking for stink and with each sniff my nose burned. After a while with each subsequent inhale, I started feeling sick to my stomach. Hmmm.... When completely dry the cotton sweaters seemed fine. Cashmere not so much. The coat stunk, but it might be from something totally different. It's synthetic after all and now hanging in the garage. I re-washed the cashmere in the washer on the soak cycle without detergent. I think this is the twelfth attempt now. If this doesn't work it'll go in the garbage.

EnviroKlenz does get out the toxic laundry stink quite effectively, but you must rinse exceptionally well because it has it's own toxic stink. I also think I had too much to wash and, therefore, too much exposure all at once. Normally I would detoxify only one garment at a time, not a whole new wardrobe. We'll see. I have confidence EnviroKlenz is still going to save a whole lot of time, toxicity, and water costs. It's been an exposure-exhausting experiment.

I do wonder if it works on formaldehyde and other treatments. I so rarely buy anything new, but if I do, I'll try it and post an update.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Genetics...You are So Screwed.

Most of my family are stinkers and don't give a rat's ass if their bad habits are poisonous to me so I avoid relatives when possible. My brother just recently quit smoking so his toxicity has decreased. I wait for a nice day so I don't have to sit inside his newly constructed [formaldehyde smelling] house and in the fresh and tolerably warm-ish air I am able to catch up on gossip and family news.



My niece was unexpectedly present. She's a stinker. Her long hair freshly washed in god-awful scented shampoo is enough to kill me...besides the make-up, lotion, deodorant, and scented candle fetish. And cats. She's a cat woman.

A few years ago she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease so I was eager to discuss autoimmune diseases with her. I shared with her my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis diagnosis. She complained her doctors know nothing. (At times she so very much like me in odd ways it's frightening!) However, when I asked her if she had read any books or websites on autoimmunity. She hadn't. I attempted to ask her about her diet, but she became defensive stating her diet is fine although she still ends up in the hospital. She complained about being tired all the time, but she confessed she eats a lot of sugar. She told me stress is a trigger for her and asked me if I knew that. Yes, I did. She looked at her father and said, "SEE! I'm not making it up!"

We continued chatting and she wanted to know about my genes because she might have the same. She wants to get her DNA tested and I shared that I had mine tested. This made her very excited and she wanted to know our ancestry, but specifically the genes I have that are associated with health and disease. I told her I couldn't remember specifics and our DNA won't be exactly the same, but when I get home I'd email her. She kept bouncing between docile and attentive vs. loud, defensive, and high strung. I wondered if this was a symptom of something. (Too many toxins?? Too much sugar??)

I have many, many times in the past tried to educate her about chemical sensitivity, but like so many unenlightened, she's not interested. It's not personally meaningful to her and, well, she doesn't seem to give a rip about anyone around her. So on this particular encounter, I stopped asking about her health as I sensed it frustrated her or caused stress and I didn't want to personally be the trigger for her next hospitalization. She professed to being interested in solutions, but clearly she wasn't ready or not THAT interested. She hasn't reached the point of desperation and disability checks allow her to survive without too much financial worry. She doesn't understand everyone is one step away from chemical sensitivity, and try as I may, I can't convince her. If she has my same genes, she's less than a step away!

Being calm and looking very Modigliani...
At one point while we talked, I laughed loudly and she grimaced quickly covering her ears with her hands. My mouth fell open.

"Whoa! Do you have a hearing sensitivity?"

Most definitely. She can't tolerate noise. I shared with her I also have a hearing sensitivity and we compared information. Unfortunately, I failed to walk through the open door! Here was my opportunity to add more about chemical sensitivity and possibly convince her to start taking steps. Hearing sensitivities are a symptom of MCS. But do I continue to harangue her and risk her shutting down again? Damn the dilemma!

