Dec 31 2011

Cleaniness is next to Godliness, but
aseptic is only good during surgery.

Bacteria. The mere mention of the word causes awkward knee-jerk reactions. Why? Because the world is prejudice against bacteria. Ranting and raving, squirting anti-bacterial hand soaps while vigorously wiping down shopping cart handles with calloused abandon, bacterial bigots prey on all species of bacteria, not just the ones that cause disease. And this is a problem, because wiping out both good and bad bacteria is causing a burden to our immune systems, creating drug resistant stains and allowing the proliferation of bad bacteria in our bodies.

Wreaking havoc with their antiseptic behavior, insensitive bacterial haters blindly kill all bacteria because they don’t understand good bacteria protect us from bad. It is essential to restructure bigoted bacterial thinking, because if we kill the good bacteria so the bad have no competition, the bad are more likely to flourish.

Competition between microscopic organisms creates a profound balance between bacteria species that in turn promotes wellness in animals, including the animals known as human beings. This balance has been in place for thousands of years, and is how we got to where we are today, helping to stimulate and develop our immune systems. But, the disruption of the balance is encouraged by casually implementing unnecessary drugs and chemicals, many of which are dangerous in the long term.

Antibacterial products are falsely marketed for flues
and colds which are actually caused by viruses.

You see, we have all become too clean.  We’ve upset the balance between health and illness not only by killing good bacteria, but by over exposing bad bacteria to the few killing means we have. By bad bacteria being over exposed to antibiotics, antibacterials and antiseptics, the best artillery we have against them, they have had more opportunity to mutate and, by chance, develop resistant strains.

In effect, we are losing the war with bacteria, because we are showing them our hand too often.  We expose them to the substances that kill them so often, we make it easy for their sheer numbers to mutate in such a way that a resistant strain develops.  It is by sheer chance that this resistant strain develops, but because mutations are a numbers game, the more bad bacteria are exposed to our killing techniques, the more likely a resistant strain will be developed.

These are big problems, in fact they are big, big problems. Every time someone uses antibacterial hand cleaner, the possibility that a mutant strain will develop rises. It is also important to realize that the hand cleaner benefits do not warrant such exposure. Not only are the chemicals that are rubbed into the skin not healthy, but the antibacterial soaps and creams are not nearly as effective as the mechanical action of rubbing hands vigorously together under hot water and towel drying.  On top of it all, company marketing indicates these antibacterial creams and soaps lower the risk of flues and colds, which is impossible and flues and colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria.

Unlike this little boy in the 1930s, we’ve all become too clean.

We come from a time where wondrous advances in science and technology have improved our lives giving us more leisure time for friends and family, but one will always have to be careful of chemicals that are put on or into the body. Using chemicals to fight a perceived threat must be weighed against the long term effects on metabolic systems. Many times, the danger from the chemicals is greater than anything resulting from the perceived threat.

 

FDA Acknowledges Potential Harmful Effects of Antibacterial Chemicals

NRDC, Rep. Ed Markey, Urge Agency To Take Further Action to Protect Public

WASHINGTON – April 8, 2010 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledged today the antibacterial chemical triclosan is no more effective than regular soap and water at preventing infections. The agency also expressed concern about the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products and triclosan’s potential long-term health effects. Today’s announcement stems from correspondence earlier this year between the agency and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“It’s about time FDA has finally stated its concerns about antibacterial chemicals like triclosan,” said Sarah Janssen, a medical doctor and staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The public deserves to know that these so-called antibacterial products are no more effective in preventing infections than regular soap and water and may, in fact, be dangerous to their health in the long run.”

According to the FDA, the majority of consumer soaps contain the chemicals triclosan or triclocarban. These chemicals are also found in some body washes, shaving creams, powders, makeup, toothpastes and other products. Animal studies have shown that both of these chemicals can interfere with hormones critical for normal development and function of the brain and reproductive system. Such interference could result in altered behavior, learning disabilities or infertility.

Triclocarban is particularly concerning because it has been shown to artificially amplify the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, which could promote the growth of breast and prostate cancers, according to health experts at NRDC.

“It took three decades to get us here, but at least the FDA has finally taken a step in the right direction,” said Mae Wu, an NRDC attorney in Washington, D.C. “Now it needs to take the next important step and remove triclosan and triclocarban from consumer products. Let’s hope it doesn’t take the agency another 30 years to do it.”

