Whatever happened to Home Ec.?
Seriously. Several generations have been raised without one clue about how to run a home like a business.
T is working with some business guys who view every dollar, even penny, outgoing as an insult if it does not result in multiple incoming dollars. They are utterly fanatical about it. And they are not going under, like so many businesses in Naples.
If it's a good idea to run one's home as a business, as has often been suggested, and watch the pennies, and do all the things possible maximize return on investment, whether that's by reducing expense, improving health, or just creating a sanctuary for the family, it's not covered anymore. What about balancing a checkbook for non-accounting majors? What about not just figuring cost per ounce, but caring? What about knowing how to create a delicious and economical dinner (sure, filet mignon, asparagus and a salad is delicious and easy, but most of us can't eat that way every night, especially with tweens and up), or knowing how to put a room together, make curtains, figure out where lights should and shouldn't go? What about how to clean something truly the best way so it's fast, easy, and really clean? And don't tell me hire a housekeeper. Fine, hire one, but I've always found there are still things I have to do myself if I a) don't want them destroyed, or b) want them done properly.
With this in mind, I have several links for you.
There's Clark. He gives good podcast.
There's Flylady, of course.
Our favorite Cheapskate, who now calls her plan Debt-Free Living, is extremely educational. Did you know you actually are allowed to put avocados in the fridge?
And Sneaky Chef rocks. Truly.
Friday, May 30
Whatever happened to Home Ec.?
Wednesday, May 28
I finally got the Magic Jack to work. Happy day! It just required going to their FAQ, clicking on "bad audio", and downloading an ActiveX patch. It worked like a dream. T is on the phone now dropping our Embarq land line. Moohoohahah.
They tried to convince T on the phone that paying $40 a year for service that's costing us $40 a month was a mistake. That's a pretty hard sell. Anyway, it's done. I love saying that. Done.
Thursday, May 22
The water park was great, as always. The crowd was a bit rugged though. And that was new. I don't think I've ever seen so many tattoos outside of a biker rally. Whatever. But there was one extremely disconcerting sight. She couldn't have been older than ten or eleven. And her lip was pierced. I have to repeat that. She was about Ten Years Old, and Her Lip Was Pierced.
We look forward to the weekdays, after the camp groups leave, when the stay-all-days from tattoosville are at work. It will be better then, if the past is indicative of the future.
Playgroup, my house. A newish friend of about a year organized it. Her crowd used to get together all the time, took a break, and are now getting back into the groove of regular meetings. I've become newly friendly with one of the women, and met another at the last playgroup who seemed somewhat likely to be a future pal.
The kids were between the ages of one and six, with most around three or four. My two older ones were out with the grands. It was one of those days I found hard to shake. The things I saw were not huge, but they were oddly dangerous or careless and lassez faire in a way I don't understand.
Child's hand obliviously in the hinge opening of the door, Mom unbothered. Feet in shoes on the furniture, Mom either unconcerned or too aware of asking child not to do it only because of me. A parent handing a child vintage Fiestaware. Screaming children indoors, just because. Opening doors and entering rooms clearly off limits (this with the last bits of construction/renovation rubble around). Wandering child is brought in by six year old for having fallen from tree. He could not articulate whether this had in fact happened. Six year old did not see it happen, but saw him in tree, then saw him land. Mom seemed unconcerned, kid was apparently fine and sent back out after a brief cuddle. At last a two-ish baby fell off of a bed where the older (threes, fours, a six year old) were sitting and watching t.v.. None of the children came to tell us. I heard the crying. This the child of the potential pal mom. Her head was cut cleanly, a little less than an inch, within the hairline. She was crying, understandably. I got her, held her, and checked out her wound. Mama was in the loo. There was quite a bit of blood.
Mama took her, but acted a little dazed. I asked BC to get ice out of the freezer. I got Rescue Remedy, which Mama had seen before, so let me put some on Baby's arm, and she took a spritz in the mouth. I suggested we get Baby cleaned up in a quick bath, she could play while we washed her and got a good look at the cut. Then doctor or no, Mama could decide. Baby was acting fine, no flopping around, no eye strangeness, nothing weird.
I apologized profusely. I cleaned and ran the bath. I washed some blood out of the shirt, got a towel, shooed extra kids away. The other mommies cleaned up a bit, and rounded up their kids.
B has had so many head bumps and cuts, I kind of know this drill. So I told Mama the things the doctor has told me. Sleep is a natural stress response, it's fine. In the hairline is not usually sutured unless it's gaping open, or won't stop bleeding. Look for concussion symptoms right away, and those stated above. Otherwise, just keep it clean and try to keep them mellow for a day or two to avoid re-opening it.
