House Stuff and Earth Day Late

So things are moving apace regarding our little half-acre of Indiana  (note: if I have a half-acre now, will I be content with less in OR?  Answer: Yes. It’s OREGON, after all).  The sellers agreed to fix everything we asked but won’t spring for access to the crawl space under the master bed/bath addition, which I didn’t think they’d do anyway since it wasn’t an issue for them when they bought the house.  There is only about 5 – 10 inches between the ground and the concrete slab under the addition.  So now we are waiting for the rest of the repairs to be done and the assessor to go assess and we’ll be all set! 

The bank has agreed to loan us large sums of money so they can buy our house and we can pay them for the privelege of living there.

We may even have someone interested in moving into our apt here so that we are not stuck paying rent AND mortgage (here’s hoping!)

Last but not least, I’m reading an awesome book called Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Second Ed. by Toby Hemenway (who, incidently, is an associate prof at MY old alma mater, Portland State University in God’s own country Oregon in the best city in the lower 48 Portland)

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

This fabulous book is energizing me and getting me sooo excited to have some land to mold into a living, creating green space.

And here are some fab quotes from the book itself in honor of Earth Day, which is every day, and which I was too lazy busy to post about on Thursday.

About 70 percent of the globe is blanketed by…[water]…but…The accessible fresh water in lakes, rivers, groundwater, and the atmosphere makes u ponly half of one-quarter of 3 percent–for non-Einsteins, that works out to 0.375 percent–of Earth’s total water.

The average, 2,000-square-foot, two-story house has over 1,000 square feet of roof…If that house is in a region receiving forty inches of rain a year,…the roof will collect 25,000 gallons of water each year, ….enough to keep a 1,000square foot garden watered for 250 days of drought.

(rain barrels for all!!!)

A single tree may have ten to thirty acres of leaf survce, all able to draw dust and pollutants from the air. (amazing!)

Happy Earth Day, everyone!


Grease and other natural calamities

Here it is, the complete list of all this natural I am doing right now. Ok, not complete. Just kind of the things that are coming to mind as I have about 3 minutes before I go up to put the TT to bed.

Lesson 1) Homemade deodorant really DOES work.

Yes, I, too, was sceptically but when some friends of mine told me that it worked for them and then actually GAVE me some to try so I didn’t even have to take the 3 seconds it takes to make it myself, I tried it.


And I tend to be a very aromatic individual so I would not lead you up the garden path on this.

Here you go. You can thank me later:

1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. baking soda (aluminum free or you are defeating the purpose of avoiding chemicals)
3 tbsp coconut oil
and your favorite essential oil mixed in to your taste.  The one I have uses lavender and I like it a lot.

Lesson 2)  The furniture polish mix actually works better with more oil and less lemon juice. 

I have finished up the furniture polish (don’t worry, it was non-toxic) and was ready to try the homemade stuff. Some sites I read suggested that there should be more lemon juice than olive oil but that didn’t really work for me.

1/2 c. cheapest olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice

mix and apply with cloth or squirt bottle. I decanted mine into a squirt bottle and keep it in the fridge so it won’t go rancid between the times I clean, you know, which is every 8 months or so.

Lesson 3)  Learning to embrace the hair grease can be a challenge.

I finally ran out of my shampoo and conditioner and was ready to go the no poo route for my most recent hair washing.

Since I only wash my hair once a week (Thursdays, if you must know, which is why if you see me on Thursdays you will notice I always wear a handerchief covering my hair. I haven’t joined a religious group, I just want to spare you the hair oil), I am figuring it will be easier for me to get through the difficult time when your head has to adjust to not needing to produce so much oil.

2-3 Tbs baking soda
1-2 Tbsp water or enough to make a paste

massage into scalp only and let rest for a minute or two then


1 part white vinegar to 3-4 parts water plus 1/2 tsp vanilla to cover the vinegar scent and make you smell like a cookie(optional)

So I tried this on Thursday and I’m not sure I did it right.  The baking soda just didn’t rinse out of my hair very well after the vinegar rinse and was pretty dense yesterday altho today it is feeling better. I think I will need to rinse with water after the vinegar rinse and see what happens.

My hair doesn’t feel necessarily clean but it’s not too bad, kind of like it feels toward the end of the week say on Wednesday.

One tip to doing this is to brush your hair well using a soft-bristled brush to pull your natural hair oil into all parts of  your hair and away from your scalp.

