Friday, June 24, 2011

shit, shoot, and poo poo head

haven isn't talking yet, but she's about to turn 1 so i know it's coming soon. and with talking will come repeating words she hears, which brings up the issue of "bad words". i do not have the daintiest of vocabularies, and tony's mouth is worse than mine. however, i do not speak in a way that i believe is morally wrong. if i thought saying "goddamnit!" when i stub my toe was wrong, i wouldn't say it. since i don't believe it's wrong, i'm pondering whether or not to censor myself around haven. i think i've come to the conclusion that there is a way of speaking that i find wrong and will teach her not to do, but that it has to do with intent rather than specific words.
i fail to see any moral difference between "shit" and "shoot". is the "i" sound really more evil than the "oo" sound? is "freak" really more appropriate than "fuck"? i can't see how. if the words are just being used as punctuation/exclamation, i don't believe there is anything wrong with "bad" words (i won't even get into the nerdy linguistics history and how "bad" words are really just the Saxon version and "ok" words are the Norman translation).
i do think there are things it's not ok to say. cursing as punctuation is fine, but cursing AT someone is absolutely not ok. and you can curse at someone and damage them with your words without saying a single "swear". i think it is far more wrong to call someone a "poo poo head" than to say "oh shit" when a drink spills. in the same vein, derogatory "jokes" are inappropriate regardless of the words used to convey the disrespect. words do not have a meaning outside their intent and context. so it is far more vulgar and immoral to use "non-swear" words to hurt someone than to use "swear" words to emphasize the emotional content of a sentence.
i want to teach my children that words have the power to build or to break, and must be used carefully. i want to teach them to speak respectfully and kindly. those things are important. but i frankly won't give a fuck if they say "fuck" when a toy breaks or whatever. "oh fuck" will be fine, but "fuck you" will not....i believe learning that distinction is far more important than learning to simply avoid certain words.
i will teach my kids that certain language is not appropriate in certain places/situations. i speak differently at work than i do at home, in more ways than just word choice. i speak differently when writing a formal letter than when updating facebook. sometimes i even use capitol letters. and that ability to adapt communication style to fit a situation an important life skill to know. but it's not a moral issue any more than wearing shoes (which i also do in public, mostly, but not at home).
maybe i will get shit from other moms when my kids swear around their kids. but i'm covered in tattoos and breastfeed in public and take my baby to rock shows in i'm bound to get some shit from other parents one way or another. and if i know that my children aren't hurting others with their words, then i will feel successful and content in my parenting.
plus, it's super hilarious when a toddler says "shit" in public....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ode to aunt flo

so it really bothers me when women talk about their period as "the curse", or talk about how dumb and useless and dirty and horrible it is.
i think it irks me most because it smacks so decidedly of the old misogynistic attitude that there is something dirty about being a woman. i don't like it coming from men, but expect it, but i absolutely can't stand when women give into that thinking.
there is nothing gross about having a period. it is not "dirty". it is not something to be ignored/denied three weeks a month and then bemoaned and cursed the other week. getting a period means that your body is healthy and functioning. it is an affirmation of the beautiful power of reproduction.
yes, sometimes periods are painful. i have endometriosis and used to spend days in bed, fainting, throwing up, when i got my period. i know about the pain. i'm not saying that getting my period is my favorite time of the month. but it is a time that i respect and am thankful for. it is a time every month where my body reminds me of what it is capable of.
and, i found that once i switched to cloth pads and a menstrual cup, i have far shorter and easier periods. apparently a lot of the cramps, itching, and general yucky feeling i used to get during my period was because my body was reacting to the bleach and weird chemicals and plastics in the disposable pads and tampons i was using. the first month that i wasn't using the disposable stuff, my period was suddenly 4 days rather than 7, with slight cramps on the first day rather than doubling-over pain for two or three days. and it's not just me who's found that. the quickest of google searches will give you hundreds of stories of women who thought they had horrible periods and then found out they actually just had horrible pads and tampons.
but i dislike the disposable products for more reason than just their bad effect on my health. i dislike what they say about menstruation. when i use a cloth pad, i have to come into contact with my period, literally. before i used cloth i thought it would be so gross to wash the blood out, because i had really no idea what period blood was like...i'd always just shoved the used pad in the trash as quickly as possible because it was "nasty"(i always made sure to wrap it in layers and layers of toilet paper so no one would know that i did anything as disgusting as menstruate). turns out menstrual blood is no grosser than any other body fluid. i don't freak out about blowing my nose or cleaning a cut or spitting, so why should i freak out about period flow?
the answer is that i thought it was gross because i'd been told it was the disposable pad companies.
the disposable period industry teaches girls from the start of menstruation to be grossed out by their periods, and ashamed. why on earth would they advertise a quiet wrapper for a pad? so none of the other women in the women's restroom will know that you have a properly functioning woman's body? really? getting your period is so shameful and disgusting that even the sound of a pad being unwrapped within earshot of other women is just too humiliating to bear?
give me a break.
it is impossible to think that a period is gross and shameful without thinking, though probably subconsciously, that your body is gross and shameful. getting a period is about as tied to being sexually a woman as it gets. so when you ignore/deny/hide/disdain your period, you are necessarily ignoring/etc part of your very being.
for those who feel that although they are sexually women, they are of the male gender, i can understand this sort of discomfort. but for women who identify as women, it baffles me. well, not totally. i do get why it is...because i did feel that way. if we tell young girls often enough that a period is a curse, they will believe it until they are taught or realize better. i guess what i don't get is why we let our bodies be slandered by corporations trying to make a buck off the backs of our insecurity.
so anyways, i'll be getting my period next week and i will treat its arrival with the honor that my body deserves. i will wear cloth pads that force me to be in contact with and think about my period. i will celebrate the fact that i have a sexually mature, healthy body, capable of performing enormous feats of strength and endurance and bringing life into the world. i will use a heat pack and take an advil, but it won't be because i'm cursed. it will be because anything good is a little hard, and my period is something very good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

