What?! I’m Out of Hair Gel???

So I have an audition today, and I will have to take a long, hot trip on the bus to get there.  It’s going to get up to 90+ degrees today on Oahu, and that means my hair is going to be a mess, unless I put it up … but that would not bode well for this audition.  The character I am auditioning for would have beautiful, well groomed curled hair. The play takes place in 1971, in North Carolina, and she is the wife of a colonel.

To deal with the potential hair disaster, I looked around for hair gel, to help set the hair when I curl it – no luck.  I am totally out!  Even the little bottle that my husband sometimes keeps for his out of town meetings is gone.  So, what’s a girl to do?  I’ll tell you what, make some!

Luckily I had the ingredients on hand.

Hair Gel Organic Rosemary Essential OilHair Gel:

  • 1/4 cup of warm water.  Purified water is best.
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin (depending on the hold you are looking for).
  • Essential oils. I chose Rosemary, because it smells good and offers that “back home” feeling – something I want to encourage in my performance today.

Mix the glycerin with the water and add 1-2 drops of the essential oil.  With the oils, remember that you can use different oils depending upon your hair type.

If you have dry hair, you might want to try: Lavender, rosemary or sandalwood.

For oily hair: lemon, lime, cedar wood, thyme or clary sage might be good options.

Use tea tree oil if you have dandruff.

The gel should be refrigerated after its made, and it will last one or two weeks. Now I made half a batch because I don’t know if I’m going to land the role, and I don’t use gel on a regular basis. Remember to make only what you need, that way there will be less waste  down the road.

Mahalo,

R~

+I have not been paid to feature any of the above pictured products. However, I do use these products and I have been happy with them.

Circle of Life – Telling a Story

Today I this came across my Facebook page, and I found it touching.  So much so that I wanted to share it.  Cailleach, as the image of the old crone is more than a crone but she walks the circle of life each year, maiden to mother to crone.  Which is why this is super appropriate for us here at Cailleach.  This is Live Painting Show: A Woman’s Life. Originally published on Aug, 12, 2014. Drawing and painting by Stonehouse (석가), Video Editing by Yirigun (이리건), B.G.M by Silent partner – ‘Big screen.’ I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

About Ginger

NOTE: The following information is from my Materia Medica entry on Ginger, and is meant to be informative only, not to be taken as medical advice.  I am not a medical doctor; readers should verify all information, and consult with their doctor before using this or any other herb.
Ginger

History:

  • Grieve tells us that the plant was brought to the Americas by Francisco de Mendosa who transplanted it from the East Indies into Spain. Spanish-Americans cultivated it greatly, and records show that by “1547 they exported 22,053 cwt. into Europe” (Grieve).
Latin Name: Zingiber officinale (ROSC.)
  • Genus: Zingiber
  • Species: Officinale
  • Family: Zingiberaceae
Common Names:
  • African Ginger, Amomum Zingiber, Ardraka, Black Ginger, Cochin Ginger, Gan Jiang, Gingembre, Gingembre Africain, Gingembre Cochin, Gingembre Indien, Gingembre Jamaïquain, Gingembre Noir, Ginger Essential Oil, Ginger Root, Huile Essentielle de Gingembre, Imber, Indian Ginger, Jamaica Ginger, Jengibre, Jiang, Kankyo, Kanshokyo, Nagara, Race Ginger, Racine de Gingembre, Rhizoma Zingiberi, Rhizoma Zingiberis, Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens, Shen Jiang, Sheng Jiang, Shoga, Shokyo, Shunthi, Srungavera, Sunth, Sunthi, Vishvabheshaja, Zingiber Officinale, Zingiberis Rhizoma, Zingiberis Siccatum Rhizoma, Zinzeberis, Zinziber Officinale, Zinziber Officinalis (MedlinePlus).

