Depression and Pregnancy-what is the Connection?

At one time, doctors believed that the hormones associated with pregnancy were a good protection against depression. In more recent years, however, there has been a growing body of evidence that depression during pregnancy is a serious problem, affecting 10-20% of all women – the same proportion that women as whole suffer without adding pregnancy into the equation. With figures like that and with the added concern that depression can factor into the health of the baby, it is important to know something about how depression and pregnancy are connected.

First, it’s important to recognize what depression is and what the symptoms are.
Depression is a mood disorder that may have both biological and behavioral roots. Although healthy women frequently experience some of the following symptoms during a pregnancy, depression is usually diagnosed when the patient experiences three or more of the following symptoms in the space of two weeks:

  • A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
  • Feeling blue, sad, or “empty” for most of the day, every day
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme irritability, agitation, or excessive crying
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • Extreme or never-ending fatigue
  • A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all

If a woman experiences three or more of these, she may be suffering from clinical depression and should report the symptoms to her doctor.

Depression is a serious disorder, and is more than just having “the blues.” Untreated depression can interfere with a woman’s ability to care for her self during pregnancy, and can push a woman to neglect vital personal care, thus hurting her unborn child. In extreme cases, the condition can also put her at risk for suicide, and for abuse of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Depression may also interfere with the ability to bond with the child, and can also increase the risk for having an episode of depression after delivery (postpartum depression). In addition, recent studies have shown the possibility of links between depression in the mother and such serious conditions as premature delivery, low birth weight, spontaneous miscarriage, and gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia.

Doctors feel that there are several major causes which can contribute to a depression during pregnancy. Having an existing history of clinical depression or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a severe type of premenstrual syndrome or PMS) is paramount among these, as a predisposition to the disorder can increase the chance that pregnancy and its attendant stresses will bring on an episode. Age at time of pregnancy is also a factor — the younger the woman is, the higher the risk of depression.

There are also environmental factors to consider. If the woman is living alone, without the support of a partner, and has limited social support; if there are already multiple children in the family, or there is a history of marital conflict and ambivalence about the pregnancy, there is a greatly increased risk of a significant clinical depression.

If a pregnant woman believes that she is experiencing depression, she should seek medical advice immediately. This is not a condition that will simply go away; treatment to avoid the serious consequences listed above is vital.

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat depression during pregnancy. One of the most important is for the woman to take a step back and realize that she may not have to do everything she did before the pregnancy. If a social network and supportive partner are available, much of the self-imposed stress of trying to maintain a normal, pre-pregnancy routine can be alleviated by doing less while others take up the slack. If these resources are not available, psychotherapy is an effective way to help the patient get at root causes of feelings of helplessness and low self-worth, thus allowing her to cope better.

Self care is critical – developing good sleeping habits, regular diet and exercise routines and the like are also effective treatments. Medications are also available, but as with any drugs taken during pregnancy, there are risks that must be considered. Some antidepressants have been associated with serious side effects for the baby; any use of these drugs should be discussed carefully with a trained doctor so that risks are balanced against the benefits. Keeping in mind that depression is a serious illness; there are times when the benefits of treating a depressive episode with drugs outweigh the possible downside.

As with any medical condition that occurs during a pregnancy, depression requires a skilled diagnosis and treatment by a trusted specialist. Women who are at risk for depression or who are experiencing the symptoms owe it to themselves to address the problem as soon as possible.

How to Have Young Looking Skin In As Little As 45 Days

If you’re like most women of a “certain age”, you’d like to know how to have young looking skin again. And you’ve probably tried all kinds of products that disappointed you. I know, I’ve been that route too.

How many half used bottles and jars do you have hanging around in your bathroom collecting dust? Be honest, we all have a few.

But it’s not your fault. The marketing is so nice. The packages lovely. You know the beauty market is a billionaire dollar industry. And you know they spend a lot to market their products. Glossy magazine spreads, spokesmodels and fancy packaging cost a lot. Costs passed on to you and I as the consumer.

And that’s bad enough but what really burns me up is that a lot of those so called “beauty creams” are loaded with toxic chemicals. Things like petrolatum, sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, synthetic colors and fragrances, these things are harsh on your skin and have been linked to cancer.

Well, that certainly doesn’t sound like a key to younger looking skin!

Think about, doesn’t it make sense that ingredients that will be effective at reversing time on your face will also be healthy for your body? Doesn’t make sense that you’d be filling yourself with chemicals that could be killing you now does it?

Did you know, the average American woman is exposed to over 126 chemicals before she even leaves her house in the morning? I know, ridiculous isn’t it?

No, you can enjoy young looking skin naturally by just choosing a few key ingredients.

These healthy ingredients are effective at reducing wrinkles, firming your skin and giving you back the smooth skin of your youth.

Do you know the Japanese secret ingredient for smooth, firm skin? It’s just been “discovered” in the West but the Japanese have used centuries to reduce wrinkles and firm skin.

Antioxidants are one of the best beauty enhancers available. Vitamins E & C and other ingredients will moisturize your skin and fight free radicals which age you prematurely.

Certain beauty creams are busy offering you collagen in a jar but don’t be misled. There’s a fine line here. You need more collagen, that’s right. Collagen are the cells that give your face structure. But, collagen in a jar is useless. Studies show your pores aren’t able to absorb collagen you apply on your skin.

But you can encourage your cells to make more of these important cells so you have a firmer face. You just need a sweet ingredient native to New Zealand.

How to have young looking skin starts with the right ingredients.

To learn more about the secrets behind young looking skin, please visit my website where I share the tips I’ve learned over the years.

Avoid the Music Burnout

This article is more for me. Sorry readers, but sometimes I have to remind myself to take it easy and avoid the music burnout. It's funny how it's so easy to give advice, but it's hard to take our own. I'm hardcore 110% all the way. I'm the kind of person that lives off of 4-5 hours of sleep, always going. I'm constantly pushing myself for weeks at a time. Then after those few weeks I get hit with what I like to call the "body crash" syndrome.

I push myself so hard that I crash and so does my body. I put myself under extreme work conditions with no rest, until eventually I can not physically take the work load. Most of the time this is followed by a trip to the doctor because my immune system is low, which leads to me needing medication to fight the virus that I just got from no rest. It's a vicious cycle.

Bottom Line: I need to slow down and let my music career organically progress.

We live in a time where everything is so instant. We can "google" anything and get an answer instantly. We can "youtube" videos on our phones. Videos made from all over the world, in a matter of seconds. As a society, we are used to things happening quickly. I think this is a great concept, but at the same time, this kind of mentality can destroy us. We want things to happen quickly. That's not the way it happens with music.

Get Plenty of Rest

A lot of musicians out there have other jobs attached music to help pay the bills. Some of us have families to take care of. One of the most challenging things in life is being able to balance all of it. Let's say you work a standard 9-5. You get to work at 9am, leave at 5pm. You're on your way home and get stuck in traffic for up to 20 minutes or more! By the time you get home, it's 6pm. You have 4-5 hours to squeeze in dinner, chores, music, relaxing, etc. It's not a lot of time. You could be crazy like me working on music from 6 – 2 am and getting about 5 hours of sleep, but I'm starting to see that it's not worth it. What's the point of pursuing your career if you're tired and physically drained? Get your rest and enjoy the process of moving your music career forward. You'll be able to appreciate the success more that way.

A Well Rested Mind is More Creative

I do not have to tell you that you need to be focused and keep your energy up when performing. Even writing a new song or planning your next video shoot takes energy. You need to be alert, awake, rested, and most importantly, excited and happy to do all this. When you're mind, body and soul are in balance, the creativity flows like water. When you're tired and cranky it hinders your art.

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

You may say to yourself "When I start making money with music I can slow down" or "This will all change if I can just get this record deal". There's a little saying that I heard that rings so true:

"How you do anything is how you do everything"

I love this quote. It's so true !! Whatever you're doing in your life now is exactly how you're going to be doing it in the future, unless you can find ways to change it. Just because you get more money, more fans, and more gigs does not mean things will change. If you have a routine of always pursuing music, never resting and cancelling family dinners, birthdays, and holidays, you'll probably do those same things when you do make it. Now is the time to practice discipline and balance in your life!

Not as Cranky and Emotional

When you're tired, you're cranky. When you're cranky, you're not happy. When you're not happy, you flip out at the smallest little aggravations. The key is to find that balance between being driven and being happy. I'm not saying to be lazy and not to work hard, but what good is success if you're tired, cranky and not enjoying this beautiful life. Think about it …. you're playing music! There are so many people out there that wish they could do what you do. Playing guitar, getting to perform on stage, having people listen to your music … fans! Sit back and look at the big picture. Life is good. Music is good. Things will happen for you if you remember to avoid the music burnout !!

Therapy for Social Phobia

Who would have thought that a member of a species that tends to be more social in nature would have such an intense shyness or fear of socializing with other members of its own species? It may seem strange, but there are a lot of people out there who are shy of other people and some of these people are so shy of other people that they can’t even make friends. If not corrected, a person can develop an anxiety or an intense fear of socializing with other people. They will have little difficulty with socializing with their own family members, but when it comes to being around people they are unfamiliar with socializing can be one of the most difficult things for them to do.

