Leave a comment

12 Labors Update

DSC_0810No, I haven’t forgotten about my 12 Labors! I started in August and will finish in March 2018, just before Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.

Refer to post Labor #1 Compassion and Understanding for all the details.  Quick recap: as part of my journey as Wonder Woman, I have assigned myself 12 Labors (as she did in the comics). To review, my 12 Labors are:

1 Compassion & Understanding
Makeup and personally deliver 5 Blessing Bags for the less fortunate.  COMPLETED

2 Practice, Discipline & Patience
Archery, on-going practice, once a week

3 Meditation
On-going, 15 minutes, twice a week

4 Forgiveness (Meditation)
On-going, in addition to Labor #3, guided Jake Kornfield meditation
A. ask for forgiveness B. forgive self C. forgive others

5 Breaking my armor
On-going, look strangers in the eye, smile, say hello, hold doors, open doors, sincerely give strangers complements.

6 Tolerance, Acceptance & Ego
This is a tough one to quantify. My goal is to be continuously mindful of my 12 Labors.
Remember to be kind, for everyone I meet is fighting a hard battle.
Try to see through others poor behavior and recognize it as their insecurities.
Not make things about me.
More acceptance and less judgment of others.
Live my truth.

7 Thou shalt not kill (especially spiders)
Just as superheroes don’t always see their enemy coming, this is an ongoing threat that will challenge me at random and unexpected times. I am afraid of spiders and dislike them very much!

8 Acceptance (as well as Endurance / Stamina)
Watch all seasons of Curb your Enthusiasm
While watching TV may not seem like much of a trial or labor, please understand, I cannot stand the character, Larry David! My goal is to work on accepting Larry David as he is.

9 Still under development

10 Cooking Skill Challenge
In the culinary world, soufflés are particularly challenging. I shall try and master one.

11 Diet
No carbs (bread, pasta, pastries, etc.) past breakfast every day for 1 month
Drink 64 oz. of water every day for 1 month

12 Physical Strength
Through my workouts (5 x a week) I will build up to:
5-minute plank: combining a center plank and one on each side
5-minute pool cardio challenge: working against a tether and w/pool weights
20 lbs. side laterals: a 20 lbs. dumbbell in each hand, 10 + reps.
Active caloric burn of 520 for 7 days in a row (300 + calories at the gym alone)


I’m into my third month of seven. A few of the on-going Labors are working out differently than I had originally planned. For example, both Labors 3 & 4 (Meditation and Forgiveness), I am incorporating into my time at the gym. The gym I go to has a dark room (dim lighting) with cardio equipment and mats for stretching. With calming music playing on my iPod, I am able to meditate while walking on the treadmill or stretching on the mats. I call it a moving meditation. A common misconception about meditation is that one has to be still, laying or sitting down. This is not true (for everyone). How one defines meditation is largely personal and highly individualistic. I am able to achieve a calm yet focused state of mind, eyes closed (holding onto the treadmill bar), with peaceful breathing. I purposely choose a treadmill or spot on the mat away from others for this practice.

So far, I have stayed true to Labor 7 and have successfully not killed any spiders. AND it’s spider season, so I’m quite pleased with this one!


While on our trip to Prague and Budapest (August 2017) I continued the thread of Labor 1 (Compassion and Understanding) and gave spare coins to a few of the less fortunate. Even though there was a language barrier, I gave them eye contact, put my palms together in prayer and bowed my head to them.
A week ago, I stopped to help a woman who I passed on the street. She was having a hard time, so I offered my assistance and a few dollars. I found myself flooded with compassion, much like Wonder Woman does just before crossing No Man’s Land (in the movie). I need to walk the walk regardless if I have my costume on or not. It’s a mindset and a desire to do the right thing. Not just when you may get recognized for it.

Currently, I am falling short on Labor 2 (once a week archery practice) but I did pick up a bow at a local fair in Budapest and shot a few arrows with the help of the on-hand teaching assistant. The target was about two feet away and was really designed for children, even though they did have a recurve bow for adults (which is the one I used). So, I suppose that counts for something.

I have watched two episodes of the current season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Even though the intro theme music still makes me cringe, I am able to see Larry David for what he is . . . a nit-wit. I dislike many of the characters on the show, but there are some funny moments. The endless cussing gets a little old, for lack of creative dialogue and I don’t appreciate the misogynistic and sexist themes. So far, I’ve learned that this is not a show I would normally watch (which I kind of already knew). But I am starting to see the character of Larry David as a gross exaggeration, a cartoon, and circus-like. But because the show is set in present day, it’s disguised as plausible or realistic and it’s anything but. I am starting to see through the absurd ass hole facade and not invest myself in the show or its characters.


I am working up to Labor 11 (see above). And I’m working hard toward Labor 12. I’m currently doing a 4-minute plank, 15 lbs. side laterals – consistently, and I’m already going past 5 minutes in my pool challenge.

Labors 5 & 6 are on-going. I ask for guidance and strive to be: A better person today than I was yesterday and a better person tomorrow than I am today.

Leave a comment


th copy 3

A few nights ago, I had a bit of a meltdown.  My husband Michael and I were watching an episode of the TV show Outlander (season 1) and the main female character, Claire was about to be raped FOR THE SECOND TIME in the SAME episode.  If you watch the show, rape is not an uncommon theme.

The night before that, Michael and I were watching another TV show, Good Behavior.  In this particular episode, the main female character Letty, was nearly raped.

Then there are shows like Game of Thrones, where rape and violence towards female characters is all too common.  Rape has also been used as a plot point on Downton Abby, Scandal, Law & Order SVU, The Walking Dead, House of Cards, The Sopranos, Veronica Mars, Mad Men, Inside Amy Schumer, Orange Is The New Black, Tyrant, Stalker, Shameless, The Americans, Top of the Lake among many other TV shows, movies, and books.

Back to the other night.  As the second assault was about to take place on TV, my already high boiling point (when I see such scenes) hit the roof.  I yelled, “Enough!”  I got up from my chair, abruptly displacing the sleeping cat on my lap and continued to yell at the top of my lungs.  As I marched out of the room, my husband called out to me, “Are you upset with me?  What can I do to help?”  As I stomped down the stairs, hitting my full freak-out stride, I screamed back, “I’m so sick of seeing this.  It’s NOT entertainment!”

Energy was coursing through me.  I was so angry.  I was flooded with adrenaline.  If anyone crossed me at that moment, they would have been left a bloody pulp.  It would have been a great time to take a kickboxing class.  I paced the kitchen, with my hands gripped together.  For a few minutes, the fight or flight sensation stayed with me.  Then I began to come down, off of a high almost.  My hands were achy from gripping them too tight.  I noticed my throat raw and sore from screaming.  After a few more minutes I was drained of most energy and at 8:30 pm, I decided it was probably best to just go to bed.

The following day, I felt tired and drained.  I felt defeated, small, and insignificant.  My body was sore from an hour of hard weight lifting the previous day.  But the sensation was adding to my overall feeling of weakness.  Usually, I’m fairly strong both mentally and physically.  But not that day.

I’m so tired of seeing violence towards women everywhere – TV, movies, the news, comics.  Hearing about it everywhere – Harvey Weinstein, John Besh (chef) and everyone who came before them (who we know about) and those we don’t know about.  Child brides, the sex slaves, the sex trade, prostitution, selling of humans and on and on and on.  It’s endless.

In India, female children are sold so their family can eat and rape is a common everyday occurrence.  In Asia, prostitution is a highly sought-after commodity.  In the Middle East, woman are oppressed, not considered equal and even their dress is decided so men will not be tempted.  In the US – where do I start?


How does this change?

Where do we start?

How are we listened to, heard, and taken seriously?

How is this issue not blown over and forgotten about?

How are excuses no longer accepted?

How is this behavior no longer part of a “good old boys club”?

How does the abuse, objectification, and sexualization of women no longer turn a profit, boost ratings, cause a social media stir, etc. and is no longer accepted as entertainment?


Anything less than wanting the answers to these questions and the willingness to help seek out those answers is – part of the problem.

Version 2

Leave a comment

Labor #1 Compassion & Understanding

th copy 2

Labor #1  Compassion & Understanding – Make up and personally deliver 5 Blessing Bags for the less fortunate.

