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Finding our Courage in the Covid Age...


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I had a really interesting zoom conversation last night with my sisters -in- law and we were talking about the difficulties experienced as women trying to stay safe and keep our families safe during Covid, when so many  are seemingly loosening up their personal boundaries and personally interpreting the guidelines.

We talked about feeling ashamed for not speaking up when someone who isn’t wearing a mask gets too close, or  comes too close when wearing the mask improperly.

The endless mansplaining about how we're being too careful or taking this too seriously without listening to our concerns.  

About being so happy to have husbands that listened and supported us, stepping up to the plate and helping to raise the kids, make craft cocktails and even cook dinners! 

I was so proud of my husbands courage the other night when we were having dinner and he simply and quietly asked a gentleman we didn’t know was going to be there where he’d been in the last few weeks.

Neither man was offended or upset and it gave the other man room to be honest without feeling threatened. We had a lovely and safe evening.  I was truly inspired by it and watching it helped embolden me. 

As women, we tend to simply "behave" and then wonder why we did so, living with self loathing instead of empowerment. Feeling violated because we didn't stick up for our beliefs.

Shrinking, instead of dancing. 


From now on I will remember to take a deep breath and simply choose courage. 

I had a chance to think about this more yesterday when I had a bad experience  again yesterday at the very same garden center it happened at before...I was determined to give them another try out of 30 plus years of loyalty. The manager actually took down her mask less than three feet from me and took my plants. I scooted away and then came back to pay for them and she did it again, but was fortunately behind plexiglass. 

The entire time I was wearing my mask. I was really disconcerted and angry and what I realized I should have done was simply leave, but I was too busy being polite to do so.  I called them back to politely let them know how I felt, and was met with absolutely no apology and instead was hung up on.

Needless to say they’ve lost a customer that spends thousands of dollars with them every year.

After processing that experience  and the conversation my SIL’s and I had, as well as a full night of Covid dreams where I kept being infected by people who were moving into my personal space ,  I woke up feeling stronger than I've felt in weeks. 

I realized something important for myself. 

I’m tired of being shamed or laughed at because I’m choosing to stay as safe as I can for my family and my friends. I've had even close friends tell me that I was taking this overboard, making it seem as if I'd succumbed to silly and unsubstantiated fear.  That this was no different than a flu or cold. 

No...That’s me exercising my own freedoms.

If you don’t wear a mask and /or keep the social distance in the middle of this, you absolutely know what you are choosing for yourself and that is absolutely fine,  but you do not get to choose it for me or my family. 

I may not agree with you but if you want to play with this virus in that way that’s up to you.

If you take down your mask when I’m wearing mine and move in close, you’re disrespecting my freedoms to try to stay as healthy as I can... you’re coming into my personal space, potentially with a contagion that can’t be seen and unless you’re part of my Covid clan I don’t know where you’ve been.

As I've said before,  I wouldn’t dream of sleeping with you without an STD test AND a condom, so I certainly won't risk a Covid infection by breathing your invisible aerosolized droplets.

If you don’t want to wear a mask or if you choose to wear it incorrectly, that’s your business to be sure, but please do not take it personally when I walk away from you, even if we’re friends. If I’m spending my hard earned cash with you? Wear the mask and wear it right. Keep a social distance. Wash your hands and sanitize your spaces. You’re dealing with an entire public, not just a segment of it that believes as you do.

If you need to take the mask off, go take a break or put it on as soon as you see me drive in. Open doors so that the air can circulate. For goodness sakes, do it right so that I can help you stay in business during this tough time.

If you are hard of hearing? Wear a face shield and keep a pad of paper and pen around. I will happily write down what I want to say if you can't hear me. 

Please don't try to hug me without asking me first and please don't be offended when I say no...I want to more than anything but right now I just won't.  

If I’m wearing a mask you know how I feel , so if you want to talk to me please put yours on and if you won’t get at least 15 feet away from me or call me on the phone to chat. 

Trust me. I want to talk to you, but please stop forcing me to be uncomfortable and angry with you. If you are uncomfortable with this, I can leave and will do so for your benefit. 

Learn to speak with your eyes....they tell me and you VOLUMES about who WE are together. This is a new an unfamiliar world. How we shape it and love within it right now will determine so much about the next year or two. 

Remember . This is a VIRUS. It's not personal.

I love you. 


I honestly do not know who Doctored these old paintings, but I am eternally grateful:)

Addressing the Fears currently surrounding the use of Elderberry Products!