FDA first proposed a rule that would have removed these chemicals from soaps in 1978. Until this rule is finalized, these chemicals are allowed to be widely used with no regulatory oversight. The growing use of triclosan in products has led to widespread residues in the environment and in people; nearly three-quarters of the U.S. population carries residues of this hormone-disrupting chemical in their bodies.

FDA has said it will be moving forward on additional regulatory action in the future. Markey also has made a number of strong recommendations including a ban on triclosan in personal care products. NRDC supports this recommendation and also wants triclocarban to be banned from personal care products because of its similar widespread use, lack of effectiveness and concerns for hormone disrupting effects.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

 

Are you guilty of overkill?

Experts warn that if we don’t stop overusing antibiotics and antibacterial products now , we will shoulder the blame for creating a warrior class of drug-resistant supergerms that will threaten not only our children but their children and beyond. Hard evidence exists that the crisis has already begun. But understanding the long-term effects of antibiotic abuse is one thing, and taking responsibility for our own health day after day, year after year, is another. Or is it?

In this timely and thought-provoking reference, Dr. Kimberly M. Thompson tells you exactly what you need to do to protect and promote your family’s good health without endangering their future. Because, let’s face it–there is no real comfort in winning the battle against germs if we are destined to lose the war.If you have an interest in “Overkill,” hover your mouse over this link:

Overkill: Repairing the Damage Caused by Our Unhealthy Obsession with Germs, Antibiotics, and Antibacterial Products

 

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 29 2011

When you finish the commute home, finally pull into the
driveway and look up to see a scene like this one going
“Waah-Waah-Waah, we’re HUNGRY,”
be thankful you made Scrapple over the weekend.

If you’re like me, you remember being a kid, loving scrapple and then, one morning, making the mistake of reading the wrapper of the commercial product. The realization that Scrapple was made of corn and pig snouts, well, it was a shock that I’m still getting over. But, if you’re also like me and have enjoyed homemade Scrapple with the Amish, made with first quality organic ground pork, then you know you were willing to start anew and go crazy over the stuff.

Scrapple is an old food, mixing cereal with pork, that has origins with the ancient Celts and medieval Germans. Brought to this country by the German Dutch into Pennsylvania, scrapple traveled out to western Ohio and into Pennsylvania’s border states, Maryland and Virginia. Each area has their distinctive treatment as some use oatmeal, corn or wheat for the cereal. But, the common use of cooking cereal mush, adding cooked pork and cooling the mixture into a loaf for slicing and frying ties the regions together.

You’re probably way ahead of me in realizing this post follows the previous one, Amish Fried Corn Meal Mush for a very good reason. To make Scrapple, you cook ground pork, then make corn meal mush and add it to the pork. The rest of the recipe will seem oddly familiar as it follows what we saw yesterday about slicing the congealed loaf of corn meal mush, flouring and frying the slices in coconut oil to a golden brown.

I use a potato masher to break apart two pounds of
organic ground pork into fine crumbles. Add salt,
pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste, but don’t
taste until the pork is fully cooked.

Pour the corn meal mush, the same quantity as
yesterday’s post and made the same way, into the
pan of seasoned cooked ground pork.

Pour the corn meal mush with ground pork, mixed
well together, into loaf pans, the same as yesterday.

Smooth out the surface, let cool at room temperature,
then refrigerate until congealed.

The recipe makes three loaf pans or one loaf pan and
a large refrigerator dish. Slice, dredge in organic
flour and fry in coconut oil.

Fry until golden and sneak eggs onto the griddle
if desired. 

And talk about economical! I bought two pounds of organic ground pork for a little over $10. Combine it with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits from yesterday at about $3 a pack and you have ton of food that will last through many meals for under $15. The taste of the pork moves into the corn satisfying the palate as if there was lots more of it. Satisfying and inexpensive show why this household favorite has been a staple down through history. Try some yourself. I am sure you will like it and go back for more!

BTW, notice how orange the Amish free range organic eggs are? That’s the way eggs should look! When hens are able to eat green plant material the beta carotene concentrates in the yolk making it dark, sometimes even orange. Free range eggs are bursting with vitamins A, E and minerals you just can’t find in industrial eggs. They are worth the extra price. Because they are nutirent dense, you need less of them to feel full so they are actually more economical. For a delightful discussion on egg yolk color, click here.

