There are two things which are eternal: Love and the Soul.
If the things we do in this temporal world do not nurture that which is eternal, then we are doing all people a terrible injustice.
There are two things which are eternal: Love and the Soul.
If the things we do in this temporal world do not nurture that which is eternal, then we are doing all people a terrible injustice.
I was cleaning up my laptop files today and found this letter I had completely forgotten that I wrote back in 2015. I do not recall if I ever sent it, nor do I think I could even retrace my steps to find the person for whom it was originally written. But when I read it today, it struck a chord, as I’m sure the writings of the young girl for whom it was intended originally struck me. I still feel the sentiments expressed here quite powerfully, so they belong in this forum. I hope it helps somebody.
Hi there. Let me introduce myself by saying that I am a mom. I sing horribly, embarrass my kids with unbridled car-dancing, and say cliché things like, ‘I am old enough to be your mother,’ mostly because I am. I have two teenagers, and one has turned me on to the Gorillaz. So there I was, surfing around for the backstory on the characters so I could know more about why this real band had these interesting cartoon images, when I stumbled upon your blog. And for the life of me, I cannot get your personal comments out of my head. So, that is essentially why I’m writing to you…because I’ve read your blog, comments others have made and comments you have made back in reply. And they touched me.
Let me also say that I do not make a habit of getting in the business of other people’s families. I have never suffered from anxiety or depression or gender fluidity, so I am puzzled by my own need to reach out to you, for I know I have little to offer you in the way of support. Except that I am a Christian. I hope that confession does not instantly conjure negative images or emotions for you, because I believe that as a Christian it is my mission to love. And with that in mind, I want to give you hope.
I want to tell you that your life has value, that you ARE important and dignified and worthy of love beyond measure. I want to tell you to never, ever, ever give up on who you are, because you are an inspiration to people and can be even more of one if you just allow yourself the time and space to grow. What you have done with your blog, in my opinion, is given people a chance to let their thoughts be heard without judgment or repercussion. You have allowed people to be free to express themselves in a way that we stuffy adults don’t seem to understand.
Honestly, we do understand it. I think sometimes we’re so jealous of youth that we would rather hold it in oppression than let it blossom into something new and beautiful. I, for instance, still feel 25, newly initiated into adulthood, swinging the world on a string. I look in the mirror and that is not a vibrant 25-year old staring back at me. It’s a little unsettling sometimes. 😉
YOU are strong and brave and amazing for your honesty and strength of spirit. And I know that not every day is sunshine and roses, but I want you to recognize the days or even the moments that are, and believe that in your future those days and moments will become more numerous than they are now.
I am not the sort that goes around spewing scripture at people, and I am certainly not going to preach to you. In fact, the only people I want to hit over the head with a Bible are the ones who are using it to spread hate. But I heard a verse today and it made me think of you, so I want to share it, in the hope that it will give you some peace:
“Everyone will sit under their own vine, and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid…” (Now, why that is not grammatically correct is beyond me and it drives me crazy, but I digress.)
That made me think of you because I think that sitting under our own vine means we are each different, living our own ways of life, enjoying the customs and lifestyles that fit each of us. The part that I hope you find comfort in is the second part: ‘and no one will make them afraid.’
Some day, some day we will get it. Some day we will stop trying to change people because we disagree with them. Some day we will stop trying to control others because we want them to be just like us. Some day there will be no reason to worry or fear. That day, I know, has not yet come. But as long as you breathe you have hope within you. I will pray that sustains you in the hard times. Please, please remember that even when you think this party we call life is not worth the cover charge, there is a middle-aged lady in Louisiana who thinks you’re pretty cool.
Peace for your beautiful soul,
After two deliberate and self-imposed years of permit driving, my first-born, my only son, Aaron, took his driving test on Saturday, and passed, just as we all hoped and assured him he would. And for as much encouragement as I gave him, I had two solid nights of tumultuous driving nightmares. Oh, how I have prayed since then to Jesus, Mary, St. Michael and St. Christopher, that he be guarded by angels on these streets of Shreveport, that Jesus truly take the wheel and steer our son safely each day from and to our little home on the south side of town.
