Being (a female) Human: Underarms and Dirty Dishes

In recent years, I’ve spoken candidly about things that would make my 16 year-old self crawl into a hole of mortification, including my digestion, skin and general shortcomings.

Let me tell you, it’s a bloody relief to not mind appearing the flawed, ever-changing collection of meat, mineral and electricity that all we humans are underneath.

Today, it’s all about the armpits and keeping them inoffensive.

At the moment, I’m super stoked (yes, stoked) about the deodorant I’ve made. For the past few years, mainly since I left the office, was pregnant and cared more about minimizing metal exposure than smelling daisy-fresh, I’ve cut my deodorant use. I go without if I’m staying home or only going out briefly, and wear a regular womens’ antiperspirant/deodorant if I’m going to be within a few feet of people for any length of time.

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I was going to post about the supposed impacts of too many pesticides, or the sad effects of poverty on the young brain, but since it’s still a touch cold and cloudy up here, I decided to go with something lighter. Take that, SAD!

So. Ants. Ants in space. This really seems like the dominant species in so many ways. First, their numbers are in the trillions, and their strength is beyond that of any person who’s ever lived. But there’s something else that makes them at least seem superior: Ants are dedicated to their communities through working together and perseverance. Even in zero gravity.

Creatures other than humans have traveled into space for decades, as anyone raised on the Muppets will remember:

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I do not know how to put good in the world.

I can be kind rather than harmful. I can choose to smile rather than glare. I can throw my money behind causes I actually believe in.

But it all starts to feel pretty passive and insignificant when I measure the bad.

What if, to actually cause some good, you have to act a little bad? Or at least a little “bad.” Be aggressive, upset the apple cart, maybe even offend someone’s sensibilities… Part of me says yes, especially when I see others’ ideas of right lining up exactly with my ideas of wrong. In fact, looking back, I see that my eyes were most opened when my ideals were most challenged – when my emotions were most vulnerable.

Thank you to those who took a swing at what I thought I knew.

One of the biggest problems might be letting others think they already have all the answers. I’ve heard children, so confident in their philosophies, spouting untruths and perpetuating ignorance, and why? Because those they trust taught them in simple answers from Us vs Them viewpoints.

I hope my children see me as accepting of my small understanding, rather than willfully ignorant.

I read about a teacher who wanted so desperately to introduce young minds to the beauty of existence, or at least one aspect of it. The resistance he received astounded me, and made me sad for the resistors. It made me disgusted with the mindsets that had been thrust upon them.

It is good to question. It is good to challenge. It is bad to speak authoritatively on topics we misunderstand. I’ve been guilty of this on more than one occasion. Again, thank you to those who called me out on my arrogance.

We will not always agree on right and wrong, and sometimes it’s worth verbally hashing it out. Perhaps knowing that is the first step to doing real good.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Anticipating copious amounts of parade candy…

Turns out March is about as busy as December around here.

But that’s no excuse to not wish you and yours a season bursting with music, good food and every beautiful shade of green there is.

So far we’ve had Family Day, the parade and a solid Saint “Practice” Day. The 17th itself will be a nice combination of third birthday fun and shenanigating down at the pub.

Over the last week we’ve had a lot of sun and no new snow, and there’s nothing so lovely as seeing grass and wide sidewalks as we head out to the festivities. Just makes everything that much better.

Whether you’re celebrating or not, take a minute to enjoy the waning of winter… it can never come too soon.


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Image Search Learning Curve

For the most part, I don’t deal with digital images. I do words.

Not to say I’m unable to work with images on a computer. I can, and often do, find, resize, edit (ok, mess around in MS Paint with) and upload pictures for various blogs and websites.

Still, I’m no expert. I’m ashamed to say how long it took me to learn about finding images licensed for reuse and that sort of thing.

A couple weeks ago, I learned one more detail about online images – “labeled for reuse” isn’t always enough to free up the file.

You may have seen my article about remembering yoga a while back. I posted it with a generic, labeled-for-reuse photo I found through Google images. However, within a week, it was gone, and replaced with a graphic about “No Hotlinking.” Confused but accepting, I found another free image. Days later, the same thing happened. I dug a little deeper, and realized the replacement image was from a stock photo site that didn’t want my money, but for me to download the picture and host it myself for the protection of their servers.


Obviously, I don’t want to steal the images of other creative workers. I do want to have a good relationship with those I respect online. Further, I don’t want my blog to look like it’s run by an amateur (despite being, in many ways, an amateur). This means a little bit (just a tiny bit) of extra work on my part.

