Wednesday, December 31, 2008

MAKUA O`O ... Elder in Training

Photo Credit: Chris Kawika Brown

Basic Life Tools
of a Makua o`o

(Elder in training)

Makua is the Hawaiian word for adult. O`o refers to the digging tool used to loosen unwanted weeds, move heavy objects or make holes for planting. Together the words makua and o`o combine to describe the man or woman who consciously uses the basic life tools (listed below)digging through life, loosening weeds, and hardened beliefs, moving back into the flow and making room for new growth in tutelage with a kupuna or elder skilled with these life tools herself/himself. The life of a makua o`o is a commitment to life in harmony with the philosophy and practice of care that is the essence of “malama `aina” -- to care for that which nourishes you. This commitment is spiritual at its core, and practical in application. It is a life of faith and daily practice. I am grateful to Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Jenkins for opening the door to my apprentice as makua o`o. I am not sure this apprecticeship ever ends. I share this post with all our visitors, regular readers, family and friends with thanks to all of you for joining us in our journey to build VARDOFORTWO. We wish you all a new year of love, support, caring and authenticity. We are all elders in training, look around ... so many digging sticks, so many spirits being human.


Mokihana and Pete

1. Keep a keen sense of observation … NOTICE

2. Listen … with your whole body … LISTEN RESPECTFULLY

3. Do your best in all things … BELIEVE YOUR BEST IS ENOUGH.

4. Know that wisdom is found in many places … SOFTEN THE GROUND OF YOUR BEING

5. Question for clarity when making decisions … ASK

6. Practice patience and endurance … TIMING IS DIVINE

7. Engage in good health practices … CARE

8. Feel the heartbeat of the culture … MAKE TIME FOR LOVE

9. Believe in Ke Akua, for this higher power makes all life possible … WE ARE NEVER ALONE

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BUILDING THE VARDO: The door is here

This is Slim, and what a craftsman he is. He's been working on our front door and it's a beauty!
The simple lines of this solid white oak Dutch Door with a window are such a welcomed sight! We'll need to find a door knob, latch for the top piece and hardware to hold it all in place. Pete will drill out the door knob hole, fit the door for hinges, frame and hang the front door.
This is the funnest part ... practicing the 'chat and visit' position. We measured the perfect elbow height for leaning into a chat, and I think Slim got it just right. THANK YOU, SLIM.

Both sides of the door will be milk painted, and I will stencil the front of the door and then all will be waxed to seal.

Monday, December 29, 2008



This is where we live. When VARDOFORTWO the blog was born, back in October, we posted pictures of our safe at home space we have come to know as THE KITCHENETTE. I credit my therapist for reminding me of that word which is just what our home is ... the kitchen and her ette. Leslie from The Oko Box Blog posted pictures and story of what it takes to live in 'safe' fashion with stuff that 'ordinaries' or 'civilians' have/build with ...Least I forget how MUCH WE HAVE living in The Kitchenette I felt compelled to make her our very special pin-up girl. With out her we would be dead meat!

HERE SHE IS: Dressed in beautiful flowing tropical golden folds, The Kitchenette is always oh so lovely wearing a print of ti leaves and banana fronds. An old favorite print that has blessed so many places we have called home, first cut and sown for our cottage on Puhala Drive in Manoa Valley on O`ahu. In the background above the full-sweep of golden folds and tropical leaves the silvery all-powerful Denny Foil encases the cabinetry that keeps on stinking after all those thirty years. What? You wonder what those dancing geisha are doing above the doorway in The Kitchenette ... that my dear friends is a keepsake that has weathered thousands of miles of wandering, originating in Lahaina, Maui Jodo Mission when once we danced with friends at O BON ... the feastival to honor the dead. A truly wonderful time, a real grand dancing in a circle time.
ABOVE YOU SEE THE VERSATILITY OF A SHEET (many time washed and safe, safe, safe) & DENNY FOIL. The dark green sheet-wall is skillfully stretched and tacked with push pins, across a gaping opening between nirvana (The Kitchenette) and ... hell? No, not quite, but purgatory yes. Once again the mighty DENNY FOIL hidden and taped behind the sheet, creates a sturdy barrier temporarily or for as long as you need it to be. Ever the island folk we have kept the decor a la Sig Zane adding colors of Hawaii and the shapes of things we love about `aina-- the ULU, breadfruit panels were cut and hemmed years ago when we lived on Wailuku Drive in Hilo, Hawaii. What we have kept can be washed easily and folded into small spaces for ease and mobility.
OUTSIDE THE KITCHENETTE TODAY: What is that man looking at?

When Words Become Notes

Sometimes words are not quite enough.

Sometimes words becomes notes ... a string of pearls (Leimomi) ... MUSIC

Sometimes music is what I need.

Visit SamAndSally for the music I need when words are not enough.

Thanks Jean, for the link ... I love it! Mokihana

Sunday, December 28, 2008


December has been mostly one long snow day. Today's the first time the sun's really warmed things up enough to uncover parts of the yard. See the remains of our beautiful Christmas Tita SnowWoman in the fore-ground? The last football game of the year is on, so I suspect Pete's upstairs getting a dose of testosterone. He's got the tiny space heater warming the inside of VARDOFORTWO and I see evidence of sunshine through the blinds in the Kitchenette.

Pete's gearing himself up to do some work. After almost three weeks here's what Pete reports:

1. "It smells like milk." Translation: the milk neutralized the oak ceiling and windows. The milk paint smell will need to air-out. So if we get a day or two of no rain/no snow we can open the hatches and let her breathe. Then my decision will be whether the beeswax is a sealant I can be with without reacting; or is a low-VOC clear sealant the choice I need to try?

2. Cut and trim up the ceiling brackets, then paint.

3. Paint the missing spots on the windows.

4. This could be the week for the roof. If the snow melts on the road in front of our house and we're able to line up roofer and transportation, we'll be moving VARDOFORTWO for the first time. Destination: Roof Maker Land.

MAHALO, MAHALO ... before we forget, and the calendar goes 2009 we thank our friend Annie and my son Christopher for their generous contributions to THE VARDO FUND. Thanks to you we have four beautiful windows and (will soon have) our cozy Dutch front door.

BUILDING THE VARDO: The next design

Here's our next design for a VardoForTwo! I love it, and picked it from my new favorite FREE CLIPART Site, PLUS it was the only little cottage that didn't have smoke rising from the chimney. There is an undeniable draw to the round cottage. And the colors are perfectly fantastical, whimsical. With all the seriousness going around I needed a little whimsy. Just fool'n...but then, you never know!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


clipart Credit:
New Moon in Capricorn
Saturday, December 27, 2008
4:22am PST
6ยบ 08

