Monday, April 28, 2008
They made a flier at the beginning of this month stating that if people could not keep food and other inappropriate garbage out of the container that they would have to have it removed, because the service we had was unable to pick it up like that.
Guess what? Apparently there are one too many dipshits that cannot use the handy dandy recycling container in the proper way, so out it has to go. ARGH!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Comptine D'un Autre Été: L'après-midi, my absolute favorite piano piece ever. It was composed by Yann Tiersen and was used in the movie Amélie.
Love that song. LOVE. I love the entire music track to Amélie, but that is my favorite.
I'm reposting this from Simply Recipes with additional notes of how I did it. Italics are mine.
1 5-pound roasting chicken, cut into serving pieces (I used 5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves)
Flour, salt and pepper
1 cup grapeseed oil, or canola oil (I used canola, and only about 1/2 cup since I didn't have as much chicken)
1/4 cup rich chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used baby portabellas, NOM!)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 Put a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper in a brown paper bag. Piece by piece, put a piece of chicken in the bag and shake to coat the chicken with flour mixture.
2 Preheat the oven to 350°F. On the stovetop, in a large frying pan, heat oil to medium high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the pan. Watch the oil carefully, you don't want the oil to be so hot as to burn the chicken, you just want to lightly brown it. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides, turning when necessary.
3 Butter a roasting pan generously. Arrange the chicken pieces in it, pour broth over it, and bake at 350°F until the chicken is tender and cooked, about 40-50 minutes for pieces from a 5-pound chicken. You know that the chicken is done by poking a thigh with a meat fork (the thigh meat is dark meat and takes longer to cook than white breast meat). If pink or red juice runs out of the hole made by the fork, the chicken is not done. If only clear juice runs out, the chicken is done. (Since I used the boneless, skinless chicken, it only took about 20 minutes, the time it took me to make the rest of it, to cook through)
4 About 20 minutes before the chicken is expected to be done, start cooking the onions and mushrooms. In the same frying pan as was used to cook the chicken, empty the pan of all but 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the onions to the pan and sauté on medium heat until softened. Add the crushed garlic clove and the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are no longer crisp. Remove and discard the garlic, and add the sour cream and the heavy cream to the onions and mushrooms. Lower the heat. Keep warm, but do not boil. Salt and pepper to taste. (I lost the garlic clove in there, so it stayed in)
5 When the chicken is done, remove from oven. Serve on a platter with the mushroom sauce spooned over it, or served on the side.
Serves 6 to 8.
Serve with noodles, rice, or Spanish Rice. (I lightly sauteed several large handfuls of baby spinach in just a little olive oil and served the chicken and sauce over that, with a large slice of sourdough bread on the side)
For my birthday back in March I think I had mentioned that I received some human moneys in the form of a BB&B gift card and an AmEX gift card, so I bought matching towels for both bathrooms and some new nice sheets for our bed.
And so ALL of the old towels can go, minus one for hair dying and other things that may stain. I need to pull one out and get rid of the rest.
I feel so grown up with my nice sheets and matching towels! Of course I haven't opened the sheets yet. I was waiting to rearrange the room (done), have it completely organized and perfect (almost) and to get a new comforter from IKEA to put the duvet onto (not yet), THEN we can open the sheets. And I haven't used any of the new towels for our bathroom, not until I battle our bathroom and win will I even allow myself to wash them.
I also bought a cool pack of bamboo utensils on my birthday with my gift cards and just opened them to use one this week.
I did start using our new canisters last week, and once we buy a coffee grinder I will finally bust out the new French press :)
I like things to be just so before I allow myself to enjoy anything new, so it's something I get to work for and get a lot of mental reward for. I think this is one of the reasons that I can live with only the rare treat of something new (to me) or even brand new, is because I really make sure to anticipate it, appreciate it, and prepare for it.
I think a lot of people take "things" for granted. I really try not to do that. I try to take care of my things, only get what I really really like and will find joy in for a long time to come, and take my time with them. The more it goes, the less impulse buying I do, and the less I regret any purchases I make.
Once again, I highly recommend watching The Story of Stuff if you haven't already.
In what ways do you treat yourself? Do you appreciate your stuff? Or am I just weird like that?
This has me almost to the point of tears. That one officer, ONE, could fire 31 bullets into one unarmed man and be aquitted with NO charges of wrongdoing is beyond my comprehension.
That the lawyers for the officers would stoop so low as to portray the surviving victims as dishonest shouldn't surprise me, that's the name of the game, right? It all just makes me sick.
Even if it all went down exactly as the officers say, still having one officer fire 31 bullets makes me think that he shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun, he should undergo some major evaluation, and for others' safety he should be taken off of the streets as an officer of the law. I do not think that is an unreasonable course of action. I don't think that officer can be trusted to act in the best interest of those he has sworn to protect.
But no. Nothing like that.
My heart goes out to the Bell family and the other victims of the shooting. I cannot imagine how painful that verdict must have been to hear.
I have been having crippling pain from SPD the last few nights, and I am very limited in my physical abilities. This is driving me nuts. I can be totally lazy sometimes, but when I am ready to clean, that means that it's going to be clean before I am done with it. And being so physically limited is really like torture to me. I just want to get down and dirty with a toothbrush and some grout!
But this is a post about progress, so I will stop lamenting and focus on what I am actually getting done, bit by bit.
Today we did get some things done, and that was to rearrange our room, and set up the crib and get the baby stuff somewhat organized and put away better so it isn't just a big scary pile like it was.
We decided to leave a side off of the crib and leave the plastic on the mattress. The cats will deem it absolutely necessary to explore this new and exciting thing. If it's like this they cannot scratch the wood trying to jump over and into it, and the mattress is covered so won't get dirty.
