Monday, January 29, 2007

Do-It-Yourself Citrus Toner

I was so excited to find a Buddha's Hand fruit in our local, but very cool supermarket. Of course I was the only one buying it, and people gave me lots of looks and questions.

This fruit is considered to be yummily medicinal, and it's basically all rind, like the Korean citron, yu-ja, that makes a great tea. I can't decide whether I should make tea with it, more maybe throw it into a citrus toner:

Citrus Mint Toner

Inspired by 365 Simple Pleasures, collected by Susannah Seton (Conari Press, 2001).

A splash of this easy-to-make formula will perk up a tired or oily complexion and bring some sparkle to your skin. It uses ingredients that are both refreshing and abundant at this time of year; together they make this toner smell mouth-wateringly delicious.


1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon peel, finely grated
1/4 cup grapefruit peel, finely grated
1 cup fresh mint leaves

1. Bring water to a rapid boil and add other ingredients. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, until peels are soft and slightly translucent.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain and discard solids.

3. Store formula in the refrigerator and use a splash whenever needed to perk up your skin.

Mixture keeps for 2 to 3 weeks.

For more lovely citrus smell in your life, try the orange-ginger shea butter from Perfect Organics.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bees have antibiotics (eek!)

I'm reading Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma where he traces the sources of our foodstuffs and finds that antibiotics are dumped in chicken, pigs, beef. Sickly farm raised, Omega-3-less salmon are also given antibiotics, and then there's the whole overuse of antibiotics by your friendly doc/pediatrician.

Now, say it ain't so, but you could be getting antibiotics via your honey. I noticed our co-op was selling "antibiotic free honey," and so asked Max Gitlen, the general manager of our co-op, and here's what he said:

Most commercial apiaries give their bees antibiotics at this point. It's due to the fact that there is, generally speaking, a crisis in the bee world. As with many other
animals, we have bred our commercial bees to have certain traits (we want them to be productive, docile, etc) and as a result the vast majority of them are VERY similar, genetically speaking. These bees have bred with wild bees, weakening their genetic diversity as well.

As a result, all of them--domesticated and wild--are highly susceptible to the same diseases and bee mites, which have started to kill them off. This is obviously quite dangerous, as bees are the primary pollinators of fruits and veggies, and if they lack the necessary genetic diversity, they may not be able to develop sufficient resistance. Many fruit farmers have already lost portions of their crops to under-pollination!

MAN FERTILITY and I actually know someone who died of one of those antibiotic-resistant "superbugs." I suggest you minimize antibiotics whenever possible because you're probably getting plenty from some OTHER vector you don't yet know about...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Infertility Donuts: The new rap on trans fats

Appetizing! You have to figure that some man-made process that forces hydrogen into vegetable oil in an industrial process has to gum up the human machine somewhere...

From The new rap on trans fats: infertility By William Saletan - Slate Magazine:

Trans fats may cause female infertility.

Data: 'Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility,' even after adjustment for fertility risk factors. Hypothesis: Trans fats disrupt a fertility-boosting 'cell receptor involved in inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.'

Sounds like you might be able to get diabetes from it, too!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bonus Post: Global Warning Rage, Manhattan Style

After my angry screed against the line of idlin' SUVs at my local prep school, multiply that by a hundred. Looky what I found today in the New York Times (my snarky ex-New Yorker comments are in {}s):

Once Around the Block, James, and Pick Me Up After My Nap

The cars gather in front of the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan about 8:30 a.m. In the front seats sit hired drivers (nobody uses the term chauffeur anymore). The cars are mostly big and mostly black luxury-edition sport utility vehicles like the Mercedes GL-Class or the GMC Yukon Denali. They fill the lanes in front of the Y’s entrance on Lexington Avenue, often two or three rows deep.

...The children — ages 3 through 5 — are enrolled at the Y’s famous nursery school. The livery convention on Lexington Avenue occurs most every weekday. Neighbors of the Y and parents with children in the nursery school say they have seen the number of cars and drivers increase considerably over the past couple of years...

