And for once I was SuperMom

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love Thyself

Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday. I laughed so hard for most of the night that my cheeks hurt at the end of the meal. Us four ladies took turns making fun of our dietary indescretions. One of us confessed that she loved cheese, another confessed that she was weak for carbs. I confessed that I was a sucker for both. Seriously give me a pound of Vermont white cheddar and a loaf of french bread and you might want to leave the room because what's gonna happen next ain't pretty. One of us is pregnant, and she made faces about the squishiness of her belly and the other unfortunates of being pregnant. Of course to us she looks just like she did before but with more belly. Than two of us went on to make fun of how horrible we looked when we were pregnant. There were imitations of Pregzilla eating Tokyo, there were descriptions of the size of our ankles, and how we did NOT want to be touched. Which was fine, because let's face it pregnancy is freaky. Like something out of a science fiction movie.

At one point a card was passed around, a funny card about a princess that was a size four, who ate want she wanted, and never exercised, and had a prince that massaged her feet all the time, and she was eaten by a dragon, and no one cared. I laughed but inside I cringed a bit, I am a size four. Which I reluctantly write because I know that an unsaid rule of girlhood is to not say your size, especially if it's small. I comforted myself because I do exercise, and I don't eat all the time. SO I guess that other women can't hate me too much. I used to be bigger, but through a series of realizations about portion size, getting more disciplined in exercising, and lactation I have lost weight. I actually am pretty comfortable with my body. Sure post-baby some stuff is a little deflated, but through the miraclce of good lingerie no one has to know about it. Except that now I just typed it on the internet...basically though I think I look pretty good. I ignore magazines, because that's not real and just try to enjoy what I have.

I guess my sticking point is why is it that it's cool to bash ourselves? I have sat in multiple conversations where I feel I almost have to make up things up that I hate about myself or exaggerate my insecurities. Why do we do this? We get together and spiral down on ourselves.

My friends that I ate out with last night are mature ladies, in happy marriages, and on the whole I think pretty confident. I would think that none of them have body image issues. If they do they are peripheral to who they see themselves as people. I think that probably they don't really. One of them has confessed to me that she's actually pretty happy with her size. I think they all look pretty good, even when pregnant. Even the hilarity of pregnancy, with all it's swelling and mood swings, no one really cares how fat you get or how swollen, it's just part of the deal.

Another thing that I want to free women from is thinking that we all have to weigh 120lbs. Men accept the fact that at different heights they will weigh different weights. Not all men weigh 180lbs. My husband would be overweight at 180 and my brother would be too thin. They know that. I have watched countless tall women blanch at stating their weight, because it's well above 120lbs. And it needs to be well above 120lbs becuase of their height. At 5'3" I am way too heavy in a size ten, but at 5'10" a size ten or twelve would be perfect. Why is that hard for us to accept?