 

If you love Scrapple like I do, or are willing to try it
this book may interest you. For more information,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Country Scrapple

William Woys Weaver traces the origins of an American culinary oddity in Country Scrapple. Few twenty-first-century Americans recall their forebears’ scrapple, a hearty mixture of seasoned ground meat and grain that made delicious the scraps left over from butchering. Served sliced and fried, scrapple fed farm families heartily through dark winter months. Each immigrant group had its own scrapple recipe, and the Pennsylvania Dutch version made from pork and cornmeal came to dominate the scene. Ohioans still revel in goetta, which substitutes oats for corn. Weaver documents recipes for the many regional American variations and deftly explains the differences among them. The book even has a directory of German museums with scrapple-related displays. A comprehensive bibliography documents written sources.

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 28 2011

After a hard day of yard work, it’s time to put another
meal on the table.  No biggie!  All you have to do
is fry some ready made Corn Meal Mush!

Corn Meal Mush is a long forgotten staple for those of limited means. I didn’t have the opportunity to forget it as I had never heard of it until I became friends with the Amish. Served at least once a week, it can be found at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in an Amish home. Corn Meal Mush is their rice or pasta. I sure wish I had known about the option when I was in college, along with slow cooking nutrient dense food. Rather than existing on chicken noodle soup and Cheerios, I could have had nutritious, inexpensive, easy to prepare meals waiting for me in my refrigerator every day of the week. But, I have made up for lost time. I tell everyone I know about the delights and practicality of Corn Meal Mush and its logical endpoint, Fried Corn Meal Mush.

Organic Polenta Corn Grits make the best Corn Meal Mush.

When I first learned about this “new” and amazing food stuff in the 1980s, we used the corn meal made by Quaker Oats, packed in a smaller cardboard round box, much like the Quaker Oats oatmeal. But, now with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits available, my Corn Meal Mush has extra vibrancy and go power. The coarser grit of the Polenta delivers lots of flavor.

Place 9 cups of filtered water and 3 1/2  cups of Organic Corn meal in a saucepan. Add salt to taste. I add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Real Salt.  Now, here is the trick: you MUST stir it the whole time over medium to medium/high heat. Do not answer the phone. Don’t try to put a dish in the dish washer, just STIR YOUR MUSH. That’s the only hard part. Multitasking is not allowed, if it involves hands.

Eventually the corn will expand and become one with the water. DON’T STOP STIRRING until you take it off the stove. It should be like hot cereal and very homogeneous as it starts to bubble.

At this point, you can call it a day and just have hot cereal. Add butter and maple syrup for the pancake route or cheese and tomato sauce for the traditional Southwestern Polenta route. The good news is if you keep going to make the Fried Corn Meal Mush, you will probably have enough left over for a bowl of hot cereal to reward you for your trouble as well.

So, pour the hot cereal Corn Meal Mush into containers. Loaf pans or refrigerator dishes work well and they DON’T need to be greased.  I usually get three loaf pans or one loaf type pan and one large refrigerator dish. Notice I am showing the saucepan full of soapy water, because once you pour the cereal and scrape the pan, the saucepan needs to be filled with water. If you forget, the cereal bits will turn to concrete and be hard to remove.

Now, let the Mush cool to room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator until it congeals. When solid, slice, dredge all sides in flour and fry in organic coconut oil

Here are the Mush slices when they start and…

…here they are when getting golden.

Dinner’s ready! Yum-Yum and Cheap-Cheap!

The evening we made this for dinner, we had organic coleslaw, bacon and organic scrambled eggs cooked in organic bacon grease. Those of you not familiar with the Weston A. Price philosophy will be shocked at eating eggs cooked in bacon fat like people used to do before the misinformation about low-fat diets became popular.

The truth is, high cholesterol has never been scientifically proven to cause heart disease. In fact, this country’s heart disease skyrocketed when low-fat diets became popular. So did many neurological and neuromuscular problems. Most people do not have enough fat in their diets and they are suffering for it.

Here is a very important PDF about the myths of cholesterol that have been foisted upon the public for many years. And, BTW, those of you suffering from depression may be fat starved. This is serious stuff! You must have good organic fats in your diet to survive and thrive.  There are many articles and endless references on the Weston A. Price web site. Be sure to research this information. When you hear it for the first time, it is difficult to believe.

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 26 2011

On the Shank Eco-farm, Your Family Cow, in Chambersburg, PA,
the cows and their probiotics are part of the family.

