Archive for May, 2008

It’s challenge time!  For the month of June, I am giving up soda and screwing around on the computer.  You know, the obsessive checking of email, flipping to my feed reader to see if anyone’s updated, generally roaming from site to site to site while the baby is sleeping.  No more, no more, no more.


On to the growing challenge–things are still growing.  I’m not sure we’re ever going to have anything to harvest, but the plants aren’t dead yet.  At least there’s that.


I don’t know if my foot is going to be ok enough to do CSA pick-up this week.  Or, I think I’ll probably not be able to.  It’s the first week, and I’m pretty bummed.  I’ll be happy when this whole mess is over.  I soaked it this morning and the salt stung like a bitch.  And I cried like a baby because honestly?  I don’t want to have to deal with this.  But by the end of the soak it didn’t sting as much, and Tylenol is helping the pain so it could be far worse.

And with that I’m off to put on a pot of tea and scare up some food.  Oh, wait!  Good news!  My Babyhawk got here and I tried it on yesterday, and it is awesome.  Chico fell asleep within ten minutes of being put in and my back felt great.  I love it.

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Since I first heard that a nail could come off, I’ve had a huge phobia about losing a toenail.  Well, today mine was removed.  And you know what?  I was totally right to be phobic about it because it seriously hurts now.

The doctor’s office, though?  Those people couldn’t have been nicer.  Seriously, if I had to face up to a huge fear, that was the best place to do so.  I’m very grateful for all of their kindness.  Still, this throbbing sucks.

I’m going to limp my surgery-shod self over to the couch and commence self-pity.

And I think I’m going to follow limesarah’s suggestion and check out first aid training.  That’s something I never would have thought of and I think it would be good for me.  Thank you!

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Reverse Blog-ology

So I’ve noticed how often I come over here and announce one thing, and then shortly after am singing a different tune.  Like when I announced I was having trouble writing two days ago and then found myself typing away within 24 hours.  Anyway, one of the things I wrote about yesterday was trying to appreciate the opportunity to gouge away at my medi-phobia.  And then I proceeded to freak out.

I don’t know exactly what it is I’m afraid of.  I run different reasons through my head and none of them hit me in the gut with absolute truth.  I’m not afraid of doctors or nurses or other medical personnel.  I’m afraid of diagnosis but not to the point where I am paralyzed by it.  I’m afraid of dying, and I’m sure I blow things out of proportion in my head, but I highly doubt, even in my weakened emotional state, that I am dying (except in that ‘we’re all slowly dying’ angsty-pants sort of way.)

I think maybe I’m afraid of ceding control.  When you go to the doctor, you go to a person who has the power to determine things about your body that you cannot.  There are forms to fill out, waiting to wait, and all so you can explain yourself to a person who sits in judgment of your health.  It freaks me out.  I imagine I am seen as irresponsible for not coming sooner, for not already having determined what is the matter with me (or my children.)  It all comes squarely back to caring overly about what other people think of me.

Or perhaps, more accurately, it all comes squarely to me seeing myself as less than I should be.  I wish I knew why I think I’m such a screw-up.  Then maybe I’d stop thinking everybody else thinks I’m a screw-up too.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to get through the next few hours without working myself up too much.  And I’m hoping that pouring out all of this fear will get at least some of it out of my head.

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I found out about this from Feministe:

Listen, if you’re reading this and you live in New York State, call 518.474.8390 and tell them you support the directive to recognize same-sex marriages TODAY May 29th!  I have a huge phone phobia and even I called.


I have had this abrasion deal on my big toe for weeks and it finally got infected so I had to stroll my barefooted baby downstairs to the doctor, where I shook and teared up because I’m still freaked out about anything medical.  I’m going to a podiatrist tomorrow to see what treatment I should get.  I have been having panic attacks weekly over this so I guess it’s good I’m finally handling it.  I started reading After the Ecstasy the Laundry this afternoon and have come to realize that I always forget that each time I do something that makes me afraid, I grow as a person, even when it’s as stupid as being afraid to go to the doctor.


While I have been wandering about my domicile, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing good.  The thing is, I really want to start focusing more of my time and energy on giving.  I think right now it is important to know that I am helping somehow, even if it is just to make myself feel like I’m putting out positive energy.  I don’t know.  This is one of those places I feel like my words aren’t working the way I want them to.

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In Absentia

It’s been some time since I’ve taken this long of a break from the blogworld.  Truth is, I’ve not been having the best success with expressing myself in words lately.   And the other truth is, I have been far more interested in doing than talking about. For the time being, I’m going to keep buzzing around my little comfort area and see how it ends up.  I may bust through this existential miasma (ha!) soon, or it may stick around for a while.  I think I just need a little while to get my thoughts together and figure out what exactly I’m doing, and heaven knows that with a super-clingy 7 month old and a 5 year old who deserves Mommy Time too, I can barely come up with a spare moment to rub two thoughts against each other.

