Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings.

Yes, I’m rereading The Lord of The Rings. Tolkien was a genius and apart from being frightfully intelligent, he was highly compassionate and understood the complexity of human nature. He packed a lot of enlightenment into this masterpiece, its inspiring and thrilling. I’m in constant state of wonderment. His imagination was off the charts. If you have never read this book and appreciate this genre, check it out.

‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’ – Gandalf the Grey

IMG_5383Photo: Cecille

 

Bonny Blueberry Smoothie for Breakfast

Made myself a motherlode blueberry smoothie this morning. A rich source of Goodness. I loaded the smoothie with tons of great ingridents such as: Avacado, Spirulina (I like Pure Hawiian) almond milk, Barlen’s Flax Oil, this is the best, I’ve found so far, no fishy smell, just a nice nutty flavor, protien power, blueberries and organic mayple syrup if so desired. I call this the motherlode because it gets you through the day beautifully.

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Photos: Cecille S

My bag of Beauty Tricks to Erase 10-20 Years off face…and body. Stage 1C

My Bag Of Tricks To Erase 10-20 years Off Face…and Body by Cecille Swayneson

I promised I would share my secret for not aging or at least knocking off a substantial amount or better yet, slowing down the aging process. There is not just one ‘magic’ procedure you use. It’s a bunch you practice simultaneously. I believe there are 2 Massive steps which plays a major, major, major role in keeping ageing at bay.  I know this because I have used this method for decades; I believe my system evolved over time; but it was alway instinctual. Basically I was on the right path out of the gate  from the get go and had it locked down very early on. Dont get freaked out, it’s never too late. Intelligence, observation, and common sense plus some natural moves my Mom practiced left a mark on me.IMG_6223

I’m starting with the beauty products I’m using on my skin right now. They are in the photo above. I want to be clear that the products, the number of cleansing creams and brands may be a quater of what I purchase the next time I replenish.  It just so happen that I’m using four different cleaning cream right at this moment. Now that we are clear about the amount, we’ll move on to the goodies.

For cleaning I lean toward Clarins which is plant based. Smells yummy. I’m a bit of a hippy so I love anything with plants. Has to do with my background. My Mom used natural ingredient on us in Jamaica.  I’m also into Caudalie  - mostly plant product.  Clarin and Caudalie does not dry my skin out. In actuality Clarins was the first name brand I used in my teens (freshman product) and stuck to through my early 30′s, now I’m back using one or two products. IMG_4780

Basically when I get up in the morning I go to my cupboard and pull out whatever I feel like using that day. No major thoughts.  If my skin doesn’t feel dry after washing I do NOT put on a moisture.This morning after a shower I didn’t. Also I wore no makeup except the filling in of my eyebrows. I prefer to wear as little makeup as possible. Most likely had I worn makeup I would have applied oil or cream. At bedtime; again, I did not put cream nor oil on my face after washing.  Why? My skin did not ask, therefore I left as was. There is a reason my skin wasn’t dry after washing. We’ll get to that later.

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In my teens I loved, loved astringent and used the kind found in drugstores. I marveled at the amount of soot on the cotton. When possible use to keep skin clean (usually at home). Humphreys’ is an essential  staple to always have in your cupboard. Oh! Kiels made a rose astringent which I liked, rose petals in the bottle. Anything Rose. Acqua Di Rosa is a super favorite, it’s light with the most refined rose scent, truly refreshing and heavenly – it’s from Maria Novella in Firenze, the most beautiful pharmacy in the world.

I ALWAYS mixed up what I was using on my face but the staunch ‘go to’ was the Clarins because of the natural and highly effective ingredints. The smell is devine. It was a perfect fit for me. I graduated to Sisly later. You can get Burt’s Bee anywhere, I think I picked up the tube at Rite Aide, it works well and has a lovely quiet smell and a smooth, soft  texture, not harsh. Kieh’s I picked up while I was in California and had left my washing cream at a friend’s home. It works well if you have very moist skin to begin with, if not if could be a drying. So be mindful.

I’m not going to go into minuscule details but I tried a lot of products and still do. Mostly from the health food store. The best time is when they are having a sale, if you don’t like the product, chances are, you are not going to feel guilty because you did not spend loads of cash. I use Ponds to take off my makeup. Make sure to use a warm rag to pull all the cream off and out of your pores. It does not disrupt my skin and it feels super soft after.