Today I handed out the 5th Blessing Bag. I’m not necessarily approaching these Labors in order, it just happened that I got a jump on this one. I am actually working on several Labors at once, as several are ongoing. I started this Labor slightly ahead of my August 1 start date. Spending less than $180, I made up 5 bags for the less fortunate, each consisting of:

1L Smart Water
Tissues, Wipes, Lip Balm, Mints
EmergenC packet, Band-Aids, $20 Target card
Protein bar, peanut butter crackers, mini chocolate bar
2 bags were for women specifically w/feminine products
Hand written note: “You are in may thoughts and prayers.” -K
All in a reusable bag

I put the bags in the trunk of my car and when I’d see someone in need, I’d park my car to personally deliver the bag. Approaching with a smile, I’d ask if they’d like the bag containing a few supplies. Their eyes would light up and they would say yes. After handing them the bag, I’d ask their name, and extend my hand. “Nice to meet you ______, my name is K. I’ll pray for you.” Usually, I’d receive a Thank you, or a God Bless you and a smile.

th-1 copyA particular place where I delivered a few bags was near a grocery store. There is a small strip of median, popular for folks to stand. Approaching this location I had to weave around cars waiting for a traffic light. Once, after delivering a bag to a lady named Cheryl, I saw two local police SUV’s waiting in traffic for the light. Having just given her the bag, I knew they had seen me. As I walked back to my car, I looked at the drivers of the police vehicles, neither driver would look at me.

The experience of this Labor evoked a great deal of reflection. Things I take for granted. How thankful I am. How fortunate I am. Compassion for others. We are all human, very little separates us. Yet in our mind, a great deal separates us from what we don’t understand. We all deserve decency, kindness and respect.

Jim: Haggen, 7/24, vet in a wheelchair
Janet: Burger King in W. Olympia, 7/28
Chris: Haggen, 8/2
Cheryl: Haggen, 8/11
Jessy: Haggen 8/17

Five bags were the original Labor. I’d like to make another five bags, to be delivered in the Fall or Winter with season appropriate supplies. This time all five will go to women.

I am immensely thankful for the abundance, blessings, and freedoms in my life. I am thankful for my husband and his ability to provide our financial stability. I am thankful for my mental and physical health as well as strength. I am thankful for our lovely home, our sanctuary.
I am thankful for (a great many things):
*  Our beautiful fuzzy children (2 black rescue cats)
*  Friends and family
*  The freedom to pursue my passions & interests

It’s one thing to have good intensions toward others dissimilar or less fortunate than yourself. It’s something entirely different to make eye contact, exchange smiles, shake hands, introduce yourself and experience a genuine exchange. It’s something I won’t forget. It’s something that has touched me and will remain with me forever.

Leave a comment

12 Labors Part 1

Hercules-Bronze-Side_IMG_3621-e1281541279563It’s well known that Hercules had 12 Labors.

The twelve labors of Hercules are a series of episodes concerning a penance carried out by Heracles. Driven mad by Hera (queen of the gods), Hercules slew his son, daughter, and wife Megara. After recovering his sanity, Hercules deeply regretted his actions; he was purified by King Thespius, then traveled to Delphi to inquire how he could atone for his actions. Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, advised him to go to Tiryns and serve his cousin King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labors Eurystheus might set him; in return, he would be rewarded with immortality. Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. Eventually, he placed himself at Eurystheus’s disposal.

* Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labours_of_Hercules
The 9th labor was The Belt of Hippolyte.

For the ninth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the belt of Hippolyte [Hip-POLLY-tee]. This was no ordinary belt and no ordinary warrior. Hippolyte was queen, of the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors that lived apart from men.

Queen Hippolyte had a special piece of armor. It was a leather belt that had been given to her by Ares, the war god because she was the best warrior of all the Amazons. She wore this belt across her chest and used it to carry her sword and spear. Eurystheus wanted Hippolyte’s belt as a present to give to his daughter, and he sent Hercules to bring it back.

After a long journey, Hercules and the Greeks reached the land of the Amazons and put in at the harbor. When they got off the boat, Hippolyte came down to visit them.

She asked Hercules why he had come, and when he told her, she promised to give him the belt. But the goddess Hera knew that the arrival of Hercules meant nothing but trouble for the Amazons. Disguised as an Amazon warrior, Hera went up and down the army saying to each woman that the strangers who had arrived were going to carry off the queen. So the Amazons put on their armor. The women warriors charged on horseback down to the ship. But when Hercules saw that they were wearing their armor and were carrying their weapons, he knew that he was under attack. Thinking fast, he drew his sword and killed Hippolyte.

Then he undid her belt and took it. Hercules and the Greeks fought the rest of the Amazons in a great battle.

Hercules then sailed away. He returned to Mycenae, and he gave the belt to Eurystheus.

* Source: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/amazon.html


The Amazons tell the story a different way . . .

Hippolyte and the Amazons once resided in “Amazonia” in the days of ancient Greece, until they were beguiled and bested by the demi-god Hercules, who had been inspired by the God of War Ares, to go after her. She was able to beat him thanks to the magic girdle, but he seduced her and tricked her into removing the girdle, allowing him to steal it. This caused the Amazons to lose their super strength and the favor of their patron goddess, Aphrodite. Eventually, she and the other Amazons were forgiven but had to wear bracelets to remind them of the folly of submitting to men. To regain their status, the Amazons were decreed to leave the mortal world and relocate to Paradise Island (Themyscira). There they established their own society, free from the evils of man’s world. So long as they remained there and Hippolyte retained possession of her magic girdle, the Amazons would be immortal. Much of this history was adapted, varied, and expanded upon in the modern version of the Wonder Woman comics.

For the most part, Hippolyte remained on Paradise Island during the Golden Age era, rarely interacting with the modern world to which her daughter had journeyed. Her role was that of the Amazon Queen and mentor to Wonder Woman. She was devoted to the Olympian goddesses, particularly the Amazons’ patron Aphrodite, and was adamant that man never be allowed to set foot on Paradise Island. Although she remained mainly on the island, in one story from Sensation Comics #26 (reprinted in Wonder Woman: The Complete History), Hippolyte travels to Man’s World and briefly assumes the role of Wonder Woman. In the first appearance of Villany inc she is kidnapped to lure Wonder Woman into a trap.

* Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolyta_(DC_Comics)


Little do people know that Amazonian Princess Wonder Woman assigned herself 12 Labors.

Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors is a series of Wonder Woman stories directly after her powerless days with I Ching during the Bronze Age. After becoming aware that her mother has removed her unpleasant memories of Steve Trevor’s death and her loss of powers, Wonder Woman is insecure as to whether she should rejoin the Justice League of America. She calls for them to monitor her next missions, to see if her memory loss had any effect on her ability to fight crime. On each mission, she is closely watched by another member of the League, who do not interfere. The labors are successful, and in the end, she is unanimously allowed to rejoin the League.

Source: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Wonder_Woman:_The_Twelve_Labors


12Labors1 2

In the spirit of Wonder Woman, my inner Superhero, and self-growth, I have assigned myself 12 Labors. Starting August 1st, 2017, my goal is to have them all completed before suiting up as Wonder Woman for Emerald City Comicon March 1, 2018. I personalized each labor to challenge myself and be personal growth inducing. Feats that will be physically, spiritually, mentally challenging as well as tasks that will purposefully take me out of my comfort zone.

Some challenges will be multifaceted, meaning they’ll have more than one component. Some will be ongoing and some will be goal & results orientated. Some trials will be hard to quantify, so I guess we’ll just be on the honor system.

These aren’t universal challenges that most people would find hard, they are tasks designed to challenge me personally. For example, you may be a runner, and so a suitable challenge for you may be to run a marathon. I am not a runner. I’ve got 20 + years of ballet mileage on my knees and hips. So while drinking 64 oz. of water every day may not be a challenge for you, it is for me! I welcome you to join me and develop your own 12 Labors and channel your own Superhero or Badass.

My 12 Labors

1 Compassion & Understanding
Make up and personally deliver 5 Blessing Bags for the less fortunate.

2 Practice, Discipline & Patience
Archery, on going practice, once a week

3 Meditation
On going, 15 minutes, twice a week

4 Forgiveness (Meditation)
On going, in addition to Labor #3, specific guided Jake Kornfield meditation
A. ask for forgiveness  B. forgive self  C. forgive others

5 Breaking my armor
On going, look strangers in the eye, smile, say hello, hold doors, open doors, sincerely give strangers complements.

6 Tolerance, Acceptance & Ego
This is a tough one to quantify. My goal is to be continuously mindful of my 12 Labors.
*  Remember to be kind, for everyone I meet is fighting a hard battle.
*  Try to see through others poor behavior and recognize it as their insecurities.
*  Not make things about me.
*  More acceptance and less judgement of others.
*  Live my truth.

7 Thou shalt not kill (especially spiders)
Just as superheroes don’t always see their enemy coming, this is an ongoing threat that will challenge me at random and unexpected times. I am afraid of spiders and dislike them very much!

8 Acceptance (as well as Endurance / Stamina)
Watch all seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm
While watching TV may not seem like much of a trial or labor, please understand, I cannot stand the character, Larry David! My goal is to work on accepting Larry David as he is.