So why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we just accept ourselves the way that we are? Just focus on being healthy, eating right and exercising for the sake of feeling good and not being any particular number size or weight that you think you might need to be. Know that Hollywood is all air-brushing and camera angles and that we all come in different shapes and that they're all good, because that's the way we were made. Hopefully we feel like we weren't made in mistake, but by good design. So ladies, I encourage you to throw out the scale or whatever torture device you use and go get a hug from someone.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Thanks for all the encouragement. As Rachel commented on my last blog, "we all feel in the void." I think that's a perfect way of saying it.
In an act of desperation I ran out of the house this morning. Scott needed to work on job applications and I needed to keep Emma out of his hair, without building resentment towards him. My day with his help and he's occupied elsewhere, and he needs to be occuppied elsewhere, but you know...we're not always rational. I got coffee but didn't stay at the coffee shop, a one year old at a coffee shop? How is that enjoyable?
We ended up at the library. I go there a lot. Of course I only got about three board books in before Emma was arching her back and pointing her toes to the ground. There was another mom there with her twin toddler girls. Of course on her first trek across the kid's room she sauntered right up to them and stood all wobbly and cute like, gazing expectantly up. I just watched. Within moments the two girls were 'reading' to Emma. I snatched bits of conversation with the mom, she quickly admitted that she was ready to go back to work, winter's were hard, and that she was eager for adult conversation. All points to which I readily agreed. On the way out the door we quickly passed on our names, in such a small town we are bound to run into each other again.
I spent the rest of my time there chasing her, and discovered that my child is not one of those that you can turn around and she happily heads in a different direction. Nope, she turns around and towards her original direction, for example, shrieking with joy towards the quiet group of people intently working in the computer lab. At least I'm still faster than her. For now. After discovering a fully loaded diaper I decided it was time to go home.
I sat in the car for a moment after strapping Emma into her carseat and finished the 'muffin top' that I had bought at the coffee shop, I just loved the fact that it was called a muffin top. I stared at the snow covered peaks in front of me, now what? I wasn't ready to go home. I sat munching, it wasn't too cold and there was a park right across the street.
At the park it became apparent within moments that she was ready to go home. Her resistance to letting go of her lovey and the crying I got when she fell. I was avoiding going home, we had been cooped up for a few days with a fever, and really cold weather. I couldn't stomach anymore Disney channel and my creativity was running dry.
As I drove home I thought about all the conversations I have with moms who feel stuck 'in the void.' We want to get out and make promises to get out, but why don't we? I can't tell you how many promises of play dates are made that are never followed through on. Is it because my child can only last for about three hours before she needs sleep? Is it because we assume that everyone else is handling this better than we are? Is it because we are afraid to admit we are going crazy between being cooped up and watching our professional lives dissipate down a drain? So what is it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Something Out of Nothing

Yesterday I made chicken broth. Those little grocery store rotisserie chickens get bought quite frequently in our house, a few weeks ago, it occured to me that I could use the carcass and leftover meat to make broth and then soup. We had one of the chickens last night for dinner, I made a big point of telling everyone not to throw their bones away.
This morning I picked off the meat, set it aside and threw everything in a pot with two stalks of celery, two carrots, and an onion. You don't even need to peel the onion. Covered it with water, some salt, some parsley, and some thyme. Walk away and two hours later you have broth.
Then I sauteed chopped carrots, onion, and celery. Threw in some hot italian sausage I had laying around in my freezer, sauteed that up. Then I put in the remaining chicken meat, a cup of brown rice and covered it with my new fresh broth. Later I added fresh parsley and a milk sauce, and we had creamy chicken and rice soup for dinner.
Why would you make your own broth when you can buy the canned kind? It may be a bit cheaper. Considering that you used what normally would have become trash and that the vegetables only cost pennies. Homemade broth is healthier, I only added two teaspoons of salt to the three quarts I made (I'm trying not to think about what may have been smeared on the rotisserie chickens.), there's no MSG, and no cans or cartons. The only trash being the leftover bones and the used up vegetables.
I did feel guilty about the vegetables. I want to compost so bad. Nothing grows up here at 9,000 feet, nothing that humans like to eat, the deer seem to find plenty. One of my good friends told me that you can just bury your vegetable leftovers in the ground and it will just naturally compost. I got all excited and thought,
"Oh I can buy those Sun Chips that come in compostible bags and just bury them..." but Frito Lay stopped making the compostible bags because people complained that they were too noisy. A little piece of me just died. I try to console myself that the ground is frozen anyway, i would a jackhammer to bury my little bags of compostible goodies.
I did just read that you can save all your veggie leftovers; carrot peels, onion skins and then made vegetable broth out of them. I tell you how that goes...
I love that I took 'trash' and made good for you food out of it. I made something out of nothing.
PS: I know that women have been doing this for years, actually i used to make broth with my mom, but it's still cool. And in an era when very few take the time to think about their consumption affects the earth I think it's a pretty good idea.

Monday, January 24, 2011

For whatever it's worth.

As of late I have been feeling a bit out of sorts. And, well, a bit discouraged. Well nigh, useless at moments.