Sometimes I only use a warm washcloth on my face.  No product. No prior thought goes into this decision. I take care of myself by instinct.

In my teens, I used honey for my facial and other ingredients. If I can eat the product most likely I can and will use it on my skin/hair, and I do. Dr. Hauschkai is a super, super line that I’ve used over the years. I love everything they make. The eyecrem is excellent and so are the moisturizers. All natural products and the brand has been around for a long time.  Dr. Hauschka products are free from dyes, fragrances, artificial preservatives, coloring, and petroleum-based synthetics. This is the real deal. A pioneer in the natural skin maintenance. They are a bit pricey. For those people who travel, the airports in Germany have chemist shop/drug store which sells the brand at a fraction of the cost you would pay in America. So stock up if you are passing through.

I love oils on my face and my skin can take it. The silver bottle in the photo is a oil I adore. It’s a no brand name, which I found it in my acupuncture’s downstairs shop. It’s Rose Hip so therefore I had to try it. I love Rose. It’s called Nutura and can be found on Amazon. Glides on and steep into my skin and leave an amazing glow. The oil is light, very light.  If you are thinking of using oil on your face I suggest you experiment before using. I dont because for some bizarre reason I never break out. Thank G-d!IMG_4806

Loads of product from the drugstore works well. Oil of Olay and Nutrogena are two that comes to mind. I’ll do another post on those later on.

I’m going to wrap up this session now. OH!! One more thing. I don’t use creams with retlnoid or things of that sort. If your skin is flawless with almost no lines except character lines. Do not put a lot of chemical on your face.  It messes with the texture of your skin, makes it thinner. Maybe when you are in your 70′s but not now.

Photo Cecille Swayneson

 

I Don’t Hate Myself —-Actually Quite The Contrary

I Don’t Hate Myself—Actually Quite The Contrary by Cecille Swayneson

Recently my friend Jane and her son asked how it was I appeared so much younger than my age. Why? What had I done? My response was, “I took really, really, really good care of myself.” I didn’t elaborate, I just left it as it was. A week or so afterwards I realized that I hadn’t told them what I had done that resulted in knocking 20 years or thereabouts off my actual age sans any artificial methods.

Smudged black liner hence the racoon eye effectME6

I mulled over the conversation intermittently and the more I ruminated the more it dawned on me that I truly loved and respected myself on a tremendously deep, profound level. I was inherently aware of how miraculous our body is and the thankless work it performed on our behalf day in and day out, was truly stupendous. Yet most people severely beat the hell out of their true homes, and treat self like a garbage disposal. And yet body loves us back unconditionally; until come the day our expiration date runs out.

3AM and not tired; devoid of makeup - why not take a ‘selfie’ for post

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The realization that I loved myself on a deep, deep intuitive level, broadsided me as I spoke to Wendy about the question posed to to me by Jane & Tom. I was so accustomed to hearing the little inaudiable or audible voice saying  specific mean words (which I cannot bring myself to write). I heard the negative more than the positive. The integrity with which I took care of body (well), was a normality for me. Kinda of like taking the sky or the earth beneath our feet for granted. I never whispered to myself, “Thank you for taking such loving care of this body, your body”

I had spent a chunk of my life licking wounds and whispering those dreaded negative four letter words hate…to myself. I don’t even know where and whence they came, because one day those insidious words were there. And I was conscious of them. Unlike the lack of awareness for the reverence I exercised in taking care of the inner integral makeup of my body.

Upright. No bra ever, unless as an accessory with an outfit. 
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My take is that as I journeyed through life I got tossed about like a dinghy upon a tempestuous sea. Nothing out of the ordinary for most of us because this is a rite of passage we all go through. Only difference was I started mine not long after coming from an island in the Caribbean. Young and quite adventurous travelling through Europe in my late teens by myself and encountering all sort of crazy and terribly sad, fun and fantastic adventures. I was extremely lucky I encountered lovely highly moral and refined people who befriended and guided me when needed. Back then the planet apperead not as populated as it is now and the roads I travelled appeared to have been set apart for a specific tribe of people.