9 Still under development

10 Cooking Skill Challenge
In the culinary world, soufflés are particularly challenging. I shall try and master one.

11 Diet
*  No carbs (bread, pasta, pastries, etc.) past breakfast every day for 1 month
*  Drink 64 oz. of water every day for 1 month

12 Physical Strength
Through my workouts (5 x a week) I will build up to:
*  5 minute plank: combining a center plank and one on each side
*  5 minute pool cardio challenge: working against a tether and w/pool weights
*  20 lbs. side laterals: a 20 lbs. dumbbell in each hand, 10 + reps.
*  Active caloric burn of 520 for 7 days in a row (300 + calories at the gym alone)

Leave a comment

Cooking Sous Vide, A How To Guide

IMG_6215Sous-vide (soo-vide)
(French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch then placed in a temperature-controlled water bath (an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking). The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.

For years the technique of sous vide was only available to the professional kitchens of restaurants because the cost of an immersion circulator (the tool for cooking sous vide) was enormously expensive and some still are. Smaller and less expensive versions were made for the home chef.

My model is by Sansaire
Available at: Sansaire Store, Amazon, Willimas-Sonoma, Food 52, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond
Ranging in price from $150 Amazon – $200
Go to sansaire.com for additional product and cooking information.

Bare basics needed to cook sous vide include:
–  Immersion circulator
–  Freezer Zip-lock bag
–  Large stock pot
–  Item to be sous vide

Extra Sous Vide Equipment (beginners don’t really need these) all available from Amazon
–  Large clear plastic food grade tub or container instead of stock pot (cool for seeing through)
–  Vacuum sealer
–  Sous Vide Water Balls for helping to retain the water heat, best used for long sous vide cooking
–  Sous Vide Rack for keeping multiple items in place in the water

The number of things that can be cooked sous vide is endless. Several entertaining articles have been written about just that. Do an internet search for what can be cooked sous vide to find out. The most typical things cooked sous vide are: meat, fish, and eggs.

The idea behind sous vide is to gently cook the item at the precise temperature the item will be eaten. Beef is one of the best examples.

When proteins are removed from the water bath and from the plastic bag, they do not have that classic sear or crust on the outside.

The crust imparts some flavor but is largely a visual and textural component. This is remedied by putting the dried off item in a dry but very hot cast iron skillet or a use culinary blow torch (of which Sansaire also sells) for a quick sear.

The Sansaire website has guideline cooking temperatures and times for beef, fish and eggs. It all depends on how “done” you want the item you are cooking. While ballpark cooking times are given, one of the best things about cooking sous vide, is if you take a nap and you miss the timer going off – don’t worry! The item will never over-cook because the water bath is always kept at a constant precise temperature. The only worry is the water level going down too far from evaporation.

Most immersion circulators have settings for both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

A few options on timing for putting the item to be cooked into the water:
Once the water has reached the proper temp. put the item in.
Put the item in the water and tack on 10-15 extra minutes to allow the water to get to temp.
Start off by adding hot tap water, to cut down on the time it takes to heat the water.

I made a short video on cooking sous vide that you can watch on my website



Set-up Your Sansaire
Pick a container that will be large enough to fit your food, with extra room left over for water to circulate. A large soup or stock pot is a great choice. Place your Sansaire inside the pot with the Sansaire’s clip on the outside to hold it steady. Add the water between minimum and maximum fill lines on the Sansaire, and plug in the power cord. Turn it on.

How Would You Like Your Steak?
Take your time… this could be the most important decision you’ll make today. Pick the doneness that’s most appealing to you. Go to Sansaire.com for a temperature to doneness guide. The FDA would like to remind you that consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

Cooking Time: One Hour + depending on the cut of meat
I cook beef between 133 – 135 F usually 135 F and get perfectly medium every time.
* The guideline cooking temps. below are from the Sansaire website, but through trial and error you will find your perfect temperature.

Rare – A lot Pink – 50°C OR 122°F
You’re in touch with your inner caveman. Red and juicy.

Medium Rare – Slightly less Pink – 54°C OR 129.2°F
An elegant choice. Cooked just enough to give the steak a gentle firmness, this is the doneness of choice for many meat eaters.

Medium – Just the right amount of Pink – 56°C OR 132.8°F
A superb decision that brings out the best in many steaks, medium steaks have the faintest traces of pinkness remaining.

Well Done – NO Pink – 60°C OR 140°F
Your wish is our command. No judgment… really.

Seal Your Steak
Place each steak in a plastic bag or vacuum seal. Zip-lock bags, particularly those labeled as “freezer” bags, are a great choice. You can put more than one steak in each bag – just make sure they don’t overlap each other. Now it’s time to remove the air so your steaks don’t float. Hold the top of the bag open and lower the bottom into to the water bath. The pressure of the water against the bag will force most of the air out. Keep lowering until just the top of the bag is above the water, then zip the top closed and drop it into the water.
Cook for 1 Hour. Take a Break.
Your steak will be ready for the next step in an hour. So, this time is all yours. How about a nap? Want to take the dog for a stroll? Maybe catch up on that show you love? Don’t feel guilty for indulging. If anyone asks, you’re making dinner. Oh… and if that hour of indulgent time turns into two or three or four hours, no worries. Your steak will still be just as perfectly cooked when you return to it.

Remove and Sear
Using tongs, remove your bags of steak from the bath. Take out the steaks and pat them dry –  we’re about to sear them, and wet things don’t like to brown. You can sear with the Sansaire Searing Kit.  Light your torch and hold it 3-5” inches from your food, moving in slow passes over the surface until a deep, golden crust develops. Fatty areas may flare up, which adds to the drama (and flavor) of the incredible sear you’re creating.


Dry your steak off top and bottom. Put it in a dry super hot cast iron skillet. Let it sear for 30 sec. to 1 minute and check it. Flip or keep it – depending on your preference. Once on the second side you can get fancy (or not) by adding some aromatics like Thyme and Shallot as well as butter. A Steakhouse trick is to baste the steak once on the second side in butter.



Cooking eggs sous vide is a rite of passage. Whereas perfectly poaching an egg is a difficult and noteworthy achievement in traditional cooking, you can perfectly poach a dozen eggs sous vide with your eyes closed. By allowing the eggs to cook slowly over 45 minutes, their texture will become fudgy and silken. You’re about to upgrade your brunch game.

Set up your Sansaire – Same as above

Pick your perfect Egg
Runny 62°C OR 143.6°F
Just Set 65.5°C OR 149.9°F
Medium Poached 68°C OR 154.4°F
Soft Boiled 73°C OR 163.4°F

Add Eggs to the Water Bath
Nature was kind enough to seal eggs inside their own sous vide packaging (the shell!) so it’s not necessary to use bags when cooking whole eggs. Because the water will be hot, and because we don’t want the eggs to crack, lower them gently into the water bath using a spoon.

Cook for 45 Minutes
Your eggs will be ready in 45 minutes, so you’ve got some time to kill.

Remove, Rinse, & Serve
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the bath. Run the shells under cold water for a few seconds until they’re cool enough to handle. Crack the shells gently and decant perfectly cooked sous vide eggs onto the dish of your choice.



Set Up your Sansaire – Same as above

Pick the Doneness You Prefer
That’s right, you get to choose how you want your fish cooked. Pick the doneness that’s most appealing to you. Go to Sansaire.com for a temperature to doneness guide.

Very Lightly Cooked – 45°C OR 113°F
Not quite raw, but pretty close. This barely cooked texture is more tender and delicate than sashimi. Not advised for those who can’t eat raw seafood, or for the squeamish.

Lightly Cooked – 50°C OR 122°F
Our favorite for salmon and other fatty fish. Still translucent, briny, and immaculately tender, we think it is perfection.

Medium – 55°C OR 131°F
Firmer and with more body than lower temperatures. A great choice for fish tacos, or if you prefer a more traditional texture.

Seal Your Fish – Same as above

Cook for 25-30 Minutes

Remove & Sear
Using tongs, remove your bags of fish from the bath. Handle them gently, as they’re pretty delicate. If you enjoy a sear on the skin or flesh of your fish the follow the searing directions above. I’ve found it’s not necessary for most fish, but that’s me.

Cooking Sous Vide couldn’t be easier and with foolproof results every time, you may never cook a steak (or animal proteins) the same way again!

Bon Appétit

Leave a comment

Gut Microbiome


Keeping the microbes in your tummy happy is very, very important. They impact our overall health, weight, mood, allergies, and illness. Gut microbes can also have influences on metabolism and mental health. As the Gut Microbiome is a relatively new focus of study, science is learning just how much of our health is linked to the microscopic bacteria in our gut.

