Monday, April 28, 2008

Buns and Roses

I am so easily distracted in the Spring. I have this week off from teaching, all the students are on service/learning trips.  I had started off the morning thinking I'd better do a little house cleaning, then on the way to the laundry, which is out back in the garage, I was confronted, again, by the visage of the pink rose bush. It has been there for decades, when I moved in about four years ago I started pruning it. It decidedly liked pruning and showed it by putting out more and more flowers. Last year it came up with some sort of blight which I obsessively removed and this year is looking pretty good, except that all the wind we have had has  blown out the blooms and there are already hips to be clipped. As it seemed really a better sort of day to be outside rather than in, I,  like the Mole in Wind in the Willows, cursed cleaning and came to the aid of the rose bush. Naturally, my thoughts drifted to all things roses; the part in Alice in Wonderland where the roses are being painted; rose jam; rose water; the rose petal strewn by flower girls at my nieces's wedding this last weekend; rose hips, should I be harvesting these hips?;  Tyler and Sydney (the rabbits) love to eat roses, but when offered a rose from another source are not interested, not at all; rose buds are an herb in the Chinese Materia Medica, Mei Gui Hua, and are used for female issues like irregular menstration and PMS, or just grumpiness and flank pain for any gender. I remembered the herbs teacher from school, Dr. Liao, saying he wanted a truckload of this herb for his wife. This may have been just a teaching story, or his wife may have been irritable. We all just laughed because we loved him and now remember about Mei Gua Hua forever. Being visually skewed, I wondered what would happen if I scanned some of the roses I was clipping off (my son had the camera in China). So I stopped work to try that idea out, I didn't want the background to be just white from the inside of the scanner, so I covered the roses with some character practice paper that the rabbits had gotten at and chewed up a bit. Boyfriend conjectured they were trying to learn Chinese using the ingestion method. I did finish the pruning, actually finished something, and even got the trimmings into the green recycling can. Continued to have ideas that amused me and so fed some the roses to the rabbits, since they had eaten some of the background paper of my digital composition, they might as well have the roses, besides they do love them. This event I recorded using the iPhotobooth feature, you will remember the camera is not in this country. The rabbits are Tyler and Sydney, they are brother and sister English Spots. I adopted them from Rabbit Haven, a rabbit rescue organization.  This first picture is Tyler wondering if he can consume the pile of petals before Sydney, top right, realizes what is going on.  The next picture is Sydney, getting her due, no rabbit left behind. If you want to treat your rabbit to rose petals be sure they come from an unsprayed rose. Some lagomorphs enjoy the leaves as well, be sure these are tender and presented without the thorns. Eating a lot of roses in the smaller rabbits can color the urine, be aware of that, it is only temporary, like when we eat a quantity of beets. A rose is a rose is a rose. A rose by any other name. Sometimes a rose is just a rose, or is that a cigar?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Our Day In Court

Today in Santa Cruz, CA the court Judge, Paul Burdick by name, ruled to stop the state of CA from aerial spraying our city and county in an attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth. Boyfriend and I attended to hearing, it seemed like our civic duty to show up and help fill the courtroom and it was full. The CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) seem to think that the LBAM constitutes an emergency, a threat that could destroy crops and native plants alike. However for the 15 months that LBAM has been carefully monitored it would seem this is simply not true.  Most of their doomsday facts come from extrapolating a single bad year in Australia, whose climate is not similar to the California Central Coast. From a personal point of view even though we supposedly live in the thick of the infestation none of our garden crops have shown any damage, cosmetic or otherwise. Although we have seen the Oak Moth, there has been no moth I could absolutely ID as LBAM. They did spray us in the fall. The planes thundered back and forth for three or so hours early in the night. More than one friend got caught inadvertently in the spray. Although we were assured the spray would be odorless, it was not and I could smell it all morning. I had a sore throat that lasted a couple days. Other people got quite ill, and some were hospitalized. The spray they are used and want to continue to employ is called Checkmate, it is a synthetic pheromone specific for the LBAM and works by confusing the male moth sufficiently that it does not mate. A big part of the problem is the toxicity of the inert ingredients as well as the plastic micro-capsule delivery system. The micro-capsule is tiny enough to enter the bloodstream through the lungs and stick around in the system for awhile, causing we are not sure what.  It has been noticed, informally,  in health care circles that were more cases of lung ailments this winter and more pneumonia, especially in the elderly. It was terribly exciting to be present when the judge ruled against the spray and to clap and to feel triumphant. We rushed home to call our friends who own Deep Roots Ranch in the south of the county, they were stressing about  pasture and animals and John enjoyed giving glad tidings. Both us made the TV news as we came out of the courtroom, big media break. Governor Arnie, as in Schwarzenegger, as in the Terminator, has stayed the spraying for the whole state because of today's ruling, which is good, but the CDFA honcho, A.G. Kawamura is vowing to get the spray back on track ASAP. A victory, possibly not permanent, but a victory. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Year of the Rat, Slightly Late

