Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photoshop Thursday!

So here's the SOOC original: (all I can tell you is that it was shot on 400 speed film.)

And here's the after:


All I did was bump up the contrast and the saturation. Easy peasy.
Then I played and removed the color to black and white with a green tint (standard in my PSE8), added a vignette, and rounded the edges:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Open Letter to Denise Roy

    Dear Denise,

    Can I call you Denise? We’re both adults, and after reading My Monastery is a Minivan, I feel like we’re friends.

    My son is 3 months old. 15 weeks. It’s such a short amount of time - not a full season for any sport, not a full semester, only a 3rd of the amount of time it took me to make him. And yet in that time I realized several very disturbing things. First, I am psychotic. I’ve worked with a lot of young children over the course of the past 20 (egads!) years and the one thing that every mom has ever told me is: “it’s different when they’re yours. You’re more patient.” They. LIE. After twenty years of what I considered to be “helping to raise” children I thought I had the baby thing IN THE BAG. It took ten days to knock me off that horse. Second, I am not nearly as calm and composed as I’d like. I know there are hormones, but the tears, the’s like puberty all over again only this time it’s being triggered by an infant. These two things left me feeling very out of my depth.

    So I started to look for some guidance. If you want to lead a more calm and balanced life there is a guide for that - many, actually. I started with mommy blogs (perfect window dressing but few willing to actually post that their child had them up all night for God-knows-why and what they really want is a martini) and moved on to montessori review (I’ve studied this as education and child care training, but not as a mother) and it’s still just as dry a read as it was when I was eighteen...I watched a documentary on the Dalai Lama (I follow him on facebook as well) and that was helpful and inspirational...but he’s not a mom. He doesn’t get it.

    And then, I’m in our local children’s bookstore just browsing and I see your book. On the shelf directly below “Once Upon a Potty” is the exact word I didn’t know was missing from my life: Momfulness. I picked it up and allowed it to fall open in my hands. This is something I often do with books - allowing the universe to guide me to recipes, essays, inspiration - and it opened to the Thich Nhat Hanh prayer*. Needless to say, I purchased it.

    But I read My Monastery is a Minivan first. I’m just starting on Momfulness, and I so far I’m glad I’m reading them in this order. I needed to know more about you as a mother before I started to learn from you. Although, really, I don’t think one needs to be a mother to enjoy your stories. One just has to have a mother. One just has to have a family.  On 35 separate occasions I was moved to tears, laughter, and deep contentment. I am inspired to be more present, to recognize that we are happy, to have more patience with myself and my son. Just hearing your experiences helps me find peace with mine.

    I do want to particularly address the story entitled “The Mother of Men.” For reasons too lengthy to go into here, I was (and am still, to a lesser extent) very apprehensive about raising a son. Everywhere else I looked were platitudes but you got to the heart of it: what men need is a rite of passage wherein the older men say “you are important and what you say is important.” I finished the book and immediately re-read that essay. In 13 years my husband (and our close male friends and relatives) will take our son into the Redwoods for a weekend and they will welcome him to manhood.

    Your 35 stories (and now your second book - so far, at least) has given me hope and reassurance that even though I’m not perfect, I don’t need to be. That as long as I practice compassion and mindfulness and respect - not just for my family but for myself as well, which is often harder - that it will all be ok.

    So really, I just wanted to say thank you.

Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Blogger Bloom Day

Caught in the early morning light.

The first pomegranate flower bud of the season. A harbinger of *really* good things to come!

More roses.

This plant appeared between the roses and one of the bushes in the front yard. It's blooming, which means it will attract butterflies and honeybees (I hope) so I'm letting it do it's thing. I can't wait to see what it turns into. BTW - I think those ants are the ones that eat aphid poop.

Stand below the plum tree and look up. It's not a bloom, but it will be tasty!

Same thing goes for the peach tree - barely rescued from the curl this year. There is ice cream in our future!

Apple blossoms. 

The sedum is in bloom - and attracting friends/bird food. 

Also known as escargot.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


of Irony, that is ;-)

I want to raise a peaceful child who has balance and harmony in his life.

And on my bookshelf is a section of books dedicated to offing people in new and exciting ways- and what to do with the remains once they' Seriously - this week I'm ordering The Poisoner's Handbook.

Also - in a perfect world I'd be earning a living writing about (fictional) people who off other (fictional) people and the (still fictional) people who find them out and stop them.

So, lesson one: reality vs. fiction. Just as soon as he can talk.

Happy Sunday!

PS - one of my favorite bloggers sold her book. I'm so happy for the bitch.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Liveblogging an Experimental Day in 'Sposies

Diapers in the landfill/days spent in environmental purgatory:15
Outfits changed due to diaper failure: 3

So a few weeks ago my sister, brother-in-law, and I took Bunny into San Francisco for the day. He was wearing a shell with a flip insert and there was badness on the train. By "badness" I mean I heard the tell-tale frat-boy sounds coming from his pants and then remarked to my sister "wow, this one really smells bad!"