Description:

  • Ginger is a herbaceous perennial plant, family of Zingiberaceae, and we eat the rhizome (underground stem) not the root.
  • The rhizome is most often brown with “fingers” coming from it.  It looks like a large twisted root.  One author (Plant Village) described the ginger rhizome as having a “corky outer layer and a pale-yellow center.”  Meat of the rhizome is yellow in color and string in texture.  Spicy in smell and taste.
  • The above ground portion of the ginger looks a bit like a reed with “linear leaves that are arranged alternately on the stem” (Plant Village). Ginger is a tropical plant and Plant Village further describes it as being: “The shoots originate from a multiple bases and wrap around one another. The leaves can reach 7 cm (2.75 in) in length and 1.9 cm (0.7 in) broad. Flowering heads are borne on shorter stems and the plant produces cone shaped, pale yellow flowers. The ginger plant can reach 0.6–1.2 m in height (2–4 FT) and is grown as an annual plant.”
Cultivation – Birgit Bradtke from Permaculture.com
  • You can grow ginger from a store bought rhizome. Let it start to seed first before planting the rhizome.
  • Ginger likes warm climates and lots of water, but not to soak in the water – good drainage is needed.
  • Ginger normally reshoots early in the spring.  Some folks say to soak rhizomes in water overnight, and others say it is not needed.  It doesn’t hurt, but do not leave it in water to sprout roots, it wants the soil – good soil that can hold enough moisture to keep the rhizome moist but not soaked – free draining and avoid water-logging.
  • Best planting time is the late winter/early spring (late dry season/early wet season – in tropics). Ginger Likes lots of light but not direct sun and protect from wind.
  • Never let soil get to dry, moist but not soaked.
  • Harvest: at least 8-10 months – Anytime after the leaves have died down.
History/Lore/Etymology:
  • According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Ginger is a word that comes from a mid 14c old English term, gingifer.
    • Medieval latin: gingiber.
    • Latin: Zingiberi.
    • Greek: Zingiberis.
    • Parkrit (middle Indic) Singabera.
    • Sanskrit srngaveram (srngam = horn and vera = body: the shape of the root). The old French term, gingibre (modern = gingembre) means spirit, spunk, temper.  Ginger ale was recorded in 1822, ginger snap (yummm) 1855 (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ginger).
  • Color Association – Red:
    • Herbs associated with this color connects us to the earth and our ancestors.  it is considered energizing, and heating.  helps circulation and strengthens blood. Breaks up stagnant conditions (Brighid’s Healing, Kindle Edition 256).
  • Taste identification Acrid or Spicy:
    • Spice warms the blood and brings it to the surface.  Our skin becomes warm while internal organs cool. Stimulates metabolism, libido, circulatory system and breaks up stagnancy.  Brings blood flow to digestive system: Spice acts as a catalyst for the other herbs in the remedy and aids absorption (McGarry, Gina, Kindle Edition, 253).
Chemical Constitutes:
  • Warming and good for chest congestion.
  • Antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial protection (Kendrick).
  • Diaphoretics/febrifuge (McGarry, Gina, Brighid’s Healing, Kindle Location 689; Green Magic, Kindle Edition.)
  • Produces perspiration.
Indications and Actions:  
  • Relieve motion and morning sickness – Nausea and vomiting (Skidmore-Roth, 17b; MedlinePlus).
  • Relieve sore throat (Skidmore-Roth, 17b).
  • Treat migraine headaches (Skidmore-Roth, 17b).
  • Antioxidant (Skidmore-Roth, 17b).
  • Nausea and vomiting following surgery (Skidmore-Roth, 17b; MedlinePlus).
  • Dizziness (MedlinePlus).
  • Menstrual Pain (MedlinePlus).
  • Women experiencing late menses (McGarry, Brighid’s Healing, Kindle Location 1692; Green Magic. Kindle Edition).
  • Arthritis (MedlinePlus)
  • Treat burns – fresh juice is used for this and diluted oil is often used to relieve pain when applied to the skin (MedlinePlus).
Dosage:
  • Controlling nausea following surgery.

    Take one gram taken internally, one hour before surgery (MedlinePlus).

    Rubbing oil on wrist was said to help 80% of patients before surgery – larger percentage than those in ingested it (MedlinePlus) – oil must be deluded or it can burn.

    After surgery wait 3-6 hours before administering ginger again (MedlinePlus).

  • For morning sickness:

    250 mg ginger 4 times daily  (MedlinePlus).