Some of you know this and some you don't. I sculpt. Stone. I love to take million year old chunks of rock and carve them into something beautiful. Something to show off the streaks and veins of the marble. Take it, celebrate it, and make it into a form that exults it even more. Sculptures are labor intensive. They take hours and hours to make. The stone is expensive and the tools are expensive. But I love it enough to do it, one could say that I am compelled to do it.

Several of my pieces were in a gallery for about three years. They collected dust. They did not sell. Not a single one. When I collected them, one of the other artists asked me if I wanted the monthly sales sheets. I looked at the stack of empty 81/2 x 11 sheets of paper and shrugged. She smiled graciously and said,
"Okay, I'll destroy the evidence."

They are now sitting in the corner of my kitchen, behind the kitchen table. I didn't have the heart to put them back in the basement.

Some of you know this and some of you don't. I paint. Mostly trees. I love taking something from nature and presenting in a new way. Cutting out details and giving you a pure soothing image. Something in me compells me to do it

My paintings are up in a hostel in Salida and in a sandwich shop, Biggie's, in BV town. Both are good venues for my work. I sell a painting every few months. I get a lot of comments on how much people like it, but very few people but their money where their mouth is.

I hope all of you know this. I blog. I blog because I like it. I walk around narrating my life, thinking of ways to describe what I am feeling and going through. Ways to reach out to other people and say, 'do you feel like this too?' I am compelled to do it.

I have been feeling a bit discontented with my blog. I started with the name redearthsafari because we were living in Kenya and I loved the idea that we were moving from a place characterized by it's red rocks to a place characterized by it's red dirt. I love red too, it's such a powerful color, so full of so much meaning. And of course, safari, swahili for journey. I am no longer journeying in the classic sense, but isn't life always a journey. So I have been thinking about changing the name. The best we've come up with is Stone Soup, but there is already a If you've noticed I have changed the template over and over again, like one of those dis-satisfied days where you change your clothes ten times before settling on your old standards. I find myself perusing other's blogs, admiring their photographs, winging over how their's look so much cooler than mine. I have blog envy.

I have a kid. A lovely sweet, bright, beautiful, time sucker of a child. I swear it's like I exist in a vacuum. Hours and days just get sucked out without me even realising it.

So here I am: a sculptor, painter, writer, and toddler chaser. Scott and I spent a full day talking about my problem. I love to do these things; nay, I am compelled to do them, I don't really get paid for them. And I have no idea if I am doing anything of lasting value. But I can't get all these stinking ideas out of my head. I feel like I am throwing things out into the void, with no idea of the return or effect. Honestly I am getting to a point where I am wondering if I am any good at any of this crap. I think the conclusion of the day was to just do it when I have time. Don't focus on whether or not I am bringing in money or how many comments I get on my blog, just do it. For whatever it's worth.

Georgia O'Keefe said that being an artist meant you always felt as if you walked on the edge of a knife. Maybe this is what she meant?

Game On

Emma started walking about five weeks ago. About two weeks into that my sister-in-law Lori asked me if she was 'getting into everything.' I said, 'no, she's really not.' All smuglike, like, my baby is so great she won't do that. No, she knows 'no.' She's awesome. So well-behaved.
I am an idiot.
Anytime a mother with more experience asks me a pointed question like that, I'm just gonna say,
"Why do you ask?" because she's probably asking because she went through it, and quite frankly, it's just foreshadowing.
What am i in for next.
Took Emma to the library today. Met with a friend, while we chatted in the kid's section. She brought us board books, played with the little bead rollercoaster, threw herself down on the little floor level couch, and she stayed IN THE ROOM. My friend left and I decided to stay and spend some quality time reading to Emma. She loves books, loves them. I have read her the same 15 books over and over again. So new books, fun, right? First I took her to the bathroom to change her diaper because it was giving off an acrid funk akin to eau du sour garbage dump. It was like taking her out of their reminded her that there were other parts to the library as well.
We sat down to read. She really wasn't that interested in any of the fun new books. I let her off my lap, maybe she would run amok in the kid's section again...right?
Game on.
She raced straight for the door, by the time I put the book back in the box and got up off the floor she was around the corner cheerily shouting at her escape. I caught her, took her back to the kid's room. Sat down, still not interested in the books.
Like a boomerang she was out the door again. I think our time in the library had run out. Caught her. Put books away. Caught her. Put the box away. Caught her. Put my coat on. Caught her. Put her coat on. Grabbed diaper bag and we're done.
So is she into everything?
Has she learned to run yet?
Does she delight in exploring her new world.
I'm just going to take a moment of silence to thank the person that invented five point harnesses.
And another for high chairs. Because if I couldn't strap this kid in she would never eat.
I officially am the mother of a toddler.
Game on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toddlers & Textures