It's not the best thing, but it's a vast improvement. The white thing facing the wall is a small rolling cart I got for baby clothes and such. I have to leave it against the wall facing the wrong way with something on top of it to try to deter the cats. It's not made to hold very much, it's not very sturdy at all. I didn't expect it to be when I got it. It was cheap, light, and pretty much all I needed while the baby was in our room. I didn't think about the globulous lumps of curiosity that live with us, too. I'm glad those creatures don't have opposable thumbs or we would be doomed. It's bad enough when they deadbolt you out of your own home (yes, dear Midna, that would be you).
You may remember how it was before all of this:
From the front:
I also took many pictures of other problem areas in the house (read: the entire rest of the house), and will post those as I tackle them. I figure visuals with before and after will be good for my resolve. I may not be able to the whirlwind of cleaning activity that I am used to, but isn't "slow and steady wins the race" the way that one goes? At least I tell myself that, since this is so foreign to my normal MO. :)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I didn't get to sleep until about 4:30 last night, but managed to get up around 10 and make it out to the farmer's market around 11.
Today's find were:
hydroponic tomatoes - $5
a huge English cucumber - $4
some goat cheese with chimchurri mixed in - $4
a dozen eggs - $3.50
So, that was what? $16.50, not too bad, considering I paid $4 for one cucumber, but it was delicious, and the fluff-rat agrees. Really, the eggs are the main thing I really want to be able to purchase every week there. There is a lot of produce there, but it's mainly onions (holy cow there are a lot of people selling onions), still a lot of "winter" type greens, and now our strawberry season is over :( It hasn't even started for most of the country, and ours is over and gone for another year.
Then we went to Costco. Wow. I love that place. I'm working towards more local food, etc, but I would have a hard time giving up my Costco membership.
This is what we got today:
12 lbs of baking soda (for making cleaning supplies)
2 gallons of white vinegar (for making cleaning supplies)
2 lbs of shelled pecan halves
1qt 1/2 & 1/2
1qt heavy cream
3 half gallons organic soymilk
1lb baby portabellas
1lb organic baby spinach
1lb organic spring greens
6lb organic tofu
10 lbs onions
2.2lbs Ruta Maya Organic coffee beans
2 loaves sourdough (they were still warm and wonderful with the goat cheese)
4.5lbs organic raisin bran cereal
1 pair jeans for Chris
30oz Kalamata Olive dip
12 pack 100% recycled papertowels
2lb cashew granola-ish type of stuff (best snack food ever)
And you know what the total was? With tax it was $131.24.
You just can't beat that.
Love me some Costco, really I do.
I read a lot of blogs from serious couponers and CVSers and comparatively this may seem like a lot, but overall this works much better for us because this is what we eat. I rarely ever see anything with a coupon and on sale that I would use.
I have made it through my first week of meal planning and I think it went very well. I need to work on this coming week's meal plan. I have tomorrow night worked out, since we ended up putting off making dinner after we both filled up on green smoothies I made.
Then we went out for tea with friends, and later when we got hungry split a wonderful masala dosai from a veggie Indian place. When we came home I just cut up the humongous cucumber and several tomatoes for us and we each had large plates of that for "dinner".
So, tomorrow night, I will be making chicken with mushroom cream sauce, using the baby portabellas. I found the recipe at Simply Recipes and I am always pleased with her recipes. They always come out great when I try them. I plan to serve the chicken and sauce on a bed of wilted spinach with sourdough on the side instead of noodles or rice. I'm also using boneless skinless chicken breast, too. I am not sure how that will work. I will be able to cut the cooking time down to about 20 minutes, but it won't have the same ability to brown. Meh, I am sure it will still be very good.
If I am making anything involves meat, 9 times out of 10 it will be using boneless skinless chicken breast. My husband has a serious aversion to meat with bones in it :) He's not picky about much of anything, and that's one of his few weird issues with food. His mother and step father would take him to dinner and my husband would sit alone at his own table in the Thai restaurants as a child with his plain rice and soy sauce, covering his eyes so as not to see them picking the meat off of their whole fried fish and such. Heh. Of course, my husband being born in Singapore and living in the Phillipines as a very young child loved curry and other regional foods from the area. Really, he's not a picky eater.
I do cook whole chicken or cut up chicken on occasion, I just debone it for him. I don't mind at all, I find it endearing.
I have had a long day, and am looking forward into crawling into bed soon. I think I will end up eating a small bowl of cereal before bed, though. The baby sure does like cereal before bed!
She also asked other people out there reading to talk about being a "good enough" parent.
This was a very hard place for me to get to in my life. I have an unusual situation among most of the mothers that I know in that I am not the primary custodial parent to my boys. It took me four years of very difficult processing to get to a place of being as ok with this as I think I can be. Of course, it sucks more than you can possibly imagine, and it's not something that most mothers can even fathom. I couldn't either for a very long time.
I've blogged before about my very difficult time with severe PPD after my 2nd child was born, along with undiagnosed and spiraling out of control bipolarII. I was also in a relationship that I didn't feel supported in and putting that and the decision to leave that marriage in the midst of all of this going on made things impossible for me to be a full time mother as I had been since the birth of my oldest child.
I felt completely lost and helpless and like I was simply a bad person in my inability to communicate with my spouse, take care of my children perfectly all of the time, and to deal with my severe depression over it all.
I had a bit of a mental breakdown and could not sustain that life. I still stayed home with the kids full time after we separated, for nearly a year, and I still just felt overwhelmed and incapable of taking care of myself well and exhausting myself in every way struggling to care for the kids. When he filed the divorce and the custody arrangement came up, there wasn't anything different I could have done at the time. That was my biggest obstacle, accepting that it was the best decision at the time. Especially once I was treated and could see that it was the mental illness and not me simply being a bad person.
Since that time I have had to do a lot of work to forgive myself, to stop blaming myself, and to come to terms with the impact my mental illness had. For a long time I wanted nothing more than to go back and do anything I could do to change the way things happened.
But I had to rethink that, because I did do the best I could, and I did do everything that was in my capability at the time.
This is something I have to live with now. While I could attempt to change it around and take it to court and all of that, not only is it beyond my financial means, but I feel like it could be detrimental to my children. I have just recently seen what kind of stress a parent can put on their children by just this very thing. It isn't fair to the kids and it can be a selfish road to take.