Today is the NEW MOON, in the sign of Capricorn. The moon was in the sign of Capricorn when I was born. This new moon is an important one for me, and it can be a very important time for any one to use the energy of ritual and intention to set goals for the future. I am not a teacher of astrology. I am a student of nature, a new earth soul with a spiritual memory and connection with ALL THAT IS; astrology is one way I stay connected. To be honest, being human is difficult for me. I don't get 'being human' without a great deal of effort. Many of my early years and challenges have been lived toughing it out under cover, not letting on, keeping any errant emotions and 'judged' weaknesses closeted. That's an almost impossible way to be human and in my case those emotions have simply gotten riled up inside for a very long time, but that's what some astrologers refer to as the initial half of a Capricorn's journey ... a tough go.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities have (plural ... many sensitivities, some not yet identified, others morphible) challenged my Capricorn Moon in an unlikely, yet uniquely right for me, way. I am in the second half of my life at sixty-one and I believe MCS is teaching me to COMMIT to being human. And human is not a solitary experience, like one of my favorite astrologers has suggested it's important to make 'suffering' public so the energy of the collective can shine on you. Of course, there is the down-side of that. There are negative forces who might prey on the weakness of your/my situation so Sensitives are often wise to remain protective of their episodes of grief. For me, on this DREAM COMING TRUE WEEK 9 post it's important for me to blather through and use the power of blog as a commitment to be human. Yesterday I had a winter melt-down and I let you in on it. I needed to allow myself the experience of grief, once again. Exposures trigger grief and fear. I asked for support from my long-time counselor and sister with MCS, my husband Pete, and my own dear self who knew the tired and true ritual of rest would work if embraced it, and not struggle. And through the blogsphere my favorite astrology consoled and reminded me the new moon is today.

I am better today, the fear and grief have passed, and taught me more about being human. The energy of the goat Capricorn inspires me to make use of all the Saturnian energy of this NEW MOON. Here is a link to a site I found very useful as Pete and I appreciate and prepare for our ritual of setting goals on the Capricorn New Moon:

Transforming our life with VARDOFORTWO is a long-term project, a real, adult project that will need more than wishing to make it happen. So as the year ends, I think my DREAM COMING TRUE Posts will also change. See if you catch the change.

THIS WEEK I HAVE $25,600 which I save to build our dreams.


1. I appreciate meditation.

2. I appreciate astrology.

3. I appreciate goofy songs like "The Hampster Dance Song"

4. I appreciate clean air to breathe.

5. I appreciate the smell of pineapple upside-down cake baking.

6. I appreciate process.

7. I appreciate the moon.

8. I appreciate the sun.

9. I appreciate the ocean.

10. I appreciate Pete.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Weak, brain-fogged, washed out.
A hui hou, Mokihana

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


We thought we'd send this favorite warm weather memory
... Pete in a coconut tree, gathering his all-time favorite nut!

Wishes of Joy, Warmth and Safe Passage through your Holy Day ... however you celebrate it, and wherever you are take care.

Much Aloha,
Mokihana and Pete


Clipart credit:

It continues to snow. I'm warm and cozy in the Kitchenette, maintaining the 25 hour 'avoidance' routine I follow after most of my weekly NAET appointment with Chulan. I have frequent posts about NAET because this wellness approach 'works' for me, and Chulan's style and practice with her healing art compliments my own. As you read this, and any other post we leave here, it is always YOUR decisions that matter and your journey of discovery that makes the difference. NAET is hard work, the subtle and powerful energetic clearing that takes place during the forty-five minute treatment often take place at a very deep level ... and I'm pooped when we finally make the thirty minute drive home. Seattle is not really a town 'prepared' for a foot of snow, so conscious and easy driving is the key, and it takes longer to get where you're going. It's 11 am as I write this and four and a half hours away from my avoidance of COLD. "Can you stay warm for 25 hours?" Chulan asked before pulling off my wooly socks to push in the needles (acupuncture). "Sure," I said, and we both knew I'd have to work on that ...

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities affects whole body systems; ie. the organs, muscles, glands and everything in between. Genetically, my heritage includes a thyroid gland that seems to have been fighting or fleeing before I could walk. If that doesn't make sense to you I'll completely understand and will expand before I close. Anyway ... for the past few weeks I have known that my thyroid gland was once again in a very weakened state. Along with the adrenal glands that sit above the kidneys in my lower back, and the lymph gland freeway all through my old bod, the ENDOCRINE FAMILIA has been totally over-worked and stressed out. Chemical exposures ... jet fuel, dry sheets, wood smoke and trees off-gassing collect in me, especially in the glands. The winter COLD is another thing clogging up the efficient flow of the be-go-joy me. This week I'm continue to listen and attend to THE BUTTERFLY GLAND... the thyroid.

I wasn't sure how to post this story, so I surfed most of the morning looking for a way to tell it.
I found a website and blog for patient advocate and thyroid educator, Mary Shomon. Shomon has written a very informative interview with a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The interview shared a different view of thyroid disease. I have no personal experience with Mary Shomon, nor the doctor. Like so much of the information on the internet, there was something worth considering and then there was this: A link to Oprah Winfrey's life with thyroid disease.

A few minutes ago Pete asked, "Where are you going with this? There are a lot of issues here." "Yeh, I know." He is right, MCS is a complex maze of symptoms and the folk who live with these symptoms are as blissfully complex as the symptoms. This story began when I began listening to the small BUTTERFLY GLAND that lives in the base of my throat, just above my collarbone. The same location where, in the language of energy points throughout Earth's cultures, the third chakra swirls. I have lived too many decades with that third chakra and home of the BUTTERFLY GLAND under-wraps, masked, and shut-down. Until MCS became a regular companion, I have lived much of my life in the duck and cover mode. The discussion that you can read on Mary Shomon's site debates, affirms, challenges, and shouts the validity of "swallowing the voice" as a factor in thyroid disease.

Here's where I would like this story to go. Before I was born I had heard the stories about my Tutu(grandmother) dying on the surgeon's table when he tried to remove a goiter. Even as a very small child that story spooked me. Except for those stories which my mother shared, no one else in the family ever talked about thyroid, and yet nearly every link in that side of my family has thyroid disease or has had the thyroid removed. NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT. When I was told, in 2003, I had 'abnormal cell tissues' in my thyroid and surgery was the best option ... I said, "NO." I found an option that fit me, though my decision angered/frightened friends and family. I chose to begin life with raw and living foods. It helped a lot, and I got stronger. The other choice I made has more to do with listening to all of me ... the whole me. That's when I began to pay THE BUTTERFLY her due. Ever notice how quietly a butterfly moves? Gentle, gliding, and yet like her cousins the bees when the butterfly glides she is carrying some powerful pollens from here to there. It's the same with THE BUTTERFLY GLAND: when she is functioning at full capacity the hormones and connections she orchestras make all systems flow in harmony.

With the on-set of over-exposures and the stress of months of life on the run, THE BUTTERFLY has lost much of her glitter. I know the extra weight I carry now and the symptoms that range from a hot flash that lasts the night to a fluttering heart beat and zero energy flow are my thyroid telegraphing me her story. Chulan's diagnostics and my ability to voice what happens with me are the way I know to support a tiny gland that means the world to me. Additional tests, medications, supplements may be useful to THE BUTTERFLY and me, and those who live with MCS know finding other practititoners and facilities where I can get these services is another story.

