Thursday, November 27, 2014

Life: Near and Far

I've always wanted a kitchen window
Not long ago, I was having a conversation with an acquaintance while shopping at the grocery store. She mentioned that she always wanted to write, but never took action. I encouraged her to write. I shared that I have a blog and that writing helps me declutter the brain. She said, "Oh wow. I don't know how bloggers do it. I love to read blogs, but I couldn't compare. They have such pretty houses and nice things and such pretty pictures. No one would want to see pictures of my house."


I certainly don't have a pretty house or nice things and I was, at the time, a little puzzled by her generalization regarding bloggers. I later did some internet searches and discovered "lifestyle bloggers," which is what she may have been talking about. I see what she means - lots of (filtered) photos on blogs and Instagram showing very bright, cheerful, organized homes and pretty, fancy, sparkly things....mostly from HomeGoods and Target, it seems. I was all, "ooooh" and "aaaaaaah."

I decided, I need in on that action. I can be a lifestyle blogger. I can show you pictures of my house. Right? Sure, as long as you don't mind reality. I'll show you the perfect pretty moment and then the big picture. There is always a bigger picture.

NEAR: Look at my pretty, pretty plate. Isn't it nice. I am obsessed (bloggers are supposed to say that) with these plates. It's Ikea. Such a nice plate. Simple design, evoking nature. I bought it because it's and oak leaf and I like oak trees.

FAR: This is where it was residing when that close up photo was taken. Mmmmm....dishes.

NEAR:I am a belly dancer. I write out class notes in a little journal. I also use it to write notes about upcoming performances, costumes, music, etc. I noticed a lot of people take close-ups of their journals, usually with some religious verse written down...and a vase of peonies written down. Bonus Jesus book in this photo along with one of my flower hair clips.

FAR: The reality of my dinner table. This is the "clean" version.

NEAR:Next on our tour: my desk. This is where the magic happens. This is where your Funky Little EarthChild writes all of her words. I have a minor office supply fetish. I am not ashamed to admit this. I spend more time than necessary in the office supply aisle of various stores. Back to School time is like Christmas for me. I'm sad to see my son go back to school, but I love me some pens, paper clips, notepads. Whew...I need to stop talking or I'll need a towel. Here we have my favorite Inkjoy pens in a cup thing. It's CHEVRON!!! I'm so fucking trendy. Also, a container of paper clips, binder clips, and thumb tacks. Wanna get turned on? That cost $0.44 cents on clearance. I know, right?

FAR: Behold, the wonder that is my desk. There's even an empty box of a filter sponge for fish tanks. Why? God only knows. There are receipts, yarn, half finished crafty projects, thank you notes..... Reality:

NEAR: My bedroom is a sanctuary of rest, relaxation, and beauty (and cats):

FAR: When we zoom out of this photo, we get the laundry pile of doom. It has no beginning and no end. It is nothing, yet everything. It will eat your soul. Also, cats.

NEAR: Books are important to my family. We all love to read. I may have gone overboard in my time when the Scholastic fliers came home from my son's school. A nice bookcase will help keep you organized. Yeah, there is a book called "EARTHCHILD" - pretty cool.

FAR: holy fuckballs, we are overloaded with books. Good books. Books about every damn thing imaginable. I need my own library. The bookcase is also a catch-all in this room. As shown here, sometimes me husband just randomly flings books onto a shelf.

NEAR: Finally, there is artwork. I love art. Most of the art on my walls was done by my son. Here and there are prints and paintings that I have picked up along the way years ago. This is one of my favorites - it's bright and cheerful to me. It's an Ikea. So posh.
FAR: This is the adjacent wall. The artwork here is a collaboration of two Renaissance masters: Monkey and Squishy. Monkey first began this piece at the age of 2. His young study, Squishy, added her own interpretation when she reached the age of 3 years and discovered the joy of sidewalk chalk.

You see, there is always a bigger picture. As humans, it's in our nature to compare ourselves to one another. Sometimes this is a great catalyst for making positive changes in our own lives. At other times, we get caught up trying to measure ourselves against what other people present and letting ourselves become a little green with envy.

The internet is an amazing resource. Various blogs, websites like Pinterest, Facebook groups, YouTube videos all provide us with so much inspiration and instruction. Again, sometimes we get stuck in that rut of comparison, getting down on ourselves because our house isn't Pinterest perfect or because our reality would never fit into the highlighted, whitewashed, filtered photographs on a pristine white background. Life doesn't belong on a white background with chevron sparkles and just a wee bit of blue filtering. Sometimes it's messy.

Lately, I have been hearing/reading a lot of comments from other people, primarily women, who feel bad about themselves because they feel like they can't keep up with that they see. They are down on themselves because their bed isn't made or their rugs are spotty or their kitchen counter is full of dishes from yesterday. They say, "I WISH I was (insert well-known very organized blogger name here)." Stop. Those photos we compare ourselves to our only brief glimpses into reality. Even the most perfect Pinterest queen or household blogger has a struggle somewhere. Some of them probably wish they were the image the present. They have dirty dishes, too.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Tell You Have a Boy and the Top 10 Ways to Tell You Have a Girl

Copyright - me. Don't touch.
I see many lists dropped here and there on the web that help parents tell if you have a boy or a girl. "Top 3874897 ways to tell you have boys" or "top 487589758574 ways to tell you have a girl" are popular themes in the parental webosphere.