A Season of Peace & Joy (32)

Good afternoon everyone! Wherever this finds you , I hope that it finds you well and happy, safely surrounded by your loved ones! 

I've written this article in response to an email that has been making the rounds concerning the possibility of elderberry products exacerbating the dangerous phenomenon that is known as the Cytokine Storm, which we are hearing about constantly right now as we are learning more and more about COVID-19. This email was sent to me last night, but this wasn’t the first I’d heard of the concern about elderberry and cytokine storm. I'm a herbalist who likes to work with the medical community, even though I’ve always been a proponent of traditional herbalism.

For me, simply getting the facts without demonizing a generally helpful herb just makes sense. What I discovered when doing the research the other day for someone else who brought this concern to me, was that much of this misunderstanding was coming from several articles posted on some of the mothers  groups. There’s even one that uses an article from the Lancet to try to back up the claims. I spent all afternoon combing the Lancet articles and they had been completely taken out of context, simply to prove the point with no mention of elderberry at all. 

What is going on with this new scare is not unlike the anti-vaccine conversation, where many vague hypotheses have turned into statements of “fact”, blurring the real truths usually found in the center between both sides of any argument. I mean no offense to anyone who is anti-vaccine but once that happens, hysteria breaks out in this information age and that is what appears to have happened here. This has many of us who are involved in herbal education really upset right now. It’s happening because people are so scared and I don’t blame them but they need to use the information they find correctly and without making simple assumptions out of fear.  

This email was sent to me by someone whose pediatrician sent it to her.  I don’t blame the Pediatrician for being upset at all and for asking their patients to discontinue using it. The liabilities  would be huge if anything were to go wrong, even if elderberry had nothing really to do with it. We live in a very litigious society. I have since I received it seen this posted several different places in unrelated sources which leads me to believe that it's being grabbed and dispersed without any real research. 

That being said, most of the pediatricians, functional and family physicians who work directly with herbs and herbalists believe that elderberry does not contribute to the phenomenon of the cytokine storm. That being said, they/we are also very cautious about suggesting it to anyone who is known to be immune compromised. That is just common sense. We’ve known forever in the herbal community that elderberry can ramp up the immune system and  like I said last night, it should never be suggested to anyone who is known to be immune compromised or anyone for that matter who is using any medicines to help promote an immune response.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus, you really need to discuss using elderberry with your Doctor. For instance, my brother is diabetic and also on anti- rejection drugs. There’s no way he should ever consider taking it. When my father was fighting an antibiotic resistant superbug, we did not use it because his immune system was already too compromised and because he was also fighting a host of autoimmune issues. He was on Proscar for his prostate and Plaquenil for his rheumatoid arthritis and we   felt that elderberry could have stimulated his immune system too much.

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 Elderberry should never be used by anyone who is taking Theophylline for asthma or other respiratory conditions because it can reduce the levels of those drugs causing them to not work as well. If you are taking a diuretic it’s a no go because elderberry is already a diuretic. Diabetics need to be really careful because elderberry can reduce blood sugar too much and too quickly. It’s contraindicated for anyone on chemotherapy as well. These are very practical things though and this information is easily available from any pharmacist and most good herbalists already know it because we have to be so careful. In my own experience, these contraindications are often not as well known by many Doctors, which is why I always say to become your pharmacists best friend!

Personally, elderberry is not part of my immunity arsenal except in cases like this when I am trying to be extra cautious. For times that aren’t as urgent I personally rely on a really healthy diet, lots of sleep, meditation, movement, plenty of water and green tea, bone broth to which I’ve added lots of fresh ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric, zinc  (in low amounts), vitamins C, D and B, refrigerated Probiotics, Prebiotics, astragalus, olive leaf extract and a reishi mushroom mixture.

When a nasty bug is circulating I’ll generally begin to take elderberry right after I’ve had the direct exposure and continue it for about 7 days. If I still get sick what I’ve noticed for myself is that I generally recover faster. I discontinue its use very quickly, generally about three days into my illness and move on to zinc and Umcka, an African Geranium that is thought to help with recovery from colds and flus.  That’s  been the standard way most of us have used elderberry for years, it’s only recently that it’s become used as a daily prophylactic, as it's benefits became more widely known by the general public.  