It’s not that dramatic, actually.  I’m just thinking a lot lately.  I’m still reading, but the writing…it’s just not a writing sort of period.  Does that make any sense?

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No, seriously.  My child is suddenly both slimy and pointy, and desperate to get Over There!  No, Over There!  Wait, Down There!

I am exhausted and my arms ache.

But that’s not what this is about.

Y’all know No Impact Man, right?  Well, he’s asking for help.  All you have to do is copy-paste-send a letter to the email address he provides.  Easy-peasy.  Much easier, in fact, than trying to keep a 7 month old from flinging himself off of your lap.

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Of all the changes I’ve made for the Riot, the one that gets the most attention from people I tell about the reduction, by far, is the worm bin.  I think it’s partly because people usually try to get bugs out of their house, and part because I doubt anyone who knew me would figure me for the type to keep worms.  Many people are interested in the process of using a worm bin, including how the hell you go from rotting food to compost.  I’m still trial-and-error-ing my way through the last part, but I think I have an ok handle on the day-to-day.  At least, I can say categorically that I still have a shit-ton of worms, egg sacs galore, a jar full of vermicompost tea on my kitchen counter, and I’ve been able to pull a decent amount of compost from the first bin, although my method of doing so has been a colossal pain in the ass.

So this is how I did it.

I ordered my bin from the Worm Woman.  I got the model 7002, which came with a copy of Worms Eat My Garbage, as well as a box of wormins.  Worms Eat My Garbage is your number 1 source for vermicomposting information, and the folks at Flowerfield Enterprises are fantastically nice.  I highly recommend getting a bin from them if you are in the market.  Lots of people make their own but I’m terrible at following instructions and clumsy to boot so I figured this was safer.  In hindsight, I would have gotten the larger bin.  CSA time makes a whole bunch of food scrap, as does having a kid.  I imagine it will only get worse when Chico is on solids regularly.

Our package was waiting for us when we arrived home from vacation so it was a bit of a rush to set it up.  I was totally freaked out I had done it wrong and was going to wake up the next morning to a worm massacre, but apparently worms are pretty hearty little dudes.  Alls I did was rip up some newspaper from the recycling room, mix with water, work in some soil and toss the worms in.  Gently, of course.

You can start adding in food in the next day or so.  Let the worms get acclimated, find a good spot for the bin, stuff like that.  I have mine next to Lucy’s desk in the dining room.  The second is close by.  This way I can run the scraps in from the kitchen next door.  I’d love to have the bin in the kitchen but there is just no space.

I keep my scraps in old take-out containers, I do not chop it up or do anything to it.  I do keep the containers in the fridge after we had a bout of fruit fly infestation last summer.  For a while, I weighed and kept track of where I buried the scraps but after a while I just started eyeballing where there was space and tossing in bedding (packing paper, newspaper, paper bags) whenever it looked like it was getting too sloppy wet.  About a month before I had Chico, I stopped putting food in one half of the bin and then a few days before I had him I started trying to scoop out bits of the compost.  This was a huge pain, but I’m not hip to touching worms.  It took forever and barely made a dent in the amount of crap in the bin.

After Chico was born, the bin went untouched for about a month-six weeks.  I was sure that would be the end of the worms, but they survived.  I scooped out some more poop and switched feeding sides.  And then, a week or so ago, I got the second bin.

Bedding was set up, worms were moved, and we’re feeding in the second bin now.  I did a heavier duty scoop out of the first bin, finding there was still a lot of uneaten food mixed in with the vermicompost, as well as big puddles of ‘worm tea’ in the bottom which I scooped out and into the aforementioned jar.  I think I’m going to have to break down and dump it all out to sort, which I am dreading.  I need the 2 bins, though, to keep scraps from ending up in the trash.  And I need the compost, as I am finally planting my seedlings.

Anyway.  I find the worm bin to be super-easy aside from the ‘harvest’ of the worm poop, which is probably easier than I am making it.  Much of our food scrap is plant-based so it has definitely reduced our trash a bit.  The second bin should take it down a lot more.

I should mention, though, that my only indication that I am doing anything right is that my worms are multiplying like crazy. I have not done a particularly good job at following instructions or even looking at instructions.  I have read about other people having much more trouble with their bins than I have had with mine.  I am no expert.  But seriously, it’s been beyond easy for me.  And Lucy can help, which makes it educational too!

some of the stuff I feed to the worms:  any fruit or veg that falls on the floor, lots of apple cores and banana peels, wilty greens, carrot ends and peelings, coffee grounds and tea leaves/bags, paper towels that haven’t touched cleaning product/animal product, eggshells, dead leaves and flowers from houseplants, melon rinds (the worms love melon.  a lot.)  I do not put bread product in because it’s the only thing I’ve seen grow mold in the bin.  That was the only thing I had a problem with, plus a little bit of moisture draining from the side vent that wiped right up.  There’s no smell, no bugs, no worms escaping, no nothing.  And the worms don’t care if you think they’re gross as long as you keep feeding them 🙂

I was going to take pictures but I have a big teething monster-baby who no longer wants to be put down because whenever he is some mean baby throws all of his toys onto the floor.  I mastered the kangaroo carry with the pouch last night but for some reason can’t do it this morning.  sigh.

