all posts, community, mental health, miscellaneous, mortality, nature/the environment

where my mind has gone during this COVID-19 pandemic

I’m learning a lot about myself as we start ramping up in intensity here in my area with precautions. I already tended to keep to myself long before the social distancing (such a vague and confusing term) and shutdowns were in place, and I am lucky that spending all day every day with my toddler is no change to my life (if you are at home with your toddler and need ideas, I am by no means any sort of expert but I’m happy to share the weird things we get up to day to day).

I realized early on that the end of the world probably won’t be some crazy catastrophe like in the Hollywood movies, but rather a culmination from misinformation where no one knows what’s going on and everything interprets things differently. So many people put out opinions all over the internet and media, which we state as universal truths, and everyone can read it and then decides who they believe. I’m not talking anything drastically polarizing issues either. For example, with social distancing (I really hate that term) should we literally stay inside all the time, or can people continue to go for walks around their neighborhoods, workout together outside, go on hikes and bike rides, etc so long as they eyeball keeping 6 feet between them? Because from what I’ve seen, people are out most of the time, and social distancing just means don’t get in anyone’s bubble. But is that enough to stop the rapid spread? (Also note, I don’t think COVID-19 will be the end of the world, but I think it is the biggest thing that has happened in my lifetime as nothing before has managed to shut down the entire world to such an extent).

Food allocations also presents a looming challenge in my mind, and not because I feel that I don’t have enough. I am blessed and don’t have to worry about scarcity, but in thinking about how a quarantine could go on for months, I realize that scarcities in food are more complex than we thought. It’s not just about how much food the average American wastes, or how many people are currently starving, though those were and are huge issues already before COVID-19. But should infectious diseases rampage our populations indefinitely, our way of getting food (grocery stores, shipped from online) would break down and most of us would be left without supplies quickly. Our general systems rely on others to provide food for us, and we don’t really have a backup plan (besides, it seems, aggressive hoarding) when suddenly those others can’t keep the supplies open. We have created large bodies of people that cannot maintain themselves, and I’m not just talking about in urban areas. We don’t know how to farm sustainably, we don’t know how to read the land and know where to find food, or what is edible versus toxic or what we can help grow, what we can preserve and store and how, etc. We are really removed from being able to handle food (well most of us… I know there are lots of small and large scale farmers and permaculturists and foragers who make their way just find without relying too much on external systems). We also don’t think sustainably… how are you going to keep growing your foods when you can’t go buy extra soil at the store? When there are no more instant fertilizing blends or pest killers, and when we don’t know how to plant things that will grow together and survive multiple years? Do we even know how to cook if you don’t have electricity, no stove to boil things, no oven to bake in, no microwave easily available, no manmade refrigeration? Do we have ways to store water for when our infrastructures fail?

And then that leads us to water. This one is even scarier of a thought because we rely completely on water treatment sites and facilities to provide us water (at least where I live). And without water you die much faster than without food. In Maryland, there are not many (if any) natural lakes; they are all manmade and human-maintained which means they aren’t able to keep themselves in an equilibrium that keeps water pollution in check. So can we drink that water? Probably not unless you are desperate (or maybe if you already keep camping filters handy?). So what to do? Most places don’t have well-water established for their homes, and even if they do, you have to worry about what else is getting in and not filtering through. We all know about the chemicals people are finding in water supplies and in fish- from Prozac to birth control, but we forget about other aspects like how close are you to a military base that had a history of dumping chemicals? Do you live near a cemetery that practices embalming (those body goos and embalming formulas have to go somewhere)? Near a highway and its runoff? We haven’t had to think about where we get our water or how contaminated it is if we don’t have a system that attempts to filter it very much in our modern lives and it’s times like this that make that lack of thought all the more concerning.