I told her it was obviously her call, and that on the face it would certainly be stripped closed, but under the hairline, probably not. She had to decide. The other mommies agreed with me. For what that's worth. It wasn't bleeding anymore. Baby seemed quite fine.
In fact, Baby was jumping around in the bath. My tub is original to the house (1955), and quite slippery. I mentioned this. Baby bumped her head slipping once. Mama washed her hair, but mostly just poured water on her head over and over. Baby was up and jumping around again. I asked her to be careful, and warned Mama to watch her. She slipped again, still Mama said nothing and did nothing, just sat there holding the towel. I mentioned she might want to watch her a little, that she might be a little wonky from the bump and to be careful. Baby really slipped and spun, and bumped her head again. Her mom just acted like that was totally fine.
You couldn't hear me, but I just heaved a sigh.
Please, help me understand. I thought I was a bit tough on my kids at times, but I never let them do things that could really hurt them. I thought I was laissez faire, but I never just watch them get hurt again and again and act like it's normal.
I guess I don't have all the information for this situation. Perhaps there is something else going on. I'm sure I should reserve judgment.
Though that doesn't help regarding the lip at the pool. Which I feel quite free to have a strong opinion of. Idiocracy comes to mind.
The thing is, if you know your kid climbs, but he is not particularly able, or climbs beyond where years ought to have her, or is prone to behavior that ignores boundaries, protocol, basic respect, safety, wouldn't the average mom be more on the case? Or perhaps the children's behavior is indicative of a certain style of parenting?
I didn't think my approach was in any way radical. If they put themselves in danger, they're in trouble. If I can scare them a little, safely, so they don't do the dangerous thing, I will. An example: If they tip in a chair at the table, I will tell them not to do it. When they do it again, I will reach over and tip them back a bit, suddenly. If it happens again I tip them out of the chair. And after that, should the unthinkable occur, the child may stand for the rest of the meal. This has only happened once.
I don't count to three. I count to two, and it had better be done. I will not tolerate lying. I don't care what the other kids do, if I don't allow it at home, it's not to be done anywhere else either. And if I do allow it at home, but have warned them it's not to be assumed elsewhere, I'd better not hear of it happening. If baby does something a bit dangerous, she's pushed a little farther, or made to be afraid by my reaction, and she doesn't do it anymore. If a hand goes into the hinge opening of the door, the child is shown why it's a problem with a carrot the first time. After that the child has a royal telling off, and possibly a spanking. Better the child should cry than the parent should sigh.
It's a wonder the kids today are as fine as they are if this is how they operate. The hurt girl did have a large, nasty scratch on her cheek from before, and the tree faller has multiple knee scars. Hey, my kids have their share as well, but they were honestly won in true accidents, not carelessness. I'm proud to be a benevolent dictator, versus a committee member waiting for outward instruction, or whatever philosophy it is these parents are employing. I don't pretend to understand.
But they're not coming to my house again any time soon. Jesus.
Tuesday, May 20
The Glyco mix I've been making is awesome. You can spend a bundle on MLM versions, a smaller bundle on non-MLM versions, or you can make your own for $9 a pound.
My first research is blogged here. The main recipe with some whys and wherefores can be found here. And there is a good list of ingredient sources here. Some of them need to be purchased at new places, specifically the psyllium, sometimes the lecithin. MotherNature.com seems to be good. They have Frontier brand of both by the pound.
There is an alternate ingredient list here. I'm not sure about ratios, and there seems to be duplication of glyco components. But the ingredients seem easy to find.
I'm going to be working on recipes for regular, or somewhat regular, food that contains glyconutrients and other super foods. If you have favorite recipes using any of the following ingredients, I'd love to see them!
maitake mushrooms (perhaps...)
whey protein isolate (smoothies, what else?)
psyllium seed husk
any brown sea algae
bovine or shark cartilage (I'm thinking in terms of broths)
I'm also interested in any recipes containing the following:
dried shrimp, whole or powdered
goji berries (the chocolate covered ones rock)
Can you think of other super food items or recipes?
Here's a recipe to get you started. It boasts a great Omega 3 content, good vitamin and mineral spectrum, and tons of fiber.
This is an old raw foods recipe, but with some new boosters.
The basic recipe is:
1 ripe banana
1/2 ripe Hass avocado, or equal portion of another type of avocado
Mash together with a fork, and eat it. Some people like a little lemon or lime juice with it. It's great for breakfast, especially when nursing a baby, and toddlers like it, too. Others eat it as a dip for lettuce, celery, etc.