We exchanged email addresses and she wrote once. Promising, but that was it. I didn't even do any more quality haranguing in my email! She just stopped. I waited. I wondered if her email wasn't working as she implied she was having issues with it. Tired of waiting, I wrote her a letter enclosing some art she requested. It was long and informative because I figured if she wasn't going to email, I'd at least plant some seeds that might make her think. I told her about my DNA and specific genes that contribute to MCS. I told her it is common for people who have one autoimmune disease to get more. I told her autoimmune diseases are 77% caused by environmental factors, or chemicals. I told her stress is a huge factor and asked her if she realized stress has two forms: mental/emotional and physical. I questioned if she realized all the scented products and junk food she eats might be contributing to her physical stress level and creating autoimmune responses causing the fatigue and digestive problems. I told her a whole lot. It was one long letter! She never responded. It's very frustrating to want to help someone who doesn't want to be helped!

So...if she has my genes, she's screwed! MCS might just be around the corner for her. With women, it often rears its ugly head after age forty when their bodies over time have become overloaded. She has years to go, but she's already showing signs and has an autoimmune disease. I'd like to say I wouldn't wish MCS on my worst enemy, but at the same time, I wish it on everyone! If everyone had MCS, no one would be using toxic products and everyone would be far more tolerant of the chemically sensitive.

Time will tell. I keep holding out she might email me again, but it's been two months. Hmmmm....

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May is MCS Awareness Month

And boy, am I aware! It's been one toxic month. You can tell how much exposure I've received by how many posts I write. LOL.

It started with the Species Procession with too many people, too much activity, and possibly too much stress. I don't remember perfume or laundry detergent, but often before my body is overloaded I don't always smell it before hand. It's a clandestine poisoning.

Painting with acrylic paints. I use a mask, gloves and glasses as well as protective clothing, and I've tried to be very diligent about keeping safe and yes, this paint isn't as smelly or toxic which is good. Still, every now and then I get a whiff of paint or primer. It's not a smart form of entertainment for sure, but I need a distraction. And I need protest signs. So far it's worth it, but I may need to rethink this.

My new [useless] doctor suggested I head to a shoe store that specializes in plantar fasciitis. They had plug-in air fresheners. Maybe they use them to counteract the stink of those plastic sandals they push on their customers? No, I'm not buying those ugly, synthetic, toxic sandals. Or maybe because they had two stinky dogs roaming the store. So incredibly unprofessional. If 15% of the population are chemically sensitive, these people are either really stupid or don't care about sales. And how many people hate dogs or are afraid of them? People irritate me to no end.

Then there were my Goodwill shopping excursions. I'm not sure what has come over me, but anytime I have some free time I head to Goodwill. I've never realized they have half off colored tags! I have a few things on my shopping list: a hat, umbrellas for protests (I plan to paint them so our protest signs will keep us dry!), overalls (for painting), and anything else I might NEED like a lime green evening gown. Unfortunately, Goodwill uses really toxic laundry detergent. All the stores are the same. Yeah, I bring clothing home and wash it six times, but until the stink is gone every time I lift it out of the washer, I breathe it.

And then there was the umbrella. Excellent umbrella. White with faint pastel pattern easy to paint over. Automatic opening. Not a fold up. HALF PRICE! I thought I hit the jackpot. As I'm standing in line I notice the umbrella still has the original tag. I read it. "Buy Sarah Jessica Parker's perfume and you will receive this umbrella for free." Blah. I don't think anything of it, in fact, I think I even stuck my nose in the fabric. Nothing. Until I get it in my car. Where did this headache come from and why do my lungs hurt and my head is spinning?? The umbrella is soaked in perfume! I returned it, but by that time the damage had been done. I believe this was the beginning of the downward spiral. A real perfume poisoning, not just laundry stink.

Drawing group stinkers. I wrote about them and our last meeting in a previous post. We meet only once every two weeks so there is a break. Most of our locations are outside. Two weeks ago we met at a stinker's home, but I refused to enter because of the air fresheners. I stayed outside and created landscapes. Still, I might have received a hit from air freshener residue or perfumed people I encountered when we gathered.


MCS presentation. There were lots of smelly tourists milling about during the MCS presentation. Whew.

Monsanto protest breathing too much laundry detergent stink.

Yesterday's yard/parking lot sale. OMG. I'm driving down the road prior to the Monsanto protest on a day when it seemed like everyone was having a yard sale and I see a sign. I get closer and it's in a parking lot with LOTS of stuff, not junky stuff, but good stuff. OK, this looked promising. I couldn't help myself. The Cancer Society is having a donation sale and one of their donors is a professional home decorator. She does staging for real estate agents and donates the older linens and pillows she no longer needs for her displays. I bought a beautiful partly silk, cotton backing duvet cover for $3.00! Never used, offgassed and never washed. No stink!