I'm resting and restoring the life force I need to keep this story going. Blogging exercises the voice and connects me with solutions. I'm not sure but bet butterflies rest. If you live with thyroid disease and have a story or comment to share let THE BUTTERFLY sing ...thanks, Mokihana

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Community Redeux

Since the summer of 2007 when Mokihana and I attended Jay's classes on Tiny Houses and began drawing up plans for our Vardo, I now count more questions than answers about the life before us. Adjusting to a winter climate once again makes me wonder, will spring and summer arrive in time to properly prepare for the next cycle of fridgid wonderland? How about the opportunity for work in economically challenging times for a guy who considers working an essential ingredient everyday? Will the right mix of community appear to share in creating a life of caring and sharing, while fully understanding flexibility of the mind might be following the same course as tightening of the muscles and joints after almost 60 years? Where can I join an organization that realizes an earth friendly future beyond the realm of Costco ect. ? The answers that I seek consistently present themselves all day everyday in many surprising encounters with fresh air, soft touches, shadows reveiled, whispered assurances and guidance to act. Which leads me to the conclusion that it is time to do some work. A Hui Hou, Pete

Monday, December 22, 2008

NEWEST POLL: HEALTH CARE for FOLK living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

RE: HEALTH CARE POLL ... vote for as many answers that apply to you.

I have just posted our newest poll, and it's a question that I am boggled by every month ... every time it comes time for me to mail a check to pay for my health insurance. My relationship with the existing traditional western medicinal system is difficult. I have very little trust in the system as a whole and yet I have continued to pay nearly $300 a month for a service I fear. Is that a sign of disfunction or what? Susie Collins over at The Canary Report has once again been stirred (thanks to one of our vigilant sister canaries, Linda) to raise the issue of safe services or not so safe services of the medical variety. There are two very important posts on Canary, and rather than repeat them here at VARDOFORTWO, I encourage you to read the articles and comments Susie has collected.

The poll I have created is a way for me to sort through the contradictions I feel about health care, health insurance and the risks involved in using facilities/services/products that are known to make me sick or sicker. There are patient advocacy and preparedness steps sited in Susie Collins' post about MCS in a hospital setting, that can be made in advance, and I will review them to see how I could reassure myself. The experience of being on the continent where Winter snow and ice presents further challenges to remaining 'safe', adds to my swirl of confusion. One of our Canary friends slipped while on a wintery walk last week, and broke her ankle. Her sensitivities did not prevent her from managing a hospital stay and surgery to repair the break. I'm not sure I could make that same choice?

How do you choose to care for yourself when it comes to medical-hospitalization and wellness decisions? Your vote on the poll and any comments and experiences, or your email on the subject would be so appreciated.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Joyous Winter Solstice

The shortest day has come to us here in Washington with the evidence of Winter every where you look. We've shoveled and cleared the snow and ice from the sidewalks, fed JOTS morsels of warmed chicken and crunchy dry food and now for my first cup of hot tea with coconut milk and honey. Winter is hard work! "Now do you remember how much work it is?" Pete asked as he turned on the juicer, filling the Kitchenette with the inimitable smell of wheat grass. "I never forgot." Yesterday we spent the better part of the day light hours preparing for the storms that have come. During the `ole days we researched and decided a generator was a good idea for winter back-up. With a hundred foot extension cord the Honda gas-run generator will allow us to run the heater, air purifier and one burner on the portable stove top (new to us). Safe and warm at this moment I enjoy the comfort of the tasty sip of tea, look out across the front yard and see the winter caps of snowy Olympic Mountain peaks in the East. The sky is stretched gray flannel, layers of cloud cover that only look warm because instead they promise more winter. Yin and yang, this and that. This shortest day is Earth's Natural New Year, a new year birthday for the Earth!

The neighbor kids next door (the ones who wear stinky dry sheet dried clothes) have had an incredible time with their sleds, burning calories without knowing it, they revel in the white stuff. Today is Winter Solstice, a time recognized by some communities as CHILDREN'S DAY. "The Shambalha Community has, over the years adopted a tradition of celebrating the changes of season. These special days of celebration are called nyida days-from nyida ("sun") and dawa ("moon"). Nyida days occur on or near the days of the spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. While all four nyida days are regarded as family-oriented occasions, the winter holiday, Children's Day, provides a special opportunity to express appreiation for and with our children. At a time when the weather begins to bear down upon us and we feel the gray walls creeping in, we turn to family in celebration, creativity, and generosity." So here we are with the snow, about to make a tasty breakfast omelet and warm fresh barley biscuits. There are lots of daylight hours left in this shortest day, and then the sun will sink behind that horizon. To our friends who are having a tough time today, and especially to our friend "K." who will need to heal from a broken ankle ... our warmest wishes, and care go your way.

Wherever you are at Solstice Sunset, we'll join you in spirit and celebrate all that we value, including creativity and generosity, too. My Chinese ancestors celebrate Winter Solstice with the belief that the yang, muscular, positive energy grows stronger after this day. If I could technically do it I'd include that wonderful video of Paul McCarthy singing, 'TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY" and dance, dance, dance!!! Happy Birthday Earth, happy birthday to you. What a beautiful place to call home. Let us make it so.

Saturday, December 20, 2008



Where ever you are at Sunset, on Sunday, December 21st, 2008, you are invited to celebrate with us. For 30 minutes at Sunset join with someone you love and celebrate all that you value. Like a wave of celebration across the earth, our prayers, songs, dances of appreciation, our dreams for a coming year of positive changes will embrace PAPA HONUA (mother earth) and ALL OF YOU.


VARDO .. is a Georgian word, a girl's name, meaning 'ROSE.'

VARDOFORTWO the blog is two months old. We have been building our home-to-be VARDOFORTWO since late July, just this summer past. Our goals for building both blog and home-to-be are the same: appreciate (love) what life offers, recognize and fuel the spark of hope that is always present though often buried in the challenges to survive multiple chemical sensitivities and environmental illness, and innovate/re-design and insight revolutionary possibilities when old versions no longer work. This week's DREAM COMING TRUE post focuses on this TRIO of Goals through appreciating the people and places that have given us hope to persevere.

THIS WEEK I HAVE $ 12,800 OF DREAM MONEY TO CONTINUE GROWING AN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Folk with a vision and commitment to INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS. The specifics of this dream are expanding. So far this I.C. might include:
  • Tiny Mobile or Moveable Homes built by and for the individual needs of its community members
  • With one or more permanent shared buildings; ie. kitchen/dining room; seed storage and growing room; clean and clear laundry facility
  • Organic gardens
  • Mobile Chicken coops
  • A Community-Based Savings and Loan modeled after community banks and investing in 'human capital' projects that are already working
WHAT OTHER THINGS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN this dream? If you are interested in joining us for brainstorming and creating this I.C. please email us: ssvardoatgmaildotcom


1. I appreciate Susie Collins who writes THE CANARY REPORT because I see in her the heart of an innovator influenced by the affects of MCS, and fueled by something much greater than illness. THE CANARY BLOG has become a 'one stop shop' for me as I search for inspiration, hope and support for the illness that we have in common. The links and connections she has offered me and a blosphere of others is extraordinary. The personal care with which she send KAHEA (the call, the cry) for support when one of 'the flock' of canaries is down, is the stuff of holiness that makes being human an honorable tag.

2. I appreciate Turtle Woman and Mr. Pellet our friends who have made changes to their lifestyle to prepare their home and their land for the time when VARDOFORTWO is parked in the woods 100 feet from outdoor electrical outlet. These friends are our next step in learning to create an intentional community.

3. I appreciate Doug, Lois and Sigrid, The Mooney-Amona 'Ohana in Kailua, Moksha and Judy, Annette, Audrey, Koa and Phillip, Kaliko and Blake for their kindness and willingness to give us safe space during the year of diaspora and living without a home of our own.

