I Wish You and Yours A Very Pleasant & Blessed Weekend!

Good afternoon! It seems like we are apologizing all the time now. I am sorry for not getting on the blog sooner. I was tired and it was Saturday. I forgot that I didn’t have this Saturday off. Old habits are hard to break.

We ask you have patience with us. We will eventually get our act together. We are going to let Lady A try to start doing the daily postings again. “Let,” lol!  She is still weak but get stronger each day.  I know she don’t want to admit it but I think she got out of the hospital too soon. She probably raised hell to be released and they let her go. She doesn’t like to be away from home and her animals. I can’t say I blame her. At first, she would get tired sitting up and have to lay down after so long. The last couple of days, I have seen her strength growing. She wants to get back to the blogs and all of you. We will give her a try next week.  If she gets tired, I will just take over the postings. She is bull-headed and determined to do things her way. The only way to let her know she can’t do something is to let her try.

We love and support her. I guess you could say we sort of carter to her. She is a very special Lady and we feel fortunate to have her as a friend.  I feel fortunate to have her as a sister. We might not be blood but I don’t believe you have to be blood to have a bond such as ours. I am sorry I need to get this information out to you today, don’t I?

I hope everyone has a pleasant and blessed weekend. I promise I will be on time tomorrow.

Anastasia

 

 

More Saturday Comments

The Fruit That Works Like Viagra

The Fruit That Works Like Viagra

Here’s a stimulating study: researchers at Texas A&M University found  that watermelon may have similar effects as Viagra.  The scientists credit  a variety of ingredients that collectively stimulate blood vessels and may  increase libido.

Watermelon contains a variety of nutrients like beta carotene and  phytonutrients like lycopene (which research incidentally also links to a  healthy prostate) and citrulline.  Lesser-known citrulline is still being  studied to determine its health effects but researchers find that it relaxes  blood vessels in the same way Viagra does.

Says Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable  Improvement Center in College Station: “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which  relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile  dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

When citrulline is consumed, it is converted to arginine in the body.   Arginine is an amino acid that is well known for its beneficial heart,  circulation, and immune system effects.  It is also beneficial for obesity  and type 2 diabetes.  Dr. Patil adds: “Watermelon may not be as organ  specific as Viagra but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug  side-effects.”

Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s  Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips,  recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

Help for Making New Habits Deepak Chopra

Help for Making New Habits

by Deepak Chopra

Every habit is a cooperative venture between body and mind. Generally  speaking, the mind leads the venture and body follows as a silent partner. It is  attention, or awareness, that touches the sleeping powers of the mind and makes  them vital again. The smallest shift of attention can change the world you  perceive and the body you live with.

Guidelines for new habits:

1. The habit should be  acquired effortlessly over a period of time.

2. It should be guided by  positive thoughts.

3. It should be consciously repeated, but always in a  good frame of mind, never forced in as the enemy of a bad habit.

Cultivated in this way, new habits condition the whole mind-body system to  create health and happiness automatically.

I am again reminded of those two sentences from Abraham Maslow about very  healthy, creative people: “What such a person wants and enjoys is apt to be just  what is good for him. His spontaneous reactions are as capable, efficient and  right as if they had been thought out in advance.” It sounds too good to be  true, but is just habit at work.

All that is needed is the awareness that the unconscious mind can be changed  in its routine, and then one simply changes it. People who have been unhappy all  their lives can become happy simply by realizing that the source of change is  inside themselves.

The unconscious can be refined and rechanneled through suggestions,  repetition, and above all, attention. Do not fret too much over “how it all  happens”—that is just an old mindset saying, “It won’t happen, it can’t.”

 

Calendar of the Sun for Monday, July 2

Calendar of the Sun

2 Haymonath

Day of Bes

Color: Brown
Element: Water
Altar: Upon a brown cloth set a pitcher of beer, a bowl of incense, and the small figure of the dwarf god Bes, surrounded by rhythm instruments.
Offerings: Do something for children, or to help someone’s marriage.
Daily Meal: Barley. Beer.

Hymn to Bes

O little dancer from the Land of Punt,
Guardian of sweet dreams,
Giver of beauty both inside and out,
Bless the bed in which we shall sleep,
Bless the mirror into which I will look
Tomorrow morning when I awake.
Bless and protect all children,
For they are the innocent victims of this world.
Bless and protect those who join together
In committed relationship,
Especially when their love is the anchor of a family.
Bring us laughter, dancing Bes,
And protect us from all disasters
For as long as we may live and love.