The color isn't great in this photo. It's a really pretty olive with lighter olive embroidery.

Then I saw the clothes! Nearly brand new cotton sweaters and a cashmere sweater! What? You want .25 cents for each? Really? I couldn't resist. Used sweaters that aren't mangled and obviously worn out are difficult to find. I also bought a coat that looked like it might make a good rain coat. Or a secret agent spy coat - it's black and light weight.


And a purse. And a purple pillow. I bought nearly a whole new wardrobe for nothing, unfortunately, the clothing had been washed in toxic detergent so there is a hidden cost. It's not such a good deal if you have to wash everything six times. Bam!!! Hit number 234 (?) for the month. I made the mistake of smelling each garment. This is bad, I know, but some smells aren't washable. Unfortunately the smells that are washable are toxic.  I had to hand wash the sweaters so that's hit number 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240....Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! or until the first sweater was thoroughly decontaminated. I gave up on the others, put them in a sealed plastic bag, and ordered some of that EnviroKlenz. I'll write a post on it when it comes. Reviews are hit and miss, but Mrs. Washington says it works and she loves it so I'll give it a go.

Co-op employee drenched in stink. Brain fog, nausea, dizzy. I had to leave before getting all my groceries, but not before I complained. The employees there are supposed to be fragrance free.

EnviroKlenz experimentation. Blah. Too many whiffs and I was so sick to my stomach I could hardly stand. Not a good feeling. (See my review of EnviroKlenz.)




Not feeling so good. Easily exhausted. neck hurts like hell, joints a little achy. I just want to lay down and not move for a few weeks. Not as bad as it could be, but I notice I'm much more sensitive to smells now.  Time to slow down.



Yes, I am very aware! I am happy to say I'm not as reactive as I have been in the past, five or ten years ago. I'm assuming the steps I've taken to heal myself have helped. I can't even remember the last time I had an anaphylactic response, skin crawl, rage cycles or other more serious reactions. That is good. Due diligence has worked.







Take That Monsanto!

After the MCS presentation we headed over to the Monsanto protest to join around fifty dedicated anti-chemical company people. I was hoping the beauty queen would show wearing her yellow dress and crown fitting right in looking like a queen bee, but she didn't. They had a few chemical-focused booths on GMOs, fracking, pesticides, herbicides, organic food, loud music, lots of people with signs or t-shirts expressing their opinions, and cute little girls dresses as bees carrying "Save the Bees" signs. This one sported a fine pair of tap shoes and her chanting, "HELL NO! GMOs HAVE GOT TO GO!" was far more passionate and energetic than all the adults put together. Ah! to be young and energetic!



We marched from the meeting place right down main street ten blocks to the community farmer's market. This made me a little nervous as blocking traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon is anything but safe, however, it guaranteed to get attention. This is how it's done. I love this town filled with passionate people who rally every weekend about something they feel strongly about and usually right down main street!


What I found a little contradictory was too many people stunk to high heaven of laundry detergent. Really? Are they that unenlightened to think toxic chemicals are bad, but toxic laundry chemicals are just fine? Needless to say, it became too much. Still, I did my part, marching to and fro with brain fog and nausea wafting over me like a bad flu. Stupid. Maybe my protesting days are over? I keep thinking if it's outside I can stay out of the toxic air stream, but I get hit too often and every little hit compounds into overexposure. I can only take so much....


Out of the Cage

On May 20th I attended the Out of the Cage MCS presentation and rally at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.


My activist friend received the email announcement above, sent it to me, and exclaimed, "Bring the MCS signs!" So we did bring signs, although it wasn't so much a rally as just a presentation. Yes, we are determined to rally every weekend even when there isn't one! LOL.






The presenter was Mrs. Washington International 2017, Angelique Ashton, who campaigned the beauty pageant with the MCS platform!


