Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Just wanted to post this link right quick on an article about socialization. Very interesting.

Breastfeeding in public (warning offensive content)

I loved this post about breastfeeding in public and how it's viewed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Purslane Recipes

Purslane, which is considered a weed by most people, is very nutritious. It's high in omega 3 fatty acids, including ALA, and is also high in beta carotene. It kind of tastes like oxalis, another weed. Here are some links to recipes for it:
Purslane Recipes

Hidden Names for MSG you might not know about

I have a real problem with MSG -- it often causes me to have a nasty headache/migraine. I read labels, but it's often hard to tell if something has MSG in it, so I often just make my own stuff. From this website, here is a list of some of the ingredients that have MSG in them:
MSG Gelatin Calcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamate Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Textured Protein Monopotassium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP) Yeast Extract
Glutamate Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast food or nutrient
Glutamic Acid Sodium Caseinate Autolyzed Yeast

Imagine that? I knew most of these already, but there are others, farther down on the page, that I hadn't known about -- rice syrup for one. Pectin and gums, which I was avoiding for awhile, seem to also often contain MSG. What I wonder is, what about nutritional yeast they sell in the bulk bins? I would bet that has it in it, too. Too bad, because it's a good natural source of B vitamins.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I wish I had a yard, I'd build one of these!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Unschooling -- Free At Last?

Say what you will about Abraham-Hicks, they are pretty well spoken about the difference between learning and schooling. Here is a clip from their article:
Abraham: The kinds of things they said to you were, "We thought it was going to be a whole lot more fun. We thought we were going to get to do more of what we wanted to do, and we thought we were going to get to choose." And that's the way you felt when you were born, you thought you were going to get to choose, that was the bargain.

And then somebody else says, "Well, here you are, and you don't get to choose. You don't get to choose where you sit, or when you come, or how long you sit there, and you don't get to choose what we think about. You don't get to choose when you talk, and you don't get to choose what we talk about. In other words, you are not free, you are our captives. And we are here to assert good stuff into you."

And they say, "Ah, give me a break! That's not what the bargain was. I came understanding that I am a creator. I came knowing that I get to choose." It takes years to beat that out of them. It takes years and years before they are willing to sit there and be quiet and do only what is supposed to be done when it is supposed to be done. It takes a long time to conform you into your unhappiness.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Universal Preschool?

This article basically says that schools are tools of indoctrination and standardization, and that they serve to remove children from the family. And that daycare/preschool is doing it at an earlier and earlier age. I think this is interesting, and probably true for the most part, but how do you survive outside the system? Read more of the Confessions of a Bottom Feeder article, I guess.
I was thinking of enrolling C in a co-op preschool, which is run with one teacher and the parents take turns helping out, one day out of three per week. Well, the afternoon class filled up, and neither one of us is a morning person (C slept until 10 am today, for example, and usually sleeps until at least 9). Mind you, he used to get up at 7, but that was when he was falling asleep at 7:30, something that hasn't been consistent for about a year. He doesn't settle down easily, and neither do I. I have a really hard time getting it together to get him in bed earlier than 9:30, for some reason. Time in the evening just slips away, and suddenly it'll be 10:00 and we're just getting in our jammies.
Anyway, about the school -- on the one hand, I was wanting him to have a chance to play with other kids regularly without having to drive all over creation for play dates. On the other hand, the concept of school scares me, particularly with how active C is. I worry, though, that we're not covering things that we should just because I am really bad about spending a lot of time on the computer while C watches videos from the library. I don't spend a whole lot of time talking with him, even when I'm not on the computer, because I tend to space out a lot, and worry a lot, which I hated my mom to do and now I'm doing the same. Argh!
Anyway, I understand that people are worried about preschool separating kids from their parents -- however, I think people forget that most kids already are separated from their parents most of the day, often starting at a few weeks old, in daycares.

