February 26, 2010

Romantic Tarot

The Yin Yang of Cups
The Two of Love
Winter Gets a Divorce

Note: Comments may be shut down on Sunday as Loose Leaf is being moved to Wordpress. I'll be back posting on Monday with a new look that even I will be surprised to see.

Posted by colleen at 11:29 AM | Comments (8)

February 25, 2010

13 Thursday: Just My Type

13type.jpg1. Strangest thing said at the Mardi Gras Ball by Colleen to Mara, who was dressed in a suit for her Mardi Gras King election campaign: "Neckties are so phallic."

2. In the morning I like to make a second cup of tea but usually forget I poured it and end up not drinking it. Joe calls it my Placebo Effect second cup.

3. As a tea lover who likes to go to tea parties, the right-leaning Tea Party movement of angry citizens who recently hosted Sarah Palin to speak for $500 a seat is ruining the whole tea party appeal for me.

4. Republicans are against health care because they are fundamentally against any and all forms of assistance? If they could take away Social Security and Medicare, in all likelihood, they would. How is it possible that these Tea Party Brown Shirts do not understand that in supporting the Republicans, they are in fact supporting their own demise? ~ Author Caroline Myss from The Republican Strategy: Covert Destruction at all Costs HERE.

5. I don't have good energy reserves. After a busy weekend, I was exhausted to the point of tears on Monday, so Joe and I never made it Laughter Yoga class, but we walked to the mailbox laughing loudly the whole way.

6. My blog friend Deana recently wrote on her Facebook wall that when she throws corn to her chickens on nice mornings, she thinks about Cinderella throwing feed from her dress (even though she has no talking mice doing her laundry and fixing her hair). I answered: When I wake up in the morning I always think about a Neanderthal waking up from cryonic suspension.

7. But sometimes I rip off the covers like pulling a band-aid off a cut and leap out of bed like THIS just to get it over with.

8. No snow in Vancouver and too much here. To those who assume that global warming is a hoax because of the severe winter weather around the country, Steven Colbert said that's like looking outside at night, seeing the darkness and concluding that "the sun has been destroyed." An excellent Washington Post piece on that topic is HERE.

9. A writer without a computer is like a boat without a motor. Thank God for pencils and oars.

10. My favorite song to sing to Bryce is "Row Row Row Your Boat." After singing "gently down the stream" I like to end it with ... "Bryce is but a dream!"

11. Does anyone have any tech speculation as to why I can't upload videos to youtube on my PC but can on my laptop and why Microsoft word PC is chewing up letters as I type?

12. Best line found this week via THIS very entertaining video poem posted on Facebook: "It's not enough these days to simply question authority. You got to speak with it too." ~ Taylor Mali.

13. I think handwritten letters are sexy in a way that emails will never be.

Let your fingers do the walking HERE.

Posted by colleen at 12:02 AM | Comments (22)

February 23, 2010

Morning Whales


From lumbering slumber
we come up for air
crashing through
waves of blue blankets

From a warm weightless drift
comes a cold wakeful spray
Sleep sogged and dream logged
we dive into day

Posted by colleen at 10:22 PM | Comments (7)

February 22, 2010

Say Uncle

Uncle Josh that is, and Bryce said it more than once when his uncle was in town last week and went with me to baby-sit.
After 2 hours of ball tossing, motorcycle riding, raisin eating, circle drawing ...
guinea pig holding, wrestling, tickling, book reading and more, Bryce wore himself out enough for a nap.
He wasn't the only one.

Video clips: Hallway Speedway HERE.What Happened to Your Circle? HERE and Go Dog Go is HERE.

Posted by colleen at 10:34 PM | Comments (7)