...In exasperation, the director of the school, Nancy Schulman, drafted a letter to all families insisting that the drivers wait somewhere else while parents or baby sitters take the children in: find a legal parking space, or take their cars for a few spins around the block.

...Some parents applauded the action. “Personally, I think it’s great of the Y to do that,” said one mother who takes her child to school by taxi.

{What ever happened to taking the subway? Or walking???? One of the best things about NYC!}

...The Y is hardly the only school in the neighborhood where children get to school by car and driver. Dropoff hour at Nightingale-Bamford, on 92nd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and at Dalton’s lower school, on 91st between Park and Madison, is often clogged by chauffeured S.U.V.’s....Over the course of four mornings this winter, at least 22 chauffeured S.U.V.’s were seen, most of them repeatedly, waiting in front of the school while parents brought in their children.

...A parent whom other parents identified as a chauffeur-using mother, Alison Schneider, whose husband, Jack Schneider, is a hedge fund manager, said, “I got the letter, but I don’t really have any feelings about it one way or the other. It’s kind of boring.

...The consensus from parents who make use of a driver to deliver their children to school, even if the trip is just a few blocks long, is that time is scarce.

...{I love this quote:} Myrna Weiss, a former member of the Y’s board of directors and a grandparent of a child at the nursery school, interpreted the use of chauffeurs...: “It’s also about one-upmanship. That game used to be played much more quietly, over what clubs the parents had their children’s birthday parties at. There weren’t such visible signs of a pecking order.”

{I think this explains the lady I saw. People waste because they can, and its even becoming a status symbol---eeeeeeek! }

(use my username/password: "GreenFertility" on

p.s. Anyone remember those pics of George H.W. Bush being chauffered (back when they used real, honest to goodness limos) to kindergarten in Greenwich?

Need more? :'Smoking gun' report to say global warming here - "

REVIEW: Perfect Organics Orange Ginger Shea Butter

Well! This sure puts the perfect back into organics.

Orange is my new favorite winter scent--it's so evocative, warm. And my acupuncturists have all been telling me to step up the ginger to warm up my cold constitution. I've been chucking it into soups, but now I have it in Perfect Organics' Orange-Ginger Shea butter.

As I have mentioned many times before, I am lazy. And I love multipurpose products. This is basically plain old organic shea butter with 100% organic oils and non-GMO (thank you!) vitamin E as preservative.

I use shea butter to
  • Moisturize
  • Lip balm
  • Tame staticky hair flyaways
  • Can be used as styling gel (sparingly!)
  • Spot conditioner for dry ends after shampoo
  • Great cuticle cream
  • PLUS it's not a liquid or a gel
Basically, stash one of these in your travel kit and skip the moisturizer, lip balm, hair gel, etc.

I've also heard you can use it as a "personal lubricant." However, I *don't* think it's latex safe and if you're trying to conceive, stay clear of anything that may alter the pH of your vagina!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rare snow storm surprises Arizona and more weird weather

It's finally snowing here, but I still feel unease. It doesn't smell like winter, and out neighbors tree is still pushing out buds and I still see live pansy flowers in flower boxes all over town...weird.

And weird weather? There's plenty!

Rare snow storm surprises Arizona - Yahoo! News.

There's another storm in Colorado,

In Oklahoma, an ice storm disrupted power to as many as 125,000 homes and businesses while warming temps later led to melting ice and snow that have turned roads into slushy rivers, yards into quagmires and streams into rushing torrents.

And, the coup de grace: a pickup truck carrying radioactive materials used in pipeline scanning equipment was swept from a bridge and disappeared in a swollen creek in Oklahoma's Pittsburg County.


See also: global warming rage

Monday, January 22, 2007


We just joined Urban Greens coop here in Providence, which is kind of a buyers club and is in the process of creating a retail store.

It's kind of a neat thing--the co-op buys directly from local farmers, beekeepers, herbalists, and there's also access to an association catalog where we can buy stuff in bulk. I bought 9 lbs of buckwheat soba noodles...they just came--plop--in some old box...saved a lot on all the pesky plasticky packaging.