I've decided to get on the gender list train as well. Why not? Parents could definitely use the help in determining whether they have a boy or a girl. It's not an easy job at all. What would we do without the help of clothing and toy manufacturers to remind us that girls only like pink and some pastel purple and boys only like any color resembling bloodletting from zombies.

I present to you two lists of the top 10 ways to tell if you have a boy or a girl. I have one boy and one girl, so I am naturally some sort of expert. Right?

Top Ten Ways to Tell You Have a Boy:

1.) Your child walks in the door, covered in mud and half a pine cone, and holds up a cicada shell and a live worm for you to, "please, please, please give kisses and hugs."

2.) You spend 25 minutes playing dolls. 8 of those minutes involve at least one doll being decapitated. 4 of those minutes involve you and your child pretend nursing a t-rex.

3.) Your child breaks out into song in the middle of the grocery store. By song I mean, "I love buttcracks! Buttcracks smell like farts! Fart, fart, fart. Buttcracks here. Buttcracks there. Buttcracks everywhere! And boobs!! We love booooooooooobs!"

4.) A sparkly tutu is required dress for gymnastics, ballet, t-ball, basketball, biking, hiking, grocery shopping, trips to the doctor, church, synagogue, dentist, tree-hugging ceremonies, school, pre-school, football, swimming, etc. etc.

5.) Five days out of the week consist of at least one scraped knee. The other two days consist of scraped elbows. There's a wildcard poked eye or bloody nose every other week.

6.) You've stepped on a Lego at least 17 times today.

7.) You have been asked nicely - translation: commanded in such an adorable way that you cannot say "no" - to wear a superhero cape and mask for the walk to the mail box.

8.) When you drain the tub after a bath, you not only find small toy boats, a couple of Playmobil guys, and a matchbox car, you also find quite a bit of dirt, some grass, and what may be half of a stinkbug.

9.) No fart goes unnoticed or unannounced. 99.99% of the time, it's cause for giggles.

10.) You've had at least one makeover that leaves you looking like the clown from Poltergeist, while your little one declares you, "the most beautiful princess in the world!"

And now:

Top Ten Ways to Tell You Have a Girl:

 1.) Your child walks in the door, covered in mud and half a pine cone, and holds up a cicada shell and a live worm for you to, "please, please, please give kisses and hugs."

2.) You spend 25 minutes playing dolls. 8 of those minutes involve at least one doll being decapitated. 4 of those minutes involve you and your child pretend nursing a t-rex.

3.) Your child breaks out into song in the middle of the grocery store. By song I mean, "I love buttcracks! Buttcracks smell like farts! Fart, fart, fart. Buttcracks here. Buttcracks there. Buttcracks everywhere! And boobs!! We love booooooooooobs!"

4.) A sparkly tutu is required dress for gymnastics, ballet, t-ball, basketball, biking, hiking, grocery shopping, trips to the doctor, church, synagogue, dentist, tree-hugging ceremonies, school, pre-school, football, swimming, etc. etc.

5.) Five days out of the week consist of at least one scraped knee. The other two days consist of scraped elbows. There's a wildcard poked eye or bloody nose every other week.

6.) You've stepped on a Lego at least 17 times today.

7.) You have been asked nicely - translation: commanded in such an adorable way that you cannot say "no" - to wear a superhero cape and mask for the walk to the mail box.

8.) When you drain the tub after a bath, you not only find small toy boats, a couple of Playmobil guys, and a matchbox car, you also find quite a bit of dirt, some grass, and what may be half of a stinkbug.

9.) No fart goes unnoticed or unannounced. 99.99% of the time, it's cause for giggles.

10.) You've had at least one makeover that leaves you looking like the clown from Poltergeist, while your little one declares you, "the most beautiful princess in the world!"

What? Those two lists are exactly the same? Dear God, NO!!! But....but....what about the mud and Spiderman just for boys? What about pink glitter and pink princesses just for girls? Mattel told us that little girls are supposed to want the Barbie life and little boys want anything that can be blown up. There can be no cross-contamination - right? That's what our overlords in the toy store tell us. They must be so different and they cannot be the same. I call bullshit. Sure, some girls decide all by themselves they only want to be pretty, pretty ballerinas. Some boys decide they are only interested in superheros. More often than not, boys and girls experience a mixture of what they like. And that's perfectly okay. They're kids. Let them be. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Check Out My Melons

Not a selfie
Everyone has been asking, "where did Funky go?"

Okay, no one has asked. However, bloggers are contractually obligated to say things like, "y'all have sent me a million messages," or "I get so many people asking me to...." I thought I'd try to fit in.

But I don't fit in.

Watch this space for more Funky Little EarthChild. It's been a crazy few months. I am normally a sporadic writer as it is. I've never had any type of regular or consistent content. Fear not, that will not change. Winky face. I just don't have the time to devote to writing or every week.