If I felt that my children were suffering greatly in this situation, I would, but while there are definite difficulties in the situation (mostly involving me and their father at times), things are ok for them. Not ideal for me, but they are ok. My children are well taken care of and happy, they have two sets of very loving and involved parents who make them their priority, they have lived their lives in this way for nearly 5 years now. I would jump at the chance for things to be different, but not at the detriment of my kids.
This is the way my reality of mothering is, and I have come to accept it.
I did what was the best I could do, and it was good enough. My kids will undoubtedly have some things to work through as they get older, but I think to a certain extent most people do. Even if they have an "ideal" childhood, there are things that will crop up, and will need to be worked through.
I am not a perfect mother, but I am an awesome mother. I kick all kinds of ass when it comes to parenting my children, and I know that I do.
It also took me 4 years of adamantly denying even the thought of ever having another child. I sincerely did not believe I deserved to raise another one, since I felt so much like I failed the children I already had.
After a lot of work in dealing with my feelings about my situation, I finally got to the point of being ok with having done what I could and that it wasn't my fault. I didn't choose the mental illness, I didn't choose the PPD, I didn't choose to be unable to care properly for my children for a period of time.
And once I worked through all of this, lo and behold, I was finally able to also realize that I did want another child. Another child with my husband,, my life partner, my best friend, the awesome step parent to my children. And of course, a month after we started talking about it and we decided to try in about a year, I felt a little funny and peed on a stick, and here I am, at 27 weeks pregnant with our daughter.
With this preganancy, there has been the acceptance of not being able to breastfeed due to the medications I have to take to control my illness and be able to be a good mother. And that I don't actually want to co-sleep for 3 years this time. I just don't. And I am not doing cloth diapers this time.
I had a little bit of mourning over the breastfeeding thing, but I know that this is what I need to do. It still hits me sometimes, and makes me a little sad, but I know that my mental health is the most important part of my ability to parent. The other things are just my own decisions and wisdom of my own limitations and what causes me undue stress, etc. Well managed mental health care for is the best thing I can give all of my children and my family and myself, this is the first priority always.
And I also have had occasion bouts of guilt when it comes to my two oldest children. They have been less than thrilled with this baby, and I know that it comes from (because they have told me) them not being here with me all of the time like this baby will be. That's hard. But I do everything I can to allow their feelings, to try to reassure them that they will not receive any less attention from me because of the baby, etc. There is only so much I can say to them to make them feel better, so they will just have to see it to believe it.
I also drink more caffeine that I should while pregnant sometimes, and other times all I eat is cereal and soymilk. Meh. Don't sweat the small stuff, I say.
Wow, this has become a long post. I'm sure there are some other things I would have liked to have touched on, but brain melty and it's late.
I also wanted to add in a six word thing, but haven't thought of one for myself. I will think about it some more and post it another time. It's 4am and I want to go to the farmer's market in the morning. If only I could sleep!
Friday, April 25, 2008
I know I have mentioned before my dislike of baby "gear" and all, but I figure I'll make a post more focusing on what I DID use.
As many of you know, this is baby #3 for me, but with a 6 year gap in between my last this time it's starting all over with baby stuff collecting.
I've made some different decisions this time around but let me tell you, with my first, there were very few items I needed and I was one of those moms sucked in to having a registry based on the infamous checklist. (I've become a lot wiser in the nearly 9 years since I became a mother for the first time!)
The things that came in handy with my first:
bouncy seat to put him in when I needed to pee or eat (didn't have a moses basket)
exersaucer once he was a bit older (I personally love these things)
a $20 umbrella stroller after he could hold his head up well.
I could have done without anything else! Seriously. Nothing else was EVER used, including the crib (well, it was used to hold unfolded clean laundry). I used cloth diapers and breastfed and co-slept, so that was pretty much it. Oh, a very small black Carter's diaper bag that looked like one of those square lunch bags. That was a great bag! Big enough for a few cloth diapers, some wipes and a dirty diaper sack and it doubled as a purse for me so I didn't have more than one bag to carry.
With my 2nd I did get a glider, because I didn't have anything that rocked and thought it would be really nice to have and it was. Some friends chipped in and got one for me, and it lasted for about a year then fell apart. I don't have anything that rocks now, either, so I am going to see if I can find one free from anyone I know or Freecycle. It can really be anything that rocks and is comfortable, not necessarily a glider (the gliders really are totally ugly, aren't they?)
With #2, I knew what I wanted to add to the mix and what I didn't, and I've figured out even more now with #3 on her way. All of my shopping has been at the thrift store, and the majority of everything else has come free from friends.
Which means overall I have a few additional things that I may or may not use already, but I didn't shell out for it, nor did anyone else, at least not recently for new prices. I plan to use the crib this time around, and I got one for free. I did shell out $50 for a new mattress but I was offered a few. I just felt better knowing it was new. I did get a monitor that I will be able to use this time, too. If I am outside then it will be nice to have.
So, basically these are all items that I have put thought into and didn't just follow those silly checklists that seem to be everywhere. Of course I've had babies, so have first hand knowledge, but I think any first time moms can benefit from knowing these things.
I frequent the motheringdotcommune boards and in my due date club we have an ongoing thread about this very thing. It's very nice to hear what other mothers are finding useful and what was a waste of money and resources, especially for those first time moms who can really use this information. And it's funny, because there is very little variation across the board on what was needed and what wasn't.
What items were your necessities with your child(ren)? What could you live without and what came in useful?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I have had a semi productive day. I managed to organize under the kitchen sink and the spice cabinet and the teas and baking stuff. 2 loads of laundry... Wow, doesn't really seem like a lot.
Here is an adorable video! I found it on Tara's blog, Fiddle Mama. Yay, green smoothies! I didn't make one yet today, but I did get green powder, a bunch of kale and spinach, some goji and acai stuff, bananas, mangoes, pears, oranges, strawberries (which I am out of now, boo, I hope there is still some at the Farmer's Market Saturday). I have been digging the green smoothies every day. They are goooood.
