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Archive for the ‘cloth TP challenge’ Category

Because I am suddenly and totally addicted to LA Ink.  Man do I ever want another tattoo.  It’s killing me almost as much as the desire for salmon sashimi and a Hoegaarden and prosciutto and the fact that we are no closer to having a name for this child than we were 6 months ago.  My grandmother has suggested Mansfield.  The FIL has popped out with Ashford Jerome (he’s the only one who is kidding, BTW.)  The MIL?  Intimated we might want to name the kid after either Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen (no offense to Springsteen/McCartney fans, but are you kidding me?)  Lucy now wants to name him Luca.  This is how bad it’s gotten.  We’re  rapidly approaching desperation.

I woke up this morning in absolutely excruciating pain.  Had to try to propel my bigness onto my left side because of leg cramps, and was about halfway there when I realized that I might be stuck in this position forever.  There were tears.  I don’t know what I’m going to do about farm share next week.  It may just be too far for me to walk without destroying my hips and pelvis.   I seem to be better now that I’ve gotten up, though, so we’ll see.  I was thrilled beyond expectation to get the food, and joyously washed and prepped the leafies for a ready-made salad immediately after we got home.  The pumpkin is on the dining room tableau, and, for once, we do not have a single expired fruit/veg in the refrigerator.  However, I’m hoping Lucy develops a sudden love for plums because we have a crapload and I hate the things.

Crunchy Chicken has been going through a beyond-incredibly-difficult time lately, so I’ve kind of given the whole blogging about how I wipe my arse thing a rest, but I wanted to do a proper wrap-up of the Cloth TP Challenge just so there aren’t any loose ends, so to speak.  Don’t worry, this will be brief because nothing much has changed.  I am still using the toilet cloth, at least part of the time.  I have two varieties–the cut-up washcloths which need stitched but are far more comfy, and the cut-up pillowcases which do not fray but are not as decadent.  I far prefer the former, but due to constraints on storage and the fact that I spend most of my day in the bathroom, keep running out before I get down to the laundry to get ’em washed (in addition to the fraying issue, which is mostly just a pain in the ass when it comes to picking little strings off of whatever I wash them with.)  I do plan on continuing and eventually getting to the point where I am using TC consistently, but at this stage of pregnancy I just have to cheat with TP sometimes.  I was going to start Lucy as well, but getting massively behind on laundry put the kibosh on that.  Baby steps, so to speak.  I do, overall, find TC more comfortable and really not a huge commitment in the grand scheme of things.  I do think that this final month of pregnancy is making everything seem like a far bigger deal than it actually is, and I’m trying to be more mindful of that so as to keep from throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water (in this case would it be bath water out with the baby?)

The Salvation Army is due today to pick up the mountain of stuff in the foyer and I cannot wait.  We ended up with 8 boxes, 7 bags and a suitcase full of stuff (not counting the linens and bottlefeeding stuff they won’t take which I’ll have to Freecycle before too long.)  I couldn’t be happier to get this crap out of here.  I pulled it all out of my closet last night and, miracle of miracles, could walk into my walk-in closet*!  It was a beautiful experience.  Once I get the Freecycle stuff out of here, I’ll have even more space!  I love space!

What, did you think I was going to talk about my feelings?  Wait, I got one.  Last night my husband stopped at the grocery store on his way home from class to pick up milk and walked through the front door carrying…one of the reusable bags I bought him to keep in his bag!  No plastic bags entered this home yesterday for the first time in I don’t know how long.  That, my friends, made me as melty as if he came home with a dozen damn roses.

*this sounds so decadent, doesn’t it?   It is unfortunate to note that ‘my walk-in closet’ is code for the place where I hang my clothes which also houses old baby toys Lucy has outgrown, pictures we have no place to hang right now, previous years’ filing, C’s train board games, and pretty much anything else I need to keep away from kid or cat.  It’s like one rack of my stuff and then a shitload of overflow.  If anyone ever asks you what to get me, it’s one of those glorious custom designed built-in closet systems and a spouse/child who can bear to part with old belongings.  