  For the past four years I have drawn/painted and then had cards printed for the Chinese Lunar New Year. For the first two years I had my personal business information printed in the back along with with a cleaver little message.    
 Last year at the urging of a colleague, the back was blank/generic so that other practitioners could buy them and add their own message. I managed to sell enough to pay for the press run. Curiously, the individual who so urged me to print blank backs didn't buy any. 
The amount of time I put into promoting the cards
seemed enormous compared to my sales, particularly since the two acupuncturists who bought them were colleagues whom I see regularly.

This year I didn't get Ratty completed until well after the New Year, this tardiness is another blog entry, not yet written. Also this year I seem to have lost my urge to self promote or even sell my cards.

 I have been assured that advertising and self-promotion is a good thing and will build business, firming up my patient base and creating community outreach. An informal poll has revealed that although a good number of recipients keep their card all year long in a prominent location, it doesn't seem to get them to make an appointment with me. This year I  am trying something different. My current patients will receive Ratty in the mail with a stamped collage on the back and good wishes from me. The rest I will simply give away leaving small stacks in the vestibule of my office suite, at the Martial Arts Academy, the corner health food store, etc... Ratty is a fully functional postcard that can be sent at a moments notice with the proper postage baring a message or can stay home and be displayed on a refrigerator. There is only an 8 pt. illustration credit with my Email on the back. All in all Ratty is non-promotional item. There is nothing I hope to gain, no goal in mind; this is an experiment in willful anti-advertising. 


Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Milk of Running Beasts

Raw milk is a hot button topic here in California. The CDFA is doing it's best to shut down the raw milk dairies and consumers are doing their best to have access to a healthy food in the original form. More can be said about how pasteurized milk was developed because some people in NYC got sick from drinking milk with bad bacteria in it. Milk that was produced by cows who were not being fed their normal diet. Likewise one can go one about the good bacteria in raw milk and about how pasteurization  denatures the protein in the milk and really that's what causes people to have allergies to milk. Many people who have a dairy intolerance can drink raw milk. I guess it's really a pasteurization intolerance. And, of course you can read about the attributes of grass fed milk until you go crazy with desire for the stuff.

 As an acupuncturist many people assume I am anti-dairy because they had an acupuncturist who  proclaimed that "You shouldn't drink milk unless you are a baby cow." This attitude about dairy is actually not health oriented but political. Up until the time that the Mongols took over the rule of China there was plenty  of dairy being consumed from cheese to fresh milks of different sorts. The "Barbarians" of the new government were very, very dairy oriented and as an anti-Mongol move conquered  people, the Hans, stopped consuming dairy. In a classic Taoist text, "Ten Questions", which is over two thousand years old, it is advised that one drink "the milk of running beasts" to fend off old age, restore health and glow with vitality. Whether grass fed cows ambling though a sun splashed pasture are the running beasts of the Daoists is up to interpretation. On examining the Chinese character for beast one finds it relates to claws, tail, head, and even dragon. The character for run relates not only to that action but to escape and "strategic pass". It would be just like the Taoists to proscribe the milk of a cleverly escaping dragon. Worthy of note is that the Chinese dragon traditionally has the ears of a cow and, of all the animals that make up a dragon, is the most likely to be milked. Certainly in this day and age grass fed raw milk is as close to the milk of running beasts as most of us are going to get! 

Dusty tomes and mythology aside here are some addresses (I can't seem to do links, yet, hey I got the photo in!).