Life before probiotics was very different. I didn’t know I was sick. I didn’t know I wasn’t digesting well. I just thought I had a host of physical problems and tagged them with labels such as “growing old” or “female troubles.” But, once our friends convinced us to introduce fermented foods with probiotic bacteria into our diets, my life changed dramatically. The complaints, I thought I had to live with, just went away.

Reading and studying the way people live and eat around the world, I am convinced that many of our common illnesses here in the United States are actually hiding inefficient digestive systems.  Digestive tracts unable to properly function usually lack the three pounds of good bacteria needed to help us digest our food. A lack of good bacteria invites the bad bacteria and seriously debilitates our immune systems.

A fellow blogger, Pick Your Brain, has a great post outlining the particulars, but why isn’t information about building up the gut flora for optimum health the first thing you hear out of your doctor’s mouth when you go to visit? In fact, you have to almost dig for the information while looking in alternative health venues. We are bombarded by pharmaceutical drug advertisements. At the same time, we hear little about the good bacteria necessary to properly sustain our lives. This information about good bacteria ought to be mainstream, not “alternative health” oriented.

Misdiagnosis of faulty digestion is so widespread and
oppressive, one has to ask, “Who stands to gain?”

While years ago, healthy habits were promoted by mainstream media for the common good, now toxic living habits are profiled. For instance, the mainstream media tries to convince us that good food takes too long to fix and our modern schedules demand fast food. Like never before, each of us must gain a knowledge of how our bodies work in order to heal and nurture our way into better living. No longer can we use a blind eye to rely on newspapers, TV, the Federal Government or our medical community to instruct us. And, most importantly, we have to rely on our bodies themselves to tell us when we are feeling good and what constitutes good health. Good health begins with slow food and a fully functioning gut.

The money and time spent on nutrient dense food reaps rewards.
For an informative PDF on “How Probiotics Keep us Healthy,”
click on the dollar bill above.

Great sums of money can be made on a massive scale when people eat toxic food and live in a toxic environment. Each of us is really a fine tuned spiritual being in a physical body of chemicals and electrical impulses. If we don’t provide our bodies with the chemicals they need to operate their electrical impulses efficiently, our bodies “don’t work right.” We get sick and have to seek treatment for health complaints.

Health complaints lead to contacting the medical community and here modern society seems to have gone down a path of corporate profit, promoting illness rather than health. Common sense would seem to require checking the old “garbage in garbage out” admonition. Wouldn’t you think a doctor would first inquire about what you eat? How you eat? Your level of exercise? How much sleep you are getting? And whether you get outside into the fresh air everyday? No, by prescribing drugs and ignoring lifestyle, the body gets further and further out of balance. Small problems become big ones. It would appear a toxic population is a revenue generating asset.

And once one studies how the body works and maintains health, the most important requirement seems to be a fulling functioning digestive system. A digestive system that efficiently breaks down food and allows the absorption of essential nutrients requires, so learning how to make and eat traditional foods is a step toward using food as medicine. When the body gets what it needs, in the way that it needs it, being chronically sick is not a daily concern.

The Weston A. Price web site says this family is happy
because they eat butter. They also eat raw milk, cream,
cheese, eggs, liver, meat, cod liver oil, seafood, and
other nutrient-dense foods that have nourished generations
of healthy people worldwide. Learn more about the foods
that support radiant health for your family.

 

Billie Bumps knows to eat his probiotics, that’s why
he’s so healthy. To download Billie Bumps and his
Christmas toys for your own personal use,
click on his picture.

 

For the week of December 25 – 31, 2011,
SunbonnetSmart.com will share a new downloadable PDF
each day, but only for a limited time.

Visit each day to collect them all!

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 25 2011

What we do for each other just makes the holidays! Driving all over to find just the right gift. Spending weeks trying recipes and planning menus. Hustling, bustling, phone calls, flight arrangements, driving for hours, new clothes, washing old clothes, knitting, sewing, cleaning, stringing lights, talking about the in-laws, smiling when they arrive and doing the happy dance when they leave. WHOA! What a lotta fun! It’s just amazing what we do and what we have done for us in return during the holiday season.

Although everyone complains about the commercialism
of the season, seems that most people have the loving
spirit during the holidays, for what’s it all about
if not for love?