How is social phobia treated? Therapy or counseling is often recommended for anyone who may be suffering from social phobia. This phobia can often make life complicated and can get in the way of a person’s ability to succeed in life. This is why consulting a professional is highly recommended if someone wishes to overcome their phobia. Of course, this can be difficult for someone who has an intense fear of meeting and socializing with new people. Some, with the help of caring family members, can eventually make it in to see a therapist or counselor in person; however, there is another option for people who are too uncomfortable meeting someone new. There is phone counseling, but online therapy is fast becoming a way for people suffering from this kind of phobia to get the help they require. In most cases, when people with this phobia are unaware of the online therapy now available, they try to stay home as much as they can, will avoid any social events when possible and will tend to avoid seeking the help they need, because they believe it will require them to meet with a therapist in person.

Someone with social phobia can avoid this discomfort if they have a computer and internet connection at home. All they have to do is make the commitment to remain in constant communication with their online therapist. A quick search on the internet will bring up a few different sites of therapists who will be able to help the patient overcome their fear of socializing. Online therapy is probably the easiest way for a person with this phobia to get the help they need. They can converse with the therapist in a way that eliminates the uncomfortable atmosphere. Now, while it is easier for the patient because they are not speaking with the therapist in person but from the comfort of their own home, it might still be a little uncomfortable for the patient to be open with someone they have never met and are unfamiliar with. In most cases, this discomfort is minimal and is worth trying to push it aside to make their lives easier out in the social world. This could almost be considered the first step toward pushing the phobia away and coming closer to being able to feel more confident in one’s self in the social world.

Camellias

Named by Linnaeus in 1735 in honour of the Jesuit priest and naturalist Georg Josef Kamel, Camellia is a genus originating mainly from China but with a range covering a large area of South East Asia. The exact number of species is not clear but it is somewhere around 100. Camellia is an important commercial genus because of one species, Camellia sinensis, the plant from which tea is made.

Most gardeners recognise two main groups of camellias, the autumn flowering and the spring flowering. However, it is not quite that simple. Whenever a genus of many species (such as

Rhododendron, Rosa or Camellia) is used to produce a multitude of hybrids distinct groups tend to form.

There are four main camellia groups: Japonica, Reticulata, Sasanqua and Hybrid, with a number of smaller groups based around less common species, such as Camellia hiemalis, and inter-specific hybrids, such as Camellia × williamsii (Camellia japonica × Camellia saluensis).

It’s a commonly held belief among gardeners that Sansanquas are the autumn flowering camellias while the rest are spring flowerers. That’s not really true, certainly the Sasanquas are usually the first to bloom but with careful selection and siting it is possible to have more or less continuous flowering from early autumn to late spring.

Cultivation

Camellias are often associated with rhododendrons and azaleas and, while not that closely related, they certainly prefer similar conditions. This is not at all surprising as they come from similar climates and can often be found growing together in the wild.

Camellias are generally less tolerant of extreme cold than the hardiest rhododendrons but they are by no means fussy plants. Most species and hybrids are hardy throughout the country, needing no protection except perhaps in very cold winter areas, and the summers here are

not usually hot and dry enough to cause much damage.

To get the best out of your camellias it is important that you follow the same soil preparation methods as recommended for rhododendrons. Camellias have stronger and deeper roots but they still require the same moist, humus filled, loose, well-oxygenated topsoil if they are to thrive. Likewise regular mulching is always beneficial.

Camellias prefer a neutral to acid soil and will not tolerate the extreme acidity that most rhododendrons will. On highly acid soils the addition of small amounts of dolomite lime will not only increase the pH but will allow easier uptake of nutrients.

Once established most camellias seem to get by quite well without too much attention but they are subject to the same chlorosis problems as rhododendrons so occasional supplementary feeding is recommended. Containerised camellias should be fed regularly as they are far more subject to deficiencies due to their limited root spread.

Camellias do best in sheltered positions in light shade or where they get only morning sun. This is not so much for the plant’s sake as the flowers’. The plants will tolerate exposed sunny sites but the flowers won’t. Too dense shade will promote lank growth and reduce flowering. Too sunny and the flowers will burn and drop prematurely. A site that is exposed to strong winds will dramatically shorten the life of any flowers but especially camellias.

Disbudding

Many camellias set large quantities of flower buds that often result in densely crowded small bloom. Thinning out the more densely packed and weaker flower buds will produce larger blooms of better shape.

Propagation

Camellias are not always easy to propagate without specialised equipment. Seed germinates well but is of limited usefulness as it can only be used to raise new cultivars or to propagate species. Selected forms must be propagated vegetatively.

Cuttings should be taken just as the new growth is hardening off. This is usually around the end of November. Take new tip growth cuttings that are about 100-150 mm long and follow the procedures outlined in the propagation chapter. The cuttings may take several months to strike without mist or bottom heat.

Layering is very successful with camellias but frequently there are no branches close enough to ground level to layer. In such cases aerial layering is a reliable, if slow, method.

Occasionally a camellia cultivar fails to perform well on its own roots. In which case grafting onto a more vigorous stock may be necessary. Standard camellias are nearly always produced by grafting rather than simply training a standard stem.

Cleft grafting is the usual method used, however, saddle grafts and side wedges will work too. Budding is seldom used but there is no reason why it shouldn’t be successful. Specialised methods, such as seed grafts, are sometimes used but these are for genuine enthusiasts that are prepared to experiment.

Pests And Diseases

Camellias are relatively disease free but you may occasionally encounter one of the following problems.

Viral diseases

These are quite common among camellias, in fact, viruses are sometimes deliberately introduced to obtain variegated flowers and foliage. The most common virus shows up as a bright yellow leaf margin. This is known as virus induced variegation. In minor cases it does little harm but it can weaken a plant by reducing the amount of available chlorophyll. Virus diseases cannot be cured, once infected the plant remains infected.

Phytophthora root rot

This disease affects many types of plants, particularly those that prefer acid woodland conditions. This fungus disease kills the plant’s roots, which leads to the characteristic wilted appearance and ultimately death. Generally the symptoms are not obvious until too late. Prevention through ensuring that the soil is well drained is the best method. Plants can sometimes be saved by washing off the soil, removing the dead roots, drenching with fungicide then replanting in a well-drained position but it’s seldom worth the effort.

Leaf gall

A fungal disease similar to that seen on evergreen azaleas occasionally occurs on camellias. It causes a thickening and distorting of the leaves, which is eventually become white with fungal spores. Remove any affected leaves and spray the plant with a fungicide. Do not allow affected leaves to drop near the plant.

Petal blight

This fungal disease cause the flowers to degenerate to watery mush and can damage much of the crop. Control with fungicides prior to bud break and remove any fallen petals from around infected bushes.

Die-back

This can be a serious, even fatal, problem. The foliage of young branches wilts and browns then the stem begins to die back from the tip. A canker develops that eventually ringbarks the stem causing its death. If the cankers spread to the main stems the plant may die. Treatment with fungicides will help but is not entirely successful. Overcrowding, poor drainage and poor ventilation can all contribute to this problem as well as making the spread of the disease easier.

Camellias are generally not attacked by any particularly unusual insect pests, just the run of the mill, aphids, scale, caterpillars, leaf rollers and thrips. The usual control measures are effective on camellias too.

Bagworms can cause significant damage at times. The leaf covered silken bags (see illustration) are made by the larvae and the flightless adult females of the moth Liothula omnivora. The larvae feed from within the bag, which they carry around with them for protection and camouflage. Hand picking is the simplest control, the use of insecticides is not warranted except in cases of severe infestation.

Training

Besides their normal bushy habit many camellias are suitable subjects for training. The most common forms are the standard and the espalier.

Standards can be created in two ways. The easiest is to select a young plant with a single straight stem and simply remove the lower foliage and any side shoots as they appear. Stake the main stem as it grows and once it has reached the desired height nip out the tip growth to induce the branching that will eventually form the head.

The process can be speeded up by grafting but the mechanics are not as simple. Select a vigorous upright plant that will rapidly produce the standard trunk and graft your selected cultivar onto it at the desired height. Cleft grafts are the preferred method for camellias but I have found side wedge grafts to be successful. Grafting is the only practical way to produce a weeping standard.

Espaliering is just a matter of selecting an appropriate plant and having the patience to wait long enough to see the results. There are several methods of training the branches to achieve the best coverage but most camellias with thin pliable stems (primarily Sasanquas) can be espaliered with little effort. Remember though, camellias are not natural climbers, espaliers need to be secured to the structure against which they are growing.

Other special forms.

Camellias can make effective hedges, either tightly clipped or grown informally. As might be expected of a genus that contains the tea plant camellias can withstand frequent trimming when actively growing.

Some camellias are suitable for use as ground covers but usually only while they are young. In time all but the most prostrate forms will develop into mounding bushes rather than true ground covers. Pegging the branches down as the plants grow is the only way to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Camellias in containers

Camellias adapt well to container growing but they are quick to show signs of nutrient deficiencies. Nothing looks less appealing than a badly chlorotic camellia in a tiny pot. However, with regular fertilising and the right sized containers camellias will thrive and bloom heavily in pots.

As with all container plants, remember that their roots are far less insulated from the elements than those of plants in the open ground. Make sure containerised camellias get regular water in summer and in cold winter areas move the containers to sheltered positions for winter to avoid having the soil freeze solid.

