Sunshine, SPF Clothing

May 30, 2009


As everyone is learning, sunlight is important for our synthesis of Vitamin D and Calcium. Sun for bone health. And, we also know that he sun’s UV is stronger than ever. So although we need to be in the sun unprotected for 1-20 minutes a day, we do need to protect during the rest of the day. HOW? 

The safest way to protect yourself from the sun is with a hat and to stay out in the sun short amounts of time so you do not burn. There are wonderful sun screen clothes. ,, are just a few of the many SPF clothing companies out there. I recently bought a great looking SPF shirt from, see photo above.

I intend to enjoymy summer and not hide from the sun, yet be smart about protection and non-toxic sunscreens. Stay tuned for that post soon.



A newly released study has shown that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary Bisphenol A (BPA), and thus suggests that drinking containers made with BPA release the chemical into the liquid that people drink in sufficient amounts to increase the level of BPA excreted in human urine. The study was done through the Harvard School of Public Health.

Translation:Plastic refillable water bottles are leaching toxic chemicals into your clean drinking water. 

Here is the very sad and scary part: In addition to polycarbonate bottles, which are refillable and a popular container among students, campers and others and are also used as baby bottles, BPA is also found in dentistry composites and sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. (In bottles, polycarbonate can be identified by the recycling number 7.) Numerous studies have shown that it acts as an endocrine-disruptor in animals, including early onset of sexual maturation, altered development and tissue organization of the mammary gland and decreased sperm production in offspring. It may be most harmful in the stages of early development.

“We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential,” said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.

Sippy cups and baby bottles containing BPA’s have been banned in Canada already.  Many states are considering banning it, too, so this study comes at a very auspicious time. It has been shown that drinking hot liquids or heating plastic bottles can cause even more leaching. A related article reveals the work of Scott Belcher, PhD and a team at University of Cinncinnati which details the impact of heat on the plastic leaching and the suspicions the scientific community has about the toxic effects on humans.

Hats off to first author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and Karin Michels.

What are the alternatives? Stainless steel refillable bottles. Glass bottles. Try,, and your local natural foods store.

For baby bottles and pacifiers that are BPA-free try  and



For those of you who are looking for a green date, here is the site for you- EcoDater.  EcoDater is a free online dating service for people who want to live a eco-friendly lifestyle.  The subscribers are environmentalists, vegans and vegetarians, organic farmers, outdoor enthusiasts, yoga practitioners, activists and much more. the basic service is free and then there are premium services available including


A bit unclear is the invitation to join as a Charter member for free lifetime premium membership- and in the same sentence saying that when the Carter membership expires (thought is free, you guys!) you pay $4.95 a month. HMMMMM…….Still that’s cheap. 

In their own words: “EcoDater is primarily a dating site and a for-profit enterprise. But we believe that the only responsible way to make money in this world is to do it for the betterment of the community in which we all live and function. And dating is one of the wonderful ways in which we connect and find each other. The people we meet during our dating days are some of the best teachers we’ll ever have, and one of them will be our partner for life.”

I like the search options:

 Activity Partner
 Just a Date
 Physical Intimacy
 Casual Relationship
 Serious Relationship


And I really hope that my sister takes a look at this!



Josh’s Birthday Wish

May 26, 2009


I am so proud of Josh’s 25th birthday wish: for all his family and friends to donate towards building a well with charity: Water .  charity: water is a non-profit bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Imagine if you had to walk 5 miles to get a drink of  water.  Yet more than 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have clean water. It’s hard to imagine what a billion people looks like really, but one in six might be easier. One in six people in our world don’t have access to the most basic of human needs. Something we can’t imagine going 12 hours without. 

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Can you imagine spending all day to secure your drinking, bathing, cooking water? Really?

In the founder, Scott Harrison’s words: “For me, charity is practical. It’s sometimes easy, more often inconvenient, but always necessary. It’s the ability to use one’s position of influence, relative wealth and power to affect lives for the better. charity is singular and achievable. The dictionary defines charity as simply the act of giving voluntarily to those in need. It’s taken from the word “caritas,” or simply, love. In Colossians 3, the Bible instructs readers to “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Although I’m still not sure what that means, I love the idea. To wear charity.” I want to meet you, Scott!

