Saturday, March 27, 2010

sumptuous strawberry diva

one for me... one in the bag... :-)
Number one son had a lacrosse game in Lakeland today
I originally wanted to go climb trees here...but they were booked and we couldn't get a reservation.
BUT...a friend mentioned FREE STRAWBERRY PICKING HERE which just happened to be about 10 miles from the lacrosse game...BONUS!
mini me and reeder

oh yeah...we have strawberries!

So I've frozen some
We'll juice some in the morning
There's some in the fridge
and some...will be come jam
at least that's what I'm gonna try...

And in other news...
Day one as a Diva...LOVE IT!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Step by step but...THAT step?

Okay, Jennifer isn't the first person to question my decision to reduce, reuse and recycle my monthly products. I mean really...eww right? I'm sure that's what kept me from taking the plunge sooner. Why cut out those paper products? 

Well for me the process actually started as I reshaped the way I feel about my period.
When I thought about how I would explain menstruation to my pre-teen daughter...I realized my feelings about it were pretty negative and I didn't want to scare her or make her dread the idea of starting.

Admit it ladies...not very many of us can say we like getting our period...much less love it and look forward to it. Unfortunately, my first period caught me by surprise while I was away at BlueBird camp. I remember being embarrassed and a bit shocked because I didn't really know what it was or why it was happening to me and yes...I was wearing white shorts. I didn't want my daughter to relive that experience so we started talking pretty young. This book by Mavis Jukes is a GREAT resource and since my daughter started reading as a toddler, it was a no brainer that we'd start with a book! This one is rated for girls 9 to 12 so the language is very accessible and the concepts are age appropriate.

I got a little ahead of myself there...but now, any of you who have daughters have a trip to the bookstore in your future :-)

Before the book, before the talk, before any of that I had to work on MY perceptions of my period. I'd invite you to google search images of menstruation but some of them are pretty nasty...but my point would've been made. More often than not the images associated with menstruation are negative. Inconvenient. Messy. Overemotional. Unpredictable. Nasty. Smelly. Overt. Impossible to hide, incompatible with men. Too red, too bright, too loud, too thick, too much. It isn't happenstance that all of these words often used to describe menstruation are the same words often used for women who don’t play by the rules. Menstruation gets in the way of life and makes you put everything else on hold and for some...makes us unpleasant to be around (okay yeah most...)...but it doesn't have to be that way. We can choose our responses to those physical components right? 

So why menstruate?
It's not God's punishment and I think it's more than just part of the process of procreation...
photo credit
It's an opportunity to start over every month. It's the body's natural way of cleansing and releasing. It's a celebration of being feminine (okay I know that sounded corny but this is really how I began to rework my feelings about Aunt Flo). Why would you dread a do-over? Why would you dread a connection with the feminine energy of the world. This is something sacred and shared by goddesses (yes you are a goddess!)and is but one touch of creation we share with our Maker.
Okay...I know this can be eye-rolling material to some of you but just think about it for a while. It's true. And doesn't thinking about it in a powerful, regenerating way make it much better than a painful "leave me the 'eff alone" type way?

Well it did for me
Once I started welcoming this process in my life (come on really what else are you gonna do it's NOT gonna go away unless you choose to medically suppress it and that's a completely different topic that I don't think I even HAVE to get into here I mean I don't even use shampoo for pete's sake!) So once I started 'symptoms' lingered no more.

Yes, I get one good headache one of the 5 days
photo credit
Yes, my boobs are sore (but pretty...but don't touch em coz I'll smack ya)
Yes, I can get a little snarky...but my BFF loves the few days of snark-a-month she gets so I'm still bringing joy...and I notice my snark and keep it under control which is much more than I can say for the raving bitch I used to be when I was pissed about my period!

But now it's an integral part of me...not something I shun
I look forward to my special moon tea and don't really worry too much about the particulars.