Family reunion in Jamaica. My dad at 83 - no grey hair, just a few on his sideburns – my Aunt (my name sake) in her 70′s barely any wrinkles and an amazing defined waistline AND no grey hair. Seriously.

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Yes, I met crazy, extremely rude people on my journey, like the old lady in Zurich who chased me down (unbeknownst to me) to wrestle my luggage cart away from me for the simple reason that I was black and therefore should concede to her wish. Luckily all my heroes in Jamaica where black, brown and mixed and I was never taught to think of myself as less because of the colour of my skin. Therefore there was no way in hell I was going to succumb to her tyranny. Old woman or not. While these crazy things were going on around me I wasn’t aware my colour was the main reason and also being a girl who looked extremely young.  In my 1st class compartment out of Zurich to France a nasty English couple whose speech was so thick and muddled I couldn’t make out what they were saying, demanded that I show them my 1st class ticket. I stared at them in horror. No! There was a gentleman who was sitting across from me who told them to beat it.  Back then, “fuck off” had not yet entered my lexicon.

Afternoon stroll in Forti Dei Marmimeinforte

Over a period of time, of this kind of nonsense especially in America, I became very hard on myself and adapted some of the philosophy of what constituted to success. And if I hadn’t achieved a certain level of the accepted norm, I felt I had failed. Therefore berating myself. There is more to this but I’m just making a brief summation. Yet even under this insidious stench which permeated the environment we/I lived in. I honored my body from I began my journey. Didn’t matter what I was experiencing and indulging in at that point in, I took care. I don’t want to come off as a goody two shoes and a hard core health nut who only ate kale and drank carrot juice. I mixed it up a bit as a lover of life would.

12 hour stopover in London on way to India, hungover, no sleep and dark circles.IMG_0119

So how did I pull off dropping so many years off my exterior? I’ll tell you later in another posting. But just to give you an idea of how diligent I was about my upkeep. I sobbed uncontrollably to a friend who rang me  from America while I was living in London.”I can’t even afford eye-cream” The mere fact that I was  living without vital eye-cream was proof of how bad my life was. Never had I been reduced to such depravity.  I had discovered my boyfriend had a class A drug habit and had gotten his grubby little fingers on my money. Hence no eye-cream.

This picture was taken in my friend Sanna’s kitchen in Denmark, it’s a bit blurry but the essence is priceless. Happiness/laughter erases the weight of age.

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In the midst of living in a severely industrial area in London, in the city, around Liverpool Station-Bishopgate-Shoredish High Street-Hoxton Square heading toward Clarkenwell, I discovered a slamming hard core Health Food store. This was way back in the early 90′s before Hoxton Square and that area exploded into the hipster desirable area it is now. The quality of food which went into my body was consistently important, no matter what or where.IMG_7527

Of paramount importance is one’s state of mind. It can either add of subtract from your physical appearance.IMG_7881

I LOVED, loved the essence this song as a kid growing up in Jamaica. Sums up a vital part of my outlook. “Life is Just for Living by Ernie Smith (it was used as anad at some point)

 - Life is Just for Living

To Be Continued

 

A Book Of Prodigious Talent -A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Book Of Prodigious Talent -A Brief History of Seven Killings

The New York Times wrote: “It’s like a Tarantino remake of The Harder They Come but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner.”

The Times is talking about the just released Man Booker list - it iinclude the first Jamaican writer to be nominated for the Man Booker prize. Marlon James is longlisted for A Brief History of Seven Killings, which tells the story of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley and also the wider story of Jamaica in the 1970s and early 80s when guns flooded in and violence exploded. I love history so this will be a fascinating read, also to see who ordered the barrage of guns on the island.

On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica concert to ease political tensions, seven men from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. But the next day he left the country and didn’t return for two years.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards’ drug dealer. The story traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked.

 

A Lovestruck Girl In Turmoil And Her Adviser

Conversation Between A Lovestruck Girl In Turmoil And Her Adviser by Cecille Swayneson

Marine-  This is taurus Marnie we werer talking on a sofa here in Florence! Help me with my capricorn :)

Angella - Hola Marnie, we will get you your CApricorn. On my way to NYC tomorrow but I’ll send “advice stuff” and we’ll talk soon. Hugs

Angela – Hola!! I just arrived in NYC not too long ago.  It’s hot and I’m sweating like crazy. YES, it was wonderful meeting you, very cool chick. YOu are so articulate and have an amazing understanding of yourself so it won’t be too difficult to reprogram yourself when you are speaking with Mr Capricorn i.e., be mindful of what you are saying and doing. Let me know how everything is going.

