Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sustaining Life & Hope in Today's World

I just finished reading a wonderful essay by Howard Zucker in today's Sunday Boston Globe. However before sharing this with you -- I should apologize to my Blog for being absent for so long..........

Life lessons in a clay pot

By Howard A. ZuckerFebruary 15, 2009

IT WAS HARDLY a responsibility I initially sought to shoulder. In 2002, I was given a plant with a historic genealogy - a gift for a year well served. As I glanced down at eight leaves of Swedish ivy in the smallest of clay pots, I almost sensed it was asking for a few simple things - sunlight, water, and love. I thought, this cannot be so difficult, green thumb or not; ivies are known for their resilience. And so began a journey demonstrating that common sense and community effort can overcome carelessness and misfortune.As with all living things, this ivy has a heritage. A gift to President Kennedy, it resides above the fireplace in the Oval Office. If it could speak, oh the stories it could tell. My clipping was in appreciation of serving as a White House Fellow in the year after Sept. 11, 2001.

At first the task seemed effortless, but troubles soon took hold, as if to parallel the country's turmoil. Taking my eyes off the duties assigned caused the leaves to wilt. Foolish me. Never again would I turn caution to the wind, and the ivy to direct sunlight. A colleague suggested I get another clipping. Yet that was too emblematic of a throwaway society - the antithesis of my beliefs. I was going to save this ivy. First, it needed strength. So in keeping with Jewish tradition, I named it in memory of my grandmother. It became "Ivy Rose."

Withering branches required the stem to be removed from the soil and placed in a cup of water. Then one night, the remaining four leaves languished. "I'm a doctor, surely I can get a plant onto life support," I quipped. A midnight consult with a horticulturist left a dangerous option - cut the dying leaves off, leaving a stem and two tiny sprouts. The decision was mine and I acted. It was a sleepless night and days before any improvements.

As Ivy Rose struggled through a landscape of seasons, so too did our nation, from a Shuttle accident to Katrina, economic downturns to lingering wars. Occasionally I saw its relative glancing upon the president's desk, an eyewitness to history. With time, Ivy Rose would grow, though near-death experiences were all too frequent.

Finally, after three tumultuous years, Ivy Rose was thriving! I chose to divide her into five clippings. Yet a freak accident left me with just two stems. Time to start over, again.

Year's end brought a decision with everlasting ramifications for Ivy Rose. I accepted a UN post and was moving to Switzerland. Diplomatic privileges might not shield me from importing foreign plants. Adhering to rules is as indigenous to the Swiss as is their chocolate. Ivy Rose would stay behind. I placed her into my mother's hands, confident that each would receive unconditional love.

Despite excursions to far reaches of the globe, I never ceased to wonder about Ivy Rose. Conversations invariably turned to the subject; "she's doing well, I moved her to the dining room," and "should I remove the branch that looks limp?"

After years overseas, I returned home. I was greeted by six large pots, thousands of leaves. It was Ivy Rose! In the words of my young nephew, "my uncle gave my grandma five leaves and she turned it into a forest." Maybe there are more forests to grow.

In the seamless transition to a new administration, the Oval Office gets vacated. And though most things get changed, there remains an ivy plant that will bear witness to moments in the great American story yet to be written. And so, too, rests in my home a descendent of White House foliage, knowing now that just a little wisdom, trust, and passion can give ideas their underpinnings, concepts their branches, and a free people new beginnings founded in strong roots that are everlasting.

Howard A. Zucker, who served as US deputy assistant secretary of health and as assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, is a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Don't Worry.....Be Happy

This somehow must tie in to the Law of Attraction, from The Secret.............this energy is there what/who are we attracting.  Apparently this new reseach is a big deal in the Mental Health community so perhaps it is a "happy moment" that I came across this article and sharing it with you.  Kind of a "rippling effect."

From the Boston Globe:
New reason to be happy: It may go a long way

FUNNY VIDEO to start you smiling  

Gotta go now, I need to post an ad on Craigslist for "Happy People within One Mile of Lenox"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time for a Flu Shot or Not?

I came across this article by someone I recently met on LinkedIn -- thought the info was interesting and like her -- I'm passing this on.

Just the other I was talking abt the flu shot and how for the last few years I haven't gotten one -- maintained some good wellness practices, and never got the flu, while last year the flu ravaged through the US -- like a "Wild Fire in California" -- while I'm not telling anyone not to get a flu shot -- just read the info for yourself and form your own opinion.

