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An Oracle for Everyone

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Each one of us has an experience of being human that is particular to who we are at our core and what we’ve lived over time. But we also share with each other the peculiar experience of being human, of being a unique consciousness that exists within (and, arguably, without) a body on this planet and in three-dimensional space. Becoming aware of ourselves as existing with a body that is separate from the body within which we were gestated is one common aspect of being human. And once we find ourselves inhabiting a body of our own, we are tasked with learning how to care for and feed that body, which is another commonality of the human condition that we all share.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.16.10 PMAnother persistent aspect of the human condition is a need for stability; a desire to keep things running smoothly with as few disruptions to our “normal” life as possible. Or, more accurately, no disruptions at all, ever! If you’ve lived as a human for any amount of time, you know that this ideal is far from the reality of everyday life. Most of us live through times of disorder and disarray in our personal lives. And most of us have thought, Wow, if only I’d seen that coming! Because if we had seen it coming, we could have been better prepared and being better prepared would have cut down on the chaos and confusion that resulted from not being prepared and then we could have sailed right through whatever it was like a champ!

Let the Dust Settle!

One method for getting a heads up on what’s coming our way is divination. Divination has been used by humans all over the globe and as far back as we have evidence for human life. There are countless forms of divination, ranging from Abacomancy (through Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.19.13 PMstudying dust) to Zygomancy (through studying weights). Consulting an oracle—someone or something that can connect with the deity(ies) or spirits—has a long history in human culture. You’ve probably heard of the Oracle at Delphi, even if you’re not sure of what exactly it was. Delphi was a location in ancient Greece where a priestess would go into trance and receive messages from the god Apollo. Those messages were interpreted by the priests of Delphi and delivered as prophecies to those seeking answers.

The Oracle at Delphi is probably the most well-known oracle system in western culture, but there are many other oracle systems from many other parts of the world. Some oracles weren’t people, but statues. Typically a representation of a god or goddess, the statue would move or speak or make some kind of sound that could then be interpreted by the experts in such things. In some oracle systems, like incubation, it was the person seeking the prophecy who was the oracle. They would sleep in a section of a temple or other sacred place (sometimes wrapped in a fresh sacrificial animal skin) and receive their answer in dream form.

One of the most ancient oracle methods comes from China and requires that a turtle shell or shoulder blade of an ox be inscribed with a question and then burned until it Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.05.44 PMcracked. The cracks were then interpreted and an answer transcribed. Many African cultures see the oracle as someone with a strong connection to their own spirit double. The diviner and their client may hold hands or both hold a stick and the movement of the hands or stick are interpreted for messages. Some diviners in certain African oracle systems work as pairs, using chains of seed shells cast on the ground, each interpreting the other’s chain and effectively “doubling” the answer. Some indigenous cultures in the Americas used grains of corn for Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.06.55 PMdivination, which were thrown onto a white cloth or into water. The kernels were then interpreted based on where and how they landed. This was actually a pretty common method in many cultures, with variations in what was thrown: sand, beads, shells, stones, bones, dice, and so on.

What’s Your Oracle?

Many of these oracle systems are still practiced today. The stars and celestial events (such as eclipses and comets) have been looked to for information about the past, present, and future by just about every known culture for thousands of years and is still widely accepted as valid or, at the very least, intriguing. Free of the stigma usually attached to tarot cards, oracle cards have become a very popular way of gaining insight into a situation or circumstance. The ever-increasing numbers of oracle card decks, featuring themes from a nearly countless number of inclinations and belief systems, speak to our enduring conviction that there is some way to know what’s happening next. And also to our boundless optimism that we can be, somehow, better prepared for it when it comes. 

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To hear more about oracle cards and how they can work for you, check out the latest Tarot Talk podcast.

If you want to learn more about the types of oracles discussed above, try these places:

Oracles and Divination

http://www.worldhistory.biz/ancient-history/58945-4-oracles-and-divination.html

http://www.psychicstudent.com/types-of-divination/

The Oracle at Delphi

https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/pythia-oracle-delphi-001641

Ancient Chinese Divination

http://www.indiana.edu/~e232/02-Shang.pdf

African Divination

https://bulletin.hds.harvard.edu/articles/summerautumn2013/silent-voices-african-divination

South American Divination

http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/divination-by-means-of-maize/

Pinot Grigio, But I Love Thee!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice

Americans love wine. We drink so much of it that we actually consume more wine than any other nation in the world! It’s the Millennials who are largely responsible for pushing our charts of wine consumption skyward. It has been speculated that the media is a big influence on their choice of beverage du jour, through movies and television shows rife with young, hip, main characters imbibing wine in ever-increasing amounts (Thach, 2015).