Life has been full of ups and downs lately. Lots of goodness from friends and family. Lots of health badness that has finally calmed down in recent months. Lots of marriage turbulence. Kids growing and growing and growing. I have so much I want to write, but I don't really have dedicated time to just sit down for an uninterrupted period of time to let my words just flow. It would help if I wasn't such a wordy person. I fail at being brief.

If you've been emailing me - I'm sorry. For the time being, please message me on my Facebook page. I have a lot to wade through in Gmail.

This blog was targeted by what I have been told is a referral site. You get a billionty visits from this site and end up with a whole lotta spam comments. My recent post on oil pulling has been the primary target. I've learned that there is a hell of a lot of dental-related spam out there. Who knew? Thankfully, Blogger is pretty good about recognizing a lot of spammy stuff, but a few well-constructed comments have gotten through. I turned comment moderation on for the time being just to help clean up (because your ass is not making money off my page), but I will likely shut that off soon and return to regular comments.

Don't worry - there are plenty of selfies waiting to be shared. Okay, maybe not.

I did sell out and try out the Instagram. I don't quite get it. I even tried posting photos of food and my nail polish to see if I would get some happy tingling sensation, but I still don't see the point. For now, I can be found on Instagram as funkylittleearthchild. I'm not sure how long I will continue with it as I It's fun filtering stuff. I really know how to sell myself, don't I?

For those wondering, I have a follow up that I will be writing regarding a guest post I did on Poor As Folk.  I wrote a post called Jenn's Words. This is not news to most friends or fans of Funky Little EarthChild. I received a tremendous amount of support in so many ways, including a GoFundMe campaign. the amount that I have relied on the generosity this year is staggering and sobering. Unfortunately, I found out that a viral post of this nature and the subsequent outpouring of support isn't a beautiful thing in the eyes of some people and they can make assumptions, talk shit about you, accuse you of crap, etc. It's the first time I've ever dealt with that sort of thing on my blog and it definitely did sting a bit. It's hard to tow the bullshit line that, "words will never hurt me," because words can have a negative impact. I'm a strong woman and I've dealt with a lot in my life, but being falsely accused, misunderstood, and made fun of reminded me that I am more vulnerable and human than I think sometimes. Half of me wanted to come out in full force and attack right back, especially after there were words about my miscarriage. Another half of me wanted hide from it all. Advice - "go get 'em" or "ignore them, you're better than that," flowed. I responded in a mix - partly acknowledging things that were said, responding to comments and emails, and partly shrugging it off. There are times when people will make up their minds about you, for their own reasons, and they cannot be persuaded they are wrong.

I have a lot of words in this pretty little mind of mine. I plan to type some of them out very soon and get back into the swing of blogging, be it as sporadic as in the past or a little more regular. Time will tell.

Until then....much love.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Love in Stitches

It just so happens that I am not a crafty person. I try. I learned to crochet a tiny little bit. I learned to knit an even tinier bit. I cannot sew. I can hand sew things to bras for belly dance. Other than a hand sewn bra, I've never completed a project. Hand crafts require a certain amount of dexterity that I seem to lack. That, and my focus sucks. I keep trying, though. I'm going to successfully knit, crochet, sew, etc., dammit!

When a group of friends decided to work on a collaborative project for another friend in which each individual embroidered a quilt square, I pondered my lack of talent, my zero experience in embroidery, and my inability to actually finish projects and said, "Count me in!"

Small and brief backstory - I belong to a group of mothers who all had children at the same time. It's like a Due Date Club that you see on mommy websites. We've known each other for years and have shared many ups and downs. One of the mamas there has been in need of a little extra love. Since we're all spread out over the world, we needed to come up with a way to give her a group hug. We decided that each one of us would pick out a fabric and embroider our name and maybe a little something extra to symbolize our respective personalities. We created a little group and all of the finer details were organized by a couple of our mamas, with one of them volunteering to take all of our squares, sew them together, do the whole batting and backing and trimming thing to turn it into a wrap.

I decided on a little belly dance symbol to represent me. Tribal Belly Dance is extremely important to my life. In this group, I pretty much give belly dance as an answer to all problems. Feeling bad about the world? Belly dance? Need to feel love for your body, no matter the shape? Belly dance. Menstrual cramps? Belly dance? Want to get active without killing yourself? Belly dance. World peace? Belly dance. It's been a big part of my life for several years. Deciding on that symbol was the easy part. Actually putting a symbol into stitches was terrifying to me.

I decided on a simple belly/hips with a hip belt and tassels as it's a rather common symbol to see regarding belly dance. I don't know how well it shows in my picture, but I added tassels to the hip belt as they are more closely associated with the tribal forms (especially ATS and ITS) of belly dance than with your traditional Raqs or cabaret belly dance. I am pretty sure I broke many rules about embroidery. I certainly did when it came to tying off my thread. I tried to learn some stitches via YouTube tutorials, but mostly winged it since I couldn't watch and stitch at the same time. I did what I did what I believe are split stitches. I was sweating and having heart palpitations the whole time. Haha. The hardest part was actually my name. I messed it up several times and ended up pulling the thread back out. This left a series a of holes in the project, which you may be able to see here. I panicked at that point, but the friend who was sewing the whole thing together said she believed the holes would shrink once washed and not to worry about it.