After suffering two bouts of food-borne illness (from restaurant food) only 18 days apart, I was inspired to learn more about the impact of gut health. I found an on-line class focusing on just that. See link below. After my adventures in what was likely Norovirus, I started taking probiotics to help bring balance back to my ravaged tummy.


We have multiple microbiome sites on our bodies, each with its own unique bacterial inhabitants. Skin, nose, mouth, vaginal, and gut – to name a few. For example, how you are born can affect your health as an infant and child. Studies have shown children of vaginal births tend to have fewer allergies, asthma and illnesses than children born from a C-section. Why? Because when traveling through the birth canal, the baby is exposed to the mother’s vaginal microbes VS with a C-section, the baby is exposed to the mother’s skin microbes. It appears the vaginal microbes are better at helping the baby develop it’s own microbiome sites as the child ages, as well as assist in the set up the immunity of the child. Studies are already underway to test this further by wiping a newborn (delivered via C-section) with swab taken from the mother’s vagina – to expose the infant to the vaginal microbes when normally the infant would only be exposed to the skin microbes. Through advanced testing, results are showing the child’s different microbiome sites developing normally and the child to have fewer health issues in early life.


The primary factors that affect the health of one’s gut microbiome are:

Antibiotic Use

All the different microbes serve a purpose and are critical to our health. Keeping them balanced is the trick. For the most part, they regulate themselves with little help from us. But there are things that can tip the scales and cause damage, such as ingesting harmful bacteria as when you experience food poisoning. Once in your gut, the bad bacteria multiply at a very quick rate. When there are too many, your body launches an attack and the only way to get the bad guys out of your system is by force. As anyone who has suffered a food-borne illness can tell you, it’s the worst 8 or so hours of your life. You are crippled by increasing stomach pain, incapable of doing anything but lie on the bathroom floor in misery and ride out the waves of violent vomiting and diarrhea. After such an attack, your gut microbiome is completely ravaged and needs to rebuild. But safely! Probiotics help to remake what was damaged.

Antibiotics also cause harm. An antibiotics job is to destroy certain types of bacteria. There are wide range antibiotics (ones that target a wide range of bacteria) and narrow range antibiotics. Unfortunately, neither can differentiate between the good type of bacteria and the bad, so it all has to go. That’s why it’s really not a good idea to needlessly take antibiotics at the drop of a hat and for every little thing. Science is actually finding out that antibiotics can do more harm than good. The worst part is they can do irreversible damage. Meaning, after enough antibiotic use, one’s gut will never be the same (and not for the better). Antibiotic use also explains why some women get yeast infections. Because the delicate balance of the vaginal bacteria is affected by the antibiotics. As a side note, taking probiotics while also on antibiotics can help (to a degree) combat the problem. Also, taking probiotics or consuming naturally probiotic foods from time to time can also help keep your gut bacteria healthy.


However, many bacteria are actually good for us! Some germs and bacteria help our immune system to do its job and actually grow stronger. Our bodies are constantly learning, changing and adapting to our environment, diet, activities and such. To an extent, by limiting our exposure to germs and bacteria, we are doing ourselves a disservice. Without the exposure to germs, how does our body know to defend itself or launch an attack when threatened? It doesn’t. Maybe think twice the next time you habitually reach for the Purell. It also goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t lick the hand weights at the gym. Or put your fingers in your mouth after handling raw chicken.

Finally, diet is critical. The typical American diet (IE heavy on the sugar, sodium and carbohydrates (with limited fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber) is BAD! Let me say it again – the typical American diet is BAD for us. Our gut microbes thrive on a diverse diet of primarily plant-based foods. Eat the rainbow (not Skittles) is the idea. Author and Food Educator Michael Pollan has suggested several themes to eat by:

“If it’s a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”
“Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of your milk.”
“It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.”

If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. For example, you know what a banana is. An ingredient list is not needed – it’s a banana. You know what a kale is. Tomato, apple, carrot, pear, strawberry, etc. You know what real (refrigeration required) cheese is. You know what olive oil is. You know what quality bakery bread is (not Wonder). You know what almonds are (not coated with toffee). You know what garbanzo beans are. You know what fish is. You know what beef, pork and chicken are – with these, it’s best to also know if they come from a humane farmer, if antibiotics were used, etc. – but you get my point.

What is Cheese Wiz? What is Cool Whip? What is Kraft (green cylindrical canister, NO refrigeration required) Parmesan Cheese? What are artificial sweeteners?  Are they more chemicals than recognizable food? If the ingredient list includes items you don’t know, then you don’t know what you are eating! The food manufacturers would like to keep it that way, so we continue to blindly buy their products.

I could go on this tirade for some time, but my point is – Eat Real Food. Wholesome, in season, from a garden or farm, NOT from a box or package.

So often (and surprisingly we don’t realize it or don’t want to hear it) it all comes down to our diet IE what we put into our bodies. I’ve been saying this quote by Hippocrates for quite some time –

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”


Wonder Woman Movie Review Of Sorts W/O Spoilers

Recommended-Reading-039Wonder-Woman039-is-timely-superhero-movieTo give an “above average” (movie reference) review, I saw the film twice opening weekend at probably one of the best cinema experiences in the Pacific Northwest – the Cinerama in downtown Seattle. Opening night (Friday, June 2) I saw Wonder Woman with my good friend Ann, whom I have known since grade school. She graciously agreed to be seen with me as I dressed in cosplay, wearing Diana’s Themyscira training outfit. A goldish-tan pleated skirt and a similar colored bodice with a darker cross-body strap. I paired this with gladiator sandals as well as her authentic Themyscira hair style of a Dutch braid into a Fishtail braid. I also wore replica bracers or better known as her indestructible bracelets with brown hand straps underneath. I was fairly confident no one else would be in this outfit and I didn’t want to cart around the shield and sword from the WW warrior costume.

IMG_6693While the Cinerama audience was enthusiastic, they didn’t deserve me (another movie reference). I was the only one in full costume. Come on people! Opening night of WW and all you can muster is a measly WW tee shirt?!? Ann made up for it, by wholeheartedly agreeing after people complimented my outfit. “Yeah, doesn’t she look great?!?” I appreciated her positive energy and excitement more than she’ll ever know. I have a brilliant, witty as hell, kind and beautiful invisible jet, and her name is Ann!

The next day I saw the movie with my husband. Fully intending to dress up again, the previous evenings disappointment made me reconsider. So we both joined the movie crowd in our WW tee shirts. I was thankful for the warmth and comfort of jeans.

There was a lot of ground to cover considering the focus of the movie is her origin story. At 141 minutes, the film moves along at a good pace. The fight scenes were beautifully choreographed and not too long (one of my pet peeves). They used the Matrix-style slow motion just enough to show the lines of movement through the air or other trick moves. The fight scenes were also fairly acrobatic instead of simply using brute force. One thing my husband noticed was the lack of blood. Yet she did kill bad guys – or injured them to the point of not getting back up. It’s implied when WW slashes you with her sword that you are down. There is no need to spew blood all over the place (like a Jackson Pollock painting) and make it a focal point. She dispatches with the baddies and moves on. It was a noticeable difference by female director Patty Jenkins.

Chris Pine was a wonderful Steve Trevor. True to the comics, he plays second fiddle to WW and is happy to do it. Pine’s comic timing was reminiscent of his quips as Captain Kirk – dry, cheeky and a bit arrogant. It was nice to see him as the token male amongst the all female Amazons. God knows women have endured being the token female for long enough!

I don’t think there is a valid excuse for not doing a female-centered superhero until now. Superman, Batman, Spiderman and even the Hulk have all had their fair share of numerous movies and remakes. While chatting about the movie with my husband over lamb burgers at Lola, he brought up another good point. He noted that the movie technology of today is perfect for really doing justice to her powers, her mythology, fight style and weaponry (IE lasso). One review I read, said the end of the film was full of “typical” CGI. Well of course it’s going to have CGI! Isn’t that the point of a Superhero movie? Showing fantastic feats mere mortals could never do – no matter how good at CrossFit you are.

Gal Gadot was magnificent as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman. For anyone who doesn’t know, she is Israeli. As part of her mandatory duty to Israel, at the age of 20, Gadot served for two years as an enlisted soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, serving as a combat instructor. After her two-year military service, she then studied law. She also won the 2004 Miss Israel beauty pageant and competed in the Miss Universe 2004 pageant in Ecuador. She is smart, gorgeous and a bad ass – even before she got the role. Speaking of that, after it was announced she was to be Wonder Woman there was a huge backlash because apparently, some folks said her breasts weren’t big enough. Seriously?!? Are we still here? The sexualization of female superheroes is a whole other conversation altogether. But it’s important to point out that those with sexist opinions, clearly don’t know anything about WW or what she stands for and wouldn’t know a true superhero if she hit them in the boob!