Of all the wine drank on our star-spangled shores, Pinot Grigio is the third most popular wine in the US, right after first-place Chardonnay and second-place Cabernet Sauvignon (Thach, 2015). Despite Pinot Grigio’s great popularity, it has largely been rebuffed by the wine community as the Muzak of the wine world. The great wine glass maker Riedel doesn’t even make a Pinot Grigio glass! They make glasses for Daiginjo, Kalterer See Auslese, and Rheingau, but nothing, nada, zip, for Pinot Grigio. Why not, you ask? So glad you asked!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice abounds mostly because some wine aficionados believe Pinot Grigio wines to be too one-dimensional to warrant the admiration bestowed upon other white varietals. But this unfair judgment is mostly due to the great numbers of mass-marketed, low-budget Pinot Grigio wines produced (Thach, 2015), and not the better quality, refreshingly high acid, bright, minerally, quaffable wines also produced, but at a slightly elevated price point (VinePair).

Pinot Grigio Done Right is Like a Hemingway Novel

Another factor in Pinot Grigio’s bad rap is, in part, due to it being promoted as a “training wheels wine” (Frazier, n.d.a.), second only to white zinfandel. Oh contraire! Pinot Grigio done right is like a Hemingway novel: sharp, dry, and with no flowery artifice to mask its salinity. A good Pinot Grigio brims with fresh notes of lemon, lime, apples, and honeysuckle. Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with fish and shellfish, white pastas, appetizers, and summer salads. It also goes great with mild cheeses (although I have paired it with an extra-sharp Vermont aged white cheddar and it held its own!).

What’s in a Name?

Are Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio the same wine? Yes and no. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, just grown in different regions of the world and produced in different styles. The grape actually originated in Burgundy, France (hence the Pinot Gris appellation). The name Pinot Gris was derived from the French word pinot for the grape structure, which resembles a pine cone; and gris, because the grape, a cousin of Pinot Noir, is actually gray in color rather than the green of other white varietals (Schmitt, 2017). Pinot Gris style wines pair well with heartier fare such as hard cheeses, squashes and yams, cheese casseroles, and chicken and pork dishes. Pinot Gris is sort of like Pinot Grigio’s older, college-aged sister; more sophisticated, with greater depth and character, but with a little less sassiness, in my book, at least. And I must confess, I am a sass woman!

In the 1300s, the Pinot Gris grape migrated to Switzerland and eventually to northeastern Italy (Lombardy, the Veneto Fruili, Trentino, and Alto Adige), where its name and production style became known as Pinot Grigio (VinePair, n.d.a.).  Even though the wine is French in origin, it was the Italians who popularized it and brought the wine to the global market (Gorman-McAdams, 2014).

In Italy, Pinot Grigio wines are grown and produced in the Italian style and are often crisp with lively fruit, flowery bouquets, and a dash of zing on the finish (Gorman-McAdams, 2014). According to Wine Folly (2014), regions with chillier temperatures are likely to produce wines in this method. Some regions to look for with Pinot Grigio of this type are: Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy; Veneto and Lombardy, Italy; Austria; Hungary; Slovenia; Romania; Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and Rheingau in Germany; and Okanagan, Canada.

On the other hand, Old World Alsace style Pinot Gris wines are more fruit forward, higher in alcohol, less acidic, denser in flavor, and provide a slicker mouth feel. Stone fruit flavors balance the citrus characteristics in Alsace style Pinot Gris wines. According to Wine Folly (2014), several of the countries that make this style are, interestingly, the New World wine regions of Fruili-Venezia Guilia, Sicily; Abruzzo and Tuscany in Italy; Australia; New Zealand; Chile; Argentina; and California, Oregon, and Washington in the US. Alsace style Pinot Grigios are also considered to be a better investment if cellaring your wine is a priority.