It's always bothered me to "throw away" the unmentionables associated with my period. I mean shouldn't it go in a Sharps Container or a special bag? I was loving life when I switched from tampons to Instead cups ...but then discarding the plastic started to poke at my conscious so I switched to an all cotton, no applicator product...but still, can't flush it, gotta toss it and I'm back to my biomedical waste conundrum.

So do I worry about what happens if I have to empty my Diva cup in a public restroom? Well yeah, the thought has crossed my mind a few times but I imagine once I've had to do it once or twice I'll find a solution that's comfortable for me.

I haven't totally figured out how I'll handle caring for my reusable "fluff," but I have some ideas that I'm gonna try out until I figure out what works for me.

I can tell you though...shhh I'm actually excited about my period.
I'm looking forward to my etsy delivery! I got to pick my own fun is that?
And just as important as honoring the feminine in me intimately, 14 billion pads, tampons and applicators wind up in North American landfills every year! 

I'm supporting small business
I'm reducing my waste
I'm honoring my ME 

These all seem like pretty good reasons to take THIS step.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Steps to Sustainability

I'd love to take BIG steps towards contributing to sustainability
Buy a more eco-friendly car
power our house with wind or solar energy...
Grow and raise our food...which I'm working on...

But little things make a difference...I really can't afford a new car right now
heck I'd really rather have a retro little diesel number that I convert to vegetable oil but I can't afford that right now either...but I CAN start making a difference with baby steps.
I've really already started and the methods we're incorporating in the garden will be more steps in the right direction.

Today I took another step
I have yet to challenge myself (and therefore my family) to reduce our waste to one plastic bag per week but I have made great strides in reducing how much disposable paper I paper plates, no paper towels, no napkins, no tampons, no pads.

Now that I've made the switch it surprises me that I hadn't done it sooner because well, I always felt funny about throwing that 'stuff' away anyway.

So I am now a Diva (okay I've been a Diva for a while but now I'm a Diva that uses a Diva) and thanks to Etsy I've got great fluff!
Check out my new friend on Etsy!

So what small steps are YOU taking towards sustainability?
I'm thinking of what I can do next so share your ideas!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Friday night I'll start sorting but in the mix we have...
chives (2 types)
peppers (a bunch o types including bell, pimento and cubanelle)
burgundy beans
green beans
bush beans
honeydew melon

already potted (or on the way) we have
patio tomatoes
sweet peppers
dwarf bananas
tophat blueberries
honey wild and honey sweet blueberries

I'm HOPING for a good harvest
We're doing a container garden and we'll create one raised bed framed out in cinder blocks...which will conveniently add more containers :)

something like this...

I'm thinking a 5 x 10 bed so it's large enough to have a decent harvest but small enough to access from the sides (so I don't have to walk IN the bed).
I'm looking forward to the process as much as the return. AND I'm being realistic about the return...coz I've been known to kill plants in the past ~doh~
A few years ago we had a fantastic pepper harvest...but we weren 't realistic with our pepper choices. I mean really, who is going to eat a gallon of habaneros!
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's Growing

So this latest bout with being Glutened has made me look at my garden a bit more intently.
I went for container gardening this year as it (hopefully) will be a bit easier to control (soil quality AND weeds) and didn't require tilling up the yard like we eventually want to.
I've mostly just planted herbs thus far
Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Dill, Cilantro and Parsley
I have some Thyme in the kitchen window as well.

This weekend we picked up 2 Patio Tomato plants and a Sweet Banana Pepper plant and put them in the toolbox planter (note to self, insert picture here). We rigged last year's plastic tomato cages into the box and once the tomatoes take off, it's gonna look great!

On top of my refrigerator I have a container of heirloom seeds and recycled cardboard egg cartons that I've collected for months with the intention to use them for seedlings
Intend no more! It's time to get those babies growing!

Tonight we're finishing, or nearly finishing the living room, tomorrow I have individual and group therapy, Friday afternoon I get off work early so...THAT is the day I will sort through my seeds and see which veggies lend themselves nicely to container gardening.
I know we have some corn and I'd love to do that, but I just don't have the space in the yard to commit.
I'll probably go for beans.
I know I'd like some onions and garlic as I use both of these almost daily.
Our dwarf bananas didn't make it through the late frost so I may try them in a container this I can rescue them if we get unseasonably cold weather again!