To boost it I like to add:
1 T. ground flax seed
It's possible to add: spirulina powder, spinach, collard or kale puree (raw or cooked), whey protein isolate powder (for galatomannan), green tea powder or extract.
I would only add one extra ingredient, and only from a teaspoon of the stronger flavored ones, to a tablespoon of the lighter ones, to avoid overpowering the delicate flavor. Flax oil would work, but the ground seed is preferable for taste and fiber.
It's also great to start a smoothie with banana and avocado, perhaps add strawberries, and a few of the other things. Smoothies tend to be more forgiving and are easier for the beginner's palate because of the familiarity of milk or juice as a mask.
This is the most I haven't written in my life. Ever. I know that's a clunky way of putting it.
I'm still in distraction mode. I accidentally looked at the sonogram photo yesterday. It had fallen out of the folder, behind something. I was in no way prepared to see her. Her sweet little jaw, her little body all curled up. It burns less now to think about her. It still hurts seriously, but it's not totally ruinous every time.
Naples is becoming fairly depressing. Now that season is well and truly over, the streets are empty, the tensions are high. Everyone with any work is scrambling, and the only people who seem normal have paychecks coming from somewhere else. Southwest Florida is still watching the real estate dominoes fall. But given people make money in all kinds of markets, what's the ticket to this one? (Any time now...).
I'm going to have to start posting on Feminist Housewife's Home. The ideas are in my brain, and pretty good, if I do say so, but this is such a whirlwind time. I wonder why I feel so overwhelmed and then look at the roller coaster list of events of the past six months. Lord.
At the same time, I feel like I just want action. Get up and make it happen, Baby.
Here are my latest bursts:
Party Lite parties. Because, why not? It's a good excuse to get together with the girls. It's silly and good fun. It actually helps that it's goofy. And I use an endless supply of tapers at the dinner table anyway, so there.
Rotation parties. This you must do. Four families. The host family makes the main course, two other families bring side dishes, the fourth family brings wine, leaves their kids, and goes on a date. Ho, ho, ho. This is a very good deal. Our first one is in June. We're doing it early because it has to be on a Sunday as that's one of T's nights off. Even at every fourth month it's more dates than I'm having now.
Playgroups. It does help to have a toddler. And Playdates, best if they're a two-fer so I can get more done.
D was insisting on feeding her baby with a bottle the other day. We had all but weaned. T and I were less than amused. I showed her milk from my breast and she nursed both sides at length and fell asleep. She's been nursing daily since. Go figure. But here we are, T working three jobs for years to keep me at home so the kids get all they need, including being nursed for three years apiece, and a few Sundays in the nursery at church have our littlest using bottles for her babies. So I'm thinking a La Leche toddler's meeting would be good. I'm calling Laurie today.
Melaleuca presentations, but the good, easy way. From their website. And only 30 minutes, with iced tea and bars on the table. And kids running around and playgroup afterwards. And lead with the products, since that's the whole point anyway. Health, good stewardship of the environment, ease of doing shopping. Go.
Check out Equity Build. I love this concept. Love. T is doing sales, so if you call the number, you'll be talking to my husband. How's your credit? Because if it's good, you should seriously consider this tool. Okay, I'll stop. But I do think it's great.
K is writing books. We're not sure how we're going to market them yet. But they're really good. We're looking at hand binding them for sale on Etsy, and also having her read them at the library and schools, a la Eragon. She rocks.
My new favorite thing is Jott.
I'm going through fabrics to sew. I just want to wear '50s dresses from now on.
I'm looking for recipes with glycoprotein rich ingredients. It's my new craze. I'll keep you posted. Here's the thing. When faced with health care costs, and the prospect of living forever, it makes a lot of sense to use preventatives. There's no point in dragging on, I want to fly. Oh, come on. This after arguing with P about it. She thought we should live longer because "our consciousness" would evolve and create a better world. She lost me, along with VJ arguing the same thing. The other P solved my dilemma almost instantly once in on the conversation.
"It's the only way to save Western civilization."
But BB argued that perhaps Western civilization was on the decline, not replacing itself, because of a disillusionment with it's perceived value. I have no patience for nihilism. Not from Mithraic cults, apocolyptic thinkers, environmentalists, nor even BB. Then again, I was making an argument for seeking wisdom from the ancients regarding longevity when talking with P and VJ. So, equivocal I am. Luckily it doesn't really matter one way or another right now.