Terlato Pinot Grigio is Liquid Summer

Admittedly, I have a peculiar fixation on rooting for the underdog. It’s been a lifelong preoccupation: befriend the bullied kid; join the Rolling Stones camp versus the megalithic Beatles one; love jazz and blues when rock was king; and, most recently, be in pursuit of the perfect Pinot. Pinot Grigio, that is! I think I may have found it in Terlato Pinot Grigio, 2015, (no affiliate marketing ploy—just the love of wine). For $20 a bottle, I think you’ll find it’s like liquid summer; evocative of a warm sunny day with low humidity and bright blue skies, a delicious salad on the patio and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background in chorus with the birds.

Those are my unconventional Pinot Grigio tasting notes, backed by extensive hands-on-wine-glass research. Please share with us the magic that slides out of your next bottle of Pinot Grigio. Together we can defeat the Pinot Grigio Prejudice for the good of all wine drinkers—present and future! We also welcome recommendations of other great Pinot Grigio wines as you discover them. Keep us posted!

Resources:

Frazier, K. (n.d.a.) Best white wine for beginners. Love to know. [Blog]. Downloaded from

https://wine.lovetoknow.com/wiki/best_wines_for_beginners

Gorman-McAdams, M. (2014, April 25). What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio? [Blog]. Downloaded from https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-pinot-gris-and-pinot-grigio-126507

Learn about Pinot Grigio white wine. VinePair. [Blog].  Downloaded from https://vinepair.com/wine-101/learn-pinot-grigio-white-wine/

Schmitt, P. (2017, September 1).Everything you need to know about Pinot Grigio. Downloaded from https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/09/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pinot-grigio/

 

Thach, L. (2015, January 24). The state of wine drinking in America today. The Week. Downloaded from http://theweek.com/articles/532653/state-winedrinking-america-today

The 3 types of Pinot Grigio. (2014, June 18). Downloaded from  https://winefolly.com/review/3-types-pinot-grigio/

Wine in America. (2017, December). Pbs.org [Blog]. Downloaded from  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/wine-america/

 

Thriving on Supplements by Janice Messino

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I live by the idea that the status of my health is mostly maintained by my lifestyle and, to some degree, my genetics. Even so, I know I miss the mark on a balanced diet on many days! To offset those less balanced days, I choose to support my health with specially chosen supplements that assure my body is getting what it needs—not just to live but to thrive. I am not alone in this quest to feel my best. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.07 PMAs consumers, we have been misled in a multitude of ways, but many of us have learned better. We no longer blindly accept a prescription; we now know to ask questions. We are learning how to take better care of our health in order to ward off the need for taking a pharmaceutical. We now have easy access to a great deal of health information, making us better-informed patients. And as patients, we have developed a preference for being treated as an individual, not a collection of symptoms. In other words, we have shifted our health paradigm and, in doing so, have become empowered. Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.28 PM

As we learn to take better care of our health, the supplement market has expanded to meet our newly-informed needs. This might explain why the supplements market is predicted to grow at a rate of almost 10% for the next seven years and reach a value of $280 billion by 2025. This upswing is, of course, driven by you.

Thriving–or just Surviving?

The late Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning physical chemist and peace activist, was a wellness pioneer who strongly advocated for high-dose vitamin C for some specific conditions and for a better state of health overall. The daily amount of vitamin C recommended by Pauling was well over the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) set by the Food & Drug Administration. The RDA claims to be a “level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy people.” But, according to a study of 4,700 adults in the US that used only a modest health assessment, less than 3% of participants were considered healthy. If most Americans are not considered healthy, then the RDA’s guidelines inappropriate for most Americans. It seems that the RDA allows for just enough nutrients to sustain ourselves. Pauling campaigned for levels of nutrients that would allow us to feel our best and to thrive, not just survive.Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.06.03 PM

Pauling was not well liked by his fellow health professionals and was often called (at the very least) an unorthodox thinker.  Many years later, his research findings are taken more seriously. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “newer evidence suggests there might be something to Pauling’s heretical claims after all. In fact, a lot of the scientific literature published on vitamin C in the two decades since Pauling’s death support his claims.”

