Humanure – No Bull!?

Big NEWS! The Humanure Handbook 4th Edition is out! I happened upon a an earlier edition a little while ago at our local library, while trolling for books with my son, as we do about once a month. I’ve found so many treasures this way, the Humanure Handbook, is no exception.

This book is fantastic. Not only is it remarkably practical and informative, but it is humorously written along with entertaining and funny original cartoon drawings by the Author Joe Jenkins.  This is excellent “bathroom” reading for anyone who enjoys occasion “toilet” humor, and I know you are out there! And for the squeamish and prudish alike, to ease your troubled minds. An absolute must read!

I’d say I have fallen on both sides of the fence. Being put off by the dirt and grime of life. Getting the ebee gebees from the idea of “bacteria and germs”, like just wipe the mess up with a paper towel and throw it in the garbage! Just get it away from me! As well as having a preschooler, the last few years, and growing up with 2 brothers, where there is always extra emphasis on the humor of “bodily functions”….

It’s not that we don’t know about the idea of starting a compost. It’s just-where to begin? The Humanure Handbook quells fears. It makes believers out of us!

To put it simply- our soil needs nutrients, (which comes from fertilizer) and conveniently humans make fertilizer! We need nutrient soil and so …

We also need clean drinking water. Currently we pollute our drinking water everytime we go number 2! Hmm ? So what are the alternatives? Are there any?

Once you get over the initial shock of the idea, well it’s actually pretty refreshing. It’s just that it’s one of those taboo subjects. I even went out bought the basic supplies. Even as hubby shook his head and snickered at me. ( In his defense he did help me acquire the bails)

1. 5 gallon buckets with lids,

2.Peat moss,

3. Bails of hay.

Jenkins explains things and makes it attainable. He even responded to my questions via facebook which I thought was pretty cool. You can check out his YouTubes too!

Maybe it is true, and we’re just part of a small faction of the population. I can only hope that our numbers are growing. In any case, shout out to Joe Jenkins, from me -what a cool dude.

Okay, I confess, I have not actually started an indoor composting toilet ….. Yet.

My first compost !

I am proud to say that I did finally start a compost in the fall. Even made it through most of the long winter in the cold cold north of Eastern BC Canada. My compost consisted of all vegetable matter and eggshells. But according to Mr Jenkins, anything goes.

The heat generated in the compost pile, for surprisingly short periods of time, burn up any smeliness or bugs. Honest, it’s not scary! It’s empowering.

Next winter, from what I know now, I will do even better!

I realize there are a lot of people who know much more about this subject than me. People who have composted for years. They might encourage others to compost or recycle, but they don’t make a big deal out of it, they “just do it”. The quiet heroes of our world, who are leading by their actions. You inspire me.

This book has literally changed my life. Could this be one of those rare things that can possibly shake us out of our complacency? Like it has started to do for me? I now see the world through different eyes. Because once you get started, and allow yourself to deal with your refuse, it becomes part of a chain reaction. I will never again feel the same way about what I’m sending to the landfill. No Bull!

The world IS gradually changing. We don’t have composting pick up, where I live but maybe we will in the near future? Especially if more people give these ideas a chance and input them into their think tanks.

Everybody needs to read this book, as much as they have to go to the bathroom everyday! So don’t be a party pooper, or go ahead and be one! Just make sure you get yourself a copy!

I would love for each and everyone I know to have a copy of this book. But I thought I’d just TELL you about it first. If you happen to live near me, and are interested in getting in on a group order deal, shoot me a message here or at

another guy’s experience

Or in other words… this is what I meant !!

A Brief Introduction: On Reading Writing, and Ruminating. By Holly Kirkpatrick Ulrich

Welcome to Holly’s Hideout!

“The Hideout” a continuous work in progress.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve been hiding out in my own little corner of the world. To the point that I didn’t even realize it. The reasons being a choice between fight or flight and choosing flight; combined with personal conscious artistic choice. In my weariness of the hunt I have become a gatherer. Up until now I wasn’t ready, but now I think I’ve gathered enough to at least get started..

What are you Best at?

I’ve spent a lot of my life; along with a healthy dose of hard work and focus, trying to turn unstructured activities, into something else. I have a bachelor degree in Fine Art, majoring in Jewellery and Metals and a 2nd degree in Education. I have Yoga training, Music training, Acting training. That doesn’t mean I’m really good at any of the above, but they do inform my life work. I often don’t give myself enough credit for what I am good at. If I can get into the flow, at some point I may manage to produce some quality wearable art jewellery that could become a “product page”. But for now, I will admit my favourite and best activities have always seemed to result from the realms of recess, lunch hour and free-time.

Play Time Allowed!

I like to cook, bake and entertain. I love to read to myself- and out loud to anyone who will listen! I will also mention I’m a new “old” mom of a young child. I like to draw. I love a good story and I’m good at sharing.