Marnie -  Angella!!!!!! How good to hear from you. I feel bad 4 not getting in touch 4 a long time but my love life came 1st. I was and still am pretty fucked up by it (i was born fucked up 4 sure but i am even more as I write). This so called relationship with the doctor went on since us 2 met but it absorbed most of my time and energies.  Its funny you write now cause we r over. Mainly cause of my insecurities. Again. So your link will do me good I guess. Never mind i cant go on like this anyway…and he’s probably already seeing someon else (i have this feeling and it must be true). I will find some sort of strength somewhere, im sure, im a taurus, im strong. Damn. What the hell! I also never went to Paris, not yet at least. I will certainly remind you when its time…since u were supposed to come with me.. Take care of yourself and keep me posted. I dont have any pics 4 you but next time ill send one. Right now im skinny as fuck, not good..

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Angella - Sorry to hear about you guys busting up again. Is he back with that drip of a chick? The one that’s always there to pick up the pieces. Well it’s not over till it’s over and somehow I don’t believe this it it. You both like to spar a bit  so he or you will back for another go. But try to overcome your fear, and just chat with him, like you did with me. I know it’s easier said than done. 

Remember men feel appreciated when they can communicate with a woman like a ‘buddy’ kinda like one of the boys. That’s why so many attractive men end up with basic, bland, business-like women.  Have you noticed the pattern? These women spend a tremendous amount of  time (because they’re not hot or chic like you) figuring out how to snag the guy, what makes him comfortable, what he likes, and then conveniently like everything. Could be a bit of a mummy thing for the guy. But we’re not going to go there. He feels supported when it’s just plain old fashion manipulation, it takes a lot of control to pull that off. Once she knows what button to push she pushes them, and he jumps and runs. Gives him the illusion that he’s in love; Good trick; this chick is caring, no nonsense and controlling. Hence the guy have no clue what’s really going down.

But you my dear aren’t like that, which means you are going to share your feelings,(be still my beating heart) what’s going on at work, who is a pain in the ass, how they make you feel etc and still maintain your spontaneity. If you loose your spontaneity you lose yourself. Not worth it.  Hold on to what makes you interesting but not too brooding or complex to unnerve him. Remember control is not your middle name!!  If it is TOO hard for you, think twice. I could back peddle and say,” if you have to adjust yourself (much) to fit him, he’s not worthy of you.  And he’s a bore”.

Find out what he’s into aside from his medicine and doctor’s convention, where he wants to go, what turns him on and listen, listen. Remember your goal is to have a normal conversation without freezing up or drinking in between silence. Ask for advise about some nonsense that’s going down at work. They’re GREAT with advise, just don’t make up crap. Keep it real. All my male friends who are Cappy love beautiful clothes, homes, wine, they can also come off a bit superficial, but that’s only because they are. Ok, get to work and I’ll send some more tips. We can SKYPE also. Hugs xx

Marnie - Hola my new beautiful friend! How r things? Thanks 4 your advice. I met him the other nite or better…i met a friend of his who told me he had suddenly decided to get together with this girl he used to kind of see a while ago.

Blood came to my head, i went to where i knew i could find him, i opened up strongly and we went home together. He was very sweet and told me all he wanted was me and not her but i am a bitch and he needs support. Well i tried to explain my reasons that i cant deal easily with emotions etc..and i did not run away in the morning so i guess it went ok for once. I was me, hopefully not too heavy.

Anyways that was thursday. We were supposed to meet on sunday but there was a football match so he said today and today again he asked 4 wednesday, but nicely. He said he was at work. I was like OK lets see. Thats that. I thought i let u know. I feel like an idiot to tell u as we dont know each other that well and its kind of pathetic but im doing it anyway. Now tell me about you. 

Kiss- marnie

Angella - Responding to your e mail brought a smile to my face. Thanks. I’m working on smiling and laughing more, which is a rarity in my world at the moment. A pleasure meeting and listening to your story; reminded me of someone I know and the difficulties of letting go…to heartthrobs.