Flower forms

Camellias are available in several different flower forms. The descriptions in this book are kept as simple as possible but occasionally the technical terms must be used. The terms single, semi-doubleand double are familiar and fairly self-explanatory but most of the following terms are peculiar to camellia cultivation.

Anemone

A style with large outer petals and massed small central petaloids.

Peony (paeony) and informal double

Large outer petals and smaller loosely clustered central petals and petaloids. The more fully petalled flowers are known as full peony form.

Rose form double

A double flower that opens fully to reveal the stamens, like a fully blown rose.

Formal double

This flower type has perfectly arranged concentric circles of neatly overlapping petals. Some have the petals in a very clearly defined spiral pattern.

There are also rules governing the terms used to describe the size of flowers but as most non-specialist gardeners find these to be more confusing than useful they have not been strictly adhered to.

Species and cultivars

The following selection of species and cultivars includes those most popular for garden use or that have interesting or unusual features. They are divided into hybrid groups.

Species

These are the most popular or influential of the species but they are not widely available in nurseries, most gardeners preferring the hybrids.

Camellia chrysantha (China)

A yellow camellia was a long sought after aim of plant breeders, hence the basically white cultivars with optimistic names such as ‘Brushfield’s Yellow’. However, in 1980 a real yellow camellia was found in the Guangxi province of China. It flowered for the first time in the West in 1984 and has since been the subject of great interest and speculation among camellia growers. It is a large species that can reach 5 m high. The large leaves are deep green and heavily veined. The bright yellow flowers are only about 60 mm diameter but it is not the size of the flowers but their potential for hybridising that initially had breeders so enthused. Reasonably hardy but prefers consistent cool to moderate temperatures, intolerant of extremes. Camellia societies have a few plants of this species but even now it is not generally available through garden centres.

Camellia forrestii (China, Vietnam)

A large shrub or small tree native with narrow elliptical leaves and small white flowers that are mildly fragrant. Early to mid season.

Camellia fraterna (China)

Grows to about 5 m high. Small elliptical leaves. 25 mm diameter white flowers with white stamens and prominent gold anthers. Slightly fragrant. Not totally hardy. Flowers mid season.

Camellia granthamiana (Hong Kong)

Very rare in the wild; known, until recently, from just one plant found in 1955. It may be a natural hybrid rather than a true species. Grows to about 3 m high. Deep green heavily veined elliptical leaves up to 200 mm long. Creamy white flowers up to 150 mm diameter with massed golden stamens. Flowers early. Not totally hardy.

Camellia hiemalis (Japan)

Not known in the wild and probably a natural hybrid between Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua. Grows to about 3.5 m high. 30 mm diameter pale pink flowers with golden stamens. Small to medium sized elliptical leaves. Flowers early.

Camellia kissi (North East India to Southern China)

May grow as high as 12 m but usually consideably smaller. Medium sized narrow leaves. Small white flowers that are usually fragrant. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia lutchuensis (Southern Japan including Okinawa)

Grows to about 3 m high. Small leaves about 40 mm long. Very fragrant 50 mm diameter white flowers with white stamens and gold anthers. Not always easy to grow and not totally hardy. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia japonica (Japan, Eastern China and Korea)

The parent of a vast number of cultivars. May grow to 15 m high in the wild. Broad deep green elliptical leaves up to 125mm long. The flower colour is variable but is usually red. Easily grown. Flowers mid season. There are several cultivated forms.

Camellia oleifera (Northern India, Southern China and South East Asia)

Grows to about 7 m high. Medium sized elliptical leaves with little or no serrations. Small white flowers with yellow stamens and slightly twisted petals. Mildly fragrant. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia pitardii (Southern China)

Grows to about 7 m high. Medium sized heavily veined leaves up to 100 mm long. Small white, pink or white flushed pink flowers. Blooms mid season to late.

Camellia reticulata (Southern China)

Extensively used in hybridising. grows up to 15 m high in the wild. Large broad elliptical leaves with prominent veins (reticulate). 75 mm diameter mid pink flowers. Blooms mid season to late.

Camellia salicifolia (Hong Kong and Taiwan)

Grows to about 5 m high. 45 mm long narrow elliptical to oblong leaves with a very slight tomentum. Loose white flowers with white stamens. Mild fragrance. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia saluenensis (Southern China)

Grows to about 5 m high. 45 mm long narrow elliptical leaves. 50 mm diameter white to mid pink flowers with small golden stamens. May be single or semi-double. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia sasanqua (Japan and Ryukyu Islands)

Grows to about 5 m high. The leaves are around 55 mm long , usually narrow and distinctly pointed. 50 mm diameter white to pale pink flowers with yellow stamens. Occasionally slightly fragrant. Flowers early.

Camellia sinensis (India to China and South East Asia)

The tea plant is the most commercially important camellia. May grow to 15 m high but usually kept much smaller. Leaf size is variable; they are usually around 125 mm long but in mild moist climates they may be up to 225 mm long × 75 mm wide, heavily veined. White flowers (occasionally pale pink), about 40 mm diameter with yellow stamens. Flowers early.

Camellia transnokensis (Taiwan)

An upright bush to about 3 m high. Small bronze green leaves. Clusters of very small (25 mm diameter) white flowers with white stamens and golden anthers. Pink buds. Flowers mid season to late.

Camellia tsai (Southern China, Burma and Vietnam)

Grows to about 10 m high in the wild but usually far smaller in gardens. 90 mm long glossy bronze green elliptical leaves. Slight weeping growth habit. Clusters of small white flushed pink flowers. Mildly fragrant. Flowers mid season. Not totally hardy.

Sasanqua and Hiemalis

A group of primarily early flowering plants (autumn to late winter) that is made up of varieties and hybrids of three species; Camellia sasanqua, Camellia hiemalis and Camellia vernalis.

Akebono

Small deep green leaves. Single mid pink flowers. Excellent hedge or espalier.

Bonanza

Medium to large semi-double deep red flowers. Long flowering season. Medium sized plant, upright growth. Good in tubs.

Bonsai Baby

Small deep red double flowers. Low, somewhat spreading growth habit.

Chansonette

Large deep pink double flowers with slightly ruffled petals. A densely foliage medium sized bush. Suitable for most styles of training.

Cotton Candy

Large soft pink semi-double flowers with slightly ruffled petals. Strong growing but inclined to be rather open and benefits from regular trimming to shape.

Exquisite

Large very pale pink single flowers with ruffled and lobed petals. Long branches make it well-suited to espaliering.

Hiryu-see Kanjiro

Jennifer Susan

Soft mid pink loosely petalled semi-double flowers. Very densely foliage compact growth. Makes a good hedge or espalier.

Kanjiro

Often sold as ‘Hiryu’. Deep cerise pink single to semi-double flowers with lighter coloured centre. Dark green leaves. Strong upright growth.

Mine No Yuki

Medium sized white to cream semi-double flowers with ruffled petals. Loose pendulous growth habit.

Plantation Pink

Large mid pink single flowers. Very strong growing and makes a quick hedge.

Setsugekka

Large white semi-double with ruffled, slightly incurving petals. Strong growing upright bush.

Showa No Sakae

Medium sized light to mid pink loose semi-double flowers. Distinctly weeping to horizontal growth habit. may be used in hanging baskets.

Sparkling Burgundy

Small to medium sized deep pinkish red double flowers. Long flowering season. Vigorous grower. Suitable for most training styles.

Yuletide

Small bright red single flowers with prominent golden stamens. Long flowering season. Dense compact growth. Does well in tubs.

Japonica

The species forms and hybrids of Camellia japonica are among the most popular and widely grown camellias. Also included in this group are the Higo hybrids. These often ancient forms from Japan are not widely grown in New Zealand but a few are available.

The following is a selection of some of the most popular Japonicas.

Ave Maria (1956)

Pale pink medium sized formal double. Dense compact growth. Early to mid season.

Bambino (1959)

Small coral pink anemone form with well-defined petaloid centre. Dense compact growth. Flowers mid season.

Berenice Boddy (1946)

Medium sized light pink semi-double. Vigorous grower. Flowers mid season.

Betty Sheffield Supreme (1960)

Large loose white or very pale pink double with petals edged in deep pink. A beautiful picotee effect but rather variable. A sport of ‘Betty Sheffield’ (1949). A vigorous, yet compact bush. Flowers mid season.

Blood of China (1928)

Medium sized deep pinkish red semi-double to peony form. Often mildly scented. Strong grower but compact. Late flowering.

Bob Hope (1972)

Large deep blackish red semi-double. Very intense flower colour and deep green leaves. Strong upright growth. Mid season to late.

Bob’s Tinsie (1962)

Small deep red anemone form with a white centre. Upright, very dense and bushy. Flowers mid season.

Brushfield’s Yellow (1968)

Medium sized anemone form with white outer petals and creamy yellow petaloid centre. Strong growing but densely foliaged. Flowers mid season.

C.M. Hovey (1853)

Medium sized deep red formal double. Upright growth. Late flowering.

Can Can (1961)

Medium sized light pink peony form with deep cerise pink edged petals and veins. Upright growth. Flowers mid season.

Debutante (around 1900)

Medium sized light pink full paeony form. A strong growing densely foliage bush. Leaves may be a lighter green than most camellias. One of the most widely planted camellias. Flowers mid season.

Desire (1977)

Medium sized light pink formal double with deeper coloured petal edges. Dense compact growth. Flowers mid season.

