Monday, December 30, 2019

Distracting Hairstyles ~ Little Women 2019

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women  first captivated my imagination and heart when I was in 4th grade and received a much treasured copy of the book as a gift. Over the years I’ve reread the novel multiple times; and I’ve watched every film and television adaptation- none of which have done justice to the book. I think about the enduring appeal of Little Women, which at its heart is a celebration of sisterhood, family, love, loss and yearning for independence. I find it fascinating that Ms. Alcott disliked her own pseudo autobiographical creation, perhaps because she conceded to having her heroine Jo marry.

I liked Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, with the time lines alternating from present to past. Saoirse Ronin portrays Jo admirably with aplomb. Overall, the movie was well cast, beautifully filmed, and as comfortable as spending an afternoon with a group of old friend. And, as customary, tears filled my eyes as dear Beth died yet again.

What was overall a positive experience was marred by my constant distraction of the inordinately awful hairstyles of the March women, with the exception of Meryl Streep as Aunt March. Even a family as unorthodox as the March / Alcott family would have followed convention and worn neat, contained, appropriate hairstyles with a center part. In particular, the bushy side parted  bangs worn by Laura Dern and Emma Watson would have been unthinkable in 1860s America.

While I can understand that a director and costumer may want to ‘interpret’ an era, the actors just looked to me exactly what they are.....21st Century women playing dress up. If one makes the effort to use period appropriate candlelight, why not make a modicum of effort with hairstyles? Since there are actual photographs of the Alcott family members upon which the characters are based, it would have been pretty darn simple to get it right.

Monday, December 23, 2019

What Christmas Means to Me

Over the decades Christmas has become more secular & commercial, a time to celebrate the increases in retail sales rather than a focus on spirituality.

Despite the fact that shopping and gift giving have replaced celebration of family and focus on the birth of Christianity, I refuse to be drawn into the commercialism and secular holiday celebrations with roots in paganism.

I was raised with the belief that Christmas celebrated the birth of Christ, the founder of Christianity, upon which our Judeo Christian nation was formed. Yes, we embrace the practice of all religions; however, the nation was founded on a set of Christian beliefs that supported the principles of mainstream Protestantism. The founding fathers espoused a belief that the state should not establish a religion, which differs from current arguments that the state should ignore religion. Any student of history truly knows that the founders of our land opposed a state established religion that resulted in the execution of those who disagreed with the state sponsored dogma, such as the centuries disagreements in England over Catholicism vs Protestantism.

My husband and I resist the commercialism by making a commitment to focus on family, eliminating gifts for all with the exception of young grandchildren and deciding to celebrate quietly with a focus on our loved ones.

Good food, quiet reflection, love of family, celebration of life, appreciation of blessings...these are the  things we celebrate.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Exploring Acupuncture & Alternative Medicine

Despite the fact that I lived in Asia for 5 years, it wasn’t until I was binge watching Outlander on Starz over the Thanksgiving holiday that I seriously considered acupuncture for alleviating my stress, elevated blood pressure, and insomnia. A Chinese seaman used acupuncture for Jamie Fraser’s sea-sickness on a voyage from Scotland to America. It truly was a ‘eureka moment for me.

After decades of stability, my blood pressure spiked and my stress levels increased exponentially- most likely attributable to the 4th or 5th corporate reorganization since my company wS acquired in early 2016. I’d tried all the usual things- yoga, Pilates, meditation, diffusing essential oils, a Buddha fountain in my office, repeating the 12 Al Anon Steps & Serenity Prayer repeatedly while trying to fall asleep, and doses of CBD & melatonin. Still, my. p spiked within minutes of logging on to my laptop. The icky tasting beet root powder helped; but trying to envision 35+ years of drinking that unfortunate concoction daily prompted me to act.

Within. Week I was trudging through the rain after parking illegally to my initial appointment with a local acupuncture practitioner. I was impressed by the time she took to outline my medical history back to my teen years. She spent more time getting to know me than my MD internist of 14 years had  over the 14 years I’d been a patient. The practitioner developed a plan, explained the suggested course of treatment, length of treatment, and supplemental diet & nutrition  recommends that should alleviate my symptoms over a period of 90 days.

The initial treatment immediately relaxed me. I nearly fell asleep while lying on the table with the needles strategically inserted in my spine. I felt zero pain. My over active mind rested. I could feel the tension evaporate.

I decided to follow the recommended course of treatment, including the recommended mineral supplements that are not sold by the practitioner. There was no sense of pressure, no feeling of coercion or immediacy- just a feeling that looking at well being from a holistic perspective gives one a sense of empowerment. Perhaps seeking this holistic intervention now will result in my being able to avoid toxic treatments in the future.

I embrace the advancements of modern western medicine, but sometimes alternative treatments should be considered in addition to traditional treatments. I look forward to my second appointment next week.