  • For postoperative nausea and vomiting:

    1-2 grams powdered ginger root one hour before induction of anesthesia (MedlinePlus).

  • Soaks and compresses.
Precautions:
  • Most Likely safe to take when pregnant but some caution is suggested, especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Ginger can slow blood clotting and increase chances of bruising.
  • Personal note, my surgeon asked me NOT to take ginger – again this is likely due to blood clotting and bruising.
  • Do not take with Nifedipine as it can slow blood clotting and increase chances of bruising.

    Nifedipine is A coronary vasodilator and calcium-channel blocking agent that reduces calcium ions available to heart and smooth muscle, used in the treatment of angina pectoris.

Sources:

Reba~

Diaphragm Blues at the Oahu Fringe Festival!

I am happy to announce that Singing the Diaphragm Blues has been selected for the Oahu Fringe Festival in February. Who can resist comedy, beaches, paradise and diaphragms all in one place!  In fact, these things mix very well together. I am also delighted to announce that Dale Westgaard will be directing again.  We have some challenges, as the show must be cut down to 60 minutes or less!  So,…

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The Malabar Chestnut

Nuts, start to Finish. Image by Rebecca Lea McCarthy.  CC
Nuts, Start to Finish. Image by Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

Sustainability is a serious theme in my life. When it comes to living the life of a modern druid, it is important, I think, to rediscover sustainability as we have lost that skill.  Maybe not everyone, but most of us walking the modern streets of our cities and towns, and even the country. We purchase food from far out places, eat fruits that are not in season, we are rich with such gifts.  But as lovely as it is to have grapes in the Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring it is not sustainable. Consider the costs of transporting foods across country or nations, storage of the food before it can be sold in stores, and what we need to do to keep the food fresh can compromise the nutrients in the food. Further, by eating foods grown on farms from other states and countries, we are not helping to sustain our local economies. I am not suggesting that we should not support interstate and international trade, but I am suggesting it is helpful for our local economies and our health that we start to find more sustainable ways to feed ourselves.

With this in mind, I have been learning how to look to my own backyard to feed myself, both metaphorically and literally.  Since moving to Hawai’i, I have been exposed to many different foods and I have found that many grow in my literal backyard.  We are renting an apartment on an old hog farm in Waimanalo, Hi.  The owner of the property maintains several fruit trees, an aquapodic system, many flowers, and she keeps bees.  She has been kind enough to let us share in her bounty, if we help keep the land.  So, we are learning a thing or two about living off the land in Hawai’i.

One of my most recent discoveries is the Malabar Chestnut!

By Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
By Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

The Malabar Chestnut (botanical name is Pachira aquatic, the family of Bombaceae) is native to Northern Brazil, and southern Mexico.  But this tree is very comfortable in other tropical areas such as Hawai’i and Southern Florida, two of my favorite places! With a dark green bark and leaves, the tree produces lovely nuts inside a wooden green pod (some pods are brown, as there are several different varieties of this tree) that splits into four parts when ripe.  I thought it was because of the pods that this tree is also called a money tree. But apparently it was for more pragmatic reasons. According to Green Deane in the article “Tropical Chestnuts: Pachira aquatic,” the tree earned this name relatively late in life, around 1986, when

“a Taiwanese truck driver put five small seedlings into one pot and weaved them together as they grew. He inadvertently invented the next hot ornamental plant and business took off in Taiwan, Japan and most of eastern Asia. The braided tree is viewed as associated with profit and is a common plant found in businesses, often with red ribbons or other ornaments attached. By 2005, export of the braided tree was a $7 million business in Taiwan” (Deane, Green).

Talk about a money tree!

But I was interested in the nut 🙂 The chestnuts are edible raw or roasted and they taste a bit like a mild peanut raw, and toasted a bit like a peanut crossed with a filbert (hazelnut), in my humble opinion.  According to “Nutrition and You,” the only place I could find nutritional information for this nut, the article was mostly targeted to chestnuts in general, they are low in calories, but are also rich in minerals, and vitamins. You can also make flour out of the nut, but this I did not try.

By Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
By Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

I enjoyed the nut raw, but toasted they are divine. First, you must shell the nut which is not an easy task.  To aid in the process, I soaked the nuts in water over night and let the shell split, making them easer to shell.  I tossed the nuts in some olive oil and a bit of salt, and roasted them on low, 350, until brown and crunchy.