Sunday, May 11
The living room and kitchen are crazy clean. My freezer contains a rainbow of purees (cauliflower and yellow squash, yams, carrot, red pepper, beets, broccoli). I still need to make some purple (blueberries and spinach), but plan to make some brownies with carrot puree. The Sneaky Chef yam in the mix for French toast is really, really good. I also add vanilla and flax meal, and use almost as much milk as egg, then throw the pieces on the waffle iron. Oh my. Today I also put slices of mutsu apple on the iron after the waffles were done. They were awesome.
I made up a carrot soup as well. I left a few cups of carrot puree in the blender, added ginger and jalapeno, steamed a leek and threw that in, added chicken stock, lemon juice and a little butter. I stuck it in the fridge and served it with a dollop of plain yogurt. Wow. Really good.
This morning we're going swimming with the grands. I have to say Tim's mum and step-dad are perfectly fine people, and family besides, so it was probably a bit extreme to have nightmares of barbaric alien cannibals invading. I have no explanation, but the dream was pretty great sci-fi horror, so I may write it as a short story.
Tonight we're having a mixed gang over. Mixed ages and politics, but I think there's potentially good overlap in enough certain areas.
Read this, and agree we should be a little more rational about our solutions. If corn ethanol is the celery of fuel, and pork is the reason we're bothering, perhaps we need to rethink.
Tuesday, May 6
I haven't written, and haven't written, and haven't written. I know, it's not like me. I have read your comments, and even been provoked into beginning replies, but I am a woman obsessed.
Right now I am doing a blitz spring cleaning. I cannot stop now. I am tossing and scrubbing, giving away, removing webs, finding locations, making thousands of executive decisions about various objects and papers. It is a purge, an organization period, time for the new.
My caffeine post was just the beginning. I'm up and doing all day. Giving a fresh coat of paint to old furniture, hanging things, removing paint from other things, washing the slip covers (wow), and wiring things properly, at last. It's amazing how awry things went when I was on bed rest with D, because so many things got so many months behind, and then other things piled on top, and we moved our rooms around several times, then the next sad pregnancy, Mom moving out and then away (more stuff) and the plumbing party. I no longer know where every little thing in my house belongs, or even what I have. There's a lot of paper garbage. I'm calling catalog companies and getting off their lists.
I can't say I've tackled my desk, which I'm using as a FedEx station. Everything even remotely related goes there. The piles are not quite as tall as I am. But I'm getting the main rooms in order first, because they were bad. The desk will be mostly dust and garbage, hopefully. There are some books, designer markers, and bits of wire and techy hardware as well, but those have places and just need to be put in them.
The Über Haus Frau has taken over.
Of course no one has eaten anything meaningful in days. A lot of yogurt and noodles seem to be consumed. But I'm on a roll, and the cooking can happen when things settle down and we feel fully civilized again. My goal is Thursday for the main rooms and office, Mother's Day for our bedroom, the hall closet and laundry room, and then I'll tackle the monster room.
It was our bedroom, but you may recall I couldn't breathe. Now it is full of New York boxes, camping stuff, Christmas from here and NYC, the God-awful plastic tree (don't get me started...the trees down here are sprayed with such heavy pesticides we totally can't breathe within minutes. But imagine a tree full of palmetto bugs! I still laugh at the thought.), bags of wires, old computers and printers, and countless other delayed decisions. It should take about a week.
T's mother and step-father are arriving from England on the 10th for two weeks. It will be fun. They will drive us crazy. We'll go swimming a lot. We'll all eat well. It will be both relaxing and stressful. It may cause delays, but also may let me get more done in short spurts because of more adults in the house.
I want to move some pretty spider lily bulbs from their swamped location under a plumbago (the tropical answer to hydrangea) in the back to under the macadamia, which has baby nuts all over it. And the jasmine on the front needs to be shorter, plus some mid-height heliconias should go in the bed with the little ones, next to the gonzo lobster claw heliconias, which are flowering now. My papaya is too tall and needs to be cut back. But my green coconuts are yummy! And my cocktail citrus tree has baby Meyer lemons on it.
The most recent revelation is that Naples is a stunningly beautiful bimbo. Every inch of nature, and much of the development, is just lovely. And that's about it. There's an itty-bitty creative scene, but it caters primarily to the ancient ones. It's like living on a senior citizen's campus. They're here to party in droves, and they're all wearing expensive beige.
There's a small scene of younger folk, and we're finding them. I can't tell you how good that feels. They're mostly born and raised here, or ex-urbanites, primarily East Coast, not Chicago so much, nor California. It's actually beginning to be quite fun.
And our friend's business is beginning to take flight. The website is up, if not perfect, and the P.R. begins tomorrow. After that the calls start coming in, and T answers the phone and guides through the process until closing. It will be good. I'll post a link as soon as the phase one website is a little more finished.
Back to the races!