Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things Uli Likes: 13 months old

molasses cookies
hot milk & molasses

pulling the drain during her bath
pulling all the tissues from the Kleenex box

pushing buttons on the DVD player and on the radio
remote controls (DVD, TiVo, TV)


balancing on her rocking-cow
flipping backwards onto the couch

sparkling apple cider
roasted beets

the dogs’ water dish
her daddy’s The Simpsons coffee mug

throwing toys into the toilet 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rousing chorus of "Kumbaya" not required

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers, the shirts, the mugs. But it’s only recently come to my attention that some of us hate them.


How can any rational person actually hate a call for peace? A plea for tolerance that might develop into brother- and sister-hood? For the end of persecution based on cultural and religious beliefs? I find it sad and I totally disagree with mindsets like that, and thus, I banish you all from my sight and hope you never find a safe job that you enjoy and that you go hungry and cold in the winter and that your children are ridiculed in school (if I even let them matriculate with my daughter)!!  Oh, no wait, let me see...

coexist  \ˌkō-ig-ˈzist\
co·ex·ist·ed, co·ex·ist·ing, co·ex·ists
1. To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place.
2. To live in peace with another or others despite differences, especially as a matter of policy

Ah, okay. Everyone can stay. But that doesn’t mean I approve.

And that’s okay! I can coexist with you without agreeing with you. Coexisting means neither that we must completely reconcile our differences nor does it mean that we must ignore our differences--the practice of coexistence is essentially a platform from which we start out agreeing that we all have the same basic human rights to food, shelter, education, and medical care. That’s it. We can disagree on how we get the food to our plates and what’s appropriate to eat. We can argue about how tall the houses are allowed to be in our neighborhoods. We can petition the school council about adding or taking out certain parts of curriculum. We can vote our hearts on what we think is the best way to ensure that everyone receives the preventative care and/or prescription drugs that they need. But we start out from the place and we continually remind ourselves of that, lest we forget that those we consider The Others are really just part of a larger group called We.

Coexistence doesn’t mean we all run through the fields of wildflowers hand-in-hand with never a roll of an eye, a strongly worded letter, or the raising of a voice. Our differences aren’t swept under a rug but neither do we burn effigies of our neighbors to threaten them. Coexistance is neither a movement toward homogenizing nor is it a request to turn a blind eye. Instead, it’s a call to practice discussion over violence, patience in the face of frustration, and a willingness to get to know someone as a person rather than as The Other (and there are always infinite reasons to label someone as one of Them). It’s a commitment to remain peaceful when we want to strike out. It’s a belief that we’re all important and valuable regardless of (and, indeed, because of) our varied social status, religious affiliation, or cultural heritage.

It means we’re not seeking to eradicate each other (which is important since there are those out there who’d like nothing better than snuffing some of us out--either just our voices or sometimes our actual breath itself). Certainly, we can share our personal beliefs with others and we’re happy if/when they adopt our views. But it’s okay if/when they don’t. Because we will make it work. Our children will attend school together regardless of the languages we speak at home. We’ll wave at each other when we walk by each other’s yards even if we don’t attend the same church, synagogue, or mosque.  We’ll welcome a new family to the neighborhood with a smile and a basket of cookies even if their skin, eye, or hair color doesn’t match our own. But most of all, we’ll allow The Others a place in the We group. We’ll remember that we’re all here together, trying to make a good life. And when our definitions of the “good life” differ, we’ll know that it’s okay to disagree and to discuss those differences without intimidation or attacks.

It’s okay to throw out the old “melting pot” idea in favor of the new “garden salad” approach--we don’t each lose our individuality when we come together into one community or nation--we keep our own essence and each new separate flavor helps add something special to the mix. With coexistence we end up with a fabulous spicy dish instead of bland mush.

I am not the most eloquent, but those are some of the basic thoughts I had running through my head today.