Dolly Dyer (1973)

Small bright red anemone form with a densely packed petaloid centre. A medium sized densely foliaged bush. Flowers early to mid season.

Elegans Supreme (1960)

Large deep pink anemone form with finely serrated petal edges. One of several sports of the old cultivar ‘Elegans’ (1831). Large wavy edged leaves. A strong growing but compact bush. Flowers early to mid season.

Grand Slam (1962)

Large deep red semi-double or anemone form. Slightly fragrant. Deep green leaves. A very strong growing upright bush. Flowers mid season.

Guest of Honor (1955)

Large mid to deep pink loose semi-double to peony form. Upright densely foliaged bush. Heavy flowering. Blooms mid season.

Guillio Nuccio (1956)

Very large deep coral pink semi-double with prominent stamens. The petals have wavy edges. Strong growing and very popular. Flowers mid season. Also available in a white and red variegated flower form.

K. Sawada (1940)

Large white rose form or formal double. Dense bushy growth. Flowers mid season.

Kramer’s Supreme (1957)

Large bright red full peony form. Usually fragrant. Vigorous yet compact growth. Flowers mid season.

Laurie Bray (1955)

Medium to large light pink flowers that may be single or partially petaloid semi-double. Heavy flowering, tough and adaptable. Rather open growth that benefits from shaping when young. Flowers mid season.

Man Size (1961)

Small white anemone form. A densely foliaged medium sized bush if shaped when young but may otherwise tend to somewhat open growth. Flowers heavily around mid season.

Margaret Davis (1961)

Medium sized informal double. White with petals edged deep pink to orange red. Upright growth. Flowers mid season.

Mark Alan (1958)

Large deep purplish red semi-double or peony form. Narrow petals with a petaloid centre. Upright growth. Starts early and flowers over a long season.

Midnight (1963)

Medium sized deep red semi-double to anemone form. A dense compact bush. Flowers mid season.

Mrs D.W. Davis (1954)

Very large bright pink semi-double. Densely foliaged vigorous upright growing bush. Flowers mid season.

Nuccio’s Pearl (1977)

Medium sized very pale pink flushed mid pink formal double. An attractive ‘airbrushed’ colour effect that intensifies towards the centre and edges of the flower. A dense compact bush. Flowers mid season.

Pink Pagoda (1963)

Medium to large mid pink formal double. Slightly wavy edged petals. An upright bush. Flowers mid season.

Prima Ballerina (1983)

Medium to large semi-double. White base colour washed with soft mid pink. A dense compact bush. Flowers mid season to late.

Roger Hall (1979)

Medium sized bright red formal double. A strong growing upright bush. Starts early and flowers over a long season.

San Dimas (1971)

Medium to large deep red petaloid semi-double. Dense compact bush. Flowers early to mid season.

Tiffany (1962)

Very large loose peony form. Soft mid pink with deeper tones. Vigorous yet compact bush. Flowers mid season to late.

Reticulata

Reticulatas are usually regarded as being less hardy than other camellias but most survive New Zealand winters unscathed.

Barbara Clark (1958)

Medium sized mid pink semi-double. Vigorous grower. Starts to flower early and continues over a long season.

Brian (1958)

Medium sized deep pink semi-double. Strong upright growth. Flowers mid season to late.

Buddha (1948)

Large deep pink semi-double flowers with wavy edged petals. Strong upright growth. Flowers mid season.

Dr. Clifford Parks (1971)

Large bright red flower. The form is very variable, it ranges from semi-double to peony to anemone form. Flowers mid season.

Grand Jury (1962)

Large salmon pink peony form. A large open bush that benefits from pruning to shape when young. Flowers mid season.

Lasca Beauty (1973)

Very large light pink semi-double. Vigorous grower that is inclined to become a little open. Flowers mid season.

Pavlova (1978)

Very large bright red semi-double. A strong spreading bush. Makes a good espalier. Flowers mid season to late.

Phyl Doak (1958)

Medium to large pale pink semi-double. A dense compact bush. Starts to flower early and continues over a long season.

Sugar Dream (1984)

Medium sized mid pink anemone form. Upright growth, inclined to be somewhat open but benefits from trimming to shape when young. Early flowering.

Valley M. Knudsen (1958)

Large deep pin semi-double to peony form. Strong growing upright bush. Flowers mid season to late.

× williamsii hybrids

This fairly diverse group of hybrids results from fertilising Camellia saluensis, or a hybrid thereof, with pollen from Camellia japonica.

Anticipation (1962)

Large deep pink peony form. Strong upright growth. Flowers mid season.

Ballet Queen (1975)

Large salmon pink peony form. A densely foliaged medium sized bush. Flowers mid season to late.

Debbie (1965)

Large bright mid pink semi-double to full peony form. A dense compact bush. Flowers mid season. One of the most popular cultivars.

Donation (1941)

Large mid pink semi-double with darker veining. Vigorous yet compact. Starts early mid season and continues over a long season.

Dreamboat (1976)

A large formal double. The base colour is mid pink but has very subtle lavender and salmon pink shading. The growth is somewhat open. Flowers mid season.

E.G. Waterhouse (1954)

Medium sized light pink formal double. Strong upright growth. Flowers mid season to late. Also available with a light pink and white variegated flower.

Elsie Jury (1964)

Large deep pink full peony form. Medium sized open growing bush. May be trained as an espalier. Flowers mid season to late.

Jury’s Yellow (1976)

Medium sized anemone form. White with creamy yellow petaloid centre. Dense compact growth. Starts early and flowers over a long season.

Water Lily (1967)

Medium sized formal double. Bright light pink with darker toning. The petals have distinctly rolled edges. Strong upright growth. Flowers early to mid season.

Hybrids

This catch-all group covers plants of indeterminate parentage and those that don’t fit into any of the other groups. Some authorities divide the hybrids by size, particularly separating out the miniatures.

Baby Bear (1976)

Miniature light pink single. A small densely foliage bush that is very popular for container growing. Flowers mid season.

Baby Willow (1983)

Miniature white single. Very distinctive weeping growth. When grafted it makes a good weeping standard. Flowers mid season.

Cinnamon Cindy (1973)

Miniature pale pink peony form. The central petaloids may be very pale pink. Upright willowy stems. Espaliers well. Flowers early to mid season.

Cornish Snow (1950)

Small white tinted pink single flowers. Very heavy flowering. Upright open growth. Flowers mid season.

Itty Bit (1984)

Miniature light pink anemone form. A densely foliaged low growing spreading bush. Flowers mid season.

Jubilation (1978)

Large mid pink rose form double. Occasionally has darker flecked flowers. Strong upright growth. Flowers mid season to late.

Mary Phoebe Taylor (1975)

Very large mid pink peony form. Strong upright growth. Flowers early to mid season.

Nicky Crisp (1980)

Large lavender pink semi-double. Dense compact bush. Starts to flower early and continues over a long season.

Night Rider (1985)

Small deep red semi-double. Upright bush. Flowers mid season to late.

Quintessence (1985)

Miniature white single with conspicuous golden yellow anthers and white stamens. Mildly fragrant. Dense spreading growth. Very popular as a container plant. Flowers early to mid season.

Snippet (1971)

Small pale pink semi-double. Eventually a dense compact bush but somewhat open when young. Flowers mid season.

Tiny Princess (1961)

Miniature semi-double to peony form. White to very pale pink with darker tints. Slow growing and may become rather open but occasional pinching back will produce a neat low bush. Flowers early to mid season.

Headaches, Migraines and Pain – Natural Health Solutions

Most people at one point in their life suffer from chronic pain in some form or another. The most common are low back pain and headaches. The most common solution is to just take an aspirin. Have you ever wondered if there are certain lifestyle choices that are causing your headaches or migraines?

There are many causes for headaches and migraines, but one of the leading causes is stress. Stress manifests itself in many different ways in the body. Some people will suffer from anxiety, insomnia, digestive disorders, weight gain and others will get migraines or headaches.

Improper Diet – For some foods such as dairy, gluten, chocolate, soy, soda, shellfish can trigger headaches and migraines. You can either order an expensive allergy test from your doctor or you can simply cut out that food for five days and then reintroduce the food later. This is the least expensive and simple way to test. You can also go on a medically supervised cleanse to remove toxins and impurities from your system. Ask your Naturopath or Holistic Health Care professional what supplements they recommend that can help in better assimilation and digestion or to aid in your cleanse.

Lack of Sleep – Do you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night? Are you on the computer until a few minutes before you go to bed? Do you get woken up many times during the night by your family? Is your room warm or cool enough? Do you avoid caffeine, alcohol and food at least 3 hours before you go to bed? Most people in today's digital age are so wired to their cell phone, TV or computer that they have not disengaged enough to be able to start to go into rest mode. Their nervous system gets attuned to a high level of stimulation which makes it harder to rest. Start a new nighttime routine where you avoid the computer, phone call, alcohol, caffeine and instead you take a warm bath, read a book or do gentle yoga or meditation.

Structural Issues- Have you had a doctor order MRIs to make sure you do not have any structural problems such as a herniated disc? Weak ligaments in the back of your head (occipitol lobe) can compromise the anatomical stability of your head. Prolotherapy, which are injections of a sugar solution into your ligaments, can help to rebuild ligaments without the use of surgery or drugs.