The most endearing stories come about this time of year. And ones that are told for generations. Like the one I tell about my Dad. There was a tradition at our house when I was young that the tree arrived with Santa in the night after the kids were asleep. We went to bed and the living room was just like it had been all year. When we awoke, there was the tree with decorations and presents underneath, all the more magical because we hadn’t lived around it for a month.

It wasn’t until YEARS later I found out Mother and Daddy didn’t have the money to buy a tree. My Dad would go out after we were asleep, therefore, find a Christmas tree lot that was closing and get a tree cheaply. One year the cost was fifty cents. Then, even though they were probably exhausted, they spent all night decorating it so we would be surprised in the morning.

Too much of a good thing is just right!

When I look back over the years, dolls were such a big part of Christmas morning. Big dolls, little dolls, Teddy Bears and any other humanized animal shape you could imagine that could be talked into wearing clothes.  Little girls I knew loved them and loved all the accessories that went with them. That just made Christmas.  A new doll. When I was pretty little, I remember wanting a Betsy Wetsy, oh! so badly.

I could fill her baby bottle full of water, jam it in the hole that interrupted her cherub lips to feed her. Then, predictably the water would run out into her little diapers, so I could change them and start over, just like real life. My Dad had an Aunt Ishy, her nickname as I couldn’t say “Elizabeth.” Daddy told me to take Betsy Wetsy, recently fed, to Aunt Ishy and let her hold the doll. She was the fun Aunt and the one who would naturally let out a Whoop! when Betsy’s diapers became wet. And Aunt Ishy did not disappoint. She had had three sons, so being the only girl in the family, I was welcomed, even if my doll wet on her.

Then, I wanted a Revlon doll. I was fascinated by her fingernails that had nail polish to match her lipstick. I guess matching lipstick and nail polish would figure because she was made by Revlon. New dolls were definitely something to which to aspire. The latest and greatest were the object of envy by girls trying to keep up with other little girl Joneses.

Sporting a delightful deckle edge, this photo from the
1950s shows the importance of dolls on Christmas morning.

For all of us who grew up “back then,” there will always be something special about a new doll on Christmas morning. I know I get tingles when I think of how I felt. Why, I’m even reliving it right now. Always wanting to share, I have found a way for you to have the feeling as well. I want to give you a new doll on Christmas morning. Right here, right now.

Do you know Dolly Dingle? The forerunner of the Champbell’s Soup Kids by renown artist Grace Drayton, Dolly Dingle fascinated me as a child as my mother a folder of them from her own childhood. I have remained a devoted fan to this day.

So, here is one of my favorites, under your computer “tree” and wrapped to open by clicking on the image below.

Merry Christmas to each and every person who finds
this page! I hope all of your problems are little ones.

Click on the Dolly Dingle above to download a PDF for your own personal use.

 

(And fair warning. Don’t leave her alone on your
computer screen with any Christmas cake on your
desk. Look at what I saw when I came back into
my office. Whoa! Scary!)

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS
and the best of holiday seasons!

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 24 2011

Sunbonnets all over the world are talking about the latest:
SunbonnetSmart.com is the Featured Money Blogger for
Christmas Week, December 25 – 31, 2011!

Left Sunbonnet: Goodness! Have you heard the news? The BEST web site in the world, Sunbonnet Smart, has been selected to be the Featured Money Blogger on www.BlogHer.com.

Right Sunbonnet: Oh my! Well, you know what THAT means!

Left Sunbonnet: No, what?

Right Sunbonnet: Well, Sunbonnet Smart loves to share and every time good things happen and abundant energy flows in…why, you just watch, the web site will be giving something away to show gratitude!

Left Sunbonnet: What!?!? To us!?!?

Right Sunbonnet:  Yes! To everyone who visits SunbonnetSmart.com on that internationally renown women’s forum www.BlogHer.com or who visits www.SunbonnetSmart.com itself.

Left Sunbonnet: When?

Right Sunbonnet: Why, all this week! Starting tomorrow, there will be a free PDF download of one of the new Bargain Products that Sunbonnet Smart is introducing into the Sunbonnet Bargain area of the web site. But, each download will only be available for free for one day. Then, the next day, another PDF will be given away. So, basically, you’re going to have to put aside EVERYTHING else you planned on doing during this holiday week to make sure you get all of the PDFs before they switch.

Left Sunbonnet: Wow! I’m going to get in on that!