She is not chemically sensitive, but her husband is. I was amazed at her dedication and devotion when so many spouses hit the road when it gets too hard. We arrived a little early so she spoke to us privately while she set up her equipment and signage. Very sweet and knowledgeable. She live streamed her presentation on Facebook. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/angelique.ashton.3/videos/10154830298554132/ 

(I can't seem to get this link to link which is why I left the address. It could be because it's Facebook which doesn't always like to share outside its own site, but I don't know. Sorry. I'll try to fix this later.)

Only about nine people showed, but it was a fluke I heard about this so I think getting the word out is difficult. Also, the venue might have been a little too public for most and the unenlightened ignored the signs Mrs. Washington had posted requesting a fragrance-free zone. Anyone with severe chemical sensitivity would have been smart not to attend.  As we sat there, heavily perfumed women wearing dangerously high heels and incredibly high hair were modeling for their boyfriends' cameras and loads of school children were running up and down the capitol steps so the venue was a little risky. One masked woman had to leave early, unfortunately, as I would have liked to have connected with her. Mrs. Washington's mission is to spread the word and she intends to meet with state representatives later in the month to speak to them on behalf of the MCS population so the venue selection was strategic. Her audience is the unenlightened. We were just there for support.

I have to say she blew my theory that the flamboyant are the stinkiest. You'd think a beauty queen would stink to high heaven. Not this one! Hooray! Mrs. Washington's website is http://thenakedproject.org

At the close of her presentation she suggested if people have time to join the anti-Monsanto march happening at 2:00pm across the lawn! We can't refuse a good protest.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stinkers

Have you ever noticed people who wear perfume are often the most needy? Demanding? Flamboyant? Attention-getting? Friendly?

I love my drawing group. It's a rare opportunity for a social life, but there are members who seem desperate for attention, always women. It's easy to identify who they are as they always dress flamboyantly. Bright, attention-getting clothing is always the first clue.

There is one who constantly talks too much and too loudly. She dyes her hair bright red, wears lace-up boots, frilly dresses, and lots of make-up. She arrives early, canvases the location, greeting everyone, and bullies her way into conversations making herself the center of attention. LOUDLY. It's very important for her to whip out her sketchbook to show everyone all the art she's been working on since we saw her last. She is the show, the reason we have convened. I sense she needs confirmation and encouragement to be told she's valuable and loved. She often stinks so I avoid getting close to her. She doesn't come to all the meetings. The last time we saw her she went on and on about how toxic paint is BUT, oh well, I guess I'll just get cancer!! She kept repeating this and laughing as if cancer is the worst that can happen after a chemical exposure. Clearly she's never watched anyone die from cancer and clearly she has never heard of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity which I'm sure would be her ultimate nightmare. But how do I explain this to someone who has no clue and looks at me like a deer caught in headlights when I try? There is another woman who loves wearing bright purple clothing with hats. I do love her creative expression. She also smells but not excessively. She's not as noisy. I have found the amount of flamboyance and noise is often directly related to the amount of perfume they are wearing. She doesn't come to all the meetings either. Thankfully.

During our last meeting another flamboyantly-dressed noise maker showed. I hadn't seen her for a long, long time so I said, "Hey! I haven't seen you for a long, long time!" Perhaps she was moved by the fact I noticed she had been missing or just excited that someone was paying attention to her so without warning she moved in for a hug. Arms up, reaching, grabbing. I hardly know this woman. She seems very nice, but this is unacceptable. I immediately put my hand out and said, "I don't hug." I wanted to say, Don't you dare wipe that shit all over me! There was a tree behind me and people on each side of me so I couldn't move to escape.


She looked at me with such horror. I've written blog posts on hugging so I know this reaction to my hug ban is not unusual after all I am the anomaly, the odd one out, the strange one who doesn't welcome affection even from a stranger. The group had gathered in the sharing circle so I sensed everyone around me was watching because, after all, she did this to give herself center stage as if to scream LOOK! I AM LOVED!! In the past I have tried to keep "Perfume is My Poison" from becoming my identity and mantra, but this was too much. The woman was demanding an explanation with her grief-stricken facial expression.

"I am deathly allergy to perfume."

She stared. I repeated, "DEATHLY. ALLERGIC."