Making yellow dal and basmati rice for dinner. Should be about done and Chris will be home from work very soon. There he is, I just heard the car!
Well, I was just gearing myself up for getting off my butt and spending some quality time tackling a good amount of what needs to be done around here.
One thing I am disappointed about is not having quarters to do the laundry. Unfortunately with the whole SPD thing I cannot carry more than a load at a time to the laundry room, but I figure if I deal with a load today, then several tomorrow when Chris is off of work, then finish up whatever I have left by the end of the week I'll be in good shape.
My sleep schedule is kinda wonky, I seem to be sleeping more lately, too. I fall asleep early and wake up later than I would like.
But today I will make a dent in what needs to be done so that when I survey the house it won't look so bleak. And I need to sort through things and post on Freecycle or decide if I want to try to resell it somewhere. I thought that the convenience of Freecycle would simply be worth it to get rid of things, but I think what they say about perceived value may be true. A lot of people when asking for the stuff and being the one I give it to, seem to think nothing of not showing up when agreed upon. It's very frustrating.
But anyway, I feel like I am procrastinating. Ok, I know I am, so I will update my progress later, but I am off to tackle what needs to be done!
Monday, April 21, 2008
And my best friend treated me to a pedicure and manicure today! I am not sure that I have ever done my nails pink. Ever. I have always done black, red, so dark it's almost black red, purple, etc. Never pink. at least not since I was a preteen, but I don't remember ever. I've never been one to have my nails done on a regular basis.
It's so girly and fun! I like it!
And you know, I have wanted to get a pedicure for years and years, but I honestly think that may have been the first one I've had...
Now I just REALLY need to go get my eyebrows done... Yikes.
I even shaved my legs. It had been very near a year if not over. And I made the mistake of my underarms, too. I try this on occasion, and today I tried the baking soda thing, then my new tea tree oil deodorant, hoping this would help part of my reasons for disliking shaving.
Yeah, no. It's awful. I sweat way more and smell almost immediately with my armpits shaved.
It's gross, then it gets ITCHY when it starts to grow back, etc. I like them shaved theoretically, but in actual practice it always sucks and I always regret it. I will try to keep it up for a few weeks this time, though, and see if it gets any better, mostly for science.
Just really can't figure out why I get so much more BO with shaved pits, so I intend to experiment.
Science, it's a wonderful thing.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
It needs some work, but person said that he didn't think it would need too much. He knows a bit about cars, so I'm hoping he'll be right on this. Schweeeet.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Are you familiar with greenwashing? Jennifer over at Tree Hugging Family has a post pointing people in the direction of a great list of Sins of Greenwashing, a good guide to make sure you aren't falling for that type of dishonest advertising.
Cathy over at Chief Family Officer has a post about The 29 Day Giving Challenge. I like that it's an honest question about whether giving makes you feel good. I don't believe in altruism in general, personally. Since I am purging my own things, this is a great idea.
Peggy at Tree Hugging Family has a post about washing your laundry in cold water. I wash everything I have in cold except for an occasional load of just whites, maybe once or twice a month, and except for kids clothes, jeans, socks and towels, everything else is hung to dry. I think it extends the life of your clothes as well as saves tons of energy!
There is an April Tiny Challenge happening over at Tiny Choices. This is the first check in and many of the participants have some great tiny ideas of how to make changes that are easy to implement but make an impact over time.
Here's another great one from Jennifer at Tree Hugging Family: Five ways to conserve water in less than one minute.
So Canada has been the first to take the step to call BPA "dangerous". I've read this all over the place at this point, but I read it at Treehugger first. Go Canada! And I already felt strongly about this after reading some of the information out there, and this is why I am insisting on BPA free bottles and toys for the baby.
MerchantShips at Frugal Hacks has a good post about the tendency to end up spending more on things that we don't necessarily need because it's such a good deal, or bypassing large purchases but spending an equal amount on a lot of little things. This was an issue for me in the past, but I don't do this very often any more. I am in awe of CVS-ing, but truthfully I don't plan to even put the effort out to start, how often to I actually buy that stuff each year? Except for tp not that often!
Heather over at Freebies 4 Mom posted about a printable $5 Coupon for a Brita pitcher! A lot of talk lately has been about plastic water bottles. Besides the icky plastic that leeches who knows what (remember the BPA thing?), used plastic bottles contributes so much to landfills every year! I don't drink bottled at home, though I do admit to keeping some in the car for the kids and myself while we are out. I'm so weirded out by the reusable SIGG bottles and I don't know what that's about. Should make the switch. But we drink a LOT of water.
kat at Eating Liberally has a fantastic post all about one of my favorite things, and I really encourage a full read.
THIS is how schools should ALL be looking at things. From Treehugger.
And just one more: How simple steps can put $678k in your pocket. Again, from Treehugger.
There are so many great blogs out there and this is just the bare few that I am sharing right now.
I have tons of other posts I want to share soon, mostly tasty recipes. I want to at least try one of them before I do so I can post results :)
Hope you enjoy this list of linky goodness. And turn out the lights!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Back in the day, woe was the pimply faced teenager working the McD's drive through who would ask if I wanted a "boy or girl" toy. I would get mad and tell them to tell me WHAT the toys were, and kids could play with whichever one they preferred and it shouldn't be based on gender. (My boys ALWAYS picked the "boy" toys, though...) And I still totally agree with that.
But when it is coming to clothes and such, I am choosing "girl" stuff like crazy.
And I have also come to realize that nature vs. nurture doesn't really make a difference. I have two boys who have never wanted anything girly at all. They both were into construction vehicles, cars, trains, etc from very very young, no matter what kind of toys I gave them to choose from.
It's possible I will have a girl that doesn't give a fig about anything girly at all, but that comes down to the individual and I realized that you can't really do much one way or the other to influence what your kids will prefer.