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I’ve not taken the time over the past few weeks to enter all of my reduction numbers for the month. Frankly, they’ve been high again and I’m feeling like, rather than this being a progressive reduction, I’ve stagnated and possibly even that things are getting worse. Part of this is a result of huge trash numbers (part of getting stuff together to donate has involved coming across some things that are in too bad condition to donate or, in one case, were covered with bugs. Incredibly disgusting, as well as 10+ pounds of trash. ) I feel like, even not counting that load of trash, our garbage has gotten completely out of control. I don’t know what we’re throwing away, but I have an idea that it’s mostly packaging. It feels sometimes like no matter how much we’ve cut down on processed and packaged foods, we still end up with a crapload of package trash. Can that even be?

Our mileage has been good for the most part. I’m not going anywhere but doc’s appointments and that’s all subway anyhow. Lucy is only in a car when her grandma picks her up, and both times this month have been super-local trips. Her school is so close as to be almost negligible, and only C takes and picks her up.
Unfortunately, this is hardly a feel-good area for me as we’ve always been really low in this category.

Our local/wet food ratio has also been pretty crap since I skipped CSA last week. I’d like to be less dependent on it, but at this point it’s really hard. This is the area I fear the most at this point; as I get closer to the baby being born and even after, it’s going to be very hard for me to do the walk, even with the cart to help out. I don’t have anyone to help me with the pick up (C has class) and I have no access to a vehicle so it’s either walk or don’t get it. That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow at this point. Maybe I’ll take a stab at Greenmarket next week to help out. It’s still a lot of walking but less trying now that it isn’t 8 million degrees.

Consumer spending has also been better, since we’ve not bought any furniture this month. First week was mostly school supplies and prenatal vitamins plus canning stuff, second was a mix of some maternity and some Lucy Halloween/dress-up plus supplies for planting and storing bulk food (still not here, grrrr) while last week my only purchase was a set of shears for cutting up TC and hankies. It helps that we have everything we need for the baby at this point. Or at least mostly. I’m a little nervous about the number of cloth dipes being enough, and I’m torn between using the prefolds as burp cloths to start out and getting burp cloths. I also don’t know if I should go ahead and order the glass bottles I want to get for pumping or if I should wait and see how bf-ing works out this time around. I’ll probably wait so that I don’t jinx myself. But other than that, we’re pretty well ready.

I’ve managed to get together 12 boxes, 7 bags, a suitcase full of bags, and several pieces of furniture for donation. I sure wish I could count this off of my consumer goods or garbage totals for the year 😦

Actually, mostly I just wish I could be happy with what I’ve accomplished without having to list it all out here. I always feel better after these posts, or after I look at the tidy row of items checked off and highlighted on my to-do lists, but I would really like to feel satisfied without having to recount everything I’ve done. Sometimes it makes me wonder if I’m truly doing it for myself or if I’m just trying to do what I think I should be doing. I think (and hope) it’s the former, but there’s really a fine line sometimes between trying to be honest about one’s misgivings and being self-deprecating for the purpose of bragging without sounding like an ass. I really do have these misgivings, I swear, and I’m really not doing the reduction for attention either.

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Today I was going to get the Salvation Army stuff sorted out but frankly, I feel too much like crap.  I’m thoroughly tired of tea with honey and lemon, and noodle soup, and blowing my nose.  I’m sweaty, tired, cranky and generally a big old baby.  And I have a 28 page program to proofread if I can make my eyes focus long enough to get through it.  Did I mention I’m sweaty?  Isn’t it supposed to be fall?

Anyway, here it is, Day 6 of the the cloth TP challenge and I have to confess…last night I forgot to use cloth and accidentally wiped with regular toilet paper.  I swear, everything went in slow motion for a minute as I dropped the wad into the toilet and exclaimed, ‘nooooooooooooo!’  Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did feel pretty dumb for forgetting.  Anywho, it’s still going well.

What isn’t going so well is the use of cloth hankies.  I cut up an old pillowcase and proceeded to go through 7 hankies in the first night.  I don’t know if it’s the material or if I’m just inordinately squicked out by my own snot, but I’m not so jazzed on blowing my nose on cloth.  Then again, I’m not so jazzed about blowing my nose at all right about now, so perhaps I need to give ’em another chance.

Today is Peace One Day.  For my part, I’ll be pulling down The Big Book for Peace for Lucy and me to look at tonight when she gets home from school.

