January 2009

Can I help sharing this? I can use this NY Times article in the Health section as justification for my grimy floors. I’ve been wary of anti-bacterial soaps and hygiene products for years, and have certainly let my children get their share of dirt and other interesting substances from the floors and from outside, but isn’t it so nice when the scientists agree with you?

I especially love the section on worms. Beneficial worms? Why not? Maybe if I get myself some more worms, I can get rid of my asthma. Maybe exposure to worms is why my asthma isn’t really that bad. Maybe if we get a dog, we can keep the kids from developing it, too.


I love it when something challenges my worldview, and changes my approach to living. Sometimes, I cannot figure out how to weather the change, how to behave in a way that will benefit the universe, rather than becoming a canker.

Which is more important, buying locally, bypassing emissions from transport and production, and avoiding non-living-wage labor from sweatshops in third world countries, or contributing to the suffering of people in those countries and others, where they can’t even get a sweatshop manufacturing job, and must scavenge in the dump, even living amidst the refuse?

Nicholas Kristof’s latest op-ed piece in the NY Times has certainly challenged me with this question. Save the Earth, or save the Humans?

I live a privileged lifestyle. I know I do, and I’m grateful, even shameful sometimes. It was pure luck that I was born where I was, when I was. The fact that I can ask myself, every time I make a purchase, whether it’s more important for me to spend extra pennies on organically grown produce, or to avoid clothing from notoriously inhumane corporations, is pure luxury. I have extra time on my hands, and money to burn.

I believe in stewardship of the planet, in carefully changing the way humans do things to preserve our habitat, our host. But I’m a human, after all, and I also believe in the reduction of suffering. I don’t know, at this precise moment, if I would choose the Earth, and let Homo Sapiens burn (we are, indeed, selfish, prone to greed, power hungry, war-mongering, racist, sexist, exclusionary, do-it-in-the-name-of-God murderers), or if I would choose to raise the standard of living for every human on earth, even if it meant our planet would last only 50 more years.

Perhaps it’s too simplistic, but perhaps it’s exactly as simple as that! Can I help the world better as a consumerist, or as a conscientious researcher of all lifestyle options? This makes my brain hurt.

I always intend to respond to each comment on my little glob, but then I remain ineffably lazy. So I may have to start a new tradition of responding via follow-up post. Except it will never become a tradition, because of the aforementioned personality flaw.

Jana, you roast, I’ll grind. Do you roast your own? I hear you can use a popcorn popper, the air pop variety. And Earl Grey is a delight in the afternoon.

Bon, I love chamomile, but I’ve discovered that I love it with a little milk and plain white sugar, but only a tiny bit of sugar. I found some chamomile that also has rose petals, but it’s very subtle. Mmmm.

Elizasmom, is it the Good Earth Original? I’ve looked up the brand, but they have many, many exotic combinations. All of which I will get to, someday. But which one do you mean?

Sue, really, I was just immensely flattered that you came all the way to meet me, and delighted to introduce someone to the exciting world of Tapas. That is, of course, if you liked the Tapas. Oh my! What if you hated it? Though, I’ll admit, that place is nearly Nouvelle Cuisine, and not at all traditional. Maybe next time, Carina and I can just host a Tapas party and make our own. And stay up all night being awkwardly awkward.

Azucar, if only I could always remember the html for the acute accent. Woe is me. I love rooibos (=red bush in Dutch). I think I started drinking it after reading The Ladies #1 Detective Agency. I’m a slave to the power of suggestion. Which brand is yours? I like the sound of spicy rooibos.

Barbara, I’m not at all surprised Grandma Hart (of the “Dammit Ed!” fame) gave you tea for tummy aches. Now I’m missing her again. And it really does make me feel better from my usual nausea. My mom also swears by it for controlling asthma.

…with something like a freakish, non-migraine, skewer-through-my-brain kind of headache. Actually, I stayed in bed until 10:30. Who has that kind of luxury? Me. Because I’m married to the best man in the universe. And there’s no challenging me on this. Seriously, I will delete any comments that suggest otherwise. Because this is an autocracy. Pfflffft.

I just updated a couple of my links. I moved Sue and Jana to the “actual friends” category, because I’ve met them both exactly once. But that’s all that matters, because both meetings cemented in my mind that these are fantastic women who will both be invited to live on my street in heaven. And if Jana can get past my freakish meltdown (remind me to tell y’all that story sometime, where, at the end, Jana both shared her inspiringly good chocolate AND presented me with 3 limes off her own tree – I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love right then?), and if Sue can forgive my monopolizing the conversation in that nervous, can’t handle an awkward silence sort of way, I hope they’ll both want to live on my street.

We’re about to send Derek and Zeeb out on daddy-son time, and there is much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Calvin is desperate to be included, even though he had his daddy time yesterday at Toys-R-Us. Today, they are going to the Dayton Art Museum, which has a fine exhibit of glass. It warms the cockles of my heart that my eldest son is so despondent at not being invited to the museum, but my second son is equally desperate to bring Calvin, since he’s one of those tender, loving, include-everyone types. Tears are rolling.

Also, I love tea. I mean, I really, really love it. I went 30-some years without ever trying it, and it is a revelation to me. This may be a revelation to you, too. I don’t wanna talk about it. Again, autocracy.

And I so don’t want one in my home, but I also don’t want to be that mom. You know, the one who won’t get things for the family that everyone else seems to have, thus appearing unreasonable and stingy.

I told them there would be a firm “no games day” once a week. There would be no games before cleaning up the living room and bedrooms. No games before homework.

Is that reasonable? Should I just let them have it? Because, really, every single one of their friends has one, and so they always want to play elsewhere.