(All pick up musical instruments and spend time playing in honor of Bes. Singing or chanting of one’s choice may be added, as may dancing.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Good Monday Morning, My Dear Friends!

Moon & Witch Comments & Graphics Good Monday Morning, my dear friends! I hope your day is off to a great start. I hope most of you are on a long extended vacation. I remember hearing on the News, most people would be off the 4th, 5th & 6th. Boy, a break like that, you won’t never want to go back to work. I know after a long vacation, I use to have to kick myself in the rump to go back. I just stopped to think if I missed going to work, hmm? Consider my family’s auto shop moved 60 miles in the opposite direction of my home, No! At first I enjoyed it. The business was only located 20 miles away from where I live. That was great. I loved going to work. In that type of business, you meet all types of people. It was definitely interesting. Then I don’t know what happened to cause the move. I guess it was a bigger garage and my cousin jumped on it. My hubby and I helped move that greasy, nasty crap, YUCK! I worked at the new office for about 6 months and I decided I had it. My cousin told me he was going to have to decrease my salary. Yeah, right! I guess he thought I was going to work for my health, lol! Anyway, I hit the road and never looked back. So thinking about now, heck no, I don’t miss work, lol!

Well let’s get down to business. I ran across this lovely chant I wanted to share with you this morning. I do not know the author. If anyone does, please contact me and I will credit it. I hope you enjoy it.

Shed, Release

Whatever It Takes, Whoever You Are.

Heal The Wounds, Erase The Scars

Allow Your Hearts To Be Wide Open.

Shed, Release, Return Unbroken

How Many Times Have You Gone Within.

Only To Find Yourself There Again

Shed, Release, Return Unbroken.

Know Thyself This Truth Be Spoken

Shed, Release, Return Unbroken.

Know Thyself This Truth Be Spoken

~Magickal Graphics~

Hey Ya’ll, It’s A Happy, Happy Day! Why? It’s FRIDAY!!! TGIF!!!

Good Morning Images, Quotes, Comments, Graphics
Good Friday morning, my friends! How is everyone doing this morning? I hope super. It is a get-away day and plus it also Father’s Day Weekend! Have you got all the special men in your life their presents yet? My husband told me something a long time ago that I now use on him, lol!

When Mother’s Day rolled around one year, I asked him why he hadn’t bought me a Mother’s Day present. He turned around and told me, I wasn’t his mother that’s why he hadn’t bought me a present. I have a memory worse than an elephant. Every year, I turn the tables on him and tell him, “he’s not my daddy, hmm!” He ought to have remembered the old saying what goes around comes around, lol!

Well let’s see what we can get into real quick…..

Ah, an Irish Blessing For You, My Friends!

When the first light of sun-

Bless you.

When the long day is done-

Bless you.

In your smiles and tears-

Bless you.

Through each day of your years-

Bless you.

Have a super day, dearies!

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

By David Rosen, AlterNet, Printed on June 13, 2012

President Eisenhower was right on point about the military-industrial complex, but he could not have predicted the emergence of the massive surveillance state — combining the government and private sector — that bolsters it.

Sadly, neither President Obama nor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has the desire or moral courage to fight the growing power and influence of the Corporate Security State.  We are witnessing the integration of spying on two levels, the government level (federal, state and local) and the corporate level (via telecom providers, web services and credit card companies).

If you are a user of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Craigslist or another popular site, the U.S. security state is watching you.  An increasing number of federal agencies are employing sophisticated means to monitor Americans’ use of social networking sites.  Federal entities from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are involved in developing programs to track the American public online.

Here is a brief summary of some of the other programs.

1.  Justice Department. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a report from the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section, “Obtaining and Using Evidence from Social Networking Sites,” that describes how evidence from social networking sites can reveal personal communications that might help “establish motives and personal relationships.”

It reports that monitored data from such sites can provide location information and “prove and disprove alibis.”  Perhaps most illuminating, it advises agents that “going undercover” on social media sites can enable law enforcement to communicate with suspects and targets, gain access to nonpublic information and map social relationships.  The DOJ document notes that Twitter retains the last login IP address, but does not preserve data unless legally required to do so.

2. The IRS uses a variety of social media sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life to investigate taxpayers.  It seems to have started this practice in 2009, providing agents with special training on social networking.  The EFF posted the IRS’ 38-page training that offers detailed tips to agents on how to conduct searches, locate relevant taxpayer information, narrow down and refine results. 

