Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Goddess Books

Here is a partial list of the books that I have been using as references for a couple of projects I am working on. I have been reading a lot of books about Goddesses and about Home Decorating with references to Spirituality in general and Goddesses in particular. Check back for more information about the projects I am working on and the books that I am using as references.

Embracing the Goddess Within: A Creative Guide for Women

Goddess at Home: Divine Interiors Inspired by Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hera, Hestia, and Persephone (Interior Design and Architecture)

Spirit of the Home: How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary

The Great Goddess: Reverence of the Divine Feminine from the Paleolithic to the Present

We Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera

When God Was a Woman (Harvest/Hbj Book)

Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women

Monday, January 29, 2007

I just watched...

Nixon. It was a trip down memory lane, remembering where I was when various things happened. I knew Nixon to be a despicable person, but the movie makes him even worse than I remembered. All star cast.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Friend Sent Me This Article About Friends

By Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually
counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. "Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral
repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein,"it seems
that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men", says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone- --which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen", she adds, "seems to enhance it."

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that
oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study
from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of "Best Friends:
The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."

Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A.
R., & Updegraff, J. A. Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Free Shipping at Cafe Press....

Free Shipping on orders of $50 or more.*
Use promo code VDAYSHIP at Checkout.
Offer Good through 2/14/07!

A good time to check out my Cafe Press store

*Excludes Custom Postage. Only applies to orders with a United States shipping destination, totaling $50 or more before shipping. Cannot be combined with any other coupons or bulk order discounts. Valid through February 14,2007, at 11:59 p.m. (PST)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Top 5 Reasons To Shop at Etsy

1. Support artists! Your money goes to individual people who put love and care into everything they make—not big box stores with often-questionable business practices.

2. Personal connection! Get to know the people behind the goods. They will often tell the story behind their creations.

3. Unique and original items! Looking for accessories no one else has? That perfect gift? On Etsy many things are one-of-a-kind and most others are made in very limited quantities. This assures that your items will really stand out from the crowd.

4. Highly customized! See something that’s not quite right? You can directly communicate with the artist to request a custom order that’s exactly what you’ve envisioned.

5. Astonishing variety! From lotion and soap to installation sculpture. From coffee spoons to stuffed animals. Top 5 Reasons
to Shop at Etsy.comhas a wide range of products and prices making it the one stop place to shop.

I have two Etsy shops: DollADay and LadyArtichokeHeart. I invite you to take a look at my shops as well as the amazing variety available throughout Etsy!

I just watched...

A really disturbing, but well done movie. Based on a true story.

Friday, January 19, 2007

With Apologies to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Al Gore

Little House on the Prairie was a favorite series of books when I was young. We lived in a fake log cabin in the woods in Minnesota. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls. I wore lots of calico dresses, and when I was doing chores around the house, I assumed her persona. I thought all the hardship was extremely romantic and much more than wanting to live with Princess and Bud and Kitten or The Beav...I wanted to live with Ma and Pa and Mary in a little house in the woods or the prairie.

And, I know that global warming is a huge concern, and that Al Gore has done a terrific job of getting the word out in recent years. And, I honestly do know that global warming can not be measured by a single season or a single year...I often hear people say..."Oh yeah...global warming...we had a winter here with no snow." or "It was the hottest summer EVER...it must be global warming."

I totally get that it is nowhere near that simple. And, I also understand that right now the unusual weather conditions we are experiencing are caused, at least in part by a much more localized, much more short term little weather system in the Pacific known as El Nino.

But I want to say that this is the coldest winter I have been witness to in southern Arizona. And, heating our home with a woodstove (ala the Wilder family), is getting really old. I am not enjoying the non-global warming in southeastern Arizona. And I don't want to be Laura anymore!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

School Daze

So, in addition to the drawing class I started yesterday (and, no, I don't have anything to show you yet!) and the Reading for Creativity group I am participating in, I have also joined an online Artist's Way Group. I have been carrying Julia Cameron around with me for ages and ages, but this time when I opened up the book it really resonated with me...

So...I am starting my days with "morning pages" and am trying to get over my resistance to "artist dates". If anyone who has done the Artist's Way has any suggestions for "artist dates", i would love to hear them!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Reading for Creativity

I recently joined a Yahoo group called Reading For Creativity.
The first book we are reading and disucssing is Art and Fear. We are currently discussing chapter one (we are reading one chapter a week). Chapter 2 is due on Monday the 8th. I will comment on the book, once I have read a little further.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Mermaid Dolls

With art...you just have to keep trying something new. So, I have added MERMAIDS to my doll offerings.

Many of my dolls, including the MERMAIDS are available at my etsy shop: Dolladay

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back to School

I always get excited when it is time to go back to school. And, for me, it is time to take a drawing class at the local community college. I went over to the college to register today. The main campus of Cochise Community College is in Sierra Vista, about a 30 mile drive from where I live.

I filled out my applications and went in to get a signature from the advisor. She checked the class on the computer and told it me it was full. I was dissapointed, but she suggested that I might be able to get permission from the instructor. She called his office, but he was not at that campus.

I asked the advisor if she thought it would be worthwhile to show up for the first day of class and see if there were drops and/or if he would let me in the class. (Class starts next Monday.) While we were discussing this, she was still making phone calls, tracked down the professor and he gave his approval...

So...whooo hoooo....back to school next Monday for me!