Watch a video of Scott presenting charity: water

Watch this too.

Honor someone with a donation towards a well

Fabulous Fiber Arts

May 20, 2009





Great Barrington, MA is a sweet, small town with beautiful shops notably on Main St and Bank St. Particularly, noteworthy is Karen Allen’s store stocked with sumptuously soft cashmere sweaters, hats, fingerless gloves (you’ll just want to wear them all the time – yummy). I walked in an was recognized by Susan, who works there part-time, and who also is a landscape architect and designed my hillside of thyme, peonies, day lilies and ladies mantle 10 years ago.

But, back to the shop.

Karen is an actress (think Marion Ravenwood…Indiana Jones) who is also a talented artist. She is a student of ancient and modern textiles from aroudn the world. She designs and works with hand manipulated Japanese knitting machines to create her amazing sweaters, scarves and more using Scottish and Italian cashmere yarns.

All this beauty does come with a hefty price tag. Worth saving up for one wonderful sweater to savor through the winter and the rest of your life! Or even just some fingerless gloves? Hope some of my family members happen to read this post. Definitely worth a browse and squeeze, and tell Susan that I sent you.


This is not necessarily the easiest post to write. I am Ms Organic. I pay extra and drive further than my neighbors to purchase my family’s food. And I suppose that I can get narrow- sighted.  I was interested to read the post in Huffinton Post  by Makenna Goodman of Chelsea Green Publishing about organic versus conventional meats. The bottom line question according to Goodman: “This is not a plug for corporate food. Of course you’ll still want all natural, hormone and antibiotic free meat, but…Organic?” 

The article points out that certifying for example a chicken gives it a label but doesn’t mean that said chicken had a good life, or is actually healthier than “conventional” brands. Do YOU really know what’s behind the label? There are many questions to consider in addition to our chicken’s diet; was it flown in from across the country, was it raised in cramped housing, isn’t it better for the environment to buy a local and maybe free-range chicken than an organic one that took more fuel and industry to produce and transport? McKenna’s point is that organic is not always the right choice and she does a good job arguing it..

She writes, “…we focus all the attention on the animal’s diet and miss the bigger picture…the point is that organic feed is only a fraction of what is necessary to produce a truly dynamic bird. Certainly truly organic chickens are not necessarily bad. But neither are they necessarily good….your act of buying organic is part of a political movement; you’re supporting a population of small farmers, the precious few who have decided that animals are more than merely walking meat slabs, and that vegetables should be birthed from sunshine and good soil, not created in a lab.”

She quotes Joel Salatin, farmer and author  of You Can Farm, Pastured Poultry Profits and Everything I want to Do is Illegal. Salatin writes: ” a broiler (meat chicken) can be fed certified organic feed in a confinement house, without fresh and and sunshine….trucked for hours to a processing plant that electrocutes the bird and spills feces all over the carcass during evisceration, and be labeled “certified organic”. ”

Well, isn’t that thought provoking?  Your comments are welcome, as always. But read on-

Makenna farms- she raises chickens that have the run of the barnyard, they eat bugs, greens and some grain, but she says not much, because they eat everything else that’s just growing. Really healthy, robust chickens. Here is the catch- organic chicken feed costs twice that of conventional so Makenna’s birds get a small amount of non-organic feed. SO- if she wanted to market eggs to the local coop, they would not be organic and would cost less than organic. So here are happy and healthy birds that are not considered organic, but birds can be locked up in cages and considered organic because they are fed organic grain. I think I might be okay eating happy and mostly organic eggs over caged eggs.

I am reconsidering things and reading labels even more carefully now. I wonder  much more about the big picture of the eggs and other food I feed my family. Barbara has a box of baby chicks under a heat lamp in her barn. But if I wanted to “grow my own eggs” how do I deal with the cats….


Hat Tip: Bill



May 9, 2009


My mom-in-law sent me a link to a wonderful artist , Peter Donnelly who works in the sand daily at the beach in Christchurch, New Zealand, and then later in the day his art gets washed away with the tide. Not much more to say. It must be seen.