Aaron and I had plans to go to the DMV this morning – first rattle out of the box, as they say. We ran a tad late because, well, I had to dig for the documents I should have retrieved yesterday. We only ran ten minutes late picking up my nephew and driving Aaron’s (and Victoria’s – see, I didn’t forget you, baby girl!) week-old new-to-us car to school, where Aaron parked a hundred empty spaces away from civilization so that we could walk together into the school office for the last form we needed for the sacred DMV: the school enrollment verification. Twenty minutes later, we checked that off the list and headed to the “faster” DMV in Bossier.
Bear in mind, I could barely recall where this branch of the DMV was located. I grew up in Bossier, but I have been remiss in visiting (as my husband frequently reminds me) for the past two decades. After side-seat driving Aaron down the interstate (sorry for the claw marks in your dashboard, love!) we arrived at the hallowed DMV, where I am now certain they made a grand and most important announcement mere moments before our entry:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for this inconvenience, but the State of Louisiana is updating the camera systems of the Department of Motor Vehicles state-wide. Our expected wait for those of you renewing or receiving your driver’s licenses is an hour and a half.”
It was over an hour and a half before they made a new/repeat announcement of the same caliber, only this time adding that the original time frame had now passed, and they had no idea how long it would take. By this point, we had been sitting for an hour, and the four-month old baby that was flirting from the seat next to me was almost cute enough to make up for it. Had we known of this delay going in… oh, who am I kidding? Aaron had been dreaming of this day for weeks, if not months (I’m sure I’ll never get him to admit to either). Was there any way in all of heaven that I would have looked him in the eye and said, “Sorry, sweetie. We’ll come back another time.” Yeahhhhh. Not this momma.
And so we sat.
I worried about the work time I was missing, two months into whatever probationary period I am still on at my new job. I kept looking at my son, who was fiddling with his phone, but who would look up and smile at me with that “I’m about to get the coolest adult item ever” look on his face. So we continued to wait.
Eventually, our stomachs were in a competition to see whose could growl the loudest, so we opted to leave for lunch and return in a few minutes. I double checked with the lady who had taken our application for the license, just to be sure our leaving would not jeopardize our place in line for the camera. She assured me it would not.
So we headed out to the parking lot, where I had directed Aaron to park a tad closer to the door than he did at the school, and we climbed in and drove off in search of food. It was at the first stop sign out of the parking lot that Aaron noticed the note on his windshield. “Mom,” he said, “there’s something on my windshield.”
“Throw the car in park, baby; I’ll grab it.” I jumped out, certain my SuperMom cape would catch the wind and signal to everyone that I had this completely under control. My fist thought was a ticket, but then I knew we had been in a legitimate parking spot, so my second and prevailing thought was “church flyer.” Sadly, it was neither.
It was, instead, a note and an insurance card. The note said that it was from the owner of the truck which was originally parked beside us. He had hit our car as he was backing out, and was incredibly sorry. Here was his phone number and his insurance card. Please call him.
Holy. Crap. This. Isn’t. Happening.
Aaron and I both got out to examine the damage. It’s truly not awful – despite a long and ragged dent, the back door still opens, as does the gas tank. But, OMG, he’s had this car a week! A WEEK!! He gets to drive it to school for the first time TOMORROW. And it’s already damaged. It’s kind of like opening your most asked-for toy at Christmas and finding out that it’s missing a wheel or the remote control. The fun sort of…fizzles.
We drove haphazardly through the old Swan Lake neighborhood to Cane’s on Airline Drive, mostly because I could not remember my freaking way around this end of town, and also because we were just a tad thrown off our game. I did recognize street signs, and knew that they were streets on which many of my high school friends had grown up. I thought of those people again, but it wasn’t like the last time I drove through this neighborhood. Today, it was shrouded in suck. I thought about how I wanted so badly to drive in high school, and of the people who rode in my car once I got my wheels – how happy I was and how much fun we had. I missed them momentarily, but my mind shot back to my son, who needed direction and encouragement to not let this get him down. I wasn’t very good at either for a while. He ate – I felt like hurling, so I abstained from lunch – and then we headed back to the DMV, this time with me behind the wheel so that I could get us back quickly without having to think two steps ahead out loud about where we were and what lane we needed to be in.
