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STOP! Before you shop for the holidays, read this:

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2011 Holidays for the 99% Across the Globe – Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans and other countries with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of

local labor. This year can be different. This year Americans and other countries can give the gift of genuine concern for their own

local economies. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by

local hands. Yes there is! It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your

local hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small,

locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course or recreation facility or skating rink. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the

local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

If you are still fortunate enough to have a

local bookstore, it may cost a few extra dollars to purchase a book from them, but it will be worth every penny.

OK, you were looking for something more personal.

Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes and old fashioned wooden toys for children.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a

local play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands. Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip. You see, Christmas should not be about draining local pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas should be caring about US, encouraging local small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about our fellow countrymen, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. Make this the new international Christmas tradition. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of the 99% caring about each other and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Children’s gifts can be just as inventive and supportive to

local economies from local movie, dance, music or theatre tickets that support teen theatre workers to

local bookstores, classes, fun houses, museum memberships, hair salons, ski resorts, etc.

Please pass this on! I cut and pasted and modified this message so it does not get tracked by whoever tracks our group emails because I generally do not pass on anything from email but this was too good to drop the ball.

Like this idea? You can also “like” it on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-99-Supporting-Local-Economies-for-the-Holidays/273216302721563

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Filed under community, Craigslist, Families, Grandparents, prevention, teaching

Number 8 is Just as Great!

I have to announce the latest wondrous occasion in our family: the birth of Dayton Simone, who came to us on July 30, 2010. She has the longest, most delicate fingers I have ever seen on a newborn and she uses them frequently to express herself. She smiles at everyone and NO, it is not just gas bubbles! 

Dayton Simone

Dayton Simone- Grandchild No. 8

Now this may seem like an ordinary story, but it is not. Yes, babies are born every day and have been since the dawn of time, yet I am always flabbergasted as to how miraculous birth is, no matter how commonly it occurs. 

This last birth of my 8th grandchild, was an at-home water birth in the true and gentle Leboyer style. It was about the smoothest and most beautiful birth I have ever witnessed in person or otherwise. I had my last 2 children at home in the care of experienced  midwives, though I always learn something new from each midwife I observe. Our last baby in the family needed to be transferred to the hospital during labor due to some risky signs because the midwife was being responsible. There IS a time for the hospital and RESPONSIBLE HOMEBIRTH means ensuring that there is a hospital close by (about 20 minutes) if it is necessary to transfer during labor and that there is a qualified and experienced birth professional there to monitor mother during labor & assist during delivery and post-partum.

This last midwife had delivered 750 births and had never lost a mother or a baby, which is probably a better record than most any OB/GYN could say. She knows that birth is a normal process, yet there is a time when medical back-up is necessary. THIS is RESPONSIBLE HOMEBIRTH. No responsible person would insist on birthing at home if there were risk factors or signs of fetal or maternal distress during pregnancy and/or labor. 

Yet, remembering that ANY medical intervention itself, especially unnecessary medical intervention, increases the risks to both mother and baby, is also a key to any RESPONSIBLE BIRTH, whether the birth is in the hospital or at home. Responsible choices increase safety by minimizing risks.

THE FOCUS OF CHILDBIRTH SHOULD ALWAYS BE “WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO OR NOT TO DO? ” NOT “WHAT IS THE MOST CONVENIENT THING TO DO?” Convenience is where we have made most of our mistakes with childbirth today. There are thousands of studies and articles to support this point so I will not belabor it. 

For THIS latest birth in our family, there were 2 midwives who worked as a team. They were absolutely wonderful, wise, and warm to everyone; especially in caring for our little angel, during and after her birth. What I loved most was that they encouraged Mom (my daughter) to breastfeed for almost an hour at the outset, as soon as the baby was able. This expelled the placenta naturally and created the stimulus Mom needed for milk production, while cleaning out Baby’s intestines & nourishing & protecting her with nature’s perfect newborn meal: colostrum. They were also very careful to ensure baby was latched on appropriately to prevent sore nipples. The correct help and advice makes all of the difference!