I highly recommend seeing the movie. This film made history in so many ways. I cannot stress enough the positive impact this film has had on women. As I’ve already mentioned, there are plenty of male superheroes and strong male figures out there for men to identify with. Finally, an iconic female figure headlines a movie franchise of her own. We have been waiting so long for this. It’s a moment to stand together and truly be proud!



In the afterglow of the movie and my years-long obsession with all things Amazonian, I stopped to reflect on what it means to embody the iconic female superhero.

For women in particular, Wonder Woman is an ideal (her values and morals, not physically) to strive for. She is a role model. She is an inspiration. A lover, and a fighter. She is a savior and a champion. A survivor. Her core values include love, compassion, and truth. She is defender of those who cannot defend themselves. She strives to understand her enemy and applies force only when necessary. She is, in many ways, innocent and holds out hope for mankind and all of our foibles – believing that we can be better. And we should be.

I wish I were a little less cynical at times and expected the best in people, instead of assuming the worst. It’s hard to see others and the world (especially today) through the eyes of hope, purity, integrity, morality, and decency. Perhaps I’d be a little less judgmental if I did. Maybe we all would?

I believe we all have the capacity to embody Wonder Women. Maybe not 24/7, but we have the means to lift up others, to believe in something bigger than ourselves and be a stronger support to the women of the world. That’s what I’d like to do for the sisterhood.

It’s been such a fun and powerful experience to be an uber-fan of Wonder Woman. Since the debut of the very first trailer released at the San Diego Comicon last year (as you know from my relentless posts) I have been pretty obsessed about it. But there are worse things to get behind. I have proudly owned my inner geek. I have not backed down from being a forty-something woman playing dress up in a Superhero costume (I’m a dancer, so it’s not a big stretch for me). I’d be a fan regardless of the movies success. Wonder Woman embodies strength, compassion, love, fearlessness, and a fierceness to stand up for what is right. She is the defender of the defenseless. What’s not to love? The fact that the movie is breaking box office and Rotten Tomatoes records, has received rave reviews from critics and has set the new standard in the movie industry for female empowerment – well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Go see Wonder Women in the theater. Support all the women and girls you know and take them to see the movie. You’ll be glad you did! And they’ll love you even more for it.


PS – To any men feeling left out, excluded or feeling the need to push against all the estrogen – Lighten up Francis, it’s not about you!

Leave a comment

Tough Like a Girl


Reader Discretion Advised

Last night my husband and I were watching the Showtime series Homeland on TV (episode “R is for Romeo”). The scene set-up: Madam President-Elect is a guest on an Alt-Right radio show that is running a smear campaign against her by targeting her son who was a US soldier who died in Afghanistan. They are labeling him a coward. Which is untrue, because the footage stops short of him running to save the life of a fellow soldier. Anyway, a caller calls in and begins to berate the President-Elect and her son. The caller finishes with his insult coup de grâce of “and your son runs like a girl.”


My response to this pathetic attempt at an insult didn’t fully register until about 20 minutes or so, after watching the episode. While brushing my teeth before bed, it hit me. I realize this is a TV show, but that line was obviously meant to be a serious put-down. To slander a manly US soldier who died serving our country in Afghanistan by comparing him to a girl. I however, saw it differently. My personal response would have been something like, “Yeah, And?!?” Or “And your point is?!?” Or “And that’s a bad thing?!?” Or “And how do you run, like a eunuch?!?”


Why in the world would “running like a girl” a bad thing? Or fighting like a girl. Or even being called a p***y. Why have those statements been acknowledged in our society as acceptable put downs? By applying that logic, girls/women are considered to be less than, feeble, weak, frail, deficient, imperfect, substandard, and something not to aspire to. Just like calling someone a certain part of a woman’s body (one of the most coveted body parts by men and women alike, by the way) is considered again to be weak, pathetic, inadequate, insufficient, and unsatisfactory. Clearly, folks haven’t thought that one through! Seriously! That amazing body part is the gateway to life. It gives pleasure, it receives pleasure. It experiences a monthly cycle, that is much like a Phoenix and is reborn from the ashes. It’s tough as nails, resilient as hell, strong as steel, flexible, AND it’s all about love. Wow, who wouldn’t want to be called a p***y? What a compliment, Thank you!

Things like this need to change. It disappoints me that they were ever acceptable to begin with. Racist and sexist slurs, put-downs, insults, and slang are no longer acceptable. Conversations and dialogue like this need to happen. It is no longer funny or cute, or harmless, or unintentional, or a misunderstanding, or an honest mistake or whatever else you tell yourself to make it ok.


It’s simple: Girls are badass! Certainly on par, if not superior to their male counterparts. To remind myself of just how formidable my sex can be, I take inspiration from badass women all around me – my girlfriends, mentors, trainers, artists and yes, even fictional characters.

The next time you hear a sexist or racist comment, I challenge you to stop the TV or stop the person who said it (or whatever the case may be) and have a conversation about it. It continues only because we allow it. It’s time for that to change!

Leave a comment



1 widespread public outrage: indignation, fury, anger, rage, disapproval, wrath, resentment.
2 it is an outrage: scandal, offense, insult, injustice, disgrace.
3 the bomb outrage: atrocity, act of violence/wickedness, crime, wrong, barbarism, inhumane act.
his remarks outraged his parishioners: enrage, infuriate, incense, anger, scandalize, offend, give offense to, affront, shock, horrify, disgust, appall.
Outraged is an understatement however, the above dictionary definition and all its synonyms is dead-on as to how I feel. And you should too!

For some time now, GMOs have been an intellectual hobby of mine. In certain circles, this is a hot topic and online discussion forums, as well as comment sections can get downright nasty regarding this subject. Also, if you’ve been paying attention, this is a heavily political topic. I’ve made it my business to know most all of the inaccurate information surrounding GMOs and consider myself more-than-well-informed on the subject.

I am currently reading The World According to Monsanto by award-winning French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin. And my husband is reading Altered Genes, Twisted Truth by American public interest attorney Steven Druker. Both paint a similar picture. I must admit, I started off reading Altered Genes, and found it rather challenging to keep my interest. I am interested don’t get me wrong however, it’s a rather tedious read. Therefore my husband picked it up and I moved on to The World According to Monsanto.

To really dive into this subject and make an educated decision, you need to know a few things.

GMO 101 (1)
What’s a GMO?
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

What foods are GM?
Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include:
Soy (94%)
Cotton (90%)
Canola (90%)
Sugar beets (95%)
Corn (88%)
Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%)
Zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres)
* GMO apples and potatoes are also on the market, with more and more crops being tested everyday.

What are other sources of GMOs?
Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. Also:
¥ meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed)
¥ dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (Bovine Growth hormone)
¥ food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) and rennet used to make hard cheeses; and
¥ honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen.

What combinations have been tried?
It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:
¥ Spider genes were inserted into goat DNA, in hopes that the goat milk would contain spider web protein for use in bulletproof vests.
¥ Cow genes turned pigskins into cowhides.
¥ Jellyfish genes lit up pigs’ noses in the dark.
¥ Arctic fish genes gave tomatoes and strawberries tolerance to frost.
¥ Potatoes that glowed in the dark when they needed watering.
¥ Human genes were inserted into corn to produce spermicide.

I’m sure your next question is – Are they safe? And that’s where the scientific “debate” begins. First, it’s important to know the company largely responsible for GMOs is Monsanto. (They certainly have the largest share of GMOs seeds and have sought for the most government patents.) Monsanto is a company with a history of making toxic chemicals, many of them carcinogenic (cancer causing). They have lied about the safety of their toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, stating for as long as they could (until studies came out proving otherwise) that their products were safe.


A few include:

PCBs (2)
What is it? – PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) belong to a family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. They were first used by Monsanto in the 1920’s to produce coolant fluids for widely used electric transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. They were domestically manufactured from 1929 to 1979, at which point they were banned.

Why is it bad? – PCBs have been linked to causing cancer as well as contributing to a number of adverse health effects on the human immune systems, reproductive systems, nervous systems, and endocrine systems.

Where is it being used? – Banned since 1979, PCBs are no longer being used, but their damage continues to persist, as a 2011 study showed that they are still being found in the blood of pregnant women. Prior to the ban, PCBs were found in widely used items such as, but not limited to: cable insulation, caulking, plastics, adhesives, and oil-based paints.

Nuclear Weapons
I don’t think these need much of an explanation as to what they are, why they are bad, or where they are being used, but it is interesting to look at Monsanto’s involvement. Shortly after they acquired Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto developed a department that played a key role in the Manhattan project from 1943 to 1945. The Manhattan Project was responsible for producing the first atomic bombs for the Second World War.