And let’s talk about reproductive health. Sure we can tell everyone who doesn’t already have a semi-permanent style of birth control (inserts, condoms or birth control pills before they run out, etc) to abstain, but seriously… the human species hasn’t survived because people abstained. If we should have an end of the world, chances are people will continue to have sex and then where does that leave us? Do we even know how to be pregnant and take care of ourselves when we can’t have any medical visits, no vitamins we can buy, no internet to research what’s normal, no community of mothers and wise women to draw from because we’ve all lost that independence and knowledge decades ago. It makes me realize again how important it is to be communal, and why people like birth and postpartum doulas are so important.

And speaking of doulas. What do we do if someone dies? Do we know how to handle a body if there is no infrastructure to take it in for us? When there is no crematory open, no embalmer waiting? Can we still physically dig a hole and know how deep (3 feet, not 6!) to put a body so that it does decompose but also so animals don’t get it? Do we even know how to take care of someone who is dying when we don’t have access to medical care? These may seem like dark thoughts, but most of my rumination was spawned from reading about different practices we followed within the last century. That is not that long ago yet we seem to have lost how to handle and survive anything at a more local level in that time period.

The structure of humans has been that as we grow and make civilizations, we have specializations develop and people take over certain roles. But our communities have also expanded exponentially and now it seems that most communities outsource most of their needs and cannot rely on themselves to survive. Like I live in a census-designated place (apparently really common in Maryland), where we don’t have a common place/town square/mayor’s office, etc. If, in an apocalyptic future, we needed to go to a place to barter and trade we’d have to go to the next town over. There are no real sources of any business in our CDP, and everyone who doesn’t have the ability to work remote or at home (or at the one elementary school in our community) must commute somewhere else. So should infrastructures in our neighboring towns shut down, along with the mail and delivery systems of Amazon, google, etc… what do we have left?

I know this sounds dark, but in actuality I think these reflections help show where we have shifted our priorities as a civilization, and the limitations they present. It makes me wonder what the result of this pandemic will be… will people will retreat more into their own communities and try to bolster their innate skills and learn how to cooperate once more? I fear it will just make people try to switch to remote work more, and try to buy more supplies to stockpile in case of the next pandemic. :/

As someone who is studying death, these kinds of thoughts also make me think about our choices and if they matter on a large scale human spectrum (because obviously it matters for individuals, communities, societies, etc). We know we are all going to die…. do we as a whole make attempts to shift how- like work to address how progress comes with limitations and how we need to balance long term results together all as a team, or do we just let things continue in the direction they are going and hope the outcome won’t be any of the directions I worry about? And if the former, how do we do that?

And on a slightly lighter ending note… I apparently talk about green burials so often that my daughter decided to give her grandma’s garden gnome one:

all posts, community, nature/the environment

weeds – friends to the soil (and supplements for us)

When thinking about how best to prepare any type of disaster, natural or otherwise, one of the first questions that always comes up (apparently after how much toilet paper do I need to stockpile), is where do we get our food? Say you’ve got a supply of some cans and non-perishables stored away… is there a way to ensure you will still have some noms if you aren’t at home, or your house is impacted, or you run out of edible supplies when disaster strikes?

Since I was young I have been in love with the idea of foraging and understanding ecosystems enough to know what different plants are telling us. I recently read The Hidden Life of Trees written by Peter Wohlleben, a German forester who started studying the trees in the forests he helped commodify. He figured out so many insights about how a forest is doing, what the natural age of trees and their progressions through life look like in various conditions, which ones play well with others and which ones bide their time until they can takeover. He addresses forest fires and moisture-loss, how and why trees grow weak and unstable when their root system is maimed (which is why you see so many felled trees have those huge horizontally spreading root systems!), and more. (Did you know most of the time moss is not a good indication of which way civilization is? It forms on the side of the tree where rainwater drips down, so only if civilization causes specific tree warping patterns would it really line up.) Anyway, it was a fascinating book that argued maybe we need to look at trees a bit more like how we see animals rather than just as firewood and lumber, and it gave logical reasons for why we shouldn’t clear old trees from forests. In general the book helped me start to think about different frameworks for how we can think about ecosystems, from forests to our local suburban landscapes.