There's annual dues, and each member of the co-op works for an additional discount. We packed root veggies one day and our regular job is as Spanish translator.

And while I do depend on Whole Food for many things, I'm really really enjoying getting off the grid even more!

Read more about the joys of co-oping at Eco-chick.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Neonatal Outcomes Worse With Planned Cesarean Than Planned Vaginal...

Planned c-sections are all the rage with celebrities, another US magazine thing that trickles down to the masses...if Kate Hudson does it to keep her skinny hips, why not me?

To be filed under: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature:

Neonatal Outcomes Worse With Planned Cesarean Than Planned Vaginal...: "NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 08 - Newborns delivered via planned cesarean section are more likely to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and to experience pulmonary disorders compared with those delivered via planned vaginal delivery, according to findings published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

'The appropriateness of the rising rate of cesarean delivery worldwide has been debated widely,' Dr. Toril Kolas, of Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway, and colleagues write.

In a prospective study, the researchers examined neonatal outcomes among 18,653 singleton deliveries during a 6-month period. Data obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway were analyzed according to intended mode of delivery.

Of the 18,653 deliveries, 17,828 were planned vaginal deliveries and 825 were planned cesarean deliveries. Rates of transfer to the neonatal intensive care unit were 5.2% for planned vaginal deliveries versus 9.8% for planned cesarean deliveries (p < p =" 0.01)."

For the child, the stress of vaginal delivery seems superior to elective.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Global Warming Rage?

We need a new word. There's Road Rage, so why not Global Warming Rage? Last week, I was walking (yes, walking) home from the train station, slogging my way up the hill back to our house (and, yes, getting a bit sweaty in the 60ish degrees) when I saw a woman in her gigantic Volvo waiting for "Timmy/Tommy/Tiffany" to finish his/her soccer game WHILE SITTING IN A RUNNING CAR reading a magazine, while the FertilityBitch, of childbearing age, is sucking her %$)(#$*#$& exhaust and also making projections about exactly when the jetstream will poop out due to Global Warming. I made sure to glare at her, but she didn't even look up from her )(#$&*#$^ House Beautiful!

Also, during school pickup and dropoff, the line of idling SUVs (yes, that's the majority at this private school, there is the occasional Prius) goes around the block. I don't get it--there's not need to have the car on while you're waiting (and if it's in the 60s here, ahem, I assume no need for the heater, not quite aircon time, either). It seems more like a "look at me I can waste because I can."

We have one car, and had trouble renting out house for the sabbatical years because people (1) couldn't fit their blotational SUVs in our tiny garage AND (2) it's only a one-car garage (plus, we don't have cable, but that's an entirely different story). Sometiems I get so depressed that all the effort we put out to reduce out footprint and we just get STOMPED on by everyone else.

Check out Jill Sobule's Manhattan in January. 'Cause here we have, uh, Manhattan in January:

Thanks to the Worsted Witch for the head's up.

(photo: The New York Times)

And remember, this little cold snap we are currently experiencing shouldn't put anyone at ease (I saw someone today jogging in shorts, fueled by the memories of 60 degrees last week). Global Warming is a misnomer--it might also make things colder (esp. if the jetstream stops), and will definitely make the weather wackier. Three blizzards in Denver? Snow in Texas?

Need more? See Global Fertility: Polar Bears Declared Endangered.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Welcome, Bodhi and Sloane! Congrats Kim!

Let's wish a big ol' happy candy heart to Kim, whose awesome babes rushed into the world a bit early two days ago. But thanks to Kim's spirit and wisdom about nourishing body and soul, these guys are a really, really nice size for twins. Safe mommy and baby (and, happy daddy) whoppee!

You did it, Kim!

Born 01/16/07 @ 2:03 and 2:05 PM, via emergency
c-section -- we are the proud and grateful parents of
two beautiful yet premie babies!

