Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Must write post quickly!

Well, so far this writing thing isn't actually going so well, huh? Evelyn just this week has discovered that crawling is not only a means to get to that cool toy if what's around her isn't interesting enough, but also fun in and of itself. Also, usually where she wants to be is under the office chair clinging to my leg and fussing for attention. Also also, I dunno, maybe she's teething, cuz she's been a major crankypants and I swear I'm gonna get bedsores if we spend any more time dozing and nursing in bed. So this week so far has mostly been a struggle just to keep up with her--so far she's unplugged the computer and done something unfortunate with slobber to the camera's USB cable.

She is absolutely insistent on flipping over mid diaper-change, such that when Jacob is home we actually double-team her, with one of us holding her shoulders down and the other diapering. Doing it alone is exhausting, and I am HUGELY grateful that we do infant potty learning, because it means that I can just leave her diaper-free between naps now and not fight it. I am, however, going to contact my new seamstress friend (who is about to have a baby and is interested in infant pottying too) about little training pants like these. That and cloth pads, for when that becomes relevant again (may it be a distant day!).

All of this disorganized babbling does put me in mind of a greater truth, though--changing your lifestyle and being sustainable is an everyday, intimate, sometimes even boring thing. Here we have fine examples of both reduce (infant pottying reduces diaper use and thus water consumption) and reuse (cloth diapers, trainers, and pads). We also have a fine opportunity to support the local economy (going to a local seamstress rather than buying online). Not only is this true for our household, though, but it continues the process of inspiring other local mamas to do the same.

We just keep plugging away and doing little things, and they add up. After several days of work, Jacob has dug up the sod on a berry bed nearly as large as our current vegetable garden, and transfered gravel from the ugly tatty driveway area we don't want to the berry-patch path we do want. His bulk coal bin made entirely from scrap materials and oops paint is almost done, and will be an extraordinarily fine coal bin. My neighbor recycles now because we do. My mother-in-law got a table cloth at the thrift store and cut it up for cloth napkins at least in part because she saw us always using cloth napkins. I've started hanging out laundry again with the nice weather. When Jacob gets a moment, he'll figure out how to turn down the hot water heater, which we should have done long ago (it's very large and running very hot).

And, rather excitingly from my point of view, we just ordered a new Ergo baby carrier. The hope and expectation is that with this carrier, I will be able to wear Evelyn easily on my back and get more done. I can wear her on my back in the Mei Tai that Mamma made me, but it's a real trick getting her there on my own and she scrunches and sags and pulls on my shoulders rather badly. I am hoping (though not expecting) that the package will come by the time we leave for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday. If it doesn't, obviously I can use the Mei Tai, but it'd be pretty cool if it did.

Last but not least, I've just had an epiphany regarding my extremely low energy and physical weakness lately. One of those painful, stupid, but nonetheless extremely useful epiphanies. If I had to guess, I'd guess that I am currently extremely anemic. Duh. At least that's fixable, eh? Wish I could figure an easy solution like that to this cranky, cranky baby.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The elephant in the corner

It's always been a bit weird preparing for a crisis that most people either have never even considered or think is hogwash (got into a conversation at the seed-n-feed yesterday with the clerk, who thought climate change was a joke), but over the last few months, as the news gets more and more uniformly awful, it's gotten much weirder. Almost every conversation I have with anyone but my husband or mother starts to feel like having a conversation about the weather while someone is unexpectedly bulldozing the neighbor's house. If I feel comfortable enough with a person, I might refer obliquely to the fact that things aren't, you know, going so well, are they?, but what I really want to do is run door to door through my neighborhood yelling "Hello! What is wrong with you people?! Wake UP while you still have a chance to do something to help yourselves!" And I don't see that being well-received.

What's really becoming uncomfortable to me is that I'm part of two local groups, one a sustainability discussion group looking to become something more, and the other an AP-natural parenting group, that both probably contain a high ration of people who would be receptive to some information...even painful information. And yet so far I've said nothing. I mean, generally these are people who know that things as they are are not things as they should be, and more to the point, are not sustainable. But I haven't piped up yet to say that not only are they not sustainable, they're going to stop "sustaining", so to speak, pretty much any minute now.

Part of it is misplaced mercy, certainly. I hesitate on the verge of posting a revealing blog link or comment to the listserv, thinking about the numbing fear I first felt when I was introduced to the ideas of peak oil, imminent climate change, and the myriad other "smaller" problems lurking just under the smooth surface of the world. Part of it, certainly, is just simply not knowing what to say. "The world is totally fucked up and we're all screwed!" is a pretty good summary, but not very useful or likely to be received well. But neither of those is a remotely good enough reason to deprive these people of a potential chance to try and shield themselves and their loved ones from the worst of what is to come, so in the end I guess it's cowardice as much as anything.

Same as everyone else, I still want to act like everything's normal. I still want to be known as friendly and easygoing, likeable, nice kitchen, makes good lentil soup. I don't want to be a Cassandra, or a leader. I like to provoke discussion without people realizing I started it. But I do think that, things being as they are, that M.O. is looking more and more like cowardice.

I think it's time to speak up...if only I could figure out how.

Monday, April 21, 2008


If I'm to start writing again, I think that now is the time (long past the time, chorus my teachers of yesteryear) for me to learn a thing or two about keeping my writings short. To be fair to myself, I think I've always been fairly good at getting a lot of meaning out of my words, but there just always seems to be so much to say. So, if I can manage it, I'll aim to say one thing at a time, and say it in a reasonable amount of time.

For starters, I don't have three hours at a stretch to work out the nuances of a four-page post right now. I'm lucky to get 40 minutes, and that 40 minutes still involves periodically getting up to fish bits of paper out of Evie's mouth or right her when she gets backed into a corner and starts fussing. So it's brevity or nothing, really.

It's a good habit for other reasons, too, though. Generally, I think that plenty of people will read a longish post if they basically agree with it...people like to be agreed with. And while I'd certainly enjoy a few rounds of "Wow, you are so right! You are just awesome," what I'd really like is to provoke thought in people who maybe don't quite agree with me, or just plain hadn't thought of it. And people have a very limited appetite for ideas they find weird or disagreeable. (Well, okay, most people. I know I'm not the only one who will occasionally stumble across a new idea and then forget to, say, eat in pursuit of more information.)

Well, no time like the present!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hello again

Well, I basically haven't written an inch since my daughter was born. I don't feel guilty, because I also haven't spent much time, say, eating sitting down. Things are, probably temporarily, getting better on that front though, and I have a strong desire to get back to writing. I think if I'm organized about it and really focus in on what I want to write, I can do it. Worst thing that happens, I don't write. I have more important things to do with my time than guilt over not writing.

Meanwhile, this little family has learned a lot and done a lot (and read a lot--that's the one thing I DO get to do, thanks to my daughter's refusal to nap without the immediate presence of boob) in the time since I last wrote. Also, the news has gotten so bad that I can't help but feel a sense of real urgency in our efforts to create an ethical, sustainable lifestyle.

So, yeah...hello again!