It was after that book that I started back in on permaculture books, finishing up Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates the other night. Though I have differing ideas on a few points, I’m pretty confident that I have found my people. I have been getting all manner of ideas and new knowledge that I am eager to try out in our backyard (and to some extent the front, depending on how much we can do without the HOA getting annoyed) from this book. With all these new plans swirling in my head, I started looking into how to be more self-reliant especially in a suburb. Most of the country lives in suburbs of some sort now and we tend to waste our resource spaces with grass and large houses, furthering dig ourselves into the mud should grocery stores shut down/online shopping go offline. And so began my quest on how to start to amend that trend, beginning with our own little family. In a future post I’ll talk about water conservation after I’ve learned more.

Since the weather has been warming, Figlet and I have been adventuring outside in our backyard often to figure out what’s already happening out there, sans human intervention. We have identified that we currently have a lot of ground ivy, hoary bittercress, wild onion or wild garlic (not sure which yet), and some specific scatterings of daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), mock/Indian strawberry, and wine raspberry, so I decided to start my permaculture/foraging research with those guys.

What I learned is that all but daffodils are edible, and also that the appearance of many of these plants in a yard can indicate signs about the state of the soil. I’ll go into each below.

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

These pretty little guys are popping up all around our yard mostly around the center bits of our yard, and around the above-ground tree roots. Apparently these guys show up and prevent soil erosion (which supports one of our theories that the hilly nature of our yard means that soil has been getting washed down the hill, exposing the tree roots, what with their horizontal growth, over time). Ground ivy is a cool plant because it was also historically used to brew beer, predating hops! Their presence might indicate that there is a high level of organic matter in the soil, which bodes well since I was hoping to make a sort of mandala of vegetables grow around their areas, in between the tree roots.

Hairy/hoary Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

This guy has edible leaves and flowers, that I’ve read one can use similarly to other cresses (like watercress!). I’m still working on learning more about this little guy.

Wild Garlic (Allium vineale) or wild onion (Allium canadense)

I’m not sure if we have crow garlic (Allium vineale) or wild onion (Allium canadense) but we’ll see when the flowers come up and/or when I get around to digging up some of the bulbs… (or if I just get better at identification). Either way they are the most prolific thing in our yard at the moment, and both are edible. There are also other edible types called Allium ursinum and Allium tricoccum… and basically the internet calls them all wild onion and wild garlic so this is where the scientific names (and photos) really help.

Wine Raspberry (Rubus Phoenicolasius)

This guy is a non-native from Japan. It produces berries similar to raspberries, but apparently are so good, you’ll have to be on the ball to beat the birds to them. They also have intimidating looking spikes and are showing up all in our woods. Peter Wohlleben would probably point out how they are able to take over so easily because the woods don’t have their natural level of fall trees and other debris to kill off such invaders.

Mock/Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea/Potentilla Indica)

I kept thinking these plants were wild strawberry… but the leaves were so weird, and the flowers were yellow. Google led me to Mock Strawberry. Apparently these berries are kind of bland, but the leaves can made into a potherb or they can be made into a poultice and used for eczema!!! HWAHHHH? HELLO FREE HOME REMEDY.

Moss

Apparently this is a huge sign that our yard has areas that are acidic and soggy (the latter which isn’t surprising since a lot of our yard is in the shade and was buried under full leaves for years).

Other familiar faces of the suburbs

Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)

This guy shows up in soil that is lacking nitrogen and calcium. It can also indicate that the soil is acidic, which might be good for some crops like blueberries, potatoes, and tomatoes, but won’t work if it too acidic. I’ll keep searching the yard to see if we have any and add a photo later if I should discover one.