Other causes of headaches and migraines can be toxic chemicals (many found in common household cleaners and beauty products) improper glasses and staring at a computer screen for too long. Switch to a greener brand of cleaning product, perfume oils (or stop using perfume) and use cleaner beauty products that do not have harsh chemicals on them (do not be fooled by seeing flowers or trees on the label) Look for terms such as USDA certified organic and shop from reputable sources such as Whole Foods which has higher standards for their products than most drugstores.

Gulf War Syndrome – Washington's Dirty Little Secret

In November of 2008, the Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses presented a 450 page report to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake. The report stated that the Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), previously dismissed as a psychosomatic disorder, is a very real illness affecting between 25-50% of the 700,000 US Veterans who participated in the 1991 Gulf War.

GSI was likely caused by repeated exposure to toxic chemicals, including overused pesticides, drugs given to the US troops for protection against nerve gas, smoke from oil fires, anthrax vaccines, and exposure to depleted uranium. Additionally, a 2004 British study found that Gulf War veterans (GWV) were 40-50% more likely to be unable to start a pregnancy and were 2 to 3 times more likely to have children with birth defects.

Pesticides

According to the report, 62% of ground troops interviewed reported some form of pesticide use. Forty-four percent used pesticide sprays daily and 26% used pesticide lotions a median of 20 times per month. The most commonly used compound was DEET, used by half of all personal almost daily. Permethrin was used by fewer personnel but was on average, used daily.

The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that "Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disorders and impaired cognitive function than were exposed exposed co-workers". Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency classified permethrin as "Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans" by the oral route. This classification was based on two reproducible benign tumor types (lung and liver) in the mouse, equivocal evidence of carcinogenicity in Long- Evans rats, and supporting structural activity relationship information.

Permethrin also has been shown to kill 1 in 10 cats exposed to permethrin with 90% of them displaying symptoms of twitching and convulsions. Furthermore, a study by the Predictive Toxicology Research Group in Inda found significant functional impairment of the blood-brain barrier following pesticide exposure during development in rats, even after one exposure.

Depleted Uranium

Depleted uranium, used in tank kinetic energy penetrator and autocannon rounds on a large scale in the Gulf War, has been recognized as a neurotoxin. Uranium is a heavy metal and chemical toxicant with nephrotoxic (kidney damage), teratogenic (birth defect causing), and carcinogenic properties and is usually associated with a variety of illnesses. In a study of UK troops serving in the gulf, the risk of malformation among pregnancies reported by men was 50% higher in GWV, compared to non-GWVs.

Depleted uranium has been shown to induce cancer development and genetic mutations, autoimmune diseases and the core function of T cells, which play a central role in cell-mediated immunity.

Chemical Weapons

Many of the symptoms of GWS are similar to the symptoms of organophosphate, mustard gas, and nerve gas poisoning. GWV were exposed to a number of sources including nerve gas and pesticides. Over 125,000 US troops were exposed to nerve gas and mustard gas when an Iraqi depot in Khamisiyah, Iraq was bombed in 1991.

Additionally there is speculation that residual chemical agents from the Iran-Iraq war caused environmental contamination and chronic exposure to the troops, consistent with the increased observation of birth defects among the Iraqis during the period of the Gulf War.

Nerve Gas Protection

Pyridostigmine bromide (PB), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor intended to protect against nerve agents was used extensively by GWV. According to the National Academy of Sciences, excess illness in Persian Gulf War veterans (GWV) can be explained in part by exposure of GWV to organophosphate and carbamate acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEis), including pyridostigmine bromide (PB), pesticides, and nerve agents. Evidence germane to the relation of AChEis to illness in GWV was assessed. Many epidemiological studies reported a link between AChEi exposure and chronic symptoms in GWV.

It has been suggested that intake of PB by GWV may imply a condition termed bromism, a condition induced from the excess intake of bromide, with neurological, psychiatric, dermatological, and possibly endocrine effects. Psychiatric symptoms may include, in the earlier stages, disinhibition, self-neglect, fatigue, sluggishness, impairment of memory and concentration, irritability or emotional instability, and depression.

Symptoms of more advanced disease may include confusion but occasionally schizophrenic-like behavior or hallucinations in clear consciousness. Behavior can become violent, especially at night or under the influence of drugs or alcohol and there may be severe auditory and visual hallucinations.

Anthrax Vaccines

During Operation Desert Storm, 41% of US combat soldiers were vaccinated against anthrax. This was a source of serious side effects related to GWS, as well as local skin reactions, some lasting for weeks or months. Remarkably, while approved by the FDA, it never went through any large scale clinical trials, unlike almost all other vaccines in the United States. Even after the war, troops that had never been deployed overseas developed GWS symptoms after receiving the vaccine. The Pentagon additionally failed to report 20,000 cases where soldiers were hospitalized after receiving the vaccine.

A US Federal Judge ruled that there was a good cause to believe it was harmful, and ordered the Pentagon to stop administrating it in October of 2004. The ban was lifted in February 2008 after the FDA re-examined and approved the drug again. The vaccine is the only substance suspected in GWS to which forced exposure has been taken.

Homeless and Incarcerated Veterans

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, as of 2001, 23% of the homeless populations in America are veterans, accounting for between 529,000 and 840,000 of the total homeless population. 33% of these were stationed in a war zone, 89% received a dishonorable discharge and 75% experience alcohol, drug or mental health problems. For comparison, as of July 2008, there were 147,000 troops deployed in Iraq.

A 2000 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated another 225,000 veterans were held in Nation's prisons or prisons in 1998. 60% of incarcerated veterans had served in the Army. 35% of veterans in state prison were convicted of a violent crime, compared to 20% of non-veterans and surprisingly, the average sentence of veterans was 50 months longer than the average of non-veterans.

Summary

Gulf War Syndrome profiles typically include some combination of chronic headaches, cognitive difficulties, widespread pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic diarrhea, skin rashes, respiratory problems, increased birth defects, sleep disorders, memory problems, blurred vision and a variety of other symptoms. To date there is no identified treatment for Gulf War Syndrome that affects a significant number of veterans 17 years after the war.

The Veteran's Administration has been slow to even acknowledge the problem, less alone, provide treatment for these veterans. Many have lost their families, are unable to hold a job or have even been incarcerated as an indirect result of illnesses caused during their tour in the Gulf War. It's time that the US Government to take responsibility for exposing unsuspecting soldiers to a toxic soup that will kill Gulf War veterans for years to come.

Little Frieda

I have often spoken about death.

Sometimes it comes like a loud shout, a big bang but sometimes it is strangely quiet as if there is a royalty to its element. And then there is the earth that we fold the body physically into, throw dust on it and pay our respects or the ash that we hold in our hands. And then afterwards when the family gathers to eat, to sup together, to break bread there are a lot of things I assume they surrender, that they let go of or do not. Head under water is the only place I can let go of all of these things. There is no echo, nothing to distract me here, evaporate me like smoke. And it's the only place where I find God. It is not rain pouring down, wires of serotonin, dopamine, electrolytes growing from my head, nightmares that come to me in the middle of the night that worries me so, and illness.

Its skin was red, orange and green, tasted like butter. A mango is delicious from the first time you taste it. I tasted my first proper mango in Swaziland (all that goodness came with its warmth, that sweetness on my breath, juice on my clothes, sticky fingers but shadows must meet somewhere and all I wanted to see was London). I remember the mangoes you kept for me until I came home from school (you would put it in the fridge until it was cool, the orange strings of flesh). We would have avocado on toast, or French toast with fresh coriander leaves fried in creamy butter or hotdogs and chips as only you could make them where Swaziland was my home for a year. You died before your time, my second mother. Your hands pale, hair dark and as you became more ill with the more weight you lost but you were still beautiful to me. Leaves shake and rotate in autumn, spin around, and around. You were my bright star among all souls. I miss epic you every day. There's a loss that comes with breathing. But the stranger in the ghost house has no voice. He does not speak of self-help, a shelf-life. A double life, red dust, dead parakeets, sweat running down his wife's back, the madness and despair of Liberace. Something is unanchored yet still beautiful functions, is productive. It is called family and the awareness of coming home, a flag was planted here in the South's wilderness where a genocide took place, there's whiskey in a glass, an afternoon cocktail. Books that are a sanctuary. An Eric Clapton record is playing. The red dust of this county does not speak of self-help. There is a suicide. A death in a river. And the police have come. This is August: Osage County.

The police come in the middle of the night. Like the detectives in plainclothes that came to my house in the middle of the night when my brother took a knife and stabbed my father. Nothing romantic about it. About the onslaught of death, of it catching up to you like a thief in the night, a cat burglar, a cat drowning in a bag with her kittens, that is how I felt as if I was a drowning visitor. I saw guns that night I led a double life. I pretended I did not see or hear anything and inside I was numb. When I saw my father's blood. It had an oppressive quality to it like everything in my life so far. The drugs refused to work. So I took more and more of them and slept all day and all night.

The double life of the romantic jasmine. It lives, it dies and it lives and it dies like people. I can talk and talk and no one will be listening to my conversations, eavesdropping. Down the winter road I came across men who stare at goats. Men who were good dancers or American soldiers who took German lovers during the war. Men who were good actors, some were heavy drinkers in my mind, and philanthropists. The knife was sharp. It stuck air again and again and again. And then was anchored in skin. I did not scream. I was a Scout's knot. Ran in my sandals to the neighbor's house as fast as my feet could carry me. Outside the air felt cool as rain. How I wished it had rained? But there was no rain that night and they called the police.

