News-flash: the FDA isn't there to protect our health or the health of the environment. Just ask the cosmetics industry, the meat/poultry/dairy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the pesticides/ herbicides/ house hold cleaning products industry, and oh yeah, splenda! They've all largely profiteered off of the FDA's lack of a moral compass, of their convenient and quite frequent amnesia, routinely forgetting, oops, that they exist to protect us, the consumers, the public, the people who pay their salaries. Many of the FDAs top ranking officials eventually leave to work for the same companies who lined their pockets for approval, now instead of a six figure salary, they make seven. Corporate greed? The European Union will not allow for the release of products until they have successfully proved their safety, their criteria and demands on companies costs time and money, good for us, bad for moguls. - We all know the US has a bit of a learning curve. - That's why companies like L'oreal and Lancome prefer to produce their products here (for American consumption, obviously) where there's no rules, rather than in France. Sure, put whatever chemicals you want in my compact make-up when no one's watching - the TRIETHANOLAMINE, PARABENS AND SODIUM LAUREL SULFATES MAKE MY SKIN SO SOFT! take a peek at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com

While I totally promote a walk on the wild side, I have some serious hesitations about our health, now and in the future. As well as the direct relationship it shares with the earth. I take care of sick people all day long, and anyone who's in the dark about what its like to spend your days in a hospital bed, news flash - IT SUCKS, well unless your my patient than you have something to look forward to. Examples of my wild side: I have a sweet tooth that will never be satisfied (if I had diabetes, I'd be dead), I eat homemade butter with a spoon, I drink copious amounts of wine and eat obscene amounts of cheese. Not every day, of course. Clearly, I am not a health expert and even resent the overzealous nutrition obsessed that take every last bit of fun out food. -- However, if you told me that there was genetically modified fish sitting on my plate, I'd have a dilemma. Then I'd say sorry little fish, I appreciate your sacrifice, really, I do, but I WILL NOT EAT YOU! As a lover of food, an epicurean soul mate - I'm also someone who thanks the earth for its beauty and bounty - I am truly offended by this prospect.

Why aren't more people (kudos to Ben & Jerry!!) freaking out about the implications of a genetically modified animal? Where are the pro-lifers and their conviction when you need them? Because taking a stand against this is PRO-LIFE! Pro ecosystem! Pro earth! Pro humanity! This could have long lasting implications on our food source. We, the fattest people in the world, could potentially die of starvation, if lets say (and this is very possible) a particularly virulent virus or bacteria evolves that targets that fish alone. Now lets say its the only salmon we have left, because introducing the GM salmon led to the extinction of wild salmon, we'd have none. Take that sushi roll off the menu. Kind of like, if there is blight, or fungi, or insects that evolve, and go after a certain apple tree, tomato plant, corn crop, and there's no variation in the field to compensate because we have mono-agriculture ---- we will starve. There's an estimate that 70-75 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves, from soda to soup, crackers to condiments, contain genetically engineered ingredients.

This is starkly similar to the antibiotic situation. We have created freakishly clean environments, thank you bleach wipes and purrell, and we have treated every runny nose and scratchy through for the last twenty plus years with a dose of antibiotics. We've also been eating and drinking them in our meat and dairy. Now, antibiotic resistant microbes are running ramped through our hospitals, operating rooms, and communities. It is a huge problem, a uniquely American problem. The microbes got smarter and we got, well.... not.

This affects the birds, the bees, the trees, the soil, and the delicate balance of the natural world. There's a reason why the natural world is so incredibly diverse, and its not to amuse us. There is purpose in the existence of everything. We are so confident in the superiority of man kind, we think the earth was created round just so we could circle it, it's an obnoxious attitude of entitlement that's as virulent as anything. By and large, we don't have the fundamental appreciation for the wild, for the animals, for the insects, trees, plants, eachother, ourselves, our health? We should, I think.

Go buy some heirloom seeds before they're all gone, and read your food labels.


a baby nurse burp

The first few weeks of nursing lulled me to sleep. For a minute there I was worried I'd stepped into a time warp and was back in nursing school. My fellow nursing babes and I spent the large part of the day reviewing procedures, hospital protocols and policies, hypothetical situations that could but probably won't happen, magnet designation, computer software training, documentation, safety concerns, codes blue, red and grey, medication distribution and narcotics wasting, pressure ulcers, hand sanitation, isolation precautions, blood draws, IV insertion, EKG strips, and the list goes on, and on. Nap time!

Once we stepped onto the floor and rolled up our sleeves, it still hadn't felt like the beginning of a career. I continue to walk in to each of my patient's rooms with a clueless I-think-I-know-what-I'm-doing-but-don't-judge-me-if-I-don't look on my face, and something tells me it'll be a while before that changes. Of course, it's always fun to banter with patients regarding whether I'm qualified to be there because I don't look old enough to be a licensed nurse, I'm quite surprised no one has asked me for a copy of my transcript or license. I assure them I'm not fifteen, they believe me, and they let me proceed.

The beauty of medicine is that there is never a dull moment, there is always something to do, and the patients are more educational than any chapter of a text book. They have complex health issues that make their needs individualized, they have lives and situations and families that make planning their care sometimes easier, more challenging, and at times, disturbing. They can communicate with us without a word. One patient continues to remove his trach, each time requiring the immediate attention of respiratory therapists, shaking his head at every intervention, the more more more we keep providing - it's not what he wants. Another patient with diabetes insipidus, unable to speak, clings to his empty orange juice glass, overwhelmed by thirst. One is a survival mechanism, and one is surrender.

I still don't feel like a nurse, I feel like a baby, somedays I walk, some days I crawl. Some days I sit in awe of my preceptor who has a swift, graceful ease to her completion of tasks. She knows the ins and outs of each patient, each med, and she smiles most of the time. The energy of the hospital I am in now, is such a stark contrast to the previous I'd worked as a student. I suppose it's kind of like drinking good coffee or eating good cheese, once your palate has adapted to the good stuff, there's really no going back, hard as you may try.

poems I love more each time I read them

by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The Sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all over and over, how it is that we will live forever.

by David Whyte

It doesn't interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are preapred to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into the fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consquence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in the fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

So Much Happiness
by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness,
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to
pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs,
or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records. . . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it, and in that way, be known.

by Byron

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Sweet Remembrances
by Moore

Let Fate do her worst; there are relics of joy,
Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy;

And which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
And bring back the features that joy used to wear;

Long, long be my heart with such memories filled;
Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled,

You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.