That's probably a good start
The point is to START!

I also want to get sprouting!
I was turned onto it during last year's trip to Sedona...bought a great how to book and found the perfect place in the house to sprout...but again, haven't started.
I had planned to gather the essentials and set up shop while the hub was in Colorado but instead I dug up, mulched and dressed the plant beds (pics above) and re-set the rain barrel.
But daily blog posts from ZucchiniBreath have re-sprouted my interest in sprouts...that an how amazingly EASY it is to do and how QUICKLY I'd get results!

So Friday afternoon I pick out my seeds
Saturday I have biology lab ALL DAY (thankfully I don't have to dissect a pig!)
Sunday I'll pick up some good seedling soil and play with my egg cartons!
Sunday I'll also pick up some beans to sprout and some cheesecloth for my jars ...I have tons-o-jars that I've collected over the past 6 months when I chose to STOP using plastic storage containers.
I'll probably just use rubberbands since my jars aren't canning jars...but I'll make it work with what I have on hand :)

I want to do that more and more each day
Make it work with what I have on hand
coz really...even though we don't have a lot, I'm SURE we still have way too much...

What if we sent them all home?

This morning I opened this email...
Dear Mr. Rand,
Recently you sent us a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date. I know it is not what you were looking for, but this is the most honest response I can give you. Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith. While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years and have long admired the AARP goals and principles, regrettably, we can no longer endorse it's abdication of our values. Your letter specifically stated that we can count on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours. Your offer of being kept up to date on important issues through DIVIDED WE FAIL presents neither an impartial view nor the one we have come to embrace. We do believe that when two parties agree all the time on everything presented to them, one is probably not necessary. But, when the opinions and long term goals are diametrically opposed, the divorce is imminent. This is the philosophy which spawned our 200 years of government.
Once upon a time, we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We also looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging which we no longer enjoy. The Socialist politics practiced by the Obama administration and empowered by AARP serves only to raise the blood pressure my medical insurance strives to contain. Clearly a conflict of interest there! We do not understand the AARP posture, feel greatly betrayed by the guiding
forces that we expected to map out our senior years and leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing that we are not contributing to the problem anymore by renewing our membership. There are numerous other organizations which offer discounts without threatening our way of life or offending our sensibilities.

This Presidential Administration scares the living daylights out of us. Not just for ourselves, but for our proud and bloodstained heritage. But even more importantly for our children and grandchildren. Washington has rendered Soylent Green a prophetic cautionary tale rather than a nonfiction scare tactic. I have never in my life endorsed any militant or radical groups, yet now I find myself listening to them. I don't have to agree with them to appreciate the fear which birthed their existence. Their borderline insanity presents little more than a balance to the voice of the Socialist mindset in power. Perhaps I became American by a great stroke of luck in some cosmic uterine lottery, but in my adulthood I CHOOSE to embrace it and nurture the freedoms it represents as well as the responsibilities it requires.
Your website generously offers us the opportunity to receive all communication in Spanish. ARE YOU KIDDING??? Someone has broken into our 'house', invaded our home without our invitation or consent. The President has insisted we keep the perpetrator in comfort and learn the perp language so we can communicate our reluctant welcome to them.
I DON'T choose to welcome them.
I DON'T choose to support them.
I DON'T choose to educate them.
I DON'T choose to medicate them, pay for their food or clothing.
American home invaders get arrested.
Please explain to me why foreign lawbreakers can enjoy privileges on American
soil that Americans do not get?

Why do some immigrants have to play the game to be welcomed and others only have to break & enter to be welcomed?

We travel for a living. Walt hauls horses all over this great country, averaging over 10,000 miles a month when he is out there. He meets more people than a politician on caffeine overdose. Of all the many good folks he enjoyed on this last 10,000 miles, this trip yielded only ONE supporter of the current administration. One of us is out of touch with mainstream America . Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than one which is power driven.