However, these are different times. I don’t blame anyone for using it that way right now ( I do blame them for hoarding it, that’s just silly!) and for most, it’s generally very safe provided it’s made correctly, even if you take it daily which I do not ever personally recommend. Most commercial preparations are made very well and are generally safe. Several years ago I spent months teaching so many young mothers who were trying to making the syrup themselves. Their kids were taking their syrup and vomiting because they had been using unripe berries and some stems as well as the ripe berries!  Unknown to many, elderberry is totally poisonous if not produced correctly. The plant is full of cyanide so there is a proper way to harvest it and produce it and for the record, most homemade elderberry syrup if produced correctly is as safe as anything you can buy.  

 I have been waiting for Aviva Romm to weigh in on this before I wrote about this. Aviva is one of the only Doctors (Yale Medical School) that I know of who is also a highly trained herbalist and midwife. I’ve loved and followed her work for years.   She’s always "no nonsense" which is one of the things I love about her. No bullshit. Speaking of which, I just remembered that elderberry does have some laxative qualities! She has created a COVID-19 site and you can find the link here. I am grateful to be able to share it with you; it is full of valuable information that we all need right now. 

I have sent the link to an article she wrote last night, but I took this piece out of it as it directly relates to her feelings about this.  

“What about Elderberry? There’s an enormous amount of  information and misinformation circulating on the internet about elderberry, COVID-19, and a phenomenon called ‘cytokine storm.’ The bottom line is that most of the evidence for elderberry is for the treatment of flu when taken during the first 72 hours of symptoms, not for the prevention of either colds or flu, though one study showed a reduced duration and severity of colds (upper respiratory infection) in air travelers compared to those who didn’t use it.

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), or in its extreme, cytokine storm is an immunologic phenomenon that occurs in advanced states of infection, for example, in ARDS, as mentioned above, a potentially severe advanced COVID-19 complication, sepsis, also a possible severe COVID-19 complication, or with certain specific immunologic medications (i.e., monoclonal antibodies). It was considered a major cause of death in the Spanish Flu, SARS, and H1N1 Interleukin-6 is a term often dropped in these conversations because it is an immune mediator that acts as both a pro-inflammatory cytokine but, simultaneously it also acts as an anti-inflammatory. The association with elderberry and cytokine storm is implausible;  elderberry is not able to cause cytokine storm whether used for prevention or infection, or during infection. Were one to be experiencing cytokine storm, one would be far too sick for herbal therapies; this is an ICU/life support level crisis. Bottom line: elderberry is unlikely, based on what we know at this time, particularly relevant for COVID-19 prevention or even treatment of mild-to moderate symptoms and if you’re concerned about cytokine release syndrome or cytokine storm as a result of this herb, don’t use it. “

It’s always important to check in with your primary physicians, pediatricians and pharmacists before starting any herbal supplements, especially in a risky time like this. The problems usually come when people don’t. Because herbs are herbs they are assumed to be safer. They are for the most part EXCEPT that people forget that they are medicines... some of the oldest in the world. In this age of modern pharmaceuticals they can be dangerous because of how they can contraindicate with those medicines, something everyone needs to know and check out for themselves. For example, take the benign and delicious cranberry... healing for most, but not if you are taking blood thinners as it can possibly increase the risk of bleeding.
I always tell my clients, "You are responsible for your own health. Don't give your power away. In this day and age of Google, ignorance is definitely  a choice. Learn everything you can and ask as many questions as you need!"  
 I do love Dr. Aviva Romms site and she’s always really on top of things. If you get a chance, take a look .. I think you’ll like her too and find her to be a wealth of really good and practical information!

I hope this helps! Stay well , safe and if I can be of help in any way please let me know!

Yours in beauty and magic,


Medical Disclaimer: In accordance with FDA and other government entity rules: the information and products you may learn about in regard to Herbal Wellness as a result of your association with Beth Schreibman Gehring are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You, and you alone, are legally responsible for any and all decisions you make regarding the health of yourself, your family, children and your friends, clients and even your pets. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have learned as a result of your association with Beth Schreibman Gehring. Reliance on any information provided by me is used solely at your own risk.

Don't let this century be defined by your apathy: Vote tomorrow! This means YOU!

This was passed on to me by my sister and I think that its important to see. I speak to too many disillusioned Democrats (including myself) everyday. I've never used this blog as a political forum but we've all got alot at stake here, including our very survival, and yes..I mean Climate Change. I'm tired of people blaming all of our current issues on Barack Obama. No President would have had a chance here with the mess that we've been left. Like the  famous cartoon of George Bush says..."I screwed you but thanks for blaming it on the black man." Enough said.