Plantain (Plantago major)

Grows in compacted (heavy trampled) soil, that is often very claylike. Plantains are edible in their entirety (squeezing the juice out of them, or using the leaves) and have a rich history of being used for bladder and GI problems, skin problems, toothaches, you name it! Still looking for some in our yard, but so far I haven’t found any.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The infamous yard weed of every traditional grass-growers nightmare. These guys show up in compacted soil, and their presence is actually a good thing because they grow long taproots that help pull nutrients from deep in the soil and help fertilize your yard. Also they are said to grow in places with low calcium but high potassium. Dandelions are also high in a bunch of nutrients and can be used to make tea, used instead of coffee grounds (baking the roots), and their leaves are edible as well for greens. I found this little guy on the side of the house… so many the foundation was made with potassium?? (I know literally nothing about housing materials).

Speedwell (Veronica hederifolia and Veronica filiformis)

I saw the purple version of this (V. hederifolia) flowering next to the sidewalk off the highway by where we live. I then found a different species of it with pink leaves (V. filiformis) in our backyard in one spot, so I might want to get some water-hogging, dirt-aerating plants for there as apparently these guys pop up where the soil has bad drainage and compaction.

My gardening direction

As I learn more, I find myself so excited to experiment with the land we are renting. I’m like a mad scientist, that ignores rhyme and reason and formal frameworks of established scientific directions to be like “BUT HOW CAN I GROW THIS WARM SEASON CROP IN THE TAIL END OF WINTER RIGHT NEXT TO THIS INVASIVE NATIVE WEED?!” I realized my style of gardening is pretty aggressively minimalist (and insane/defying convention and years of human cultivation strategies). I want to learn how to garden without any enhancements… no added soil, no external mulch, no buying lime or sand… basically only growing with the land and current ecosystem I have, general gardening tools (a shovel, an aerating fork thing, a smaller trowel), sticks and logs for fences, recycled things from the house (I used egg cartons to start some seeds indoors on window sills but am now trying to grow without that method as well), kitchen scraps for compost, and then my one caveat is buying seeds. My thought is that it would be interesting to see how someone could take whatever land they have, whatever the conditions, and really work with what they have to see what they could produce. I can take it to the extreme and say I’m curious to see how can we grow and make food when Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply Co, etc are barren and we have to just know how to grow with those packets of seeds we stored long ago and nothing else but the land we are near. I want to learn how to tend to the land that has been completely overhauled by humans… de-forested years ago, landscaped down to the weirdest of conditions, probably with big ole trees erratically sticking roots up aboveground, or patches of dry clay near housing foundations. I want to experiment to see how one can really work with the remaining surviving weedy nature and see if humans can live off, and tend to that kind of land. Stay tuned to more adventures as the seasons progress, if I am successful or fail miserably.

all posts, mental health, miscellaneous

odd directions

I have a lot of weird stuff going on. It feels like ever since I fell off the beaten path, when my skin mutinied and declined to acquiesce to my request of behaving like normal dermal tissue, I fell down my own personal rabbit hole of weirdness and have just been grabbing hold of oddities on my way down.

If someone were to sit me down and be like, so what are you up to these days (and have time for a long-winded answer) this is probably what I would say:

Well -insert name of person inquiring here- , I spend a lot of time overthinking everything. But primarily I spend the majority of my time hanging with my delightful Figlet, witnessing her grow and become her own person, and trying to make sure I don’t fuck that up too much.

I spend a lot of time trying to learn things, lots of things, that I think add to my life in fun and important ways (more on that in a moment), and as a result I spend a lot of time trying to figure out when to read. I wile away the hours trying to figure out when and how to take care of my ever changing body, when to workout, when to drink water, what and when to eat, when to have other self-care items thrown in there. I’m not really good at that yet, but I’m working on it.

Now back to those things I am trying to learn. Well I am trying to learn about death, how it looks in our society, in the world, why we find it so scary, how it is monetized, how it is supported, how it is prevented, how it is avoided. I try to understand my own experiences with death and work to find my own way with it hopefully before it is my time.

In a related subset, trying to learn about being a mom and my own body/mortality has me studying postpartum care, breastfeeding, etc to understand what is happening to me, what dictates the decisions mothers make around their postpartum period. Does it give me all the answers? No, but I don’t think anything ever will. So basically it helps me learn to live with indecision.