I totally backed out of  loads of relationships. In retrospect they were all a bit crazy and I was petrified of surrendering. How cowardly. Afraid of what? A bruised heart/ego? Big deal. Obviously. How can one be free and fearful? Paradox.  Probably there is the likelihood of raging passion within you that can be climatically thrillingly when all the stars are alined. And it terrifies you. Therein lies the fear.  I am glad you opened up to me. Seem I can be very prophetic at drinks party. My mother once said I had psychic abilities but needed a drink to release it. Probably because I was a ‘stranger’ but we clicked immediately.

Just the way you spoke to me is the way you are suppose to speak to him and you did. Relax and TRUST because he was letting you know when he changed the dates with you . Just chill and wait. Be patient. This is unexpected for both of you. All you have to do is keep on being you…more transparent, trust and bow to your awesome self and have faith in people. Keep me in the loop. I’m sending you positive vibrations.

 I like you my dear (even though) we don’t ‘know’ each other, but we do… deep down. The oneness quality the sages speak of. There is nothing pathetic about sharing your feelings with another human being, especially someone who supports you. Girl power can be tremendous. Sweet dreams and talk later. Hugs, Angella

Marnie – Hi again. Your email made me so happy!!! Its amazing. I wasnt expecting such words and sense. Dont get me wrong, I have already great admiration for you but you took a lot of time for me, writing and using just perfect sentences and this is lovely. While reading you I felt you got me completely and i felt all I need is to believe in myself a bit more…I think we were meant to meet if not to help each other out, at least, to share things. How are you? How was your weekend?

I am in Love now, i believe. From that time that I opened up with him, we are kind of inseparable, in a very sane way. Which is something now 4 me and I cannot believe after longer than a year longing for him, everything changed in less than 2 weeks.

The other girl is still in the picture. I cant be bothered to press him. I just made it clear that I am not happy about it but in a soft way. I dont know what to do. Right now he looks 4 me often and its enough 4 me. Maybe cause i was on my own 4 years ….u get me right?

So will see. Ciao 4 now and keep in touch! Baci

Angella - It’s so true that we need to believe in ourselves more. I’m making a list of my strengths and weaknesses. I’m having to think long and hard about my strengths. 

 There is nothing to do about the other girl. You guys are together and he may be saying somethings but his actions prove that he’s into you. So let him say whatever he wants to. She’s most likely a crutch to have around just in case you knock the wind out of him.  You’re potent too, my dear.

Marnie - Im writing to u cause i have to ask u smth: when smth goes wrong with a man usually i take it on myself. Everything was going well until i got totally drunk one nite last week (he was with me) and i guess i was off my face and he didnt like it. He still took me home and stayed a bit in the morning but i dont rem much and i feel like shit. Things changed from then on. Is it possible that a man feels that way and so decides u r not worthy and dump u? It is, right? Anyway maybe its all about my insecurities….and nothing bad happened. Who knows?! I wish he got in touch, just to explain…but he would have done it by now, i guess. Im pretty sad.

Have a good weekend Angella and forgive my emails. Im just going a bit mad.

Baci!

Angella - I’m so sorry you are sad and going mad. Try not to go under. Interesting and  Bummer but (fixable (maybe) about what happenedI was going to suggest before receiving this e mail that you approach this relationship like the job you do in Milan and Paris.  I assume a lot of focus and planning goes into aligning everything in place for a specific outcome. You most likely need an AGENDA to keep you in line when it comes to this relationship because the intensity can be so damn complicated and ego damaging to complex personality. This method is very difficult especially for women who are not  normally calculating

 (I am waiting in the Doctors  office for a blood test so this e mail may be looooong). 

Back to the catalyst for him getting turned off by your drunken dinner episode. You were nervous and overdid it even though deep down you should have been paying attention to your booze intake. It obviously got the top position over you and undermined your intention. Not making excuses for you but I totally understand because I have had booze issues myself. My self control can be disastrous to say the least under such circumstances. Being über mindful and a plan is not such a bad idea. But these are the way we eventually get it right with foresight, understanding and support from your shrink, friends, yoga and you taking charge of your life. 