We have decided to forward this to everyone on our mailing list, and will encourage them to do the same. With several hundred in my address book, I have every faith that the eventual exponential factor will make a credible statement to you.
I am disappointed as hell.
I am scared as hell.
I am MAD as hell, and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!

Walt & Cyndy
Miller Farms Equine Transport
It checks out on as an actual email

Now, you reading this may have a resounding sense of agreement with that email...and that's okay. I felt myself moved to write about it not necessarily because I agree or disagree...but because it moved me to question what if we DID just send all the immigrants home? Maybe it would be good for us but I think in more of a "This is going to hurt you more than it does me" way.

The area we live in has a strong Mexican presence.
Yes, there are times we pass comment on the state of their yards or the disrepair of their homes but more often than not, we are admiring their sense of family and community and always their work ethic. Parents know where their kids are and the men collectively look after the neighborhood. Children sit down to dinner with families and extended families and sometimes neighbor's family's as they share what they have with those who don't.
And more often than not...we notice how HAPPY they are, even if they don't have the best looking house on the block.

If we sent them all home, we could bulldoze the area and make way for a new neighborhood full of lots waiting to be developed and homes that will eventually be left to the foreclosure monster that becomes more of an eyesore than what we started with.

If we sent them all home, there would be jobs for the millions of us currently out of work. The citrus and construction industries would be hardest hit and 'now hiring' signs would go up around every corner. But would we take the work?
Would you pick oranges for $8.00 an hour ?
Most likely not and employers would be forced to raise the wages to something more acceptable...say $12 or $15 which would eventually make for a more expensive Orange. I would gladly pay that increase if I knew it was supporting my neighbor.
Would you?
That increase would probably mean employers would have to cut back on benefits. Aren't we already talkinga bout this problem? Employers don't want to be mandated into health care benefits for their workers because it's already hard enough to turn a profit. And I dare say many of those SAME people want the spanish speakers to 'just go home' so this could turn into a pretty vicious cycle.

Maybe if we as a country weren't so hard fast looking for the most efficient way to produce things CHEAPLY and recognized that the 'best deal' includes factors that are more important than price...we might once again understand the American Dream.

We beg for immigration reform and complain about illegal immigrants, but are we willing to pay more for almost everything we need and use in our lives if they are deported? Could we afford to live here if they all went home?

Cyndi's words stirred an ugly feeling in my heart
I DON'T choose to welcome them.

I DON'T choose to support them.
I DON'T choose to educate them.
I DON'T choose to medicate them, pay for their food or clothing.

Isn't part of who we are as a country CHOOSING to welcome?
I don't know this for sure about Cyndy and Walt, but the person who sent me this email is a 'strong Christian'
and agreed wholeheartedly with the ideals put forth in the letter and I hear this same sentiment more and more often from my Christian friends.

Really? Not so sound corny but What Would Jesus Do?
It's these sentiments that have always made me 'iffy' about church (And I'm in school pursuing an MDiv, so don't question my faith) and now 'iffy' about the idea of 'citizenship.'
No, I don't want to leave the country
Yes, I fly a flag off my porch with pride
But I am dissappointed in the close-minded ideas that are seeping into the culture.

It doesn't have anything to do with a label

It's about being collectively human
If we can't do it collectively...we'll try it on our own
and somewhere in the collective unconscious is the knowledge that
DIVIDED we fall

What does Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness look like to you?

Monday, March 15, 2010

In the Raw

I'll get there someday
eating Raw I mean
My body has been moving me more in that direction
And I'm not really going kicking or screaming

I follow a couple of Raw blogs already
and If you scroll through the blogs I follow, you've probably also deduced that I'm Gluten Intolerant...
While there are MANY gluten free products out there
My favorite way to be gluten free is to just eat naturally gluten free foods
see...RAW :)

One of the blogs I follow mentioned this AWESOME BLENDER GIVEAWAY
I'm really glad she did because the site ROCKS
Raw blender recipes...even ICE CREAM
Go there
Go now
even if you don't want a blender
you can enter and give it to me if you win
my birthday is coming up soon :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Giant Reset Button

Bm's birth-day came to mind today
She IS going to be 12 soon and yet I still hold the events of her birth so vividly in my mind.
They were actually quite traumatic
But when I recount them, as I did this morning in the office as we chatted around the time clock waiting for the digits to flip to :00, they didn't sound 'bad'... there was actually inspiration there.