If I get a girl gendered kid that only wants cars and to play in the mud, great! If I get a girly girl that loves princesses and dolls and anything pink, great. Not much I will be able to do or want to do other than offer choices about it. I was a bit of both. I LOVED my brother's hot wheels and he-man stuff and I slept with a big plastic incredible hulk doll for a few years. But I also loved barbies and playing house, and other "girly" things, too.
I don't ever believe in telling a child that they shouldn't be a certain way because it's not "feminine" or ever justifying some jerk like behavior just because "that's how boys are". Those are the things that are total bs. But as far as the individual, they will have their own preferences having way more to do with their personality over their having a penis or vulva, you know?
IF one of my boys would have wanted to dress in a tutu and a tiara, I was totally ok with that, too. (They never did, though) And I had a hell of a time ever finding cool boys clothes that didn't dress them like mini frat boys *shudder*.
Max has chosen to have long hair, but at times he contemplates cutting it because he hates to brush it as he is very tender headed AND because he gets mistaken for a girl sometimes. This has been his choice, since it's his hair and he can choose what he wants to do with it.
It's kind of like me being ADAMANTLY opposed to circumcision. I would never cut off another person's body part without their express permission. If it's something that they choose or need to have later in life, that's going to be for them to decide.
Overall, I just think I have raised some amazing PEOPLE thus far, regardless of gender, and I will continue to allow personal choices for all of my children based on their preferences, not gender.
But I am enjoying buying the "girl" stuff for the first year before she'll be able to tell me to cut that sh*t out if that's what she wants :P
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I have wanted a decent full sized couch for a loooong time. We have one oversized chair and a love seat. The love seat is green and brown and doesn't really match anything at all. We got it a few years back at a garage sale, and it's worked since. It's not hideous, but just doesn't go and is smallish. So today at the thrift store there was a full sized couch in a nice neutral tan that very nearly will match the chair. It has a little wear, but you know, that's ok with me. The cat is not all that great about not scratching the furniture as it is. It was $40. That's right, $40! We're going to get Chris' dad's truck tonight then go get it in the morning. I'm not sure how we'll get it in the house, since I can't lift anything, but I'm sure we'll manage somehow.
I need to post the loveseat tonight on Freecycle, and make room for the new to me couch. And it's pretty darn comfy, too. For all the nights I fall asleep on the love seat having a full size couch will be AWESOME! I'll post a picture when it gets home.
So guess who is going with her rather than staying home and cleaning and such? And guess who is going to the big thrift store out there and will probably end up getting a few things.
Ah, oh well. I'm good at setting a limit on how much I will spend and sticking with it.
I'll post any good finds later.
Today is another gorgeous day. I didn't take Chris in to work, though, trying to be good about gas. So, home it is, a day of more cleaning, I suppose. Not having the car also keeps me more on task. And not only does it save gas, it decreases the possibility of my spending money on food, coffee, stuff of any sort that I would happen to come across while being out and about.
I am getting better at becoming thrifty, though we did eat out with friends last night ($14), then went out for bubble tea ($9), yikes. No big deal, but that we'd done precisely the same thing 2 nights before, well, it adds up.
I was going to talk a little about the whole couponing thing, but I think I will leave that for it's own post.
I'll quit procrastinating and go get started on what I need to be doing. Soon.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Anyway, I need to figure out what to Freecycle and what to sell on Craigslist, and what we're going to do with the books. I would love to do a book exchange, but realistically I am bad at follow through on this stuff, and despise the post office, so it's probably best to just not go there right now. I have learned how to feel out my limitations and how to not over commit, and I feel like this was one of the most important life skills to learn!
Here are a few piles of the evidence of the purging happening at my house right now:
And here are some adorable baby things we have gotten for Madeleine:
And here is the giant pile of baby "stuff" that is in a corner of our room. Hmm... maybe I can go pick up the crib tomorrow so that we can set it up and get a lot of this organized. That would be nice!
And the most adorable red shiny shoes ever! If you know me at all you have probably heard mention of my weakness for red and shiny things.
Midna was fascinated with this thing, as the progression shows. I didn't get a picture of it without her head in it, and I didn't crop it out cause I thought it was funny. She managed to carry it off twice. Strange animal.
I gave her the green bit to chew on while I ate it, and it was good. :)
I found that quote on the UUA website. That works so well with my feelings on last nights post.
Because of a comment on that post it got me thinking about getting in gear to get back involved in a UU church again. There is a small one right down the street from me, and we've been discussing going for a long while.
If you don't know anything at all about Unitarian Universalism, I'll just give you a little from the website that synopsizes it well:
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that encompasses many faith traditions. Unitarian Universalists include people who identify as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and others. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, Unitarian Universalists are free to search for truth on many paths.
To quote the Rev. Marta Flanagan, "We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We say ours is a non-creedal religion. Ours is a free faith."
Although we uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists have varied beliefs about everything from scripture to rituals to God.
I would really like the boys to have the Religious Education that is offered with the UU church. I have a friend who has been heavily involved with RE in the UUA for a long time, and I think the RE is wonderful. We are not religious, nor spriritual, but I do want my children to learn about religion, all religion, and why it exists, what it means to various people, etc. I want them to have the critical thinking skills that will allow them to look at the world in a well informed way. I want them to be accepting of religion and other people's beliefs, but not to fall victim to it. I was too easily influenced by a guy I thought was cute, and that got me into a well known cult for many years in my teens and early 20s.
Also, they have an amazing sex ed program for kids, too.
I do want to get back to going to a UU congregation. I saw on the billboard a few months ago for the one down the street that the Sunday sermon was going to be on Humanist Themes in Star Trek. I mean, really. That's kind of awesome.
Anyway, just something I got to thinking about that I keep putting off. UU is really awesome and something I would like to do again. I am also kind of shy about going to a new place like that. Which is silly. It's a church. They like new people. They'll be nice. Well, putting it out here will probably get me to do something about it. I will report back on my progress of church going.