3.  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is seeking a tool that integrates all online information, including web searches, Wikipedia edits and traffic webcams.

4. The Defense Department has solicited proposals through DARPA for a $42 million “Social Media Strategic Communications” (SMISC) program, a tool that tracks social media and weeds out information.  It has set four goals for the project: (i) to detect, classify and measure the development of ideas, concepts in hidden social media messages; (ii) specify the structure of the campaign and influence in social media sites and the community they create; (iii) identify the participants and intention in conducting a social media campaign of persuasion and measure its effect; and (iv) develop an effective counter-message to an identified campaign carried out against the enemy.

5. The FBI is soliciting a bid for a program that seems very similar to the DHS social-network monitoring program.  Dubbed the “FBI Social Media Application,” the program would have “[the ability] to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence … to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”

In the FBI’s 12-page solicitation, it requests a program that can quickly identify, display and locate alerts on geo-spatial maps and enable users to summarize the “who, what, when, where and why” of specific threats and incidents.  Going further, it seeks to not simply detect “credible threats,” but to identify those organizing and taking part in gatherings and to predict upcoming events.  According to the FBI, “Social media will be a valued source of information to the SIOC [i.e., Strategic Information and Operations Center] intelligence analyst in a crisis because it will be both eyewitness and first response to the crisis.”

An FBI spokesperson insisted, “[We] will not focus on specific persons or protected groups, but on words that relate to ‘events’ and ‘crisis’ and activities constituting violations of federal criminal law or threats to national security. Examples of these words will include lockdown, bomb, suspicious package, white powder, active shoot, school lockdown, etc.”  Rest assured, much like the assurances voiced by the DHS, the FBI insists that its monitoring won’t be used to focus on specific individuals or groups.

6. Department of Homeland Security. A more aggressive monitoring program was recently revealed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) when it secured from the DHS a list of approximately 380 keywords that the agency tracks.  The allegedly threatening terms were found in the DHS’ Analyst Desktop Binder, part of its 2011 Media Monitoring Capability (MMC) program.

These terms are organized into nine categories:

Agencies – 26 terms, including “DHS,” “FBI”, “CIA,” “Air Marshal,” “United Nations” and “Red Cross”;

Domestic security – 52 terms, including “assassination,” “dirty bomb,” “crash,” “first responder,” “screening” and “death.”

Hazardous materials – 34 terms, including “hazmat,” “nuclear,”  “leak,” “burn” and “cloud.”

Public health – 47 terms, including “ebola,” “contamination,” “wave,” “pork” and “agriculture.”

Infrastructure security – 35 terms, including “AMTRAK,” “airport,” “subway,” “port,” “electric” and “cancelled.”

Southwest border violence – 65 terms, including “drug cartel,” “decapitated,” “gunfight,” “marijuana,” “heroin,” “border” and “bust.”

Terrorism – 55 terms, including “Jihad,” “biological weapons,” “suicide attack,” “plot” and “pirates.”

Emergencies and weather – 41 terms, including “disaster,” “hurricane,” “power outage,” “ice,” “storm” and “help.”

Cyber security – 25 terms, including “cyber terror,” “malware,” “virus,” “hacker,” “worm,” “China” and “Trojan.”

The DHS has been engaged in monitoring social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn as well as blogs since at least 2010.  Its effort is run through the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS), National Operations Center (NOC), and is entitled “Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness (Initiative).” Its ostensible purpose is to provide situational awareness and strengthen its common operating picture.

The scope of DHS’ practice of social monitoring was unexpectedly revealed in a special congressional hearing, the House Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Intelligence, headed by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), in February.  Two DHS officials, Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan and Director of Operations Coordination and Planning Richard Chavez, raised the representatives’ ire by appearing to be deliberately stonewalling on the scope and practice of the agency’s social media surveillance.

Most disturbing, the DHS reps appeared unsure about the monitoring program’s goals, how the gathered information would be used and whether it would be shared with other agencies.  In an unusual show of bipartisan unity, Reps. Billy Long (R-MO), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) joined Rep. Meehan in chastising the DHS officials.

Under intense congressional probing, DHS reps revealed that the keywords chosen for monitoring were drawn from commercially available, off-the-shelf database programs that were customized to meet its specifications.  The agency was particularly interested in determining first witnesses to breaking events like the 2011 Tucson shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and others and the January 2012 bomb threat at an Austin school.