She responded with, "Oh, and I do have perfume on today."

It was all I could do not to scream, YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW THAT? I CAN SMELL YOU TWENTY FEET AWAY!! But I couldn't. People were watching and it doesn't pay to be rude to someone who is trying to be ultra-friendly unless you want to be thought of as a bitch. People just don't get how it makes me feel to be attacked, poisoned, threatened. She backed away while slowly comprehending what I said and moved to the other side of our circle. I should have walked away, left the vicinity, but I felt compelled not to make a scene and to stay. I went home ill and spent the next few days with exhaustion, nausea and headaches. I need to be more vigilant with these women. After all, I can see (and smell) them coming. There is plenty of warning. Attempting a social life comes with risks.


I think it's so strange that it's always the flamboyantly-dressed perfume wearers who are the huggers as if they need to infiltrate your personal space and make it known they exist. By touching you they mark and claim you. Like an animal. They are also the most needy, most demanding, most attention-getting, of course, the stinkiest, and the most creatively dressed.

So now that I've written this post on stinkers out of frustration and mostly out of anger and I had a lot of fun with the illustrations, I'm having second thoughts. As much as I resent these unenlightened people poisoning me, trying to kill me, and making me sick, they are really nice people otherwise. I remember when I first moved into my house, it was the stinkers who showed up on my doorstep presenting welcome gifts of scented candles. Anyway, I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings even if they care little for my feelings and well-being. Bottom line, if you try to kill me, I get to make fun of you. However, I'm torn between satisfaction and guilt. I might delete this....


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring is Here!

I love spring! I just want to hang around outside all day long. Everything is growing and blooming and it all smells so good.

Here are some garden highlights:


I love my apple tree! Again it has loads of blooms so I just may get a huge crop of gorgeous, ginormous fruits like last year. Check it out now with its lovely branches reaching for the sky. In another couple months loaded with apples those branches will be bending nearly to the ground. It was frightening waiting for a branch to snap, but nothing broke and it bounced right back. I'll prop the bendy branches up with long sticks like I did last year. I can't wait for fresh apples.


Underneath the apple tree is covered with these beautiful violets. I planted about five tiny plants many years ago. They didn't do anything for years and nearly disappeared then last year they spread like wildfire all over the yard, back and front. Like weeds, but I like a pretty weed. They like shade.


I love these purple flowers located under the plum tree. So bright and cheerful.


This year I planted a purple pot. It's just starting to root. I love those weird looking flowers in the front. Like something from space.


Last year this pot had strawberries in it and sorry to say it was ugly. I think I got two berries the whole summer. It might have done better this year, but I don't have that much patience. I replaced the strawberries with red, pink, and orange flowers many will produce vines and crawl. Once it takes off it should be bright and beautiful.


Raised beds are planted with lettuce, radishes, onions, and carrots. This year I planted the lettuce once a month. This row was planted in March. The other planters have seeds from April and May so hopefully the lettuce growth will be staggered and it won't all be ripe at the same time. Last year it was a lot of lettuce to eat at once. It lasted a long time, but I'll see if this works better.


In my smaller planters this year I grew peas and they are doing very well. I thought they would crawl up the lattice, but they keep reaching for the sun which is in the opposite direction. Oh well!



I had some tatsoi seeds left over from last year.


First allium bloom. Love them.


My lilac bush has gone crazy. I think I should have trimmed it back more as it's not as bushy as it normally is, but big. I also transplanted one of my lilac starts from last year. I'd like to have lilacs all over. I think when it comes time to paint my house I'll paint it purple. I love purple flowers. I think the house should match.


Too funny. This is my smaller raised bed planter with onions and carrots. Before planting seeds I checked to make sure it survived the winter and was sturdy. A few weeks later I planted everything, went out the next day, and the whole bottom had fallen out! Not so sturdy, I guess. All the dirt didn't fall out, just a few of the [very wet] bottom boards and about 6 inches of soaked dirt which made the whole bed sink. I didn't want to waste all those newly-planted seeds and I didn't think it would be helpful to drill into wet wood so I just propped it up with unused buckets and planters. LOL! It's holding together so far!

HAPPY SPRING!