A lot has been accomplished in the last two years. Don't let this century be defined by your apathy. 

GO OUT AND VOTE tomorrow. This means YOU! And if you don't...don't ever bitch to me about the results.






  ETHICS • Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents (2009) 



• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)


• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)


• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)


• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)


• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration


• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)


• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)


• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)


• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)


• Developed the “Don Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)



GOVERNANCE • The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)


• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)


• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)


• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)


• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending


• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)



NATIONAL SECURITY • Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)


• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.


• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda


• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)


• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)


• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)


• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)


• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)


• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009) • Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of nucs; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use nucs on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.


• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)


• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported


• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)


• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)



IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN • Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)


• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)


• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)


• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)


• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)



MILITARY & VETERANS • Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family


• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror


• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)


• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs


• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)


• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)


• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)


• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)


• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.


• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)


• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)


• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)


• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)


• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)


• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)


• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.


• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)


• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)


• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.


• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)



FOREIGN POLICY • Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue


• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure


• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush


• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush


• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)


• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)


• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)


• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)


• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush


• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)


• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)


• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)


• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)


• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)


• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)


• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)


• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)


• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)


• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)


• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)


• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)


• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)


• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)


• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)


• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)


• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)



ECONOMY • Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority


• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)


• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)


• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police  officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls


• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)


• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)


• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)


• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)


• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned


• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)


• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency


• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers


and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)


• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)


• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)


• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)


• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections


• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.


• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)


• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…


• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)


• Signed bill - US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)


• Signed bill - Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)



TAXES • Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US


• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign


• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)


• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)


• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)


• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)


• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)


• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)


• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level



BUDGETING • Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)


• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)


• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)


• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget


• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror


• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)


• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)


• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)


• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down


• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down


• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)


• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)


• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)


• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)


• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)



HEALTHCARE • Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)


• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)


• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)


• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)


• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions


• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)


• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)


• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)


• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)


• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)


• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)


• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)


• Historic healthcare reform bill signed - $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years


Components of the bill


- Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014


- Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits


- Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill


- An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped


- Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount


- In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole”


- Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits


- Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance


- All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine


- Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care


- There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance


- Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26


- Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale”


- Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may be barred from participating in new health insurance exchanges


Funding sources:


- Large employers (over 50 workers) that don’t offer health benefits will be charged a $2,000/worker fee; if the employer offers coverage but employees instead purchase federally subsidized insurance the fee is $3,000/worker receiving federal subsidies or $750/worker (whichever is lower)


- Annual fees on pharmaceutical companies ($27 billion), health insurance companies ($60 billion), and medical device-makers ($20 billion)


- Annual penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance (up to a maximum of $695/person)


- Increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% for individuals making $200,000+ and families making $250,000+


- 3.8% tax on unearned income for millionaires


- Insurance companies will be subject to a tax on each high-end insurance plan (so-called “Cadillac” plans) they offer




- Illegal immigrants are not eligible for insurance or subsidies


- By Executive Order, such federal funding can’t be used for abortion


- The federal government will assist states by covering all of the increased expenses of expanding Medicaid coverage (90% of costs after 2020)



ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT • Removed a ruling that now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards (2009)


• Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles (2009)


• Overturned Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act (2009)


• Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government (2009)


• Ended the Bush-era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions (2009)


• Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources (2009)


• Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites (2009)


• Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s energy reform was killed by Senate Republicans


• Proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs (2009)


• Cancelled several Bush-era mountain-top removal and mining permits (2009)


• Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009)


* Note: Bush had withdrawn from such efforts


• Asked Congress for an energy reform and “cap and trade” bill (2009) * Note: The Congress failed to pass such a bill


• Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water-current energy production (2009)


• Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon (2009)


• Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park (2009)


• Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails (2009)


• Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs (2009) * Note: These green retrofits are moving very slowly


• Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations (2009)


• Attended the Copenhagen talks and, after the talks were stalled, negotiated an international (voluntary) agreement on reducing carbon emissions and raising funds to assist developing nations in offsetting carbon emissions (2009)


• Banned importation of pythons in response to a growing population of pythons damaging the Florida Everglades (2009)


• Committing the federal government to increasing research and use of renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, biomass, etc. (2009)


• Executive orders establishing a federal initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations (2009) (2010)


• Called for exploring the possibility of additional off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, and off Alaska (but not in ANWR) (2010)


