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A Wonderful Trade-off

Lately I’ve been having a lot of problems with my eyes – blurriness, fatigue, headaches brought on by eye strain – things that aren’t good if you make your living either staring at a computer screen or reading books. My eye doctor told me it’s because the drugstore glasses I’ve been using for the past several years don’t correct each eye individually and may not even be the correction printed on the bow. Until my new prescription glasses arrive, she suggested I severely limit my time at the computer and not read in the evenings as is my wont.

Watching old movies in the evenings isn’t a sacrifice but daytime television isn’t my thing at all. It’s winter and there’s not a lot to do outside (not to mention it’s been too wet to do much of anything) so I was rather hard-pressed to come up with something to occupy my time. Thankfully, the woodland critters in our neighborhood solved my problem with an added bonus.

Last Saturday I was sitting in my chair, watching the birds at the feeders. A couple of deer decided that part of our yard needed investigating. I had just put out a new block of suet and really didn’t want them eating it but didn’t want to scare them off, either. I do enjoy watching our woodland friends meander through – it’s rather calming and the more you watch, the more you can tell individuals apart from their markings.

I read Dr. Dolittle as a child and subsequently saw the movie (no, not the ones with Eddie Murphy, the one with Rex Harrison) and always thought that being able to talk to animals would be one of the coolest things in the world. I have the ability to speak to plants which is pretty neat itself but I could use a little help talking two of our cats into getting more exercise!

One doe was standing right in front of the window just a step or two away from where the suet cage hangs. I started sending out a bit of energy to her … trying to incorporate a little love and a message of “stay away from the suet” at the same time. Imagine my surprise when, as I was sending out the energy, the doe pricked up her ears and looked straight at me through the window. My husband even noticed her reaction. Not only that but I got something back – a feeling of curiosity! We did this for nearly five minutes before she gave me a mental shrug of her shoulders and slowly walked away … bypassing the suet!

I was dumbfounded but rather skeptical. So, I tried it again Monday afternoon with another doe that was in approximately the same spot. This time the the feeling I got back was “what the H?” and she darted off immediately. While I wouldn’t consider this “talking to the animals” it certainly is something worth exploring further.

DJs Deer

I probably would never have even seen the first doe (or probably the second one, either) because I would have been staring at the computer screen or had my nose stuck in a book. So I’m thankful (sort of) that my eyes are in bad shape and I had time to do nothing but stare out the window. It reminded me once again that there are wonderful things in our world to see and feel if you take the time to notice them. Even after my glasses arrive I’m going to curtail my computer use and book reading and stare out the window instead. Who knows what will happen next?

Failed Experiment

One of the things that I keep harping on is that you must experiment with herbs to see what works for you.  Case in point:

I have dark circles under my eyes.  It’s not that I have an underlying physical condition or that I’m not well-rested.  I am just darker complected than the average Caucasian and since the skin under the eyes is thinner than the rest of the face, the pigment shows more readily. I dislike looking tired when I’m not so started searching for a solution to my problem that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. 

I came across a recipe that called for a paste of milk and powdered fenugreek seeds to be applied to the affected area nightly, and then washed off in the morning.  After about a month, I did notice a difference – the skin under my eyes was lighter than the rest of my face.  But it didn’t do a darned thing for the circles!  However, I’m going to file this recipe away … perhaps it will work on the age spots people get on their hands as they get older.

As you can see, what worked for someone else didn’t work for me.  So, it’s back to the drawing board or, in this case, the workbench.  (Total cost of the experiment: less than 50¢.)

BTW, with the holidays coming up before you know it, everyone wants to look their best at the company party.  After a long day at work, the area under the eyes tends to get a bit puffy.  Before you climb into the shower, take two black tea bags, wet them thoroughly and put them in the refrigerator.  After you get out of the shower, lie down with the tea bags over your eyes for about 10 minutes.  The tannins in the tea will tighten up the skin and reduce the puffiness.