A beautiful sophisticated drunken lady can be very off putting to say the least. But shit happens to the best of us. Did you address the incident the next day and apologize? Not that it would have made a difference if he is hardcore on how he believes his girlfriend should act at all time.  Give him time and don’t make a move – only speak to him if you did not address your behavior and address all the issues which contributed to the excess drinking.  Be prepared to wait………  

I feel your frustration and fear at not knowing yet having a vivid inkling that all is not well on the ranch. I despise avoidance and non closure because it makes you feel powerless and frightened, not a good place to dwell in.This guy most likely is extremely judgmental. Well obviously he is. We don’t know how MATURE and compassionate he is. What am I saying? He’s not.

Hang in and carry on- it- you will get better and stronger. Xxxx

MARNIE -Thanks 4 ur email! Well…i did call him the following day wondering what the hell went on the nite before and he was nice. He said I was okay and said a few stupid things but nothing unusual… He kind of made me feel good. So I thought that was all okay and maybe it is/was…and then something else went on. Maybe he simply realized he was not so much into me…i. Just wonder why he doesnt fucking tell me so..we r also friends and have so many friends in common…he should keep it sweet. I think its over but id love him to explain but he’s most likely a coward. Such a shame. Have a good weekend M

Marnie – Hey..u r not gonna belieeve it but its already over between us. I guess i was maybe giving away my feelings too soon and he might have gotten scared. Who knows. He has been keeping a serious distance since last week and last wedn we went out 4 dinner with friends and he didnt pay attention to me whatsoever. He went home to sleep on his own early and made a point to let me know that the following day a friend from florence (his ex)was coming over and he had to entertain her. All fine but i know he fucks her again from a friend we have in common whom he had spoken about it a little earlier… I am kind of surprised and i cried all my tears already. No point to run after him. I had been warned after all. Anyway maybe its all about my insecurities….and nothing bad happened. Who knows?! I wish he got in touch, just to explain…but he would have done it by now, i guess. Im pretty sad. Have a good weekend Angella and forgive my emails. Im just going a bit mad. Baci! M

Angella Hang in there Marnie  - He’s obviously not all that. Totally bourgeois and unforgiving. Terrible trait. His action reveal that he is rigid. You made one ‘mistake’ and you’re ditched. Because you are not perfect well neither is he- Most likely he fucked up a lot and was forgiven numerous times yet  is incapable of doing so to others. His loss and your great escape…xxx

No Sex Please I’m Otherwise Occupied…With Celibacy.

No Sex Please, I’m Otherwise Occupied…With Celicaby.  by Cecille Swayneson

Celibacy. I saw the word in a tabloid headline today. I had totally forgotten the word existed. Truly. Odd because I stopped counting once I reached the five year mark. There I was living in celibacy and had forgotten the word. I don’t recall consciously making a pact with myself to not have sex.  Nope, I did not. It just happeded. What have I learnt? Time flies by in the blink of an eye and sex and love can almost seem like an after thought. Only after much self reflection am I aware of my unbroken forbearance.

Years ago my friend Victoria Stern had fessed up that she hadn’t had sex in five years. My mouth almost fell to the floor “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I said,” She assured me she was not. Something to do with an ex Greek boyfriend, George, who had truned her off from sex and obviously, men.

After I recovered from the shock, I tried to understand her point of view and did, but I didn’t get the holding off from sex bit. Now I do. Sometimes I wonder at my choice. At present my body is beautiful and I’m in fine form (up to a point). I say to myself, ‘you’ve got a lovely body, what are you waiting on?  Are you going to wait until you’re seventy to finally consider sex? True. I’m not into casual sex. I’ve done that. Of course time waits for no one. Some days I recoil at the duration I’ve withstood. Don’t you want to be caressed? It’s only then, I acknowledge continuous lack of touch and tenderness is a bit abnormal. I don’t mind being alone. I’m constantly surprising myself, never bored. If I were given five wishes, one would be for longer days.

I would reconsider if someone turned me on on many levels, otherwise I’m not interested. I dont’ have the patience for superficiality, game playing, competition, selfishness, and empty excuses for not facing one’s fear. This applies to women friends also. I’m not exempt either as I am busily picking out arrows from my flesh.

No sex without mutual transparant respectful love. And love of sex alone does not count…at the moment (got to leave myself some leeway in case I change my mind)blktopless

Sure, I would adore rolling over into my lover’s arm on a sexy Sunday morning; read the paper in bed, shower together, breakfast, take a trip up and away, Italy or Paris, anywhere but here…alome. But those thoughts are few and far, far away.

