I just finished watching Changeling, the 2008 film directed by Clint Eastwood. I’ve had the DVD from Netflix since about March 20th, waiting until I was in a frame of mind to watch it. Why? Because of my own experiences of a local government run amuck (Google: Kern County witch hunt; Kern County Child molestation ring; Just Ask My Children).

Changeling explores female disempowerment, political corruption, child endangerment and the repercussions of violence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Changeling_(2008_film)

Difficult for me to watch were the scenes where Christine Collins, skillfully portrayed by Angelina Jolie, is “thrown” into the psychiatric hospital, without benefit of “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury” Cause? Paranoia and delusions of persecution. Anti-social behaviors to be sure. But what are they when grounded in a woman’s efforts to fight for her rights or get to the truth? Truth that others don’t want reveled?

Like Christine Collins, I could not sign a piece of paper admitting to what I knew to be untrue. As a result I was marginalized and mentally broken by the very people who had taken professional oaths to “do no harm.”

It has been 25 years since my babies were abducted by Kern County. For 3 years I fought for them. In the end, an out of county judge stated, “this is the story of a family in the wrong place at the wrong time.” I regained custody, but at what cost to myself and those children?

For the longest time, as I fought to regain my sanity, I also fought to regain my honor, my name, my reputation. I finally realized that those who truly care enough to get to know me personally know who I am. They are witnesses to my honor, my reputation, my ethics and integrity.  

25 years later I still wonder about the effects to those 80 plus children who were used and abused by the powers in force at the time. I see the effects on my own daughters who were removed from my care and custody and  subjected to a system that knowingly allowed them to be physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abused without recourse. Social workers who recommended their return to my custody were removed from the case, jobs threatened.

Part of the healing process is forgiveness. When asked if I can forgive myself, I answer yes. Yes I can forgive myself for not having the know-how to protect myself and my children. I learned how.

 Lessons learned? I didn’t seek to learn how to fight political corruption. Can any of us correct the faults of another? I did learn that if I want a better home, a better marriage, a better government, I must be a better person. I learned to honor my own power and let my voice be heard. I learned to set boundaries and limits against those who would use or abuse me for personal or political gain. I learned that “the ability for a woman to grab hold of self-empowerment is dependent upon the skills she is able to learn.” http://www.articlesbase.com/self-help-articles/selfempowerment-tips-for-women-finding-your-inner-power-source-791668.html

For this reason I founded Institute for FemiKnowlogy as a means to assist other females in their efforts to gain the skills they want and need to thrive in the 21st century.  

FemiKnowlogy™ is not about feminist vs. traditional female roles. It does not see color, religious or socio-economic standing. Its focus is not on the right-to-choose or right-to-life. It is instead, all about understanding the rights and responsibilities of females in the 21st century and gaining the skills needed to exercise both.

FemiKnowlogy understands that no matter what role a female chooses in the 21st century, she still needs a safe and secure home and the skills to maintain that home. To secure her personal safety and well-being she needs loving relationships that honor her values and unique identity. It includes personal finance knowledge and skills, business/career development, and techno-savvy. FemiKnowlogy incorporates traditional home making skills, upgraded and augmented with emotional intelligence to form safe, supportive relationships. It provides workshops for personal, professional, business and spiritual awareness and development.

All of this is enveloped in the understanding that we are created beings and the acknowledgment that there is a Higher Power. We as females connect to that power even in the mundane chores of life. It is through this connection that we find our truest source of power and inner peace.

I invite females from all walks of life to join me in the discovery of LIFE v21.0.9


Gastronomic Simplicity

April 4, 2009

Friends and acquaintances who know me well know that I am not big on restaurants. I am a fabulous cook, as good as, if not better than, the majority of our local restaurants. Fast food, for health and ethical reasons, is for emergencies only. For this reason, if you hear me recommend a local restaurant, know it is going to be a gastronomic delight. Like Santorini’s in Beaverton. Be sure to order the lamb chops or the pork schnitzel. OMG!!!


If you are a local Portland-Metro business woman doing busines with me, chances are I will invite you to my home-office for a meeting at some point. The benefit to you is that I will delight you with my home-chef cooking skills. For instance, Vickie Olsen of laPlanette, LLC., and I discussed I.F. strategy over a delightful lunch of Lentils, Monastery Style with bread and a “21st-century” fruit salad this afternoon.

I know you want to do biz with me now! 😛


Lentils, Monastery Style   4 – 6 servings

In a large pot sauté 3-5 minutes:

1/4 c. peanut oil (read here why peanut oil)
1 large onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped

Add and sauté 1 minute more:
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. marjoram

1 c. dry lentils, washed
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
3 c. stock or water salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. diced tomatoes

Cook in covered pot until lentils are tender (about 45 minutes)

Have ready: 2/3 c. grated Swiss cheese

To serve place 2 T. grated cheese in each bowl and top with soup. Good with fresh baked sourdough bread.


