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Our MPP Jack MacLaren holds an annual BBQ and barn dance at his family farm overlooking the Ottawa Valley at MacLaren’s Landing.  This year I was finally able to make it and was so delighted with the event, I want to share!

Instead of raising funds for conservative coffers, Jack decided to invite donations for an Abilities Centre in Ottawa and we had rousing speeches about what a difference this will make to people with disabilities.  But what really caught my attention was this:

Jack has been  helping various ethnic groups with their challenges and several racial groups made the trek to his farm from as far away as Toronto.  They were warmly introduced and their situations were explained, demonstrating massive courage and faith in the face of persecution that most of us only have nightmares about, including torture and death.  It was obvious that these folks were utterly grateful for Jack’s understanding and support.  What resulted was a lovely mix of people that was maybe a bit unique for West Carleton, smile.

Then there was the dance performance by the “elderly” Chinese ladies.  I peaked in at them while they were getting ready and remarked to someone that they looked between 40 and 50, not really that elderly at all.  Then the announcer informed us that the AVERAGE age of these women was seventy!  When the music started, they swirled and stepped and fanned in perfect time and grace, an inspiration for sure!  It only got better when Jack and provincial conservative leader Patrick Brown got up and joined them, smile…

To finish up the evening there was country music and I was surprised to see musician Al Cochrane in the band.  He was playing at the last fundraiser I attended and had collapsed.  Being the medical person in the room, I took him to a nearby bedroom and offered reiki healing, all I could think to do.  He was scheduled for an invasive cancer surgery and seemed to be on last legs.  Imagine my startled expression when he dedicated the first song to me—who had “saved his life”!  It turns out that he had a healing experience that November evening and became well enough not to need his surgery and with enough energy to go back to his music and life.  I was humbled and astonished as that is not my usual mode of practice.  Clearly it was his strong faith that opened the door to healing.

Thank you Jack for making these profound experiences possible in our community!


image1 (2)By the way, Reiki is something anyone can learn and Reiki master Sylvia McGee will be initiating a Reiki Community here at the Ridge where interested people can learn and practice together.  We’ll keep you posted with dates in upcoming newsletters.


The speaker at the Carp Dinner and Talk on Sunday, Sept. 21 had many people asking for recipes–and no wonder: who knew how good for you homemade pickles were!

Sylvia Mcgee - Speaks about the benefits of Pickles and Fermented Food.

Sylvia Mcgee – Speaks about the benefits of Pickles and Fermented Food.

Retired local teacher Sylvia McGee began her talk with stories about how fermented foods probably came as a result of needing to preserve food. She went on to describe the difference between pickling and fermentation, the latter creating its own acidic liquid, lactic acid, thanks to the help of the Lactobacillus bacteria which just happens to be around everywhere.

This same lactic acid helps maintain the bacteria we need for good absorption and helps food become more nutritious and bioavailable. For example, properly made sauerkraut has twenty times the amount of vitamin C than in fresh cabbage! The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods also help to keep bad bacteria at bay, strengthening our immunity. They can even slow or reverse some diseases such as bowel conditions. Finally, fermented foods are easy on the pocketbook.

Sylvia also regaled us with anecdotes from her childhood when she learned to make fermented foods herself, pointing out that almost everything can be fermented. At the dinner we were treated to the usual fermented cabbage as sauerkraut and cucumbers as pickles, but there were also spicy fermented green beans and carrots as well as tasty fermented radishes and green tomato chutney. A lovely fermented drink was homemade ginger ale!

The other parts of the dinner included a variety of sausages and wieners from local Bearbrook Farm just east of Ottawa, who generously donated a portion of the meal; sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions; millet grain; and a lentil dish. Dessert was an apple crisp made from local apples with yogurt topping. Kudos to Kim Trott for another great meal.

Jessica Spirak demonstrates the art of making leaf rubbings to Simaren and Devinder Serai.

Jessica Spirak demonstrates the art of making leaf rubbings to Simaren and Devinder Serai.

Tanya and daughter Jessica Spirak helped youngsters make paper rubbings of leaves and parents took home enough to wallpaper a spare room and then stayed to wash the dishes.

Music was again provided by volunteers from the Carp Celtic Music Jam and we even had two brave souls dance to one of the waltzes.

Our next Dinner and Talk will be Sunday, October 19 (always the third Sunday) at the Carp Memorial Hall from 4:30 to 6pm. The evening is free with a donation to the local food bank and volunteers are always welcome to set and clean up.



New volunteers from West Carleton Secondary School: ninth graders Alex Jordan and Vicki Turner.

Next month’s talk will be about how to undertake a fall cleanse, given by local naturopathic doctor Katherine Willow. RSVP: or call Lori at 613-839-1198 ext 232. All ages are welcome and we hope to see you!