I’ve lost it. I’m just not interested, or maybe I’ve given up on love. I could almost cry putting these words down. Maybe I don’t believe in love. Maybe each and everyone of my boyfriends turned me off eventually. One day I woke up to discover I was disapointed in love. Totally disgusted. An alarming thought; to give others so much power; unconsciously making choies based on past experiences?

Then again, I could have a profound need for freedom…which could translate to fear of intimacy. No, I don’t think it’s the intimacy bit that I’m afraid of, I’m frightended out of my wits of being pinned down, someone trying to clip my wings. Have I made up my mind to go the celibacy/loverless route but am not consciously aware that I have? Oh dear God, I hope not; Would be a crying shame.

Come one morning the day will find me ruminating on love, dwelling on love, desiring love. Maybe then, and only then, will the tide turn and the word Celibiacy will be a headline in a tabloid rag.

Until then, time to consider pulling out Byron’s Don Juan Canto ll - lV.

Photo: Noel Sutherland

Secret Remedy #2 For Clean Beautiful Skin

My Secret Remedy #2 for Clean, Beautiful Skin by Cecille Swayneson

I don’t recall how I came up with this concoction for clean, i.e., spot-free beautiful skin. Most likely had to do with an old fashion Jamaican ‘go to remedy’ in the form of Aloe Vera. Actually on Sundays back on the island, my mother filleted aloe vera blended and added to our hair as conditioner. It was also a ‘go to’ if you had skin issues, especially if it were insect inflicted with the likelihood of leaving a scar or if you got burnt to hell by the sun and was covered in ‘prickly heat/bumps.’

At some point I started adding aloe to water if I felt my skin needed a ‘pick me up.’  Just a dash water plus some aloe and chugged it down. Most often I used the aloe in the brown bottle from the health food store. One day my cousin came to visit and her skin was awful, just unsightly, oily and bumpy. I wouldn’t call them pimples because they were huge, swollen painful looking lumps. I’m known for candor and immediately said, “you have to do something about your skin, make an effort to figure out how to rid yourself of those bumps.” I suggested her purchasing a small bottle of aloe vera (to start) at the health food store, take 2 to 3 tablespoons add small amount of water or a small amount of juice, drink—at least twice a day. If and when she came across the fresh aloe vera, fillet the aloe, add to a blender, blend and incorporate with water/juice.

I suggest you try small amount before you adapt this remedy. I obviously don’t have an issue with the plant and neither did my cousin but you never know. What may work for one person, may not work for another. Also I’ve never used aloe vera relentlessly.

Well, what do you know, after a couple of months, my cousin’s skin was flawless. No bumps. dark spots or pimples. She’s never had skin issues again. If you’re at your wit’s end because nothing seem to clear up your pimples. You may consider trying this. Again make sure you are not allergic to aloe.  Aloe latex contains chemicals that may work as a laxative. I’ve never had an issue with this but do your research. Aloe Vera is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine since the beginning of the first century AD. You’ll be able to gleam from the vast amount of information what is most likely valid.

Below are the series of steps for making  aloe vera portion #2.

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tumblr_inline_nrmclsAbrQ1qbq37b_540Aloe Vera Before it’s Filleted.IMG_2869

tumblr_inline_nrmclsAbrQ1qbq37b_540Photo: Cecille Swayneson

 

A Cup of Masala Chai And a Call To Prayer

 A cup of Masala Chai And A Call To Prayer by Cecille Swayneson

Notice how devoid of people the Taj Mahal is? Check out the picture posted above. Normally it’s jam packed with people, like sardines in a can. I decided to bypass all that raucous noise, bumping and  shoving by getting up while it was still dark outside, stars above dark. Actually the call to prayer woke me up. I stood on my balcony and listened. Nearly drove me out of my mind how beautiful it was. I had never heard it before and never again like I did in Agra; hauntingly beautiful, pierces through your soul and goes somewhere you’ve never been before yet so very familiar. I read somewhere Liam Neeson having the same experience. I’m telling you no one is exempt especially if you are plugged into to your feelings.Nuova immagine I went downstairs to greet my driver, I could see him walking up the empty street toward the hotel. I had told him to meet me in the lobby at 5AM. A bit early but he had left us stranded at our hotel, The Maidens Hotel in New Delhi the day before and refused to answer his cell phone. Instead of picking us up at 10:30am he showed up at 4PM. Hence the ridiculously early call time which ended up working out in our favor big time. I went downstairs to greet him. There was a tea vendor on the street corner who made the most delicious  Masala Chai I have ever had. His pots and pans were worn, battered to hell and he threw all sorts of exotic spices in the steamy pot adding black Assam tea leaves, grating ginger on top and like a magic ritual, conjured up the most indelible delicious tea ever against the black backdrop of darkness before light.

