Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three things of randomness

Abby loves hair. She'll love Sarah Reed.

My "swans" are gone. Maybe someone with young children complained that the listing swan was disturbing. I miss them.

I'm not going to try the homemade baby wipes until paper towels don't cost as much as the wipes. Seriously.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

animals around town

#1. I forget if I wrote about this already. Abby and I took a walk a week or so ago and walked/strollered by a couple walking their parrots. One on each arm. Now I can cross that off of my list of things to do before I die. (Walk by...people...in park...who each have...a...parrrrroooottt.....on their...arm..........in Kokomo.)

#2. Same park--I find dogs who wheeze after struggling up a small hill humorsome. Except that to be fair, I sometimes wheeze a bit on that hill, too. But I'm pushing a stroller and am lugging around an extra 10 lb. that I'm still not used to. But still, sorry excuse for a dog.

#3. 2 months ago, I got excited to see that a lovely pair of swans had settled in a pond outside of our Kohls (I know...weird, right?). Every time I drive by them, I admire their loveliness. Alas! One of the swans has died as it now floats all cockeyed. Odd, day after day it is still floating at this bizarre angle. Why hasn't anyone taken care of this bird that has to be scaring children. I mean, I'm fascinated by it, so children must be freaked out, too. Why does the other swan seem so unaffected by his deceased partner in swan crime? Seriously, 2 weeks later, and he's still there! Ewwww. Abby and I talk about it every time we drive by. I slow down and swerve into the other lane so that I can gawk at it if I drive by (no cars were coming, I really wasn't driving all that dangerously). I give Ben swan updates. And finally it hits me...the dead swan and its oblivious partner are fake. Ben drives by one time and confirms my suspicions. If I hadn't been busy dodging non-existent traffic in my gawking sprees, I might have noticed that the bottom of the listing swan was flat and lacked anything resembling legs and webbed feet. Seriously, someone...put the bird back upright! It's disturbing (me)!!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Can a baby be earth friendly?

***Preface note--I have this whole thing typed out in a Word document, which apparently isn't compatible with this blog, so I'm retyping/copying the entire thing over again. It's a 3 1/2 page Word document that I began yesterday afternoon around 3 and it's now 9:30 the next morning. I have that much to say that obviously must be said. :-)***

Everyone who has had a baby in the past 20 years or so has likely been asked if they are going to use cloth diapers or disposable ones. Never for one moment prior to having Abby did I even remotely consider cloth. It's not that I don't like to hug the world now and again, but the safety pins, the leakage, the diaper rash, the goo oozing from clothy places, the plastic pants, the folding, the sanitizing, the LAUNDRY!!! It just seemed tooooo much, especially too much time invested for the net outcome. Not me! quoth I.

But two nights ago, a revelation of sorts. I'm a member of our church's Green Team/Care for Creation team (really, I think that we decided on the longer, more cumbersome name, but we still go by either, like what often happens with organized people), and another member of the team asked me to prepare some information on the environmental impact of baby products--diapers, wipes and such. Okay, no prob, I thought. I'm pretty invested in this and am rather curious myself, I thought. This won't change my mind one bit...I thought.

Aha, you think you know where I'm going with this. Curveball...I'm still gladly using disposable diapers and have no intention of plunking down my little credit card for any clothy, cottony nappies neither today nor tomorrow. However, maybe in a couple of days. The idea needs to ferment a bit before I act on it.

I was looking up some information for my "report," and I came across this website for Nicki's diapers, which looks to be pretty much THE place to go for cotton diapers. I say cotton instead of cloth for a very specific reason...these ain't ya momma's cloth nappies! Really, I just like the word "nappie" instead of "diaper." It is now going to be a staple in my baby lexicon. I found myself particularly intrigued by the "Mommy's Touch One-size All-in-one diapers," which seem to be much more accessible and dare I say less "work" than I thought cotton diapers were.

Pro for cotton nappies--less landfill waste, which can also potentially cause long term toxic effects on our environment that we still don't totally understand, and they're super uber cheap in the long run.