-A Womyn’s Journey -A Journey’s Story -From Educated to Enlightened PDF copy

When I live something, think something, I make sense of it by writing it. Here is today’s offering:

Life as I had known it (last century!): Educated, Focused, Gogogo

I am living my life in my second third! And I love it. Energy abounds. Enthusiasm is my go-to philosophy. I’m dancing as fast as I can, faster than most, and everyone loves me that way, expects me that way. I sparkle on command, just like my childhood taught me. I just do it; do it right; do it right now! I love helping others, love celebrating them as they take first steps into their own future.

….And I’m Fat (one doctor told me I was a fat lazy pig who eats too much and exercises too little.) (?On less than 1000 calories and more than 12000 steps a day?).

ADHD chases me and serves me.

OCD is born of surviving the impossible…after all, if it is to be, it’s up to me! I can do this!

My gut is its own boss as is my blood sugar.

And my guilty little secret:…clinical depression diagnosis (which is a sure path to losing employment as a teacher, no matter how successful the kids and their parents say that I am. We help the students who have that diagnosis, but “cannot keep a ‘crazy’ teacher in the classroom”.)

(We are living in an unenlightened age, even amongst educated people)

I know where Mum is, where wife is, where teacher Mrs. McGee is….but I haven’t seen Sylvia for years.

And I live underground, …when I am not nose to the grindstone 16+ hours a day.

I am on a constant quest to find answers and to find my place and to prove myself.

My Mum and Dad and my youngest brother have died. And unsaid words haunt me.

My loved one survives a heart attack that they said would take him away. We made that doggedly determined trip back together.

Unrelenting stress builds up.

Favourite Foods: Comfort Foods (Mum’s meat loaf w sweet sauce, brownies), indulgent foods, real food, whole foods, and a little(!) sugar to keep up and keep hyper and keep ready to gogogo all day long, to live the life that I chose and love and get much acclaim for!

References (where I learned some of my biggest lessons in that time):

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Secrets of the Teenage Brain by Sheryl G Feinstein

Essential Reiki by Diane Stein

William Lee Rand

Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss

Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Ekhart Tolle, Andrew Weil

You, the Owner’s Manual by Oz and Roizen

Oprah….in her early years


2001 “You have cancer, Mrs. McGee.” Crack goes the Universe. I’m awake!

I went to my doc, asking about a lump, a fullness that I can feel just below my ribs on my right. I’m told that it is “just the phantom memory of a breach pregnancy”. So I head out, seeking help elsewhere. And I find a GP, a humanitarian, with an energy-rich generosity of spirit, and the skill of listening keenly. She ‘finds something’ and sends me to a surgeon who tells me he will operate immediately. I have seven days to complete an entire set of report cards, to set up a detailed day book for 6 weeks, to ‘get my affairs in order’, to keep up the spirits of loved ones.   I clamour onto the cancer conveyor belt, gratefully. Incision is the ‘cadaver cut’. There are 7 tubes going into or out of me. My 3 day epidural numbs the incision without the dreaded fuzziness of drugs. There are hours and days of lying still and thinking. And Spirit visits me in that time. My Angels and Guides are joined by others sent from elsewhere to stand guard over me and encourage me.

Lessons learned: Gratitude for GP and surgeons and hospital caregivers, and Love sent to me.

Fat loss (well, muscle loss, water loss, …weight loss).

But I receive no avoidance or causal advice about this rare cancer, that clicks for me…so I refuse chemo and radiation which means no future with the oncologist.   And I fall thro the cracks after 18 months.

The struggle to get back on my feet, to start dancing and sparkling again is a solitary battle.   My insurance company thinks that I am cheating the system; they stalk me. Napping three times a day becomes my lifestyle… Where is my famed bountiful energy?

Laughter really is the best medicine. Life on the lighter side is just easier on everybody… (else) and it serves me, too!

And the dark corners encroach again.

Favourite Foods: comfort foods, energy foods, sugar, prop me up foods, get me back to life as I knew it foods.

References: neuro-endocrine cancer: This reference is a recent one, FYI. No available information existed in that day.

Civic Hospital Liver and Pancreas Cancer Clinic

2010. “You have cancer Mrs. McGee.” Thud!   Again? Really?

9 years later? But I thought after all this time…!   I have just retired and entered the next third of my life! I am finally finding Sylvia! I have grandchildren, the apples of my eye.

I gingerly struggle back onto the cancer conveyor belt that worked nine years ago, grasping and clinging to the same tremendous confidence in my life saving surgeons.

But Fear and Panic never lift. How the system has changed. Still grateful for the surgeon’s skill that saves my life again .. but not getting back on my feet….will I be denied what my Mum was denied…the third third of life?

I am seeking help… Living cautiously, slowly. Am convinced that I am already old. I have lost my way.

Favourite foods: does it really matter? Still giving a nod to real foods but relying on quick and easy foods, making up a short term’s worth. Thinking and planning for short term.