Right Sunbonnet: Yeah, who wouldn’t. Be there or be square…

Left Sunbonnet: I know I’ll be running to the computer first thing Christmas morning…forget the tree…

We now return you to your regular programming.

 

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 23 2011

SunbonnetSmart.com has been selected as the
Featured Money Blogger on www.BlogHer.com
for the week of December 25 – 31, 2011

What excitement to receive an unexpected e-mail in early December. It was from BlogHer, from the BIGGIES at BlogHer, announcing that Sunbonnet Smart is doing something right. Offering skills that made the United States famous for getting out of the Great Depression is answering a need. In these hard times, the ones some people are calling the Great Recession, people are eager to learn the homemaking, homesteading skills that made life easier and insured survival in the 1930s.

For those of you who haven’t wandered over to BlogHer as yet, it is an easy web site to highly recommend. Every one who is a member of BlogHer has a blog, and behind every blog, there is a great deal of living and loving going on to produce a rich tapestry of interwoven voices. Each voice is tapping on the keyboard everyday, writing to reach out to and attract visitors from all over the world. And what a delightful, cooperative interaction it is.

Here, a focus group of BlogHer bloggers meets to prepare for
BlogHer12 in New York City. Top Row, L to R: alienbody,
Victoria, Melanie asking IsThisTheMiddle?, Allison and
sassymonkey. Bottom Row, L to R: Virginia, Denise,
Melissa, Laine, Jenna and Robin sans Sunbonnet.

Writing together everyday, reading, affirming and sometimes being at odds, the BlogHer community allows each blogger to grow and expand their reach. Not only do blogging skills improve, but in meeting and networking so many other blogging associates, BlogHer bloggers all gain a very practical bonus, more traffic to their web sites!

So, now that you’re here, it’s time for a celebration. How about a beverage? How about a holiday liquid refreshment meant to delight and start a tradition? And, what better recipe to share than this cool Christmas card recently received from friends in Youngstown, Ohio. It looks like a healthy recipe, even if, as my friend Bill says, “The only thing missing is the rum!” See what you think!

And to all, a good night!  :)

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 21 2011

Jacqueline Akhmedova is an accomplished Prima Ballerina
who has danced with and been choreographed by the
greatest names in ballet, including Rudolph Nureyev.

Mme. Akhmedova began dancing as a child in Munich, Germany, at the Roleff-King Ballet School and the Munich State Opera Ballet School.  After graduating with honors from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and the Ukrainian Academy of Dance in Kiev, with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Ballet Performance, Pedagogy and Choreography, she quickly moved into the world of European Classical dance performance.

In a professional career of more than twenty years, she was a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet in Tashkent, the Munich State Opera Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet, dancing every major role in the classical and contemporary repertoire.

She has worked with the world’s greatest choreographers – Jiri kylian, John Neumeier, Rudolph Nureyev, Hans van Manen and Peter Wright.  She has toured extensively across Europe and performed as guest artist in major companies worldwide.  She has also choreographed classical and contemporary pieces for many professional ballet dancers and for many students in international competitions.

And now, where do we find Mme. Akhmedova?

Teaching at her newly founded school of the dance,
The Akhmedova Ballet Academy.


One of Mme. Akhmedova’s remarkable students,
Amelia, dances “Shade variations from La Bayadere.”

Students who dance at a pre-professional level have studied classical ballet for many years, most since they were small children. While many ballet studios in the United States teach the Balanchine methods, the Akhmedova Ballet Academy strictly teaches the Vaganova method, techniques define by the great innovator of classical ballet, Aggripina Vaganova.

Deanna Pearson in rehearsal for Medora.

Madam Akhmedova, herself a Professor of Choreography and Teaching in the Vaganova System, utilizes classical Vaganova training methods supplemented with best practices for strength and flexibility training to better prepare her students for both classical and contemporary choreography.

Mme. Akhmedova receives inquiries from all of the world about training in her programs. Each student who applies is required to audition and receives guidance as to their level, abilities and options for career futures. The Akhmedova Ballet Academy opened at its present location in Silver Spring, Maryland in February, 2011. For more information and to read an article from the Gazette newspaper, click here.

ABA Mission

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy is dedicated to providing the finest quality ballet training through the use of personal and artistic mentoring of young dancers enabling them to become strong, healthy, and fully developed artists for the 21st century, prepared to take their places in major dance companies around the world.

Mme. Akhmedova specializes in preparing dancers
for competition and professional careers. Here
are the members of her pre-professional class:
Abigail, Deanna, Amelia, Mme. Akhmedova and Logan.

 

The internationally acclaimed Deanna Pearson was
coached by Mme. Akhmedova for her competition in
Berlin, Germany where she won the gold medal in 2010.

The arts are suffering financially. The glorious visual, musical and performing arts that raise our spirits and soothe our souls need our help. World economic downturns, those affecting us all, have required patrons who used to give freely to reconsider and be more frugal.

If you have a desire to support The Akhmedova Ballet Academy with any amount, your donation would be most appreciated. It is noteworthy that any donation to this non-profit organization could serve as a year end tax deduction.

Please consider going to the safe Fractured Atlas web site and giving so that Mme. Akhmedova and her talented students may have what they need to continue study. Thank you for your consideration.

Click on the Fractured Atlas above
to donate a much appreciated gift
to the Akhmedova Ballet Academy.

 

NaBloPoMo 2011



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In November, 2011, I joined BlogHer.com and haven’t looked back. What fun to be a member of a blogging community that shares life, love and bad things, too! This post by “Dorid,” written last January really stopped me in my tracks. What heartfelt advice. And…how nice to have a list in case something happens and heads are not clear. Just get out this post and start plodding ahead…

BlogHer.com’s “Dorid”

How to Prepare for Homelessness

I’m no stranger to homelessness. Sadly, so many people are too familiar with it these days. Battered women, families who’ve lost their income, men who’ve lost their jobs of 25 years and have searched until their unemployment has run out to no avail.  The economy and the social situation in this country seem tailor made to result in homelessness.

In my case, it’s merely red tape.  I’ve been out of work as a result of chronic illness (Lupus) for years, and rely on my social security and housing grants to make ends meet, but this month I was faced with a clash between the apartment complex and the Housing Authority that threatened to leave me without shelter.  As I went about making arrangements to be homeless, I realized that there were a number of things that could be done to minimize the impact of homelessness and make it more likely to be a temporary rather than chronic situation.  For some, homelessness becomes a trap.  I wasn’t about to let it become a trap for me and my family.

 How to Prepare for Homelessness

1. Sort through all your papers. Know what’s really important: ID, legal records, school records, social security and insurance information top the list. There are also some publication-ready critiques I have taken out of my file cabinet (which is now empty) and into a small carry-file.

2. Sort through any possessions that have sentimental value. This one is harder for me. The last time I was without shelter, I at least had my car. Last time I was without shelter was when the girls and I moved from Buffalo to Florida in ’03. Our car broke down a few weeks before the move, and we had to sort everything into three suitcases. I’m afraid we could be there again.

3. Figure out how much you can reasonably carry. There’s a reason you see so many homeless with shopping carts. When I had a van, I was able to keep things like the TV, dishes, and small appliances. If I’m out on New Years Day, I won’t have room for any of those things.

4. Which brings me to the next must: Maximize your carrying space. Rolling suitcases, small shopping/laundry carts and the like increase what you can save. It also makes it more tiring to carry and drag around.

5. Know where the motels, shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries are, and what you need to have/ do to get in. If you’re looking for a shelter, call in advance to find out when they start to line up and if you need some sort of referral to get in. Also make sure that you know what ages and genders they take. Some places only take families, some only children, some only men, and so on. Try to plan around breaking up families… that part might be hard.

6. Have transportation. Get a monthly bus pass. Some agencies will provide them for the homeless. Sometimes, however, any money you get should go toward transportation. Having mobility means having choices.

7. Don’t LOOK homeless. Looking homeless is looking vulnerable. If you look like you’re shopping (or on vacation) by staying clean and fairly well dressed, you’re less likely to be harassed or robbed, and it’ll be easier to impress prospective landlords.

8. Put your money in a roof. Most landlords want to see you pay no more than 1/3 of your income in rent. Let’s face it: Hotels cost a lot more than that, and so do most apartment homes in decent neighborhoods… at least if you’re on Social Security. That doesn’t mean YOU have to agree to that. I’ve paid 1/2 of my monthly income in rent before, and more than that on a few occasions. The thing is, if a landlord lets you in with that little income, he’s more likely to be a slum lord type. If you’re well-dressed and well-spoken, however, you can sometimes convince some of the nicer places to allow you to rent despite the risk.