I am trying to learn about herbs, partially for self-care, partially because we treat most herbs like weeds when they are abundantly available, healthy, and easy to eat. Like dandelion and plantains. Also one of my friends from childhood is jumping into the learning process with me so we will have a lot of external motivation getting one another to keep learning.

I am trying to learn about sustainability, and what that looks like as an individual, a culture, a society, and a species. I am trying to learn how to grow all my own common veggies, fruits, and herbs in limited space with less-than-ideal conditions, without pesticides or really anything that doesn’t come from the ground or a more traceable circle of life. I am learning how different houses can be made more efficient, through better insulation, maintenance, windows on certain sides of the house, water filtration and storage, available solar enhancements, how to decrease electric and gas usage, etc.

I’m learning about bodies broadly- different schools of thought on how to maintain them, but also keeping in mind goals for what one wants their body to do. What postures are natural for longevity versus important for crazy loads? What diets help what conditions or demands? What home adjustments create healthier lifestyles? You name it. One change we have done is that we now sleep on a bed that is 5 inches of the ground, on top of a fairly hard futon mattress. We decided to try this because we wanted to:

  • have more of a movement challenge waking up
  • have a mattress that didn’t sag and conform to our bodies but instead provided some resistance
  • see if it would help decrease our night sweating (it did!)
  • see if it would improve our sleep (maybe it did? or maybe Figlet sleeping through the night more consistently is the culprit)
  • see if it would decrease various joint pains we were having (it did!)

I’m one step closer to volunteering with hospice! I had my training this past weekend; next step is the mentoring. I’m excited but also have my reservations of working (for free) under healthcare (as all hospice volunteers are technically unpaid employees under Medicare. For a hospice organization to receive funding, they must employ volunteers). I’m hoping the people I visit are hyperlocal so I am able to walk to their residences, and thus visit for more time.

I am trying to write more (note the increased frequency of posts?!) for my own clarity of mind, and am still occasionally creating poems to capture the more intense feelings I have here and there. I am also reading more for pleasure and curiosity than pure intentional intellectual gain, which feels much more natural and enjoyable to me.

I think I keep circling back to this idea of my life going ferally because it feels like, though no parts of what I am doing are unique alone, the culmination of them is odd and uncommon. I find myself constantly trying to label myself (usually on instagram) to have some way of summing up all I am working on in my life in a concrete way. I usually fail miserably, and end up ranting like a loon, but the show must go on.

all posts, parentings/things about baby and kids

why i don’t nap, when i really should

December 19th, 2019

La musique

Since I got relatively no sleep off and on this week (this week being whatever week I started this post… which was December 19th), as the husband is out of town, the baby has been waking up repeatedly, and my mind has been itself), I found myself naturally refuse to nap when I could. One of such encounters was because I’ve been so enticed by… ocarinas! I had one years ago that I think I got from Epcot or Disney World, but after reading GeekMamas’ blog post about STL Ocarinas, I am still on youtube watching people play them. Do I detect a new item for the Christmas wishlist?

But then when I was on the actual site I encountered dilemmas. One, the ocarinas are expensive, and two, which one would I choose? THERE ARE SO MANY CHOICES?! Though actually I am drawn to bass sounds so obviously I like the sold out one. It sounds delicious, like a hollowed out gourd from a rich forest hidden from man for eons. Who knows if I’ll get one. I was really hoping to get back into playing piano, but Figlet is at a weird stage where she pushes my hands away whenever I try to play (rude!), so I’m waiting it out.

La langue

For those who have known me a great many years, you are probably familiar with my second language dilemma. Essentially, I want to learn all languages, or any one that I am exposed to, and as a result I’ve mastered none. I took French in middle school through high school, but then decided I would take Mandarin in college (because I had lots of friends who spoke it at home and I thought I’d be able to practice it a lot more in my daily life). After the first year, my biology classes conflicted with the Mandarin ones, so I switched to German (because I am part German and have family living there). Why didn’t I take French at that point? I figured I was too behind to start it up again for college credit. But alas, the same conflict happened the following year with bio and German! Now I have a sporadic dabbling of language exposure under my belt but nothing concrete enough to make me fluent.