Holy crap, can I stop sweating already?  Damn tea.

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I have decided that I am ready to start Lucy on cloth TP here at home.  She had expressed interest when I was first setting up for the challenge but never brought it up again so I’ll see what she thinks now.  I have some old sheets that are too banged up to donate, so I’ll wash those tomorrow and she can have some swank zebra striped TCs!  Turns out that the washcloth method just frays no matter what I do short of sewing, so I’ll be breaking out the sewing kit after all.  Or else using them for rags, which is probably much much easier.  I am still on the fence about using cloth for #2 but expect to have made my decision by Monday.
I woke up this morning at 5:45 and it was really strange to realize I hadn’t been up for hours.  Nice, but strange.  Turns out I woke up with a mountain of mucous, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that because I can’t deal with being sick right now.  Hell, I just regained my sense of humor this morning.   After all this time waiting, it’s still catching me a bit off guard to realize I’m due in a bit over a month.  I’d marvel at the way my brain is working except I can’t figure it out 🙂

We skipped the CSA pick-up last night and I’m really glad we did.  I just really can’t walk that far without discomfort.  I’ll try to make it next week though, because without that our local food numbers are crap.  I’m going to try to talk C into going to the Union Square market with me this weekend to try to make up some of the difference though.  I had sort of figured that I’d go-go-go until October hit, but it’s looking more and more like that ain’t happening.

Tomorrow:  Pictures!  That’s the plan anyway.  Of the pile of stuff to donate, the cloth dipe stash, the hugenormous belly and maybe even the cloth TP set-up if I get the schmancy ones cut up.  I feel compelled to blog every day but my brain sort of goes skipping off in twelve different directions as soon as I sit down so it seems as though my ‘ooh shiny’ mindset is better suited to things that are, well, shiny.  Plus I have to come up with a list of the donation stuff to be picked up so I’ll have to pull it all out anyway.  I’m pretty excited about having a concrete list of how many boxes and bags we’re getting rid of.  Chalk it up to my years in bookkeeping, but I do so love putting numbers in boxes.

As for right now, I need something to use as hankies because it’s pretty damn silly to give up toilet paper only to have to use it to blow my nose.

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I’m feeling much better after my vomiting forth of complaints (and 3 more hours of sleep.)   I’m still not thrilled about the constant mess, mind, but I do feel it’s unfair to throw out a laundry list of bitching without taking some blame myself.  It did feel good there for a minute, though.

In all fairness to my husband, I come from a long line of Women Who Martyr Themselves With Housework, and I am certainly no exception.  Not that it wouldn’t be nice sometimes to know that someone else cares about the state of the house, or at least appreciates the amount of work that goes into it, but we really don’t have the same expectations or standards of housekeeping and I tend to get into obsessive tunnel vision mode when it comes to lists and projects.  And often, the more lax he is, the more imperative it is for me to make things perfect.  And so I’ll apologize for reaming C on the internets (although doing so meant that I was able to nicely explain the cloth TP situation to him instead of doing my usual banshee act.)  Sometimes I forget that I haven’t explained things to him prior, especially when I’ve blogged about them.  I’m often glad to have my own personal space here, but there are times that it would really be nice if I didn’t have to keep track of what I’ve written vs. what I’ve spoken about.  I am Easily Confused, after all.

I have shears coming tomorrow so I can cut up some more cloth wipes, and the ones I made the other day are in the laundry (pray I don’t have to wee before they’re done.)  The only difficulty of the challenge so far has been having an inadequate number of wipes, which will be rectified tomorrow.  Unless something drastic changes, I’m sold on the cloth.  If I had it to do over again, though, I wouldn’t have bothered cutting up the washcloths with regular scissors at all but would have gotten the shears first thing.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do that in the first place, but I’m sure it was a penny-wise and pound-foolish decision.

And, hey!  Go tell me I’m hot over at GNMParents!  Pretty Please?

