mermaidcamp

mermaidcamp

Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

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The Greed Grinch Meets Sustainable Chic

December 2, 2016 2 Comments

Frida gets dressed

Frida gets dressed

The advertising industry fills the consumer’s mind with dreams of more consumption. That is the job of propaganda, to convince the public to buy more of everything. We now discard our clothing and buy more than ever at a faster rate.  Disposable fashion is a good example of how we rape the earth’s resources without subtracting the loss from our ever expanding GDP. We buy the cheapest clothing with the plan of wearing it only a few times before moving on to more new outfits available at very low prices.

There are some of us who object to the whole trend because it results in poorly made garments.  Locavores like me are bringing up the concept of sustainable chic as a fashion standard.  The Primark Effect refers the growing danger of discarded fiber in the landfills around the world.  We have begun to throw out clothes at a dangerous rate of speed.  The handcrafted garments of the past are giving way to cheap, poorly made and designed goods produced with slave labor in the third world.  Disposable fashion is a real and growing thing.  The only real winners are the companies producing these cheap products and their retail outlets.

My first choice for wardrobe shopping is thrift shopping.  It is a sport for me to find classic, well made garments for good prices.  The older clothing can be exquisitely well made with fine tailoring that is not common these days.  I like all kinds of finds, but the older the better if it is still in good shape to use.   I still enjoy sewing from time to time because it is a pleasure to bring a garment to life from scratch.  My fashion philosophy is to acquire and take care of unique, well-made goods that will last for a long time.  I prefer that they be previously owned or come to me in the form of a piece of lovely fabric and some buttons. I like to feel that nobody else can ever show up dressed like I am. How do you shop for your clothing, gentle reader?  Have you given any thought to the effects our cheap clothing has on the economy and the environment?

Alcohol Advent Calendars

December 1, 2016

the ginvent calendar

the ginvent calendar

I am impressed with the creativity and packaging of these specialty advent calendars by Drinks by the Dram. They are partnering with Masters of Malt to bring customers a unique way to celebrate the season.  They are offering 24 different drams of spirits to cheer up the recipient who opens each day with anticipation.  Alternately they sell Christmas crackers, a British thing, also filled with spirits.  The crackers include a bad joke and a party hat, all that any reveler needs to crank up a holiday fiesta at the office or anywhere.

The chance to taste test exotic and rare spirits is a very festive idea.  I like  gin because of all the variance in the botanicals used.  Each gin has a particular blend of herbs that creates that flavor profile.  I have tried a few expensive gins, and have thought the extra cost was worth it.  I think it would be fun to be guided like this for 24 days to try 24 new kinds of gin. We don’t have a traditional gift exchange around here because we are trying to go minimalistic with little success.  I am tempted to buy it for myself.  Which spirit would you choose, gentle reader?  The most expensive collection is $156.57 worth of fancy whiskey.  They also offer the customer a chance to build you own calendar by combining spirits.  This is a special way to make the season bright with delight.  Cheers!!!

the armagnac advent calendar

the armagnac advent calendar

Twenty-First Century Schmutzli

November 30, 2016 4 Comments

Krampus

Krampus

I am a big fan of both Schmutzli and his Austrian cousin, Krampus. These characters are Christmas symbols that teach children the value of obedience to parents.  They appear on 6 December, St Nicholas Day, to deliver small gifts like oranges and nuts.  They also scare the devil out of all the kids by giving each one an accurate description of their discipline problems.  The list of behavior to correct is provided by the parents ahead of time.  In the past the home visit might include placing the child in a bag to kidnap him for infractions on the list.  My Swiss friends had this happen in their youth, and reported that it was truly scary. Santa gets drunk as he travels from home to home because he is offered some spirits along the way.  One of my friends was at the end of the route in her small village.  She said Santa was always drunk by the time he came to her house, and she was always afraid of him.

How does this differ from our department store Santa that asks kids what they want? Well, first of all, they only ask the parents what they want out of the situation. The threat of Schmutzli’s terror is intended to root out all that bad behavior before 25 December.  On Christmas Eve the baby Jesus is supposed to fly through the child’s window and leave gifts.  Baby Jesus gets through all the windows just like our Santa gets down all the chimneys, no questions asked. Kids who reform themselves in those 24 days they have to redeem themselves will be rewarded by Jesus.