What’s a girl to do? Lately, since I got close to some level of comfortable conversation with French, I’ve been redoubling my efforts there. And by that I mean watching shows on Netflix (Le Chalet for the second time and Plan Coeur/The Hookup Plan) and speaking aloud to my toddler, in what is probably very bad French (sorry in advance Figlet!). My motivation is that I strongly feel kinship to the people in the south of France (at least from their depictions in the books I obsessively read). They feel like feral hobbits with their obsession with their gardens and resultant meals, and that’s my thing. Or it would be more if I could garden now (but we moved into the house we are renting late November). Also I can’t stop dreaming of lavender… but more on that when the seasons change and I can play in some dirt.

La mort

I am now in the stage where I am reaching out to figure out where to become a hospice volunteer…

February 25th, 2020

Le livre

I’m not sure where I was going with this post initially, and especially with the death profession thoughts as it’s been over two months. But the title sentiment still stands, though the situation as changed. Around month 19 or so of Figlet’s life, she started legitimately sleeping through the night. It took me a while longer to remember how to do the same, but I eventually achieved it and am now someone who, when I go to sleep, I pass the eff out. But unfortunately, another chunk of teeth are wreaking havoc in the little one’s mouth and so she has been waking up more erratically again. Last night, it was at 2am, and after getting up, neither the husb or I could go back to sleep so we have now devolved into zombie-esque creatures. Figlet has also been boycotting naps for a week now, but I magically managed to get her to sleep and finally got to laid down in my own bed and then… I started reading. I am reading Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, his only nonfiction I believe, which is a book that delves into why people (like me) like horror (books/movies) and why they continue to be so popular. It’s pretty interesting and so I happily forgo napping, and just bank on the magical full nights of sleep I am not guaranteed to bolster me over.

all posts, mortality, nature/the environment

inconclusive and irrelevant titling 1

I’m getting tired of social media (namely instagram). It’s grasp on me is insidious and addictive, like eating sugar-free bars loaded with artificial chemicals and expecting to be healthy. The answer is obviously to remove the bandaid full sweep, and be free to let the sun reign down on the infested wound until the remnants are cleared out. But it’s so hard. It’s so addictive. It started out as a novel way to remember, to capture moments and present them in glossy snapshots. But slowly it became the type of game that isn’t fun- inadvertently tracking stats: followers, likes, comments, etc to see what kind of traction I’ve gained. What is this nonsense- gaining traction? Traction to what? I don’t want a career being beholden to my phone to make money or collect virtual fans. My whole being has grown to reject such premises for a good life. I want to touch the earth and wear dirt on my skin as often as I wear sunlight and the fragrances from what I can grow. I don’t want to have a life that requires filtering through the lens of a phone camera that is obsolete in two years time, (if that).

Also on a silly tangent, I’ve decided I’m tired of video chatting far away loved ones. From now on, starting with my sister, people must video chat me in-game with a Switch game (probably the new Animal Crossing). That way I have time to play it but without sacrificing time with family. And I’ve changed my mind, my love affair is with la langue franรงaise, so that will be the language I set my Switch to (but seriously, how could I not pick French given my primary years studying it, their healthy obsession with lavender and thyme, and them being the creators of chartreuse and farigoule, both of which I realized I love (both are herbal liquours… chartreuse is a coveted speciality with 130 herbs and plants that only 2 Carthusian monks know the entire formula for, and farigoule is a thyme liquour)). So anyway, yes, I am stacking my weird hobbies… learning french, playing video games, with faraway family socialization.