Chris' dad came over this morning and we went to have lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant, then to Fry's. I got Max the next 2 Naruto manga for him to read, volumes 5 & 6, and the most adorable stuffed squirrel for the baby. Chris also got a new laser pointer for the kitties, and Chris' dad got me a new wireless card for my laptop. YAY! Working wireless. It's a gorgeous day to be outside with the computer for a little while.
ALSO, good news, Chris' dad said that I will still be able to work next week, as PJ is still trying to finish her project. So that's awesome.
We're going to hang out with people later, I think, but right now I just want to be home and lazy for a bit.
Friday, April 11, 2008
This isn't the life for everyone, I understand that.
I think that people can take personal responsibility and live better in any setting. I also firmly believe that taking that time to reevaluate one's personal living habits is becoming increasingly important. It's actually getting urgent. It is not some kooky thing being cooked up to frighten people, but the way that we live HAS to change. It will not survive for very much longer as it is, and everyone will be forced to change. If that's what it takes, people.
It's unfortunate that not enough people are really concerned with the way that they live and choose to see it all as "somebody else's problem" (SEP field, anyone?). Oh well, can't really do much about that, right? I guess we'll all learn how much of an impact all of those carbon miles are having soon enough.
Anyway, I don't see my desire to move outside of the city as anything that will become necessary. I think that city community building and urban reclamation is an awesome way to go, too. Just not what I would like for me. I think that no matter what falls before us, living in the city is still a viable option to any who choose it.
So why do I want to live outside of the urban jungle? It's about lifestyle choice. I have expressed before in my blog my realization that any type of office work or "career" is not the way I will go, and that it took me most of my life to this point to realize I should stop looking for that one thing I want to be when I grow up.
I have also come to realize the things that I do want. I want to run a household, I want to have lots of animals, I want to live simply, I want to participate in my local community in a real way. I want to have time to do the things I enjoy and that matter to me.
When I move outside of the city it will not be in order to cut down on my reliance on the consumer aspect of my modern life. This is starting now, not later. This is going to be and continue to be a progression. I am not waiting for something big to happen to change the way that I live. I am making my "tiny choices" now, and I am learning and doing more each day. By the time I am able to go where I want to be I don't plan for it to be such a vast unrecognizable change that it will be overwhelming and leave me feeling a sense of loss and like I have entered an entirely alien landscape. When it's time to move much of my home off of the grid I want it to be the next natural logical step in the progression of my lifestyle. Not some random thing I am going to do tomorrow.
You know, I hear so many people, when bringing up living outside of the city their ideas about it being some primitive wilderness with no plumbing and an outhouse, or WORSE, no highspeed internet. This is strange to me. I read TONS of blogs from many farmers and homesteaders and ranchers, and I don't think any of them have to send a carrier pigeon to post to their blog. Nor do they have to use dial up. And these are people in very remote areas much of the time.
And taking another look at Doug Fine here as another example. At some point in his book he talks about being out in a deer stand in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico with his laptop and wireless, surfing the internet. Doesn't sound particularly primitive to me, even with his managing to get nearly off the grid.
I want farm animals. I want my life to be full of animals for food, for companionship, for endless amusement. In return I can give them the best life that I can, a warm place to sleep, food, safety. I think this is a fair trade. I feel that my time spent caring for these animals is worthy of my effort. I won't look back on it in 20 years and regret doing this and think "what a waste of my life".
I want to grow much of my own food, and barter with others in my like minded community for other things with the food I have grown. Money is totally overrated and overused. I don't believe in buying new if you can buy used on just about anything, and I think that people have so much more to offer. I don't need some cheap plastic crap from a sweatshop in China when a person in my community has what I need or can build it or provide materials or whichever way it can work. I think this is an example of the type of primitive lifestyle I could get behind.
I want to do all of this with a small group of like minded people who are willing to split the work and the land, and to grow together as a community.
It's late and I don't have this very well organized into a post, but this is the way it's going to be for today.
Have you made any of your own tiny choices? What have they been? What are your plans for the future? How have you worked to relearn new better habits (I still forget my reusable shopping bags from time to time, argh!)?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I knew it was coming and I got an additional 2 weeks out of it, but the money has been SO NICE. I am glad that my step-mother-in-law is officially retired now, though. She hates office work as much as I do. She will be able to devote more time to the things she loves, like her dog rescue organization.
I am so afraid of being in the same financial position we were in before the first of the year when I started this gig.
Being this pregnant with severe SPD means that my options for bringing in any additional income at this point are very very limited. I would really love to be in a physical condition to do green cleaning and organizing again, but until after this bebe is born it's just not an option at all.
Also, volunteering my time at many of the things I would like to is limited, too. With physical limitations right now, as well as financial considerations due to the price of gas alone means that unless I am bringing in some cash it doesn't make sense for me to have the car on most days.
Argh. Hopefully this means I'll get a lot done around the house. I think nesting is kicking in for me, so this is good!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
One of our bookshelves is almost completely empty, except for the bottom shelf where we keep comics and graphic novels. I moved everything else over to the other bookshelf, all fiction and a large part of the non-fiction. I am hoping to be able to empty the bookshelf in the dining area and move that bookshelf out of there. We can't sit around the table with it in there, so we cram into two sides when we all have dinner.
I am once again contemplating getting rid of the ginormous "entertainment center". I would love to get something smaller for the tv, something with DOORS. We don't watch tv, it's only used for occasional video games and dvds. I hate having a tv as a focal point of any room.
I have several small appliances I listed last week on Freecycle, which were snatched up in moments after the post. Me & the woman that got them have had a hard time matching up schedules for her to pick up, but that has opened up much needed cabinet space in the woefully small (for me and my foodie habits) kitchen.
I still need to purge the kids' books. They are excited at the prospect of getting a new book each at half-price books and making more room on their bookshelf.