We spent a couple of weeks posting pictures of our squares. It was amazing to see the level of talent among our group of friends. Every single square was a beautiful testament to that particular friend. Eventually, all of the squares were sent in. Our friend sewed them all together, spacing with blank squares, lined it, backed it, and put an edge all around it. It turned out beautifully.

It was received just a few weeks ago, at a time when that mama needed it so much. She immediately posted a picture of herself wrapped up in our big hand stitched group hug. It's something she will treasure forever and it's a reminder to our whole group of the bond that we have shared over the years.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Breastfeeding: This is WAR. Or Is It?

Copyright 2014. Don't steal it. I'll cut you.
It's no secret that I'm a vocal supporter of breastfeeding. If someone wants to make a nasty comment about breastfeeding mothers or threaten those who nurse in public, I'm right there debating them. I have blogged about breastfeeding many times. I have discussed the issue of breastfeeding on my Facebook page constantly. I'm outspoken, supportive, and willing to educate.

But not everyone is comfortable being outspoken. Not everyone wants to post 100 memes in support of breastfeeding each day. There are many mothers who nurse in public who have zero desire to attend a nurse in. There are plenty of breastfeeders who don't want to write about it, talk about it at length, wear lactivist t-shirts, or put pro-breastfeeding bumper stickers on their car. Are they any less valuable? Is their input worthless?

There are some out there who would actually say, "yes." If you've been around long enough, you may have noticed that. There are folks out there who believe if you are not promoting and attending nurse-ins, passing around every fired up pro-breastfeeding blog post, creating and sharing memes, and wearing a pre-shrunk, nursing accessible, 100% organic cotton t-shirt declaring your lactivism, you are not doing enough. They believe we must all be in the face of opposition, beating our chests and chanting. It's as if we must always have the mindset that we are at war. Arm your tits and roar!!!

There's no doubt that the chest beating and chanting is effective. I'm one of those people, for the most part. I do not, however, blindly follow the crowd. I do not support every single nurse-in just because. I question if it's needed. Did the company show remorse? Did they show they are willing to accomodate breastfeeding mothers without harrassment? Yes? No need for a nurse-in. If you decide to do one anyway, I will not lend my support. I will not speak against it, but I will not promote it, either. That point alone caused someone to tell me that I set the entire Civil Rights Movement back. Yeah, little old me. Who knew I had so much power? I completely changed the course of history - Quantum Leap style - because I refused to promote a particular nurse-in (Applebees). That sort of hyperbole gets us nowhere. And guess what? I think comparing the plight of American mothers who nurse in public to those who marched for Civil Rights in the 1960's is pure bunk. Yeah, I said it. I wholeheartedly believe that we need to keep educating people, supporting one another, and making sure we don't get harrassed for nursing in public. I do not, however, equate our movement with the Civil Rights Movement. I have seen comparisons of mothers who nurse in public with African Americans who marched in the 1960's. While I appreciate the general sentiment, the idea doesn't sit well with me. Last I checked, none of us have been hosed down in the street, set on fire, bombed out of our churches, or murdered. No one has set a burning Hygeia pump on fire on my lawn. While I vocally and loudly support the right of a mother to nurse her baby in public, covered or uncovered, and I think it's insane that we even have to argue it in America in 2014, I do not for one moment equate myself with Rosa Parks. Does that opinion ruffle some feathers? It sure does. That's fine. Disagree with me if you must. However, don't even pretend that my opinion sets breastfeeding back or that I'm not doing anything to support breastfeeding mothers and their families because that just makes you a foolish. I was born into this. No really - my mother worked in maternity for over 30 years and was a lactation consultant. I grew up around this and have been actively supporting breastfeeding mothers and their babies since I was in high school (my first foray into breastfeeding counselling was with teen moms at my school). It would take me a long time to list all the ways I have helped families and list all the names of the mothers who had my help with breastfeeding, so there is no room to say I don't do anything for the cause. I have also breastfeed my own children...and in public.

Do you have to be overtly vocal to support breastfeeding? No. The mother who breastfeeds is doing a lot to support breastfeeding. The mother who quietly leaves the Enfamil bag filled with samples behind in her hospital room when she checks out post birth is making a statement. The person who sends a link to KellyMom or La Leche League to a pregnant friend is making a statement. The mother who quietly sits on a bench in a public location and nurses here baby publicly, covered or uncovered, is making a statement. The mother who sits in her living room after the kids have gone to bed, sipping her iced coffee and watching Real Housewives, while stuffing envelopes for her local chapter of La Leche League is making a statement. The dad who holds his wife's purse while she walks around the grocery store, nursing babe in a Moby, is making a statement. The waitress who see a mother nursing her toddler in the corner booth of the diner and asks her if she'd like a glass of water is making a statement. None of these things are overtly vocal. None of them make it onto a bloody battleground. But these folks are just as important as those who are a lot louder. Though their voices are quieter, their message is still as strong.