And, just as a side note, I do NOT condone letting someone walk all over you with their  “fake” commitment to  coexistence like the kind the evil space earwigs proffered in Star Trek:TNG

Lt. Cmdr. Dexter Remmick: You don't understand... We mean you no harm. We seek peaceful coexistence! [Riker and Picard open fire, blasting Remmick and the creatures to bits]      (Click to see the YouTube video)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Uli, Halloween 2009  (& what Mommy feels like today but knows she’s not as cute)

Dog hair
Dog hair
Dog hair
Dog hair

Broken vacuum

Wet piles of cat puke
Dried remnants of cat puke

Sink of dirty dishes
Teetering pile of clean dishes to put away

Poopy diapers
Poopy diapers

Sick baby
Crying baby
Manic baby

Manic mommy
Tired mommy
Super duper grouchy mommy

Momma said there’d be days like this.
I wish this weren’t one of them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My favorite things: 1

Uli, 11 months--sweeter than honey

Yes, I did recently post about distressful commercialism and our nation’s unfortunate and exponentially growing desire for new/better “stuff.”  But I figure that even those living off grid find an occasion when they want/need something that they cannot feasibly make, grow, or gather themselves.  There’s no shame in needing others’ help, skills and ideas to outfit your house and home.

In the spirit of sharing and growing, I enjoy hearing about others’ favorite purchases (for example, CapitolMommy’s recent post), even if I don’t intend or cannot afford to buy the items they’ve purchased. Sometimes you can make something similar for yourself. Other times it’s just interesting to hear how others go about meeting their needs and solving household problems, and it starts a conversation in which you can share your own innovations. Similarly, I also like to hear about items that are flops, especially if I were considering trying those items myself.

So, I don’t ask that you run right out and buy the thing that work for me, but if you were already thinking about purchasing it’s like, I think it’s helpful to hear a review. Thus, here begins the first of what I plan to be a series (I’ll just say that the wool diaper covers review was a prequel).

One of my favorite things:

Really Raw Honey from Baltimore, MD

I buy mine at Woodman’s here in Madison, but wherever you are, if you’re having trouble finding good raw honey locally, you can purchase jars directly from the company via their website—they have free shipping!.

What I like about RRH:

  •  It’s packaged in glass jars, which is much nicer than the plastic that the majority of honey comes in. Glass is not only easy to recycle with most cities recycling programs, but it’s also easy to re-use at home (for example: I use a glass honey jar to mix lanolin with hot water—shake, shake, shake!—before adding the mixture to my woolens-wash). Also, if your household is one that takes months to get through a jar, honey can become hardened and difficult to scoop. When honey is packaged in glass jars I can happily heat the jar in some hot water to re-liquefy the honey without worrying about the glass leaching harmful chemicals into the honey—I can’t say the same of plastic containers. 
  • When you first open a jar of RRH you’ll see it’s sealed with “cappings” of honeycomb, pollen and propolis. You can scoop off the cappings and chew them like gum (they’re supposedly nutrient rich—not to mention tasty sweet!). 
  • The honey itself is creamy and opaque and full of goodness, not transparent like the refined honey you usually see in the grocery store. It’s easy to spoon. 
  • It tastes amazing!

I know honey is a controversial subject for those who are trying to reduce their use of animal products and live sustainably. I have cut honey out of my diet in the past (avoiding all honey-topped breads, etc.), but I’ve finally decided that I’m comfortable using honey if I buy it from a reputable company. And Really Raw fits the bill. I’ve called the company and believe they have compassionate and sustainable bee-keeping practices:
      • they always winter-over their bees
      • they leave the bees enough honey for their own use
      • they don’t clip the wings of the queens
      • they never transport the bees to single plant factory-type farms

However, for those interesting in avoiding honey or those looking for a substitute (while you’re waiting for your Really Raw to arrive!) I am always a fan of substituting good organic maple syrup or agave nectar for honey in recipes—a quick homemade maple syrup-and-mustard dressing beats a store-bought honey-mustard any day.

Hope your day is a sweet one!


After enjoying a leisurely walk in the crisp autumn air, Thomasin and Justin return home and enter their living room.

THOMASIN (sniffing) Ew, I think I smell cat pee.
JUSTIN I don’t know. (sniffing) I definitely smell rutabaga.

A pause. More sniffing.

JUSTIN Yeah, it’s just rutabaga.
JUSTIN But, really, rutabaga is worse than cat pee.
THOMASIN No such thing. Rutabaga is roses compared to pee.
JUSTIN I don’t like our house to smell like rutabaga.
THOMASIN I don’t like our house to smell like cats.

Since they own 5 cats and eat roasted rutabagas, both realize there will be no happy resolution.

the end

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What happens...

...when you think the baby powder (which is hardly ever used) is out of Uli’s reach, and you leave her in her room to play? !

Silly Mommy. That baby isn’t a baby: she’s a climbing toddler!

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