There's no romance in death. Hair and flesh coming loose. And still daddy was left standing, unafraid. My brother was prancing around all of us, smirking, smiling with cunning deceit, high he was having his cake and eating it too. Pinned daddy to the bed with his arms like shark teeth. My mother had ran away in the dark. I was left with notes of grief, a stem and a route to follow. A flowering bleeding heart making waves, beating fast. It was Christmas. But there were no results only a winter road to follow.

To hell with it if I do not ever fall in love. It is a case of much ado about nothing. I have lost my mind and recuperated in hospitals. Once again become anchored to reality in recovery. I do not have a brother and I do not have a sister. I do not have a mother and I do not have a father. They live their own lives, so they amuse themselves, selfish people everyone. While I am kept sheltered in Pandora's Box. It is a box filled with romantic villagers of my own making. What a comfort they are to me. I am an orphan on Okri's famished road. I am Nabokov's and Kubrick's Lolita. And soon I will be forgotten like breath. The moveable a feast of sex, romance and death. Damaged, damaged, damaged but I must not speak of it.

It will be the death of me and I must live without the disease, the stain of trauma a while longer, sit on my throne, collect bones like arrows that fall from the sky. Curiosity has killed me. Men have killed me extraordinarily. But I have nine extraordinary lives and am left smiling like the Cheshire cat.

This is the brother who I am supposed to love. I do not admire him anymore. I feel nothing for him when I remember that night from hell. House of hunger. House of hell, of madness and despair. If he had a gun we all would be dead. I cut up the onion, seduced by its layers. And I cry for what has been lost, gems every one. There are diamonds in my eyes and I blink them back. My youth, my youth, my youth and there is no ring. No ring on my finger, all those chronic wasted years. Now he is Lucifer manning the gate to the wards of hell. My beautiful, darling boy what has become of you?

The secrets that we keep are committed to memory. They're lessons in the needs of people around us, a lesson in obedience, sometimes even wisdom. And it takes bold work for us to realize that the future is bright when sometimes we are challenged, when we have to mine glory. And make a ceremony out of it. There are substantial ingredients that goes into making a spaghetti bolognaise. Family is of course the first priority. Next the butcher, mint from the garden and limes for the cocktails. Footsteps on the stairs and laugh scribbling in the air.

Perhaps avocadoes were the first fruits (food for thought) in the Garden of Eden even before Eve was made from Adam's rib through the maturation of a human soul and a vortex in flux. Sun and moon. They are miracle angelic beginners every one each day. Daughters nicknamed so for jasmine and yesterday, today and tomorrow. And then as if woken up from a dream the day begins.

Head under water. Silent pushing off from the wall of the swimming pool doing lap after lap. Here is where I find my sanctuary, my second home and solace from the world outside. I am not like the other girls. They're all younger, thinner, and confident even though they're still flat-chested, and flirtatious from where I am standing. Head under water again. I'm praying it will not be the house from hell again tonight. I'm watching films, reading books, wiping my father's bum (there are no secrets between us). We talk about our past lives, our nine lives, love and the measure of it, how the devil made work for idle hands during apartheid, during the Group Areas Act, the Nazi war lords, Hotel Rwanda. We talk about the women in his life, past and present, the first woman he ever loved and lost and the measure of it. I became distracted. He becomes distracted and I get up to make cups of coffee, lukewarm coffee. We discuss Valkenburg (the mental institution in Cape Town where he stayed for a few months).

The first social worker he ever met. This is all for the book I am writing. Walking in his footsteps. Night after night I make a casserole and the two of us sit down to eat at the kitchen table. He walks, he shuffles, he walks, and he shuffles. Sometimes he sits outside with Misty, the dog in the sun. He is forgetful, he stammers, he has a short attention span but then again I guess memory loss comes with age. Last night he wet the bed. There are people who would make a mockery of this situation but when you're knee deep in it with someone that you love, intimacy is nothing, acknowledging that he is becoming older is everything. I've become an old woman overnight. Suddenly I have gray hair, the wisdom of a lake, a slight tremor in my hands, I suffer from anxiety, and I can not sleep at night. He calls for me in the middle of the night. He needs me and so this teachers me that I am not cruel. I am a woman now. Something has replaced the darkness in my life. I have discovered the stem of meditation.

Its face, its route, my life's journey in this crowded house and tears. My mother does the laundry. Not such a terrible woman after all. If only all women could be like her. Tough. Made of holy guts, an insatiable instinct, almost a clairvoyant instinct. She lives like a nun and eats like one these days. She eats like a bird making soup, after soup after soup that only the three of us eat. As an adult I have fallen in love with the terrific goodness of barley and the healthy protein of lentils. Split peas reminds me of eating a home cooked meal in the afternoon's at my paternal grandmother's house in the afternoon. My paternal grandmother's hands were beautiful. Wizened because she suffered from arthritis, dark brown. Warm with the texture of the sun and freckled. She was my moon, my moonlight and elegant. She offered us bowls of soup with home baked bread that tasted more nourishing and filling than the shop bought expensive kind. My mother promises us all a long life if we drink blends of herbs.

Dried rosemary, tinctures, tonics, homemade green smoothies with parsley, spinach from our vegetable patch and coconut milk. Head under water I reflect, I meditate, I breathe easy. I swim with the fishes, schools of them in this swimming pool. It lights a candle in my heart when I swallow water. My brother makes stews with his home-grown carrots and corn. All I can make is spaghetti. Frieda's spaghetti. It is so cold now. The world feels so cold. It feels as if Iraq has descended into my thoughts again. Sarajevo. Rwanda and the children of Northern Uganda. I am a young woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I must be strong to carry on, keep brave, act bold. Sometimes I can hear Tchaikovsky. My father has taken to his bed. He has depression again (of-the-William-Styron-kind). I wonder if John Updike ever suffered from depression. I know Hemingway certainly did. What about JM Coetzee, Radclyffe Hall, Vladimir Nabokov, Kubrick? And the filmmakers, writers, the poets who were heavy drinkers?

But I leave that in God's hands for his commentary, all those signals. I'm old before my time. I'm an old soul. Complicated, an empty vessel, envious of beauty like any woman, of youth, of the girl, of children in childhood. My babies are my books.

And sometimes I feel dead inside (not numb or cold). As if I have a subconscious mind that's crossed over. As if I am lame, pathetic, stupid and have one blue eye. Blue as the sky on a wild Saturday and the other green. As green as a stunning sea, mocking school of fishes carrying on, surfing along, swimming by on their own survival skills with their world occurring in an awful dead blue silence.

With the fingers of the sky so far away from them.

Public Speaking – What To Do When You Miss the Mark While On Stage

Public speaking done well gives your audience an amazing experience to remember. But even a seasoned pro can have an off day and completely miss the mark.

I'm taking a major risk here.

As a professional speaker, you're not supposed to tell people if you've had an off day. Everything is supposed to be all fabulous all the time.

But that's just not reality. Some days, for a variety of reasons, you're just not as "on" as you'd like to be.

Well, I had my own off day recently in Atlanta in front of a room full of more than 250 people.

However, the good news – and there is a lot really – is that as a speaker trainer, I know what I did wrong. Ha – I pretty much broke almost all my own rules. So I thought I'd share with you what I did wrong that led to me feeling a bit flat on stage and what amazing things happened next.

1. Last Minute Changes : My keynote speech was scheduled for Saturday night. The event itself began Friday morning and went through Sunday evening with a LOT of learning and ah-ha moments for me in between as I sat and listened to trainers in various break out sessions. Most of my ah-ha moments came during the Saturday sessions while listening to veteran talk about increasing conversions for 6 hours. (Amazing stuff!) Because I was excited about what I learned I tried to add some of my new ideas to my speech. On the fly. That did not work.

What to do instead: Stick with your plan every time. Make changes going forward. Not in the moment.

2. Did not Practice: I'll admit it. I got over-confident and did not practice my speech well enough ahead of time. I speak to roving standing ovations all the time. I've been doing this speaking thing my whole life. What I forgot is to be great, you've got to practice. The best athletes in the world do not sit back on their laurels and expect to be in top form and win championships or gold medals. Duh.

What to do instead: Obviously – practice. Every bit, every joke, every story … practice it all in pieces and as a whole. A lot.

3. PowerPoint Problems: I do not like to use PowerPoint when I deliver a keynote speech. But the speaker who had the Friday night keynote slot (who totally rocked it by the way) used a PowerPoint. And all the other speakers were using PowerPoint. I felt stress to conform to the standards of the event. But even more than that, after seeing the way the room was configured, I decided it'd be best for the audience members in the way back of the room to have something visual to look at on the screens. The problem – because I had not planned to use slides, I decided to make my slides on the same day as my speech. I had written a new speech that combined several of my past stories and info but I needed a new PowerPoint presentation to bring it all together. That I created on Saturday. Doh.

What to do instead: Stick with your plan, prepare everything including visuals ahead of time, and practice those so you can run them like a well-oiled machine.