I tell you what, they were so good that I could not keep up with the demand!  They made a lovely snack throughout the day when you start to get hungry pangs, or when you simply walked by them.

R~

Resources consulted for the article:

MALABAR CHESTNUT

Nuts, start to Finish. Image by Rebecca Lea McCarthy.  CC

Nuts, Start to Finish. Image by Rebecca Lea McCarthy. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

Sustainability is a serious theme in my life. When it comes to living the life of a modern druid, it is important, I think, to rediscover sustainability as we have lost that skill.  Maybe not everyone, but most of us walking the modern streets of our cities and towns, and even the country. We purchase food from…

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A Welcome …. An Offer of Hospitality

Champion des dames Vaudoises by Serein. Public Domain.

Welcome to Cailleach’s Chair, the meeting place for the Cult of Cailleach.

Why have I gathered us all here?

This is a complicated question, but let me start by saying this: I do not wish to grow old … not in our Western culture as it is today. To grow old today is to be forgotten, discarded, and marginalized. How sad it is to be old today; a lifetime of knowledge forgotten. A lifetime of know-how ignored. This is true for all of us, men and women, but it is especially true for women.

So, I stand here today and I declare proudly, I will not go “gently into that good night,” or “grow old gracefully.”  When I was younger, I used to announce such silliness out of my inexperience of life and lack of practical wisdom:

“I will grow old gracefully!” I proudly declared, drinking as I did from the cool-aid.  “I’m not going to be one of those old ladies who try to be twenty-one their entire life,” said I with my perky boobs standing tall and my taunt skin glistering with a new summer tan. “I will accept what was given to me, wrinkles and all.”

I was an idiot, and cool-aid is not nearly as tasty as mead.

Truthfully, parts of the above declaration is true: I do not want to be 21 again, goddess help me …. No. I do want to accept my place in the great cycle of life.  But in truth, our society has a different spin on the phrases: “go gently into that good night,” and “grow old gracefully,” and I find the spin offensive. These phrases, in practice, no longer mean accepting and honoring the great cycle of life; rather, in practice older people, middle age onward, are asked to disappear quietly, allowing the younger generation to stand tall, while the older generation is shuffled away from their jobs (old faces don’t sell), and hidden away into retirement communities or, for those of us with little money, state-run institutions. I’ve seen it, more often than not; and unlike dear Hamlet, I have no interest in shuffling off “this mortal coil.”   Besides, this model is not sustainable, nor is it helpful to our world, culture, species, or younger generations.

It is time to take back and to re-embrace a better way of doing things. What that better way is, I am not sure, which is one of the functions of this blog: to discover a more sustainable model. As I grow older, I have no desire to be the discarded “hag.”  Nope.  It is time to reclaim the magical, mystical, powerful crone/hag: the Cailleach.

Cailleach Bheare is the celtic image of the old mother, the hag, the magical crone, who is revered as a mythical being in Ireland (Caolainn or the Hag of Beare), Northern Ireland (Cailleach Bherri), Britain (Black Annis), Scotland (Cailleach Mor), and the Isle of Man (Cailleach my Groamagh).  In essence, she is known as a mountain mother, but is also given the title of the queen of the Limerick fairies, and is understood as the mother to the gods (she has the name Boi when she was the wife of Lugh – Irish god of Light).  And, as you might guess, she controls the weather in the winter months as she too is in her declining years.  Interesting enough, she is not always old, but passes yearly through the cycle of age, from youth to old age, representing both renewal and death, the journey from ignorance and deep wisdom.  She returns yearly on Samhain, October 31st to you and me, and will leave with the warming weather, placing her staff under a holly bush before turning to stone herself, hibernating and regenerating for the next round of life … the next year.

“Barley Saturday, Waiting for the Parade” by Ceridwen, From geograph.org.uk: CC BY-SA 2.0.