I think it is a practical system. Now that Schmutzli has been calmed down for modern times, he just represents winter.  In Austria I don’t think Krampus will ever be diluted.  He is more adored than St Nick.  He is still a horned pagan kind of archetype.  He jumps out at you on the street in Vienna to scare you just for fun.  Have you met either one of these guys?

Krampus

Krampus

There’s A Natural Mystic

November 29, 2016 2 Comments

Things are not the way they used to be.  I wonder what Bob Marley thinks about the recent elections legalizing recreational weed in many states.  Bob died young, and it must be noted he died from lung cancer.  He may have used too much.  Peter Tosh did some serious lobbying for legalization in the states before he passed his last spleef.  He and some of his friends were shot at home by an associate who was a house guest.  Something went terribly wrong there, for sure.  Bunny Wailer and Beverly Kelso are the only living members who survive from the band.  The three young musicians, Bob, Peter, and Bunny took their stage names and formed a ska band that evolved into the pioneer sound in reggae. Jamaica was a rough place to grow up, and they were well acquainted with persecution. They were believers in ganja as a religious sacrament. They believed everyone has a right to grow and smoke it regardless of the local laws.

Arizona has legal medical, but in the last election rejected recreational use by a slim margin.  With our long border and popular pathways for smugglers I think our state actually supports the Sinaloa cartel by keeping the black market open for their crappy product.  They are not nice people, and I do not like my state to enable their business activities. I believe we need to grow our own and shut them out of the weed market in the United States.  In that respect I am all about patrolling the borders to close the loopholes and corruption that keeps the flow of Mexican dirt weed running.  If they focused on keeping the dirt weed out at the border, they would, as a side effect, keep the most undesirable of all persons out, the sellers of that drek.

I think it is a business and taxation decision that will soon convince the whole country to legalize cannabis.  I am surprised it has taken this long to come to this point.  I doubt that the Wailers are proud of our progress toward equal rights and justice.  We know how that war on drugs has damaged our equal rights in America.  What we need is a war specifically on Mexican dirt weed rather than on Americans who smoke.  The winds of change have arrived.  There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air.

Young Wailers

Young Wailers

 

#MeatlessMonday For Everyone

November 28, 2016 1 Comment

The fad of #MeatlessMonday is a trend I happily embrace. My home is meatless every day, and folks sometimes ask me how to become a vegetarian. I always reply that by slowly converting, finding meatless meals that satisfy and please, anyone can eat less meat. I know that plenty of people view a meal without meat as a sacrifice. This is where the #MeatlessMonday fad shines brightly. The great display of recipes on display every Monday clearly demonstrates how tasty and appealing vegetarian diets can be.  #MeatFreeMonday is the UK version.  I have been trying vegetarian recipes in my kitchen since 1969, and every week these hashtags yield new ideas for my menu planning.  I appreciate the recipes from around the world and the new uses for ingredients I eat frequently.  This is my favorite living cookbook, appearing weekly on twitter.

I use Pinterest to store recipes and keep them in order.  Although I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I have a board that is vegan because we go lightly on the dairy and eggs.  Most of the food we eat is vegan, but we still include the dairy and eggs for variety.  My partner eats meat when he is outside the home, which does not bother me.  His consumption of meat is extremely low, and has no ill effects on my health or happiness.  His meat eating situation is between him and the animals he eats.  He is happy to take a vegetarian lunch with him to work every day from home.  I know sometimes he brags to his work colleagues about how they would never know his chili, or lasagna, or other dish contains no meat, and he makes them try it.  His coworkers share the meat dishes in their lunch boxes with him , so I guess it all work out in the end.

What is your favorite vegetarian dish, gentle reader?  I could not possibly choose just one.

raw taco salad

raw taco salad

Progress Through Procrastination

November 27, 2016

In the month of October I took the #OctoberUnprocessed challenge as I have for a few years now. Each year I give up fake meat products, chips and crackers for the month. I eat pretty well, but those products have been prominent in my diet forever.  I also bought two small packages of sugar, one brown and one confectioners, and vowed to make them last until 2017.  I am happy to report that both of those sugar bags remain unopened.  I probably will open one today for banana bread, but I have used no sugar in the kitchen for almost two months.  The other progress I made was to adapt to life without bags of chips and boxes of crackers.  I made one tasty batch of home baked crackers in October and then just forgot about them.  I decided that if I go to a great Mexican restaurant once a month that makes tortillas in house I never really need to buy bags of chips.  So far, this is working too.  Instead of answering each and every whim I have to eat nachos, I am practicing delayed gratification by anticipating much better nachos in the future.  There is no way I want to give up nachos forever.