More than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements such as vitamins each year. According to the most recent report from the American Association of Poison control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS), not one person in the US died from taking a supplement in 2013. That’s not to say that there isn’t a quality difference between brands. There is! Many supplement companies take extraordinary pride in the production of quality products. To insure safety and effectiveness, supplements should be cleanly sourced and backed by scientific evidence. So, choose a high-quality supplement from a manufacturer and reseller you trust.

 Prescription Death

Unlike the safety of supplements, “about 128,000 people die each year from drugs prescribed to them. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking 4th with stroke as a leading cause of death.” In light of the high degree of safety of supplements and the considerable number of well-documented deaths caused by prescription and over-the-counter medications, we might ponder why the FDA isn’t investing more time into making prescriptions safer and less time looking for the disadvantages of supplements.

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According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, prescription and over-the-counter medication accounts for close to 80% of the deaths reported by U.S. Poison Control Centers. Even seemingly-harmless acetaminophen, the ingredient in Tylenol and other pain-relieving products, has a dismal track record. The US Poison Control Centers report that “there are 100,000 calls to Poison Control and 56,000 visits to the emergency room, 2,600 hospital admissions, and nearly 500 deaths per year.” Deaths from properly-prescribed medications taken as directed are estimated at 2,460 per week. That number doesn’t even include deaths from prescribing errors, overdose, and improper use! Clearly, in a side-effects contest between vitamins, minerals, and other supplements versus prescription and over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplements come out on top!Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.19.07 PM

In my supplement-taking regimen, I make it a point to include supplements which can potentially raise my longevity. Cutting-edge research shows that NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a chemical compound found in every cell in our bodies, can promote longevity. NAD is said to slow down the aging process by “mitigating chemical stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and failing mitochondria.” Its neuroplasticity-enhancing effects can reverse some age-induced deterioration, such as the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. NAD seems to have the same wonderful longevity effect that is associated with calorie restriction and exercise, and we can’t get it from our diet, no matter how healthy our diet is. But we can take it as a supplement.

All the evidence points to the benefits of supplements, along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, to make all the difference in our health and longevity. For more information on how to make supplements part of your wellness practice, contact Create Health, where we follow the latest research and carry only the finest supplements.

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Source for citations in order of appearance:

Global Dietary Supplements Market Industry Trends and Forecast to 2025. Data Bridge Market Research. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-dietary-supplements-market/

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). National Institutes of Health. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

Preidt, Robert. Less Than Three Percent of Americans Live a Healthy Lifestyle. WebMD. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20160322/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Over 170 Million Americans Take Dietary Supplements. Nutraceuticals World. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2016-10-31/over-170-million-americans-take-dietary-supplements/

Light, Donald W. New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk With Few Offsetting Advantages. Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages

Northrup, Christiane. Vitamins Versus Drugs: Which is Safer? Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.drnorthrup.com/vitamins-versus-drugs-which-is-safer/

Schroeder, Michael O. Death by Prescription. US News and World Report. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications

Harrington, Stephen. Anti-Aging Mechanisms of NAD+. Life Extension Magazine. Accessed July 11, 2018. http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2018/2/Anti-Aging-Effects-Of-NAD/Page-01

 

Can the Wine Cork Help Save the World?

There is a recent movement away from using traditional cork closures due to some inaccurate and bad press. In investigating the cork for this blog and for the Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Podcast,  I was delighted to find that there are many reasons, all good, to buy wines with natural cork stoppers. The history, romance, and earth saving qualities of the natural cork is captivating. Read on, my friend!

History of the Wine Cork

Even though the natural cork is under hot debate right now, the cork as a stopper may date back as far as the ancient Egyptians. Modern legend often attributes its promotion to Dom Perignon, the famous 17th century French monk. Wine myth contends that he may have popularized the use of cork stoppers over the more commonly used wooden plugs. Four hundred years later and the cork continues to be a topic of discussion. The good news is the wooden plug is out, but the concern now is that screw caps and plastic stoppers are gobbling up market share in the world of wine closures (Gifford, 2016). These competitive stoppers are eating away at the tradition, the ceremony, and the sexy sizzle of the traditional cork.

Let’s face it, it’s the wonderful anticipation when the bottle is offered, the unwrapping of the foil capsule, the dignified pull of the cork, the gentle pop of its release, and the presentation of the cork that sets the scene for that marvelous first sip of wine. The slow expectation heightens the total wine experience. Just as it’s the sizzle that enhances the taste of the steak, it’s the looking forward to, the delayed gratification of that first sip that builds our anticipatory desire.