• Agreed to consider increases in nuclear energy production and requested a study on the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction (2010) * Note: Nearly all energy initiatives were defeated by Republican opposition in Congress


• Increased investment in clean energy projects (2010)


• Executive Order to develop a new strategy for and commitment to ocean and lake resources, and for scientific research on water quality (2010)



RIGHTS • Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)


• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)


• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)


• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)


• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)


• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)


• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)


• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009) * Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet


• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)


• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)


• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)


• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)


• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)


• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)


• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)


• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)


• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)


• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)


• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)


• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled


• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)


• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)


• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)


• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)


• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession



EDUCATION • Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)


• Increased funding for school construction (2009)


• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)


• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)


• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)


• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)


• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress


• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)


• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)


• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)


• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)


• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)


• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)


• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)



DISASTER RESPONSE • Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)


• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status


• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)


• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)


• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)


Components of the response:


- The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief


- Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund


- Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department


- Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones


- Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K.


- Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti


- Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel


- Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support


- Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince


• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)


• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)


• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)


• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)


• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)



OTHER INITIATIVES • New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)


• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)


• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)


• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)


• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)


• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)


• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)


• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status


• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)


* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress


• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)


• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)


• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportaiton Modernizatin and Safety Improvement Act (2010)



P.S. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING… • The Obamas paid for the renovations of the private living quarters in the White House with their own money rather than using the funds provided to all new first families (2009)


• The Obamas reused many Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones (2009)


• The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree (2009)


• Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; donated the award money for the prize to several charities (2009)


• Planted a garden for the White House’s vegetables and flowers (2009)


• Installed a swing set/playground for the Obama daughters and children of White House employees (2009)


• Held over 150 public town halls, press conferences, interviews, etc. in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not available on such things, but this seems to be a new record high


• Less than 30 days of vacation in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not readily available on such things, but this seems to be a new record low  



 ...And A FAMILY MAN !  

  B4B NOTE: Special Thanks to Robert P. Watson, Ph. D., Professor of American Studies, Lynn University who compiled this list and writes "Like all presidents, Barack Obama has made mistakes. But, as a presidential historian, I have been struck by claims being put forward by Obama’s many critics and the news media that he has accomplished little when, in fact, his presidency is easily one of the most active in history." And  

 Thank You Mr. President !  


 Print It...Pass It On...  




Bewitching Words of Wisdom: Arundhati Roy

“We have to lose our terror of the mundane.  We have to use our skills and imagination and our art, to re-create the rhythms of the endless crisis of normality, and in doing so, expose the policies and processes that make ordinary things — food, water, shelter and dignity — such a distant dream for ordinary people.”


“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. 

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy

Wandering Wonderland

“One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice

When she's ten feet tall


And if you go chasing rabbits

And you know you're going to fall

Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar

Has given you the call

Call Alice

When she was just small


When men on the chessboard

Get up and tell you where to go

And you've just had some kind of mushroom

And your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice

I think she'll know


When logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards

And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"

Remember what the dormouse said:

"Feed your head

Feed your head

Feed your head"


From "White Rabbit" by The Jefferson Airplane



 I’ve fallen down the Rabbit Hole many times in my life. Turning 50 was the ultimate awakening into the awareness that perhaps I should just accept that I’ve spent most of my life either living in or trying to avoid living in Wonderland. I’ve since  decided to follow my bliss, making one of my homes in a very green and sunny spot of Southern California! And…anyone who has spent any time here knows that its not one of the most envied of lifestyles without good reason. The strawberries that live here are mutants that grow to the size of tennis balls yet are as sweet as candy. There are oranges, lemons and avocados growing in the smallest front yards  and orchards everywhere.  Cooking herbs that I buy back East are the size of shrubs and if I want fresh rosemary all that I do is walk down the street and grab a handful! There is tie dye in the shades of the brightest butterflies in sold in every shop and flowers so fragrant that you can smell them for blocks. There are Hot Yoga studios where you can break free from your cocoon and stretch your wings and artisan coffee houses on every corner, filled with hookah pipes and fabulous French pastry.

 Here in Southern California  great wine practically flows from the public fountains and best of all for an old hippy chick like me, marijuana is virtually legal in this state and worshipped by young and old with a Dionysian abandon. A walk on the beach here is a delightful aromatherapy treatment, packed with all of the emotional benefits and none of the legal traumas.   Medical Marijuana is used here liberally, safely and wisely. Believe me….It’s a very happy place to be because it seems that everyone’s always smiling!