There's a kid in our apartment complex that we have gotten to know who spends probably 9-10 hours per day at Kindercare. I don't know how this is any better than a public preschool. His parents talk about how smart he is, how much he's learned there (he's 5 and knows how to add and his letters, and some words). And how great it is that in his all day kindergarten that he's starting (a Catholic one), he will be learning social studies, science, math, and reading, among other things. In Kindergarten! This kid will also be in the before- and after-school programs there, so he will be there on the campus of the school most of his day. He gets up at 6 am to get ready for school, and doesn't get home until probably around 6 pm. He goes to bed at 8 pm. So he's with his parents probably less than three hours, much of which is taken up with getting ready for school, getting there, getting home, getting ready for bed, eating dinner, etc. Needless to say, we don't think we'll see much of him except on weekends (and Sunday is for Church).
I don't know what my point was. Just that kids are already mostly separated from their parents most of the day, with or without public preschool. Making it mandatory, however, does really seem wrong. I think even Kindergarten should be optional. It is here -- you don't have to file a "declaration of intent" to homeschool, or any paperwork, until your child turns 8, which usually happens in second grade. That is, unless your child has been in school before, then I think it starts in kindergarten.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Confessions of a Bottom Feeder

Excerpting from an interesting, kind of entertaining, article here
Many modern city dwellers survive perfectly well without a 'regular job.' We live like millionaires but would be hard put to tell you what our true career is. We survive on air. And no, we are not the crazy homeless you see rooting in trashcans. We live in picturesque, old homes with huge, jungley gardens. Not all are rented homes; many are owned, bought with land contracts (monthly payments to old owner) or those new poverty-sector Fannie Mae loans with a low downpayment and no proof of earnings or good credit, only proof of high, past rent paid by showing canceled checks.

How do we afford homes when we don't have 'regular' jobs? Well, I didn't say we don't WORK. We are well-paid for freelance work as artists, healers, mystics, organic gardeners or party caterers. We just never work 40-hour-a-week jobs hoeing other people's row--not unless we love the work; then we happily put in 80 hours.

Job-free people are easy to spot. We drive to mountain and beach on week-days--in old cars it's true--but with a proud smile because we're glad to be in the .0005% of the populace of the planet who own cars. We brake for trashcans in alleys and garage sales, because that's how we furnish our homes. We know that your second-hand, leftover stuff is as good as our firsthand. So we earned our nickname. We are bottom feeders.

Bottom feeders don't make a good living but we have a great life! We have the dollars for rent and utility money and the leftover change is for brown rice and tofu. We're into quality abundance in things other than cash: Gardens, sun, creativity, art... All we need is just enough income to get by. Often, we 'get by' with the help of our friends. Friends sleep on our couches and kick in rent and food. And in hard times, friends lend us their couches and we do the kicking in.

BFers don't have savings accounts; we have 'mattress money.' We don't have regular jobs; we have cottage industries, home businesses. True, we don't make as much as you do in your highly paid drone work, but look on the bright side, our money's all our own. We don't have FICA deductions, pension fund, Social Security deductions and we don't pay taxes. We don't have costly HMO's but not to worry. We don't have high blood pressure either.

We may be forgoing Social Security and Medicare coverage at the end of our lives because we expect--as Clinton predicts, that there will be no Social Security or Medicare by then. Not for you, not for anyone. BFers don't count on Uncle Sam or on pensions. We have learned secret techniques of Surviving on a Nickel that give creativity, earnings and bliss, and bliss is such a super vitamin that we expect to live forever.

Bottom feeders enjoy sunny days at home doing textured wall-painting or digging carrot rows in the yard, or sweating in their ateliers as much as you yuppies enjoy your caffe lattes, Beamers, IRA's and airless, gleaming, monochrome condo-sealed tombs scented with all the formaldehyde in those spanking new plywood boards.

What are the secrets of this mysterious tribe who listens for their own drumbeat and happily live at the bottom of the food chain? What are their methods of achieving a viable lifestyle in Post-Reagan times using advanced Trickle-Down theory?

BFers are often outdoors. They are a fresh-air lot. They have suntans, smile a lot and have no visible means of support. You'll find them unloading a picnic basket in the parking lot at a public park on a week-day. They carry thrift store tennis rackets, drive old Volvos, VWs or 4 cylinder Japanese cars from the early 80's. Look in the picnic hamper. It's full of SALAD. Bottom feeders are frequently vegetarian, recognizing that cows must know how much good protein is in greens, hence they have ruddy complexions and never NEED medical coverage. Their cuts and gashes actually heal without stitches, as they have amazing immune systems.