The Sexy Sizzle of the Wine Cork

For centuries wine enthusiasts, both novice and expert alike, have waited for the cork to be pulled, and when in public, presented to them. (Listen to Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork? on Green Ink Radio to discover the answer to this age old question.) It was the love affair of ritual that continued to entice the modern wine consumer up until the last couple of decades.  Sadly, the pomp, the sizzle, the anticipation has all begun to fade. Other players have entered the wine closure field and devoured almost 40 percent of the traditional cork market share (Gifford, 2016) and in many ways are stripping it of its old world elegance and tradition.

Fast forward to the aluminum screw cap; in terms of ceremony, it just doesn’t measure up. Sure, it’s quick and easy, but it’s about as romantic as a TV dinner. Yes, it does reduce spoilage, a little. And yes it is convenient as hell. But it’s sort of like putting on sneakers with a prom dress, practical but inelegant. Nonetheless, it has gained popularity, particularly amongst millennials, and now accounts for 20 percent of the wine-closure market. Then there’s the plastic stopper. Need I say more? A plastic plug in a living thing? Eegads. Nevertheless, it too has extracted 10 percent of the stopper trade from the cork industry (Gifford, 2016).

What’s so Great About a Cork?

There’s such a rich history of the cork, it is infused with legend, romance, and a little mystery (answers found on Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork?). But in addition to that, there are numerous economical, enological, and environmental reasons why we should select natural cork stoppers when making our wine purchases:

  • It is made from the bark of the evergreen oak. No trees are killed and it is sustainably harvested (mantoncork).
  • The cork is biodegradable, aluminum screw caps and plastic plugs are not.
  • The Mediterranean Cork Forest is comprised of over 7 million acres, which would be neglected or chopped down if not for the production of cork (Gifford, 2016).
  • It’s environmentally friendly. The Mediterranean Cork Forest offsets 20 million tons of Co2 annually (Gifford).
  • The Portugal Cork Forest has the greatest plant biodiversity of anywhere on the planet, with over 135 different thriving and unique species (Gifford).
  • It provides a safe habitat for the endangered Iberian lynx and the Barbary deer (Gifford).
  • It offers the ecological benefit of providing over 100,000 wine cork related jobs, which are among the last well-paying agricultural jobs available (Gifford).
  • There is very little risk of getting a tainted wine from a natural cork stopper (currently about 1 percent due to recent technological advances) (Gifford).
  • Corklins! Corks are made from the bark of the evergreen oak, so using them as stoppers creates some of the same effects as aging in oak barrels (Pomranz, 2018). The phenolic compounds released are tannins, polyphenols, and phenols (Schmitt, 2018). These phenols interact with catechins and malvidins and form different, enhanced compounds, named Corklins (Pomranz).

Sell the Sizzle, Baby!

My father often repeats the old sales saying, “You sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Well, my recommendation to the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance is Sell the sizzle, baby. Opening a bottle of wine with a natural cork is a sensual experience. It speaks of old world charm and days of yore that can be recaptured in that brief, timeless moment of drawing the cork away from the mysteries held within. A screwcap is just not going to be able to provide that sort of classy pomp. Let’s return to the prom dress analogy for a moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sneakers (probably more than I should), but nothing, and I mean nothing can compete with a pair of high heels to complete the overall prom look and experience. Go to a prom in sneakers or go in high heels. What is the more elegant choice?

The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has a big job ahead of them. At Green Ink Radio we wish them the best! They are working to save the Mediterranean Cork Forest and its inhabits. Their slogan is “Pop a Cork, Save a Tree.” Hey, I’m doing my part saving the world, one bottle at a time. Why don’t you join me? Salute!

Resources:

Gifford, J. (2016, February 25). How millennials (almost) killed the wine cork. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/wine-cork-comeback/470961/

Mantoncork.com. The history of cork. Retrieved from: https://www.mantoncork.com/cork/

Pomranz, M. (2018, June 8). Are ‘corklins’ the reason wine bottled with a cork tastes different? Food & Wine. Retrieved from: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/wine-cork-taste-different-corklins

Schmitt, P. (2018, June 7). Compounds called corklins found in cork-stoppered wines. The Drinks Business. Retrieved from: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/06/compounds-called-corklins-found-in-cork-stoppered-wines/

 

Transforming Transgender Treatment

When did it Happen?