February 21, 2010

Mardi Gras Ball at the Sun Hall

Wearing a Mardi Gras mask, I had to be asked while being ticketed and wrist-banded at the door if I was old enough to be served at the bar.
After being snowed-in and cold for weeks, party-goers turned out in sold-out numbers and showed up in full Mardi Gras regalia, shaking off winter blues on the dance floor.
The event was put on by Republic of Floyd to benefit Blue Mountain School, the alternative school that my sons and many others in the room went to. I got a good laugh when Wild Life bassist John Winniki joked on stage that front man Richie Ursomarso (who was enjoying the set like big kid) went to Blue Mountain, saying something like, "It took a while but Richie (in orange) finally graduated." Winniki and Ursomarso were joined by bandmates Luke and Jake Thomas (Kari and Mike Kovick's nephews).
Between the rocking tunes of Wild Life and the Floyd FunkStars, I don't see why we can't have a ball every month.
I was mesmerized by the belly dancing performances of the Gyroscopic Tribal troupe. At least one dancer (Leia on the right) is a Blue Mountain School alumnus.
The belly dancers weren't the only ones to show their midriff. That's longtime Blue Mountain School supporter and current board member Luke Staengl talking about the accomplishments of past Blue Mountain school kids, including his two sons, an engineer and an artist.
During the live auction with Tom O'Neill, my young friend Mars asked me if I knew what time it was. I held up my arms to show him wasn't wearing a watch and the auctioneer thought I was bidding.
I told my friend Mara (a Blue Mountain School alumnus whose daughter in now enrolled) that she should wear red more often, as she spun me around like a flamenco dancer. I nearly danced my socks off. Well, they kept falling down. (Sorry Mara I missed the shot. This one is of Starroot and Willow, hot in red).
Speaking of red hot, it was my first time drinking beer with capsicum in it (from our local micro-brewery Shooting Creek) and eating Chef Natasha's King cake, which tasted like a marzipan stolen, only sweeter. The night was sweet from beginning to end. Joe agrees!

Post notes: More photos and narrative to come in The Floyd Press this week. Video clips of the wildly entertaining evening are HERE, HERE and HERE. A story on Blue Mountain School is HERE.

Read the Floyd Press story online HERE.

Posted by colleen at 5:33 PM | Comments (5)

February 19, 2010

Keeping Floyd's Water Clean

1watrermejpg.gif~ The following was published in The Floyd Press on February 18, 2010.

Jayn Avery first made the connection between clean water and good health while studying Environmental Science at Cornell University College of Agriculture in Ithaca, New York. "It changed my life and is what ultimately led me to Floyd and to choose a lifestyle that honors the fundamentals of good quality water and air," Avery said.

Avery is part of a citizen planning committee that has been meeting since December to explore Floyd County water issues. The group currently consists of seven Floyd residents and is headed by hydrogeologist John Gannon, who, through a grant funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, works for the Virginia Rural Water Association.

"The primary function of this committee is to write a Source Water Protection Plan and then start to implement it," Gannon, who received his master's degree at Virginia Tech, said. The plan will involve identifying areas susceptible to contamination, implementing strategies for water protection, and outlining a contingency plan for alternative drinking water should a problem occur. "If a well goes bad, what do we do? If there's a severe drought, who are the priority water users? If there's a water emergency, who gets notified and how? If there's an oil tanker spill, what do we do?" Gannon posed.

Floyd was chosen for the Source Water project because its residents have a reputation of supporting environmental initiatives, and because of the area's geology, Gannon explained. "Floyd's water is good," he commented, stating that the only treatment added to town water is little soda ash to balance the PH.

"The good news is that because the water is local, we have control over it." Even so, studies have shown that the water supply for the Blue Ridge is highly susceptible to contamination due to the area's rocky geology. Findings report that rain water in the Blue Ridge Mountains makes its way into the ground water system in a relatively short period of time and without much natural filtration.

Gannon has conducted well location road surveys, has drafted his initial background findings, and is working with Floyd's Public Service Authority supervisor Elwood Holden, who is supportive of the Source Water Protection Plan and has attended meetings. "As of 2009, the Floyd public water system is made up of five wells and two storage tanks. The public water system was first installed in 1974 and serves approximately 1,500 people," The Source Water Plan draft reports, noting that the old water tower at the town's booster pump station on Locust Street is not connected to the water system and does not hold water.

At a recent Source Water planning meeting, held at the County Administrative Offices, the planning committee discussed a priority strategy. Jeff Walker, a certified Soil Scientist who is also authorized to permit wells and septic systems, cited the location of wells in proximity to gas stations as a priority issue for the team to address, adding that the gas stations owners he's talked to are receptive to protective guidelines and "want to be correct in their procedures."