Con for cotton nappies--water & energy waste in the making, producing the cotton for these nappies is quite draining on our natural resources just like disposable, and it's really just convenient to be able to pitch out the mess

Consider the following (on average) facts:
*every child using disposables contributes approximately 6500 diapers to landfills
*those suckers take about 500 years to decompose (no recycling potential), though really how valid is this number? It's not like anyone has been able to hang around for 500 years to determine this.
*one baby can produce 1-2 tons of landfill waste
*from 2 years of disposable diaper usage, every child consumes the equivalent of 4.5 trees
*it takes 1 cup of crude oil to make the plastic necessary for 1 disposable diaper
*it takes 286 pounds of plastic (including packaging) to keep one child in disposable diapers for one year
*18 billion disposables are used in the U.S. alone in one year
*it takes 200-400 kg of "fluff" (the inner workings of a diaper) to keep a baby in disposables for one year versus 10 kg of cotton for a 2-year supply of cotton diapers
*diapers are the 3rd largest single consumer item and 30% of non-biodegradable waste in landfills
*a so-called "biodegradable" diaper really isn't so much because it still doesn't have access to the 2 main components that makes something decompose--air and sunlight--if it's all tightly rolled up and stuffed in a landfill
*technically, putting a poopy diaper in the trash is ILLEGAL because it is disposing of human waste, which is absolutely a no-no, but generally ignored for the good of all nappie needs
*the Landbank Consultancy, commissioned by the Women's Environmental Network in London, found that diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste, need 3.5 times as much energy in the making, use 8.3 times as much non-regenerable material and 90 times the amount of renewable resources, and need 4-30 times as much land space to grow the raw materials as cotton nappies. This means that they basically use 70% more energy than the equivalent cotton diaper.

If you're interested, I have the websites where I got this info.

There are a plethora of "greener" disposable options, for that matter, which I discovered as I was trying to reaffirm why I don't use reusable nappies (that snobby attitude didn't last long). Organic cotton nappies...hemp nappies...organic cotton/hemp blend nappies. Why doesn't Manchester sell these?!?

But something that is absolutely attainable and easy to fix in my greenest-baby-products quest is baby wipes!! You can totally make your own, and all that you need are four basic, every-parent-has-these "ingredients."

1 roll of good paper towels (cut in half)
2 c of boiling water that has been cooled (not every "recipe" called for this boiling/cooling method, but I think that it makes sense)
2 T baby shampoo/wash
2 T baby oil/olive oil

Seriously. How easy and cost effective is that!! Mix the liquids. Pour over one half of the paper towels. Let them soak it up. Put in a reusable container. Enjoy! So easy. So cheap. I'm going to try them as soon as I run through the current batch of wipes. And, they're completely as portable and convenient as wipes that you buy.

I did find one different recipe for homemade baby wipes, but it is more labor intensive, hardware intensive and cost intensive (for no apparent reason). I'm going to skip that one.

Though it seems like I'm just ragging on disposable diapers here, with the amount of energy that it takes to produce cotton diapers and then the amount to keep them squeaky clean and sanitized, it's really just 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of another. It comes down to maintenance cost. Really and truly. Energy wise, I could also put up a lot of statistics about how much energy it takes to produce a cotton nappie and then keep them chugging along in their absorbent glory. But I won't. This is really long. It's just cost, which isn't something to wholly ignore. Using 10 diapers/day for 2 years at $.15/diaper (which is approximately what we spend, give or take a penny now and again when something isn't as on sale or the coupons aren't as fabulous), which is quite a bit cheaper than Huggies & Pampers that aren't on sale and have no couponage (those run around $.22/diaper), it all comes down to just shy of $1100 for all of those disposables versus $200 or so for a 2-year supply of cotton nappies, depending on the brand and the amount that you need.

Think of the money that could be put away toward Abby's education instead of being currently used to absorbed and protect her (really cute) little bum.

But then again, I don't feel guilty or superior about either choice. Each one has merit. Each one has downfalls. Kind of like organic baby food...another post for another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who We Are

I hate housework with a deadly passion. I'd usually rather grade than clean. Seriously, a deadly passion, I know. Here's a credit shout out to the Jane, who taught her children how to do housework, the boys as well as the girl. Because this means that...

...Ben knows how to do things like laundry and dishes. But if there's any particle of housework that I "like" to do, it's laundry, and now that I'm on maternity leave, I've really taken that over 100%. We used to share it but since the beginning of the school year, Ben has started one load. I have done every other, probably-3-7-loads-of-laundry-a-week-depending-on-how-much-bedding-needs-to-be-washed-oh-my-gosh-one-little-kid-produces-a-lot-of-laundry. This also means that...

...Ben sometimes gets my most hated cast offs. And when I say sometimes, I mean pretty much always. When we got married, we had a 5 minute discussion about who was going to be responsible for what job, and really so far, over 4 years later, it's still a rock solid system. He gets dishes. I get floors. He gets bathrooms. I get pretty much everything else like running errands because he's "stuck" at school and I'm somehow way more flexible even when I'm teaching full time and taking two graduate classes but that's okay because I get out of school 1/2 hour earlier than he does so that means I get to go to the bank and the credit union and take the cars to get serviced and everything else plus a bag of chips. Which means that...