4. I appreciate the beach park at The Tide Pools for the many nights of safety we experienced when there was no other place to be when night came.

5. I appreciate the support of the Seattle MCS group for being here to embrace us when we arrived, and continue to be a source of social and emotional connection.

6. I appreciate the endurance and determination I have that springs from The Source of All.

7. I appreciate my intuition that grows stronger because I encourage her.

8. I appreciate music from the radio.

9. I appreciate walking sticks that work in all weather.

10. I appreciate Pete. Period.


This is JOTS ... Johnny On The Spot. Shortly after we settled into the Kitchenette a scrawny black kitty began showing up whenever we cooked chicken. Out of nowhere the little one was at my ankles and available for attention and chow. We weren't looking for a cat. In fact, our journey from O`ahu included a tragedy and loss of a very loved kitty friend, Spence ... and that is a chapter The Storyteller may have to tell ... in another place, another time. For now though, these pictures tell the story. In spite of my allergy to kitty dander JOTS has found a place in my heart where a special sort of filter allows me to find creative solutions to the problem.

ABOVE: Warm organic milk for the kitty. It's 18 degrees outside, and warm milk is the cat's meow.

She would love to be cuddled up inside the Kitchenette with us, and she made her way into that inner sanctuary a couple times during the past week. Pete's elegant solution has been 'building' VARDFORJOTS ... one step at a time: First the old cardboard box that carried something (tools/books?) from O`ahu to White Center. Next, Pete's wool thrift store sweater lined the cardboard box. Temperatures dropped below 40, a piece of foam board insulation went into the box, the sweater went on top of the insulation. Temperatures dropped below 32, the string of white fairy lights that brighten the window and table outside is long enough to wind in a circle under the sweater in the box. It warms the sweater, isn't hot enough to burn any thing and is now JOTS personal electric blanket. Blowing snow shows up, and an old flannel blanket from Joel's storage room becomes the roof for VARDFORJOTS.

You may not be looking to love, ahh... love may just be looking for you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'OLE DAYS ... Wednes, Thurs, Friday

Today is the first of three `ole days. 'OLE DAYS according to KE ALA O KA MAHINA (THE HAWAIIAN MOON CALENDAR ) are days when the fisherfolk and farmers did not fish or plant new crops. Our kupuna (our ancestors) looked to Mahina, the moon's changing phases to remain in balance with the environment. Living in sync with the cycle of nature viewed through the illumination of the darkness is a very different perspective. Unlike the tracking of time on a linear calendar read in straight lines; ie. left to right or in columns top to bottom in a rectangle, the moon calendar we use is round like the moon.

We observe the `ole days as a time to re-view, re-new, re-fuel and re-connect our lives with all that is. Pete and I save new decisions on new projects for another day. New posts are made after the `ole days are over. Our next post will be Saturday, December 20th ... just in time to INVITE YOU TO JOIN US FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION AT SUNSET, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21st. (See last Saturday's post).

A hui hou, Mokihana and Pete

The new KE ALA O KA MAHINA is now printed and available. For our readers who may be interested in purchasing one I've linked to the Kamehameha Publishing on-line store where you can buy one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It's taken me all day to warm up to a post today ... literally. I have been chilled to the bones by this early abnormally cold winter temperature. Pete's Wisconsin born DNA seems to be kicking in. I'm asking a lot of myself to acclimatize to something I promised my body we'd never have to experience again. Well, I'm having to do some sweet talking to this dear old bod while I gather my wits about me, and re-learn some old-fashion solutions for keeping warm.

I like the sound of this 'old-fashion solutions' because the ones I'm finding most useful and non-toxic for me come out of the pre-industrial solution cupboard. Here's what I'm finding works to sweet talk my body into getting warm and staying comfortable:

1. LAYER UP. Everybody knows that. I didn't when I lived here 25 yrs ago, and I was miserable the first winters here. Today I know one layer ... even if it's my Duo-Fold "Working Peoples' Store" cotton and wool long johns, isn't enough to stay warm outside. Start with one or more light weight long sleeve cotton shirts or turtle-neck tops. The air space between the layers will act as an insulator. Then put the long johns on. And a sweater over that. Then a winter coat over that. On my bottom half I doubled up on the long johns and wore stretchy tights over that.

2. SOCKS. Wear more than one layer of socks. I have only one pair of boots, so one pair of light cotton under my wool socks is all those boots will tolerate before their already knotted in repair shoelaces split one more time.

3. GOOD HAT. If your feet are cold, put on a hat. Okay, I sorta knew that from some distant past wisdom, and I love hats any way. So, I do this. My favorite everyday hat is now a little light for the 28 degree temp outside. WOOL, I need more wool everything. Ear muffs would be good, too. Time to learn to knit again?

4. KEEP THE NECK AND WRISTS WARM. I read that these two places on the body lose heat easily, so I paid more attention to that today, kept my padded collar close to my neck, and pulled the cuffs on my long underwear down around the wrists. I don't have a warm scarf, yet.

5. GLOVES. Fortunately the small green mittens I've had for years still do the job for me.

6. HOT ROCKS. This is something I'm doing inside the kitchenette, and in my bed. My sensitivities include not being able to use a plastic hot water bottle or an electrical heating pad. Our ceramic infrared electric heater is great, and yet when the temperature dropped early in the morning my kidneys and adrenals were saying nasty things to me. When I showed up for my NAET treatment this afternoon, Chulan said, "TRY HOT ROCKS." Well of course...

The picture above is my very long time friend The Heart Rock. She and I have been friends from the days when she asked to be taken from the muddy shores of our Mukilteo home. The Heart Rock has cooled me when I was feverish, comforted me by being a lomi-lomi stone (Hawaiian body work) working a kink from a place fingers alone would not free. This afternoon, just before sunset I put The Heart Rock into my RevereWare pot, gave a soft warning to H.R., "There's hot water coming." And poured a slightly cooled kettle of boiling water over her and let H.R. soak up some heat. I'm here to report my old friend is a wonderful collector of warm, wrapped in a cloth napkin I lay on her for a few minutes, took her from the napkin to rest her directly on my cold and aching places.

And, to those of you who though HOT ROCKS meant something different ... and more like two bodies being warmer than one .... that works, too! Both forms of HOT ROCKS are old-fashion solutions that works for me.

Any other old-fashion or new fashion solution for keeping warm up your sleeves? SEND THEM MY WAY, PLEASE!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Building the Vardo: Updates on insulation/door/reality of cold and MCS COMMUNITY Building

"Baby, it's cold outside." So this Hawaiian is mostly inside with toes curled in woolen socks and legs covered in wool long johns.

Pete's been outside cutting pieces for the brackets or molding over the steel plates holding the roof ribs together for VARDFORTWO. The temperature's dropped below 30 degrees so some work just has to wait until things aren't freezing ... like until we're not freezing. Paint won't work at this temperature, so we wait on that.

There is progress to document, and a growing community of MCS safe builders is part of that progress and process. So here it is:

The ceiling is painted with the first coat of milk-paint. The smell of oak seems to be neutralizing. After the temperature warms up, I'll do a sniff test.

  • The inside trim for the windows is taking much more GARDEN SEED than Pete anticipated. Some pigment doesn't cover as well as others, and even though GARDEN SEED is supposed to be a darker pigment that covers better this is probably the fourth coat and still counting.