So I was hanging out with friends last night in some much needed girl time with no kids and my two good friends turn to me and say,
"So how are you? How are you, really?" I sat for a moment and searched my soul. And this is what I came up with,
"Honestly I'm just struggling with looking at Emma and going, 'now what do I do with you?'" Read the same books for hours, I can only let her watch so much Sprout TV without feeling like a total cad, and it's 18 outside. They both nodded and another friend assured me that winter is just hard. And to take Emma to the library.
Then I got home and got this email from my sister-in-law Erica,

I wanted to tell you, you inspired me to do something with Ethan because of your blog about letting Emma play with rice to feel a different texture. I had it all planned to do something like this today. I wanted to collect different textures from around the house, maybe some opposites--and then life happened. Elise got her first cold and had a low grade fever in the middle of the night. She wanted to held all day today. And, I felt like I was coming down with something myself. I only had moments before I'd lose Ethan to the TV and it would be a showdown if I didn't intercept him. I grabbed whatever was near . . . a small piece of saran wrap and tin foil, a plastic fork, an ice pack from the freezer . . . then I sat him down and stuck the saran wrap on him and said, "Clingy!" I reflected the kitchen light on the foil and said, "Shiny!" I poked him with the plastic fork and said, "Sharp!" Then put the icepack against his cheek and said, "Oooooh, COLD!"

Lara, he sat there for 20 minutes uninterrupted playing with these objects, repeating the words, "Ooooooh, COLD!" Then he made up his own game with the objects like wrapping the fork in the tin foil, etc. I just left them on the table and he kept playing intermitently with them all day long. It was a LIFESAVER to a tired, preoccupied mom! Keep these ideas coming! I think you should write a blog on ideas like this. (I was not able to salvage the small scraps of tin foil or saran wrap that I let Ethan play with, but I do NOT feel guilty! The 'world's worst volunteers' would probably have a cow over that . . . Ha, ha!)

Hope you guys are doing well. We're thinking of you! Love, Erica

This made me feel awesome. All I did was write a blog about letting my kid play with rice (see Waste Not Want Not) and my sister-in-love comes up with this.
Today I gave Emma popcorn and let her rip. Kept her busy for about 20 minutes as well.
Do you have any creative ideas for keeping toddlers busy in long winter months?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Waste Not Want Not

I've started letting Emma play with rice, I fill a plastic container with the grain and some cups. I cringe and 'let go' as she scatters the little white grains about the hardwood floors. I tell myself that it's okay, it'll sweep up, and that it's okay that I'll be finding rice in random places for the next few months. Last time she held up her little rice dust covered hands and babbled in confusion at the particles that had been left on her palms and fingers.

Every time I let her play the rice I am reminded of the time that I taught potato prints to a group of refugee girls. At the time I was in grad school for Intercultural Studies, I thought through the implications of using food for an art project with children who had been denied ready access to food. I figured I'd teach the lesson anyway because we were in the US and these kids needed to get used our excesses. And I was desperate for lesson plans.

As I taught the class the girls asked if they could scoop up the leftover potato bits and take them home for cooking. Most of them commented on the strangeness of using food in this seemingly wasteful way. As I thought they would.

I had volunteers for this class, during the class, I will call her the Worst Volunteer in the World, the Worst Volunteer in the World spoke up. She started telling me about a time when she was teaching in an eastern block country and used bean murals as a lesson. She was FLABBERGHASTED at their reaction of not wanting to waste food on art. Setting aside the way I feel about comments on food being more important than art I sat there and watched her clasp her hands to pigeon-breasted chest and tell me all about it. Ugh, I don't know if she was chastising me or trying to commiserate with me and 'my mistake,' but after the Worst Volunteer in the World finished I felt no different and largely annoyed.