Other than that random decision, life proceeds forward as usual. The little one is so entertaining. We had our first conversation on the phone yesterday while Jake and I were preparing dinner and she was outside with Didi (her word for my mom). It went loosely as followed:

  • Me: Hello?
  • Figlet: Mama. Outside!
  • Me: Hi, Fi. You want me to come outside
  • Didi (in the background): you have to answer mama on the phone so she can hear you
  • Me: Fifi do you want mama to come outside
  • Figlet: Ya. Mama outside
  • Me: Okay, I’ll be out soon. Are you playing outside?
  • Figlet: Ya. Playing!
  • Me: Okay I am going to hang up now and come outside. Goodbye.
  • Figlet: Byebye.
  • Me: I love you
  • Figlet: I mumble mumble! *she hasn’t quite mastered the letter L yet*

I also finally have my hospice volunteer training on Sunday, and am still deep within my death doula course, which it helping me learn a lot and reflect on myself often. I have learned that I am definitely done online learning after this. I need in person stuff, or I prefer to just read things on my own. I also have had a lot of reflection on what has happened in my own life, how I perceive life and death, and what I think makes for a good life (and death).

I also have reconnected with my childhood roots. Turns out I am still obsessed with the field of naturalists (the environment studying group, not the nudists). I still want to find ways to learn all about the environments I live in, and create a magical little land for myself and for my little ones. I have so many ideas about what to do with the backyard now too; lots to grow, lots to clean up. Speaking of, we got our makeshift compost pile set up, complete with a “bridge” to walk over the muddy spots on the ground. Figlet likes to throw things into it, with a little assistance to get above the pit:

And we’ve been learning what we will be able to forage in our yard come the warmer seasons:

I also have started a love affair with the town of Frederick. It’s got awesome free events through their Master Gardeners program, and the downtown is so quaint. While some of my college friends were visiting this weekend we went their twice just to explore more. I also could help but purchase this hand forged necklace pendant of a fairy skeleton:

all posts

happy 2020 (as foretold in adventure form)

A new adventure (and primal resolution)

It’s been a while since I posted. Long enough that is is already the new year! Yay! My resolution this year is just to drink enough water. I don’t know why but that’s become one of the most challenging habits for me to develop. And it’s not like I drink lots of other beverages (save for like a mug or two of herbal tea). I just really don’t drink enough, period. So here’s to the new year and being hydrated!

But harken! There be death ahead

Other than that, the new year is starting strong. My death doula course starts in two weeks, which I am amped about, though I still have the two co-requisite books to read. I’ve started Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson and so far it’s got me thinking. Aggressively so. It’s not meant to be a comfortable book, and it lives up to that description. I’ve also taken to writing some of my thoughts from the readings in my “death” notebook to help keep my ideas clear as I progress in the studies. And I am hoping to get involved with the Green Burial Council too, which has me endlessly excited. One of my nearest and dearest jokes that she could see me being the most bubbly of grave keepers, planting fields of wild flowers over a green cemetery, and I’m over here being like “can that be my life?”

An inner bard companion?

In other news, I’ve also started getting back into poetry, which feels great. I used to write little poems just as a way of expression way back in the day, but trailed off in high school as the looming “future” impended over me. I recently realized wouldn’t it be a better idea to express myself in some artistic word form, rather than obsessively writing to-do and future plan lists? So I’ve committed to renewing my old hobby, and have goals to try to get one poem published somewhere in 2020. I’m not picky where.

To continue on the long road ahead

I’ve begun jumping back into a more movement based life, which feels amazing. The hubs and I have started going for an hour walk each night while my mom watches the little one, and I have been playing around with some of my movement toys like my wobble board (to reinvigorate my yoga practice), and a 15lb bar to do some modified squats to work out some of the stiffness I’ve developed over the last 2 years. I’ve been able to get hot and sweaty and wasn’t itchy too, which was mind-blowing because that hasn’t happening in years!!! I don’t want to jump the gun, but maybe I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with topical steroid withdrawal? In general, just getting outside again and breathing in fresh air in a place I feel spiritually safe (childhood home town) is so invigorating. I find myself daydreaming and “filled with determination” about the future (anyone get that reference)?