One of my favorite parts of living in a smaller space is that "stuff" doesn't get stashed for very long without it making me kinda nuts (I hate clutter) and purging on a regular basis. Having that huge garage and absurd amounts of kitchen cabinet space made keeping things too easy, even though I would purge regularly there, too.
And to give credit where credit is due my husband has become totally ok with my purging and is good about it himself. As opposed to several years back. When I moved in with him, there were 3!! coffee carafes for coffee pots that no longer existed. They didn't even know necessarily where they had come from. But it took a good year to be able to get rid of them, I had to take to purging when Chris and our housemate weren't there.
I think I'm going to take the plunge and get rid of a lot of crafting stuff I have, too. I like the idea of crafting, but in reality it doesn't happen for me. Ever. I will keep my yarn for crochet amigurumi, and my temari things, but I think I am going to freecycle everything else. It takes up a significant amount of our closet space, and I do want to get a small freezer for in there.
I also want to find a small utility shelving unit for the front hall closet to use as additional pantry space. I like buying in bulk, really want to join a buying coop, and just cannot deal with the limited pantry space that shoots things out at my head most of the time.
So, while I am stockpiling baby stuff like it's the Prenatal Apocalypse, I am removing at least 3 times the amount of other things in our home.
Monday, April 7, 2008
MADELEINE WILL BE HERE SOON! GIFT US WITH YOUR PRESENCE, ANYTHING ELSE IS JUST THE WHIPPED CREAM ON TOP! DINNER BROUGHT OVER AFTER NEW BABY AND DOING OUR DISHES WHEN YOU DO, COOL THRIFTED BABY STUFF THAT CATCHES YOUR EYE, A MEAL FOR OUR FREEZER, GIFTS OF ALL TYPES WELCOME, NOT JUST STUFF ON HERE!
I like it!
Well, guess what was in their daily 50% list today? BABY CLOTHES! Check out what I scored for $12:
1 hooded towel, 1 nightgown, 2 sleep sacks, 6 onesies, 7 footed pajamas, 1 sweater, 1 dress
AND my best friend, who is hilarious with this whole baby business, bought about as much baby clothes for the baby as I did. I told her to hold onto to it and give it as a gift later :)
About my best friend and this baby thing: This is my afraid of children as a general rule, will NEVER have any children of her own cause she just doesn't want any, hopes that her in the hospital ovary badness last week means she is sterile provided it's not cancer and won't have to have her tubes tied best friend...
She was talking about taking Maddie out for pretty pretty princess dress shopping (or getting in the mud with her, depending on Maddie's personality). She amuses me with her baby excitement.
I will need to edit the registry and take off any onesies and such, as these types of things are no longer needed at all. I already had a bunch of clothes being amassed, now adding this to the mix means that I will NEVER run out of clean ones. Yay Thrifting!
The wonderful elderly lady I do caretaking for happens to be my husbands step-grandmother, and I know she is so excited about the baby at age 83, and I want her to be able to celebrate in the way she would feel "appropriate". So, a very small midafternoon, everyone gets dressed nice and has tea and cake, and I very uncomfortably open gifts while people stare at me (I HATE OPENING GIFTS IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!!!) with my step-mother in law, husband's step-sister, step-grandmother, and possibly my mother and step sister in law if my mom would actually drive here. Other than that, maybe I would politely beg my two closest friends to attend for moral support and so I have the appearance of friends there :p
As far as a blessingway goes, this is something that has been a tradition within my special mama circle for many years, and traditional gifts aren't usually given, but what is is FAR more beautiful and meaningful. With Miles, my wonderful woman centered shower involved things like cleansing of the feet with traditional herbs, henna, belly art, photos, poems, songs, a birthing necklace with a special bead and a story or throughts from each woman. A beeswax candle hand rolled containing all of the gentle birthing wishes and love written out on tissue paper from my mamas for me to burn and put out to the universe while I am laboring... It is an amazing thing, and I wouldn't dream of not having this amazing celebration with my mamas. This is going to be a very small thing with just a couple of mamas on a weekend where we already have something going on together.
And then, I would really love to have a "shower" (people often call the types of showers where they have most everything they need and just want to get together to celebrate a "sprinkle" rather than a shower, which is far too cutesy for me, and of course, makes me think immediately of Annie Sprinkle) to celebrate the impending baby with all of our friends. A potluck or barbque at a park with everyone and their kids, with a cake and possibly a pinata in bad taste, sumo wresting, etc. People can bring something if they would really like to (I won't tell people NOT to, because I think the thought of a new baby makes a lot of people, say, become insane and want to buy something PINK for the baby) and just a general good time to celebrate the life that is about to join us...
This is what I mean by 3 showers. I don't think it's excessive, I don't think it's selfish or a symptom of pregnancy insanity. I think it a great way to genuinely celebrate this new life in a myriad of ways with all of those important to our lives and the life of this new baby.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Here is Max, getting ready for his first belt test. We finally convinced him to put up his hair because it probably wasn't the best thing to have to push his hair back from his face while doing his forms in the test.
Here he is not long after his test. He wasn't going to find out for sure if he passed or not until today (he did, since he didn't receive a call otherwise). The first thing he did when he came to us after his test was take down his hair and hand me the hair tie.
Ok, so I've run up against the 200 picture limit in my free Flickr account. I would love to give them money to give me more room, but I just cannot justify it right now, and really, my husband would certainly be the one to get a paid account first. He uses it a ton for his art and such.
Well, someone's got a birthday in a couple of months, so that might work...
Anyway, as I get totally off track again. I use Picasa already, which is Google's photo application. It make uploading photos and such very easy, and it's great for minor photo editing.
Google does have a web album thing, and I just uploaded to it, because doing so from Picasa on my computer is stupid easy and I don't have to search at all, etc. It is wonderful. I wish I could upload to Flickr with that sort of ease, though...
I guess I can only hope for the next giant buyout from Google to go to Flickr. Ha... Who owns Flickr anyway? Isn't it Yahoo? I think it may be. I don't care enough right now to find out.