What is it? –  DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was a commonly used pesticide designed to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Monsanto just happened to be one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide that would later fall under heavy scrutiny.

Why is it bad? – Banned in 1972, DDT has been linked to damaging the liver, reducing reproductive success, and causing temporary damages to the nervous system – amongst others.

Where is it being used? – Unfortunately, DDT can often take more than 15 years to break down and is still being found in some soils and many waterways. Our exposure to it would more than likely come through consuming contaminated fish and crops, or through atmospheric deposition.

What is it? – Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that some see as amongst the most toxic chemicals known to science. Monsanto found themselves involved in 1945 when they began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture.

Why is it bad? – Dioxins are most notably bad for their ability to accumulate in the food chain, and an EPA report confirmed dioxins as a cancer hazard to humans.

Where is it being used? – Rather than used, dioxins are primarily being found in meat and dairy products due to how integrated they have become within the food chain.

Agent Orange
What is it? – A herbicide/defoliant primarily used as a form of chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Monsanto conveniently happened to be one of the two major manufacturers of the lethal weapon.

Why is it bad? – Agent Orange is said to be responsible for over 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects with over a million suffering from health problems of some kind. Agent Orange’s issue lay in its dioxin contamination – something that Monsanto apparently knew about when it sold it to the US Government for use in war.

Where is it being used? – The implications of Agent Orange in Vietnam are still being felt, with a formal cleanup effort not beginning until 2012. A shocking side note is that some chemicals found in Agent Orange can still be found in certain herbicides being used today.

What is it? – RoundUp herbicide, also known as Glyphosate (a major component of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide), is the most widely used herbicide around the world. It was in 1970 that Monsanto founded their agricultural chemicals division with RoundUp being their prized herbicide.

Why is it bad? – Glyphosate has been linked to cancer in several studies due to its properties as a potential endocrine disruptor – chemicals that can interfere with the hormonal system of mammals. These disruptors can cause development disorders, birth defects, and cancerous tumors.

Where is it being used? – RoundUp is approved and still widely used today to destroy and control weeds. It can be found in our groundwater, soil, streams, and even in the air.

Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
What is it? – Developed by Monsanto, rBGH is a genetically modified hormone that is injected into dairy cows to produce more milk.

Why is it bad? – By artificially increasing milk production, rBGH also raises the levels of pus, antibiotic residues, and a cancer-accelerating hormone called IGF-1. When consumed by humans it continues to act as a cancer accelerator and has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Where is it being used? – rBGH is still being used to this day and is normally injected into dairy cows every other week.

Remember, all of these products were professed to be completely safe until they were proven not to be.

NOW my question to you –
Would you want to eat anything engineered by this company?
Would you want your children to eat anything engineered by this company?
Would you want your family to eat anything engineered by this company?

If you are still not convinced, how about mentioning that in order to get many of their products on the market, approved by the FDA, as well as purchased by the US government (in the case of Agent Orange) Monsanto falsified studies, withheld critical information, claimed ignorance, altered studies as well as engaged in obscenely unjust and unsavory behavior.

It’s also important to note that in order to get approval from the FDA (for example GMOs), corporations must submit their own research, data, and studies. The FDA does not investigate, test or study the product being assessed. They review the information provided by the very company submitting their product for approval. The FDA may ask or require additional information, and it may or may not be given. I’m not sure about you, but doesn’t this “system” also seem to be an open door for forged data, inaccurate studies, and “take our word for it” guarantees?  You may find that the items they approve are less about safety and more about lining the pockets of big corporations.  No third (unbiased) party conducts any inquiry into the product being reviewed. Monsanto knows this and has falsified numerous studies and reports about its various chemicals and products.

Monsanto has also bankrupted countless farmers. GMO contamination is the biggest risk that organic farmers face today. They risk losing markets that demand GMO-Free foods, or even decertification. Adding insult to injury, farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs were forced to pay for the patented genetic material. The agribusiness giant Monsanto even hires “GMO Police” to test fields that are suspected of cross contamination. Farmers with contaminated fields are actually sued for patent infringement. (3)

Monsanto has discredited and disgraced the professional reputations of numerous scientists, research experts, whistleblowers and anyone speaking out against the company. Attending a talk by Monsanto’s Dr. William “Bill” Moar, Stephanie Hampton writer for the Daily KOS witnesses the following:

One student asked what Monsanto was doing to counter the “bad science” around their work. Dr. Moar, perhaps forgetting that this was a public event, then revealed that Monsanto indeed had “an entire department” (waving his arm for emphasis) dedicated to “debunking” science which disagreed with theirs. As far as I know this is the first time that a Monsanto functionary has publically admitted that they have such an entity which brings their immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to publish against them. The Discredit Bureau will not be found on their official website. (4)

Monsanto has infiltrated the FDA – the very people who determine the safety of our food. Michael R. Taylor is the current Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA and has been a lawyer for and great supporter of Monsanto.  I find this a huge conflict of interest.

For more conflicts of interest within the government and Monsanto, see the link attached to Note #5 at the bottom of the page.

Monsanto has also been dumping their toxic chemicals, industrial waste, and run-offs into lakes, streams, and landfills of its plants neighboring towns in the US and Europe for decades. No, they didn’t tell anyone about that either. Those living in the “infected” areas are subject to cancer, birth defects, allergies and a whole host of other nasty and potentially fatal ailments. Not to mention mass animal causalities. Because of this deplorable and irresponsible practice, not only were water sources contaminated but the soil and air as well in the surrounding areas. (6)

As recently as December of 2016, Washington state filed to sue Monsanto “over pervasive pollution from PCBs.” (7)

Monsanto is looking to not only monopolize the food industry but to patent Mother Nature. Every argument in support of GMOs is only a smokescreen to confuse people and distract everyone from the truth: GMOs are completely unnecessary and solely designed for profit.

A few of the pro-GMO arguments are:

GMOs will end world hunger.
The world has more than enough food to feed itself. The problem is NOT lack of food; the problem is the poor can’t afford it. Many think this is a third world problem, but it’s not. America throws away at least a third of the food we grow and yet many Americans go hungry. It’s an economic, distribution and poverty problem. (8)

As an example, taken from the article sourced below: Some time ago “Golden Rice” was engineered to be a source of Vitamin A (one of the nutrients most malnourished are deficient in) for the world’s hungry.

Golden rice will not grow in the kinds of soil that it must to be of value to the world’s hungry. To grow properly, it requires heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides — expensive inputs unaffordable to the very people that the variety is supposed to help. And we’ve also learned that golden rice requires large amounts of water — water that might not be available in precisely those areas where Vitamin A deficiency is a problem, and where farmers cannot afford costly irrigation projects.

. . . it turns out that golden rice doesn’t work, even in theory. Malnourished people are not able to absorb Vitamin A in this form. And even if they could, they’d have to eat an awful lot of the stuff. An 11-year-old boy would have to eat 27 bowls of golden rice a day in order to satisfy his minimum requirement for the vitamin.

While Monsanto would like us to believe they are seeking to alleviate world hunger, there is actually a very dark side to the company’s efforts. For countless centuries farmers have fed humanity by saving the seed from one year’s crop to plant the following year. But Monsanto, the company that claims its motives are to help feed the hungry, has developed what it calls a “Technology Protection System” that renders seeds sterile. Commonly known as “terminator technology” and developed with taxpayer funding by the USDA and Delta & Pine Land Company (an affiliate of Monsanto), the process genetically alters seeds so that their offspring will be sterile for all time. If employed, this technology would ensure that farmers cannot save their own seeds, but would have to come back to Monsanto year after year to purchase new ones. (9)

GMOs use fewer pesticides.
Initially, this was their argument however, studies have shown that GMO crops require more pesticides than organic crops. Mother Nature you see, has and always will win. Now, there are RoundUp resistant weeds and pests – known as Super Weeds, which require increased levels of pesticides. To battle these Super Weeds and Bugs, the answer is apparently more and more toxic chemicals that do not just kill the intended weeds and pests, but seep into the ground, float in the air and in our water and are absorbed by us. Glyphosate (the primary ingredient in RoundUp) has been found in breast milk. (10)
GMOs are more nutritious, provide greater yields (11) and are drought resistant.
Actually, the opposite is true. GMOs are less nutritious, provide equal to or less than yields and are indeed not drought resistant.

GMOs and traditional breeding are the same.
In fact, is also untrue. This is difficult to sum up in layman’s terms. Unfortunately, folks like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bull Gates have this wrong. But in their defense they are not farmers, nor scientists of agriculture. Tyson is an astrophysicist and cosmologist. Gates is a business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist.