  • Ceiling trim pieces are cut and ready to be painted and nailed.

  • We've taken inventory on the remaining milk paint, and are preparing for a final order of HOMESTEAD HOUSE Milk paint for the inside walls, door and ceiling.
  • Slim's working on the door. Pete checked with our door-maker to ask about the glue he's using the put the door together. It's a water-based glue that dries hard...I'm crossing my fingers and turning that one other to the goddess.

LATEST UPDATE ON INSULATION ... this decision has been a biggie. We posted at least twice before the difficulties we have had finding safe insulation. Leslie who has a terrrific blog THE OKO BOX Blog did a great post about 4 Types of safer insulation. I read her post, thanked her for the great research and commented on her discoveries and then I talked with another Leslie last night. Leslie Lawrence is building an MCS safe movable home in Bend, Oregon. Our conversation was community building and support in real-life. We talked about issues beyond the building of our tiny homes, and yet every thing connects to living in a safe home. A link on Leslie's Website stirred me to re-look at wool as an insulator. Here's a summary of what I've learned about insulation through the process of building a community of MCS support on-line:

  1. From Leslie at The Oko Box, I learned that Fiberglass Insulation COULD be manufactured without chemicals. But, my intuitive sense about fiberglass is that it wouldn't 'work' for me because of the fine spun glass ... makes me itch to think of it. Through the 'COMMENTS' section of Leslie's post we explored FELTING WOOL as an option, like my ancestors the MONGOLIANS do to cover their yurts. I left feeling "okay, maybe I'd be crazy enough to try it, too."

  2. From Leslie Lawrence I learned that eco-wool batting from The Shepard's Dream MIGHT work, except it would be pricey even though VARDOFORTWO is approx 80 square feet.

  • Wool Felting is available through this Northern California resource, and I might order a bed size length of felt to use on our bed or as a rug (the felts are very versatile, and in general I am good with wool).

  • MOTHS love wool. So Leslie L. cautioned me about the moths' love of wool, and said I'd have to wash the batting or felt with borax to make it distasteful to the winged ones.

  • Leslie L. has found a wool-blended insulation originating in New Zealand and sold in Bend that is probably going to work for her. She is mailing a sample of it to me wrapped in aluminum foil so it doesn't collect any 'stuff' during transport.

I know it seems like such a long read. A good story takes time ... Last, and with such joy, we received a wonderful comment from Francesca in Italy this morning telling us that VARDOFORTWO is inspiring her as she builds her safe space in an old stable in the Italian hills.

FANTASTICO, Francesca!

S A F E ... How do you count the ways?

A few years ago when Pete and I lived in the Puhala Rise cottage in Manoa Valley, we ventured into downtown Honolulu for First Friday ... a regular monthly arts and enertainment event. Blocks of China Town ---art galleries, theatres and clubs in the old Honolulu district become a bazzar of pedestrian art-lovers. The atmosphere is fun, the partying ... well, it is Friday night. My level of health at the time was different than it is today, to say "I was better" doesn't really describe it, and yet the number of people at any First Friday event was already a show-stopper on most days/nights. But there was a need to be out, so we did it and got out. Motivated by a primal need to be social, my duck and cover instincts still needed to be within easy reach. The perfumes, laundry soaps and hair product were thick but as I recall the night I believe the TradeWinds were blessing the night air because I remember the night with ease and a smile.

Two events at that First Friday stick with me and inspire me to write this: first, I met and talked story with a childhood friend I had not seen for many years. Grant. His daughter was running one of the tiny galleries and proud pop and his wife were there as behind the scenes back-up. We talked about small-kid-times in a sweet-nostalgia way that has always been with Grant and his family. The second experience that made that night important was the exhibit/inter-active show happening at MARK'S Garage. The multi-media show was about SHELTER, HOMELESSNESS, SAFE PLACES. Artists, children of all ages, artists of all ages filled the gallery with options for shelter, none of them looked anything like the condonimium/three-story million dollar/apartment with a view digs that litter the islands from mountain to seashore. The specifics of these creative shelter are blurry. I recall a recycled boat, a row-bow, wooden or maybe aluminum. A sail/roof for a place to sleep. What I saw was less memorable than the feeling that I got from seeing these sheltering homes. What I felt was: safe. As part of the exhibit a bulletin board of small notepad messages filled a wall nearly ceiling to floor. The notepad paper had a short question pre-printed on each page. The question read, "What makes you feel safe?" Wow, if there was ever a question in my mind about how god speaks to us here was an answer. God spoke through the art, Beethoven would say he spoke to him through music and then tricked him into 'hearing' by turning him deaf.

Pete and I now live in a safe place, an unlikely place we could never have imagined during those days on Puhala Rise. This morning my net surfing and connections with the MCS Tribe and communities throughout the world have fed me stories of the struggle to find, keep and sustain life in safe homes. The link here will take you to PEGGY MUNSON's blog where an eloquent post makes an ugly reality almost more than I can bear. What does matter to me as I begin one more incredible day is the question written at the top of that notepad from MARK'S Garage ...

WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE? I'm making a list, checking it twice. SAFE ... How do you count the ways?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Seattle's first snow of the season started late last night, and like the kid that I am at heart, I was out in it (bathrobe no less ... aiyahh). The snow's staying, the temperature's low so we gotta go see if the farmers at The West Seattle Farmer's Market have set up like the post man ... weather not inhibitant (is that a word?). Vardo's cozy with the tarp and the lights keeping her warm sorta. See you later today. Mokihana

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Winter Solstice is 8 days away. The shortest day signals the coming of more light . For many years we have chosen to honor the cycles of light and dark, sun and moon by celebrating the Winter Solstice. Before there was Christmas the cultures of the European continent celebrated and feasted in various fashion, the mid-point between darkest time and the promise of brightness. The Earth's tilt and rotation through the Universe, nearer or closer to the Sun increases or decreases our experience with light and dark. The choice or inspiration to celebrate is one of the joys we human can make.

We have celebrated The Winter Solstice in many ways throughout our years together; gathering family and friends in our homes, eating good food, laughing and talking, and sharing stories of gratitude and appreciation. Our lives have changed and the ability to gather in celebration has changed, too. And yet the new friends and family we are making because multiple chemical sensitivites have awakened my human experience to 'imbalances and hewa" does not alter the spin of Earth's movement. We remain able to choose to celebrate, and make time to create simple rituals that says to All that Is, "We are part of this." This is our first year of Winter Solstice together on the American continent. When we live on the Islands in Hawaii the days and nights are more equal in length, so the change in length isn't as apparent. That is not so in Washington ... the nights are longggg here. "Is the sun coming up today?" Pete just asked as he looked through the yellow curtain at a still dark morning sky.