Moving forward will always require those who are willing stand in the spotlight and those who are holding the spotlight. It requires cooperation between the people who want to speak firmly and those who quietly nod in agreement from behind their computer screen. It's not a battle over who is more oppressed or who fights harder. If those who are beating their chest are unwilling to see the value in those who are quietly supportive, then they have already lost ground. You don't need to write 1,000 blog posts screaming that you'll never ever cover your baby and that you'll cut a bitch for suggesting it or attend a dozen nurse ins. Nurse your baby if you can. Support other families who breastfeed. You'll make a difference.

365 Feminist Selfie: Another Week of Embracing My Selfie

 At this point in time, we all know I completely suck at keeping any kind of regular blogging schedule. I'm still on the #365FeministSelfie train, but technological issues, illness, and life have gotten in the way of me coming here to slap on a few photos and write some blurbs.

I'm still having a fab time taking pictures of my beautiful self, I guess. I'm part of an online group for happy selfies and it's been a lot of fun checking out everyone's pictures and reading their stories.

To the left, we have my very old, old sneakers in a hospital room. That's been the story of the past few weeks - crappy health issues. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital a few weeks ago. I suffer from a condition that causes my esophagus to quit working while I'm eating, leaving food lodged, tons of pain, and a lot of trouble breathing. It's also a perforation risk. That day was one of the worst episodes I ever had, so they called an ambulance and I was treated in the hospital. I have to get a bunch of testing done - scopes and barium swallows - in the coming weeks. Ew.

Spring is here! Early Spring means 65 degrees one day and 30 degrees with snow the next. Plus, tons of rain. Tons of wind. Some snow. Some ice. Probably a bit of sleet. And a thunderstorm.

This was a particularly gorgeous day and I took advantage of the nice weather to walk to my son's school to pick him up. He loves days when we get to walk. Obviously, this isn't technically a selfie. My husband took the picture....probably for my butt.

Highlighting my procrastination....this pic is from March 17th. See? It's been a while.

That's me and my green for St. Paddy's Day. And those are genuine Irish Eyes. They're my Grandfather's eyes. Same shape and the same color, I believe. I know he had blue eyes, but I'm not sure of the shade. He died in 1950 and the only color pics are fake color.

My son an I took a walk to pick up my car from the mechanic. He's growing up so fast and I know he may not be so willing to hold my hand for walks in the near future. Most times, he's running ahead, exploring. This was a moment where he slowed down and talk my hand for a short while.

And those shoes. Those are totally him. H&M used to sell these - they are Converse knock-offs - in a variety of super bright and awesome colors. He loves them and we bought a bunch in various sizes to grow into over a year ago.

Another rare kid moment - my little girl curled up on my lap while napping. she hardly ever slows down to cuddle on my lap these day. Being a two year old is very busy work.

She looks like she is nursing, but she's not. She just has her face smushed into my boob.

Why, yes,  I do have a wrinkly forehead sometimes.

More rare moments. This was on my way to a belly dance performance. I rarely ever wear make up. The only time I put it on is for a belly dance performance or for Rocky Horror in October. I am NOT good at putting on make up. YouTube tutorials be damned. I do a very simple eye, with very basic eyeliner and some mascara. That's it. I don't put lipstick on until right before my performance. Otherwise, it never stays on.

That brings us to an end of the latest installment of me forcing you to look at me.

Obviously, I'm not sure that I'm going to keep up with a weekly thing or move to monthly updates. I really do like the whole #365selfiechallenge and I'm having fun with it. I'm glad it's somewhat inspired me to be a little more active on my blog. However, this isn't a selfie blog and I feel the need to light the fire under my buttocks and start writing about actual belly dance, having a child with OCD, storm chasers, boobs, etc.

To see all of my previous posts in the Embracing My Selfie series, please check out this link full of posts on the subject. 

For the post that inspired this, please check out Viva La Feminista.

Monday, March 3, 2014

So, I Found This Picture of Bugs Humping

Copyright JSH 2012
I was looking through some pictures today and I found a set from a walk I took with my family in the Summer of 2012. We were hiking through some local woods as we typically do year round. I had gone to hug a tree and my husband was going to take a picture when I looked down and noticed two sticks stuck together and stuck that way on the bark of the tree - right under my hand. Then I realized, those aren't sticks, those are Walking Sticks - insects. And they weren't stuck together. They were making love sweet insect love. Right next to my hand! Ew! No blankets. No "Do Not Disturb" sign. Just full on insect fuckery right there out in the open. In front of my children. Won't someone please think of the children?

I did what any normal person would do when they encounter two living beings humping away on the side of a tree. I took pictures. About thirty of them. Close up. They were very open and gracious about it.