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Since I have gotten out of bed at 7:00, I have done the following:

  1. turned off the lights left on overnight
  2. loaded the dishwasher
  3. put the recycling in the recycling bin
  4. made breakfast for Lucy
  5. cleaned up cat puke
  6. fixed the pillows on the couch
  7. cleaned the tomato off of the rubber sink mat

I am operating on 4 hours of sleep, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t resent the FUCK out of the mess I woke up to this morning. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I said I couldn’t run myself around anymore? That I was pushing myself too hard and really needed to relax and rest? Can somebody please tell me how the hell I’m supposed to do that when I’m the only person who does anything around here? Because I’m a little confused right now. And seriously? There’s a frigging baby coming in 5 weeks. I’m not going to have any more time then than I do now.

I woke up in the middle of the night to pee and found 3 of the remaining 6 clean cloth wipes had been used for something and were lying, soaking wet, on the corner of the sink. Under the sink there are 12 clean washcloths, mind. Why my cloth TP? I guess maybe I need to hide it and just contort myself to pull it out whenever I need to wipe. The grocery bag situation has reached the point where I simply can’t take it anymore–in the 2 trips made since Saturday, 11 bags have made their way into the house. Forget about local/non-local food, none of the items purchased on either trip were even organic. The Feline Pine we agreed to switch to a month ago? Which I can’t do because of toxoplasmosis risk? Is sitting, still unused, in the dining room where I moved it when we got the kitchen cart 2 weeks ago. There’s a bag of fricking trash sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor because I haven’t gotten around to weighing it yet. And there it will sit until I can weigh it because heaven forbid anyone else pick it up.

And the irony? Just a few days ago I was all, ‘this reduction thing isn’t that hard, man.’ Well, you know what? It’s a goddamn bitch when other people’s complacency counts against your efforts. I’m tired of busting my ass and feeling like nothing is ever done. It would be done if I didn’t have to start over from crap every morning. I’m tired of other people’s messes and I will be goddamned if I’m going to give up the project because nobody’s helping me.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go deal with the trash, pack Lucy’s lunch, cut up some more cloth TP, wake my husband up, get Lucy dressed and her hair done, do a load of laundry, put away the laundry from yesterday, pre-certify for the hospital, find a place in NYC to buy pinking shears, figure out when I have time to go pick up pinking shears, get ready for the CSA, and see if I can set up a pick-up for all of this crap I have to donate. And maybe if there’s time I can try to catch up on all of the sleep I’m not getting.

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So far so good on the TP, although I desperately need to cut up more washcloths and therefore need pinking shears because sewing?  Ain’t happening.  I ran out by this afternoon and had to do a wash, which was not ideal since they had to go through the dryer.  Much fraying ensued.  Live and learn, eh?  The bag-on-the-doorknob is working quite well for after-storage, though, and I’ll spare y’all the description of how soft it is to wipe with.  I think I’ll be especially happy about cloth in the early post-partum days.

I’ve hit the stage in pregnancy where I am up for the better part of the hours between around 2am and 6:30 when I have to get up.  I hate this.  I find it to be completely unfair that I am awake for a stretch during which I cannot accomplish anything, thereby ensuring that I must nap during the hours when I can get things done.  Resent resent resent.

I have to run the cloth dipes through the wash a few more times and then I am completely done until the baby gets here.  I think I’ll do this tomorrow and get it over with.

Tomorrow is CSA night and I have to dig through the fridge and frantically eat everything from last week.  There isn’t that much, thankfully.

As I was running around trying to get laundry done this afternoon it finally struck me that if I don’t stop putting so much pressure on myself, I’m going to collapse.  I’m going to get the rest of the baby clothes put in the dresser and then I’m going to spend the rest of the evening coloring mandalas with Lucy.  I’ve been at breakneck pace for the past 2 weeks and I really need to catch my breath.  Every day goes by before I have a chance to really think about anything but my to-do list and that can’t be healthy.  Plus I miss my kid and my plants and, most of all, smiling.  When I was pregnant with Lucy I was so freaking chill about everything.  This time around I’m wound so tight I can barely breathe.

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After putting together another bag of my clothes to go out plus a suitcase full of bags, I realized that I had to do laundry ASAP because…

Today is the beginning of Crunchy Chicken’s Cloth TP challenge!  I’ll tell ya, I’m pretty excited about this one.  The thing is, as I started the Riot for Austerity back in June, there were a few things I really never thought I’d be able to handle.  Among them were cloth diapering, growing food, cloth mama pads, and cloth toilet paper.  Over the course of the summer, though, I’ve come to realize how much of my trepidation was really pretty silly.