The DHS reps insisted that data gathered was only used to confirm other news reports and that information on private citizens was not being collected.  In addition, they claimed that that all personally identifying information was regularly scrubbed from the agency’s servers.

Few should feel comforted by the DHS assurances.  At the House hearing, it was also revealed that the agency was involved in what appears to be an ongoing campaign to monitor the actions and beliefs of individual Americans engaged in community-based political activism.  It compiled a report, “Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI,” that tracked community reactions to the proposed location of Guantánamo detainees in a local Michigan prison.

The DHS report is part of the EPIC documents acquired through a Freedom of Information request.  It details that information was gathered from a variety of sources, including newspaper articles and responses, blogs by local activists, and Twitter and Facebook posts.

The House hearing also shed light on the DHS practice of outsourcing keyword tracking of social media through a sole-source contract to the giant defense contractor, General Dynamics. In 2011, General Dynamics had revenues of $5.5 billion of which 84 percent ($4.6 bil) came from government contracts.  Earlier this year, it’s Advanced Information Systems division was awarded a $14 million DHS contract to (in the words of a press release) “provide constant and continual watch operations for critical communications to the agency’s National Coordinating Center.”  In addition, it will “identify the possible impacts of potentially disruptive events.

In keeping with the prevailing ethos of corporate unaccountability, it turns out if the General Dynamics employees are found to have misused the information garnered from a social network user, including a journalist or public figure, the employee must take a training course or, worst case, lose his/her job.  No criminal penalties are specified.

A word to the wise, Big Brother is watching you.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/155764/

10 Steps to Simpler Living

10 Steps to Simpler Living

  • Chaya, selected from Networx

By Kevin Stevens, Networx

When chatting with some friends or clients, it’s not uncommon to hear them say that they are envious of my “simpler life.” My response is generally that what is perceived as “simple” has a lot to do with my attitude; while some days are simple, others are not. Being a small business owner and trying to coordinate multiple clients, projects and schedules can be pretty draining and hectic. I have made some great steps to make my life simpler but there are still days when it can be a bit overwhelming.

I recently completed some custom bookcases for a client. During that project, a typical day might involve making the 30 second walking commute to my basement workshop for the “work” portion of my day. I must admit that building custom furniture is pretty much an ideal gig and I’m often in the best state of mind. But like many folks, this portion of my life is just a slice of what a week or month may bring. On a less than ideal day, I might have to commute 4 hours between 3 or 4 job sites, finish up a punch list, spec out some new project and fit in a few materials runs to the lumber yard or home center.

Given the fact that my life can actually get quite hectic, I have found these practices to be very helpful. They work for me; they could work for you.

1. Work is work and home is home. For most folks this is one of the first steps to simpler living. Being able to punch out at the end of the day and leave the work baggage behind is one way to make your life feel less stressful. Granted some jobs and career choices can influence this ability to disconnect your work life from “living,” the sooner you can remove this overlap, change can start.

2. Less is more. I feel that one of the biggest burdens to happiness comes from too much stuff in your life, whether these are material things or activities. Having more is not always better. Consumerism is contagious and a hard habit to break. People often equate “things” with happiness, but a life-long pursuit of more and more only leads to less happiness. Working 60 hours a week to pay for a too-big house filled with stuff you don’t need or use is a trap.

3. Time never sleeps. People often say their lives are too busy because they “don’t have enough time.” Time is a fixed thing. Each day only has 24 hours. It’s not the day that is too short, but the list of things stuffed into the day that is too big. Here priorities will allow you to thin the list to what will fit or needs to fit. Some things can wait ’til tomorrow, or even go away completely.

4. Bye-bye TV. Some numbers to think about: The New York Times reported, “Americans watched more television than ever in 2010, according to the Nielsen Company. Total viewing of broadcast networks and basic cable channels rose about 1 percent for the year, to an average of 34 hours per person per week.” 34 hours per week is like having a second job. If you’re having trouble with the “time” issue above there is a pretty easy fix. Push the “off” button on the TV remote.

I terminated my satellite TV service back in January, and I have not missed it a bit. The 3 shows I have grown to love are viewed on demand via my internet connection. Saving the $60 to $100 a month is a bonus, too. Some people like to watch the morning news, but I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition, and for weather reports I look out the window.