Although I haven’t used them for many years, I’m still fascinated by psychedelic drugs and their effects.  I thoroughly appreciate and respect the natural Hallucinogens.  It’s the Shaman’s way and I can’t help but embrace that part of myself that still loves to play in the various and vast realms of the unknown. I’m an herbalist and although LSD was fun in my youth I consider myself lucky to have escaped their clutches unscathed because synthesized drugs and their potential for creating uncontrollable emotional mayhem completely scare the hell out of me.

On the other hand Cannabis, Opium, Peyote and Psilocybin mushrooms are natural tools that can open you up to all of the possibilities of the world as an individual and community all at once. Be careful though…. they work with YOUR consciousness and they are brilliant interpreters of YOUR particular brand of truth. If you approach them with respect they will generously share their amazing secrets and if you abuse them they will be more than happy to teach you a very potent lesson. They are very generous little plants. 

Trust me on this. 

When taken wisely and in the company of one who understands their natural gifts, these plant allies can be potent tools to promote incredible self -awareness. They will shrink the boundaries of your self- imposed limitations and allow you to move through the cracks of your ego with surprising swiftness. They will also bring you visions from the depths of your being that will scare you into consciousness and allow you to choose to be present in your life powerfully. Allowing yourself to be present to the deepest, dankest inner trembling of your psyche can be incredibly empowering and terrifying at the same time. It’s not always pretty and quite often its very impolite. To be sure, it’s been a long strange journey down the rabbit hole but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I know who I am and that’s why I can finally live peacefully here in Wonderland……… 

So who am I?  To be entered into our drawing for a sample of our Roxana’s fabulous new perfume “Smell me” you’ll need to take your very best guess.  But for me the most fascinating question of the day is “Who are you?”

 Roxana Villa has created a trial version of a green fragrance with rose at the heart titled "Smell Me".

She will be giving away five samples of the fragrance as part of this blogging collective.  To be entered to win a sample of "Smell Me" please visit each participating blog and determine which character from the story each blogger has assumed. E-mail your guess to Roxana (at) Five winners will be chosen to receive a sample of the first edition trial of the fragrance.   

Participating Blogs:

Illuminated Perfume Journal

Perfume Shrine:

Indie Perfumes:

Tom at PerfumeSmellin' Things: 


Authors disclaimer: I’m very aware that I’m talking about some plants that are very illegal in this country.  If you’re ever going to try them, please do so safely and only in the company of one who knows and understands their power. And….the legalities of getting caught with them are still incredibly frightening. I think that the marijuana laws in this country are ridiculous, but they’re still here… least for now! With boomers of all stripes in political power the collective consciousness surrounding cannabis law in this country is changing. Here in California, marijuana is the single largest cash crop and if taxed has the potential to bring this state out of its appalling deficit. For more information go to:

Drawing of Alice courtesy of Roxana Villa

Introducing "Perfume Illuminated" by Beth Schreibman Gehring & Roxana Villa

I am honored to introduce a collaboration that I am truly very excited about! Many of you have read the articles that I've written about Roxana Villa, of Roxana Illuminated Perfume who is in my mind the undisputed queen of the art of Botanical Fragrance!  Her perfumes are lovely on all levels ,  good for the earth and fruitful for all things mind, body and spirit. 

After watching the movie Quantum Activist with her family on New Years Eve, she was hit with the question, "What are you doing to participate in the creation of the reality that we all share?" Well, the answer is going to be alot of things given that she has more creative energy than almost anyone that I've ever known , but luckily for me, this new project that she's invited me to be a part of is one of them!

Perfume Illuminated is our effort together to bring you fragrance and flavor from a new perspective; at the same time earthy and ethereal, practical as well as spiritual. Every Friday we will be addressing a different scent and because she is a botanical perfumer her scents easily translate into my language which is the language of food as well as perfume.

Roxana's no stranger to lovely things to eat though...upon our first meeting I was offered homemade Macorons and a glass of fresh spring water which had been exquisitely laced with Jasmine. I was instantly tranfixed and became her willing participant in almost any project that she throws at me.  In this first edition of Perfume Illuminated you will discover recipes for tincture of Orris and Violets, Violet ice cream as well as a few stories and other such things to help thaw your toes on this chilly midwestern morning!

Both of us  truly hope that it will inspire you and bring you abundant enjoyment!

 Violet Ice cream[1]