...I have a hard time being calm about things that are his responsibility when they aren't done on my time schedule. It makes perfect sense to me. I do 100 billion things during the day and try to be done by 9. Ben does 100 billion things during the day and then comes home and plays video games or watches tv (to his credit...fits it around helping with Abby). This is a fundamental difference between us. He drives me crazy by starting to do his jobs at 9:30 at night. I drive him crazy by asking him if he's planning on cleaning the bathrooms tonight. All of this means that...

...over 4 years later, we still drive each other crazy and our rock solid system of doing things is really only rock solid 5 out of 7 days a week. Those other 2 days sometimes involve me muttering craziness about dirty dishes, and oh my, why aren't the dishes washed, and seriously, are we going to start the dishes yet, and I can't take it anymore, please start the dishes, thoughts to myself. Dishes are probably the #1 source of discontent between us. I think that we're cumulatively getting better about accommodating each other while still getting stuff done, but sometimes I wonder. And when I feel guilty about sitting on the couch reading the newspaper while he's in there doing dishes, which incidentally our couch is 10 feet away from the sink so it's rather obvious that I'm sitting doing nothing while he is doing something that I could be helping with, I remember--it's his own darn fault that he's waited this long. And then I sigh a bit, snuggle deeper into my cushy couch and rattle my paper just a bit. But this also means that...

...I really have to be careful about holding up my end of the bargain before I criticize his. For example, I find it challenging to get the floors swept around Abby's schedule, partly because it's such a low priority for me that I just plain forget when I have the opportunity. And now that we have considerably less carpet in the house, and I (imagine) hate sweeping, it doesn't get done on any sort of regular basis. Next time I get overworked up about the dishes, maybe I'll remember that Ben never comments on my lack of floor sweeping. But that might not be entirely truthful either. This boy never looks at the floor. Seriously, he doesn't notice anything below the horizon. Somehow we get things done, and really, it's the kind of house that I'd rather have. My mom is a bit of a cleaning nut, in my opinion, and it always bugged me to no end that we had to sweep and dust and wash and wipe everytime someone like my grandmother (who is absolutely not a cleaning person!!) came over. I always used to mutter as I dusted (big surprise...another job that I hate) that I would have a house that looked lived in rather than a house that looked sterile. I give you credit, Mom...I understand your position now. There's no bigger incentive for me to clean that to have someone come over to visit. Don't expect me to dust, though.

Fact of the day: if you leave the door to the bathroom open even the slightest of smidgens while you are taking a shower, you can absolutely count on having a furry little cat face poke in on your showering self at some point.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a Twitter-ish blog entry

Gorgeous November day! Just got back from walking 2 miles with Mr. Ben and Miss Abigail. Ben ran 1 (show off). Abby didn't walk at all. Supper--hot Culver's french fries and 2 mini brown sugar bagels with cream cheese. Nothing like a healthy supper after a modicum of exercise.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I have to write a paper...update

I'm now into my 7th page of a 3-5 page rough draft position paper that will eventually morph into a 15-20 page seminar paper. This is what I should have been working on last night. But now I feel vindicated for slouching last night. It's 7:56 and I declare myself officially slouchy again tonight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I have a paper to write

I have a paper to write, so I shall blog instead. This is eerily similar to New Tech/problem based learning? Slam New Tech! No one who reads this, all 3 of you, will get that. But I'm giggling on the inside.

I have a paper to write, so I suddenly realize all that I need to do on Facebook and how badly I need to save and organize all of the pictures from the last month.

I have a paper to write, so I think about how I have 2 full days at home with nowhere that I have to go so surely I will be able to get more than enough done then.

I have a paper to write, so I'm doing what any normal student does and procrastinate, at least just a wee bit. I actually worked on it earlier today, for about 20 minutes. But a good 20 minutes it was!! Truly, I got more done today in that amount of time than the terrible 90 or so minutes that I worked on it Monday.

I have a paper to write, and my tooth, which has already had a root canal, a crown and then another crown hurts. I think I'm cursed.

I have a paper to write, but it seems like I should just gaze fondly upon pictures of Abby from her first few days of life and remember the good old days. How long ago they seem. I saw a 2 week old baby today and thought, was Abby ever that small? Undoubtedly, she was. How strangely perspective shifts in the space of a few days.