So, as a way to acknowledge the coming shift from long nights and the promise of change/more light I would like to invite all our readers and visitors to VARDOFORTWO to CELEBRATE THE LIGHT with a Winter Solstice Meditation and Prayer on Sunday, December 21, 2008. Where ever you are at SUNSET, Sunday, December 21st for 30 minutes, join with someone or someones you love and celebrate.
Celebrate, meditate, sing, laugh, remember and commit to the things in your life that have meaning. Like a wave across and around The Earth our celebrations will embrace this planet and ourselves. There are no rules for how to do this celebrating riutal. Simply intend to embrace light and accept the embraces that come. Join with others, tell others about CELEBRATE THE LIGHT, invite them to celebrate with us ....
I will remind you about the Winter Solstice Mediation and Prayer Celebration next week when I post DREAM coming True Week 8. In the mean time there's no time like the present to celebrate and appreciation what is now.
Now on to my DREAM Coming True post for Week 7 ....
I have grown an abundance of dream money since my first week's $100.
This week I have $6,400 of dream money to spend on creating the foundation of an Intentional Community of individuals and families living with multiple chemical sensitivities. Pete and I have dreamt of creatively building this and now I put it out HERE to attract the "how" to this intention.
The 10 Things for which I am APPRECIATIVE this week are:
1. I appreciate our digital camera.
2. I appreciate the taste of crispy Washington state apples.
3. I appreciate fairy lights.
4. I appreciate the progress of my spiritual life.
5. I appreciate generosity.
6. I appreciate my sensitivities.
7. I appreciate organic, local farmers.
8. I appreciate friends.
9. I appreciate celebration and ritual.
10. I appreciate Pete.
I hope this is a day filled with moments of appreciation and laughter.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Remember those little beauties that we planted and entertained?
See for yourself. Here they are.

The wheatgrass and buckwheat --the sunflowers are hiding behind the buckwheat-- we soaked, began sprouting, planted in organic soil (Black Gold Organic mixed with a sprinkle of crushed glacial rock from B.C. for mineralizing) are doing great.

What will we do with these greens?

I'm sipping on wheatgrass juice as I type away. Wow, that's powerful! The buckwheat greens and sunflower sprouts are wonderful snacks just clipped and washed; delicious in salads/green smoothies; wrapped in a sheet of nori(dried seaweed) with hot basmati rice = veggie sushi.

How tall are the greens today?

Size perspective: There's a quart jar on the right for comparison.

How many days does it take to grow edible, organic greens?

Time perspective: The height of a quart jar in less than a week.

Where did we grow this food?

Growing place: Grown inside with no extra heat, in front of a large window.
How much did it cost to grow this food?
Excluding the time to grow ...
For a full-tray of wheatgrass: $1.00 - $1.50
For a full-tray of sunflower seeds: $ 2.50 (we grew 1/2 tray)
For a full-tray of buckwheat greens: $ 1.00 (we grew 1/2 tray)

Building VARDOFORTWO, both this blog and our home-to-be, is as we've written many times before, a dream come true. The challenges of living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities are just as the 'name' implies multiple and different for each of us. The exposures and the physical affects that tamper with my body's natural abilities or limitations often leave us (both Pete and me) stunned ... like a honey bee zapped into disorientation after sipping on poisoned blossoms. We dream a future based on our today: a dream of a safe home, a dream of safe food, a dream of community. Dreaming without Acting reminds me that a seed can remain dormant for years, centuries even. So, we dream and we act with inspiration.

There are things we can dream and act upon every day ... and we pray for the guidance to do those things in harmony with all that is. Sometimes, and more often than most of us can count, the actions of others can affect me ill. We Canaries of the MCS Tribe now that more than most.


Our newest POLL asks: How do you feed yourself, your family? Is growing your own feed part of your life? If not, would you like it to be? When you vote with your answers, know that you can check more than one answer. Again, we'll keep the poll going for a week.


The final part of this post is a link to a story sent to me by a sister with MCS from O`ahu, Bobby McClintock. I have never met Bobby in person. We have become friends through the internet. When Pete and I lived without safe housing on O`ahu, because of the affects of yet one more pesticide poisoning, it was Bobby who offered me online support and suggestions. This is a story about HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW in very big, bad fashion. The Hawaiian Islands, the Island Home I have fled has become the "GM (genetically modified) Capital of the Earth." This is an outrageous reality. I grieve the facts that support that description. I am stunned by it and activated by the arrogance that justifies "GENETICALLY MODIFIED HAWAII". Read the entire article for yourself. Those of us who know, love and grieve the hewa (wrong-doings) that happen on the Islands are not unfamiliar with acts such as these. Others, visitors or would-be visitors to Hawaii may be unaware of the Islands history of occupation, genetic modification of her food source is just too much! It's an issue close to my heart. I pray that my inspired action finds like actors, and at the very least I have put the story HERE. Read and then grow a little of your own food.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Building the Vardo: Front Wall/Overhang/Light's on

Pete unwrapped the Vardo just before dark last night. AGAIN THANK YOU BOB for recycling the Rainbow Vacuum our way. It is a little champion on the dust from the building clean-up.
  • ELECTRICAL OUTLET (for front porch cooking/a lamp/fairy lights ) OUTSIDE ARE CAPPED OFF. (lower right-hand wall)
  • INSIDE, Pete and the Rainbow Vac have cleaned things up a lot of dust. Look closely and you'll see the little space heater keeping things drier and toasty.


After clean-up,

to be able to get this close without a mask!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Building the Vardo: Wrapped up against the weather

VARDOFORTWO is wrapped up against the weather, winter (snow) may be showing up this weekend. Pete's out getting more light bulbs to keep him going on the work inside. Thanks to Bob from our Seattle MCS Support Community we have a Rainbow vacuum cleaner (it uses water to capture dirt and dust) to clean the dust inside the Vardo. What you cannot see under that tarp is the front wall and overhang for the porch which are all painted and waxed.

Where we are with the challenges last posted?

1. Mold Solution. The Spori-Clean seems to be doing the job of eating up the mold on the birch roof underlayment.

2. Dealing with the dampness. Alternating between a small space heater (which Pete uses only when he's working inside and can keep an eye on it) and leaving a light on over night, the dampness and moisture seems to be less of a problem.

What's happening inside VARDOFORTWO?

1. The window trim is being painted. So far we're using Garden Seed Milk Paint. This color absorbs and 'fades' into the oak, so more coats are needed to cover.

2. The felt weather stripping needs to be applied around the windows. Pete's going to try stapling rather than using an glues or adhesives.

2. Deciding on the inside color(s). The un-painted ceiling is filling the vardo with the smell of a fine oak barrel. We need to choose the milk paint and neutralize that smell. This will be the real test of the milk paint because we'll be living in here. Send us all the positive energy you can spare as we move forward with this continuing experiment.

3. The verdict on insulation is still out. We have the recycled denim waiting in the wings...if any other MCS safe builders are out there with a solution that has worked for them we'd love to know about it.

4. Still hunting for front door hinges and door knob. Framing will get done soon. Slim's working on the door.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another name for God: SURPRISE!

Pete and I were at a party last night. That is a very big deal for us. Socializing is one of the 'ocassions' that have become a rarity for us. We had been looking forward to this all year long, and oh how delighted we were to be there with a circle of friends from our Seattle MCS Group. Gathering, partying, and being in groups in general becomes difficult when you live with MCS. So to be IN A HOUSE that is comfortING, with people who are fragrance free and accomodate the rainbow of needs we Canaries have ... that was an ocassion of sheer joy. Thank you all so very much for the huge antidote to isolation in the form of companionship, recycled gift giving and receiving and good food!