I have stumbled upon a positive way to use procrastination.  This word   means putting off necessary tasks.  I have reversed this process by putting off  bad habits without giving them up once and for all.  It is brilliant.  I will admit I am back on the fake meat.  I was wolfing down bacon bits on the fist of November like they were going out of style.  Maybe next October I will break that habit. There are far worse things to which one can be addicted to than fake chicken McFriedFood and veggie burgers.  I can accept myself with this silly exception to my almost all unprocessed diet.  I am feeling good about the cracker conquest. They have no power over me any more.  Do you have a processed food that you can not bear to stop eating, gentle reader?  What is yours?  I have to have really good taco salads in my life:

tortilla fix

tortilla fix

Weekend Coffee Share, Thanksgiving Edition

November 26, 2016 10 Comments

If we were having coffee today I would tell you our week was almost perfect here.  Welcome to my home this lovely mild weekend in Tucson. If you are living up north I hope you packed your bathing suit so you can go in the jacuzzi and get some sun on the deck before you head back home. These are the perfect weather days that make Tucson so popular as a winter destination.  Help yourself to tea or coffee, and please enjoy a snack from the sideboard laden with food. I know many of the Americans will be weary of even seeing food, but for those of you who live in other countries we are serving pecan sweet potatoes, mini-croissants, green beans almandine, homemade spicy cranberry ketchup with chunks of ginger to compliment a large cheese tray.  In the center of the table is a mega plate of raw and pickled vegetables, olives, pickled peppers of every kind, and 20 different sauces in which to dip them.  If that does not overwhelm you with the colors and flavors of the fall season, there is nothing more I can do.  Please make yourself at home and eat as much or as little as you want.  Tell me what has been going on in your life.  Pull up a chair and stay a while.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about our day on Thursday.  We went to Thanksgiving lunch at our local vegetarian buffet run by the Hare Krishna community.  They have a great selection, beautiful outdoor patio, a band, and a live turkey.  This is the perfect place for our celebration.  We ran into an old friend we had not seen for years and ate our meal with her.  That was  pleasant surprise.  I chose not to overeat at lunch because I could take the leftovers home in a box and keep going later.  It all tasted great cold, especially the green beans mixed with mashed potatoes and gravy. I dump the carrot gravy on all my food because it is the thing that pulls the whole meal together.  I could drink this gravy as a beverage.  We write down what we appreciate most on a piece of paper to enter a drawing to win a free lunch.  It is not important if you win the lunch, but writing your gratitude and putting it in the jar with the other papers completes the group intention.  It is simple yet effective. They would love to encourage participation in their religion, but never solicit or recruit patrons of the restaurant.  The old days of aggressive Hare Krishnas chanting in airports are gone. Now they make fabulous food and finance their temple feeding Tucson. They announced a new  delivery service they are launching which I will surely use, even though I live right up the street.  They will bring me delicious food as well as any clothing, incense, wall hangings, or books I might need in the future.

As we drove to Govinda’s we were stopped at a red light when we observed two cop cars and two cops running around in a shopping center next to us.  One cop approached a Native American man who was waiting at the bus stop on the corner.  We rolled down the window to listen to the conversation between the two men.  The cop asked the native man if he had seen anything in the area.  We did not clearly hear his response, but he seemed to indicate the he had seen someone enter one of the locked, closed businesses.  The cop asked him for ID.  The man asked why he had to show ID.  The cop told him “I don’t know who you are…”  The light turned green and we drove on thinking that must have been some Twilight Zone Thanksgiving re-enactors back at that bus stop. Why should a Native man at a bus stop have to show ID to Tucson Police Department employee?  I thought about Standing Rock and the military vets who are self deploying to protect the sovereign rights and water quality of the First Nations in the Dakotas. The violence being used at Standing Rock reminds me of the Indian Wars, and that reminds me of Harvard being founded to convert the local Native Peoples to a particular brand of christianity. All that reminds me of Wounded Knee.  Our history is highly genocidal.  The irony is wildly significant on our “how we bonded with the Indians” holiday.

On a lighter note, my Thanksgiving cactus started blooming right on cue, on the very day. I am proud of her.  Please check out her rapidly unfurling flowers next to the front window.  Thanks very much for visiting on this busy weekend.  Please check out our other coffee sharing friends who gather at Diana’s site, here.  Post, comment, or just enjoy the coffee.