Recipe from Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé – Eleventh printing April 1990

Self-care Sunday

March 15, 2009

I picked up Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self-Care
on Amazon.com and began reading it today. Right off, in chapter one – End The Legacy of Deprivation, I realized this would be another of her powerful books.

As I read I became aware of my behavior over the last few months since Steve’s diagnosis of prostate cancer. I thought I had been dealing well; rationalizing this was not a death sentence, only another challenge in life. But as I read about Cheryl’s own experiences of flitting from one thing to another, creating multitudes of to-do lists and over-eating to stuff feelings, uneasiness crept into my spirit. An awareness that I had begun to fall back into old patterns of self-deprivation began to grow.

Cheryl states “over giving is often a sign of deprivation – a signal that a need isn’t being met, an emotion isn’t being expressed, or a void isn’t being filled.”

Memories of a time when I lived in extreme over commitment flooded my mind. My children suffered, an 8-year marriage dissolved, and several friendships were broken because of my over giving.

Like Cheryl, I too have discovered that “awareness is a powerful catalyst for positive change.” She challenges the reader to spend the next 30 days becoming skilled at recognizing the ways we deprive ourselves.

Cheryl, I accept your challenge. I rededicate Sunday’s to my own personal self-care.

Sunday brunch with Steve is our time to just be with each other. Afternoons are my time for spiritual introspection. Here I also find time to plan and coordinate my weekly activities. I devote this time to review my calendar, check my wardrobe for the week, and pre-prep any breakfasts/lunches that must travel with me during the week.

Sunday evenings I’ll spend some quality time in our wonderful spa tub, making sure to provide my body some much needed pampering. Then a quiet dinner with Steve will round out the day.

Some Sunday’s – like today – Steve is at the model train club repairing track or what-not, so I have additional time for reading and writing.

Thank you Cheryl for the reminder to take time for my own needs, ask for help, appreciate my own accomplishments, and make my own self-care a priority.


Now you may think that just because there was snow on your roof this morning, Portland, that spring is a ways off. Take heart. Spring is very near!

The very fact that I have had to commence with my “catch-release-catch” program this week tells me spring is at hand, just around the corner in fact.

Being a FemiKnowlogist, I am not one to upset nature’s balance. So when I found the tell-tell droppings under my kitchen sink last week, I pulled out my trusty Victor Live Mouse Traps.

Once upon a time I used your run-of-the mill spring loaded mouse trap. But if you have ever had to dispose of the capture from one of those contraptions you will understand why I discontinued their use.

With the live traps I just pop a peanut into each trap and set them near where I found droppings. Since we are early in the season I find I have to check them twice a day. I usually check them around 9:00pm and again in the morning before I leave for work. Sometimes the smaller mice are able to get in, steal the peanut, and get out without tripping the trap, but the larger ones are captured every time.

Our house is the next to the last house on the block then there is a large field with a water shed area at the end. This is where I release the little buggers.

These critters are not as timid as you might think. I have had them make a quick u-turn upon exiting the trap and run between my feet in an effort to hide under my shoes. This, of course, produces a loud ”eeek!” from me, followed by an amazing acrobatic feat.

On one occasion the creature executed it’s u-turn, made a mad dash out of the field and across the paved street…did I mention there is a very large, very old oak tree hosting a family of harrier hawks on the other side of the field? h0e2ycagnsae1cas3otc9carn55nacalgffzbca6k1ajacap4i1okcamb5wudcalk0w6lca1v0r5lcaldyllgcai62f43cafcrgfgcalwkc4uca5zkh0ocag2gh8uca287ghccadd6swfcafubaasca0d2oyr

Hence the name, catch – release – catch program. And the circle of life continues…

Walk like a Penguin

How to walk like a penguin

  •  March in groups, with like-minded, for support, safety, and protection from the elements
  • It matters little how you get there – you may walk or toboggan on your belly
  • However you choose to get there, you are responsible for the progress of your own journey
  • Do not impede the progress of others


To those who are alone

To those who are on this same journey

To those who are like-minded

To those who are tired of finding themselves flat on the floor

To those who sit quietly by, shackled by fear

To those who have never-give-up determination

To those who understand two heads are better than one and a cord of three strands is not easily broken

To those who want to put down the cardboard sign, get out of line, turn off the cell phone

To those who want to enjoy a bit of peace of mind

To those who just aren’t quite sure how to get out of the way of bully/predators

To those who want to March Like a Penguin


Hello, I am Countess Culture Vulture…