4. I Got Hearn: I started my speech with an attention-getter stunt that usually gets me screaming laughs and thunderous applause. This particular audience pretty much sat there in stunned silence. It thread me and I never recovered, with most of my other planned bits getting polite laugh, but none of the rollicking good times kind of reactions I usually get. Yes, the audience was tired after 2 full days of sitting in workshops learning, but it's MY job as the speaker to get them energized and excited. Because I felt ill-prepared and thrown, I know the audience subconsciously picked up on that too and it became a vicious cycle. Not fun.

What to do instead: Get centered before you speak. Know your plan. Know you are well-rehearsed. And know you are there in service of the people in the room. Then give them the best you've got every single time. No excuses.

After all that – here's the amazing part: even though I thought I gave a pretty dismal performance and I am blessed enough who have honest friends who have seen me better agreed this was not my best, I still got wonderful feedback from members of the Audience. And later when I posted this story on my blog had an out-pouring of support from many people who were in the room, including the event planner who said he was thrilled with my performance.

The biggest lesson: be prepared and remember even on an off day, your message will still find its way to the people who need to hear it most. And practice your public speaking!

Separation Anxiety

1) What exactly is separation anxiety? Separation anxiety in dogs is the fear of being away from their owners or left alone for any given amount of time. This fear of isolation often results in undesirable behavior. Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes of canine behavioral problems. It is the fear of the owners' departing and the dog not having a companion for any given amount of time.

2) In what types of dogs and in what social environment / history do we see this condition?

Separate anxiety is usually seen in dogs that had little or no socialization when they were puppies. Dogs that may have been moved around a lot or rescued from a neglected situation or from abuse also tend to have this condition. Socialization is a huge factor in sep anxiety; If dogs are raised with exposure to changes from puppy-hood, and learn to adapt to different situations and people, their coping skills are much better than those of a dog that has not had to develop any social skills.

3) What factors seem to be the precipitating cause? One of the contributing factors to separation anxiety can be an abnormal predisposition to dependence. Traumatic events can also be a catalyst for sep anxiety. Removing a puppy from its mother and litter mates too early can be a cause as well. A sudden change of routine or environment, such as the death of the dog's owner or a new baby entering the household, can cause sep anxiety.

4) What are some of the signs exhibited when a dog has SA?

Some dogs will only exhibit one or two behaviors relating to sep anxiety, while others engage in many behaviors. Usually it starts with pacing; Then the dog may start following you around every where as you start your routine for departure. They may start whining and whimpering and become very mouthy. Some salivate and shake. Others can get aggressive with you as you start to leave by nipping or even in some cases growling at you. Typically, destructive behaviors such as chewing and ripping things apart to climax within 20-30 minutes of the owner's departure; Then, after some time, excessive barking and howling might occur. In some cases dogs will defecate or urinate in places that they have never done before, such as your bed. Some dogs will not eat until the owner returns. In rare cases dogs have been known to self-mutilate.

5) What type of treatments are available for SA? Medically, there are a few useful drugs my veterinarians have prescribed for my clients' dogs. "Clomicalm" seems to have proven results. It is also prescribed for fear aggression. "Bu Spar" takes two weeks to become effective, but it also has had great results in helping sep anxiety. The most effective behavioral treatment is desensitizing the dog to departures and routines of their owners.

6) What are some of the non-drug based therapies available? One is systematic desensitization to departures. Perform all the routine behaviors that you would normally do before you leave, but do not leave. Open and shut the door, then do something around the house; Repeat this several times. Ignore the dog's pacing and panting behaviors. You can also depart for very short periods of time, starting with 30 seconds and building up to 1 minute, and then return; The next time, leave for 2 minutes, and then gradually build up to an hour. You can also feed your dog only out of interactive toys, so that the dog has to work for all its food. There should be a reward connected with your leaving. Do not give your dog any attention or exuberant greetings when you come home. Say hello, pet a little, and then go about your business. Once the dog is calm, then you can greet with excitement. A common mistake many owners make is saying over and over again that "it's okay, it's okay". This only reinforces the fear.

7) At what point does SA become a problem that we need to do something about? Sep Anxiety is a problem once the dog shows noticeable behavior changes or begins destructive behaviors. Start management immediately by doing socialization exercises when they are puppies and have your dog learn coping skills at an early age.

8) What behavioral methods do you recommend? Training and socialization exercises.

9) In what breeds do you most commonly see Sep Anxiety? I see it in any dogs that have not had to develop social skills or coping skills. It does not seem to be breed specific.

Susie Aga, Atlanta Dog Trainer

Mom’s Four Warnings About Ingrown Toenails Exposed

Mothers seem to have a knack for waving a flag for a personal cause that she interprets to be the end of days. One of those “doom and gloom” topics in many households is toenail trimming. Mom recounts the many plagues that will befall us if we don’t trim our nails properly, if we don’t trim them often enough, or if we trim them too much.

An ingrown toenail occurs when the sides or corners of the nail embed themselves into the surrounding skin. This causes them to become red, inflamed, and painful when there is pressure applied. The toenail can become infected if left untreated. Treating ingrown toenails is best handled by your podiatrist. The pain relief is dramatic and immediate!

I have assembled the four most common motherly warnings. No offense to mom, but they’re not as bad as they seem. Let’s see what mom has to say.

1. “If you don’t cut your nails, you’ll get ingrown toenails.” Sorry mom, but long toenails usually don’t cause them to become ingrown. Most ingrown nails occur when the nail plate is too wide for the nail bed, so it is not the length, but the width that we’re most concerned with. Inflammation is caused by the pressure of tight shoes. I will say that some people’s toenails do grow with a downward curve. In those cases, growing nails long can cause them to be embedded into the end of the toe.

2. “If you don’t cut your nails correctly, you’ll get ingrown toenails.” We try to blame nail cutting for causing ingrown toenails. The poor pedicurists who get thrown under the bus! It can be true, however, that cutting nails improperly can exacerbate ingrown nails. Conventional wisdom is to cut the nails straight across. When people slant the sides of the nails back, they can help an ingrown nail form. It is not one size fits all, though. If someone’s nail is especially curved, not rounding the corners of the nail can cause them to dig into the toe and cause pain. Chalk one up for mom!

3. “Cutting a ‘V’ into the nail will prevent ingrown toenails.” This is my favorite of mom-isms when it comes to ingrown toenails. I continue to be amazed that kids today are still told this. The theory is that the groove in the nail will let the center compress and relieve the pressure on the toe. Think in terms of a pressure grate on a bridge or road. The grate protects the pavement from cracking when the temperature changes, causing expansion and contraction. It just doesn’t translate to a toenail, however.

4. “Picking your toenails can cause ingrown toenails.” Well mom has this one right! When it comes time for toenail trimming, a clipper is the way to go. It is easier just to tear at the nails – we’ve all done it at one time or another – but the toenail will often go too low on the sides which can cause trauma resulting in an ingrown toenail. Keep those clippers handy and do not pick.

So, based on my findings, mom is batting .500…not so shabby! When all else fails, all you need is some simple common sense. And, of course, if you feel any pain or see any redness, bleeding, or pus, be sure to visit your podiatrist right away.

The Power of Ganoderma in Oriental Medicine

Ganoderma, a rare variety of Mushroom credited with the highest medicinal qualities by the classic Chinese 'Seng Nong' is indeed a subject of much research from the ancient china of 100 BC or earlier to the modern times by various universities and research organizations. It is also known as Linghzi in China and Reishi in Japan.

It is said that in the ancient times anyone who found the rare Linghzi herb never revealed the place and kept it a secret of health, longevity and wealth. The Japanese revered the herb as 'God's Herb' where it is known as Reishi.

Lingzhi herbal mushrooms in medicine was considered so auspicious that its medical efficiency has been attested to in the oldest Chinese medical text (over 2,000 years old). The book, which is known in Japan as "Shinnoh Honsohkyo", is now accepted as being the original textbook of Oriental medical science. In it, 365 kinds of medicines are classified and explained. Ganoderma is classified as "Superior Herb" or "God's Herbs" and they are for perpetual youth and longevity. The book states that for "superior" medicines, any amount can be taken as desired on a continuous basis with no unfavorable effects. Of the superior medicines listed in the text, Lingzhi was rated number one. You can see how important and powerful Lingzhi was considered in ancient times. It achieved its ranking in the Chinese text not because of its symbolic importance as a good omen but because of its medicinal properties. Centuries ago, Lingzhi was said to be a medicine that would grant you eternal youth and longevity.

But after 2,000 years, Lingzhi has jumped into the spotlight as a specific medicine for cancer. This must be a bitter irony for those in the modern medical profession who discounted the herbal remedies and oriental medicine as being "old wives' tales". The families of many cancer patients who have received a diagnostic "death sentence" now seek reishi as the only way left for them.

The Linghzi Mushrooms grows only on old tree barks with specific conditions difficult to replicate.

Till 1971 the herb was so rare that it was hardly sited except in mountainous areas. Many researchers had attempted to plant Ganoderma artificially but failed. Till in 1971 directed by Naoi Department of Agriculture and Professor Zenzaburo Kasai, Kyoto University made a breakthrough in its cultivation.

Presently the herb is grown only by 10 countries. The demand far outstrips supply due to the increasing evidence through various researches on its efficiency in treating many disease including Cancer, HIV, Hepatitis, Diabetes, Liver disorders and mainly as a preventative due its rich anti oxidant and detoxifying qualities.