I don’t know exactly when it happened; I have no recollection of the exact moment in time when working with the transgender population became a focus of my therapy practice. Like all things in life, it was a confluence of events and knowledge, a synergistic melding of intention, experience, and information. It was a slow drip to the realization of one of my life’s purposes: to be there, to show up for people who need me.

It all started several years ago with a homosexual student at the college where I work. He began to educate me extensively about the LGBT+ community. I was enthralled and soon realized how little I actually knew. Then my nephew came out as a transgender woman (he has since gone back to his biological gender, so my pronouns are correct).  My sister struggled mightily with this decision and was genuinely heartsick and that led me on an odyssey of exploration in support of her. I’m sorry to say that I continued to call my nephew by his birth name during this time of transition. It wasn’t in defiance, in hindsight, it was because I didn’t try hard enough to break myself of the habit of using his birth name.

Tony Ferraiolo Blasts It

A transgender male college student helped me work through my confusion and ignorance. He is an advocate and activist and is changing the world, so thank you Ben Crowley! He graduated this May, so I will need him on speed dial to make sure I get it right when working with trans clients in the future. And then the brilliant Tony Ferraiolo came to town. He gave a presentation at Three Rivers Community College and showed his amazing, award winning documentary, A Self Made Man. Simply put, it shook my world. My lingering heterodominant and gender binary biases were blasted to smithereens.

We Reject it Because we Don’t Understand it

And just about then the calls started coming into my practice from trans folk looking for support. I took every client. They taught me so much about the human experience—not just the gender one—for which I am forever grateful. As we sit across each other in my little living room and they share their stories, I am profoundly attuned to how universal our experiences are… and how dissimilar. I have gleaned that it is within these whispers of difference that the world germinates its seeds of cruelty to trans people. Why? My guess is because we don’t understand it and so therefore we reject it. The bigger question then becomes: What can we do to make their world better? How can we ameliorate the transgressions? (Pun intended.)

Be an Ally

Well, I’m glad you asked! There are a lot of great resources out there. I suggest you educate yourself on how to become a true supporter. We can actively enhance the lives of trans people and be an ally by supporting the following National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Slate recommended initiatives:

  • Providing gender neutral bathroom facilities in all public places to keep them safe and promote laws that allow them to use the facilities of their identified gender. Remember: They are far more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetuate them.
  • Support the informed consent model for medical treatment not the gateway model that insists on medical professionals making the final determination of eligibility (Urquart, 2016).
  • Promote the ineffectiveness and actual harmful effects of conversion therapy counseling through legislative action.
  • Ensure that your state and insurance company support the medical necessity of transition-related medical care.
  • Promote social justice through advocacy for fair labor practices for transgender people.
  • Use their identified names and pronouns!
  • Refrain from asking them about their surgeries or treatments. You don’t talk to people about your genitals and they don’t want to talk to you about theirs. Geez.
  • Support comprehensive anti-bullying policies.
  • Advocate for gender identified justice system housing and fair treatment if incarcerated.

The above list is just a very brief summary of a few of the things we can do to help and support our trans friends and relatives. For more comprehensive information and recommendations, please visit www.transequality.org

Pure Joy Podcast

I was recently interviewed on the Pure Joy Podcast about my work with the transgender population in my therapy practice, Spaziani Therapy. Co-hosts Joy and Jennifer approached the questions from two different perspectives—Joy’s questions were thoughtful and deep, even profound, and Jennifer’s were joyful and practical.  Listen to the interview on Green Ink Radio on Spaz on Health. But don’t forget to tune into our sister podcast, Pure Joy Podcast where Joy and Jennifer explore trans’ issues and a lot of other cool topics.

Please remember that when in doubt, err on the side of compassion and sensitivity. Trans folk are just that—folk. We are all in the same boat of human experience, reaching, evolving, grasping, and being. So, be kind and… show up.