© Funky Little EarthChild 2012
Now, you'll see in these pictures that the lady Walking Stick is rather curvy and the dude is on the lean side. Walking Sticks have quite a bit of stamina - they stay..umm...attached...for quite a few hours. That's right ladies. This little dude weighs less than an angel feather, yet he has enough stamina to satisfy his lady all afternoon. Say what you want about bugs, but these little guys are no two pump chumps.

© Funky Little EarthChild 2012

In all seriousness, I love finds like this. I think bugs are fascinating and my kids love them, so we've got a lot of pics of various little critter dudes and dudettes. This was exciting as I had never seen a live Walking Stick out in it's natural environment in over thirty some years of life until that day. Had I kept on walking and not stopped to hug the tree, I would have completely missed these lovers. And that would suck. I did thank them for allowing my family to linger and stare at them and take pictures of them copulating. I mean, you have to give them respect. I know they're "just bugs," but it may have freaked them out to have their insect sex disturbed by typical American tourists getting really close and saying intelligent things like, "holy shit! Look at that little guy go!" So, thank you Walking Sticks, for allowing me to photograph you and point at you and use you as a lesson for my kids.

At least I had a little class and didn't do anything tacky like pose for a picture next to bug lovin'. I mean, what kind of weirdo does that? Oh wait...
Weirdo © Funky Little EarthChild 2012

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pulling My Teeth: Update

Thanks for the coconut oil, Erica.
Just a little bit late here.

As I promised in my original post on oil pulling, I did it for 30 days. I typically oil pulled in the morning, though there were some days when it was so hectic that I forgot and would do it later in the afternoon or the evening. I may have skipped a day. I forget.

I surprised myself in that I was able to let the solid oil melt in my mouth, something that had gagged me during previous attempts. I would place the spoonful of solid coconut oil in my cheek and allow it to melt - took about 30 seconds - without gagging. Score!

So, did it make my teeth all fancy and clean? Are my gums healthier? Does my body feel so much better? Did it heal a bunch of ailments? Are my cavities gone?

Well, for one, oil pulling certainly left my teeth feeling very nice and smooth. That feeling would last for a little bit and was enjoyable - similar to the feeling you get after a cleaning at the dentist.

As for healing my gums, improving oral health or overall health - FAIL. There is zero noticeable change in my gums since beginning this routine. My gums bled just as much on day 30 as they did on day 1. Absolutely not a trace of improvement whatsoever. My overall health? Same. I don't feel any worse, other than massive exhaustion, and I do not feel any better.

I stopped oil pulling right on day 30. Why? I lost two fillings. Two motherfucking fillings are gone. This is sometimes noted as a "side effect" of oil pulling and you'll hear various reasons ranging from the fact that all that swishing will knock a filling out to it's your body's way of detoxing itself. Well, detox away, but I need those fillings. One was the youngest filling in my mouth, on one of my incisors and was comprised of the white filling material (I call it "bonding" which may be an incorrect term).

Since I have very crappy poor people Medicaid dental insurance that doesn't cover many fillings (if at all - and you need to ask permission for them), I cannot risk losing any more. So, I have suspended the oil pulling for the time being.

I wish I could have come back to tell you that it worked, my gums are healed, my teeth are sparkly white, my acne is gone, my poop looks like a Faberge egg, and my nails paint themselves. I'm not going to tell you not to try it. Many people are extremely satisfied with oil pulling and I certainly believe it works for them. Like anything else, what works for one person does not always work for another (a lesson that should be applied to all aspects of life). 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Frozen Toes, Warm Hearts. Or Something Like That

Copyright 2014 JSH
The frozen white stuff that falls from the sky, oh we have so much of it. So much fucking snow.

I live in Pennsylvania. It's Winter. Winter in Pennsylvania brings cold temperatures, gloomy skies, frozen white stuff, winds, cold rain. It's expected. Every few years, sometimes several in a row, we get hammered in the Winter. We get storm after storm bringing us snow, sleet, freezing rain, and any other type of frozen precipitation. And brutal cold. This is one of those years. Mama Nature has gone all dramatic with the Winter weather. We've had a constant stream of storms dumping this frozen white shit all over our lawns and streets. We even had an ice storm, which brought down many trees and power lines in this area - the worst natural disaster here since Hurricane Sandy. There are many reasons for this extreme active weather pattern, which also included the Polar Vortex drooping down over half the country like a big saggy frozen boob - there are pressure systems off the East Coast that keep other pressure systems close to the coast, allowing cold air to travel down to us and naughty storms to keep following the same pattern. There's the Jet Stream, which is pretty much just on "lather, rinse, repeat" this year. We've got Climate Change. It's really a thing. Generally, there is a typical interplay of all these systems and atmospheric streams on this planet that control which way storms go, how low temps go, and how fucking batshit crazy we'll go after we've been locked in our frozen homes for the 5th consecutive week. Also, because Obama. Just kidding.

