Jane's Space

Jane's news and thoughts.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

March 6, 2007: Back.


So here I am, BOB, back on blog - and, omigod, on www.myspace.com. Steve Fisher helped me try this out. I was amazed at how many of you are up on myspace, but then considering your creativity, it all makes sense. And then there's faceoff? feedface? Something face--where more people have sites. Anyway, I am trying it out. Knocking at your doors, saying "Can I come in?" seems a little pushy to me. I may try anyway. My philosophy these days is 'if not now, when?", and I consciously invoke it whenever anything new and scary raises its head - like learning the piano ( I have finally made it into the grade 5 book, btw!), or the guitar, ( learning notes on the fifth string!), or doing a monologue in Duncan's movie, or volunteering (Interval House, Poets' Pathway.) I have recently written two cabinet ministers and our new Poet Laureate -so how tough can a little myspace be?

It was terribly sad, going to the memorial service for Kurt's dad. Terribly sad, and strangely uplifting too. As long as it has been since I saw Kurt's dad, I couldn't get what happened out of my mind. The church in Kanata was bursting at the seams with people giving respect and support. The service was beautiful, moving and hopeful, the speeches were tender, and new images, somehow of glory, filled my mind; it was suddenly fitting that the day was sun-shiny blue and golden, the snow melting in puddles.

Keeping up on this blog has been impossible, I found, with so much going on, but I have realized I don't have to be thorough.
So I will just mention that I have seen a lot of plays in Ottawa, and seen and heard a lot of classical music, and that The Snow Show at the NAC was absolutely, wonderfully, brilliantly new. Christie Watson was the Bear/Prince. And honestly, the biggest star of all was the Arboretum. The stark white land, with its frozen river and rushes, and its bridges and hills and magnificent, naked trees - the pink winter sky and smooth white stretches with the horses running and the lanterns glowing on the sleighs. There was also the laughter through the chill, and the long noses of the trolls and the high, floating, wintry songs - and the flowing robes of the winds on stilts, and the looming, gigantic white bear... a fairy tale with a happy ending.

And in music, the new Prism Ensemble is taut and warm, glowing too -especially the warm winds... and there is nothing quite like chamber music at 11:00 on a Sunday morning, in a beautiful grey stone building across the river. You feel clean and holy, and then you can go see Meaghan Haughian's new art show in a little gallery in Westboro, and fall in love with her colours.

Eating Tuna: Not So Much

Here is a warning about eating canned tuna. Albacore in particular is laced with mercury. The federal government, so often oblivious to current health concerns, has lumbered onto the stage, finally, with warnings.

Read the March 2, 2007, CBC story about an Ottawa woman, and how ill she became with mercury poisoning after eating a lot of tuna.
The present guidelines are not nearly strong enough.

And while we're at it: Perfume.

I didn't mean to make my lovely granddaughter cry. I just said, " I am allergic to your perfume - please sit far away," as my head clouded up, and I got dizzy. Just like in class, with those felt markers. Or many cleaning products. Many perfumes give me migraines.

Strange. Most people don't wear perfume these days, since so many people are allergic to it. Yet EVERY TIME I go to the theatre, someone drenched in perfume slips in, right in front of me or right behind me, just before the movie/play/music starts. To my surprise, sometimes it's a guy. Usually it's a young teen girl, or an older woman. (Speaking of oblivious. )

Just tonight, I was at the NAC, at an Ottawa Symphony Orchestra concert, and a poisonous scent was emanating from someone close. Then, just as the house lights were fading, a young woman pushed down the next row to sit directly in front of me - and she was slathered in some musky, fruity reek. It was hard to breathe through Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev, and goodness knows you really need your breath for them, anyway.

Please, keep yourself, the person near you, and our ailing earth as healthy as you can - don't wear perfume. And read about it all, learn about it.

Here's a well-written web site with information about this issue: http://allnaturalbeauty.us/chemicalsensitivities_jrussell.htm
These are a few excerpts:

Until the 20th century, perfumes were made from natural ingredients derived directly from plants and animals, and as fragrances became cheaper and more widespread, they also became more synthetic. The National Academy of Sciences reports that 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. We have been brainwashed by the industry to feel we must cover up our natural scents with toxic chemicals. Many of the same chemicals in perfumes are the same chemicals that are in cigarette smoke.
When you use perfume or cologne, remember you are using powerful chemicals regulated solely by the industry that sells them. Just because they don’t affect you now doesn’t mean they won’t affect someone in line next to you (giving them a migraine or sinus problems), or that you will always be immune to their effects. These chemicals go directly into the blood stream when applied to our skin, and are also absorbed into the skin from our clothing. We also inhale these chemical fumes that go straight to our brains where they can do major harm, and many of these chemical fumes have a "narcotic" effect....

Effects from scents can surface days after the exposure, and many people do not connect the strong perfume/cologne smell on the person next to them to their headache or upset stomach days later.

Studies have shown that inhaling fragrances can also cause circulatory changes and electrical activity in the brain. These changes can trigger migraine headaches, the ability to concentrate, dizziness, and fatigue. The number one cause of adverse skin reactions to cosmetics and laundry products is fragrance. The skin reactions to fragrance chemicals can produce rashes, hives, dermatitis, or eczema. Other symptoms can include watery eyes, nausea, sore throat, cough, and chest tightness.

Did you know that benzaldehyde, a chemical known to cause kidney damage in humans is used in fragrances, and that benzyl acetate used in fragrances is linked to a cause of pancreatic cancer? That ethyl acetate is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list known as a carcinogenic, causing kidney and liver failure and it is used in fragrances?

There is so much more.

Here's another web site that lists 20 chemicals in perfumes and scents, and their health risks:

Here's another about sensitivities to the chemicals in scents:

I have talked with Martin and Kurt and Steve and Christie and Dave Nugent and Sarah, and heard from Marjorie and Erin and Jesse Griffiths and Jess B-R., and Robin and Jehan and Sheri and Dave Deveau in the last few days...
I have fallen in love with Romeo and Juliet all over again, through Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, and seen a performance by the Fools, and a hockey game at the local rink, and leaned to pick five songs on the guitar; and yesterday when I opened the door onto a night of Arctic cold, an astonishing present tumbled in - a gift of summer proportions from Stephanie, a lovely album of photos of my blue and sunny trip out west months ago.
And a Glenn-gift arrived - my industrious and generous son-in-law came to Ottawa for a weekend, to paint walls and ceilings for me. So my living room is shimmering and I am delightedly deciding which paintings go where on the pristine walls. And during the painting I spent days at my brother's, so that I would be migraine-free. And in the mail the other day came a pair of embroidered, tinkling, golden leather gloves, made in India.
And a friend has called to invite me to join them in Mexico for a while... hmmm....

In these salt-grey days of cold, flowers are blooming anyway.


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