Bodhi James Walsh was first to enter the world with a quiet
and humble little cry. He weighed 4lbs./12.8 oz, he is
17.5" tall and his cranium is 12.5" oblong. His first
name is best defined as "Spiritual Awakening" in the
Buddhist tradition. He has earned this name with his
peaceful demeanor and ethereal good looks. His middle
name is in honor of his paternal Grandfather, James

Sloane Bateman Walsh entered in her own style by biting the
Dr.'s finger as he attempted to help her clear her
mouth for her first breath! Entering the world feet
first, kicking, she is fiesty and perturbed that her
pipsqueak brother popped the timer a few weeks short
by "abrubting" his placenta from the uterus
prematurely. She weighed 5 lbs. 3.2 oz. and is a
towering 18.25" tall with a 13" round head of thick
dark hair. She has already earned the meaning to her
name-"Warrior" with her stern and strong demeanor. Her
middle name is in honor of her maternal Grandfather,
Walter Bateman Allen Jr.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

An urban denizen beseeches nature writers to focus on cities for a change

A friend who is an amazing writer wrote this for Grist. Read it:

Grist: "In Cities Is the Preservation of the Word:
An urban denizen beseeches nature writers to focus on cities for a change

By Jenny Price
09 Jan 2007

A plea to nature writers: Come write about Los Angeles. To all the young aspiring Thoreaus out there: Head to this megalopolis in droves, as if to Mecca. Chicago is also good. New York. Pittsburgh. Atlanta. Reno. Providence. Houston. Indianapolis.

Why does the venerable American literary genre of nature writing continue to ignore cities? Sure, a few wonderful writers are traveling the mean streets: very recently, Michael Pollan has rooted urgently through our supermarkets and kitchens. But when I browse the state-of-the-genre bible, the 2002 Norton anthology of nature writing, I can find only two essays -- out of the 83 written after 1960 -- that explore people's connections to nature in the places where most of us live...
More here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Top IVF doctor's clinics raided by police

From the UK's Independent:
"Two fertility clinics run by Mohamed Taranissi, Britain's most successful IVF doctor, were inspected unannounced on Monday, after one of the clinics was filmed offering unproven treatment to women.

Police accompanied Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority inspectors during the visits to the London-based clinics­ the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre and Reproductive Genetics Institute­ run by Mr Taranissi, who has produced 2 300 babies over the past seven years and is reportedly worth £30-million.

The HFEA said it obtained search warrants as part of 'regulatory action' after being contacted by 'whistle-blowers who appear to have been working in the centre'.

The investigation comes after staff at one of the clinics were filmed for the BBC's Panorama allegedly offering a 26-year-old undercover journalist 'unnecessary and unproven' IVF treatment, despite she and her husband having no history of fertility problems."
Here's more from the Guardian:
The fertility clinic with the highest IVF success rate in the country is the worst at meeting standards - including safety procedures - set by the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

The Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre, run by Britain's wealthiest doctor, Mohamed Taranissi, ranks the lowest among 77 clinics currently licensed for treatment. Only one other clinic, the Reproductive Genetics Institute in London, scored lower in an HFEA audit, but it no longer has a licence to practise.

At this point, these are allegations only, but with any medical treatment that becomes a consumer item, may I remind you: caveat emptor! I have definitely heard anecdotal stories of docs trying to "pump up the volume" either with unecessary treatments, or harvesting non viable eggs to stretch out those profitable IVF cycles...

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Diet Drug Is Approved for Pudgy Dogs

If you ever had any doubt that the drug companies, altruistic protestations aside, mainly want to get more people to take their drugs, take more drugs, take them longer, look no further:

New Diet Drug Is Approved for Pudgy Dogs - New York Times: "Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced one possible way to address the problem: the first prescription drug to treat obesity in dogs.

“This is a welcome addition to animal therapies, because dog obesity appears to be increasing,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the food and drug agency, announcing the approval of the drug.

