Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some interesting links...

Today is a busy day for me. I really have to get some work done and dig out the piles in my office, but I want to pass on some links to what other people are doing and saying about chemical sensitivity and the environment.

At The Canary Report Susie has generously posted an article I wrote about our recent house restoration project. While you're there, be sure to watch the short video on The People's Market in Oakland, CA. It's truly inspiring.

If you're a facebook fan, there's a new group to join, "I made a sustainable choice today." You can do a search for it or link through my page (if you're my friend, that is, which I hope you all are). The group was started by one of my favorite bloggers, green mormon architect. The idea is that you will make (at least) one conscious choice each day to do something that is environmentally sustainable. Some examples would be using reusable grocery bags, planning all your weekly errands for one trip, reusing something you have instead of buying new, etc. We probably do these kinds of things every day, but being part of this group has made me more thoughtful about it, causing me to do even more.

My grandson is working on a school project this weekend around the theme of "the power of one." He's making a collage of environmentally-friendly things we can all do (using recycled magazine pictures, of course). He's learning that even a seven-year-old can have a positive impact on the world. Just imagine what we can all do together.

Monday, January 25, 2010


"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the [home] I love..."*

I have always placed great value on personal independence, and my propensity for wandering often got me in trouble as a child. I remember laying in the cool damp grass of our front yard on a summer's evening and watching the trail of a jet plane streak across the amber sky, yearning to be on that plane, headed to some far-off place where no one knew my name and I would be free to roam to my heart's desire.

Yet, here I am on a chilly winter's morning, sitting in my "cave," bound to this eleven-by-twelve-foot room, like I am every morning, drinking my soymilk-banana smoothie and talking to myself on a computer screen. Like most (all?) people with MCS, I am mostly homebound, fettered by the disease that isolates me physically from the rest of the world, a canary in a not-so-gilded cage.

Some might think it a miserable life, but a closer examination of this room reveals a different picture. A large bookshelf next to my desk is filled with favorite stories and travel guides, tomes of knowledge from the past and present. On the wall to the right of my desk hang three small silk embroideries from the Mascarene Islands halfway around the world. A television and DVD player sit on another small desk across the room and a radio tuned to NPR (oh, what would I do without NPR?) rests on the floor at my feet. Then there is the computer (actually there are two), which magically links me to more people and information than my feeble mind can possibly comprehend. Like secret conduits, I am surrounded by escape hatches, vehicles for my wanderings, albeit mentally and emotionally, not physically.

Like all wanderers, sometimes I go too far. Lost in a website or 900-page novel, the ringing of the phone or a glance at the clock reminds me that I've forgotten to sleep or eat or, heaven forbid, pick up a grandchild from school. It is my family that keeps me grounded after all. Like the tethers on a gigantic Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon, they hold me (loosely) to reality, obligation and responsibility. They are gentle and patient and I need them. Otherwise, I fear I would just float away into oblivion, never realizing I was even lost.

[*misappropriated from one of my favorite hymns, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing")

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recent attacks made against MCS America

Anyone who is familiar with MCS America knows the good work of this organization and Lourdes Salvador. This is always the first organization and website I direct people to when I am asked questions about MCS. I just really can't say enough to express my appreciation and admiration for MCS America. All of us with MCS have experienced negative reactions from people who somehow feel threatened by us and our disability. Yet, I was dismayed to receive the following statement in my email this morning. For now, I am just putting it on here so people know what is happening. Within the next couple of days I will post some ideas for what we can do to positively react to this.

A personal attack was recently launched against me and MCS America, in which many inaccuracies were published on Facebook for the sole purpose of stirring up controversy and tarnishing my reputation. This “controversy” is nothing more than the continuance of a longstanding, unsubstantiated smear campaign based on falsehoods and innuendo about me and MCS America.

The person or persons who launched this attack contacted the National Health Information Center (NHIC) to demand that the annual MCS Awareness and Education Month be removed from the National Health Observance Calendar due to MCS America, which was the contact organization for the event, being “a fake organization.” NHIC complied with the demand. The listing allowed schools, hospitals, employers, and other members of the public seeking information for awareness events on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity/Environmental Illness to contact MCS America for brochures, studies, posters, and other informational materials. The loss of this listing is a tragedy for our entire MCS/EI community.

The MCS/EI community is defined by empathy, support, sharing, and working together to find healing and to stop pervasive chemical pollution. We are not about personally attacking others within our community even if we disagree on an issue. That type of activity does not foster our cause, but rather promotes division and strife. Many members of our community work tirelessly to have MCS/EI officially recognized and to educate the public-at-large. The listing in the national calendar was another important step toward educating the public about MCS/EI and bringing us closer to having our illness fully recognized. It is astonishing that anyone would actively pursue the removal of MCS information in a national publication.

MCS America stands behind its mission to gain medical, legal, and social recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults; to provide support and referral services to individuals with MCS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other environmental illnesses; and to ensure that environmental toxicants are identified, reduced, regulated, and enforced through lobbying for effective legislation. MCS America will continue to work toward these goals through whatever means available.

Informational materials about MCS Awareness and Education Month, which is scheduled for May 2010, are available through our website at

Thank you for your support!