Writing your own will

Putting my affairs in order

Need advanced notice to go…anywhere…

OCD includes taking notes obsessively…..forgetful, can’t hear, perhaps Sylvia has left the building?

2013. “You have cancer, Mrs. McGee.” Smack!   What?   No?

Though the GP and Surgeon are still skillful, the system is completely broken, inspiring fear and confusion, focused on numbers and dollars rather than patient needs. 30+ appointments in 6 months. And the first words out of my mouth become “I’m a cancer patient”.

…poignant words that crossed my path…

“The world spins away from under my feet.

My ears ring and my heart beats in my ears and stomach”….

All those appointments, tests, scans, procedures, surgeries, consults…being on the cancer conveyor belt that is never stopping. Health care system has only one answer for me….take action with the surgeons.

But a rare cancer brings one doc out of the woodwork…. A rare cancer is opportunity to publish and turns up a cowboy who wants to treat me like a cadaver…before I am dead. My only escape is “I need a break…for a year….” “Then you will lose your referral with me!” “I’ll just have to live with that…”

And off I run, as fast as I can, to another health care provider who immediately becomes a vital member of my team…a very short list of professionals who are skilled AND caring.   Joining GP, liver and pancreas surgeons, kidney surgeon, daughter Lindsay’s research and care, is now ND Katherine.

I am encouraged to learn, to research answers, to use my skills and intellect, to see myself as alive and still vital. I can still get up and out there.

I still expect to claim every single minute of the other 26 years of my next third, to take charge of my life, to live consciously.   And I do that by waking up every morning with Joy that I woke up, with Appreciation for this body and this brain that have carried me to this day. And with the desire to be busy because I can be, and with a need to volunteer, to pay simple acts of human kindness forward…every chance I get.

Enlightened?…enlightening…still growing…


Carp Ridge a Natural Health Clinic

German New Medicine   My springboard and still my mainstay for advice, recipes

GAPS: Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Campbell-McBride

Ditch the wheat

Taking control of mouth health

Favourite foods are now Conscious food choices: Fermented foods

Drinks: Ginger beer, root beer, orangina type drink, pineapple drink…made with ginger bug or with whey

Dill pickles


“Do something interesting every day…otherwise you dis-integrate!”

-from a facebook centenarian

Lessons that I’ve learned:

We have allowed our nourishment to become the food industry.

I Eschew sugar and grains (food industry’s favourite additives), milk, processed foods, potatoes

I Eat and drink only the very best quality / most natural food that I can find

Make my own foods

Follow Gut and Psychology Syndrome: GAPS. Our mental health issues have a connection to our gut health…you saw how my mental health declined through my cancer experience, impossible for me to overcome.

We need to find out about GAPS…follow it

Eat / drink fermented foods (sauerkraut, gingerbug drinks, fermented (Kosher) pickles and vegetables for our gut health.

I’m told First drink of the day: squeeze juice of half lemon in water

I Drink Bullet Proof Coffee (hot coffee, 1tbs butter, 1 Tbs coconut oil, 1 Tbs gelatin- blend in glass blender)

I Eat good fat (olive oil, coconut oil, butter)

I Eat vegetables with carbs, vegetables with protein. Do NOT eat carbs with protein.

Yes, tooth enamel can re grow. (Dr Westin Price)

Next up -where do I go from here:

Check it out:

–   Dr Robert Lustig on Bill Maher show, his documentary “FedUp”, his work that confirms what I have always suspected: overconsumption of sugar is the number one evil. Not just because of obesity, but also because of internal damage. What is TOFI “thin on the outside and fat on the inside”. Chronic metabolic disease…is that the same as neuro endocrine cancer

–   leaky gut syndrome

–   Asleep by 10 philosophy

–   Hashimoto’s syndrome and thyroid sluggishness


I have decided::

To Reach outward; move forward.

To Focus outside of my own skin.

To Make every activity and commitment the very best.

And I leave you with these ideas that encourage me:

Laugh…right out loud…at every little pleasure…every day. Then share that laughter.

“Be who you are and say what you feel (because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind)”

“Womyn are Angels. When someone breaks our wings… we simply continue to fly …on a broomstick… We’re flexible like that.”

Celebrate!….every little thing.   And share the celebrations.

Good Health (what I like to refer to as pursuing Happyness) requires balancing body, mind, spirit (individually and collectively).

And I leave you with this poem (from Bob Perks), that speaks to me, and keeps crossing my path:

I Wish You Enough!

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough “Hello’s”to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

– –- written by Bob Perks, P.O. Box 1702, Shavertown, PA 18708-1702, USA

Thanks for listening. See you on my website and blog page…stay tuned this summer.

I had planned to do do some food demos today, around the GAPS diet….too much information!…coming soon…sign up for our (Kim and Sylvia’s) food demos!  See the poster here: Kim&Sylvia .   Watch for information at future Carp DinnerTalks.


Sylvia Melba Christie McGee, Carp DinnerTalk May 25, 2014






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