Some of the research in Japan indicates that those that have taken Ganoderma for over a year the visit to doctors dropped into half. There are thousands of research paper available including on the internet on the subject of the healing breakthroughs achieved by Lingzhi or Ganoderma in various treatments and too lengthy to discuss here. However we can highlight the research in short.

Summarized from these reports, it is found that Lingzhi have the following properties:

Improves cholesterosis, coronary insufficiency.

Improves hyper and hypotension.

Improves nervous tension, neurosis.

Improves chronic bronchitis, hepatitis.

Improves leukocytopenia and reticuloendothelial system.

Effective in numerous other ailments.

The three major killers these days are: cancer, cerebrosis and coronary diseases. The latter two have their etiology closely linked to the blood circulatory system. Related problems like stroke, heart block, arteriosclerosis, obesity etc. Are all tied to problems in the blood circulation. One out of three persons dies from one of the above ailments everyday.

Lingzhi can correct this imbalance and strengthen the system to prevent further deterioration.

What is noteworthy are its preventative capabilities. For the 21st century man, stressed out, poisoned by the polluted atmosphere, wrong food habits and drug induced illnesses of the modern medicine. While modern medicine has been very effective in treating certain conditions effectively and immediately, they do not address the holistic approach of the ancient medicine as a preventive and for regeneration of wasted tissues and damaged cells.

In conclusion, Ganoderma has been proven to exert significant effect on diminishing pain, fortifying the body's immune system and prolonging life. Even though its role in cancer control has not been determined 100 percent yet.

Ganoderma has a history of 3,000 years, during which time it is widely used by many people with no reported unfavorable side effects. It is therefore highly recommend for prevention. I hope that people from all walks of life will take a concern interest and share in development of Herbal treatments. Hopefully, with so much research and emerging evidence, Ganoderma can bring a brighter outlook to the human race in the request of longevity.

How To Stop Roof Tiles Being Blown Off

Wind pressure is a common cause of failure for tiled roofs. As the wind moves over the roof it produces upward forces causing the roofing tiles to rattle or be removed completely.

Contrary to common belief, roofing tiles are not “blown off” a roof. The wind creates an upward force as it travels over the roof, causing the tiles to be sucked upwards. It is important to understand this subtle distinction in order to build a more secure roofing system. Securing tiles against upward lift is the key to keeping the tiles on the roof.

As the wind travels over the roof area, it causes the air pressure on top of the roofing to decrease. At the same time the pressure underneath the roof increases. The increase in pressure inside the loft space results in a positive pressure on the roof tiles. The negative pressure above causes the tiles to be sucked upwards, lifting the tail of the tile. The lower the pitch of the roofing, the higher the forces will be.

If the tiles are being sucked upwards rather than blown, the old method of roof tile fixing may not be the best. Traditionally roof tiles are nailed or pegged at the head or top of the tile. This secures the tile against the force of gravity but has little effect on upward tile lift. In fact the only thing securing the bottom of the tile is the tiles own weight.

Tests in the United Kingdom have proved that a roofing tile clipped or secured at the bottom can withstand 5 times the force of a head nailed roof tile. Tiles can be clipped or wired to ensure the tail is secured against wind uplift. This also stops the annoying rattle or chatter sometimes associated with wind swept roofs. The chatter occurs as tiles are lifted and dropped by the wind vortex. I prefer to use a bead of silicone between the tile courses to act as a second line of defence against tile chatter.

It is important to note here that modern roofing tile clips must be installed correctly if they are to have any effect. Tile clips are usually nailed in close proximity to the interlocking channel. Because of the risk of damaging the tile, there is a tendency to move the nail too far away from the interlock. The clip must be positioned at right angles close to the tile. The roofing clip should be securely bedded to prevent the tile working loose. In my opinion, the old system of wiring the bottom of the tiles is superior to modern clipping. The wire fixes to an eyelet on the bottom of the tile and in between tile courses onto the supporting baton. This has the effect of clamping down the tile. I have re-roofed wired roofs that are over 50 years old and the wire is still clamped tight.

The most important roofing component when it comes to preventing wind damage is the roofing felt. Roofing felt or sarking is placed under the batons before the tiles are fixed. The primary function of all roofing felt is to prevent wind damage. The waterproofing of the paper is far less important than its ability as a wind barrier. The sarking prevents the increase in pressure inside the loft, thus preventing wind uplift. It must be fixed securely with 150mm overlaps. An extra baton should be placed at the point where the sheets overlap to prevent wind travelling between sheets. If the felt is not correctly secured the wind force will be focused on the weak spot causing more problems.

All ridge and hip tiles need to be mechanically fixed in areas prone to high winds. Roofing mortar alone should not be relied upon to hold these tiles secure. Once the bond between tile and mortar is broken the tile can work loose. They should be nailed, clipped or wired.

The areas most lightly to be submitted to wind uplift are the eaves, verges and ridges. In these areas it is prudent to take extra precautions with your tile fixing. Nail and clip all tiles around the periphery.

A little extra time taken at the installation stage will ensure the roofing tiles stay secure in heavy weather. The extra cost is outweighed by the savings in maintenance and piece of mind.

Acrylic Nail Monomer – The Technique Beyond Artificialness

Self-grooming is something which can make you look elegant without even wearing those additional weights on your body. So, what can groom you the best? It is certain that the outer part of your body will reflect your whole persona and it will define what you are as what you see, you buy.

Then the crisis arouses and you look here and there how to get rid of the problem. Putting a heavy makeup sometimes becomes the choice of some individual but that doesn’t end up being fruitful when you call the day off. Since in this particular time the trend doesn’t give thumbs up for the unusual and unnecessary heavy makeup, you don’t need to put the chemicals on your face or anywhere else. Rather having a simpler one will make more sense. When it comes to the grooming, nails are not behind. At the instance, they are getting immense importance as one of the most significant sources of your flaunting.

Those days have gone when only a nail polish was the only equipment to glorify the best piece of your figure. Nowadays, ample of techniques have arrived by which you can avail the nails with a beautiful touch. From those, acrylic nail monomer is one of the most popular tricks, women are eager to be availed with. The question may arouse now, what actually this technique is.

Monomer: Having shorter nails wasn’t the matter of anxiety for the ladies from the day the acrylic monomer has stepped the foot in the industry. The solution of acrylic powder (polymer) is called the monomer and the liquid is likely put on the nails and after drying in shadow under the UV light the liquid form a solid, sturdy and long nail. The best part in the technique is one can hardly locate it is the artificial nails shining on your hands. Thus, your sophistication talks on behalf of you.

It is quite certain that there are some other techniques as well which will promise to give you the similar facility but why people are driving towards the acrylic? The answer is simple. There is a fine line between similar and same. There are some reasons and benefits which no other service can offer but acrylic.

Natural: The most important feature an artificial thing should acquire that it should not look like an artificial one. Whether in nailing point of view, the technique produces a thin layer which actually looks like the real nail.

Budget Friendly: The best thing with acrylic nail monomer is the budget. The technique is quite affordable that you don’t need to spend any extra bucks for the beautiful piece of nail.

Long Lasting: From various advantages, the most beneficial thing is its stability. The stability gives you the better look and holds you to spend for maintaining it.

What Are the Health Benefits of Hot Yoga?

Yoga may conjure up images of pretzel-like poses performed in a shady, relaxing spot by the sea surrounded by gorgeous flowers and lush greenery. However, some people prefer to crank up the heat. Hot yoga is exactly what the name implies: doing yoga in a room heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of yoga is also known as Bikram Yoga named for its creator, Bikram Choudhury. Apart from the heat, which causes you to sweat away pounds of water weight, does hot yoga offer more or different benefits than regular yoga?

Exercise increases your body temperature, and exercising in a hot environment increases your body temperature even more. Increased temperature can result in higher metabolism for greater calorie burn. Yoga helps to strengthen your muscles and tone your body by stretching and holding various poses. Your flexibility and range of motion can improve as you continue doing yoga regularly. Greater range of motion and increased flexibility lessens your susceptibility to injuries, such as strained muscles and sprained joints. Add heat to an already effective exercise, such as yoga, and you can improve flexibility because warm muscles perform better and are less likely to be injured than cold muscles. That’s why you should warm-up before exercise.

Sweating is your body’s natural response to heat. Your body sweats to remove heat from the body as the sweat evaporates. Toxins are also released in sweat, thereby cleansing your body of the built of toxins that naturally result from oxidation of nutrients in the cells. For those interested in detoxification options, hot yoga might be the answer.

In addition to improving your physical condition, hot yoga can also improve your overall well-being. Exercise improves your focus, your mental strength, your willpower, and your self-confidence. Your brain releases endorphins during and for a time after exercise. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones that help to produce a feeling of calm and well-being. You will notice your self-confidence improves a little more after each successful hot yoga workout.

Before you begin hot yoga or any exercise program, see your doctor for a complete check-up. Make sure you are physically ready to take on the challenge of hot yoga. Certain medical conditions may be exacerbated by the stress exercise plus heat can place on your body. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after hot yoga. The intense sweating can result in dehydration. You may continue to sweat for a period of time after your hot yoga session. Cool down slowly and keep your body hydrated. Learn the signs of heat-related conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Stop immediately if you feel light-headed, develop a headache, feel nauseous or anxious. Seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms persist.