Avery talked about the creation of a brochure for widespread distribution and mailing that would inspire interest and citizen involvement. It should outline in a concise manner what individuals can do to protect their water source, where to find resources, and should give tips for good septic care, she said. The team is also interested in promoting awareness on the use, storage, and disposal of household, agricultural, industrial, and commercially-used chemicals as a water protection strategy. Hazardous waste and stormwater management will also be studied.

Geared towards citizen involvement, rather than looking to government to solve local water issues, the Source Water planning group agrees that education is the key. "A person can drill a deep well and draw water from a neighbor's shallow well. If a septic system is not contained it can pollute the water supply of others," Avery pointed out. "Floyd has a good balance of pasture and woods, and that's important for water retention. It's important not to overgraze pasture or over-cut woods and education will help get that message out."

Another point that the committee members agree on: It's a lot easier and more economical to prevent a problem than it is to clean one up. "Water seems to be an issue that everyone depends on, but knows little about. Source water protection is in everyone's interest, though it may be a remote priority until there is a problem," Walker said.

The completed Source Water Protection document will eventually be available to the public and a version of it will be online at the County website (www.floydcova.org). The planning committee hopes to host a spring library series of informative talks by local officers and speakers from Virginia Tech who specialize in Environmental Sciences. ~ Colleen Redman

Note: Some blog disruption may occur over the weekend as Loose Leaf is moved to Wordpress. More Floyd Press stories are HERE.

Posted by colleen at 12:10 PM | Comments (6)

February 18, 2010

13: Blues and News

smilex7.gif1. Why is it when someone says 'be careful' or 'drive safely' I feel like I'm doomed for disaster but if they say 'be well' or 'take care' I feel competent and blessed?

2. Strange trivia found scribbled in my notebook: How much does a body weigh after cremation? 7-8 pounds.

3. Are Ya Kiddin' Me? Weird Snow TOTALLY Fits Global Warming Pattern -- One word: moisture. A warmer atmosphere holds more water. Plus, warmer surface temperatures are triggering more evaporation of ocean water worldwide. That water goes up, up, up into that atmosphere. And what goes up must sooner or later come down. This is precisely what scientific studies are now documenting. Water vapor in the global atmosphere jumped by about 5 percent in the 20th century. Read more of this Baltimore Sun op-ed by a member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network HERE.

4. This morning my stomach made the sound like a cell phone vibrating on a table.

5. The bad news is that I have the wintertime blues. The good news is that every time the snow gets depressingly dirty a new snowfall comes to cover it with white.

6. Did I really say that? Colleen complaining to Joe about our water pressure: "Can you change the filter? The bath water is taking too long to download."

7. Well put observation spoken by a historian on a PBS show about the early settlers of Appalachia: "The English came and built a church right away. The Germans built a barn and the Scotch Irish built a whiskey still.

8. Don't you think THIS Octomom needs to take some time off from taking caring of the kids and do something about her hair?

9. THIS record breaking tall snowwoman has truck tires for buttons, 16 skis for eyelashes and 30 foot trees for arms.

10. THESE laughing babies won American Funniest Video prize.

11. We came out of this week's Laughter Yoga class to see a smiling sliver of new moon in the sky (see photo above).

12. Look! ... A fingernail moon ... painted silver ... has landed upright ... in a wide-mouth bowl ... Clipped close from the darkness ... the moon is filed down ... to a delicate sliver ... of smiling light.

13. Best Blue soundtrack is HERE.

More TT's are HERE.

Posted by colleen at 12:27 AM | Comments (18)

February 17, 2010

In the Meantime ...


I woke too early with the weight of 1,000 year old melting glaciers on my mind, after watching last night's Extreme Ice, a PBS NOVA program on the time lapse documentation of glacial changes around the world. Last year, after learning about the non-biodegradable plastic island bigger than the state of Texas floating around in the Pacific, I was haunted for weeks with the image. Meanwhile, I'm going to clean my kitchen. It's something simple I can control.

Photo: Icebergs calved from Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier, which are currently sending 11 miles of ice into the ocean each year. Photo is from Nationalgeographic.com.

Posted by colleen at 8:05 AM | Comments (11)

February 16, 2010

A Hip Sip


Beatniks play saucers
Ring teaspoon clappers
Jam with jazz rappers
Sing praises to Lao Tzu

Note: For more teapoet poems click and scroll HERE.