My thought in allowing my chid to scatter rice across across our less than sanitary floor, therefore rendering it unedible, is that's it's a cheap way to expose her to textures and to give her another activity. So my 'activity' wastes good food, a high commodity in some areas of the world. I do cringe when she haphazardly tosses it about because I know that it is good food and as we are not exactly rolling in dough any loss of dough is a loss.

I guess my thought is that no one should feel like every tiny bit of food that crosses their path is so precious that used up bits of potato are worthy of eating. (I did eat the remaining potatoes in the bag, just for the record.) Then again no one should feel that food is so plentiful that they can waste whatever and have no repercussions, because no matter what they throw away there will always be food. I have to admit that allowing my child to play with rice and really waste it does display more of, 'there will always be food' attitude.

The world has enough food to feed everyone, there is just an imbalance, we have too much and they have too little. We fight obesity and they fight marasmus. What's the answer, I don't know. What can I do to make a difference? Waste less of my own food, to be sure. But what I save does not go in the mouths of the hungry, and I don't think that just giving it away solves the problem....any thoughts?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The last thing on your mind...

Ah Rachel, it's so true I remember all of those thoughts.
I remember being told that everyone would be hovering around my nether regions, and thinking,
"Surely no, and no, I won't be comfortable with that at all!" But when the day comes, I really didn't care. If having another nurse stick her hand up to her elbow in me was going to make the baby come faster I was perfectly okay with that. (By the way, when it comes to internal exams not all nurses are created equal.) Of course my birth was so long that there were several shift changes during the process, so a lot of everyone was down there. And you know what, I still don't care.
I'm glad that you actually saw some realistic pictures and diagrams. I don't think that anything I saw I actually saw in a book was realistic.
I have two favorites:
1. A book with very graphic diagrams, the cover actually had sperm intersecting with an egg in the 'o' on the cover, (you would think that they would save that for page four, but no, on the cover) had several cross-sections of pregnant women. In the first few months all the internal organs were present and then gradually as the belly got bigger and the baby took up more space, the intestines completely disappeared. I showed this to a friend of mine and said,
"Where do the intestines go?" His response,
"Based on this, you don't have any."
2. The diagrams in What Not To Do When You're Expecting, every single one of them had that silly bucolic smile on their face, like pregnancy was the most peaceful and fun thing that they could think of doing. During exercising: silly grin. Pelvic tilts: silly grin. Nursing: silly grin. Emergency birthing at home: silly grin. Excuse me? If I was having an emergency birth at home, was giving birth on my own bed with my legs propped up, spread eagle on chairs, and the only person around to help was my husband I WOULDN'T BE SMILING!!! I love my husband, but he's a doctor of education, not medicine.
Anyway Rachel, the diagrams are frightening and mostly they lie. You will have more medical professionals looking at your vagina then you ever thought possible and you know what, they don't care, they see 'em all day long. Let's just say when the fat lady does sing, people looking at your privates will be the last thing on your mind. That I can guarantee.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Problem with Month Nine

My friend Rachel Stengel is pregnant with her first. Here are her thoughts on the end of pregnancy:

