About Me

I work in the US as an herbal educator and consultant.  I work mostly as a teacher these days,  although I have some clients who won't let me quit the later entirely.  

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.  When I am hard up for cash, 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. 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 kinda shit. 

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.

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, and I even performed in an English Country dancing group for awhile.  Archery is as close as I have ever come to playing a sport.

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.
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 all the moralizing.

I am a pretty typical American mongrel. I  have ancestors born in Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Lancashire(Quakers), and one from the Netherlands.  My great-grandfather called himself a Dutch-Irish Jew to confuse the hell out of 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. 

At times you might recognize me as an obnoxious Irish American. 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).  So if March in my life sometimes seems a little over the top, bear with me.  I am not truly insane. It's just performance time, here.