Nicholas Atwood, 11th Great-Grandfather

November 25, 2016

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church

My eleventh great-grandfather was probably born in Sanderstead,Surrey, England in 1539.  He died in Surrey May 10, 1586. He married Olive Harman at St. Martins, London on 30 Jan 1569. (Olive Harman was born in 1548 in Sanderstand, Surrey, England,81 died in 1603 in Elstree Church, Herefordshire, England 81 and was buried in 1603 in Elstree Church, Herefordshire, England.)
Nicholas was baptized at All Saints’ Sanderstead.  His parents were John Hewson Attewood and Margaret Grenville.
Nicholas Atwood was assistant of the Queens Carriages. Due to the estate being left to Nicholas eldest son Harman, the younger brother John (Jonanem) sued Harman for the Estate but lost. (See Generation 10 for details of how the estate
passed to Harman)..

Here lyeth Nicholas Wood thirde sonne/ of John At wood of Sanderstead Corte who
served/ Queen Elizabeth sens the second year of her/ rayne & deceased the XIIIth
of May 1586 and left/ behind him a wife & children ix vii sonns HARMON/JOHN
NICHOLAS THOMS. JAMES JOHN RICHARD ALLIS & SUAN.

Olive Harman was born in 1548 in Sanderstead, Surrey, She was the daughter of James Harman. She also Married William Marleville and John Buck.

Nicholas Atwood (1539 – 1586)
11th great-grandfather
John Atwood (1582 – 1644)
son of Nicholas Atwood
John Thomas Wood (1614 – 1675)
son of John Atwood
Margaret Wood (1635 – 1693)
daughter of John Thomas Wood
Elizabeth Manchester (1667 – 1727)
daughter of Margaret Wood
Dr. James Sweet (1686 – 1751)
son of Elizabeth Manchester
Thomas Sweet (1732 – 1813)
son of Dr. James Sweet
Samuel Thomas Sweet (1765 – 1844)
son of Thomas Sweet
Valentine Sweet (1791 – 1858)
son of Samuel Thomas Sweet
Sarah LaVina Sweet (1840 – 1923)
daughter of Valentine Sweet
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Sarah LaVina Sweet
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am  the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

A Chancery suit includes a statement that the Court Roll in 1547 show Nicholas Atwood to have then been the heir of Sanderstead Manor. Nicholas Atwood, was born before 1539, most likely at Sanderstead Court. He served Queen Elizabeth after the second year of her reign, as Assistant Sergeant of the Queen’s Carriages with his cousin, John Ownstead as Sergeant.

At St. Martin’s, 30 Jan 1569, he married Olive Harman (1548-1603), daughter and heiress of James Harman. Most of their children were baptized at St. Martin’s. When in the country, they resided at Court farm and here one night, when roads were especially bad, the Queen returning from one of her trips, spent the night at Court Farm.

Nicholas died 10 May 1586, in Sanderstead and was buried in St. Martin’s, 14 May 1586. His wife, Olive married for a second and third time. Her monument in Elstree Church names her Atwood children.

~Ye Ole Atte Wode Annals, pp. 3, 5
• Background Information. 179
~History of the Atwood Family, in England and the United States: To which is Appended a Short Account of the Tenney Family, p. 4, Nycholas Wood, died 1586, was the third son of John Atwoode, who died in 1520, and the father of Harman Attwood, also written Attwoodd. Harman Attwood is called Harman Woode until the entry of the baptism of his third child in the Saunderstead register. The Atte Woodes or Atwoods had many different spelling for their name in the records that can be found.
• Epitath. 110
“Here lyeth Nycholas Wood, the third son of John At Wood of Sanderstead corte, who served Queene Elizabeth seus the second yeare of her rayne, and deceased the 14 of may, 1586, leaving behind him a wyfe and children, – 7 sons, Harman, John, Nicholas, Thomas, James, John, Richard, Allis, Susan.”

~History of the Atwood Family, in England and the United States: To which is Appended a Short Account of the Tenney Family, p. 6

Visit To Plymouth Plantation

November 23, 2016 5 Comments

cannons above church Plymouth

cannons above church Plymouth

Pilgrims

Pilgrims

Pilgrim

Pilgrim

miller's take

miller’s take

mill pond

mill pond

When I visited Plymouth Plantation to see how my ancestors had lived the Mayflower was out of town being repaired. That did not bother me. I filled my day visiting at the museums of the living culture, including the grain mill extension in town.  The details are fabulous and the actors doing the recreation are very knowledgeable and professional at their work.  My personal ancestors were not on hand the day I went, but I did see the recreations of their homes.  I also spent time in the cemetery and the church.  The whole town is kind of preserved, with a definite Mayflower Pilgrim theme.