“Maybe I should invest in a Brazilian wax”, I thought as I looked over delivery photographs in As Your Baby Grows: 9 Months from Conception to Birth. This pleasant and factual title belies the horrific scenes found within.
Before I offend anyone, I should confess that the miracle of life has always disconcerted me; pregnancy and birth seemed more akin to science fiction than the soft-focus sentimentality found in family magazines. That said, I am now eight weeks into my own pregnancy, and it isn’t so bad. With my growing sense of ease about maternity, I decided to skip to the end in As Your Baby Grows because -- let’s face it -- everyone is waiting for the fat lady to sing. The first photo of Month 9 was a little racy, but I’m a big girl so I turned the page and… HOLY TOLEDO there was more woman showing than anything you can find outside of the highest shelf porn mags at the liquor store. I sat there stunned. The soft focus world of smiling, gestating women was gone and the reality of Alien and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers had returned. My husband must have noticed my thousand yard stare and asked “Are you okay? You look shell shocked.” "Look at this!" I said incensed. "This is what birth is like!" I snapped the crisp brochure pages open and presented it with the eagerness and gravity of a trial lawyer producing that last piece of case-winning evidence. I’m sure you can picture the scene: the circus of blue robed technicians crowding around the mother who lays spread out in the birthing chair, her face twisted in a wild, lupine expression. My husband examined this sequence of full-frontal crowning shots. "It doesn’t look that bad to me" he said peacefully. "Are we looking at the same page?!" I exploded. I guess the general ethos on his side of the couch was a more tranquil one.
In the past, when forced to watch educational films about the journey to birth, I thought, “If nature thinks that women are going to put up with kind of malarkey it has another thing coming. Unfortunately, though I have tried to find it, nature does not have a suggestion box. Now I too am on track for that same kind of malarkey. So how does one handle this bizarre finale to pregnancy? Since I will be sharing my nether-lands with the general public, maybe I should own it. I could do something that says “I wasn’t just fooling around and found myself sans panties - I intended to be here.” Brazilian waxing or strategically placed henna tattoos might do. I will of course have to check with my physician to see if this is okay. She will invariably say, "Hold on I have a brochure about that," and proceed to pull out a drawer and thumb through the folders of obscure pregnancy information. "Hmm, let’s see here," she'll say. "Perch Fishing and Your Baby's Health… Operating Heavy Machinery and Maternity… ah here it is A Hairless and Healthy Delivery."
From everything I've said it might seem like I am calloused and unloving toward my future child -- not true. It helps people like me to acknowledge that real life, even its most seminal moments, can be messy and weird.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Sprout-ing Baby

I'll admit it I have become a regular user of the Disney Channel.
It all happened like this:
Once upon a time my mother-in-law was watching Emma. I left the room for a moment and when I rounded the corner again she was sitting in front of the television with my daughter perched on her lap. My child was enraptured by the cartoon taking place in front of her. I froze I didn't know what to do. Up until that point I think I had let her watch Baby Einstein's only sparingly. Is this the moment, the moment when I say, 'please don't do that with my kid,' that moment, are we here? She turned and may have read the look on my face and said,
"You know, the few times we had a TV when my kids were little I just used when they seemed sick or I needed just get through the 'witching hour,'" I sat down and choked back the face that I wanted to make, usually my mother-in-law is thoughtful in what she does.
Later that week when Emma was acting like she was coming down with a cold I thought I'd try it. I got a sippy cup, sat in her my lap and turned on Sprout, a channel with programming targeted at toddlers. And I became a believer. The shows were actually quite sweet, promoting things like bedtime schedules, solving problems creatively, and working together. As I watched I could tell that most of these shows were written by parents and by my child's reaction I could tell that they were working.
So a few times a week it happens, I Sprout her. She either sits in my lap and focuses on the show or tootles around playing and intermittently watching instead of climbing into my lap.
So here's my question; do the actors and actresses in the show actually enjoy what they are doing? Pasting on smiles, saying silly things, and holding connversations with puppets? Is it fun? Do they do it because they like children or are they actors that just need work? Afterwards do they pull a Crusty the Clown and whip out a cigarette and breathe a sigh of relief that it's just all over or do they look forward to the silly songs and sayings? Or are they just thankful for a paycheck? Because i know that I would feel like a bit of a tool, but then again I'm not an actress and I'm sure that a lot of things 'normal' acting requires you to do I would not be comfortable with, largely I think I would feel like I was still playing dress up and a very elaborate game of pretend. But that's just me.
My favorite is when a regularly edgy and avant garde actor has a kid and then suddenly starts doing cartoon voice overs.
Just a thought....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post-Christmas Blues