I will probably share too much.

Without saying too much, I hope to share wisdom I’ve gained through life experience, and through talented wise people I’ve been privileged to meet and how it’s affected me. I wish to impart some of the great tidbits of information I’ve acquired. I would like to share without giving ALL of my secrets away. But I might do just that…hey maybe something good will come of it? I promise I will try not to be too longwinded! But I have waited so long to begin. I have so much to tell you!.

My first advice will be: Don’t take my advice.. Don’t take anybody’s! Without careful consideration. Instead, learn from mine and others’ mistakes if you can. Or not, your choice! While I have learned I am the queen of overthinking things, there are reasons for this. I’m also not big on self deprecation, so I’ll just say this up front. I see myself recognising kernels of insight gained through a whole bunch of life experiences.

What am I trying to accomplish here?

I honestly don’t know where this is going. What I do know is there is a story behind ever-y-thing. And at this point, I don’t see myself running out of material anytime soon. Reading, writing and ruminating have become the obsessions that leads me to this place. I have my beliefs and more importantly I have my stories. I simply can’t keep quiet any longer. I have to see what happens and where the story goes.

Journalling to get thoughts out onto paper, is creatively useful. Sometimes I’ve noticed these thoughts can be profound, funny, happenstance, this is also what I’d like to share.

I have worked in this direction for a long time so, I would say, it’s about time that I put my voice forward. While, I might have something to contribute; I don’t entirely know what that is exactly. Maybe there aren’t even words that can describe it? My own curiosity is keeping me interested.

Are We Allowed to Disagree?

Imagine everything  you have ever thought you knew to be true- was wrong!? Try out looking at everything you say or do from a multitude of angles.  This is what I do, but I also understand it is through my own eyes and experience, which is of course fallible. I used to have a self-made poster as a kid, in my bedroom that said, “People have their own opinions- Let Them!” What I eventually noticed was I wasn’t offering up my own opinion. I break my own silence here.

“Shout Into The Void”

This is who I am. Anyone who reads what I write is allowed to disagree with me. But I hope that they may begin to understand that I am also allowed to disagree with them too. I understand that everything I say or do, may not be accepted with hearts and happy faces, and some of it might. Que Sera. I am open to all feedback and suggestions. I brace myself a little too, for the silence of the crickets.

Sometimes Its Ok to Get Your Nose Bent Out Of Joint.

A Note on Perfection:

I’m new to this, I have to accept that I will make mistakes here. I give myself permission that everything does not have to be perfect, and I am allowed to evolve, change and grow. I do not have to stay stuck on one point. I am entitled to my own opinion. I trust in myself, to do the best I can. (I would probably benefit from an editor. Also a housekeeper, secretary, bookkeeper, assistant….)

I do so hope you will consider coming along for this “memoiresque” ride . So without further ado, seeing as there is, in fact, nothing out there quite like “putting it out there”, then I would agree it is high time for some,  “Once Upon a Time”.

The Holy Grail

I would like to share what I learned from Deborah Macnamara’s Keynote at the 11th Annual Vancouver Neufeld Conference 2019

Although I am at this moment very tempted to make an album of my sons cuteness to share on social media. I feel I must share this with you first.

The Secrets of the Table: Returning Joy to the Feeding of Others, was the friday evening Opening address given by Deborah Macnamara PhD at the 11th Annual Vancouver Neufeld Conference. …And I took notes!

Deborah Macnamara wrote the book, Rest Play Grow, Making Sense of Preschoolers, (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One) Based on the relational developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld which is now in 10 languages .

The weekend was filled with many tears of realization, and joy. So much good practical information! Impossible to cover it all in a brief article, I will attempt to encapsulate what she said, in the hopes of helping to illuminate. Earlier that day, a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, gifted me a full reusable tissue holder she’d crafted. I was thankful for it came in quite handy over the weekend.

Ok so what is the big deal about Family meals? Well only our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing! But why do we need these regular gatherings?

1.It’s not just sitting down at the dinner table.

  • It’s the separation we feel when we don’t.
  • Everything about growing up has to do with healthy attachment to our caretaker.
  • The decline in family meals is noticeable. 1 in 5 people have a diagnosable problem.

Deborah explains the concept of “Surrogate end point” It’s not just having a family meal, but that the family meal is, “a marker that is highly predictive of an outcome but cannot explain why… Well as she says, it intersects us, it stops us. It is the island you can come back to the the sea of life.

2. It’s powerful, because for as she says, take our sense of smell.

  • Smell receptors are our only exposed brain cells! It is an incredible ignition system of us coming together. It goes straight into the limbic system, our place of memory and emotion.
  • She told us of how family knowledge related to better functioning. How family stories connecting to us to our history, leads to intergenerational selfness. And it’s all about the caretaker. It’s not about the table but the caretaker who brings you there.

