About Me

I work in my community an herbal educator and consultant.  I mostly teach these days although I have some clients who will likely stick with me for the duration. 

I've taught herbal preparation at our local community college and conferences around the country. Some people recognize me because I was the event manager of one of the larger conferences for several years.  I have written for several herbal publications and lately write almost exclusively history pieces.   I write patient handouts for integrative medicine physicians and do some freelance copyediting.

As far as my academic background goes, I went to college as an adult after I had practiced as a community herbalist for some years. I wanted to  "to get my science on" and I did. I have a pretty solid biological sciences background. I thought about heading off to med school.

(For what it's worth, I am pretty proud of that education. I come from a dirt-poor, rural background and was only the third person in my family to get a degree.  My mom was the first and my sister beat me by a few years.)

But I couldn't quite shake off my interest in the folk practices of my family, so I doubled up on classes and dove into Celtic studies classes, so that I could write a thesis pulling it all together.

It's not my best work.

I wrote it before I had the "leprauchanization" of Irish history mostly sorted out and I cited authors,  who were writing nationalistic fantasies, for a professor who thrived on that genre.  I knew enough not to cite Grave's inventions, but I took Lady Wilde and Yeats far too seriously back then.

The family minus the cats. 

Today, as  I try to put together a book that keeps the good parts of that but throws out the nonsense, I  am a stickler for primary source documents and I try very hard to avoid passing along fairy stories as historical truth.  Although I admit that I love a good tale and I like to look for little bits of operant information that might be hidden in them. 

I  have ancestors born in Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Lancashire (Quakers), and the Netherlands.  My great-grandfather called himself a Dutch-Irish Jew to confuse  people. The Irish branches, through the virtue of being the loudest,  had the most pronounced influence on my upbringing though I still named my son after St. Andrew because he was born in November.

At times you might worry that I am one of those obnoxious Irish American types. My daughter trained as a step-dancer with a TCRG teacher and she's danced with The Chieftains, Gaelic Storm, Lunasa, Danu and so on.  My son takes Irish music lessons with one of my oldest friends who is a McGovern from Co. Cavan (which is funny if you know about the O'Reilly's and McGovern's in Co. Cavan). 

I am also a community leftivist and I've spent a great deal of my time lately organizing our mutual aid collective and volunteering as a medic to support our local Black Lives Matter protests.  I got tear gassed and everything .

In my spare time I dabble in medieval recreation as a hobby. I belong to the SCA. I grow medieval period plants in my herb garden.   I cook from medieval cookbooks. We brew our own ale and mead.  I even performed in an English Country dancing group for awhile.  

I have a husband, four children, two grandchildren. They husband and the younger two boys still live at home along with my sweet little dog and two cats who live with here but don't think much of me.