Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Send Ants Marching home Without a Total Massacre

I've been hearing a lot about it the ant invasion of 2014. Apparently, there are quite a few humans complaining that the ants have taken over their homes. I think it's especially prevalent where we live, which happens to currently be in a drought. Ants fascinate me. They are social insects, which means they have families, care for their young, and live in large communities. They are also, by observation, the most industrious, innovative critters I have ever seen. Ants carry out strategies for food gathering, and display great teamwork. I'm thrilled to learn that ants can be redirected with natural remedies like essential oils and spices. I live as best I can in harmony with all beings. That said, most folks have been reaching for the Raid for may years, trying to kill all the pesky critters that get in the way of their peaceful living spaces. I stopped using pesticides long ago, and although it may seem obvious, I'm about to tell you why.

Pesticides don't just kill insects. They kill people. Sometimes it’s a slow, painful death like cancer; or it can be fast, like an immediate respiratory paralysis, coma, or heart attack. I have a young child. Even if I didn't give a damn about myself, there's my beautiful tiny human to love and protect.

Pesticides deplete and damage our precious soil, get into our food supply, and slowly kill us some more. This can lead to the death of our planet. Earth is already dying, so let's at least treat Her well while we are still here. I just learned that our soils have had a 76% decrease of trace minerals in 51 years, all due to pesticide use (

I love insects and all other living beings. I want us all to be safe and healthy, living harmoniously with Mother Nature.

Humans are not the only ones who live here. People are acting like we own the place, but really, the ants were here first. They have been around for over 100 million years. We invaded their home, not  the other way around. I can come up with plenty of other instances where human beings took it upon themselves to decide where everyone lives. Just think of our sad, hungry mountain lions, coyotes, and bears. How about possums, raccoons, rats, and mice? Is there any need to mention the many tribes of Native peoples who were living in peace before the new arrivals got greedy and just invaded their space? Anyway, I'm sure you get my point.

So, here's the good news. Are you ready for it? There are plenty of ways we can all live together in peace. Here are just a few to get you started:

1) Eat only plant based food. Yes, that's right, I'm talking Vegan with a capital "V". I plan to write more of my journey soon, as I'm newly vegan and have so much to share! By only plant-based foods, I mean no animal anything. Which brings me to my next point.

2) Buy cruelty free, which means the company pledges that there has been no testing or any harm done to animals. Many companies have either stopped testing on animals or have always had humane practices. We can choose our hair and skins care products, clothing, shoes, etc. wisely, looking for labels with a running bunny or a cruelty free statement. Of course, I'm also referring to anything made of leather, wool, lanolin, or gelatin. These all come from animals, so please buy cotton, bamboo, or any acrylic material.

3) So, what about the ants? How does one not kill them? They are everywhere. And when they are crawling on your baby in the middle of the night, what other solution do you have but to squish them all? Well, there is hope. It starts with prevention. There are some easy and compassionate ways that are readily available in your kitchen cabinet, or at your local health food store. In searching for natural remedies that didn't kill the ants, I found these:

*peppermint oil or leaves
*clove oil
*cayenne pepper or paprika
*citrus (Note: Please don’t spray directly on the ants or they will die)
*coffee grounds
*cream of tartar
*garlic cloves


Just sprinkle or spray any of this stuff, and the ants will go marching on. Most of these remedies smell yummy, too. That’s a definite bonus. Or, you could just decide to coexist, like I have done with some of my spider and silver fish friends. The others can go live in the weeds, via my hand (yes, I am ok with picking them up),  a jar, or paper towel transport. I am one of those people who delights in the scurry of a possum with her wee babes, and giggle at the swish of an adorable skunk’s tail. One of my first memories was that of feeding the ants some breadcrumbs on their giant anthill that I could barely reach. I lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and our ants were huge. Perhaps I am a bit biased. I had a pet tarantula named Alma, for goodness sake. I can assert, however, that I am not alone when it comes to love. We all have the capacity for loving kindness toward each other, and we don’t need to leave out our nonhuman companions. So, make an insect your friend today. Compassion rules.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Best Way to Clean Up Baby Puke

