Dowdy duty

Let’s face it.  Motherhood is not always kind to the self-image.

No time for regular haircuts, no reason to put on make-up, clothes worn more for expediency than for attractiveness, not to mention that they are most likely a) have stains or b) will have stains in the near future.

A tendency to be wider than once you were with arms that are distinctly larger and more dimpled.  Thighs: ditto.

And then there’s the state of tiredness and even apathy brought on by little time for one’s self that doesn’t somehow involve a) work or b) catching up on some chore or other as well as a constant repitition to the days that blur them together.

Finally, one’s brain has pretty much shut down. One is lucky to remember what the date is and that is mostly from checking the date of your recent email in the inbox.

What’s a girl to do?

the days of traveling the world, feeling engaged in a job that, while not exactly of earth-shaking importance, was at least interesting (sometimes. maybe. actually, the paycheck was MORE interesting, to be honest) and now one lacks the interest, motivation or know-how to move beyond a pony tail and one’s breastfeeding-inspired wardrobe; to wit, shirts from Goodwill that allow for easy access.


Any recommendations?  I’m about due for my semi-annual haircut. I always say I’m going to get a new style but frankly, I know I won’t do anything requiring maintenance, upkeep, hair products or any other equipment than a comb.  Sweater weather is coming soon to hide my fat arms so yay!  But I’m seriously thinking about cleaning out my wardrobe, sending my stuff back to Goodwill from whence they came and starting over. Since I only wear about 3 shirts a week, it should cost too much, right?

Fight the frump?  I would if I could but I don’t know how!


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

Two Tips for the Day Which You May or May Not Find Useful But which are Completely Fascinating to Me Because I Have No Life

Tip One

Ear Wax Removal

The Tiny Tyrant produces enough ear wax for us to go into business. No lie. If there were a market for earwax (I know. ew.) we’d be set up for life.

But since there ISN”T or not that we have found so far, we’ve had a lot of success with the following concoction that the TT’s doctor recommended to us (I know. I doctor that actually gives useful advice. I hope you have picked yourself up off the floor by now.)

Cure for the Common Earwax

2 oz warm water
1/2 tsp baking soda

Add baking soda to water and stir till mixed. Apply 1-2 drops per ear with an eyedropper once per day for one week. Re-apply once every 4 months afterwards.

I know it sounds too good to be true but it actually really works.  And it’s cheap. The only hard part is getting a toddler to be still while putting drops in his ears. Which is why we apply them when he is either nursing and almost alseep (the preferred way) or fully asleep (it tends to wake him up again).


Tip Two

Taking the Stink out of Stinky Diaper Syndrome

I do a load of diapers twice a week.  Because they sit for awhile, they tend to get rather odiferous, to put it mildly, and it hasn’t been coming out in the wash despite using vinegar, hot water, store-bought laundry detergent, etc, etc.

This weekend as I was making up more laundry soap, I noticed that the washing soda box recommended adding a 1/2 cup of washing soda to the regular load of laundry at the beginning to neutralize odors. So I tried it on the load of diapers I was doing and…it worked.  PLUS, I had had to use less laundry soap than normal because I was practically out but it still cut the odors.  PLUS PLUS it’s cheap and environmentally-friendly.

So there you have it.  My words of wisdom for the day.







The Queen of Awkward is Me or, Why I Wish I Pretty Much Had My Own Personal Blackhole to Swallow Me at Will

I’m not a funny person. At least not ha-ha funny. If I had to tell a joke to save my life…no, wait, if I had to tell an mildly interesting story to save my life, I would beg for a quick end in order to save myself a) the humiliation and b) the pain I would inflict on everyone concerned in the process.

No, I’m not funny haha funny. I AM funny as in “what is she wearing/doing/saying now?” funny.  As in, when people see me they wonder, what ward has she escaped from and do they know she is missing? 