I will write more on this image as the blog progresses, but it is enough to point out her usefulness as an alternative image to age, especially female aging, compared to the one we have now: the quiet old woman complacently taking her place in a rocking chair, lap ready for brief visits from her grandchildren*. Not that there is anything wrong with having a grandchild on your lap, but surely the middle-aged and older generation has more to offer the world than a lap to rest in. Cailleach moved mountains because she had the knowledge, the wisdom to figure out how to do such a feat.  Let’s tap that wisdom … please!

This blog is about sustainability and wisdom. It’s about what we have to offer in the way of wisdom regarding these topics from an older persons point of view, middle-aged to the crone. And the focus is on women writers, but this does not mean that posts from guest male writers will not appear on these pages.  Although I would like to create a space for women to be able to share their understanding regarding sustainability, sustainability itself is not a one sided affair.  Feminism, in all its facets, must inherently include the masculine element, or the movement  is doomed before it begins.  But the voices of older women are easily lost in our world, and so I would like to make this space the space of Cailleach – in somewhat the tradition of the Cult of Cailleach, which has a long tradition in different parts of the Celtic world.  The cult consisted of older women who gathered together to under the cloak of nature, magic, and wisdom.

So, I welcome you to the 21st century Cult of Cailleach.  Take a seat, feel free to drape my yellow robe about you if you are cold, and stay a while for the magic about to unfold.

______

*I say this, but also offer a nod of homage to the great Golden Girls, who were not complacent!

Research based on the following:

  • Coulter, Charles Russell, and Patricia Turner. 2000. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. Pp. 112-114.
  • Matthews, Caitlin, John Matthews, and Caitlin Matthews. 2003. Walkers between the worlds: the Western mysteries from Shaman to Magus. Rochester, Vt: Inner Traditions International.
  • O’Brien, Lora. 2005. Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books.

“When someone becomes a celebrity, it dehumanizes them in my eyes, which makes it OK for me to feel nothing when I steal from them.”
 
When you see an attractive person on a bus or at a coffee shop, maybe you have the restraint or basic human decency to think, “Boy, that person is good-looking, but oh well I’ll just move on with my life.” But if that person was Jennifer Lawrence, a FAMOUS PERSON who knows OTHER FAMOUS PEOPLE, you suddenly feel entitled to see her naked.
 
It’s based on this idea of a contract that all celebrities have allegedly signed. “When she took out her personal camera, snapped a photo of her breasts, and sent them to her boyfriend who happened to be several thousand miles away, she KNEW there would be a risk that I would eventually be able to see them on my iPad, while sitting on the toilet. We entered into this agreement together the minute she decided to be famous and I decided not to be.”
 
Of course, this contract doesn’t exist, and no one would sign it if it did, but that doesn’t stop us from pretending that the unlicensed publication of personal photos is “part of the job” for famous people.
 
I don’t want us to talk about selfies and how we should all apologize to these multimillionaires; I want to talk about privacy and rights while the topic is still timely and exciting enough that people will listen. There are a lot of conversations we SHOULD be having, conversations about celebrity culture, conversations about privacy, conversations about how the Internet is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for women and plenty of others, I’m sure. But the Internet, the giant spider web of loud assholes that it is, is blocking those conversations from view with a bunch of white noise about public shaming and other nonsense. We just need to make sure the right conversations have time and space to take place before a week goes by, some other scandal happens, and we all move on to the next thing.

An Open Letter about Feminism to My Brothers

An Open Letter about Feminism to My Brothers

Dear Brother,

My Dad encouraged me to speak out.  He was a feminist!

My Dad encouraged me to speak out. He was a feminist!

I write to you today because I realize how uncomfortable you have been of lately. The Third Wave of Feminism (as it is being dubbed) is blooming (and praise be for it), and you are hearing women speak out about rape cultures, feminism, wage inequality, and the fact that the glass ceiling has not, no matter what PR spinners wish…

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Google Glass and my new Pedego bike

Google Glass and my new Pedego bike

Google Glass and my new Pedego bike

I wrote the following post to my students today about privacy, a surveillance society, embedded and invisible technology, and Google glass. Thought I would re-post it on my blog too.

This is not the best picture of me, but here I am wearing Google Glass with my new Pedego electric bike! Woot! The GPS function has really helped me find my way around the island without having to take my eyes off…

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Yes! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!