In a nutshell, GMOs happen in a laboratory and do not exist in Mother Nature. GMOs are the result of splicing the genes/DNA of one organism with DNA from a completely different organism like a virus or bacteria for a desired trait. (12) (Return to the beginning of this paper and review What is a GMO? and What combinations have been tried?) The bottom line is when cutting and pasting something Mother Nature has perfected, there are bound to be consequences.

Monsanto is in this game only to make money, and to serve their shareholders. Monsanto’s Technology Stewardship Agreement shifts responsibility to growers for any and all losses, injury or damages resulting from the use of Monsanto seeds. There is no expiration date on the contract. The grower may terminate the contract, but: “Grower’s responsibilities and the other terms herein shall survive…” (13)

As of March 2017, the latest news surrounding Monsanto is that the corporation and an official from the EPA may have worked together to shut down a cancer study surrounding the carcinogenic product RoundUp. It’s also speculated that Monsanto may have ghost-written two reports that were submitted to the EPA about RoundUp. (14)

Answer me this: why do we want a dishonest, corrupt, malicious, toxic, self-serving, virus-like company to have anything to do with our food supply? And yet, here we are.

In fact, GMOs are completely and utterly unnecessary. They have no purpose other than creating a monopoly on our food as well as extreme profit for the compnaies associated with them.

My final argument: if GMOs are so wonderful, then why is Monsanto and supporting companies like the Grocery Manufactures Association fighting so hard against labeling? This is a typical Monsanto tactic. They profess safety (usually in full knowledge to the contrary) until overwhelming studies prove them wrong and the government has little choice but to ban the product. If GMOs were indeed so wonderful, then why wouldn’t they be shouting from the rooftops about their wonderful product, instead of surreptitiously manufacturing them into our food supply?

The bottom line is this – I don’t want to eat GMOs and that’s my right, just like you have the right to eat them if you wish. In fact, if you really want to eat them, I’ll support you. However, I do not. I, alone choose what I eat and what I put into my body. Not a self-serving corporation with a deceptive legacy that supports toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.

In Addition
My husband, Michael and I have had countless conversations about GMOs. He is a scientist and a doctor. As my editor, I have included a meaningful paragraph written by him.

Being skeptical of GMO’s is NOT anti-science. Period. It should be infuriating to people who support science that Monsanto is using them to spread their propaganda. Social media is full of “pro-science” minions who attack anyone with concerns about GMO’s. To lump people who question the safety of GMO’s with people who are “anti-vaccination” is just plain lazy and wrong. I think that anyone who has actually looked at the small sample of poorly designed and heavily biased studies would conclude that there are many questions about the efficacy of GMO’s that have not been adequately answered. There clearly isn’t enough data to allow GMO’s to be classified as “Generally Regarded as Safe”. This is legislation that will allow any new GMO’s to avoid proving their safety before they are sold to consumers. There has not been one properly designed, peer-reviewed, longterm study concerning the efficacy of GMO’s. I don’t know why internet “scientists” continue to overlook this fact.
What can I do?
• Educate yourself on what products contain GMOs (a large amount of processed food).
• Vote with your dollars.
• Buy organic and Non-GMO Project verified products.
• Know what symbols (UDSA Organic & Non-GMO Project verified) to look for.
• Know how to read a food label.
• Know where your food comes from.
• Get to know your local farmer, dairy, and butcher.
• Go to your local Farmers Market.
• Get involved, know food issues and contact your government officials.
• Ask questions and don’t assume.
• Motto of Portage Bay Café in Seattle: Eat like you give a damn!



Amazon Link to book: The World According to Monsanto

Amazon Link to book: Altered Genes Twisted Truth

Worth While GMO and Food Documentaries:
Food Inc.
Food Matters
Cooked (Michael Pollen’s 4 part series on Netflix)
Fed Up
Genetic Roulette
The World According to Monsanto
Vanishing of the Bees

Follow my business Facebook page – Labuznik, where I post the latest news on GMO’s
(1) Source and for more information, please visit: Institute For Responsible Technology

(2) Source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/10/07/monsantos-dirty-dozen-the-12-most-awful-products-made-by-monsanto/

(3) Source: http://www.organicvalley.coop/why-organic/research-library/gmos/the-false-promise-of-gmos/page-3/

(4) Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/27/1373484/-Monsanto-s-Discredit-Bureau-Swings-into-Action

Additional Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/the-antiscience-behavior-_b_4566258.html

(5) https://www.metabunk.org/partially-debunked-list-of-monsanto-employees-in- government.t3664/

(6) Article: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto%27s_Global_Pollution_Legacy

(7) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/washington-state-sues-monsanto-over-pcb-pollution/

(8) World Health Organization link: http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story028/en/#

(9) Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/gmo-food_b_914968.html

(10) Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/07/02/gmo-crops-mean-more -herbicide-not-less/

Additional link: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/superweeds/

(11) Source: http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html#.VbgTYHhCPzI

(12) http://westernfarmpress.com/management/traditional-plant-breeding-vs-genetic-engineering-primer

Blog Post: https://labuznikblog.com/2015/01/03/selective-breeding-vs-genetic-modification/

(13) Source: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/59:monsanto-shifts-all-liability-to-farmers

(14)  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-14/monsanto-accused-of-ghost-writing-papers-on-roundup-cancer-risk


Leave a comment

Becoming Wonder Woman

DSC_0839In my opinion, the best part of the movie Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Sprinkled throughout the movie as Diana Prince, she finally appears, armor-clad at the end of the movie as Wonder Woman. She comes to the rescue of both heroes, and boy does she kick some ass. Last summer, the new Wonder Woman movie trailer premiered at San Diego Comicon and according to my husband Michael, I “lost my shit”.

My journey towards becoming Wonder Woman began last year when I was poking around the artisan shopping website Etsy. I saw a fantastic re-creation of the Wonder Woman (Batman V Superman) movie costume available from JEFXStore. The listing was for a full cosplay costume complete with tiara, armband, the iconic “bracelets”, lasso, sword, and shield props, as well as the bodice, skirt and leg/foot armor. At the time, there was nothing else like it out there. It’s obvious the time, attention to detail and dedication that went into making this costume. After much deliberation, soul-searching and a blessing from my husband, I pulled the trigger and bought one. My intention was to wear it at the 2017 Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) in Seattle.

For the past several years my husband and I have attended ECCC. If you don’t know about Comicon, it’s hard to explain. It’s a weekend event that multiple cities host at different times of the year. Its focus is mainly comic books, but graphic novels, TV shows, and pop culture also have a place at the table. Merchandise booths, artist tables, panel discussions, celebrity autographs and photos are all part of the event. The San Diego Comicon is probably the biggest. It is certainly the one with the most celebrity appearances. I’d say the majority of the attendees dress up in costume or cosplay outfits. Many of the costumes are very detailed including contact lenses, fake weaponry, and wigs. My husband and I have been part of the few who haven’t dressed up in years past, apart from a fan tee shirt. To put it in perspective, my husband calls Comicon the “Nerd Prom”.

About three months out from the event date, I really clamped down hard on my fitness and diet. Both my weightlifting and water trainers knew about the costume. At 5’8”, 145 lbs., a former ballet, and fitness instructor, I’m in good shape and fairly proportionate. With no specific goal in mind, I just wanted to rock the costume with confidence.

Realizing that I was going to be traipsing around Seattle at the beginning of March with little on, I commissioned a cloak to be made by wyrdarmouries, also on Etsy. It was modeled after the one she fashions in the movie, with fur trim. Thank heavens I did! It was wonderfully warm and the fleece was snuggly soft. I loved how the arm hole slits, instead of sleeves (how many cloaks are) showed off the “bracelets”, so a bit of the costume was showing.

DSC_0852As January turned into February, I was sidelined not just once from a foodborne illness, but TWICE, 18 days apart. After the first time, I didn’t eat for a week. I had not regained my strength or stamina fully (nor tummy flora) when I experienced the second episode. With less than a month until Comicon, the timing couldn’t have been worse. After making significant strides in my workouts, I was suddenly reduced to sleeping all day or feebly shuffling about the house. I could barely walk for longer than 30 seconds without needing to sit and rest. Going up stairs wiped me out and taking a shower was like running a marathon. It’s not a diet I endorse, believe me!

I realized something during my training and diet change, gearing up for this event. I can assume most folks wouldn’t notice a difference in my body. Those that know me, already know I work out regularly and have been active all my life with ballet, yoga, and fitness. They know I eat fairly well, so I’m guessing their perception of me won’t change much, if at all. I say this because I made several posts to Facebook about my training and daily caloric burn goals. I’m sure there may be an expectation for my outward physical appearance to have changed but it hasn’t much. Although I am stronger! I, myself was hoping for Linda Hamilton, Terminator 2 shoulders & arms, but in truth, I wasn’t working toward a bodybuilding competition, I was training to feel the best and most confident I could in the WW costume.