Trust and Honor on the Internet
There is a link down at the bottom of the article giving credit to the original author -- in her blog she had listings for products one of which claimed to be a free trial for a meditation program -- so what do you think I did, well against my own better judgement I submitted my name and email address and pressed enter -- very trusting or stupid?  It was one of those emotional moments the blogger and advertiser were hoping would happen often.  This time I got away easy, w/o any malicious code being dumped onto my computer -- after reading through the whole and testimonials and at the bottom of the long drawn out page -- I discover that the creator of the meditation pays bloggers to drive traffic to his sight..............Moral -- as savvy as you think you are abt the net -- make sure your PC Security Software is current.

While I'm not telling you not to get a Flu Shot..........I will tell you that I'm not a Doctor, nor have I slept in a Holiday Inn recently.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Campaign Trail Stops @ Middle School

The following was part of a discussion among mid-schoolers.  The setting was a weekend class about healthy eating, and fun in the kitchen......during some idol wait time the teacher asks, "What do you think about the presidential election?"

The children all had many same comments overheard by their parents, except one teen girl responded with a more unique comment.  "We're really voting for a Vice President, because either candidate might suddenly die........"

Friday, October 10, 2008


From the ridiculous to the sublime.

Here's a video link reminding all of us white people that some of us grew up in an era where segregation stood for something. That although many of us are well educated, that we are religious by nature, and believe in God -- we were raised and have behaved for most of our lives as "Segregationist"...........

You don't have to be Jewish to watch the following video by Sarah Silverman. Talk to your parents, your elders, and if they vote for McCain so be it -- but don't let it be for the "Same Old" reasons.

Jews are only 2% of the electorate however their vote is key in 9 states that are up for grabs -- including the infamous FLORIDA. Seniors of all races and religions tend to vote in higher numbers as a group than most others and so this vote is important.

Enjoy the video, and be aware Sarah Silverman's Sadie did not approve of this video she uses foul language -- in a comical way -- however be forewarned.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Presidential Debate

Let the debate begin.................
1. Read the post including the articles
2. Write your comment
Whenever I find someone to be over-extended in righteousness I always wonder if the person is hiding something. In my experience I have found this to be true a fair amount of time. So when I came across the following articles I felt it was worth passing on and at least something to talk about.

I Won't Vote for John McCain for President by Phillip Butler, PHD, former POW at same camp as John McCain

If you were willing to believe 4 years ago that John Kerry was not the War Hero, he was thought to be, then consider's okay to ask questions, to be informed, and debate among your friends and relatives -- and not these "Made for Primetime Events" we're all being treated to -- with scoring like it's a sporting event.

So, did you read the articles -- What do you think about that? Okay, want to debate -- get writing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Can't Believe That's Butter

From the Lost Files:

I've been pretty flat out lately and so there hasn't been any new postings here, although there are several drafts like this one waiting to be finished.

Went to a friend's birthday party, now a few weeks ago.

We were asked to bring cupcakes instead of a birthday cake. Rich, decadent cupcakes that we're somewhat famous for. However the last few years we've pretty much eliminated butter from our diets. While we're still "omnivores" we have minimized dairy products, especially butterfat from our diets.

As famous as we are for our decadent chocolate treats -- we're equally famous for our Vegan baked treats. Well Barbara must have felt fanciful -- or was it just rushed for time and it was easier to make the recipe from the back of a hershey's cocoa container -- always good -- she used butter.

All night long people were going nuts over the cupcakes -- they devoured the cupcakes. I on the other hand didn't bother until I got home and had one of the cupcakes that didn't make the party..............there was this taste that I didn't care for. The cupcakes were nicely frosted. The chocolate cake was so moist, and rich tasting.

Do I daresay anything??

The next morning we're talking over coffee, and remarking about the "crazy" excitement over the cupcakes. Barbara casually mentions there was butter in the cupcakes.................Ah-ha, butter. Here was my opening -- I confessed about not quite liking the cupcakes and of this funny taste, that I now knew was the butter.

As I mentioned we've been eliminating dairy products from our diets when we can. To replace 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee -- I ocassionally make Soy milk. Purchased a Soymilk Maker from a friend Rob, at The Chefs Shop, Great Barrington MA. Makes the best soy milk -- biggest drawback, it only makes a liter at a time -- it's delicious on granola, in coffee, even to drink. Everyone started drinking it it and I can't keep up with demand.

Are you thinking is this guy crazy? Making your own Soy Milk? Well it couldn't be easier to do and it resulted in us incorporating a new food in our diet -- Okara -- this protein and dietary fiber rich grain is the pulp left over after you pulverize the Non-GMO, Organic Soybeans into Soymilk. The machine pays for itself in a few weeks -- just look at the price of a gallon of Fat-Free Milk -- almost $4.00 gallon in our neighborhood -- 1 pound of Non GMO/Organic Soybeans are about $1.50 and will make over a gallon of delicious soy mlk.

Here are some interesting links to check out:
Cooking With Okara
Soyabella Soymilk Machines

Okay check back here in another few days..........."TTYL"