cleaning up my act

i have never in my life had the urge to clean. i force myself to clean, but it always takes a lot of talking myself into it. but last night i spontaneously cleaned my kitchen. and, even more shockingly for those who know me, i enjoyed it.
it's ok. i'm still me. i haven't been possessed, nor brainwashed by a cult.
i think what makes all the difference is the new cleaning products i've been making. now that cleaning isn't associated with horrible smells and burning, eczema covered hands, it is much less odious. my kitchen smells like dr. bronner's peppermint soap, and tea tree oil, which are so much nicer to smell than clorox and dawn. and i really like getting to play science and mix up my cleaning solutions. it's the same fun for me that cooking is. and then i get to watch my witch's brew cut through grime and work on mess that the old toxic cleaners could never quite get. my stove has never been so clean. my floor sparkles without the sticky feeling that the clorox floor cleaner used to leave. my glass door is clean without having to gag on widex to get it that way.
and, most importantly, it is safe for haven now. she's really into licking the windows and the floors, and now when she does it i don't have to worry because there's nothing wrong with licking up a little vinegar and biodegradable organic soap.
i know the novelty will wear off and cleaning will lose some of its magic, but for now at least my kitchen will be a lot cleaner than it used to be. now if only i could figure out how to make vacuuming fun....

oh, and my all-purpose surface, window, and floor cleaner is:

2/3cup white vinegar
1/4cup dr bronner's liquid soap of your scent preference
10 drops tea tree oil (unless you use the tea tree flavor of soap and then you can leave this out)
fill the rest of the bottle with hot water

you have to shake it up really well because at first the vinegar makes the soap clump up weird, but once it's thoroughly mixed it works so fantastically well. it cuts grease, works on stuck on food, and wipes away totally clear on windows.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

recipe time

on request, here are some recipes.

first off, vegan mac and cheese:

1 box macaroni noodles
1/4 cup olive oil or earth ballance
1/2 cup coconut milk or soy milk (coconut gives a thicker sauce)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 jar butternut squash baby food (optional, but adds some extra veggies/health, and helps with texture)
1 tbsp brown mustard
1 tsp(ish) garlic salt
shake of paprika
shake of dill
veggies of your choice - i like peas and carrots

cook the noodles. i use frozen veggies so i can cook them along with the noodles. drain, and turn down burner to low. add the oil, coconut milk, soysauce, squash, and mustard. mix. add the nutri yeast, and spices. mix again. voila! adjust spices to your liking. basil is a nice addition, as is turmeric for "cheesy" color. i wouldn't suggest minced garlic - way too strong and changes the flavor. go with garlic salt.
the sauce also works great with broccoli, chicken, and rice, but is then not vegan.

laundry soap:

1.5 cup borax
1.5 cup washing soda
1 large bar (at least 4oz) real soap - no moisturizers, exfoliators, additives, etc. dr bronners or kirks or work awesome

dump the borax and soda together in a large tupperware with a lid. grate the soap on the small side of the cheese grater and add. stir/shake it up. use 1 tbsp for a small load or a load of diapers, 2 tbsp for a large load. i get 60ish loads from this recipe, for $3-$5 depending on cost of the bar of soap.

kitchen grease buster/scouring powder:

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
2 tbsp salt

mix together and store in a tupperware. sprinkle on a nasty greasy mess, let sit for a minute, and then wipe down with a cloth. this is the only thing that gets my stove clean from the burn on nast that forms around the edges of the burners. supposedly it can be used as a dishwasher soap, but i haven't had much luck with it in that department...tends to leave a film on the glasses. but it's awesome for any greasy, sticky, stuck-on mess. if you've ever seen how dirty my kitchen gets, you will know that it can handle a serious mess.

dry skin salve:

1/4 cup raw shea butter
1 tbsp grated beeswax
1 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp olive oil
a few drops of rosemary and lavender essential oils
1 large ziplock bag
1 small tupperware

put the wax, shea, and olive and grape oils into the ziplock, squeeze out the air and close. set the bag in a sauce pan of water. boil the water to melt the ingredients. as they melt, use a spoon to smoosh the bag around. once they are all melted, remove the bag and shake it really good to mix everything well. keep smooshing or shaking the bag every minute or so as it cools. once the mix starts to look white rather than clear, add the essential oils and keep smooshing. when the mix is the consistency of frosting, cut a small hole in a corner of the bag and squeeze into the tupperware and close it. let the mix cool and set for an hour or so.
the lavender is just for scent, but the rosemary is important. it is a mild preservative, and also good for circulation. peppermint is a nice add as well, and gives a tingly feeling to the salve.
it works great on cracked hands and feet, and i used it on my belly when i was preggo.

facial cleanser/moisturizer combo:

1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/3 cup jojoba oil
1/2 tsp tea tree oil

mix together and keep in a bottle. use on a cotton ball or cloth to remove makeup and dirt. rinse with warm water afterwords. counter-intuitively, oil is a great way to clean skin and prevent breakouts. dry, stressed skin makes too much oil and causes problems. grape seed and jojoba oils do not clog pores, but do grab dirt and dissolve sebum in zits. the tea tree kills bacteria. use it once a day and i promise your skin will like it. it may get slightly worse at first as the grossness is pulled to the surface and the skin heals, but once your skin is in good shape this will keep it that way.

happy concocting!