Veterinarians define obese dogs as those that are 20 percent overweight. About 5 percent of dogs in the United States are obese, and another 20 precent to 30 percent are overweight, according to the drug agency. In all, Pfizer, the maker of the dog drug, called Slentrol, estimates that four million American dogs are obese and potential candidates for its therapy, which will cost $1 to $2 a day.

Not only is this silly in the face of real health crises facing people, but it's doubly brazen and outrageous because canine obesity can be so easily "cured" by feeding dogs less and exercising them more...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pregnancy Stories By Age

Here's an interesting site where people contribute their personal's pretty inspiring in the face of "You're over 35, you're fertility toast," etc. Again, I feel that if you take care of yourself, your fertility can last for quite a while.

From the site:

Pregnancy Stories By Age: "Who says your eggs are too old?
It's not hard to understand the fears surrounding conception. Yes, the statistics show that a woman's fertility declines as she ages, but you must keep in mind that these numbers may have nothing to do with you.

In fact, over the last 20 years, births to women over age 40 have increased by 50%.... And in 1991, 92,000 women in the U.S. over age 40 had babies. That number continues to rise. A lot of forty-something women don't realize how fertile they are, which may account for the fact that they are second only to women ages 18-25 in frequency of abortions.

Who says your eggs are too old? Furthermore, you should know that the vast majority of babies born to women in their forties are healthy. And in healthy women, the vast majority of pregnancies are completed without a hitch.
-Christiane Northrup, M.D., Health Wisdom

Thursday, January 11, 2007

REVIEW: Patagonia Water Girl

I've long admired the Patagonia Company for their commitment to the environment. I was looking for some hemp paper, and saw that they also use hemp paper for their office. They've also committed themselves for years to using only organic cotton (why non-organic cotton is bad, see here). But on my short, scrawny ectomorphic self, their clothes looked like feedbags, and smalls were still too big (with a lot of clothes, actually--I'm beyond a 0 in Banana Republic, even though I don't buy their clothes!).

My other ectomorphic friend suggested shopping juniors, and i could sort of do without the sequins and belly-baring shirts. At least now, ta-dah! Water Girl to the rescue! Patagonia sent me a whole style book so I could see the depth of their fashionable, organic, and super functional "W" clothes, from shirts to pants to jackets and swimsuits. Finally something (like this awesome v-necked hoody-without-the-hood) that can go to work and play and is organic!

Doesn't it look nice with my Loomstate jeans?

Here it is in Green Fertility green.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pregnant with Hypothyroidism? Increase Your Medication!!!

For Ali (applause, applause)...and anyone even thinking about conceiving:

Pregnant with Hypothyroidism? Increase Your Medication!!!: "
If you’re pregnant and hypothyroid, you may need an increase in your dose of thyroid hormone replacement, even just a few weeks after conception, according to research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that 85 percent of pregnant women with hypothyroidism --a condition where the thyroid is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormone -- require an increase in thyroid hormone replacement drug to protect the baby. "**
Hm, coincidentally, Brigham is where I'm headed to check out my wee thyroid, will check back and answer the reader question of how to find a good thyroid doc.

Even more funny, my acupuncture place is just a minute or two away--I'm still trying to figure out if the balancing that's been going on means my thyroid is also more balanced. We'll see!

**And check out What are the normal thyroid levels for each trimester of pregnancy?

Adoption news: Angelina is a Madonna but not vice versa?

Morning Briefing:

Jolie weighs in on Madonna: Jolie as MadonnaAccording to the Daily Mail, Angelina Jolie wasn't impressed with how Madonna decided to go about adopting her son, David, from Malawi. "Madonna knew the situation in Malawi," said Jolie. "It's a country where there is no real legal framework for adoption. Personally, I prefer to stay on the right side of the law. I would never take a child away from a place where adoption is illegal."