The thing is, as I’ve gone through the reduction, I’ve learned a lot about what I can and can’t do.  For example, I can’t force my husband to take cloth bags to the grocery.  And often I can’t make big grocery runs by myself because I can’t carry that much.  Therefore, our plastic bag tally is through the roof.  When we moved Lucy out of our bed and into her own, one of the conditions we set was that she could keep her light and the foyer light on in case she had to get up to go to the bathroom.  This, I’m sure, has impacted our electric bill.  These are fights that, in the long run, aren’t worth it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly disgusted with the number of plastic bags we have, despite using them for trash bags and I really don’t know we’re going to reduce our electric anymore with these lights on.  In the long run, though, transitioning Lucy from our bed is more important than the electric bill (plus we should be able to get at least one of the lights off here pretty soon.)  And not turning into a harpy every time C gets home from the grocery with yet another stack of plastic bags is probably better for my blood pressure and marriage, even though I can’t for the life of me figure out why the cloth bags hanging on the back of the front door don’t seem to function as a reminder to take the frigging things.  But I digress…

The point, because I do have a point, is that I can’t force anyone else to do anything, but I can make sure I’m paying attention to what *I* do.  And one of the things I do is pee.  A lot.  I am, hands down, the biggest user of toilet paper in the house.  If I can cut out the TP I use for peeing, that’s a lot of toilet paper saved.  And so last night, after washing a load of prefolds, mama pads and washcloths, I carefully cut several of the washcloths into quarters and set up a basket in the front bathroom.  And this morning when I got up, I used one.  And it felt pretty damn good!  Maybe after the baby gets here I’ll get brave enough to start using cloth for #2 as well.

I’m really glad to have these challenges to, well, challenge me.  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few months, and I really feel that, numbers aside, I’ve grown as a person and I’ve certainly become more knowledgeable about what the choices I make really mean in a more global sense.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk to my daughter about conservation in the context of everyday decisions (and to a bunch of other folks too.)  I’ve eaten meals seasoned with herbs I’ve grown and become inspired to try my hand at more containers.  Over half of our food is currently coming from local sources (up from, like, none) and our meat intake is at the lowest it’s probably ever been.  I’m sure some of these gains will fall off once the baby gets here and winter comes, but overall the best part has been realizing that there is a lot I can keep up with.  It’s hard sometimes feeling like my numbers are good enough, but I’m proud of the effort we’ve made so far and I’m proud that I haven’t given up no matter how discouraged I’ve gotten at some of our results or because it seems like it would be easier to just give up until after the baby is born and I don’t have so much going on in my head.  I may never be able to get to 90%, but I do think that I’ll know to have more faith in how much I can accomplish from now on.

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Today…oh, today I am realizing how much better a mom I am on school days. I almost hate to admit it out loud, but I can get up, get breakfast, pack a lunch and get a child ready with a degree of serenity that is simply not present on non-school days. I hadn’t noticed until this morning, and I’m feeling a bit sheepish about how easily frustrated I got over the weekend despite having missed Lucy madly while she was in school. I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out the vicissitudes of motherhood.

Today I am also thinking about perhaps leaving the house for a little bit of scenery change. I need to tackle the cloth TP supply challenge (I’m thinking dollar store washcloths) and restock on colored file folders so I can finish the filing system. I also need a granny cart for tomorrow night, my first-since-becoming-hugely -pregnant trip with Lucy to pick up our farm share and I just can’t carry all of those weighty veggies whilst wrangling Lucy for the mile there and back. Not that I wouldn’t ordinarily try, mind. It’s just that this past week I made a promise to C that I would stop doing things I know full well I shouldn’t really do and then walk around looking pained for hours afterwards and for some reason I think maybe I’ll try it out.

I am finding it very frustrating that my brain is going in so many different directions and that my physical energy level is so divergent from my mental energy level. As with pretty much everything else in life, I so often find myself watching other pregnant women and wondering why it is that they seem to be able to handle the day-to-days without melting down while I begin the day a bundle of frazzle and end up in a puddle. I like to tell myself that they are faking, but sometimes I wonder if it’s some sort of failing on my part that I can’t keep my brain from running away with the rest of me.