In the two years since the illness exploded for me, our social life dried up. Mind you we were never big social animals, but dinner with friends and family was a regular thing ... perhaps, a thing taken for granted. Today the fact that most of our friends and family wear and use fragrance means we do not gather with them. Miss Molly from I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY also writes a space called I LEARNED THIS BEFORE TODAY where I found a stunningly funny and point-on article called "If I wanted to visit you, will I kill you?" (click here for the full article). Here's a clip of that article:

You probably wouldn't kill me. If you only have a few hours, we can probably meet at the national park or someplace outside as long as there's a breeze and I stay upwind. If you use dryer sheets or heavily perfumed anything, it'll be better if you wash your clothes twice in baking soda and hang them out overnight before we get together. If you're going to stay a few days, here's the drill:

1. Assemble your untreated cotton clothing. (Wrinkle-free cotton and any synthetic hold fragrances like you wouldn't believe.)

2. While you're sorting things, run your washer with a gallon of vinegar in it and nothing else.

3. Now you can wash your clothes, using hot water the whole time. The first time, use a cup of vinegar for detergent. The second time, use a cup of baking soda. Now just use water for about four more times, and then you're ready to put things in the dryer, assuming you've never used dryer sheets. If you use dryer sheets ...

The season when family and friends look to celebration and partying might mean dealing with your peeps with a Miss Molly drill. It's never easy for me, and I've yet to be as clear as MM is. Some friends have just dropped out when they've received a letter like this from me. I may try it again though, because I do miss those friends.

My son had the book THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss for a very long time. He might still carry that book around with him today? When I went looking for a picture to tag on to this post I found this in a folder marked "Sample Pictures." If you don't know the story of the Lorax, the very short version or moral of this Seuss classic is to be careful of power and progress and the fumes of fragrance making. You might just be calling on the Powers of all, whose name is 'GOD' to some and to others her name is 'SURPRISE!'

LATEST POLL and Newest Connections

The results of our latest Poll are in and we see that Multiple Chemical Sensitivities is no stranger to our visitors.

11 votes were cast in our week-long poll

9 people live with MCS

2 people know people who live with MCS

2 people are aware of MCS

We have connected with two MCS innovators who are building tiny houses on a trailer. Leslie Lawrence is having beautiful tiny homes (two of them)built in Bend, Oregon. Her safe homes are a fantastic example of innovation born from adversity. Leslie's 'main house' is huge in comparison to VARDOFORTWO with wonderful features that will coccon her life and her priorities beautifully. We have begun comparing notes and as our findings grow I'll share them here. Leslie has a website that's worth checking out. The second MCS trailer builder is Tom Riddle of Ontario. We discovered Tom when we noticed we had a new 'FOLLOWER' on our HomePage. Tom has a blog called MCS Trailer Build.

The need for safe homes is among the most important, if not the most important factor for sustaining health and well-being. This is true for any and all beings. For those of us who live with multiple chemical sensitivites and environmental illness a safe home is like the tide ... it comes and then it goes. Within the society and culture of industrialization "housing" has become a dirty word. (No offense to good old non-polluted, organically rich earth) Buildings are made with materials that are toxic, playing nasty tricks on us while being put together and off-gas sickening smell long after they're built. Each time one of us Canaries is able to get beyond the stink of 'nasty tricks' and is fueled/inspired/motivated to build a different future in homes (not housing) like Leslie's, Tom's, and VARDOFORTWO, we create new blueprints ... maybe we'll call them something different, like lifeprints. Canaries served miners as they dug the bowels of Mother Earth, but they died in service. Just why were they/are they digg'n around in the Mother, anyway! We Canaries suffer fates like our feathered family, and yet there is a stirring in the wind tht could make such a positive difference. The chirping and the elbow grease an mcs canary musters is the sort of innovative craziness it'll take to be safe at home. "Safe at home on the Planet," now that has a great ring to it.

Keep spreading the word about innovators, hope-givers and builders of lifeprints. We have it in us to live like seeds reaching for the sun with our roots in organic dirt ... all we need is a good soaking to remove our enzyme inhibitors. (see my comment and reply to ANONYMOUS IN YESTERDAY'S POST "Some things change ...)

What do you think?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Some things change, some things stay the same

The seeds are dancing to the music of jazz on the radio!

"Some things change, some things stay the same." I remember writing that years ago. Today, living with multiple chemical sensitivities teaches me how fluid reality is ... truth comes in, truth goes out...what was once safe, isn't. What does remain true though does come back around and if I'm looking I accept the invitation and welcome 'it' back. On the same day, any day, there are somethings/beliefs that change and need to be released ... sometimes the release is simple and easy, and other times it's deeper and uncomfortable.

Here are a few things going on in that change/no change department:

1. I appreciate massage (because it feels great) and yet I was not prepared for the deep release of toxins from my first deep tissue massage in nearly two years. Some would call what I'm going through a 'healing crisis' others say it's 'detoxification.' I remember now that when I began work at the Anne Wigmore Foundation I went through deep cleansing...heat (like hot flashes, but longer and more often), weakness. Enough on the details. What is important for me to remember and report is it's valuable not to stop the process, instead I comfort myself ... don't judge the feelings, rest as much as it takes and recognize that the shift in my mood (from positive to not) is part of the process not a final resting place.

2. There's room for seeds, we can grow things in a tiny space! When we packed up and moved from O`ahu we left things behind ... books/tools/teaching material. What didn't change though was our belief that seeds and living food has a place in our life. LOOK AT THOSE SEEDS GO!! Yippee, they are SO TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH LIGHT AND LOVE. What a concept, yes?

3. Patient and diligent ... turtle style speed works. We thought we'd be living inside VARDOFORTWO by now. We've living in the kitchenette, and the Vardo is growing organically...the front wall is sided, painted and waxed. (Thank you Pete. You get why Pete is on my weekly 10 things I Appreciate list!)

If you've had experiences with healing crisis or detoxification, what was it like? Care to comment, or email?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ANO: The Seed

These are the unhulled, buckwheat groats draining after being soaked. The seeds will need to sprout overnight. They need to show their little tails before you dehydrate them.
This lovely trio of seeds is coming to life: The tray on the bottom with light green sprouts is WHEATGRASS, the other two trays are half BUCKWHEAT (hulls on) and the other half SUNFLOWER SEEDS. Pete is growing them inside the living room in front of the window. We have the radio on the table next to them and already this morning they have listened to a musical tribute to ODETTA who passed over just last week. They DON'T listen to the news!

This is how we use the stove in the kitchenette. Three jars of seeds (wheat grass, buckwheat and sunflower) already soaked and turned upside down for sprouting.

The rest and refueling that comes from an `ole cycle doesn’t mean there is no movement. Pete is always in motion, and I keep a running internal dialogue with ideas and new adventures. The four-day `ole cycle in early December was a time to call on practices we have done in the past – practices that have sustained us, practices we have set aside because life has changed/become busier and found us in different circumstances.

In a life not too far past, seeds were an essential and everyday part of our day and night. It all began shortly after we left Kuli`ou`ou Valley, my family land and the three-bedroom Hicks house that was home. I had not yet been correctly diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivities or environmental illness, but my body knew it all along. I knew it was time for us to leave the valley, leave the place that had been our family home for decades. It was my thyroid – messenger of love, who sent me clear and undeniable evidence that something was not right. Rather than accept the surgeons’ recommendations to remove my thyroid I found another option: Anne Wigmore’s Living and Raw Food Lifestyle.