My own response is that it reminds me in part, of my ukrainian grandmother who we call “Baba”. How she brought us all together. How my own mother facilitated the relationships I developed with my aunties, uncles and grandparents. It’s really about relationship and how it relates to how we feel about ourselves. The love and care that Baba put into her food preparations seemed to always bring us together, and mean so much to us all.

At the other end of the spectrum, it makes me wonder about how badly I wanted to leave the table sometimes, as a kid growing up ! My parents actually made it a priority for us to eat together. I didn’t always realize what a gift it was. As a teenager I went to the extent of getting a pt job to not have to sit through the pressures of the dinner table interactions.

These days I’m facing my preschooler who wants to run from the table. We are going over with him how important it is for us to have this time together as we all grow older together. Its not just about having manners and consideration, it’s about the quality of our very lives.

3. It’s hard to say, “Take care of me?”. Instead we say, “Can you please make your carrot muffins forever? ” Even my 4 year old son says occasionally things like, “ You can make this every day forever!” It’s about seeking and providing, the dependant and the alpha. It’s about birthday “feast days” and how “there’s always enough”

Gordon Neufeld would say, “throw in some wine and you’ll have the perfect meal! I’m sure a lot of us would agree.

So what about when food and relationship come apart ?

  • Health problems related to overconsumption
  • Eating Disorders, related to dominance problems,
  • Alarm based eating problems
  • Counterwill- Battles
  • Digestion problems

What is Pickiness?…… one word- unfamiliarity.

Pickiness seems to be at an all time epidemic high these days. I personally can find myself a little triggered by this. But I know it’s because I was made to feel bad when I was young when I didn’t like something. I recognize breathe and move through it when I can. It seems to make gatherings far more challenging. How about- Pot-luck bring what you can and like to eat!? Let’s help teach each other about ourselves.

4. The table reveals our greatest hunger. To be taken care of, and to be the cartaking answer to another. It’s about our nurturing instinct. When we can’t we’re thwarted!

  • To preserve the relationship togetherness, is for the relationship to survive. Together = To Gather.
  • To do so we must keep away the unnecessary. Protect the place of rest.
  • For example: collect our loved one’s attention with a snack platter to engage the attachment instinct. To bridge the distance with food, recipes, and memories. And matchmake to others with the sharing of food.
  • You can use structure and routine to protect eating together. Use rituals daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, yearly… If thursday nights are busy, you might just make it 9pm sushi night. However you decide, claim it. Sink your teeth into it, for yourself.

5. Then suddenly we’re at Secret number Five: Whoever a child gives their heart to has the power to protect them with their own. Why? For to nourish, protect and take care of them is to enrich the mind and nourish the heart.

(So we sit and eat cereal on the couch together, or whatever it takes!

And Finally The Holy Grail:

  • Gradale/Gradalis. Latin word for,  “A deep platter used to serve food at medieval banquets.”  
  • The secret to the platter is how it feeds us together!

As Deborah says in closing: Breaking Bread is the Universal language of love. Come over, let me take care of you, let me make you tea.

If it could be so easy…. please know I have a variety of teas in the cupboard. Dear people please do stop in if you can. Our lives could literally depend on it !

Forgiveness and Painting

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It forces you to reflect. Sitting around staring at the walls, in contemplation on life, I realized no one else was going to do it for me. I needed to make some choices. I needed to paint.

In reflection I would describe my encounters with apologies and forgiveness as perplexing. People are not very forgiving are they?

“Pobodie’s nerfect” Err, as we all know, nobody , not even ourselves, is perfect. Personally I really work to not throw any stones because I know this to be true in myself. But sometimes it can feel like the whole world wants you to feel bad. I make mistakes all the time, but how to get past feeling guilty about every little mistake you ever make? Hmm ..right now I pick painting .

There is so much more to saying -I’m sorry -than the words. But the words are important, and , from my experience, it is best to say them right away . Whether you know you’re in the wrong, or even if you know you’re in the right ..even if that’s a bit Canadian. Even if you know it won’t make much difference. Just say it.

And so I now offer my most heartfelt apology- to all of you. To those of you whom I have wronged, in any way whatsoever. Just in case you happen to be reading this. I am sorry I hurt you. I am sorry I let you down. I am sorry I did not live up to your expectations, and I am sorry offended or I disappointed you. I offer this apology to everyone I know and even to people I have yet to meet. For those of you who I have personally offered apologies, and there are many, you know who you are. I am Sorry.

Stay neutral, stay cool, everything is relative, nothing is black or white…

I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. These few powerful small phrases, That I happened upon via social media, are part of a kind of Hawaiian spiritual healing tradition. ( ho’oponopono )Pretty much says it all for me. I want to build them into my every interaction!