5. Don’t swap one time waster for another. As I mentioned above, my TV service is gone. The trick was to not fill that space with other equally distracting events. I still watch a DVD now and then, but dropping your TV service and replacing it with endless streaming content or stacks of DVDs is not an improvement.

6. Limit online social time. This can be emails, Facebook, Twitter or simply texting (a new thing for my 12-year-old daughter). Fitting in a set time for this, and limiting that time, will do wonders. Twenty years ago people got by just fine with out any of these “conveniences.” Just because you can, does not mean you must.

 

7. De-clutter. Distractions can make your brain work harder than it needs to. An active working brain can keep the Alzheimer’s away, but the difference between “thought” and “noise” is key. Physical clutter can add visual stress and frustration to your day. Most people will agree that walking into a tidy room (whether it is the kitchen, living room, office or bedroom) puts their minds into a more peaceful state. When the space is clean maintaining it, in its clean state, is much simpler. (I’m pretty good in the kitchen, living room and bedroom on this; it’s just my desk that can get a little troublesome).

A few years ago I realized that letting go of stuff is very enlightening. I have seen more stuff leave the house lately than come in. I have been collecting stuff for 20 years in this house. I’m now working my way down the other side of this mountain by getting rid of things. If I have not used it in a year or more it gains a spot on the “out list.”

8. Have some hobbies and personal time. A good example of someone who uses this practice to keep life sane and simple is my fiance. She has a hectic work schedule and occasionally has to work at home. When she does finally get to punch out, she heads to her crafting/studio space and works on her “fairies and miniatures” or kicks back to listen to an audio book. This is a cleansing and Zen-like practice for her. A good portion of my work is in a field I enjoy so my hobby/work boundary is a little more fuzzy than hers is. If you can spend your time doing things you love, your life will feel simpler and more fulfilling.

9. Foods for thought. Just as a hobby can provide a retreat, many also find solace in the kitchen. The body’s basic need for nutrition and sustenance could be met with basic beans and rice and some tossed greens, or it can be meet with a 7 course meal of escargot, stuffed mushrooms, carbonnades flamandes, cognac shrimp with Beurre Blanc — well you get the picture. Spending a few minutes Sunday night with dinner ideas for the rest of the week may have you streamlining your evenings. One of my tricks is to make a large batch of something on the weekend that can be munched on during the week, like a large pot of stew or gallon of homemade pasta sauce. A little reheat and dinner is served. Clearing out the fridge at the end of each week keeps things from getting buried and allows for less clutter.

10. Downsize everything. I’ve worked with clients who have begun the process of downsizing their lives. Many are doing it for green reasons; others are transitioning as empty nesters. A smaller home = a simpler home. When we take trips to our cabin (it is a small 200 sq foot, off-grid retreat) our basic needs are met in a simple way. We have a small PV system that provides some lights, we cook on a camp stove or over the wood stove, water comes with us in 5 gallon jugs, a cooler keeps the food fresh and a sawdust composting toilet handles the other end of business. A week will pass with reading, music, hiking and playing with the dogs. Sometimes a little more work gets done on the cabin itself, or to the surrounding landscape. The cabin provides even more relaxation and simpler living than car camping. Life at the cabin can exist without TV, cell-phones, a giant mortgage, utility bills and a closet full of shoes.

If you have ever traveled much, you have probably seen countless small cabin “Vacation Resorts” that cater to those looking for a little down time, or to take a break from their overstimulated lives. Think about it: people pay money (and in some cases a lot) to do what most can do with some basic lifestyle changes. Why is it that people feel so relaxed after one of these vacations? I’ll tell you a secret — it’s the simple and uncomplicated lifestyle that recharges our spirits.

To bring your enemy evil #2

To bring your enemy evil 2

Ingredients:
Dust from the tomb of an assassin’s victim.
India ink
Vinegar
Aguardiente
Salt
Red wine
Guinea pepper
Chinese pepper
Three needles
Nine pins
Three garlic bulbs
Snake fat
Cooking oil

Write your enemy’s name with India ink on a piece of paper. Pierce the paper with the nine pins and the three needles. Place it at the bottom of a clay pot. Cover the paper with nine pinches of dust, salt and the peppers. Add nine drops of India ink and vinegar, nine spoonful of aguardiente, and the garlic bulbs. Cover the mixture with cooking oil. Insert a wick.

Call a curse on your enemy as you light the lamp. Let it burn for nine days.