Twenty minutes after arriving back at the DMV, it appeared the camera was back online. But our customer service person was at lunch, and our application was stuck in a pile on her desk. “God, grant me patience,” I started to pray, and then quickly stopped. Have you ever noticed that when you pray for patience, things seem to move much slower? “I’m on to you, Lord!” I thought. “Okay, please just give me peace. Patience is a little far out of my reach now. Peace will do just fine.”
And He did. Just like that. DMV Lady showed up, called our name second from her stack, and Aaron was smiling for the camera in no time. I so desperately wanted to do what the mom in front of me did, and take an iPhone pic of my son getting his driver’s license photo taken, but I refrained. Someday he may thank me for that. Maybe not. Maybe this is why I’m not a photographer. I write to keep the memories. I just need someone to read them to me when I’m old and drooling in my jello, please.
Aaron drove me home under the authority of his brand new license. We spent a couple of minutes sun-gazing at the eclipse from our driveway, and then I went to work, having given Aaron permission to miss the last hour of the school day. True, I typically don’t allow my children to miss even the last day of school because it is a literal school day according to the calendar (yes, I’m that mom) but I figured he had pretty much been through the ringer, as I had, and so I relented just this once. Truthfully, this was also likely because I was glad to know he was home safe and I didn’t have to worry about him flying solo until tomorrow. I drove myself to work and realized that I had changed purses and left my desk keys in the other purse. At home. Phone call to Aaron: “Sweetie, can you bring my keys to me?”… “Hey, Carey, what’s our office address?”… “Aaron, can you get here safely? The address is…” He did get there safely. I gave him directions out of our parking lot, and then stood on the front porch of the bank and watched him leave. I felt like a stalker. He saw me. I waved, shrugged that mom’s-gotta-do-what-a-mom’s-gotta-do shrug, said a prayer, watched him make the left-hand turn across two lanes of traffic to get onto the main street, and I walked back inside. And then I GPS-tracked him all the way home.
I also called the guy who hit Aaron’s car at the DMV. He was kind enough to have already set up a claim under his own liability – those wheels are rolling more smoothly than I ever expected. I was very grateful to this man for the note he left. Just two weeks ago, I was instructing Aaron that if he ever hit a car whose driver was not available, he was to leave his name and contact information on the other car. “You don’t ever walk away from damage you cause,” I told him. I am ever so thankful to this man for showing my son the example he is to follow. These are the lessons we learn. This is what you do. This is how you act. And, as I confessed to a coworker as I almost cried in her doorway this afternoon, this is such a first world problem; I feel guilty for letting it get me down so.
Victoria called me after school to see if I wanted anything from Starbucks. “Are y’all going by yourselves?” I asked.
“Of course!” came her reply. “Aaron’s got his license; I told him to take me somewhere!”
Starbucks had been on our practice track enough that I didn’t worry so much on that one. I know my son needs those moments of independence, even though I want to hold his hand through each of them. It really wouldn’t be fair to him if I did. My mind flashed back to my high school days, tearing down Benton Road in my ’79 Buick Regal, wheels burning and spirt free.
I arrived home still in a funk tonight. Dom suggested I pour a glass of wine and take a bubble bath. “I don’t feel like a bath,” I said. I wasn’t sure what I felt like. Headbanging until my neck hurt? At this age, that would take about two beats.
“Okay,” he said, “I’m going to weed-eat.”
“Want me to mow?” I asked. Next thing I knew, I was on the mower, sailing through the backyard with 80’s pop and metal tunes blowing out my earbuds. I found Metallica’s One and added it to the playlist, seeing in my mind the boys from the band as they sat in front of the jukebox and headbanged every Friday night at Johnny’s Pizza on Benton Road. I thought of each of them, and of how they all came to my defense on the night I backed my car into another student’s car in the parking lot at Johnny’s. He (yes, he) wanted to physically fight me right there on restaurant property, but the guys got between me and him and basically said he’d have to go through them if he wanted to hurt me. My car and I both survived that night.