I don't get grossed out easily, so I'm not sure why baby puke gets to me so much. I've cleaned up lots of poop, and have been peed on countless times, which doesn't phase me at all. I have a cat with very stinky, runny poop and I can even handle that, to a point. But I had to try hard to keep from gagging when I rinsed out her vomit. It was almost as bad as touching a raw tomato's innards. And I don't "do" raw tomatoes. Eww. That said, I executed and carried out the best action plan possible in this sort of situation. Here are some tips to make it easier for anyone faced with the dire task of wiping up puke. I made sure she threw up on the kitchen floor. This location is probably the most ideal, unlike the bedsheets at 3am. She must have remembered that incident and planned accordingly. Then I gave her a perfunctory wipe down and we walked away. The best way to solve a problem at this point is to avoid it. I actually had an urge to take care of it right away, but my daughter helped redirect me and I comforted her instead. Then I started her bath, wiped up the grossness into a pile and moved it to a kitchen corner. I suddenly had forgotten about her regurgitated food gibs laying in a lump on the floor. Fast forward to bedtime. After she fell asleep, I knew I had to take care of business, but thought nothing of it. I purposely ate a snack first. Who wants to deal with vomit right before eating anything? Then I finally took care of the mess by dumping the puke pieces in the toilet. I do not recommend this action, but it had to be done in our house or I'd clog the pipes. I rinsed out the cloths, and that's when it dawned on me that I'm touching slimy puke. I purposely told myself not to think about it. Whatever you do, don't keep thinking, "Ohhhh that's sooooo gross!" while you're in the midst of touching said gross thing. I put all the cloths outside, not fully rinsed but ready for the big winds to dry them out and make baby vomit a distant memory. My strategy included scooping the litter box and ending with washing dishes which is such a clean easy activity for me. Suddenly cat poop was not that bad. Now I'm much more relaxed and ever so grateful, for a clean house and a beautiful, healthy child. My baby girl is safe and resting quietly at this very moment, puke free. That wasn't so bad. I've definitely been through much worse in my life. I think I'm gonna be ok. ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn has Fallen

I love how the air starts to feel in October. Even in Santa Barbara, where it's often sunny & seventy degrees, the Autumnal equinox can surely be felt. There's a cool breeze, clouds promising rain, and an overall feeling that change is imminent.

Transitions have always felt refreshing to me. It's a chance to begin anew, try on new thoughts or do something differently than I have before. I am ready for more of that. Bring it on, I say.

When I reflect on what changes I want to make in my life, I immediately think of my kitchen. I have a huge clutter pile there, right next to my stove. I don't know why I use this particular spot to store all my ambiguous junk, but it is home for most of it. My other spot is on the coffee table. I have various unread books and copies of our local free paper, the Independent, strewn about haphazardly. Then I "organize" this pile by stacking all of it together. But I never really find a proper place for it. I even started putting my bills there. At least I have finally begun to pay them on time. This is progress. The big kitchen pile is smack dab in the middle of my prosperity corner. This is not a good sign, according to the feng shui book I have stashed there.

So, what's a single puppy mama to do? When I get home from hanging with teenagers all day, Benji needs a walk or some kind of undivided attention for at least an hour. Then I have that part time job over at Taffy's Pizza, or an AA meeting so I can even have a home in the first place. When I return home, I am ready to plop down in bed and snooze. Then there's the weekend. Don't even get me started. I barely have time for meetings and friends, let alone get to know some new people in my life. So, the pile remains. It even grows with time.

I've heard what I need to do in this type of situation. I need to set aside 15 minutes (or more if I can spare) to focus on clearing this clutter pile. Then, I need to find permanent homes for everything, and make a concerted effort to keep them in their place. After that, I can relax and enjoy a prosperous, clean home with potential for visitors (some of them potential mates, perhaps).

Now that I've written this, I can't back out of it. I have made a commitment. I vow to clear my clutter pile and live free. Yay me!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is my first raspberry of the season, & the first one grown by me! I ought to say it WAS the first, since I ate it already. It was delicious. Raspberries are my favorite fruit. And now, thanks to Chuy at our local farmer's market, I will have them all the time. He was kind enough to offer me a plant of my own last year for a small donation. I am ever so grateful. Yum.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Space Travel

That's how I I am on a journey through space. Lately I've been wiggling my toes & pushing my feet down. My head is in the clouds, but my feet are definitely planted on the ground. At least they were the last time I checked. I liken my recent internal shift to being on a new planet, since I keep feeling like I've never been "here" before. I am in uncharted territory, & this is the first time it feels really good. I am not afraid. I am so excited about my adventure! Every day, I completely abandon myself to a power greater than myself to guide me on this journey. I am ready to allow life to open its doors & I am jumping in! Woo hoo!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What I've been Up to Lately...

I've been cooking a LOT of soup. In the last 2 weeks, I've made 17 bean soup with a tomato broth base (sorta the consistency of chili), spicy chicken and white bean with potato soup, and a vegetarian Asian style soup with Thai spices (including some coconut milk). I made the last 2 soups in 2 days. I had to fight for room in the fridge, and get really creative with containers. Now I want to cook soup every week. Someone here in SB began a business I now wish I had thought of sooner. She calls it "Souperwoman". As some of you may know, I am Rockinsupergirl. I use this name for my email and all sorts of other places online, and it has gotten quite catchy. Now I like making soup. But I am not so sure about actually selling it. I really enjoy giving it away. I love watching the expression on the recipient's face as they savor each slurp. So I guess I am ok with sharing the name. I hope she is, 'cause this month, I am the real Souperwoman.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


is AWEsome! This is me with my dear friends, awaiting our 3D Avatar experience. I see you. :)