(I can hear Amber groaning already.  I wonder if I am getting too crunchy to even live in Oregon again.)

(Ha! Nah….)


So many thoughts are in my head lately but I lack the interest and time to write them down. Plus I doubt that they are of any interest to anyone else.

Consider this my diary post.

You’ve been warned.

1)  Only one showing this week despite the fact that the house was empty of  humans all week.  One showing. Got good feedback from it and were told the house made this individual’s “short list” but haven’t heard anything since then.

We are faced with the appalling prospect of having to pay both a mortgage and rent.  It is such a shocking waste of money, it seems to me right now but options are few.  I should just be thankful that we would have the wherewithall to manage that for a little while, even if it means belt-tightening.  By which I mean, of course, Kroger’s instant coffee as opposed to, say, a fair-trade, organic brew…

2)  I have been thinking so much about how the present way in which we live is so abnormal: our individual little houses with their small families and their heating and cooling systems, our daily bathing and hyped-up, steroidal hygiene rituals, our cheap and abundant food that is so unhealthy both for us and for the planet, our fossil-fuel guzzling chariots, the things we buy or do or ingest without any thought at because  that is how everyone else does it and that is how we were raised.

At no other time in human history has our species enjoyed such a period of creature comfort.

And, here is the point:  things have only been this way a few generations.  We think of it as the status quo, but it is not.  In fact I wonder how much longer it will be sustained, this unsustainable way of living.  Things will change, they must. They physically cannot go on like this.  Which generation will see this, I wonder?  Will it be for those of us alive now, and we’ll complain and moan about our “fate” or will our children’s children be living with less?

We call it progress but it is   just change.  So many of the skills that are truly necessary for survival have been lost in just a few generations.  If I had to forage for dinner, I could not do it. I don’t know how to skin an animal and use its hide for clothing. I don’t know which herbs heal and which ones hurt.  I don’t know how to make a fire without matches.  What use is it that I have traveled around the world or that I have higher education (for which I am still paying, or rather my husband is)?  If the system we are so used to, so familiar with, take for granted so much broke tomorrow, would I be able to keep my family alive?  Not without help. 

Someone once said to me that humans are resourceful so we’ll be able to find solutions for the problems that face us.  The solutions are there, actually:  change the way we live, the way we get around, the way we eat, WHAT we eat. Come to grips with the fact that we cannot keep up this farcical lifestyle very much longer without major changes. The problem is that humans are not, in fact, given to change. We are creatures of habit who change only when the change is forced upon us, oftentimes in times of crisis.

Sorry for the gloom and doom. If you are still reading this, well, thanks.  It’s just my thoughts, really.

I try to make changes. I obsess about water usage (just ask Troy.  He’d be happy to tell you how much I do), about finding ways to save energy, about finding foods and food sources that are humane, healthy and have lower environmental impact than agribusiness foods or processed foods.  Yes, it costs money but our society spends so little on food, so much less than other societies to, because of the unnaturally low prices for mass-produced, toxic goods.

I better stop.  There’s still more. maybe i’ll write it out later but i’m sure it’s of no interest to you. and that’s ok, that’s fine, this is just for me to get it out of my head.

and finally

3) I had fun with my mom this past week and drank far too many sugary coffee-based frou-frou drinks but since my frou-frou coffee-based drink imbibing days are numbered, it was fun.  And also we bought groceries at the local Korean store for a Korean family that now goes to my mom’s church and that was fun.  Adn the ajuma at the grocery store was nice and I wanted to be back in Korea but I contented myself with buying a package of got gam (dried persimmon).  And also the main library there has an amazing kids’ area and we went there twice because it was so nice.

4) And also, Miles is cutting his last set of teeth now and if I told you how very, very much I want the teething thing to be over it would still not be adequate to express my feelings on the subject so I won’t.

5)  that’s all

Why I hate the environment

When 2 degrees difference in temperature inside makes all the difference between peace and a Mommy Meltdown:


Air Conditioning, 1 : Mother Earth, 0

Natural remedies

I’m not a big fan of taking medicine for the little things in life and so I’ve had these resources in my file for awhile and wanted to post them. I ended up posting them today on the LLL site that I maintain and figured I would copy and paste it here.  Easy-peasy!

A few simple home remedies may be no farther than your cupboard or your garden:

Buckwheat honey

Studies have now shown that this honey is a safe alternative to other over-the-counter cold remedies. Researchers have found that this honey is more effective than dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough medicines.