Thirty years later, that memory is still solid in my mind. Me… 17 years old with a license and a car, the future stretched out endlessly before me. And then I thought, for a moment, one of the final lines from one of my favorite books, “Ahhh…the wheel comes full circle…”
I read a blog post today that really struck home, in both a good and bad way. A fellow Mom let off some steam about all the “rules” of parenting and how absolutely tiresome they are. The rant got my attention because the title referenced slathering toxic cream (sunscreen) onto her children. I actually thought it was going to be a post about the dangers of the toxic creams and how regular joes can avoid them, which – as you know – I support. But she went in a completely different direction, humorously focusing instead on how following the do’s and don’ts often prevents us from living the very life we seek.
She’s right. I mean, she’s dead-on, nail-on-the-head, face-palm right.
Why did this resonate with me so? I’m glad you asked. If you’ve read my blog before, you might have noticed that I only posted twice in 2015. There are two reasons for this: 1) I was actually busier living life than writing about it and 2) I found that the thoughts I was trying to formulate into an educational blog post were often this-is-how-you-should-do-it thoughts which would serve to benefit no one other than me. I don’t EVER want someone to read my blog or anything I’ve written and feel like they are being judged or criticized for the choices they have made. Remember that saying our mothers taught us, “If you can’t say anything nice…”? I’m proud to say that I actually listened. When I read what Sarah wrote in her post, it reinforced my belief that no one should feel like the job they are doing as a parent is not good enough. Ever. And I thought, Amen, sister! To hell with the parenthood rules.
I admit that when this blog started I found a ton of mommy-bloggers who seemed to have their lives tidy and packaged and wrapped in a shiny bow. I had already stepped quite a way outside of my comfort zone to share with the web my successes and my failures at a year of changes toward natural living. I used the blog as my scrapbook, and then I found the entire mommy-blogging community. I thought they were geniuses, and I envied the amount of readers they had. I bought a domain and linked it to all the stellar blogs I followed. I signed up for Twitter. I created a Facebook page and invited friends to like it.
To date, my FB page is a dead horse and if I may be honest here, I hate Twitter. Hate it.
The effort of keeping up with all the e-social requirements was exhausting. I mean, really. How in the hell are we supposed to experience life if we’re sitting in front of a screen watching stats and comments all day long? Seriously? If I do that, then eventually I’m not going to know the kids I’m writing about.
It took me about a year to realize I had better things to do with my life. I ditched my efforts at gaining followers and my readership remained in the single digits. I could live with that.
So basically, I have two reasons for writing today. First, I’m thinking that I will not renew this domain when it expires. I will move all the posts over to my primary blog, www.DomAndLori.net, just to keep my ADHD and parenting advice available – you know, on the off chance that a reader needs my words to tell him or her that it’s okay to call the shots. (As if.) Essentially, I believe the shelf-life of The Purpose Driven Mom is nearing its end. It’s cool. Because honestly, every time Facebook tells me someone looked at my page, I feel this overwhelming responsibility to go write a new post or update the site. But at the same time, I’m not feeling the “purpose,” so the responsibility is mildly aggravating at best. Besides, notifications from all these damn apps are on my last nerve. Example: Pinterest tells me today that I have 25 pins waiting for me. Um, no, I don’t. My friends saved 25 pins and Pinterest thinks I care. Kiss off, already, Pinterest. It’s not like I’m going to suddenly want a knitting pattern and forget you exist. Give me some dang breathing room. (And yes, for all you techies with the knowledge knots, I have already turned off the notifications. And I’m still getting them. Figure that one.)