I have a paper to write, but Ben's now rubbing my feet. Mmmm. There's absolutely nothing happening with the paper tonight. And I don't care. I feel good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Facebook and my fear of losing my privacy

Really, this seems like an oxymoronic thing to say--being able to maintain privacy on Facebook. But thus far, I have felt more or less in control of my Facebook-iness. I'm learning to deal with my squeamish qualities, which has for a year and a half included going by my maiden name on Facebook though it is no longer my legal name. Why??? I fear what could happen when student/teacher barriers are crossed, regardless of whether students are graduated or not. I fear much. I look at other teachers, my husband included, and think...oh just hope and pray that nothing gets posted or suggested or egads anything!

But then I also began thinking, if other people, teachers included!, can live by their legal, married names, surely I can as well. I'm kind of a sucker and will pretty much accept anyone who friends me...oh, except for the 2 people who are languishing in the black hole of "will you accept my friend request?" on my profile right now. These two persons have been lurking for a couple of months now. I can't get up the nerve to deny them, though I'll never see them ever again (hopefully).

So I bit the proverbial bullet tonight and changed my name on Facebook. I'd like to be all cool like other wonderful women and say my maiden name in single quotes, but that just doesn't work out so well for me. You know what I'm saying.

And, while I'm being all radical, I even added my employment history...another step that I avoided until now in search of anonymity. But I also realize that there are many people out there who I could be virtual buddies with if only I would open up and learn to cuddle up with my insecurities instead of banishing them to the corner in hopes that they'll be ignored.

I feel reckless.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bleeding blue

First Colts game ever!! But no pictures to share. There's a short video on my camera, but there it must stay as we have no means of taking it off of the camera.

First Colts game ever...and it was a blast!!

Rewind a second--Ben and I give ourselves "fun money" every month where we cannot dictate how the other person spends their allotted cash and it can be accrued. I usually spend mine on me things, like candles and Crocs. Sometimes some Vera Bradley bags. Ben often saves his up until he has a considerable chunk and then spends it in a made whirl of luxury on something like a flat panel computer monitor or Colts tickets. Almost a year ago, he decided that he was going to buy 2 tickets to a Colts game with his fun money. I was luckily his numero uno choice to go with him. Pre us-ness, I was a baseball nut and didn't follow football whereas Ben was a football nut and hated every baseball team except the Reds on principal only cause he never watched the games. Post us-ness, we're both pretty much hooked on each other's sports passions.

I bleed Atlanta Braves blue in the summer, but with the changing of the leaves in the fall, my blue blood changes to Colts blue. I admittedly love watching football with Ben to the extent now that I watch it without him and am the proud owner of my own fantasy football team. It doesn't hurt that Colts just has the cutest, goodest guys amongst all of the teams. Really, these players are just good guys who are part of the Indianapolis community, and I dig that a lot.

In order to go on this jaunt, we had to give up Abby for the day. Not tragic but still not something that comes all that easily to me/us yet. Thankfully, all went well, which will help in the future when the need for some considerable babysitting time pops up again. It did make preparations for this all day adventure quite a bit more time consuming and the shtuff that had to be hauled 8 miles away to the grandparentals' house seemed to fill up the car.

Okay, so the game...there really isn't anything quite like watching your team charge onto the field in their home stadium. In the beautiful, sparkly new stadium, it's just infectiously fun. Ben parked us on the 45 yard line, 2nd row from the very top of the stadium. Really, wonderful seats despite the long trek to the top. You could see everything and there weren't any annoying people sitting behind us. Neither of us had ever been to a pro football game, so we didn't know what to expect really. But, pleasantly surprised that the crazy drinking fools were basically nonexistent and there was no beer splashed around on me. Could it be in part because it was a 1:00 game and that's a wee bit early to become too sloshed? Probably not. We just ended up in a good, controlled section.

The super creative costumes that people uninhibatedly wear to these games is amusing...purses out of coffee can sized cans, feather headdresses, dangly blue earrings, bangly necklaces, and even a Colts chef's hat. I felt underdressed in my Colts jersey, Colts sweatshirt and Colts stretchy band bracelet thing.

Favorite-ish part--Every time the Colts got a first down, the announcer says "And that's another Indianapolis Colts..." and everyone yells "FIRST DOWN!" The funniest part was when a Colts player got an interception, the announcer comes back with "another Indianapolis Colts..." and no one yelled anything. Another interception? Wasn't that the first one?

Amusing-ish part--the 30-something couple beside me that was acting like annoying teenagers, play fighting with each other. And contrary to whatever the lady was thinking, yes, the HUGE sliding window at the north side of the stadium was in fact closed, not opened, and no, the roof of the stadium is not made of glass. It was actually open.

Least favorite-ish part--didn't really have one. Guess what Ben...I had a great time, too. It was a rockin' date. Thanks for taking me. :-)