We've had so much damn snow that I, a lover of my gentle Mother Earth, am about to shake my fist at the heavens and scream, "bitch, we ain't the cast of Frozen! Knock this shit off." My son has missed a ton of school. I have lost count of all of the snow days they've had, not to mention the early dismissals and late openings. They have a lot of days to make up. Our last storm, just a few days ago, dumped a foot of snow on us and resulted in two days off from school. Even my 7 year old son rolled his eyes at the forecast, stating that he is sick and tired of snow days. You know it's bad when the kids are complaining. There are only so many crafts, baking activities, and snowman building outings that you can do. Worse, this snow has resulted in about two months worth of rent lost in income. That is bad for a family like mine. While I respect the forces of nature, I'm also ready to get this frozen shit show on the road and get on with some which point I'll be hiding under my bed because of thunderstorms.

My kids have gone out and built so many snowmen and little igloos. We've sledded down the hill hundreds of times. We've thrown snowballs. We've run inside for hot chocolate and tea to warm up our frozen fingers. With the first few snowfalls, you bundle up merrily and run outside with your kids, snapping a billion pictures of every sled trip down the hill and every stage of building a snowman. By the 17th snow storm, complete with 18 inches of snow and ice layered on the ground, you drag yourself out in your pajama pants and boots, and tell your husband to grab a pic from the window with his phone. Snow is so love/hate for me. It's pretty to look at. I love the fact that my kids have such a blast in it. I'm just over it this year. I also believe that I suffer from SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have noticed it for the past few Winters. My mood and my energy level can get quite low during the Winter. I need sun. I am solar powered. Even on the coldest day, if that sunshine comes out, I'm running outside of my front door and spinning around in those golden rays of warmth - until I realize I'm only wearing a sports bra and my yoga pants with the hole in the crotch and that my nipples are indeed frozen solid.

I want to tell you that I spend every snow day curled up with a cozy blanket by the fire, book in one hand and piping hot cup of coffee in the other, warm fuzzy socks peeking out from under the blanket, and a cat on my lap. Such an Instagram moment. I want to tell you that my kids and I spend hours on those days creating all different kinds of crafts out of ecru cardstock, neon sharpies, and organic rose petals, while the aroma of various baked goods filled our home with warmth and sugary love. It's just not the reality. We've got cabin fever, yo, and we all out for blood.

Sure, we've done some crafts. I've got plenty of $1.00 sticky foam craft packs from A.C. Moore to entertain two kids for at least 6 minutes. My son is super artistic and can spend hours at a time working on a drawing or creating something out of things he found in the recycling bin. However, there is a two year old involved and, though she fancies herself an artist, crayons, paper, and stickers will only hold her attention for so long before someone melts down. While I have picked up a book this season, I only read for 5 minute spurts before someone is screaming, "mmmmaaaaaaaaaammmmmaaaaaaaa!!!!" or my two year old  runs in without her pants to inform me that her poop missed the bowl and she stepped in it. We've definitely baked a bit this Winter, so I guess that gets me a nod from Pinterest.

I won't lie - my kids have watched more T.V. than any self-respecting member of Mothering would approve of. I could probably act out quite a few episodes of Curious George or Barney in my sleep. And I sit there, feeling guilty, because nothing that we are doing would be worthy of a white-washed and over saturated Instagram photo or a Pin to someone's "Comfy, Cozy, Family Snow Day" board. I worry that I'm not doing enough for my kids while they're stuck home for another snow day. We're not doing enough crafts. We're not baking enough muffins. I'm not making enough soup in my crock pot (because I don't own one). My house isn't as clean as everyone says it should be when you're spending so much time indoors. In fact, it's trashed....because my kids are wild savages. The guilt seeps in. Dear God, I'm not a good enough mom because I didn't do an ice particle home study with my kids and we didn't create snowman crafts out of organic cotton balls picked by sparkle fairies. Fuck that shit. My cure for mom guilt - getting the hell outside, getting into nature, even if it's a vast gloomy frozen fuckhole at the moment.

Being outside always heals me. To be completely cliché, nature is my Church. I find so much spiritual fulfillment outside in nature. Even in the Winter, when everything is frozen over, half-dead, and gray, I still find beauty. There are birds and other critters who only visit in Winter. Some are here year round, but are more active in the Winter. Winter brings owl humping season, and we occasionally hear the love calls of Great Horned owls. The foxes around here are very active in Winter and their ...ummm.... unique calls are frequent this time of year. Getting outdoors allows me to calm my brain a little bit, focus on simple things such as the color of the sky, clouds, little signs of Spring in the scenery around me. It just helps to ground me.

This Winter, when I have those crappy guilt feelings and I'm out of craft ideas and tolerance for Barney tunes, I grab the winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots and pack the kids up in the car and drive to one of our favorite parks. We're typically among very few at the park during this time of year, especially when there in snow on the ground. We walk on some paved trails, which are never plowed or shoveled after snow, and then we veer off onto the regular dirt trails. My kids love being out there. They love he change of snow scenery. Instead of snowmen, forts, snowballs and all of the things you do when playing in your yard, they just walk through the snow, taking in all the sites, noticing how the snow changes the landscape and the shape of trees and bushes. They are fascinated by frozen streams, ponds, and lakes. A bonus with snow is animal tracks - it's so much easier to see them, even on a frozen lake. They enjoy trying to figure out which critter made which tracks. I make it a learning experience, but not forcefully so. I let them wander and walk ahead of me (always safely in sight), exploring, and I occasionally remark about something - a sign of spring, a bird we only see in Winter (Junco), vegetation that stays green all year, different berries, etc. They learn, but with ease and without pressure. The wintertime scene in the woods is different than Summer - obviously - as it's quieter, sometimes more serene, not as full of people. You can listen to the sounds of the various birds, or of water cracking the icy surface of a stream, without trying to filter through tons of human voices. It's nice. Peaceful.