Hery family

The Morning After

You can read the whole birth story on my daughter’s blog: MamaHery.BlogSpot.com 

However, there is one thing you won’t read in my daughter’s birth story: What an absolutely blessed experience it is for a mother to watch her own daughter give birth, becoming a mother herself. There really are no words for being allowed to participate in this blessed event of bringing a new life into the world. Even though I have been lucky enough to witness this event 7 other times with my 3 amazing daughters and am so honored by each of their maternal bravery and instincts, and this was Sara’s 2nd. baby, it was much faster than any others in our family. It was practically effortless compared to all the others, including my own. It was a smooth and graceful water birth. The midwives were attentive, skilled & adept, working together like two experienced dancers. Sara was poised, receiving guidance from us all, resting on Dad’s body throughout the birth and cherishing the time with her new daughter on her chest afterwards, the natural location for any newborn.  My 15 year-old granddaughter, Tayler video-taped the entire event & witnessed this most humane form of childbirth. It really made an impression upon her because she has also witnessed the hospital births of her 3 younger siblings & commented on how easy this was in comparison.

One of the biggest benefits of homebirth, as I also experienced with my own, was to be able to naturally include big brother when he awoke the next morning. No mother-child separation. Our family was around, offering all of the peripheral support needed such as meals, care of big brother, laundry, etc. 

Yes, this is the 21st. Century. We have many many advances to make life easier. These advances are best served in our family, not with medical intervention to take the inconvenience out of childbirth, but to share these stories and photos of a natural normal process that is not necessarily better served with interference.

This was my 8th grandchild, my 12th birth experience, and my 3rd. homebirth experience. It was the most natural and smoothest birth experience of them all as we put technology in its place and refused to let technology take the place of the best humanity has to offer.

I take my hat off to my daughter Sara, her amazingly supportive husband Andrew, and Marlene and Kaleem, the two midwives from One Heart Midwifery. I trusted them implicitly and am so grateful they were there to make this birth of my 8th grandchild so perfect. I am also so grateful and impressed with their follow-up care of both my granddaughter, Dayton Simone, and my daughter, Sara. I have had no worries about incorrect advice because I know they are in good hands with qualified professionals that understand the true needs of  both Mother & Baby. They allowed Dayton Simone to enter the world nurtured & loved, not traumatized with unnecessary medical intervention or separation. 

This Grandmother is grateful, happy & blessed once again!  

me

My 3 daughters, newest granddaughter & myself: Granny Pants

You can follow my Granny Pants’ Daily Parenting Tips on Facebook or find out more about my services at ChameleaProductions.com

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Filed under Alternative Medicine, babies, Books, Breastfeeding, childbirth, children, community, cooking, Fathers, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Granny Pants, health care, La Leche League, mother, nutrition, Parenting, prevention, Stay-At-Home-Dads, The New Physics of Childhood

Twitter: Value or Vanity?

twitter bird iconWhy do I Twitter?

This is the question each Twitter user will eventually ask when they come to the crossroads of either adopting or dropping Twitter as a way of life. We all know the following: The ‘new toy’ syndrome is short lived if the function does not bring value or satisfaction. Early adopters will try just about anything if they can see value and potential, while at the same time popular culture will try just about everything because everyone else is doing it. Both will drop a new ‘trend’ just ask quickly as they adopt it if there is no lasting value.

I think I fit into the former category. However, because I am not a ‘techie’ I study new trends before I adopt a new habit, so perhaps I fit into a middle category. Regardless, I took my time to step into the world of Twitter.

The thought of another social networking site filled with boring narratives about mundane activity did not stimulate or inspire me. Who cares what we are doing from moment to moment? For me, these endless vacant narratives are the epitomy of narcissism and an endless pit of wasted time.

I didn’t need time wasters. I needed value before I would become a ‘user’. I also wanted to make sure I would be providing value to others. I wanted to make sure I would actually have something to say if people followed me and that I was not just taking up cyberspace or just another notch on a member’s Twitter tree.

Initially, when I entered the Twitter world, I was seduced by the ‘recommended’ list of people to follow, but this list proved to be boring and unrelated to who I am-regardless of the lure of  ‘celebrity Twitter potential’. Celebrity does not impress me unless there is philanthropic or inspirational value to the twitters of the celebrity, little of which was occurring in the celebrity twitters I explored.