The weekend before Comicon, I suited up and my husband took some photos of me at our home. I thought the landscape surrounding our home made for better photos than downtown Seattle. This was also a dress rehearsal of sorts. I tested the costume, shoes, props, hair and make-up. I’m glad I did it because I was able to make a few small changes.

Suiting up on the big day, I have to admit that there may have been a slight concern bubbling in the back of my head. What if no one really notices the costume? What if no one asks me for a photo? Etc, etc. etc. My concerns were quickly put to rest. Within minutes of losing the cloak (to the coat check), I was not only asked for several photos, but I was also interviewed for GeekWire, as well as videoed for Evening Magazine (Seattle TV show). Over the next several hours, countless people kindly asked for photos (a few didn’t ask but took photos anyway). I received a ton of compliments, some said directly to me, some in passing, some overheard, as well as many thumbs-up and approving head nods. I was also very surprised that there weren’t any other serious Wonder Women contenders, at least this day.

I really enjoyed taking photos with children. Parents of a little girl dressed up as Negan from The Walking Dead asked me to take a photo with their daughter. She was adorable! Hair pulled back, beard drawn on her face, leather jacket, red scarf and even the beloved bat Lucille. I could see the eyes of children (especially girls) light up when they saw me. Tugging on mom or dad’s arm saying, “Look, it’s Wonder Woman!” I’d smile and motion them over for a photo if they weren’t already on their way. The impact the costume had on the little ones was surprising to me, but it shouldn’t have been. If I had seen a real life Wonder Woman when I was a child, I too would have been awestruck.

This was my first experience spending any serious time in the get-up. I was pleasantly surprised at just how comfortable it was. Although, I did develop a mind numbing headache after several hours. I believe my head piece was a bit tight, but being dehydrated didn’t help either. My feet also paid a small price. It’s amazing just how long you are willing to tolerate discomfort when folks are making over you, with compliments and wanting photos.

IMG_1259ECCC Day Two
Same song, second verse and more of the same. A few folks asked if I had seen the Lego Wonder Woman, located in a different part of the event. Michael and I went in search and indeed there was a life size Lego Wonder Woman. As I was posing for him to take a photo or two, many people gathered around and started snapping photos. While standing next to the Lego figure, a man commented that he thought I was also a life-size statue. Aww, how kind.

This day, there were a few Wonder Women and even a few Wonder Men. Several gals wore different renditions (New 52, Pin-up, Classic) and two others donned the movie version I was wearing. I don’t feel I’m being biased, but my costume was the most accurate, detailed and complete. Thanks, JEFXStore!

At one point in the day, we were waiting for an artist to return to his booth so I could pick up a piece of WW art. Since I was standing still, a few people asked for photos. One particular man, I saw in the back of the group, was taking a photo (w/o asking) as he walked by. I looked at him and realized it was an ex-boyfriend. He didn’t recognize me. I said, “I know you.” Then it came to him. Quite a funny little transformation occurred. Suddenly he was all smiles, a tad flustered, maybe even a little embarrassed as he bumbled around his family and said to me “Hey how’s is going?” I totally got the head tilt and Who the hell is she? look from his wife. For that 15 second moment alone, this event was worth it!

Another little interesting slice from the day happened when I tried to get a cab outside the Sheraton hotel by myself. Michael was getting his photograph with Stan Lee and my feet were killing me, so I decided to head back to our condo. I walked out of the hotel and spotted several cabs lined up with the drivers chatting on the sidewalk. I walked up to them, as they were googly eyeing me. I said “Wonder Woman needs a ride.” They asked where to. Second and Lenora. They seemed to conference and then shook their heads and said no. NO?!? Seriously?!? My guess is that this was not far enough and they were looking for a bigger fare. But still! Back to the hotel, I walked. I found a bell boy (again with the googly eyes) and asked for assistance with getting a cab. No Problem! Yes, Ma’am! He whistled and the first cabbie from the same group reluctantly got in his cab and pulled around. I tipped the bell boy and got in the cab. The total fare was $5.60 and all I had were two fives and two twenties. Before giving him the money I said, “I appreciate you coming around. But the next time a girl needs a cab, I suggest you help her out!” Then I gave him ten bucks.

My experience at ECCC as Wonder Woman was really amazing. I tried not to have any expectations and just go with the flow. The response to me and the costume was better than I could have hoped. I was very flattered. People were really kind, sometimes shy, but overall very enthusiastic about Wonder Woman. Michael and I have already discussed attending next year. Since the movie comes out in June, and it’s an event we normally attend, it only makes sense to wear the costume again.

I need to send out a HUGE Thanks to my husband, Michael. I couldn’t have attended the event as WW without his support. He carried a small stash of things for me, and all of our purchases. He dutifully took photos for people (and for me) as well as stepped aside every time he heard, “Can I have a picture with you?” He’d hold my shield and sword when asked, as well as return my sword to the scabbard on my back. He never once rushed me as I was getting ready (suiting up as WW takes some time!) and was always accommodating when I needed him to lace me up in the bodice. He also walked behind me to catch the looks and comments as I walked by folks. AND he even wore a (men’s) Wonder Women tee-shirt. Thanks, Babe! Love you!

IMG_6029Reflecting on my Comicon adventure, I am proud to have been able to embody such an iconic symbol of grace, strength, compassion, and power that is clearly much bigger than myself. I am truly humbled and honored to have played even a small part in such a big phenomenon.
Until next year . . .

Grace   Power   Wisdom   Wonder

In Addition

Like most girls, when I was younger I watched a few Wonder Woman TV episodes with Lynda Carter. But I wouldn’t have called myself a fanatical Wonder Woman fan . . . until now. I’m sure it seems silly, but that movie trailer really spoke to me. Just look at her! Powerful, confident, strong, graceful, innocent and yet worldly as well as beautiful. She is such a bad-ass, how can she not appeal to just about everyone? I was hooked! I promptly jumped on the bandwagon and became her biggest fan overnight. I purchased a few books about the famous Amazon from Amazon (Ha!) and started reading her origin and backstory.

For those who might not know – Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986. Wonder Woman was created by American psychologist, lawyer, inventor, advocate for women, and comic book writer William Moulton Marston. Mr. Marston was a very interesting fella, although he was also a bit of a contradiction. To learn more about him and his eccentricities, read Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley.

To bring our story to present day, in October of 2016 the United Nations named Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Which is awesome, right!?! Then they stripped her of the title less than two months later because “concerned” United Nations staff members created a petition stating “Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent warrior woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots — the epitome of a pin-up girl.” [1]

REALLY?!? Oh for heaven’s sake! I’m a feminist as much as the next gal, but you can’t have a damned if you do, damned if you don’t attitude. I agree, some comic artists have really sexualized Wonder Woman. It’s very typical in the comic book world. While I don’t agree with it, small strides have been made toward equality. Women drawn with huge boobs, next to nothing on, bent over, looking over her shoulder with a come-hither look is slightly less than porn in my opinion. What those UN petition writing staffers failed to see or know is what Wonder Woman stands for. Had any of them even bothered to read her origin story or any of the classic Golden Age comics? Or did any of them know how unique and different Wonder Woman is compared to her male Superhero counterparts? Probably not. All they saw were the (mostly male) artists that sexualize her.

Perhaps another point worth noting is that sexuality is power. What’s wrong with that? Is Superman in his painted on full unitard not sexy? What about Batman’s black molded body armor and mask? Let’s face it, Superheroes are sexy! There is nothing wrong with that. However, there is a difference (although perhaps a subjective difference) between being sexy and being sexualized. While the range of what is considered sexy is vast and large, I would say drawings of a woman with huge boobs, impossible body proportions, little clothing, in a provocative position can easily be considered sexualized. I know I consider it so. And for the record, male Superhero’s typically don’t deal with sexualization, because it’s not an issue for them. (Picture Spiderman on all fours, looking back at you in a flirtatious manner. Isn’t that ridiculous?)

To address the statement above of what Wonder Woman stands for, she is an ideal of what we can all strive for. Compassion, unity, freedom, equality for all, forgiveness, diplomacy, passion, bravery, peaceful, and nurturing. Her Wikipedia page states “What has remained constant, and is a mainstay of the character, is her nurturing humanity: feeling compassion and having a strong conscience.” [2] That is the Wonder Woman deserving of the title honorary UN ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Sometimes we really need to look beyond what is right in front of us and see the bigger picture.
[1] http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/13/health/wonder-woman-un-ambassador-trnd/index.html
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman

WW San Diego Comic Con Trailer:


%d bloggers like this: