Monday, June 30, 2008

Random Name = Random Story

I was thinking that it would be fun to use the Random Name Generator for a less mundane purpose than just clicking reload over and over again, but for actual literary purposes when i am stuck for a name when creating a bit character. In that vein I propose a writing game. Write a short story surrounding a character whose name is picked by the random generator.
Today's name is Charlie Cole. Feel free to click "generate another" to get a cast of characters. No names should come from your own head. Anyone else who wants to play along can post in comments or email me.

Get writing!

P.S. If its a sci-fi you can also utilize the Random Technobabble Generator for help

UPDATE:(7/7/08) Apparently there is also a Random Word Generator out there, though not by the same people! Even more fun with randomness! :)

Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog

Found this teaser trailer for a new Joss Whedon Project. Its a three part online movie(?). It looks absolutely fabulous and since I am a hopeless nerd and Joss Whedon fan I am promoting said video. Apparently the show airs on July 15, the second episode on the 17th and the last the 19th, after the 20th the videos will only be available for a small fee. So enjoy the video! and support online ventures!

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Yesterday after selling bread to people that like bread at the farmers market I headed over to Eastern to climb with Sean, Jill and Gordon. So it had been probably 12 years since I last went to a climbing wall so I wasn't as good as I was when I was a teenager. Mostly though that was because my arm strength has diminished so greatly I just couldn't do much. Despite that I had lots of fun and I will be going back. Maybe lift some weights in the meantime so I can have even MORE fun next time :) Not surprisingly Sean took to climbing like a fish to water, must be all those years climbing trees. Here are some pictures you may enjoy!

Me bouldering (meaning climbing without a rope)

Me climbing again, I did climb with ropes for a bit, but my arms gave up.
Sean horizontal.

Jill climbing with Gordon balaying.

Sean Attempting a really difficult climb.

Gordon tries to show him up.
And gets a little farther than Sean, notice where his left leg is!
Sean climbing.

Sean making it to the top.
Gordon Showing us how it should be done in his badass Climbing Staff Shirt.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Garden

My garden is in full bloom right now. My seedlings were big enough, finally, to transplant this weekend and because the intermittent rain we've been getting everything is growing really nicely. I took some photos this morning to show.

baby Calendula (Calendula offcinalis)

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

Seedlings of Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)

One lonely Snow Pea (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon)

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Veronica Speedwell (Veronica spp.)

Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum)

Blue Flax (Linum perenne)

Raspberry (Rubus ideaus)

Driftwood and Barnacle Brick

I was naming photos from my trip to Seattle last week and as I named this picture I decided that these two must be some kind of superhero team.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cat Faucet

This morning I found a whisker attached to the faucet in the bathroom. The question remains as to whether the cat was in the bathroom sink, or whether the faucet itself is turning into an animal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Answers; though no one took the test

Hawthorne - To calm my heart Palpatations
Wood Betony - To ground my mind so I am not in the stars
Nettles - Allergies (told you it was a trick)
Rosemary - To aid my memory so I remember the right things to say
And a tincture with a mixture of: Eluethro, Licorice root, Oats, sarsaparilla and prickly ash - An adrenal tonic to give me strength and fortification, but also to calm any hormones that may be out of balance.

There's the answer... no one played my game though. Oh well.

As for the Haiku...
Well, you just don't get one now
since nobody played

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pop Quiz

I am taking a tincture to calm my nerves for my impending interview.
Wood Betony
And a tincture with a mixture of: Eluethro, Licorice root, Oats, sarsaparilla and prickly ash

First to tell me what each ingredient is for... gets the satisfaction of a job well done.

I will post the correct answers tomorrow whether or not there is a response...

*(nettles is a trick!)

UPDATE: My Husband says that no one will bother answering without a prize. So if someone answers correctly I will be like Jillian and write you a Haiku...or something resembling poetry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Raspberry Wordle

I found this website called Wordle, via Hodgman and Coulton. Here is the monograph of Raspberry below as Word Art. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This Post is for My Brother... all others look away... or read it , you might find it interesting

I was following a mission on PMOG* and stumbled upon a website all about home made technology! It's called Make: technology on your time. I haven't had to explore it fully, but it looks like a nice collection of strange things you can make in your spare time. Enjoy!

*I just joined PMOG about five days ago and I am sort of addicted. It's a (hehe) Passively Multi-player Online Game and you get points for surfing the internet!

We now resume normal blogging. Thank you for your time.

I Win!

Yesterday I wandered over to Think Like a Jillian and there was a Pop Quiz!I studied the picture and recognized those sneaky hills as the ones I had fallen down many times at Sitzmark Ski Hill in Havillah, Washington. I wrote in my answer and as a prize I won a personalized Haiku.


Oh no! A pop quiz!
Will Anyone Answer? Yes!
Herbal Amanda!

Thanks Jillian!

Friday, June 6, 2008


I know I know, two post in the same day! Crazyness. Anyway, its June now so its time for the newest Herb of the month. (May doesn't get on this time, if you must blame something blame Paris.) This month I have chosen Raspberry as my plant for a couple of reasons, one i saw one in Paris, two my own personal stunted little Raspberry is in full bloom and starting to show signs of berry-ing*. Mostly I must own though I am doing raspberry because I already have all the research for it and since I am in the midst of job hunting I didn't want to have to do a new plant! Its my blog I can do what I want :)

This is all taken from an intensive paper called a Monograph that I did for school in the fall of 2006. I took out all the overly technical sections and pared it down a bit. Let me know if you all think this is too technical, or if you have any questions about anything!

Rubus idaeus

Other common names: Raspberry, Raspbis, Hindberry, Bramble of Mount Ida, Brambleberry, framboises

Family: Rosaceae

Parts used: Leaves, berries.

Botanical description: Culpepper claims that raspberry, he calls it brambleberry, is “... is so wel known that it needeth no Description.”3 However, this doesn't truly seem sufficient. Raspberry is a shrubby plant with long bent over canes with leaves off the stems in threes. The leaves are ovate in shape with a serrate edge, green on top and silver underneath. The flowers are white with five petals, five sepals, and many stamens. The fruit is a red aggregate of drupelets. Each drupelet contains a single seed. The aggregate berry when picked leaves behind a white conical core. The stems become woody with age and display prickles in profusion.

Habitat: Raspberries grow most often in areas where the soil has been disturbed, such as forest clearings or fields. Native to Canada and North America, it grows from British Columbia down to New Mexico. Grows well in moist temperate regions, and will spread easily unless cut back. Raspberry is very beloved and is grown worldwide for its tangy little berries

Taste: Hot infusion of the leaf: Bitter, astringent, sweet, green, full and oily, cooling. Raspberry leaf tea is often said to taste a lot like black tea due to its high tannin content, and is said to be a good substitute if you are sensitive to caffeine. I think this is partly true, but the green oily taste that overlies the black tea taste is hard to ignore.

Berry: Sour and tangy, sweet, cooling and extremely tasty over vanilla ice cream

Energetic properties: Cooling, drying and soothing; strongly associated with female energy.

Doctrine of Signatures-(this section is taking the look of a plant and associting it with its properties to aid in memory) The arrangement of raspberry leaves off the stem is that of one large leaf representing the uterus flanked by two smaller leaves that represent the ovaries; this reminds us that raspberry leaves work on the womb. The undersides of raspberry leaves are silvery, giving us insight that the leaves also have a connection to the moon and therefore woman and the menstrual cycle.

Constituents: Flavonoids: Kaemperferol and Quercitin as well as many glycosides of both; tannins: including gallotannins and ellagitannins; fruit sugar: notably xylitol; volatile oil; pectin; citric acid; malic acid; calcium, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, carotenes and trace minerals. A few sources list an alkaloid called fragarine, but more recent research has not found this molecule. (Fragarine was thought to be the 'active' constituent of raspberry leaf, the one that cause uterine muscle tissues to strengthen, but it is now postulated that is a more complex reaction that isn't due to any one constituent, but a combination of many. This particular conclusion seems to be more and more excepted for most herbal medicines, as main constituents are usually found to not work, or have different actions when isolated.)

Actions: Berries: Nutritive, antioxidant and laxative Leaves: Nutritive, astringent, antioxidant, parturient, uterine tonic, and emmenagogue

Indications and effects: Traditional use of Rubus Idaeus has been to aid in childbirth. Raspberry leaf acts on the tone of the uterus, increasing the contractility of the uterine walls. 1,9,11 This action on the uterus makes for more useful contractions during labor, as well as helps the uterus return back to its normal shape and elasticity afterwards. 1,11 The mechanism for this action is unknown though it has been speculated to be due to the tannins. However, since tannins are largely unabsorbed into systemic flow this is still not completely understood. There is some postulation that it is a reflex action, since the tannins cause the lining of the intestines to contract it makes the body contract the lining of the uterus. More research needs to be done in this area.
Rich in vitamin C complex, thiamine, niacin, carotenes, calcium, magnesium and trace minerals, R. idaeus is nutritive and aids in the health of the fetus and mother, and also increases and enriches milk flow after birth.1 This same action on the uterus acts as an emmenagogue and can be used for restoring weak or absent menstrual cycles.
The tannins act as a parturient, toning the membranes in the gut by binding to proteins in the intestinal wall, its mild action is especially good for children with diarrhea. The tannins also contribute to healing canker sores in the mouth, bleeding gums and other mouth complaints mainly through astringent action. Both the fruits and leaves have antioxidant properties due to high flavonoid content, which can heal oxidative damage to blood vessels and other tissue. The fruit is a mild laxative if taken in high quantities. Judith Berger mentions its use as a black tea substitute for those trying to lower their caffeine intake due to its similar taste and high tannin content.1

Safety/Contraindications: No safety issues have been reported with the toxicity of the plant. However there is a slight worry taking too much in the first trimester of pregnancy which may cause ‘over toning’ of the uterus so that the placenta has a hard time detaching from the uterine wall. It is therefore recommended limiting the use of raspberry leaves to the second and third trimester.12 This advice comes with its own problems since raspberry is also used to counteract morning sickness. Th solution may reside in using it for morning sickness, but stopping use in the the second trimester and starting again in the third so that the over toning doesn't occur.

Classic formulas:

Raspberry Brandy

Pick fine dry fruit, put it into a stone jar, and the jar into a kettle of water, or on a hot hearth, till the juice will run; strain, and to every pint add 1/2 lb. of sugar, give one boil and skim it; when cold, put equal quantities of juice and brandy, shake well and bottle. Some people prefer it stronger of the brandy. -----(Old Cookery-Book.) (

Combinations: A good pairing for Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) leaves would be Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) leaves. Both display emmenagogue affects, which frees the flow of blood form a stagnant or blocked uterus and can regulate mentrual cycles that are erratic.

Preparations and doses: Leaves are usually prepared in an infusion, 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoon of dried leaf and let steep for 10-15 minutes, or long cold infusion for 4-8 hours to extract more of the mineral nutrients. I 8 ounce cup 3 times a day for toning the uterus during last trimester of pregnancy. In tincture form 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.2 The berries are best as food source of flavonoids.

Works Cited

  1. Berger, Judith. Herbal Rituals. New York: St. Martins Griffin Press, 1998.
  1. Bone, Kerry A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs. Elsevier Science, 2003
  1. Culpepper, Nicolas Retrieved 10/09/06 <>
  1. Grieve, Maude Retrieved 10/08/06 <>
  1. Hoffmann, David FNIMH, AHG. Medical Herbalism: The Science and practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003
  1. Kress, Henriette “Rubus idaeus photo” Retrieved 10/08/06
  1. “Raspberry”, Retrieved 10/08/06 <>
  1. Moore, Michael “Rubus idaeus: distribution map”, Retrieved 10/08/06 < >
  1. Tilgner, Sharol ND. Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth. Wise Acres Press, INC, 1999
  1. Yarnell, Eric ND, RH Phytochemistry and Pharmacy for Practitioners of Botanical Medicine. Healing Mountain Publishing, Inc., 2004
  1. Rosemary, Gladstar Family Herbal: a guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and Vitality Storey Books, North Adams, Massachusetts, 2001.
*I made that verb up, yes i realize I could say fruiting, but I wanted to be more specific.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Enviromental Health vs. Pollution

My friend Jillian posted today about the fact that statically big cities are actually more environmentally healthy than rural areas. I agree with this and I think the reason that it is so shocking has to do with our perceptions. We are an egocentric race and it is commonly accepted that cities are bad for our health. We translate this to mean that it is bad for the world, the larger environment without even thinking. Our brains really like to make such connections even when, if we took a moment to analyze it, the connection doesn't actually make sense.

I think the main problem may stem from our use of the word environment. We talk about environment in the sense of our immediate surroundings but we also use the word to mean the entire planet as well. These ideas are actually quite separate. Our environment, when speaking about immediate surroundings, be quite toxic due to toxins that reside in our houses and the emotional atmosphere and lack of nature, but it could be perfectly fine when talking about pollution.

How could a house that is toxic to us not be a pollutant you ask? It lies in the fact that the toxins are confined within the structure. One of the shocking things that has come out in recent years is the fact that indoor pollution is now worse than outdoor pollution, mostly due to the fact that there is no airflow to remove toxins from our midst. But since there is no airflow these toxins are quite nicely contained indoors and only escape slowly into the outdoor environment so aren't really a problem. So in this way our environment (indoors) is highly toxic for us, while it really has no affect on the larger (outdoor) environment.

Not to mention the other environmental toxins one may encounter in a city, sewer gases, close proximity to car emissions, more exposure to viruses and bacterial infections, emotional stresses due to the working nature of cities, the lack of plant life. All these things seem like major detrimental affects, but none of them are bad for the worldly environment. They are simply bad for human health. Humans are bad for the world health because they tend to ruin the environment they are in with their waste and utilization of every available resource, animal mineral and vegetable. Put them all in one big area and that waste is reduced.

Cities tend to build upwards once outwards becomes limited. Large cities such as New York or Paris fill more people per square foot. Because everyone is so crowded together it makes a central hub for food distribution, more people can walk or bike to work, public transportation is more cost effective and readily available using less energy and gas to move people around.

Having spent two weeks in Paris I noticed this difference was huge when I got back to Spokane. In Paris I could walk almost anyway, or jump on the metro. Grocery stores were small but abundant and I could find almost anything I needed easily. Coming back to Spokane I was immediately forced to drive to get to the normal places I go because the distance was greater to get everywhere. Central hubs in Spokane are larger but more spread out. Yes you can get all your shopping done in one store, but you have to travel farther to get there and you need a car to utilize the store because you did all your shopping at once.

I think if this country was really serious about 'saving the planet' we would put a complete halt to urban sprawl and start building upwards, localizing food sources so that we weren't needing to travel so far (this would also create jobs since more shops would need employees). People could not only walk to the stores, but walk to work etc. Not to mention using more local farms not shipping food from all around the world. The government cannot do all this. It needs to start like all things start, from the bottom up. Support local business, walk, bike or bus to work when possible (get a job closer to home if its a long commute!) start a local grocery in your suburb.

Go, Fight, WIN!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

WoWaholics Anoymous

Hi, my name is Amanda and I am a wow-aholic. I have been sober for six days and 12 hours and I must say its been a great change. I have been sleeping better, dreaming more, reading like its going out of style and I have written 9,000 words in my, much neglected, novel. I even finally wrote a blog post about herbs. Lets hope I can survive the next 2 weeks until my subscription runs out. Your support in this would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Herbs I Found in Paris (and a brief summary of there most comon usage)

While we were in Paris I found some familiar faces, herbs!

Gaillet gratteron, Cleavers (Galium aparine) - Galium is a small upright herb that is covered in tiny stiff hairs. Its tiny hairs make it stick to clothing and hair, which is where its name cleavers comes from. Galium's main action is a Lymphogogue; meaning it makes the fluid in your lymph system flow.

Aubepine, Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.) - Crataegus is a small tree in the Rosaceae family. We saw this one in the Jardin des Plantes, in full bloom. Hawthorne is most known for its action on the heart. Not only does it calm rapid heart beats, and lower high blood pressure, its also been shown to speed a sluggish heart.

Gingko (Gingko biloba) Gingko is the only genus in the gingko family, and has only one species. It is an amazing tree with unique botanical properties. Medicinally gingko leaves are used to increase circulation to the brain, increasing mental focus and memory. In Traditional Chinese medicine however the fruit is utilized and has completely different applications.

Narrow Leaved Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) - Plantain small herb often found along roadways and paths. It prefers compact soil and was called the 'white man's herb' by native americans, who noticed its spread by the boots of soldiers. Plantago is highly nutritive and is a very useful for wound healing as it acts as an antiseptic, vulnerary and draws infectious agents from wounds.

Framboises, Raspberry (Rubus ideaus) - Raspberry is a large shrubby plant covered with sharp thorns called prickles (thorns are part of a branch, whereas prickles are only part of the skin of the branches). Like all rubus plants the leaves are highly astringent (that feeling of dryness or puckering when you eat it) which makes them very good vulnerary's. Raspberry also tonifies the uterus and is used in pregnancy to strengthen the uterus.

Bourse a pastour, Shepard's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) - Capsella is recognizable by its heart shaped siliques (seed pods). This herbs primary action is that of a vulnerary. It is extrememly effective, a dropperful internally can be enough to stop a major hemmorage and it often utilized by midwives during birth.

Celendine (Cheledonium majus) - Celendine was introduced to me first in an autobiography of Maurice Messigue, an herbalist from Gers, France. So when I spotted this specimen hidden in the woods among the nettles I was very pleased. Celendine is used only externally as its latex is caustic. The whole plant can be in a foot bath for pulling out toxins in the body. The latex can also be used to kill off worts, but be careful not to get any on healthy skin.

I also found a museum that had a small collection of botanical texts and prints, here is a line drawing of a strawberry plant.