Posted by colleen at 12:13 AM | Comments (7)

February 15, 2010

Mindfulness Education at Radford University

~ The following was first published in the February issue of Natural Awakenings of Southwest Virginia.

seluretreat_feb09-044.gif Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

A 2009 series of groundbreaking mindfulness retreats was the result of a collaboration between Dr. Alan Forrest, chair of the Counselor Ed department at Radford University (RU), and Joe Klein, a licensed professional counselor. New retreats are scheduled for March 2010. The pair's innovative work has also influenced the direction of the university's College of Education towards the creation of a Mind Body Spirit Institute.

The bond between Klein and Forrest was first forged when Klein was an RU graduate student of counseling. Klein had a longtime daily meditation and internal martial arts practice. Forrest was a proponent of gestalt, a therapy that encourages patients to arrive at awareness by being mindful of self-signals. Their intersecting interests led Klein and Forrest to host an experiential gestalt workshop in 2007.

In the summer of 2008, Klein, as program director of Earthsong Organic Farm and Retreat in Stuart, invited Forrest to attend a six-day teen meditation retreat. Forrest was inspired by the retreat model, a blend of meditation instruction, periods of silence, time for movement and creative expression, and small discussion groups for building trust and community. "He recognized the potential for transformation for both the retreat students and for the staff and wanted to offer that to adults," Klein remembers.

The first adult weekend retreat that Klein and Forrest adapted from the teen retreat model was titled "Self-Care through Mindfulness" and was geared towards caregivers - social workers, hospice nurses, ministers, educators, counselors, and students of those professions. "The gift that counselors and other helping professional have to give is the gift of presence. These retreats allow them to slow down and engage in the self examination process which is so critical in the efficacy of the helper/care-giver role," Forrest points out.

The Self-Care retreats, which happen three times a year, and another series for young adults aged 18-32 titled "Alternative Spring Break" are hosted by RU Counselor Education Department at the Selu Conservatory, a 380 acre property on the Little River, owned by RU. Along with spectacular views from the Selu lodge and meditating in its seven-sided Native American themed room, retreatants are nurtured by delicious organic meals. alan.joe2.gifThe twice-a-day small discussion groups give participants an opportunity for meaningful sharing and create balance to periods of silence. "They were a surprisingly important and empowering part of the weekend for me," says Rosemary Wyman, a hospice-support caregiver and retreat participant.

Jenson Baker, a Portsmouth area teacher who attended a 2009 Self-Care through Mindfulness retreat, was galvanized by his experience and asked for Klein's assistance to bring mindfulness training to his inner-city classroom. Together Baker and Klein traveled to Omega Institute in New York for a national conference, attended by teachers, administrators, and mindfulness pioneers from across the country with the mutual goal of introducing mindfulness practices to school children K-12 as a way to strengthen inner resiliency.

At Omega, Klein and Baker met keynote speaker, Linda Lantieri, an internationally known author and expert in social and emotional learning, conflict resolution, and crisis management. Lantieri's accomplishments implementing programs across the country, including one in New York for cultivating inner resiliency in public school staff affected by the tragedies of 9/11, made an impression on Klein. "It's clear that to cope in today's world, building skills to strengthen emotional intelligence is as important as academic skills," says Klein, who provided support to student survivors following the Virginia Tech shootings of April 2007.

When Klein learned of the RU College of Education's plan to expand on the counseling department's mindfulness initiatives through the formation of the Mind Body Spirit Institute, an annual two day symposium, he contacted Lantieri. She agreed to speak at the kick-off event, which is scheduled for March 24 and 25 and timed to coincide with the university's centennial celebration of its founding as a teaching college. The university will also be offering a 3-credit class on mindfulness and inner resiliency for RU teaching and counseling students, a development that Forrest describes as "cutting edge and occurring in only a selective few universities throughout the country."

"The response to the retreats has been extremely positive," Forrest says. This year's Self Care through Mindfulness retreat at Selu will take place on March 26 and 27. The Alternative Spring Break is scheduled for March 5 - 8. Contact Alan Forrest at aforrest@radford.edu 540-831-5487 for more information. ~ Colleen Redman

Posted by colleen at 10:29 AM | Comments (6)

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