Herbal Tip of the Month – September 2009

I can’t turn my television onto any channel these days without hearing about the H1N1 virus pandemic (the so-called “swine flu”). A lot of people I know are all twitterpated about this and I gotta tell you, it’s getting on my nerves.

First, let’s define what a pandemic is. All that means is that people are getting sick from this particular strain over a wide geographic area, and it’s affecting more of the population than normal. It doesn’t mean that this strain is worse than the seasonal flu. As a matter of fact, it’s actually milder. The mortality rate is considerably lower than it is with the seasonal flu. What has the medical community all up in arms is that this strain is a new one from the regular seasonal flu and their usual vaccines don’t work against it.  (Although they’re working on a vaccine against this particular strain, it won’t be available until the flu season is in full swing.)

The other problem is that it’s coming smack dab in the middle of allergy season. Most people don’t know they have the flu rather than seasonal allergies until they have a fever. By then you’re already contagious. If you’ve never had seasonal allergies and you start sniffling, coughing and feeling a little achy, chances are you’ve contracted some form of the flu.

So, what should you do? To protect yourself, you should do the same things you should always do to protect yourself from the flu – H1N1 or not. Keep your immune system healthy, wash your hands frequently, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or a tissue rather than your hands, don’t touch your hands to your face, and for goodness’ sake, stay home from work or school if you’re sick.

One of the mistakes a lot of people make is using antibacterial cleaners all over their home, thinking it’s going to protect them from the flu. Folks, antibacterials only work on bacteria and the flu is a virus. You need to use antivirals. Some good antiviral herbs are:

Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Myrrh Commiphora molmol
Juniper Juniperus communis
German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
Peppermint Mentha x piperita

You can add these to your cleaning solutions, diffuse the essential oils throughout your home and/or office with an oil diffuser or oil warmer, or drink teas.

If you do start feeling like you’ve got the flu, the normal treatment for otherwise healthy people is to stay in bed until your fever breaks. (A low-grade fever is a good thing. It means your body is fighting the infection.) You can treat the symptoms like runny nose, coughs, fever, etc., as you normally would for a cold or the flu. You should start feeling better in a few days. 

If you are a member of the at-risk population (compromised immune system, young, elderly, chronic respiratory illness, etc.) or your symptoms worsen, then seeing your doctor for one of the anti-viral medications like Tamiflu or Relenza is a good thing to do.

I think the most important advice is not to panic. If you practice the preventive measures, chances are you’re not going to get it or if you do, it’ll be a very mild case. 


Slàinte maith, h-uile latha, na chi ‘snach fhaic!
(Good health, every day, whether I see you or not!)

You Can’t Fix Stupid

I just got back from my weekly trip to Atlanta (always a “fun” time). I have mused over the past 5+ years of making this trip just how nice it would be to have one of those gadgets in the back window of my car like Matt Helm (Dean Martin) did in “The Wrecking Crew”. (If you’ve never seen this movie, it is a James Bond spoof and there was a gadget in his car that translated what he said into a microphone into a scrolling LED sign in his back window.)

As I was driving down the expressway, I had to nearly slam on my brakes to avoid an idiot in a green Miata. Naturally, he was talking on his cell phone. When I finally got a chance to go around him, I noticed that not only was he holding his cell phone in his right hand, he had a cigarette in his left (draped over the steering wheel)and TOOK HIS HAND OFF THE WHEEL TO TAKE A DRAG.

Then, later in the day in the Walmart parking lot, another idiot made a U-Turn in the parking lot in front of me and damned near hit me … talking on his cell phone without paying attention to anything else.

The first message my sign would have said was “Get off the phone and DRIVE”. Immediately followed by “Get a Bluetooth!”. (But would they have noticed the sign?)

I know it’s illegal in many states to drive while talking on your cell phone. It’s not yet in Georgia (except for school bus drivers). But that seem to be the only way to deter people. As Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid”. Seems you have to legislate the fix.

End of rant.