Second, I have some parting words for anyone who reads this post, whether you’re here because you followed the mission from the beginning or because you just stumbled upon the page and felt like spending some time with me. (Thank you for that, by the way.) I have spent a full six years changing my lifestyle, helping friends with food advice and recipes, and attempting to make my corner of the world a little more natural, if not altogether better. Sometimes I have succeeded and other times I have fallen flat on my face. But I have learned in these six years that the journey is entirely mine and that my mission includes not judging people who do not walk the same path. To that end, I feel I have achieved my mission. But I want you all to know a few things before I bid you adieu, some things I hope will help you on your own journey:
So there they are, folks – the four natural, everyday remedies I am willing to vouch for after six years of research and practice. As far as food goes, I will always endorse clean eating as a means of staying well and being good to your body. You want to use whatever diet/method/lifestyle supports your best health, no matter what anyone else thinks of it. If there is anything I have learned in these six years, it is that change is hard, and each person has to decide for himself or herself how much change is worth it. My personal food choices are wildly unpopular, but they work for me and I feel good physically when I stick to those choices.
It’s been a pleasure to share this journey with you, my friends, but it’s time to close this chapter of my internet life. I wish you health and peace, always.
Last night I dreamed that my son was a baby. He toddled up to me at the dinner table and I scooped him into my arms and cradled him while I visited with dinner guests. Then I asked him if he was sleepy and he nodded, so I released him (obviously planning to escort him to a nap) and he disappeared. I found him after several frantic moments – he was toddling around the house with my Aunt Penny. She was showing him different household items and teaching him their purposes. Aaron was absorbing it all, even with that sleepy little smile on his face. The dream was sweet and real and comforting.
And then I woke up. Life has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it?
The truth of the matter is that I think I am not dealing well with my son growing up. Some co-workers and I chatted about this the other day (they are my built-in, always-on-call therapists). One mentioned that it seems easier watching girls grow up because they mature in small spurts and then plateau for a little while, so you have some time to get used to the growth. It sort of snuggles up to you and butters you up for the next big thing so that whatever lies just ahead isn’t such a mind-blower.
Boys’ growth just bitch-slaps the hell out of you and then moves on.
Aaron got his braces off last week. We’ve had a busy start to the school year, but it has been manageable, expected. Or so I thought. At this particular appointment, one orthodontic assistant came out to talk to me while others were finishing up with Aaron. She gave me a brief rundown on the progress of the treatment and then said, “It’s also time to get his wisdom teeth evaluated for extraction.”
Without thinking I blurted, “NO!”
Her eyes grew wide and she took a step back. “I’m sorry,” she said – it was half statement, half question.
I felt tears stinging the back of my eyes. Get it together, Lori. This lady did not look old enough to have kids at all, let alone a teenager, so the odds of her completely understanding my outburst were slim.
“No, I’m sorry,” I said, softening my voice, but still unable to control its shaking. “This is all too fast. You don’t understand – just two months ago he was four inches shorter. We shopped for clothes in the boys’ section last spring, and we shopped in the men’s section last week. He just turned 15, is about to start driving, and when he speaks, I turn to see what man has just come into my home.” There was no dawning recognition on her face, so I continued to sputter. “Now you want to talk about wisdom teeth, which I didn’t have to think about until I was in college – I can’t – I just can’t go there right now.”
She smiled, but pressed on. “Do you have an oral surgeon that your family uses already?”
My mind was still on my baby, who used to swing his feet from the booster in the backseat, but who now fills the backseat with barely enough room for his legs, another fact that slapped me in the face just the week prior. So I absently said, “No, my oral surgeon died.”
“Well, you don’t want to use him, then,” she retorted, which made me laugh out loud and sort of shook me back to reality. Aaron appeared behind her and we chatted about retainers and such before leaving with a bag full of every type of candy his braces had prevented him from eating in the last two years – and the business card of a local oral surgeon.
Touché, Life. Touché.
I originally wrote this in early 2014 before my unintended sabbatical from blogging here. Back to work, now…
So, there I was, packing away all the Christmas décor after Epiphany this year when it dawned on me that I now had sixteen – no, make that seventeen – Christmas wreaths hung in and on my home. I have to admit, I choked a little on the thought of buying enough boxes in which to store them. Where were all the boxes going to go?