Resources

National Center for Transgender Equality. Downloaded May 25, 2018 from www.transequality.org

Urquart, E. (March 11, 2016) Gatekeepers vs. informed consent: Who decides when a trans person can medically transition? Slate. Downloaded June 2, 2108 from http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/03/11/transgender_patients_and_informed_consent_who_decides_when_transition_treatment.html

Cool News: Silent Times is Opening May 25th

Official Silent Times Film Poster 2018Silent Times

The world is full of talented, amazing people. We pass them in the grocery store. We hear them singing in the car next to us at a stop light on a summer day.  We read their beautiful prose on blogs. We view their stunning photography on Instagram posts. We listen to their podcasts that team with artistry and information. And sometimes, when we are really lucky, we get to see them create their art in action.

Kat O’Reilly and I had just such good fortune when we dropped in on a filming session of the silent movie, Silent Times, being filmed in Mystic, Connecticut. Christopher Annino invited us to not only watch but also to participate in the film if we so desired. We opted to witness the magic rather than be part of the action.

In the midst of the mayhem of a film set, Christopher greeted us with an ebullient welcome and provided introductions as if we were visiting Hollywood film producers (our few boxes of donut holes certainly didn’t qualify us to receive that sort of welcome). There were jugglers juggling, flappers dancing, gypsies conjuring, pianists tinkling, and Christopher filming.

officer keystone played by David Blair and The Kid
Silent Times in Mystic May 25th

It was absolutely delightful. Kat and I stole about, watching, marveling, and trying to stay out of the way. It was equally impressive that everyone was very kind to us as we awkwardly meandered around.

The high point of the visit was that I was able to meet Kadrolsha Ona Carole, Queen of the Paranormal, in person. I had recently interviewed her on Tag! You’re It for Green Ink Radio. She was as gracious, funny, and kind in person as she was while being interviewed for Green Ink Radio.

Fast forward several months Christopher Annino and Tag Team Friendship Productions LLC of Mystic, Connecticut is now holding a world preview of the Silent Times film at the Mystic & Noank Library on May 25, 2018 at 6 pm. It’s open to the public; there is a suggested donation of $5 at the door. All proceeds will go to the Andrea Tegan Post Memorial Fund, which was created to help artists who are struggling financially. There will be an after party at the Jealous Monk 27 Coogan Boulevard Building #20.

If you’d like to learn more about Silent Times please read the details of the film from their press release:

Directed by Christopher Annino, “Silent Times” is a Roaring-Twenties escapade set in a fictional New England town. The story centers on Oliver Henry III (played by Westerly native Geoff Blanchette), a small-time crook turned vaudeville theater owner. From humble beginnings in England, he immigrates to America in search of happiness and fast cash. He becomes acquainted with people from all walks of life, from burlesque performers, mimes, hobos to classy flapper girls. As his fortunes rise his life spins out of control. The film is a loving homage to the silent films of the 1920s and 30s, and features a wide cast of characters based on archetypes and personalities common in those films, such as Charlie Chaplin, Emmett Kelly, Annie Oakley, Buster Keaton, Keystone Cops, Gypsy Rose Lee and many more. Much of the written comedy was inspired by Benny Hill, Mr. Bean, and Monty Python. Notably, it is the first silent feature film of its kind in 80 years. Shot in black and white the film speed was also sped up to match with 1920’s film speed. The film features local talent drawn from Groton, Hartford, New London, Stonington, New Haven, and Westerly, RI. Some of the local talent who starred in the film were David Blair, Bill McNally (Essex Steam Train Conductor), Enzio Marchello (Clown), Brian Olsen, Kim Laabs, Kristina Joyce Utt, Joel Melendez (acrobat), Tyquan Anderson from (CT Sun Dance team Solar Power), Row Dasilva (Sister Funk), (former Ms. Fabulous Ct) Melody Lucas, Elena Bright, Veronica Convery, Anna Convery, Dexter Herron (Retired Groton Town Police).Celebrities such as WWE Legend Brian Blair, Olga Kurkulina star of “Kick Ass 2,” Queen of the Paranormal” Kadrolsha Ona Carole, Sunny The California Girl from G.L.O.W. , (Patricia Summerland), Ric Silver the creator of the “Electric Slide” dance, comedian/ magician Skip Daniels, and WWE Legend Ron Bass appear in the film. The film is produced by international award winning film maker Biju Viswanath.
Director and Co-Writer Christopher Annino, is a graduate of Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut and won best community outreach award at the 2017 ICONIC film festival for his film “Trans Rights are Human Rights.”
Co-Writer Geoff Blanchette is a graduate of The University of Rhode Island and Co-directed “Waves” with Annino which won Best Romantic Drama at 2017 The Avalonia Film Festival.