So even though it's the same frozen white shit that we have at home, my kids get a change of scenery, I get to refresh myself and clear my brain, and we all get some exercise. Bonus, the 2 year old usually passes out for a good nap on the car ride home.

Outside: You should go there.

Copyright 2014 JSH I will cut you

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pulling My Teeth

I  have the suckiest bathroom lighting
At some point last year, I said I was going to start oil pulling. What is oil pulling? It's a method of swishing oil around in your mouth each day in order to promote oral health. Here is a much better explanation. Oil pulling comes with many claims - it will cure every thing from Alzheimer's to Cancer to Masturbation to Zinc Deficiency. Or something. If you google it, you'll see oil pulling listed as a cure for nearly every disease and disorder you can think of. I, however, do not buy into most of it at this time. I do believe it can have a good effect on your oral health, which is why I'm giving it a go. I know that oral health can affect your overall body heart, especially your heart and kidneys.....I'm just not down with the claims that it cures 948459478574 ailments.

 I was drawn to the claims in regards to oral health. I have suffered from gum disease and shitty teeth since I was a child. There have only been a few occasions in my life where I have gone to the dentist and have been told I was free of cavities. A typical visit yields at least a few cavities. My gums are always unhappy. I hate smiling because my teeth are ugly. They have permanent discoloration thanks to both tetracycline and braces. I'm good about taking care of my teeth. I brush 2 to 3 times daily. I floss one to two times a day. My diet isn't total crap. I do drink coffee, but it's coffee or heart meds (seriously - it keeps me from bottoming out and passing out - ask my cardiologist). My teeth are so shitty that I currently have cavities, but my dentist (God, I miss my old dentist) told me she will not fill them unless I have some scary deep, deep cleaning first. My insurance will not cover that. Guess what else my insurance doesn't cover? Other dentists. I have poor people insurance and, while it's been a lifesaver, the dental coverage suuuuuuccccckkkss. So, I'm down for oil pulling if there is a chance it could help my teeth.

There are also many suggestions for how to do this. The length of time to do it, whether or not to brush your teeth afterwards, the type of oil to all varies. I'm choosing coconut oil. That is what I have and what doesn't gag me. The typical suggested time is 20 to 25 minutes. I use a teaspoon, not a tablespoon.

What do you do? You put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it around like mouthwash, making sure to push it through your teeth. Do this for 25 minutes. Now, coconut oil is solid when the ambient temperature is under 74 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a couple. Some people can take a spoonful of solid coconut oil into their mouth and let it sit there and melt. I tried that once, I gagged. It wasn't pretty. I need it in liquid form. In the cooler months, I melt it over the stove. Since I do this in the morning, I hold it over the stove when cooking eggs or bacon. It melts pretty quick. If you do this be sure to transfer it to a cooler spoon!! Do not be like me - I heated the coconut oil over the stove (P.S. - the first time my husband saw me doing this, he asked if I had started a heroin habit since that's sorta what it looks like) and then put that spoon directly into my mouth. Ouchmotherfuckthathurtssobad. Don't do it. When you're finished, spit it into a trashcan. Don't swallow. Don't spit it in the sink - it's no good for your pipes.

There's some question out there as to whether it is entirely safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women. I probably wouldn't do it while pregnant and I'm barely nursing anymore. There's also a bit of debate about using it when you have fillings in your mouth. The argument is the oil pulling will either damage fillings - I remain unconvinced here - or it'll leach toxins out of your fillings into your mouth and you'll fucking turn into mercury itself. I remain convinced on this point as well. Besides, my fillings are there in my mouth all day, everyday, with a direct access to my bloodstream (live teeth! gums!). I'm pretty much fucked as it is.

As I said, there is plenty to be found on oil pulling and this isn't really a how-to. I suck at how-to stuff. I'm writing this because I tried oil pulling at the beginning of last Summer. I didn't last very long because I ran low on coconut oil and being extremely poor, I just plain couldn't afford to buy some more. I needed to save what was left for cooking. Thankfully, a friend generously sent me some coconut oil last month and I can set some aside for skin health and oil pulling.

I'm going to do it every day for one month to see if there is any notable difference. My regimen is easy - 1 teaspoon of oil once a day in the morning. Swish for 25 minutes. Spit into the trash. Rinse and spit. Brush teeth. Smile.

I'll let you know the results in 30 days. :)

*Disclaimer - the above link for coconut oil leads you to my affiliate link to Mountain Rose Herbs. If that makes you uncomfortable, but you want to check out MRH, just head to
*P.S. I giggled every time I typed "oral." Because I'm immature.

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