On the other side of the equation to those of you who may have wronged me? I wholeheartedly forgive you! Yes, you are off the hook. The funny thing about this I’ve personally realized, is that it doesn’t usually change how we feel about what was done. Or how we feel we were treated. So what is it for, why is it important? It is an offering. A get out of jail free pass invitation to move on and move forward, with your life, interactions and inside your heart and mind relationship with yourself.

To all the rest of you, I invite you to remember the good things too! Why the brain seems to route to those difficult moments? I will never know. Meditation and breathing does help . I have honestly found, saying out loud to yourself, “Enough! STOP. And how about just being happy with yourself for a change?” can help. But to give credit, to our highest self, when I do drop down in my heart, I do remember the love. All the great memories we’ve made. All the positives. I remember this and I spend time there, It’s important. It makes me glad, and happy and thank you each and everyone one of you! For while I address the wrongs, and battle with my anxieties, ego and false self, it is good and soothing to remember in my heart of all the rights, the truth and love that I’ve experienced in this life too.

And so, we accept that not everyone we have ever cared for will always be a part of our lives, and it’s okay. It’s nothing personal against anyone, it is simply making the choice to accept reality and be at peace as much as possible, even if it means being alone. I do hope that it is not all alone, I mean people need people, but I’ve come to a point in my life where if it is, then I am ok with that. If you are looking for me, well I’ll probably be painting.

If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to lately…

Guilt and forgiveness are close relatives. Maybe even siblings. But more likely mother and daughter… It’s one thing to say, “I am sorry” whether you mean it or not, and it’s another thing to take steps to make amends. Sometimes neither are even possible, adding incredible frustration and sadness to the guilt. But at least if you said , “I’m sorry” you can always go back and hold onto this.

I’m sorry. Please Forgive me. I love you. Thank you.http://

Additionally; for most of we all have to live with our consciences. And no matter what you do, or when in your life. It never goes away. Ideally we make the best choices every moment of our lives. More realistically as humans we make mistakes and learn from them . When you say sorry , it also gives the other person something to hold onto . We all have to live with the consequences of our actions .

I know I have learned from my mistakes, but then I continue to make them!? I have apologized. Sometimes I’ve been able to make amends and sometimes not. When we can’t make things right it really sucks. When I think about this topic I feel all bogged down, in everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life . Some things I can never take back. Through introspection I’ve come to realize I will continue to make mistakes. It’s a human thing. This is when I go get my paint brush.

Conscience is probably the best deterrent towards avoiding being in position of seeking forgiveness. It’s a powerful force to be reckoned with indeed .

Side story: My earliest recollection of conscience, I was around 5 or 6. There was a coffee can in our kindergarten classroom. It was brimming with buttons, and 2 little sea shells. We did not live near the ocean , so I was attracted to these shells. I wanted one of these shells. I remember contemplating it, over more than one day . I knew it was wrong to steal, but would it matter to anybody if I took one shell? There was still another one after all . So one day, I pocketed it.

On my way walking home, I was filled with loathing and regret. That somehow I had changed and there was no way back . I couldn’t very well go back and give the silly shell to the teacher? What would she think of me ? She would think I was a bad person!

I kept the shell. I felt I had to own it as a reminder to never steal again. I recall it sat in my desk drawer in my room at home. …Perhaps I put it back in the end, but that horrible feeling of self loathing was memorable, that was the real keeper.

The moral of the story is that the shell became a symbol for me of the awful feelings of a guilty conscience.

Other times I have gone out on a limb and apologized tend to fall in these categories . For not telling the truth, telling the truth or confessing a wrongdoing, lashing out at someone or something out of frustration . It’s never easy, but it is simple. The complexity comes in what you might expect to happen. From my experience it simply lightens the load. And that’s a lot.

Whether you’re truly forgiven or not is complex because , depending on the infraction. That person may have to sit with your apology for years, or even forever. So I’ve come to realize that I am horrible, and terrible and I make mistakes, and I am not okay with it. But at some point we have to get on with our lives right??

In the meantime I’ve discovered a wonderful way of experiencing some forgiveness in your life . It is called matte paint . Also known as flat. Beautiful flat paint looks so great on your wall. Regardless of imperfections, flat paint forgives and bestows your walls and trim with grace and beauty.

So next time you’re feeling bad, try Flat paint . Paint your trim, paint your doors, paint your walls , and it will all turn out great!

So forgiving and paintable , if it gets marked up, as long as it’s a decent quality, it will still wash off . And then oh my dear if you need to, you can brush on a little more… and ahhh so much better!

Flat paint will forgive you , try flat paint today !

Or if you Feel you’ve been walking on eggshells? Well, eggshell is nearly as good at matte. Happy painting and I hope you feel better soon . I know I do 😉