Well, it turns out that the inserts weren't absorbent. This isn't me bagging on flip...except that I wasn't sad that we proceeded to use the rest up that day. Unfortunately, that meant that we were without diapers and were looking at an hour-long train ride home. With a baby who hates being wet and dirty.* So we stopped into Walgreens (CVS?) and picked up these:

Yesterday I noticed that the CDs are having that lingering odor (specifically - the wetbag actually smelled when I was putting diapers into it) so it's time to strip. And since I had been putting off doing the load that was in the full wetbag, I decided that this weekend is the perfect time to use up all those 'sposies before he outgrows them and they truly go to waste.

Also, the argument I hear most frequently is how much easier 'sposies are than CDs. Specifically, that CD's are a "pain in the ass"  - all that laundry and extra work! So we're going to see if today is any "less" work than a normal day in CDs. (The fact that I'm stripping them today is not normal. In fact, it's only because we have wicked hard water and I was using not-cd detergent for too long that they need to be stripped this soon. Usually it's a need that arises less frequently than once a year, to my understanding.)

7:30am: We woke up and he went from his last clean GroBaby (nighttime diapers are usually double-stuffed fuzzibunz or BumGeniuses, but we were working with depleted resources) in a Huggies and daytime clothes. Still using cloth wipes, which might be the biggest PITA because it's a spray and then wipe situation. Diaper change otherwise is the same.

8:30am: new diaper due to lots of wetness.

9am: new diaper, and he peed in the potty (we started EC this week, it's still catch and miss, but we keep offering and he

10:30am: new diaper and first clothing change of the day due to the #3. (Normally he's done so much drooling/spitting up that he gets a new outfit around lunch. Occasionally the edges of the cloth will become soaked and seep the the edges of his onesie - but that's happening less with the EC, and will continue to happen less as he grows into the one-size diapers.)

He's in pants because if he's going to #3 all day, I want it contained in his pants and not all over me, husband, or whatever he's sitting on.

11:45am: wakes up from power nap, eats. I wait too long after feeding him and his diaper it aready soaked so he just laughs at me when i put him on the potty. Literally. These diapers are certainly more trim then we're used to, but that's because you chose: chemicals or bulk.

1:45pm: another power nap, and before food he gets a pottytunity (success!) and a new diaper.

3:15pm: we've been outside gardening, so I bring Bunny in to check his diaper and have a pottytunity. Wet, wet. But we avoided a #3 because 1 + 2 went into the potty. these 'sposie results will be skewed. But I will say that his skin in the diaper area is an unfortunate shade of red. :-(

4:30pm: Husband changed him out of his wet was uneventful. His skin is still red, though.

5:30pm: Singing in the rocking chair and there's that frat boy sound again. Decide it's late enough to have night-time routine (since it never ends with sleepytime anyway) so Husband cleans him up (full containment) and leaves him naked for the bath.  So far, aside from the redness, I'm not seeing much of a difference in the PITA category. If we were doing prefolds (or flatfolds) then this would be loads easier...but not with the pocket/AIOs.

I should add that we got Huggies - rather than another brand- because it was they had in his size.

By 2:00pm the Sunday - more diaper changes, one leaky LEAKY wet diaper (it wasn't even very saturated, it just leaked all over his outfit), a husband who declares that while Bunny's skin has stayed fairly dry, the poops are just ALL OVER and a pain to clean off of him. They were pretty decent overnight (we stretch those changes in favor of uninterrupted sleep. He got 3 when there probably should have been two, but I heard frat boy noises and went to the logical, but incorrect, conclusion.)

VERDICT: His skin reacted quickly and unpleasantly to the 'sposies, which is enough for me to switch to CDs. I can't even imagine what many consecutive days would do to his poor heiny. Granted - the results were skewed by the many EC Catches we managed. Also - I'm now spending a solid 2 weeks in Environmental Purgatory to make up for the eternal landfill waste that I added. I'd rather do a few extra loads of laundry a week than constantly be purchasing new diapers (which require water to make - so that's a wash) and it's also nice to know that Bunny's little brother or sister will be able to use these same diapers when the time comes. Cloth Diapers = free stash for consecutive kiddos...and if they're in good shape: resale. Word.

*Most days when I change a wet/dirty diaper I sing:

They see me grun'in'
My face red
I know they're all thinkin'
I'm so wet and dirty

Look at me
I'm wet and dirty
Guess I'm just so
Wet and Dirty
I'm just so weeeet and dirrrrty

I wanna roll with the babies
But so far they all think
I'm too wet and dirty

Look at me
I'm wet and dirty
Guess I'm just so
Wet and Dirty
I'm just so weeeet and dirrrrty

More lyrics to come because it giggles me. And if anyone knows where I can find just the background music, I'm totally making a video. It'll be a parody of a parody:

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