This option and my choice to learn whether living foods could restore my health without surgery was the beginning of our life with ano … the seed. That was nearly five years ago. We learned and lived a completely raw and living foods lifestyle for more than a year and experienced the benefits of eating only organic, living and raw vegetables, fruit, seeds and grain. As with everything we learn, we shared what we had learned, created a wonderful small business teaching hands-on, play with your food classes from our rented cottage in Manoa Valley and met wonderful people who were curious about the healing qualities of living and raw foods. Our old living and raw foods website ALOHA LIVING BENTO is still alive (at least till March of 2009) so if you’d like to see what we were up to a few years ago, pre-MCS full-blown, link to it.

Our life and journey have been complicated with the daily reality of multiple chemical sensitivities. It takes time to re-group and regain a level of health and comfort. The Kitchenette is giving us a place to do just that. Building and sharing VARDOFORTWO gives us hands-on connection with a community that doesn’t need to pass the sniff test and is an antidote to isolation. What’s fun to do now is to add back more time with seeds. They (organic seeds of many kinds) are part of the 100 Items we’ll keep with us … we’ll grow some, sprout some and do all kinds of things with seeds.

Here’s one of our favorite living and raw seed recipes:

We call ‘em BUCKIES. Sprouted organic hulled buckwheat, that are dehydrated for a crunchy cereal.


5 C. Hulled Buckwheat Groats
Gallon container (glass is best)
Filtered Water
Screen (large enough to overlap the mouth of the jar)
Heavy rubber band(s)

Fill gallon container:

With buckwheat groats and fill the jar with filtered water
Cover jar with screen and secure with heavy rubber band

RINSE THE GROATS (groats are the buckwheat seeds).

Put the jar into a dish drain tipped on end.
It will continue to drain.

LET GROATS SPROUT at least over night.
You want to see the tails sprout at least half as long as the seed itself.


Pour the sprouted groats onto dehydrator screenS. Spread the groats evenly over as many sheets as necessary (usually 5 cups of groats will spread over 4 trays).

Dehydrate for approx 4 hours or until groats are crispy. We needed to dehydrate them almost 12 hours because we did this outside where the temperature was not a 80 degree Hawaii day, but rather a near 40 degree Seattle night.

Use these as a breakfast cereal with fruit, sesame milk, coconut oil, flax or other milk you enjoy in the morning. Buckies are also a great healthy snack anytime, and add crunch to a salad or favorite cooked dish.

ONO! (Delicious)

DREAM Coming True Week 6

Aloha! We are back after a very full four-day `ole cycle, and before this weekend slips into history I get to post a 6th week of "Dream Coming True." It is a miracle to be here period. I marvel at the resiliency of the human spirit and smile (a big one) thinking about VARDOFORTWO gorwing (what IS that word?... oh, that would be growing)... here in blog form and outside the Kitchenette on the Iron Eagle trailer. Transformational evidence that affirms for me what does happen when a seed of hope is nourished. We've been in the Kitchenette for seven months and our life is being transformed.

This week I have $3,200 of dream money to spend on a composting toilet. Yes a self-contained composting toilet that will travel with us(though not necessarily inside VARDOFORTWO) wherever our mobile life leads us.

The Ten Things for Which I am Appreciative are:

1. I appreciate shadows (because that means the sun is shining, smile, smile!).
2. I appreciate organic seeds (because that means new life, new healthy food is always possible).
3. I appreciate massage (because it feels great).
4. I appreciate the sound track from Chocolat (because I am enlivened, transported and reminded without leaving the farm.)
5. I appreciate compost piles (because that means the organic seeds will have a place to grow).
6. I appreciate the experience of forgiveness (because there is more room in my life).
7. I appreciate storytellers (because I love the sound of a tale).
8. I appreciate unscented soap (because it makes smelling easy ... that sounds funny).
9. I appreciate a warm hat (because my head doesn't like to be chilled).
10. I appreciate Pete (because he is Pete).

I have so much to share, and glad to be back at the blog. We're off to the West Seattle Farmer's Market soon in search of whatever the local farmers have on offer. A great Sunday to you where ever you are today!

Thanks for visiting. Mokihana

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Today is Wednesday, and the start of the four-day `ole cycle on Ke Ala O Ka Mahina (the Hawaiian Moon Calendar). As is our practice, we honor the traditional approach of aligning with all that is -- like farmers and fisherfolk, we use the `ole days to review, weed, and rest the projects already began. There is plenty to reassess, parts in the building of VARDOFORTWO can continue although new projects will wait until after `ole days; there's a 100 Things Challenge to review and complete, a compost pile that needs turning, a kitchenette to clean, and horizontal time to refuel.

I usually refrain from new posts during the `ole cycles, yet if comments are made to posts I will reply(I reply to all comments); and if an email of import comes our way I may post it, too. If you haven't seen the 'WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES' Poll yet, it's to the left of this post. Vote if it interests/affects you. We'd love to hear from you.

So we'll be posting again after `Ole Pau (which is Saturday). A hui hou, Mokihana

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've been out surfing and, learned something today

We were in the cruise-out-from-the-day zone last night when my son called. He made it back to the Island after the four-day Thanksgiving visit, and had just gotten out of the water...warm, Pacific Ocean water...stand-up surf boarding off of Kaimana Beach. In an instant I went from watching old Hercule Peirot mysteries to being in the warm salty water of the Pacific. This morning I've been surfing visiting sites and blogs and found a story and link from Miss Molly who blogs over at I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY.

Today is Tuesday, and on many Tuesdays (including this one) since we have lived in Washington I have an appointment with Chulan Chiong my NAET practitioner. The one hour treatment I have with Chulan is one of the things that makes the experiences/physical symptoms and discomfort of living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities less debilitating. I find the treatments reassuring, giving me a regular and non-invasive comfort. I don't go to Chulan to be "fixed" because I'm not broken. On some days I think "it's gone" ... I've been feeling so good for weeks at a time. On other days I can't remember when or why I've lost my old self/old life/used-to-be-able-to... Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivites can really piss-me-off. My Tuesday appointments release some of the pressure. Along with my calls to supportive and 'I get it' friends who also just let me be down low if that's where I need to go, I get out of the depths and learn something. the point where I was out surfing and found Miss Molly's post. It was the perfect find. See what you think. Her post linked to this:

Gary McClain, president of, said that chronic illness
can leave patients feeling that their life is spinning out of their control ...
"When we feel out of control, anger is a natural response," McClain
said in a statement.
"People with serious health conditions often feel that they shouldn't show their anger, but instead try to just accept their lot and have a positive attitude, so this strong emotion is often kept inside and pushed to the background."

The Web site has posted anger-management guidelines to help people deal with the anger that often springs from living with serious or chronic illnesses. The Anger Management Checklist suggests:
-- Find a safe person to release the feelings of anger, someone with an open mind, without judgment and without the need to "fix" you. Once released, anger loses its power.
-- Avoid the positive-thinking police. Don't let anyone, badger you into suppressing your anger and putting on a happy face.
-- Take time to grieve what you have lost.
-- Let go of the need to be in control. Humans often cling to the belief that they are always in charge of their own destinies, and when they find out they aren't they get angry.