Upon moving to colorado last time we were here one of my new found friends looked at me and told me,
"I don't do January," and I thought,
"Okay, how do you not 'do' a whole month? It's not like we can just flip the calendar forward and go, 'Look February!'" She explained to me that she just goes on vacation for the whole month. Then I lived here a whole year and realised that I am not so sure that I 'do' January either.
During that last year I was sitting in one of the Sunday School classes at church. In the back of the room there was an elementary school issue calendar posted. On each month there was a requisite symbol, apples for September, pumpkin for October, turkey for November. In January there was a snowflake, in February there was a heart, and in March there was a four-leaf clover. It occurred to me right then and there that we invented Valentine's Day and St.Patrick's Day just so there weren't snowflakes all across the calendar. Actually more accurately snowflake, then hard packed pile of snow, and then brown pile of slush.
We have just returned from our three week tour of Southern California to visit my family and friends. When we had breakfast with one of my friends who still lives in San Diego she asked me how my Christmas was, and I said,
"Oh, we're still going. We got two more left." Kinda takes the shine off.
So we return to Colorado and what do we get? Below freezing temperatures all week long. Why? My husband maintains the cold came because sin came into the world. I half believe him.
January is such a let down. It's still cold, but Santa came already, your skinny jeans are tight from too much fudge, and Sprinkles has discontinued their yummy seasonal cupcakes. It's time to take down the decorations. I keep passing mine and thinking, "I should take those down," and then I do something else. Then I pass them again and think,"I should take those down," and then my daughter wakes up from her nap. One year I think my mom left the Christmas tree up until March. I kinda can't blame her. The thing is so much work and then you just rip it right down again. If I do leave it up I feel that ex-boyfriend that never gave up. He just wanted to be friends...
Now I have the emotional fall out from my kid. Right now she's ultra-clingy and way more prone to tears. No more grandma or cousins to play with, just mommy and all mommy wants is a chocolate peppermint cupcake. But, nooooooo. In a few years I'll have the 'But I don't wanna go to school,' blues to deal with. Atleast that they can take out on their teachers. (All the love to teachers right now, keep on truckin'.)
Maybe I don't 'do' January either. Too bad I can't afford a month in Costa Rica right now. Maybe I can just get in bed and never get out...until, 'Look it's February!'

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trash Talk

I never used paper towels in Kenya. They were sold in our local grocery store, but they were expensive and were of really poor quality, so I never bothered to buy them. We just used cloth tea towels for every spill and mess. Never missed 'em.
Ziplocs were in high demand; you could buy them at one particular grocery store but it was a long traffic riddled drive away. And if you did the broke quickly and were pretty much a complete waste of money. So we washed them. We probably used the same tne bags for a year straight. Every package that my mother-in-law sent she put EVERYTHING in a separate ziploc. It was wonderful.
We didn't use trash bags. The grocery store were large enough to fit into a trash can, much larger than ours are here. So we never bought trash bags. A purchase that I struggle with, because we are purchasing something to throw it away. ( I also struggle with wrapping paper, as my friend said, 'it is ecologically hard for me.')
Coming back to the states I still can't beleive how much trash we produce. And I think we're pretty good. I still struggle to throw away a ziploc. I re-use cardboard boxes, I do wash the ziplocs, we don't buy bottled water, I made an effort not to paper towels or napkins, etc. I always forget to take the re-usable bags into the grocery store. Almost every time. I use grocery bags for trash bags when I can. I feel like I'm always turning myself inside out to reduce our trash. We use cloth diapers, and I make my own baby wipes (largely because I think it helps with diaper rash.).
My one caveat; disposable antibacterial wipes. I love them. I use them in the bathroom. I am NOT a big fan of antibacterial products, I do tend to think that we are overly clean, which is why we are suffering with so many allergies and infections. I did take public health in grad school and came under the impression that poo bacteria is ALWAYS a bad idea. Pretty much nothing good comes from poo. So in the room where the poo goes a little antibacterial wipe isn't a bad thing. These wipes are great: in two seconds and few wipes my bathroom is clean.
There it is my dirty little secret. My guilty anti-green pleasure. Do you have any guilty not so green habits that you've decided not to give up?