Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yoga Online Classes

On the first of this year, I wanted to take a yoga class and did not feel like getting in my car and going to the local yoga "parlor" (as my husband calls it), so I checked for classes online.

OMG! There are tons of available classes online. I have found some of my favorite teachers here on the WWW.

My favorite practice is Kundalini Yoga, however, there are so many options out there. You can go with the FREE classes at where everyday is a different class -- all free of charge. They hold their classes in beautiful settings, such as Jackson, WY or Sedona, AZ.

I have also found some excellent membership classes at Demand Fitness. You can try it for free, join by the week, month or year. This is an amazing option, because you can change up your workout by choosing from over 250 different classes - not just yoga. They offer everything you can imagine. Even a Road Warrior series to keep up your workouts while you are traveling.

Speaking of traveling, please try out the little gadget I have on this blog to check your email. This is absolutely amazing. Type in your email address and password and you can literally check your email from anywhere. Isn't that great???

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Creating a World Without Poverty

I recently read a book called, Creating a World Without Poverty, by Muhammad Yunus. He discusses ways that we can help poor people the most by giving them the power to help themselves. Dr, Yunus is a pioneer of micro-lending and his words inspired me to do what I can in my own little way.

I searched online for some place to help other entrepreneurs and found And this is what I found:

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

I then browsed through the volumes of entrepreneurs and decided to make my first loan to Clementine.

Here's Clementine's story. To be honest with you, I chose her because of her smile.:

Clementine Kra is an ambitious woman. She was born in 1966 and is a single mother with 4 children. She lives in Port-Bouët, a very populous suburb in the south of Abidjan District with her mother, who takes care of the children when Clementine has to go to the market for her micro-business.

Clementine sells palm seed and various vegetable products in the Port-Bouët open-air market. She wants to be able to purchase products in bulk in order to wholesale them to retailers. She intends to increase her income so as to open a hairdressing shop in the long run, as she has got training in this field 2 years ago. Clementine is a good client who has repaid all the loans she has previously received from AE&I in a timely manner.

Clementine has since paid off her loan in full and I decided to make more loans. Currently we have 9 loans - mostly to women entrepreneurs and on every continent except Antarctica.

Check out for yourself and be inspired by the amazing people, their stories and hope.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Herbal Remedies

We have a lot of calendula in our garden and it is planting and replanting itself. It has kind of become a medicinal patch out there. So... what to do with all of this calendula?

Here's a super simple to make salve using Calendula flowers:

Calendula Healing Salve
For skin irritations, bites, stings, rashes.

Calendula blossoms
1 qt. olive oil
6 - 8 oz. Beeswax
18 2 oz. or 36 1 oz. Jars
3 tsp. vitamin E oil as preservative

An herb room, which is part of a natural food store, carries all these supplies.
Make an herbal oil two weeks ahead of time with desired herbs. (We will use calendula petals):
Harvest calendula petals. Blot if wet. Crush or bruise petals by rubbing in hands. Place herbs in glass, quart jar and add olive oil. Cover jar with tight lid and rotate to mix herbs with oil. Infuse for two weeks. Pour strained herbal oil into old pot and gently heat to simmer. Add beeswax an ounce at a time. After each beeswax addition is fully melted test consistency by spooning out a small amount and letting it cool. Test by rubbing on skin. If too oily or mushy add more beeswax until desired texture is achieved. Should feel somewhat like soft chapstick or lipbalm. Add vitamin E oil.
Pour into jars right away, and secure lids. It will start hardening immediately.
Adapted by Caprice Potter from a recipe out of The Herbs of Life, by Lesley Tierra.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monsoons and Harvests in the Southwest

This is always a fun time of year to garden. If I get out there early enough, I only feel a little bit like dying from the heat. The moisture and daily afternoon downpours make for a very happy garden. And - best of all, it helps keep the critters somewhat at bay.

I have my own theories about why the critters are not as interested in the luscious new grow on the plants - the water has created a bounty of their REAL favorites in the desert. Plenty of fat cactus and desert brush abound. The prickly pear and saguaros are beginning to drop their fruit and that is waaaay too yummy to pass up. I need to get out there with my tongs and pick away, in fact.

Prickly pear fruit has been touted as some wonderful medicinal qualities, such as reducing bad cholesterol and helping diabetics. My favorite remedy is the use of prickly pear fruit for hangovers. According to Wikipedia, might have a reducing effect on alcohol hangover by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators. Studies have yielded differing results, with some studies witnessing significant reductions in nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite as well as less risk of a severe hangover[13], while others witnessing no compelling evidence for effects on alcohol hangover[14].