When we arrived at the Taj, we parked the car back in the lot and made our way to the entrance, there is a bit of a ritual to get into the place and outside the entrance is littered with scam artist, beggars and people on the make. Mostly men,very  persistent. The only way I was able to get rid of them was to raise my voice in a very stern dismissive manner, using not many words. They instantly backed away, attempting to pacify me and apologizing as they pulled back, they’re not accustomed to women being firm so they were taken aback and stepped right into place, leaving us alone.

I have three indelible memories and it’s not about Agra being the armpit of India yet housing the profound beauty of the Taj Mahal, (what a paradox ) which I won’t attempt to describe, 2) the heart achingly beautiful rendition of the call to prayer by a gifted muezzin and 3) the best masala chai ever. My adventure in India had began.

Misery For Parents Who Insist On Being Friends With Their Children (Discipline Without Shame):

My darling friend Janet Lansbury – Elevating Child Care, wrote the book, No Bad Kids:Toddler Discipline Without Shame, which I am a staunch supporter of because it’s on point! Flawless. Use this method and you’ll never regret making a wrong turn. Back then, I taught PreK in a Montessori school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the class population was 98% Polish and the children were out of this world, amazing and wise beyond our wildest imagination. There were a few kids who had ‘issues’ – I was a dedicated teacher who respected and loved the children so whenever I felt a mother would benefit from Janet’s words of wisdom I gave them copies of Toddler Discipline Without Shame before Janet decided to share her many years of observation and guidance into this book.IMG_6112

I had read an article on Janet’s blog Janet LansburyElevating Child Care one day and almost jumped out of my skin because I knew inherently she was spot on. Her strategy rang true. Clear as day. What I kinda, sorta knew, but didn’t have the clarity to expedite she summed up simply, concisely; how to discipline without shame. Excitedly I rang her, “Janet! this article is amazing, beyond! I would love to make copies to give to every mother and friend who I feel would benefit from your words of wisdom.” She instantly said yes, touched that I was ‘off the chart’ excited by her research and point of view. I immediately made copies which I kept in a closet at school; whenever the opportunity arose, I handed out copies to mothers who always thanked me profusely. The mothers knew my suggestion came from a place of pure unsullied love, intelligence and respect for the magic within each child.superthumb

I have to let you in on a secret, these methods not only work for toddlers but it’s ageless proof – meaning it works for lovers, school age, college students, miserable rotten coworkers, husbands, siblings, dogs: no one is exempt.

I remember once I had a little girl who wanted to sit in my lap whist I was with a group of children, intuitively I knew something was off. I mentioned the situation to Janet and she said, she wants to see what she can get away with, kinda of a power play. Explain to her calmly that you are not a sofa and we don’t do that here.” Well what do you know? I did exactly as she said and the child never made those moves again. Children crave boundaries which represent love, support, guidance and respect.  IMG_4188

I could go on and on about how incredible NO BAD KIDS: Toddler Discipline Without Shame: http://amzn.to/1pXgx2e is, but I am going to trust that you will check this book out, and pass it on to anyone you think will appreciate these tried and true words of wisdom. I will be back as there is much to share from observing pitfalls into unfathomable depth of misery by parents who insist on being friends with their children . A child need guidance by someone who is able to see the long term impact bad choices behoove. All a child need is a loving wise parent, not a friend…and No BAD KIDS Toddler Discipline Without Shame: http://amzn.to/1pXgx2e

Janet Lansbury - Elevating Child Care's photo.

More in NO BAD KIDS: Toddler Discipline Without Shame: http://amzn.to/1pXgx2e

Photos: Cecille