Starting out with absolutely nothing for a baby I have managed to amass a giant pile of stuff already (FREE! mostly). And I still need to pick up the crib and a few various other things people have for me. Another friend randomly texted me the other day saying she had a bunch of girl clothes for me, too.
I am planning on having at least one shower and one blessingway, based on friends who have asked to throw these. I don't mind at all, though I am trying to figure out the best way to make sure that anyone who will attend these events knows that "reduce, reuse, recycle" is really our thing. I don't anyone to feel obligated to bring a gift, though it's generally a given for showers, but I do want to let people know that if they would like to gift us with something what types of things would be really useful.
I registered at babiesrus.com and I think I can put a note on my registry. I'm not sure how long it can be, though, right now it just says "it's a girl"
I don't know, I always hate the idea of those cards you stick in invites letting people know where you are registered.
I was thinking of maybe having my hostess make cards to add into the invites that says something like "Gently used or thrifted clothing and blankets, chlorine free disposables and BPA free bottles, Similac Organic, or a yummy meal for the new parents freezer are all very welcome gifts. If you are stuck for ideas you can also visit the registry at babiesrus.com"
Ugh, I don't know. I don't want to sound pushy, either. But I really don't want to end up with things like bottles or diapers that are not the types I plan to exclusively use. I do feel strongly about only using certain types of items for health and environmental reasons.
My first choice is hand me downs, in order to make less of an impact in the use of materials and pollutants, the exceptions to this being bottles that are not BPA free and plastic toys, I really don't want plastic toys that will be chewed on, unless I know the grade and manufacturer. The things that can't be gotten used, like the diapers, I feel strongly about adding as little waste as I can (ha, of course, not doing cloth that I wash myself this time is kind of the antithesis of this, no?)
I don't know, I have this weird feeling about having a shower or 3 this time around (mom friends from my original AP playgroup that I've know since Max was born is doing the blessingway thing during a weekend getaway that us moms are having this summer with the kids) (a couple's thing with my friends from our day to day group of good friends that my goodest friend wants to throw) (possibly a separate for family, I generally think a family one is good separated, I would like to have a small traditional girl kind with Chris' step-mother and her mother, his step-sister, etc, and invite my mother to this one... ugh, that stresses me out to even think about, yeah, better separate)... But I've always been this way. AND heck, I had a wedding shower for my 2nd marriage (my first actual wedding, though)
But I think if I can get our message across on what we need and would like then I don't feel like anyone would be put out and it will give everyone a lot of flexibility in finding us something without feeling pressured to spend a lot of money.
I have a couple of things on the registry like the car seat and stroller that are a little more, but we have the initial stuff we need already so it's not a big deal if we don't have it when the baby is born. Those things are for the benefit of specific family members that I know all too well to have money they would like to spend on this baby and by all means if they're going to do it anyway I figured I would give them something to get :p
I know people will get what they get anyway, but I just want to gently nudge people in our preferred direction.
Thoughts? How would you do this?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Random and weird things about me:
1. I do not shower every day. Rarely every other day. Unless I am out in the dirt I don't see the point. I have even been known to shower only once a week or if I am starting to smell, but I usually shower about twice a week now. As long as my body and clothes are clean, I am fine. Though now the weather is getting warmer, which will soon mean every day. Ugh, I hate humidity.
2. I have a completely inappropriate sense of humor about a lot of things. I think I get it from my dad's family. During my grandmother's rosary/wake all of my dad's brothers and sisters were trying not to laugh and appeared to be crying as they were trying desperately not to start laughing out loud. None of them could make eye contact with each other. :p
3. I love getting catalogs in the mail. I used to love getting them for nearly anything, even with no intention of ever purchasing from them, but I have cut WAY back on my catalog addiction due to concerns about paper overconsumption.
4. My animals, and anyone's animals, are an endless source of entertainment to me. This is why I think I would be very well suited to work in vet medicine when I am ready to go back to work. I really have a deep abiding love of animals. The wonder at them never wears off for me.
5. I do not listen to commercial radio, and if I could have NRP talk radio 24/7 I would. Which actually I can once I get my ipod working and I can get podcasts of all the shows to my heart's content!! Car Talk! This American Life! Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!!
6. #5 reminded me that Stuff White People Like makes me a little embarrassed... I probably fall into a good half of their items listed...
7. So, since I've been care giving for an elderly woman, I have kind of gotten a little addicted to As the World Turns.... *looks down at shoes and coughs uncomfortably*
Well, I don't have many people to tag, cause I haven't really gotten to know any of the peeps I follow. I will tag my friend Brandy over at I Didn't Start Out Tired.
Honestly, that's about it... Sorry for failing on the 7. I could ping lj friends, but I have kinda stopped looking at lj in recent months, due to my rss feeds! I wish everyone would do this, and use google reader. I love being able to share with my friends on google reader.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I just had a bowl of one of my most favorite foods in the world. It brings back memories of childhood and it is so delicious. What is it? Cream of Wheat. Yup. I love it. With a big glob of butter and salt. Mmmm. I don't know if I've had it since our honeymoon. The B&B we stayed at in New Orleans let me have it every morning for breakfast while I was there. With pan gravy. Not the thick kind, but the thin kind that seems to only exist in my home state of Louisiana. The cook made it with the drippings from the sausage, but it was never greasy, just perfect.
I've spent a lot of time this evening on the mothering.com boards, and the "Traditional Foods" movement has caught my eye. I didn't realize this was it's own thing. It's interesting, but kind of weird. Well, not weird. I can't think of a more accurate term right now, though.
And every time I see the Weston A. Price name, I think of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, cause I am a geek that way. And it makes me want to watch more Angel. I still haven't finished it. I can't even remember which season we're actually on. I remember where we are, though. The guy, what's his face, that stole Angel's son, just had the woman kill him and set it up to look like a vamp did it for Angel's son to find... It's been a few months since I've watched it.
And here are some really cool sea creatures found off of the Antarctic coast!
Tangential fun! Here's a pictoral breakdown of this evenings post: