Thursday, February 28, 2013

Best Friends.

Boschendal 1988
As I was taking my morning hike two older ladies slowly walked towards me. They had an aura around them and as they talked and laughed there was no doubt that they were the best of friends.  I had to look away as tears filled my eyes as seeing them together made me miss my best friend, Milla, terribly.

Milla and I have been friends since we were 5 years old and no matter where we are in the world we have always stayed connected. Our friendship is rare as I haven't met many people who have been friends as long as we have. We don't speak on a daily basis, but whenever we do there has been no lapse in our conversation or friendship.

We survived ballet classes and itchy tutu's. We built a tree house together which resulted in me having a black eye and her with torn knickers.  We hid under the curtain to the bookcase and played 'glassy glassy' and freaked ourselves out when the glass moved. We were not allowed to sit next to each other during Mass as just by looking at each other would send us over the suppressed laughter edge. We both survived Catholic school with minimal scarring. We always did have the best shoes in town and when someone asked where we got them, they were of course the last pair in the shop. We giggled our way through primary school and had our hearts broken in high school. We borrowed each other's clothes and threw lavish dinner parties.  We did many crazy things together, the whipped cream incident being the top craziest. We have both sobbed and held each other as we mourned love and lives lost. We supported each other through marriage and divorce no matter how far the distance. 42 Years later we can still both recall that very first day in primary school where we were assigned to share a desk.

One day Milla and I will be the two older ladies taking the walk and there will be a younger woman walking towards them who will be thinking to herself "They truly are the best of friends."

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered."
A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Monday, February 18, 2013


Idaho Bunny hiding on the path. He was listening. 
The phone rings and it's a friend calling to see how you are doing, they know you are trying to find a job and are overwhelmed by the lack of response or rejection. As you begin with your monologue you are interrupted mid-sentence with "That's great, so I was..." and your monologue has come to an end. You listen to the talking, the rhetorical questions peppered with more talking.

It is then one begins to wonder if anyone listens, truly listens anymore. Are we so absorbed by our thoughts and what we want to say that we forget to listen? How well do you listen?

I am learning to listen. I am learning to absorb the sounds of the morning as I go on my walk, the birds singing to each other, the bus trundling down the hill and the neighborhood dogs barking as I walk by their castle. I am learning to focus on conversations without having my mind wonder to what my monologue will consist of. I am learning that everyone has a need to vent and to process things as they talk.

I have learned that by listening more I don't have to remove my foot from my mouth that often.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Growing Our Own Mushrooms.

Bear and I were at our local Farmer's Market where we met Ryan Wolverton from Soul 2 Grow.  We were both fascinated and intrigued that we could grow our own mushrooms on a log. You drill a few holes into a log and insert the mushroom dowels and within 6-9 months you have mushrooms.  I asked Ryan if I could interview him for my blog so that you all could learn more about mushrooms and maybe want to join in the mushroom growing fun. This blog ain't all about bitching... it's about learning too. Pay attention, there will be a quiz later.

Preparing log. (Source)
Mushrooms growing on log. (Source)

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from San Marcos, California

What exactly did you study at Oregon State?  What is Mycology?

I studied Botany and Plant Pathology with a Fungal Biology emphasis.

Mycology is an umbrella term used to classify the scientific study of fungi. Mycologist study many different aspects of fungi. For instance, while I was obtaining my education at OSU, I worked in a mycology lab that focused on resolving phylogenetic relationships amongst and within fungal taxa. Other mycology labs study things like fungal ecology, biology, biotechnology, fermentation, bio-remediation, bio-control, proteomics, and pathogenicity just to name a few.

As a child did you have lots of experiments growing in the basement?

Not at all. As a child, I was mostly pre-occupied with skateboarding, surfing, and music. It wasn’t until about 2002 that I really started “experimenting” with growing fungi.

What is involved in 'growing a culture'?

Fungal cultures can be started with either a small fragment of living mushroom tissue or by spores. Most often, the tissue or spores are placed on a nutrient filled petri dish and allowed to grow for two weeks at room temperature. After two weeks, the cultures are visibly inspected for purity. Petri dishes that pass the purity inspection are used to inoculate growth-supporting substrates like wood or they are placed in cold storage for later use.

Growing a culture. (Source)
Tell us about your business and why you decided to do this?

Soul 2 Grow is a local company committed to creating opportunities for everyone to LEARN and ENJOY the challenges and rewards of growing fungi. We offer products, classes, seminars and hands-on workshops designed to teach techniques for successful mushroom cultivation. We strive to 1) adhere to sustainable, organic mushroom cultivation practices and 2) synthesize current scientific developments and traditional knowledge in order to gain as much insight as possible into the art of growing. Soul 2 Grow is also dedicated to creating open forums to discuss and explore the empirical and theoretical roles that fungi play in our lives.

Do you give Mushroom Expedition Picking Tours?

Not currently. I recommend that people interested in guided mushroom forays visit the Cascade Mycological Society or North American Truffling Society websites. 

Are you able to ship out of the State of Oregon?

Yes. Visit for a list of the products we sell.

What is your favorite mushroom?

My favorite mushroom is the Oregon Reishi mushroom. Its Latin name is Ganoderma oregonense. It grows quite large here in Oregon and has a beautiful shiny red cap surface. In addition to its beauty, it’s a potent medicinal mushroom that can help mammals fight a number of flu, bacterial, and cancer related ailments.

Oregon Reishi (Source)

What is your worst mushroom?

It’s hard to say. One thing that really bothers me is when restaurants serve button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) raw. Button mushrooms contain compounds that can be harmful when consumed raw. However, this risk is easily avoided by thoroughly cooking the mushrooms. With the exception of truffles, in very small amounts, mushrooms are always better and safer to consume when cooked.

Thanks Ryan, we are looking forward to enjoying our first crop.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Depression by Sam Coleman

Today via Twitter I came across this blog post by Sam Coleman. What an incredibly powerful post and with Sam's permission I am sharing this post with you. 

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses” – Carl Jung

A black slug. That’s what it felt like to me. A fat, bloated black slug wrapped around my chest. Some days it squeezed me until I couldn’t breathe. Other days it allowed me some space to open my eyes and look around. But it was always there. It was consistent in the nature of its existence.

I have friends with deep cuts gouged into their arms by razors. I have friends with scars across their wrists. I used to know someone that ate incessantly just to block out the screaming in their ears. I even knew someone who tried to kill themselves on a fairly regular basis. This is nothing new. If you take a few minutes to look around the world and understand what some people have to experience in their lives you start to understand how this world can be just too much for some people. Sometimes the veil of depression can suffocate you to the point where you can’t actually breathe anymore.

I am no expert. I am suspicious about corporate drug companies that supply legal drugs to control behaviour patterns, to control the internal journey, to control personal spiritual evolution. I am of the opinion that there are options. There are options for children with behavioural problems. There are options that invoke epiphanies and growth without the use of addictive and life threatening legal drugs. There have to be. I have watched friends start a course of Prozac only to see the light in their eyes die to a cold, dead throb. More people die every year from the use and over prescription of legal drugs than from illegal drugs. Remember that I am no expert.

My experience of depression doesn’t deserve space here. It’s a disease. It’s a throttling, heart breaking, untouchable growth that starts in your mind and spreads. Only the individual can understand their own depression and how to characterise it. Only the individual can take their own journey to understand and fully change their depression. But you’ll need help. You’ll need to communicate. We all need to communicate to take the stigma away from depression. I’m not going to talk about my depression here. It’s an ugly piece of my life that I’m glad to have forgotten.

Becoming a Father has made me think to some depth about how it will be should Eve become depressed. You start to think about the questions you will ask, the appropriate communication levels and what help you can offer as a parent. There may be times when she won’t need my help at all but rather the support and guidance of friends who understand her on levels I may not. There may be a time when I or my wife become depressed and she will inevitably be a part of it. I have to be realistic. I have to be honest, open and approachable as a Father and as an individual.

In the depths of a depression there is no perceived answer. There is no solution for you. There is very little point in you being alive. There is something wrapped around your very essence that is making it impossible for you to be the person you want to be. You find yourself crying for no obvious reason and can only answer “I don’t know” when someone asks you what’s wrong. There’s nothing left for you is there?

The only voice you will ever hear when you question yourself is the voice of the poisonous thing wrapping itself around your rib cage. It’s a tape worm for your soul. It’s a black fire in your belly. It’s a pale child whispering in your ear. It’s a looming, scaly, roaring behemoth clawing at your face. It’s a gigantic expanse of grey water lapping at the shores of your unconscious. Whatever you imagine it to be or how you perceive it try to not listen to it. Talk to people, even if you feel there’s no one to turn to. There are an abundance of people online, in forums, at your local GP or even in your own home that you just didn’t realise were there and will always be there for you.

Don’t listen to the monsters. Listen to yourself. There’s a big difference.

You can follow Sam at  and on Twitter @Dustandlove

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ten lessons I learned from watching Star Trek.

Picture Source

1.  There is always an alternative.

2.  Distress signals should be ignored.

3.  Trust no-one.

4.  Always set phasers to stun.

5.  No-one pays attention to the Captain's orders.

6.  Even with super advanced mapping equipment you still end up in areas you should not be in.

7.  Torpedos are never ready when you need them.

8.  There are no back ups to the warp engines.

9.  There are still egotistical ass holes in the future.

10. Even in space I'm going to have to deal with gorgeous, skinny, alien bitches.