Facing my lifetime foe, the skin of woe

On the flip side, I still cannot figure out my skin. It was doing pretty well over vacation when we were in South Carolina and drinking/washing in well water. My suspicion is that I am more sensitive to the chemicals put in our water treatment back in Maryland, but honesty, save for moving to a home with well water, I’m not sure what else I could do to test that theory that didn’t involve me purchasing buckets of purified water for every shower. Maybe I’ll just wait for rainy days and bathe then, ha. Oh wait… isn’t the rain full of microplastics nowadays? I’ll just forgo showering at all haha. All joking aside, my skin is still doing so much better than it was this time last year. My fingers are becoming less swollen (I’m starting to wear rings again), and generally I feel a lot more human. I still get mildly panicked when my skin started to be more “porous” and like the cold gets to me or I feel more sensitive physically (which then transfers to emotionally as well), but overall I am consoled by the trajectory of progress.

A side quest appears

I really, really want to work on a second language this year. My biggest distraction is my own mind, as usual and my inability to commit to one language at a time. I think I really want German though. I waver a lot because Spanish seems more useful broadly speaking, and French is what I was schooled in and have studied the most. But German has a lot going for it:

  • I am ethnically German (my paternal Grandmother moved to the states from Germany, and my paternal side also harkens back to French/German lineage (so maybe Alsace?)). I have cousins my own age who are born and bred Germans, who I am close with (and should probably harangue into helping me learn their native tongue)
  • I find the relationship of Germans to their soil to resonate very strongly with me. Like their allotment gardens, or how even Tolkien thought the Germans an earthly type, and created hobbits in an image of them (and we all know how I feel about hobbits)
  • I like the sound of German. I’m probably biased because I grew up hearing it a bit through my Oma, but it sounds like rolling sounds to me. Though my family is from the Bavarian side so maybe that’s why I don’t affiliate the trope-y German yelling as the norm
  • I already have a crap ton of books of the German language. Well minus a German dictionary… I really need one of those (any suggestions for a good one?)

So in short, I think this year my side resolution is to really commit to ONE language, and that one and only being German. Just for 2020 then I can go be flaky again (or remake the resolution again next year!).

all posts, miscellaneous, parentings/things about baby and kids

napping success (procrastination elsewhere)

Cuz I am a champion

I got the little one to nap today (and finally in a normal leg-in-crib position) so I am celebrating by doing procrastinated chores! Yay adulthood! Since I have nothing more to talk about I will just share my to-do list so you can all revel in my adultness.

To-do list of today

  • check internet bills (pretty sure I paid it and the physical mailed copy is a redundancy, but I’m paranoid so I’ll check again)
  • print death reads (I’m trying to avoid being on my computer when the little one is awake, and instead read more physical things around her, so I’ve got to print out all my articles)
  • check mail for USPS shit (change of address stuff)
  • send friend a package (super behind on that…)
  • say hello to baby neighbors (need to make some mom friends!)
  • fix blue bookshelf (the trim is falling off)
  • fix Goodnight Moon (little one keeps aggressively turning the pages and ripping them. Such is her passion for this book)
  • set up pediatric appointment (cuz we moved)
  • dental filling (because apparently fillings don’t last long in my mouth)

I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten to put on my list, but those will do for now. The problem is, after the more pressing ones, I just want to slack off and read. Welp.

Things on the internet that amuse me

So I was looking into my local area to see if there were any writing opportunities, and I got led to a job listing site where I saw this:

I’m sorry, but you want a ghost writer to get your (their*) work into some of the top business magazines? Why would someone take that offer…? Unless you are offering BANK.

Also isn’t my tiny one cute?

My mom was watching the baby a few weeks ago and apparently the little one got all messy so my mom needed to change her shirt but only had this tight lady’s t-shirt:

I don’t know, it seems like, when you are that tiny cute you can wear anything and look adorable. I mean look at her decked out in the early fall in the northeast (before we moved):

She’s just a stunning tiny blob. Everything she does is cute to me, like her wearing her dad’s slippers (even though anytime an adult tries to wear them, she ferociously demands that none of us wear them so that they are hers and hers alone):

Okay I am done spamming you all with my little one’s photos. I just looking at them.