We hope that you’ll attend the preview of Silent Times on May 25th. We saw it being filmed; the scenes were like the beginning pieces of a puzzle, and even without the larger context, it still appeared enchanting. I can fully appreciate how wonderful the finished whole will be. My guess is that there will be no words to describe the film (get it?).

Marley’s Mother of a Brunch

Recipes by Tricia Spaziani

Doggone Good Cooking

Tricia Spaziani is a down-home, modern day hostess and self-taught chef. She serves up old style hospitality, great food, and good fun. The proud mom of 13 rescue dogs, every meal she cooks is witnessed by her keenly observant pack. They are her official taste testers. They usually approve. The humans she hosts always do.  With Mother’s Day fast approaching, this is a hearty, quick and easy menu that will wow your guests.

We featured Tricia’s Marley’s Mother of a Brunch on Spaz on Health on Green Ink Radio because home cooking is a far healthier alternative to eating out. How, you ask? Because it is far less expensive, you can control your portions, and you can adjust ingredients to your liking. Also, cooking and hosting at home builds connections with family and friends and enhances intimacy in a way eating in a restaurant does not. Pull up a dog, a flute of mimosa, invite family and friends, and try these delightful recipes!

Bone appetite!

Marley’s Mother of a Brunch

Marley’s Honey Blueberry Muffins

Marley

 Ingredients:

2 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

3 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries-rinsed

1 Cup Milk

4 Tablespoons Honey

1 Egg Beaten

1/4 Cup Melted Shortening

Preheat Oven to 350F

Directions:

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and blueberries together. Mix milk, honey, beaten egg, and melted shortening. Add dry ingredients. Stir quickly just to incorporate. Fill a greased muffin pan half full. You may also use muffin liners. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown.

Marley’s Italian Torte

Ingredients:

2 Tubes of Crescent Rolls / Divided

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 Package of fresh baby spinach- 6 to 8 ounces

1 Cup fresh mushrooms – I use cremini

7 Large eggs

1 Cup fresh grated Parmesan- I use Strevechio

2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning

Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced good Deli Ham – I use Black Forest Ham

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced Hard Salami

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced Provolone Cheese

12 ounces of Roasted Red Peppers- drain them and pat them dry – another option is sun dried tomatoes packed in oil

Preheat oven to 350F

Directions:

Place a 9-inch spring form pan on heavy duty foil and wrap it around pan. This prevents leaking. Then unroll one tube of crescent dough and separate into triangles. Press onto bottom of pan to form a crust. Seal seams well with fingers. Bake 10-15 minutes or until set.

Easy Italian Torte Crust

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach, mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are tender. Drain on a paper towel or in a colander. Remove all liquid.

In a large bowl, whisk six eggs, the parmesan cheese, and the Italian seasoning and pepper.

Layer crust with half of the meats, cheese, red peppers and spinach mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture over the top. Repeat with remaining meats, cheese and vegetables, top with rest of the egg mixture.

Hearty Vegetables Are Key

 

Unroll and separate the second tube of crescent rolls into triangles, then press together to form a circle while sealing the seams. Once a circle is formed like a pie crust, place it over the filling. Wisk the remaining egg, brush over dough.

Bake uncovered, for 1 to 1/4 hours until done. During the baking process if the edges of the crust brown too fast, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Once done, loosen edges with a knife and remove spring form rim from pan. Let torte rest for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe can be made without the meat, just add additional vegetables.

Enjoy, Trisha style!

Marley’s Easy Greens & Tomato Salad

Pour a package of spring mix into a bowl.

Slice grape tomatoes.

Shred a handful of basil leaves.

Splash with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Marley’s Grapefruit Mimosa

Pair this delicious brunch with a Brut Prosecco and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to taste.

Blood orange sparkling water is also an excellent accompaniment.

Don’t forget to spay and neuter your animals!

Tune into Spaz on Health’s Marley’s Mother of a Brunch Episode to hear Marley’s cute rescue story. We dedicate this brunch to this beautiful girl. Don’t worry, she got a bite.