9. Prepare to be homeless longer than you think. Stupid people think that being homeless means you live cheaper. Unfortunately that’s not true. Hotels on cold nights when you can’t get a place, or buying a tent or the like: those get expensive. Only people who have no income will lie under a bridge in below freezing weather. The rest of us spend most of our income keeping our kids warm and bathed. A sleazy hotel with the basics costs about $200- $250/week, almost twice the rent for a studio here. Saving money when you’re homeless is a lot tougher than most people think.

10.
Join a gym. OK, this sounds counter-intuitive. Some gyms have free short term memberships. Some insurance has free memberships included. Being a gym member means free hot showers and bathrooms.

11. Find a home for your animals. Pets don’t do well on the road, although most homeless I know take better care of their dogs than they do themselves. Cats, birds, and other pets don’t do as well on the streets as dogs might, and shelters don’t take animals. Long term stay hotels may or may not take pets. Best to look forward if you’re at risk for homelessness and find a good place for your pet in advance.

12. Find something to do besides sit on the street corner with a sign. (That will just get you arrested anyway). Volunteer. After all, you’ve got no where else to go, and doing something good for others will keep your mind off your own plight. It’s also important to keep relationships with individuals. Humans are social animals, and being homeless can be isolating.

13. Pack mostly what you need NOW. That means you don’t need to be using up valuable space in your cart or suitcase for that cute little swimsuit if it’s January. You can worry about finding another cute little swimsuit in summer.

14. Keep your cell phone on. Communication is almost as important as shelter. You’re going to find home searches a lot easier with a working phone. If you’re looking for work, having a phone is vital. Go to a cheaper plan, or go to one of those local carriers if you have to, but keep the lines of communication open.

15. Remember to pack your self esteem. Being homeless can happen to anyone, especially in this economy. And yes, it’s going to be crushing and painful and stressful and ugly. But if you go into it feeling defeated than you’re beaten, and it’ll be harder to get back up. Remember, you do NOT deserve this, and you’re worth better. Keeping that in mind will help you get through this, and will be invaluable when it comes to negotiating homeless services or acquiring a new home.


Dorid’s post is so poignant and direct. When hardship happens, direct is good, because many decisions have to be made quickly.

Dorid regularly posts at her blog, The Radula. I love her sharp wit, displayed in even the name of her blog. A radula, she explains with the illustrated panache of National Geographic, “…is a rasping, flexible tongue-like organ in the mouth of gastropods.”

 

To donate to Dorid use:

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Please note: PayPal now disallows the use of the “donate” button except for registered NFPs with tax exempt status. Please select the “Personal” tab, then select “Gift” and use the email address doridoidae@gmail.com

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Dec 17 2011

Well, as if it isn’t enough to be reminded by every health advocate and medical doctor on the planet to physically exercise at least three times a week, now we have to exercise our minds as well. The reasons are convincing, however, as Dr. Joseph Mercola states on his web site blog,” Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, can help lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s. Scientists believe that constantly challenging your brain helps make it less prone to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

And so, wanting to keep all of my SunbonnetSmart family healthy and alert, I am offering my idea of a Mind Gym to challenge you into mental health for years to come. This is the place to visit for mental exercise, to learn something new and expand your thinking. Some things that will be discussed will seem strange and some you will not agree with or be able to wrap your arms around. But, hopefully all will be worth your consideration.

And so, now I will offer you the concept of The Tenth Dimension, a line of thinking made popular by Rob Bryanton in his book and video on the subject. So, see what you think of the Tenth Dimension….

From Answers.com: If you are in, or aware, of the tenth dimension, this means you are able to place yourself in any realm of possibility (and impossibility) that you can imagine yourself in. Essentially, you can change the entirety of the world around you to the exact specifications you see fit.

The Tenth Dimension is the sum of all possible universes that have the same initial conditions as ours, and the sum of all possible and impossible universes with different initial conditions as ours. Basically if you can interact or are in the tenth dimension… there is nothing that can’t be done… anything can be done.

In other words, anything you can imagine or visualize is possible and can happen. What an empowering concept no matter what you think of the physical science that may or may not be behind it. In addition, the idea creates discussion and gets those brain synapses firing in a thought ballet of activity and that’s the point of mental exercise.

Rob Bryanton, author of Imagining the Tenth Dimension

In case you’re interested in reading more, here is a link to Rob Bryanton’s book that expounds on the Tenth Dimension. Preview it by hovering your mouse over the following link:

Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space



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