Recommended doses are: 
Age 1-5, 1/2 tsp
Age 6-11, 1 tsp
Age 12+, 2 tsp
up to every couple hours as needed.

**NEVER GIVE HONEY TO BABIES UNDER THE AGE OF ONE.**  If you are not sure whether to give honey to your baby, ask your doctor.

Calendula (aka, marigolds, but doesn’t calendula sound more exotic and arcane?)

Calendula helps soothe a number of skin ailments including, dry, itchy skin, sunburn, rashes and bugbites.  Calenduala is a natural anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

How to prepare a calendula compress:

Steep 2 Tbsp dried calendual flowers in 1/2 liter of boiling water. Soak washcloth in calendula water and apply as compress as needed.

See link above for other recipes!



I’ve just learned this evening that the ecological footprint of Korea’s Gyeonggi-do region, the area that is home to Seoul and all its 15 million inhabitants, is approximately 3.82 global ha.

Just out of curiousity, I checked to see what the ecological footprint of the average American is. What do you think it is? No fair cheating, just guess….







24 global ha. 


That is five city blocks plus a little more. Per person.

And guess who wants to be just like us (and who our companies are convincing that they need the “American lifestyle” to be happy so we can sell them stuff and keep the profit-making machines going)?  The Rest of the World.


But, hey!  We’re AMERICANS, we’re allowed to use as many resources as we want, right?  We are just THAT AWESOME.

So back off, all you enviro-Nazis!

Now I’ve just gotta go turn on the hose so I can wash down my Hummer for a half an hour or so since the sprinkler system left watermarks on it since I had to leave it out because the new speedboat took up the garage.  I’m just going to kick the air conditioner down a bit before I do that ’cause it’s too hot in here and I can’t frickn’ see anything because those gol-darned trees on the front lawn are in the way (I’ve really GOT to cut those suckers down, they block all the light, espcially in summer) so I better turn on all the lights. Oh, and excuse me while I throw some stuff away that I bought the other day but I don’t really want anymore.  course that means I’ll have to take a 4th trash can to the curb but maybe I can load them onto the riding mower and take them that way….


Today’s Money

Car = several hundred to keep running

Cat = almost as much to keep him running, as well

Credit card statement = groan

Adventures in (Teenage)Babysitting

while we have no idea whether we are going to move or not, we are proceeding as if we might be. There are 3 high school girls who live a few houses down who offered to watch Miles occasionally. This week was spring break and I thought I’d be able to have a lot of help but I’ve only gotten one of them to come over for a couple hours. I asked her yesterday to come this afternoon if she didn’t have anything else going on but neglected to ask her to LET ME KNOW if she was going to make other plans.  “Sorry I can’t come I’m at a softball game” is what she wrote when I asked her if she could come over at 3.

I think I need a babysitter who isn’t in 9th grade.


I have no idea how people sell houses and still manage to keep up with all the regular, everyday stuff that they have to do.


today was one of those days that knocks all the confidence out of you as a parent. I feel like I’m doing it wrong.  I hate the way I react to  the TT sometimes because I shouldn’t BE reacting since I’m the adult and instead I’m all upset and “why is he acting like a two year old???“.

Hi. I maybe have unrealistic expectations sometimes.  I’m a horrible mother. I know it. I feel sorry for the Tyrant.


The TT pretty much exsists on breastmilk and air.  He nurses pretty much every hour. Or half hour. Or five minutes.  He bit me twice today. Sometimes it gets old.  Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it feels like it isn’t.

Nursing is one of his most favorite things in the world.


Diaper changes, seriously I’m surprised that someone hasn’t called Child Protective Services on me when they hear him going on and on during a change. He really acts like I’m abusing him or something.

Even more crunchy

I’ve been taking the TT’s bathwater and putting it in the washer to wash laundry with. I pour it into an old kitty litter pail to take downstairs.

T thinks I’m nuts.

Tonight I showered in the TT’s bathtub. Then I took that water downstairs for the washer, too.  Don’t tell T. He’ll be calling the Mental Health Ward of the local hospital soon.

Who knows? Maybe I am nuts.


There. If I had had the time and/or energy I could have turned any one of these into a tepidly entertaining post.  I did in my head.


I need to go to bed. 2:30 a.m. comes pretty early.

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