The following tips from Wikihow are really helpful in harvesting and working with prickly pear fruit:

  1. Buy or harvest some prickly pears.

    • The pears with the reddish-orange or purple skin and deep purple interiors are considered to be the sweetest, but the white-skinned varieties are more popular in Mexico.
    • Store-bought prickly pears are usually spine-free and sometimes can be handled with your bare hands. Unprocessed pears still have glochids. Just to be sure, always use tongs or at least a plastic bag as a glove. it will drive you crazy if you get some on your skin.
    • If you're foraging for prickly pears, remember that while all pears are edible, only a few will actually be ripe and taste good.
  2. Remove the spines.
    • Place the pear in a container of cold water. Doing this washes some spines away, but not all of them.
  3. Skin the pears.
    • Pick up the end of the pear with a few paper towels folded together, cradling the pear within the paper towels and not allowing the surface of the pear to touch your skin.
    • Slice off the thicker skin at both ends of the prickly pear (the bottom and the top). It takes a little practice to know how much to slice off. Generally, you want to take off the skin without getting at the seed-filled center.
    • Cut lengthwise along the pear's top-bottom centerline just through the skin. Using that slit, and being careful about the spines, use the knife to lever the skin and peel it off of the rest of the pear.
  4. Cut the pear into slices, or stick onto a fork or skewer and serve.
    • The flesh of the prickly pear can be used to make jam, jelly, sorbet, and "cactus candy."
    • The seeds can be consumed with the fruit (but be careful not to bite into them, as they're quite hard) or spit out.
    • Some people eat the seeds in soup or dry them to be ground into flour.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Today I spent some time in the garden. Planted more peppers - anchos, bells and a few jalapenos (since we can't buy them at the store right now). I also planted eggplant and more tomatoes. I also threw down some mulch and coffee grounds to help these new babies stay protected and grow.

Our Tucson summers are so hellacious that working in the garden again after a month and a half hiatus is a joy. I am re-gaining my routine and having fun with it again. This morning, I practiced yoga, had breakfast with my husband, then worked in the garden - and it was all done before 9am! Then I was able to get cleaned up and get to work. It feels great.

Everyday, I have been doing a little more - filling in spaces, making plans and gearing up for the fall crop. It's always the best time of the year for our garden. We get another round of juicy tomatoes and tons of foods to feed our family and friends with.

My goal is to eat what I grow - as much as possible. Then, when possible - buy local to fill in the blanks. Still a long way from goal, but the vision and aim are clear.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin- Victory Column Speech

Please view this phenomenal video of Obama in Berlin.

Why Huffington Post Is So Much More Than Politics

Almost everyday, as a reward to myself for getting work done, I almost always visit my favorite blog, The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington's wry sense of humor get me all the time. Today I learned that Obama is generating more cashola in the state of Arizona than McCain (yippee!) and that Hispanic registered voters support Democrat Barack Obama for president over Republican John McCain by 66% to 23%.

Of course politics is not the only thing covered on Huffington. Today you can also read about why Vegan is the new Adkins (please! it's not a fad!) and best of all, a beautiful story that made me cry, "Ten Small Ways to Change The World". This story that is actually on Beliefnet will touch you.

Is there one small thing that you have done today to change the world? I better get crackin'!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Election '08

Okay, I am an Obamaniac. I have the bumper sticker and the monthly contributions to prove it. I promised myself when he made me cry at the Democratic Convention that if he ran, I would be his supporter.

It started out a bit challenging, as I would have been a Hillary supporter, but to be honest with you, Obama simply spoke to us. Our hearts and thankfully, the hearts of so many others in not only our country, but our planet.

This week's global Obama tour is proving to the rest of the world that we ARE still the most awesome country on the planet. My patriotism has soared through this election process - as well as my hope in our future.

Please check out Maureen Dowd's NYTimes column (she publishes every Sunday and Wednesday). She is truly insightful and her wry humor is second to none.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yoga and Hypothyroidism

About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. What has happened recently has become one of the inspirations for this blog.

I met a Kundalini Yoga instructor via his own blog, Krishan Singh:
He has been researching the possibility of utilizing KY to address hypothyroidism by working on your 5th Chakra (throat). Interesting thing is, my last blood test came back showing improvement, so I think that there's something to this!

I have only just begun a 40 day Sadhana that includes a 5th Chakra Kriya. Will let you know how it's going, in case you would like to try something like this for yourself, if you suffer from hypothyroidism, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Master Gardening

Yesterday I saw an article in the Az Daily Star that said "Consider Being a Master Gardener", and I think they were talking directly and specifically to me.
I promptly tore out the page and put it on my desk. Called the phone number on the article first thing this morning and I have to admit - I am so excited about this!

You see, I have been a gardener all of my life. It started out when my children were young and we had no backyard, just an apartment patio. We grew container tomatoes that my son got in the habit of eating the second they were ripe. He is now 27 years old and still has a "thing" for fresh garden tomatoes.

Living in Tucson provides me almost a year-round garden. The garden never gets "put to sleep". We have fresh herbs and vegies. We would also have fresh fruit if I could find a better way to keep the birds out. Our scary owl looks pretty tore-up. His scary days are long gone. I have taken to hanging tin foil and my husband claims that's the old-school ghetto in me coming out.