Heightening her moral status, perhaps, Jolie actually took the form of Madonna's namesake -- at least in a painting currently showing at the Miami Art Fair, where Jolie appears as the Virgin Mary, holding baby Shiloh in her arms with Maddox and Zahara at her side. (Daily Mail, Kate Kretz)

From Read more here.

p.s. I still like MY idea of Madonna being so concerned for the child's welfare that she will give the baby's father a micro-loan (or, a macro-loan, hey, she's rich!) so he can raise his own child in his own country, as he has said many times he desires to do. Why separate parent and child if you don't have to? Just a thought.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Asymptomatic Thyroid Problems in Mother Can Harm Newborn

Here's a new year's resolution for anyone thinking of getting pregnant this year accidentally or on purpose: GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED.

Here's a "top 10" from Mary Shomon's thyroid guide:

Researchers, reporting in the January 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics, have reported that there is an increased risk of neurological problems in infants when the mother was hypothyroid -- had low thyroid hormone levels -- early in the pregnancy, even if the mother had no symptoms...

...Some experts are now agreeing that routine screening of thyroid function in pregnant women during the early part of the first trimester may be warranted, given these current findings.

Obviously, they haven't mandated it yet, probably the insurance companies think it's too costly. I remember my primary care doc hemmed and hawed over getting me tested, and then my TSH came in at a 9 (fairly high!) with an extra helping of bad antibodies, and even then he wasn't too urgent about referring me to an endo even though he knew we were trying to get pregnant.

You have to take charge of your own health!

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shrooms Help Gluten digestion?

The following article is interesting, because the maitake (a.k.a. Hen of the Woods) mushroom is prized in Asian medicine as an adaptogen (like ginseng, something that helps your body cope with stress) and I see people like Dr. Andrew Weil recommending it to do things like ward off colds.

Many mushrooms contain something called beta glucans, which are good for the immune system, and maitake is supposed to have one of the highest usable levels of beta glucans. And, like the ever healthful p'yogo mushroom prized by Korean (a.k.a. shitake), it taste deeeelicious.

And now researchers have found it might help GLUTEN digestion? How's that for anti-inflammatory??? I'm finding more and more that the my various (mostly female) relatives always exhorting: eat this, it's good for you (kimchi, mushrooms, bell flower roots, goji berries)! May be smarter than I gave them credit for--now I'm deeply humbled and always learning.

Proteases of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) Responsible for Breakdown of
Wheat Flour Dough and Their Reaction with Gluten Proteins

Makoto ABE1) and Masaharu SEGUCHI2)

1) Department of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Intercultural Studies,
Gakushuin Women's College
2) Laboratory of Food Technology, Faculty of Home Economics, Kobe
Women's University

(Received April 7, 2003)
(Accepted May 15, 2003)

Two proteases capable of decreasing dough strength when added to
wheat flour were purified from Maitake and these were both thought
to be peptidyl-Lys metalloendopeptidase. The major purified protease
SP-3-A hydrolyzed high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits preferably
to the other glutenin subunits. SP-3-A cleaved peptide bonds
adjacent to the N-terminal of lysine in the high-molecular-weight
glutenin subunit.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Folk Fertility Fun: Pistachios

Pure fun fertility stuff: I keep hearing anecdotes about pistachios being good for fertility, if both partners eat them. (And not the disgusting red-dyed ones, please.) In fact, last time I accidentally became pregnant, MAN FERTILITY and I had just come off a pistachio binge.

Pistachios are actually really nutritious: 2 oz has more potassium than a banana, also has significant amounts of vitamin B6, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper--all fertility boosters.

Also, check this out from VegParadise: Pistachios trees are dioecious in nature, meaning that the sex of some trees is male and some female, and that both are needed for complete pollination.

And: The Queen of Sheba was convinced that pistachios were a powerful aphrodisiac and ordered the pistachio harvest of the best trees grown in Assyria to be used for her and her royal guests only.

Look for a deep, green color for the freshest nuts. I like the soaked, sprouted, gently dehydrated (more nutritious, easier to digest) organic ones (pictured above) from Jigsaw Health.

Go nuts!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year's News

A patient at the Chinese wellness place I go to, I have been informed, is pregnant, and she's 46...and the conception was totally natural. Very inspirational, eyyyy?