Funnily enough, I am fairly normal when around people with whom I do not feel a need to have any barriers to or with whom I feel have any expectations, people like family, who wouldn’t really care if I were awkward around them and so therefore I am not. (I guess)  And I am also one of those Very Nice People when it comes to strangers; I always thank the bag boy at the grocery store, I give random compliments to the person behind the counter, etc, etc.

It’s with the people who aren’t strangers but who I don’t quite know very well or haven’t known for very long that the insanity begins.  The aquaintances. The people who really DO think you are awkward because they really haven’t been given any evidence to the contrary.

In general, my best offense is defense: as in, I try to say as little as politely possible.  That way people think you are smart, see?  You aren’t smart you are just smart enough to not broadcast that fact.

But there are times when my brain momentarily implodes politeness demands some kind of remark and it is those times that I step into my Queen of Awkward panties.

Quite QUITE frequently I find my mouth opening to tell a story that has no meaning or that is completely UNrelated or only tenuously related to the topic at hand or saying things that in my HEAD make sense but are completely out of context when they go out of my mouth and into the real world, the real world that doesn’t live in my head, like poor bastard children set adrift on a foreign and hostile sea, and as my brain registers this shocking event, I am immediately appalled even mid-sentence or mid-word and it is at that point that I really wish I could carry around some kind of blackhole in my pocket that I could just surreptitiously whip out and step into and relieve EVERYONE of the absolute nuttiness that I have spewed forth and covered everyone but mostly myself with.

And these are people that I like and that I would like to have like me and I would like to seem with-it and relatively knowledgeable and oh please Lord just the TEENIEST bit thoughtful and interesting. Ok, not interesting, I won’t push it that far.

But alas, the Queen of Awkward…or maybe she is the Stinking Black and Evil Fairy of Awkward… is just far too powerful to be overcome when I am channeling her.

And so I live from awkwardness to awkwardness and after each episode, lacking my own personal blackhole as I do, moan and groan in embarrassment and wonder how I EVER managed to say something quite so idiotic and not spontaneously combust from the dreadful horror and burning heat of shame.

Ok, maybe not quite that bad.

OK, maybe sometimes yes that bad.

Wow. It’s just great to be me.


My job is so glamourous.


I know you are eaten through and through with hot, green, boiling jealousy.


Today’s paper:


The effects of sitz bath massage on postoperative pain, anxiety, and mood states in patients with hemorrhoidectomy


Read it and weep. 



I know I am.

Wednesday’s child

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.


My uncle died last night, or, rather, one of my uncles.

He was my dad’s brother-in-law, married to my dad’s eldest sister.  He was one of those men that intimidated me as a child, big voiced, loud of laugh.

Last summer was the first time I had seen him in many, many years. After my dad left, there was very little interaction for me w/ my paternal relatives, barring a few cousins.  Not from animosity, it was just easier given the circumstances and the changes that occur in living patterns post-high school/college, etc.

I don’t feel I knew him  particularly well but he was relative and in fact is the first of my aunts and uncles to leave.

That alone makes me sad.


A mom’s group I went to today left me feeling  more depressed than the reverse.

I have no idea why but it took me most of the rest of the day to shake it.

Actually, I DO have an idea why. Pretty consistently, I manage to say something really stupid there, one of those things that make you think “did I just say that OUT LOUD?”  Not that that is unusal for me. but still, it isn’t pleasant.  And then you sit there and remember it all day long, playing it over and over again in your head until it is a mutant child of what acutally happened and far, far worse than probably it was but that is cold comfort when you wish you would just learn already and keep your mouth shut, closed, sealed, zipped.


Since trouble always comes in threes:

I realized, after walking up to the library and wandering around the library and reading books to the TT and interacting with various library-type individuals and walking up to the and playing with the TT, that….


….. a strategic button on my shirt was unbuttoned.

Perhaps that is why the older gentleman in the library smiled at me so kindly. Perhaps I made his day. It’s nice to feel I brought a little joy to SOMEONE today.


did I say trouble comes in threes?  I meant fours because:

there is neither cookies nor ice cream in the house.


What a day.

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