On Bm's birth-day... Sam pushed the reset button.

My original due date was March 17th
Later on in my pregnancy my due date was bumped to March 23rd
Bm (B minor...incase you're wondering) was born April 3rd so needless to say...I was TO TERM and then some when she was born. I remember my belly being squared off and being able to clearly distinguish her body parts as she attempted what looked like an 'alienesque' birth.

Honestly, at this point in time...all the way up to her actual birth, everyone thought SHE was a HE so the gender specificity in my story is colored.

My last visit with the doctor was Thursday, April 2nd. My induction had been scheduled for 7:30 Friday morning, but she wanted one last chance to have labor begin naturally and stripped my membrane.
At the time, my partner and I were wholesaling scented candles and I had an order of 350 to get lableled, dressed, and out the door by 3:30 that afternoon. I remember the client's 'awooga' eyes at the size of my belly AND the fact that I, not my partner, was making the delivery. (Such was life in 1998)

I'm sure I ate dinner at some point in time but my next memory is the decision to take a shower after ER (funny, a lot of major happenings in the first 8 months of my daughter's life have an ER connection...Thursday must be my day...but that's another posting) and try to get some sleep before heading to the hospital. I was pretty sure labor had started, but I had a 'false alarm' at 6 months, so I was reticent to say anything because everything up until then was bearable and I remember the constant reminder from my lamaze coach that it was "better to wait at home than in the hospital." (she obviously didn't live in my house)

I laid down to 'sleep' around 11:30.
Heh heh...yeah right
At 1:00am I rolled over and said "I think we should just go to the hospital"

I checked in around 2:30am
I was 5 cm along and progressing nicely
I didn't want any meds unless it was absolutely necessary and my breathing was helping me through my contractions just fine.

  • 3:30 am - smooth sailing
  • 4:30 am - I'm good at this...excited for baby
  • 5:30 am - our uber awesome nurse checks in and lets me know we're doing fine, asks if I need meds to which I give a hearty "No Thank You"
  • 6:30 am - feeling fine and uber nurse lets us know her shift is over but she'll be back at 5:30 that evening to meet the new baby ~smile~
  • 7:00 am - We meet the new nurse. Following doctors orders, she enters with a GIANT crochet needle and attempts to break my no avail. "Okay, we'll try again later."
  • 7:30 am - In comes the nurse, and a physician's assistant...crochet needle again, fail. "We'll be back in a few minutes to change your IV."
  • 7:45 am - they induce me

Did you read that? I've probably been in labor for over 12 hours and THEY INDUCED ME...didn't say anything, just looked at my chart, saw the orders and did it...

By 8:30am I definitely knew I was in labor.
Contractions coming faster now
Nurse says I'm making good progress...another push to the IV

holy cow
umm...remember that pain med I said I didn't want? I think I want some now
IV push...okay, that's a little better

contractions coming hard and fast now..."just breathe it out, they come in waves...make it throught the peak and it's smooth sailing down from there" lamaze coach didn't mention pitocin!
IV push...better now

When is this wave gonna end? Where is the down hill?
I need more pain meds please?
"I'm sorry you can only have them once every 1/2 hr"

It went along this way for another hour...
10:45 am
IV PUSH...better

"ma'am you need to roll over on your'am... MA'AAM!"
"Sir, you need to get your wife to roll over on her side!"
"She's not my wife"

at 11:02am my baby's heart rate stopped
I remember hearing the bells and whistles
I remember being pushed over on my side
I remember my partner saying "you have to wake her up to ask her"
and I remember someone saying "Call the NICU"

some time later, I'm not sure when
a kind face on a tall man told me I had nothing to worry about
"You'll have to start all over, but you and the baby are fine"

I didn't really know what he was talking about, I just knew I felt groggy and tired and my partner was passed out on the chair next to my I slept.