When you find free images, check to make sure they’re free for download, hotlinking or however you want to use them. Don’t want that learning curve to show itself unexpectedly, do we?

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Amaranth & Farro

Farro on the left, amaranth on the right.

Heh – sounds like a hipster band name.

Recently, my sister-in-law was talking about how much she loved farro, and I was reminded of my own history when it comes to varied, whole grains. I was also reminded of how much I’ve been slacking on practicing what I preach.

So, I finally bought farro, and tried out the amaranth already in my pantry. Both take a little longer to cook than oats or quinoa – it’s more like making brown rice or millet. But, they’re easy, and making it simple for me to broaden my grainy horizons.

First, the amaranth. These grains are super tiny and take at least a half an hour to soften to my liking. I think I’ve been using too much water, resulting in a kind of mush rather than a fluffy pile. Oddly, I’ve discovered that mixing the warm grains with salsa and lime juice makes a lovely dip for organic blue corn chips – at least, I find it super satisfying.

Second, the farro. Since my sister in law mentioned she likes it as a warm breakfast cereal, I decided to sub it for my usual rolled oats. It actually works really well as the base for my usual egg and grain breakfast (note: I now drop a raw egg into the cooked oats, turn the heat as low as it can go, and cover for maybe five minutes – one less step). I’ve also mixed it with diced zucchini, summer squash and tomato sauce for the little one.

What’s the point? Culinary and nutritional diversity. I’m not one to cut grains out of my diet, but I do think we might rely a little too heavily on wheat and corn in the typical stateside diet. Further, it’s interesting to eat grains not in a bread or pasta form, but as they are harvested, like little berries to be cooked gently over a flame.

I’m always glad when I try a new whole food. Even better when the food is affordable, non-perishable and filling. This week, it’s amaranth and farro FTW.

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March is So Here

Finally, the bulk of Winter is over and the Glorious Month has arrived.

March is the month of my favorite holiday, the arrival of my dearest season and the birth of my fabulous daughter. I’ve already got a bottle of Bushmills in progress, and the Lucky Shamrock candle is making the house smell like fresh grass.

It may still be white and bare out of doors, but green sweaters and musings on three year birthday cakes are taking over.

So ready.

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Rich, Delish, Winter Sugar Scrub

During those mythical warm days, I shared this summery sugar scrub.

Now, don’t be put off by the concoction at left that resembles mud and sand or worse… It’s sugar, oil and coffee… the makings of the perfect winter treat. For your skin.

I’ve been using coconut-sugar scrubs all season, and it’s worked pretty well for holding in moisture and exfoliating away dead cells. For the holidays it was a minty blend that smelled like candy canes. Then I tried a simple vanilla scent. Now, I wanted to warm it up with something rich, and coffee seemed just the thing.

So, here’s the list:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coffee, ground a bit coarsley
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • Drizzle of olive oil (or almond, apricot, etc)
  • 1 drop pure vanilla extract

Mix it all up, plop it in a jar, cover and keep handy for baths and showers. You’re going to smell delicious.

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Remember Yoga?

Just over three years ago, I told you why I love yoga.

Today, I am struggling to find time to practice. I want to get back to this bliss from last Spring before this Spring rolls around (though that event cannot come soon enough), but an uptick in work and seasonal lumpishness are making it tough.

I really need that reminder from three years ago. I am a better person – in every way – when I regularly practice yoga.

We have a great local group called Embody GR, and I plan to get involved as soon as they start offering child care again. Not only do they do yoga, but there’s tea, social time and community action activities. My hope is that it holds me to a practice, and introduces me to a pocket of lovely people in my city.

Something about February…

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Seasonally Deviant

Let’s go.

I’m breaking the rules.

Considering my dislike for the cold, tendency to deal with SAD and passion for spring, I think I’ve done quite well with winter in recent history. Wonderful traditions like Winterfest and Chinese New Year, not to mention a small human who loves snow and wearing boots, make the season cozy and reflective rather than isolating and oppressive.

But. It’s February, and I admit to tiring of the barren and monochromatic world outside each and every window. I long for green, the sound of birds, sandals, psychedelic music, safe roads and the sight of my beloved neighbors lounging in their lush back yard (with their garden and their chiminea and their grill and their speakers pumping WYCE… *sigh*…).

Also, I finally succumbed to a nasty winter bug, and rode the roller coaster of fever, sinus pain and digestive upset that came with it.

Right this minute, as I write to you, sun is pouring on the snow outside. The slightly golden hue is fleeting, but I’m harnessing it to drift back to one of my favorite summers, and listen to Umphrey’s McGee cover a laid back tune of my childhood.

Cue the summer mindset in three, two, one…

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