After a seemingly futile first attempt at finding value in Twitter, I realized I could discover on a daily basis what the people I was interested in were doing, thinking, acting on, and recommending.

The doors of Twitter opened. Following the thoughts of the creative minds and innovative leaders of our time was the song that spoke to me. Now I am an official Twitter user. Perhaps what is evolving for middle of the road users like myself is a new level of social networking that moves from narcissism and the mundane to an ability to reach others of like mind with a more efficient model. This is what I have found social networking to offer. I admit that I am a late bloomer like many of my same-age peers because now, I find myself excited about the potential of this phenomenon called social networking. The evolution of this discovery came in waves and has gone something like this:

My politically active spirit wanted to know what our new mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson was up to every day! What is he really doing to improve our city’s image, economy, and quality of life? What is Gavin Newsom really up to in his race to Governor? Is his platform consistent with his SF mayorship? What is Jerry Brown doing with his time as California’s Attorney General? Is he focused on the governorship, or is he doing his job? What is the real future of the GOP up to, meaning Meghan McCain? Even though I am a Democrat, I believe Meghan McCain is the only current hope for the Republican party to gain the moderate Republican and youth vote. She exhibits common sense and hasn’t jumped on the irrational and hateful bandwagon that has recently hijacked the GOP.

Twitter gives me answers to these political questions on a daily basis.

And for a creative spirit that loves to be inspired, I follow ‘Etsy’ and other fun sites that update me on the latest creative inventions in DIY ideas.

Social networking entrepreneurs inform me on current trends and beneficial tech. functions that have the potential to enhance my business. Yes, Twitter has become a marketplace in many respects. The difference is that we choose who we market to and who markets to us. There is mutual agreement.

The eternal hunger to have an input system of media checks and balances sent me in search of ‘my’ reliable media sources on Twitter like DemocracyNow.org, Tavis Smiley, Treehugger (recognized by a Webby nomination in 2009), and whitehouse.gov (for the entire uncut, unfiltered version of our President’s speeches). Through Twitter I receive regular updates about newsworthy events that may never make it to mainstream television or popular internet media! The sites I have chosen to follow save me time; their ‘tweets’ dial in what I really want to know about: the behind the scenes events and activities of our time.

Then, there are those who are living a like-minded reality to mine. Many environmentally and socially conscious people and organizations have worthy businesses, blogs, and products that offer solutions for children, families, and global culture. By following these people on Twitter, I consider myself a helpful catalyst for their success while I continue to inform myself through their perspectives and industry progress. ( http://twitter.com/CWAE , http://twitter.com/askthedoula , http://canadian-natural-mama.blogspot.com/ ,  http://twitter.com/greenOD ,  http://twitter.com/Unnecesarean  are a few of my faves. ) Though as with everything, I found out through trial and error that there is a filtering process to following anyone if you want to prevent corporate driven information!  I learned to block people who were just interested in marketing to me or increasing their follower base. I learned to use key words and my own filtering methods to find like-minded users.

Today, Twitter has become a way for me to create my own media site in real time that is faster and richer than Facebook.  I receive the news and ideas on innovation that I want to hear, not what a corporation wants to feed me. I decide who I trust to give me information.

Twitter has given me more control over the media and information I am exposed to by my own design and I like it!

I spend less time on fruitless, mindless browsing as a result. I am more productive and more informed about what I care about, but I had to figure out how to actually make Twitter reflect my values before this value showed up!

OKAY, this does sound like a Twitter Promo, doesn’t it? I guess it’s just my way of saying Hooray! What could have been a fleeting trend has actually turned out to be a useful tool. This post will probably not change the minds of any current tweeters or savvy social networkers, but perhaps it will give the sceptics a different view of Twitter possibilities. For those who continue to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane,  C’est la vie!

Good luck in finding your own social networking value. If you are curious, you can check out who I follow on Twitter (which interestingly, are very different from my Facebook friends) @ http://twitter.com/GrannyPants. Some of those I follow have very informative twitters, others are merely a connection to maintain, but most importantly, all are by choice!

Christina Ivazes

a.k.a. Granny Pants

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated and have not been paid or rewarded by any entity of Twitter in any way. I also reserve the right to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane if I so choose.

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