I was most interested in the Wampanoag section of the display. I thought for years I was a descendant of Quadequina, a member of the first Thanksgiving party.  I was thrilled to be a Wamp, but later my first cousin discovered an error in my research.  I had to cut that branch from the tree and begin again in the 1700s in South Carolina.  I was super distressed at this news, which at first I was unwilling to accept.  I was furious at my cousin, but had to face the reality that I had based my conclusions on specious data.  I had mistaken one John Taylor in South Carolina for another, and that was all it took to lead me astray.  It was a bummer.  I was just a wanna be Wampanoag after all.  It was a sad day when I had to admit that.

I stayed on Cape Cod where many of my ancestors moved after they had had it with the Plymouth bureaucracy and religious police.  The whole area is filled with history.  Even though my dreams of being a Wampanoag were dashed I enjoyed learning about the tribe and their struggle today.  My relationship to them is purely intellectual, but I still love the People of The First Light.  I love them more than I love the Pilgrims, who turned out to be pretty religious crazy.  That whole story about religious freedom and Plymouth has been stilted quite a bit.  They had no use for religious freedom other than their own specific brand of religious practice.  They forced everyone to go to their church and obey their church’s rules. That is why many of my ancestors left for Cape Cod and later for Rhode Island.  Those oppressive Pilgrims were just too intrusive to have as neighbors.

I hope to go back to Plymouth some day.  I now have done more research and more people to find in the vicinity.  I also hope I will revisit Williamsburg, VA because many of my ancestors were living down there in the 1600’s too.  If you have a chance to go see the exhibits at Plimouth Plantation Thanksgiving will never be the same for you.  You will see a clearer picture of what really happened in history.

Healing Through Hedonism

November 22, 2016

 

Without further ado I dedicate the rest of 2016 to pure pleasure.  If politics is the malady, happiness and personal fellowship is the remedy.  The election will not dominate my December.  The inauguration and the results will come soon enough for me.  What I do best is cook and entertain.  The drudgery of politics not only bores me, but usually astounds me with the futility of it all.  I have spent some time trying to change the political horizon during my life, but I now look upon all that time as a monumental waste.  I could have been just living my life in the most pleasurable way possible at the time.  This investment would serve me better than taking time to convince others to  participate in political causes.  Being happy and free is where it is at.

When I use the word hedonism I mean only fun. I do not mean overindulgence to the point of ruining all the good times. This common mistake has given fun a bad name.  Addiction is perhaps the shadow side of hedonism, but it is not pleasurable.   Fun is only fun when it is well managed.  Well executed pleasurable pursuits provide stimulus to all the senses and a feeling of time well spent.  It can be a week in Thailand or a walk around the block.  The difference between the ordinary and the hedonistic is attention to detail.  Wear what you want, see what you like to see, eat what delights you, linger over what intrigues you without trespassing on the pleasure of others. Travel to your own happy place.  This will require that you get to know your own true preferences, which will naturally change over time.  Self care for a teen is different than it will be when that person turns 65. We must evolve with our own best interests in mind.

My good friend and neighbor and I have opposing political views.  We never need to talk about politics at all.  If we do we joke about how crazy people are.  We have much in common, including an interest in cooking and cuisines.  To celebrate Heidi’s birthday we visited one of my favorite stores in Tucson, Alfonso’s Olive Oil, for a tasting of their vast selection.  It was a blast for me to introduce her to this wonderland of flavor and my great pleasure to buy her first bottle to start her own specialty oil and vinegar collection.  We tasted all over the store for a long time before she came to a decision.  She wisely selected the classic best unflavored dark balsamic vinegar because she can infuse it herself if she wants.  The vinegar she chose is exquisite, deep, complex, fruity….everything you want in a vinegar. I was happy to buy the gift, but more happy to introduce her to someplace she did not previously know.  Then we had lunch, also very good.  The balsamic birthday will go down as a complete success with little effort or expense on anyone’s part.  It was all about the discovery.

I suggest you look into your heart and decide what makes you happy.  Just do that, gentle reader.  Start with that.

 

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