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Why, it’s a new badge!  The 350 Challenge offsets 350 pounds of carbon for each blogger who displays the badge on her site.  I’m really more about reducing than offsetting but this is too easy not to do.

Unfit Mother–I will explain my worm set-up tomorrow, I promise!  I’ll even take pictures.

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On and On and On

Chico was up and down all night so I am rather bleary-eyed, yet somehow brimming with energy.  It’s like the first No-Doz buzz after an all-nighter before the nausea sets in.  No chalky taste, though.

Anywho.  I sprang from the bed at a luxurious 9 am.  I put on music and loaded the dishwasher because the pile of dishes was far too daunting to handwash.  I am a dish sissy sometimes.  I took my coffee to the dining room where I began to hand-shred old utility bills for the worm bin.  I changed a diaper, set Lucy to picking out toys for Chico from the drawer, checked my email, waded through some of my feed reader, stared out the window and tried to figure out what I want to make today.  That’s when I realized that I might just be incapable of finishing anything today because my brain is moving far more slowly than my hands.  Dammit.

Thus here are a few of the things flitting through the space behind my eyes.

*350.  That’s parts per million, and it refers to the level of CO2 we need to REDUCE TO in order to prevent irreversible atmospheric change.  Read Bill McKibben’s op-ed in the LA Times here.  350 is a crucial number and everybody needs to know about it if there is going to be any meaningful change in how the world looks at emissions.  And let’s face it–it’s great to wipe your arse with tc or bike to work or sign up for green power, but personal change is just never going to be enough.

*looking within and learning myself.  I wrote a post a while back about doing things because I wanted to.   Not because I should, or wanted to want to.  I’m trying to continue to approach my days from that perspective, and overall I think it’s made me happier with my actions.  The other side, unfortunately, is probably always going to be anxiety.  I wish it was easier to see when the anxiety was coming as a result of a challenge to my usual negativity but honestly I didn’t even realize it until I started writing this bullet point.  Score another one for blogging, eh?

*selfishness.  I tend to think selfishness is one of the worst qualities a person can have.  I’m starting to see from the above point that I need to allow myself a little selfish time.  At least enough that I can say, ‘wait a minute, I need…’  There are degrees of being selfish, and not all are equal.  And some of the things I do that are most selfish are the ones I have done in the name of being good to myself but are things that really aren’t good.  Like the mounds of beauty product I bought over the years to ‘treat’ myself that did nothing but make me feel less-than.  On the other hand, there is skipping housework to make a necklace, or sticking the baby on daddy’s lap to read a book.  It’s interesting how much easier the former is than the latter, how conditioned I’ve been to feel like primping, keeping house, and 24/7 baby care are acceptable but making something or learning something is ‘selfish’ or should be relegated to ‘if there’s time’ status.  I’m trying to remember that it’s ok to do the things I like to do, and especially to NOT beat myself up if I choose to do them over chores or things I feel like other people expect me to do.

*the last is ‘what other people think.’  Oh, do I ever have a problem with what other people think.  A huge chunk of the inadequacy I feel about myself is due to worrying about what other people think of me.  I hate it.  I hate being paralyzed by the fear that people are talking about me behind my back, or are only being nice to me because they have to, or because they pity me or want something from me.  It’s probably the thing that causes me the most mental anguish; trying to figure out if people like me, or why people like me.  It’s really hard to write about this, actually.  In some ways I’d like to print it on a t-shirt so that people know that this is why I don’t make friends easily or start conversations, why sometimes I can have wonderful experiences with people and then never call them–be paralyzed by the fear that I’m the only one who had fun or that I’m misremembering what happened or or or…it really sucks.

Meanwhile, back in life, everybody but me is doing a craft as I clickety-clack my mental inadequacies here.   I gotta get out of here and go join in!

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I made it!

pajamas, bodysuits and a t-shirt for Chico, infant nail clippers, gardening gloves for Lucy and stroller toy for Chico.  Plus the birthday present, of course.  not bad.  It could’ve been much worse.  The birthday party is over.  The weekend can commence!

I want to make things.  I want to get the sewing basket together, decoupage some jars, make a few art cards, paint something.  Whoa.  That last one surprised me.  I never paint.  I’m going through a really visual period right now.

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