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Because I just love the dreams of pregnancy…waiting for an elevator so we can find out about getting some locally grown flour. We’re standing in the basement/parking garage with a bunch of other people when the doors to the elevator open up and a middle-aged, balding salesman in sweat-stained shirt steps off and says, ‘Now hold on a minute fellas, this here elevator is full of paraphernalia…’ he trails off as the entire group rushes into elevator and runs out clutching all manner of cheesy ceramic bongs in their arms.

What the hell? Now whenever I find myself completely unable to follow a proper thought pattern I do say to myself, ‘an elevator full of bongs) and then I don’t feel so bad.

And now, without further ado, here are our (not so accurate) numbers for the month of August. Where noted, numbers are only for the 15th through 31st because of travel.

  • Gasoline: 32.9 gallons–I expected this to be higher because of travel so I’m pretty thrilled with this number. 93% reduction
  • Electricity: 466 kwh–torn on this one. A 50% reduction over last year, due mostly to very conservative use of a/c. However, we had everything turned off and unplugged except for the fridge and one fan for the cats for the better part of 10 days out of the entire month. Plus this number doesn’t count our laundry. I know our electric, overall, is very low but I’m really starting to feel like a 90% reduction is impossible. 49% reduction for the month
  • Garbage and recycling (numbers kept for the 15-20): 53 lbs garbage, 34 lbs recycling. I don’t know if I should use our numbers for July as an estimate since those were our highest to date (although include other people) or if I should double our numbers. The main hang-up is that I only have accurate numbers for the last 2 weeks under the food category as well and I’d like to use the same standard throughout. If I double the numbers, we are at 79% reduction for trash, 83% for recycling.
  • Food local: 53%
  • Food bulk: 3%
  • Food wet: 44%
  • Consumer Goods: $2467.53–this number includes furniture we’ll be receiving as a gift. Nonetheless, we’re waaaaay over the goal I set for the entire year. Spending will slow down after The Baby Brother is born, but I’m still feeling pretty crap about the hugeness of it all. To put it all in perspective, though, only 8 pieces of furniture in our entire house have been purchased new. The other 20 or so are hand-me-downs. I am over the national average in this category for the month.

Speaking of reduction, here’s another new challenge from Crunchy Chicken and, at the risk of providing way too much information, I’m going to give this one a shot (I typed shit first, which is giving me the giggles in a big way.)

At least it will help me set up a system for cloth diapering! Fret not, even I am only willing to try it for #1 and only in the safety comfort of my own home. Because, let’s face it, I still only remember to use the bandanna I carry around to use in lieu of paper towels/cloth napkins about half of the time.

And then!

Just to throw another banner at you, Radical Mama herself nominated me for a Thinking Blogger award! Which I do find ironic considering how ill-equipped for thought my brain seems to be these days, but I’ll happily take it and in turn pass it along to:

The ever-lovely Thordora for, oh, every post she’s ever written. And for having the guts to let other folks see her poetry. And mostly for writing openly and honestly about being suicidal as a parent which made me see my father’s situation in a much more understanding light than I was ever able to before.

Kind of Crunchy Mama for, among many other things, this post which made me take notice of how many times I responded without thinking to people asking about my pregnancy that I was getting pretty ready to be done with it. Truth is, I’m ready for the weather to be cooler, I’m ready for everything to be set up, and I’m excited to meet the baby, but I’ll be damned if I want him to come before he’s done growing or before he’s ready. I don’t know why it’s so normal for women to act like pregnancy and childbirth are so disdainful, and I really needed that slap on the hand to remind me that I should know better than to fall into the same trap.

I’m new to reading Unfit Mother, but her post on the full moon reminded me of a quote I carried around eons ago in an old comp book about how beautiful it was that womens’ menstrual cycles were influenced by the cycles of the moon. I’ve long believed that the moon holds more sway over people’s behavior than most like to admit. The clincher for me, though, was her post on growing things because it hadn’t even dawned on me that at times when I am most focused on myself as parent, I always go out and buy plants as though to prove that I can keep something alive. One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was plant basil and parsley, and just last week we harvested an heirloom tomato from the balcony. Whodathunk?

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