Monday, April 30, 2007

Our trip to TN

This is ds sitting on a canon that is in front of my old elementary school. The school is gone now, torn down, and they say they will be building some condos there (this is in an old neighborhood with very expensive houses most of which are old and antebellum style). We went to Tennessee to see family and also drove over to North Carolina to see my Aunt Fran, who is 85 years old and still going strong.
We did too much in too short of a time. I am still burnt and it's been several days since we got back. I had fun to some extent, but it was exhausting. We were staying with my friend Stacy and her husband Paul and their two daughters, who are 3 and 6. The kids played a lot while we were there, and I think it was tiring for all of us. Also, we tried to squeeze in seeing my two brothers, and we went out to eat a lot, so we ate food that wasn't the best for us, and it affected us. I got a migraine, ds had a bad temper (and even hit the six year old). I get so frustrated with him, but when away from home, I have a hard time getting him to behave. I sort of drop my guard or just give in a lot because I don't want to fight him. And he gets more stubborn -- and he already is that. Not a good combination, especially not with exhaustion and jet lag on top of it.
I did enjoy the warm weather, the green trees, and getting to see my family and friends. I hadn't seen my older brother Stan or Aunt Fran since my mom died back in 1996. My older brother's wife and I had a falling out not long after my mom died (and really we never were all that close), so I just hadn't seen him even when I went back to visit and saw my other brother in 1998 and again in 2001. Boy, Stan looks different! He's got glasses now, and is going gray. He will be 50 in June, and while he has a somewhat youthful face, he is definitely older than he was the last time I saw him. But a lot changes in 11 years.
I liked the weather and while I was there and right after I got home, I was thinking again (for the like millionth time) about moving back there, but later had second thoughts. I get so attached to my place. I like how liberal it is here, how the evergreens are everywhere, how the ocean isn't that far away, how you can see Mt Rainier from any hill just about, how you can get pastured milk at a corner store, how low the crime rate is, how many many jobs there are here...I could go on. I know it would be nice to see my family more often, and the cost of living is a lot lower there (although it's coming up lately). I do much prefer 80 degree days to 56 degree days -- I think. Or do I? I think I have less tolerance for heat than I used to, but I also don't like cold either. Give me a place where the high is somewhere between 60 and 80 most of the year, or at least a half of it, and I will be happy. TN gets way too hot, this place is too chilly for my taste. I like to go around in short sleeves, not in layers, LOL.
Anyway, I'm glad to be home to sleep in my own bed again (really ds's but that's what I always sleep in).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

the haircut

So, C cut his own hair (with some help cleaning up from mama), and now has very short hair. I think he got tired of being mistaken for a girl, although it never seemed to bother him until he was around a friend's daughters and got mistaken for one of them. He would always correct people, and say "I am a boy, I just have long hair."
You can see his eyes now! One problem is now he's getting sunburned! Have to use sunblock, LOL.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Arsenic in chicken feed

It's ridiculous that they would put arsenic in chicken feed as a growth promoter. Factory farming has always disturbed me -- for years I was a vegetarian at least in part because I wasn't happy with the way meat is produced in this country. Adding arsenic, antibiotics, and hormones to animal feed is polluting our water supply, creating antibiotic resistent bacteria, and raising unhealthy animals that have nutritionally inferior meat, eggs, and milk. I think just about everyone agrees it's bad for us and the environment. A chicken's natural diet is grass, bugs, slugs and snails, caterpillars, and some seeds. Feeding them a monotonous diet of corn, soy and additives is not good for them. Keeping them enclosed, either in tiny cages or in a large coop, may protect them from preditors and make their meat more tender, but it also causes them to be stressed out. Same with cattle -- they are grazers, and naturally eat grass, weeds, and other leafy greens but they are fed in this country tubers, corn, and soybean meal and kept in pens. Their meat may be more mild tasting and tender, but they are stressed and unhealthy, and must be treated with antibotics, etc. That doesn't even begin to go into the environmental cost involved in transporting these animals to huge slaughterhouses (which I don't want to even get into -- not pretty).

What's the answer? Everyone who eats animals should try to eat most of it as grass fed, free range beef and poultry or wild caught fish. Unfortunately, that's often not available, or extremely expensive. The food production system makes it very difficult to obtain, in an affordable manner, healthy food. That has got to change. Each little bit that everyone can do -- like finding locally produced eggs by someone who has some chickens in their back yard or by hunting for wild game or fishing for wild fish -- can help. It's good to eat lower on the food chain if possible -- like eating vegetables instead of animals that eat vegetables -- but many of us need animal protein to be healthy. I know I do! I used to be a vegetarian and was quite sick often, and was also rather depressed (although the latter seems to still be a problem for me).

If I had a house, I would buy a deep freeze and buy my meat from a local rancher, or even maybe game from a local hunter. I would grow as many of my own veggies and beans as I could fit into my yard. Those of in apartments could band together and buy a whole, grass fed free range cow and divide it up among us like people used to do. If I had a bigger storage closet, I'd get a plot in a local community garden, but I don't have anywhere to store the shovels and such, at least not without getting rid of my Christmas and camping stuff.

To sum up, eat locally, eat low on the food chain, and try to get the best stuff you can find for your budget.

Here are some links:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn believes that children should neither be punished for bad behavior nor rewarded for good behavior, because it's coercive. He also believes that the current school system is not good for them, but I think his kids are in it, because he and his wife both work (at least that's what I hear), and I'm assuming their kids have been either in daycare or with a nanny since infancy. Kind of odd, don't you think? I know in our case, ds being in daycare would be coercive because he won't even stay with a friend for five minutes while I go to the bathroom! I would think it would be a lot easier to be tolerant with your kids if you spent that much less time with them, don't you? Give me 40+ hours a week away from ds and I would bet I would treat him a lot differently. Although getting him to bed would probably be a lot worse of a problem, since he would be wanting to spend more time with me.
I do like more the stuff that Marshall Rosenburg says about non-coercion.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy New Year to you!

I heard that April 1 used to be new Years. Sounds good to me! I sure wish it would get above 60 degrees -- the high here today was 48, and it's supposed to snow tonight! I really would like to live in a place that has a real spring! Cold weather for a couple of months is one thing, but half a year -- please!
That's it for today.