I woke up around 5:00 that night with the need to poop (hey it's my blog and I talk about poop when I want to)... "Can I use the bathroom"
"no, not right now, just go in the bed"

" thanks"

"I think I need to push"
"Oh no ma'am, don't push yet...we don't have the stirrups ready. And ma'am, please wait for us to TELL you to push. We'll have to be sure to suction the baby once the head has cleared the birth canal"

Whatever...I slid my legs back and 'adjusted' myself
I guess I pushed...oops (okay this is a hindsight observation too because I didn't mean to push, and I didn't realize I had)

Okay ma'am, you can push
And then there was a wriggling, squirming, slippery baby on my belly
I couldn't even hold her I was so doped up

My baby is whisked away for apgar testing and I'm getting "cleaned up" to move to my post delivery room
"gee ma'am, with as easily as you pushed that baby out I'm sure glad they didn't have to cut you"

"cut me," I thought, but I just smiled and nodded..."me too."

Then I heard her...UBER cool nurse... "What do you MEAN they almost DIED ?!?! She was FINE when I left!"

She came in the room, smiled at me, rubbed the hair off my face and told the other attending to leave, she would be taking care of me now...

There were lots of other little foibles along the way after that...
the partner who came back to the hospital fall down drunk with a football for the baby...
the scratches on my baby's head from the giant crochet needle...
the lactation specialist who told my kid "okay baby, swallow or choke" as she force fed her with a cup...
and the fact that I had to drive myself home...

But at the time, none of that mattered
I was able to stay in the hospital 3 whole days and I DID, because otherwise...I'd just pick up where I left off.

I drove myself home from the partner didn't have a valid license at the time so he sat in the back with the baby...even AFTER they told me not to drive for a few days...I drove a BEASTOFAVAN through spring break traffic first to piccadilly...cause I knew there'd be no good food at home...then home.

I eventually ended up taking the baby and stepping out to a new life
yeah, I made that decision after watching ER one night on the opposite side of the couch as my partner...(see I told you there was a connection)

I struggled with that decision for a long time
Somewhere in the midst of everything I found my faith again
finding your faith is not a fun thing when you're an unwed mother...and I 'should've known better"...after all I was 26 years old.
I read my bible and listened to Ron Hutchcraft pretty regularly those days...he taught me the verse in Malachai that said children need to grow up in the love they were created out of...
so I tried
and I tried
and tried and tried and tried
to find a way to save myself, and keep a relationship with him
Because my child needed it...

Quite a few years later I realized that she IS growing up in the love she was created from
she's growing up with me.
Her conception was anything but romatic
Her gestation was OUR time (hers and mine)
Her birth...was our salvation moment
and her life since then...has been void of him...he's a silent partner with no controlling assets.

I don't have her pictures from the hospital
I don't have her tiny feet prints or hand prints
that all got lost in the shuffle...

at 11:02am on Friday April 3, 1998
Sam pushed the Reset Button
She was too important
WE were too important to what the Universe has in store for human kind to not be a part of it
Our lives took a very drastic turn in that very moment
We died...and came back as something new, with a purpose.

See...maybe I really CAN be fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara I could save the World!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The next challenge....

Complete a 5K - check!
I'd like to run an entire one...and do some other run type stuff but for now the next event is THIS
The City Scramble on my Birthday in Daytona with my hub!

Totally looks like A LOT of fun ...sort of an "amazing race" kind of thing.'s time for a new countdown :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Woot Woot March 6, 2010

Bib #2804
5K in 44

yay me

you'll just have to wait for pictures...coz they're not up yet
oh but I DID look...yeah I looked through EVERY STINKIN picture of the race

the 2009 race that is