One of the things we lucked into when we built our house is a closet in the garage, where Dom decided all of our holiday décor could live. And it just so happens that there is a lot of tall wall space in this closet. I wanted hooks for my wreaths. But, really – seventeen of them?
And that’s when this idea sprang to life. Home Depot, or any home store, has the brackets that hold closet shelves and rods, right? You know – these things…
They cost under $4 each. And voila! They also hold about three wreaths (four, if you don’t mind smushing them on there.) The hook part that would hold the rod holds one of the wreaths so you can make sure the others don’t come sliding off of the bracket. I bought about six of these and placed them strategically on my wall so the wreaths can hang in the closet and I never have to worry about their bows getting all wonky from storage.
“The problem with adulthood,” I began my conversation with Victoria, “is that by the time you realize what you want to do, what you are good at, it’s often too late to go back for a do-over. Take this quantitative management class I’m in right now. I love it. It’s just straightforward mathematical statistics for the purpose of solving business problems, and it energizes me. I really like this stuff.” (Eye roll from the daughter.)
“I knew this, of course, back when I was in college, but I didn’t pursue the field. I met with one tiny obstacle and – meh – I moved on to an easier path. I was young and dumb and though I don’t have many regrets about my past – other than superficially wishing I could go back in time and give the young Lori a few Gibbs’ head-slaps – I regret not pushing through for the degree I wanted and a career that might have provided more material resources. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do now and I don’t believe material resources would serve me any better than the spiritual resources I have access to, but I often find myself wondering what it would be like if I had been ‘adult-enough’ to insist on more effort from myself at a younger age.
“And so that is what kicks me in the head as an adult – knowing that we cannot change the past, we can only direct the future. We can change what we do today for the benefit of tomorrow, and no more. But when you’re over the proverbial hill, and you see it all this clearly, and you know – absolutely know in your heart – that you could have done better, or more, or whatever with your energy and resources…all you really can do is let your children know the pitfalls. You want to make sure that your kids understand what mistakes not to make, what obstacles to push through.
“And that brings me to the fallacy of youth, in that when I was young and dumb – as so you shall be, too – I was not interested in older people’s advice of the pitfalls. I had my whole life ahead of me, and that’s all that I saw. My future was a blank page, and I was selecting the pen with which to write it. Don’t dare tell me what pen I should use; that’s my decision! And so, when we are young we make the easy choices, the fun choices, the choices that bring us pleasure, even if it is fleeting. It’s only when we are older that we think, what if??? What if I had chased that dream? What if I had studied harder? What if I had actually attended that Business Law class instead of deciding that Dominic might be hanging out in the student center and surely I HAD to be there too? But Business Law, while a really interesting class, at the time paled in comparison to the interest I held for my social life and your father’s whereabouts. (Cue head-slap). Surely I could have pursued your father after my work was done??? But, as I said, I can’t change the past. Our choices, our actions, make us who we are and I do love this life. What I can do now is hand you the information and hope that you choose to make good decisions. That’s the goal of every parent…to make sure our kids don’t have any regrets.”
Victoria seems to consider this for a moment, then says, “I watched this movie last night where this guy walked outside and got struck by lightning. For no reason at all! He just walked out, got struck by lightning, and died right there on the spot.”
Nobody listens to me.
I don’t usually do random product recommendations, but I am so taken with four new things recently, that I just have to share them with you.
You already know that I love to can foods. One of my future projects is to create the perfect Paleo Marinara and can up a ton of it. Tomato season will be arriving soon, so this is moving up on the to-do list. In the meantime, I keep looking at the canning supplies of my local stores. And I must say, Ball has some seriously cool new tools! Four of them top my list of all-time favorite kitchen aids.
Ball dissolvable labels. I can’t tell you how many times I have put leftovers in the fridge, mingled among various similar containers, only to forget what’s in each container, subsequently ignoring said containers and emptying them into the trash ten days later. (As I mumble Oh, yeahhhhh, we DID have pot roast last week. Darn!)
Enter these new labels. Cute as a button, real paper stickers that don’t require any special kind of pen. I label everything. Did you hear me??? EV-RY-THING. I have them in the fridge:
I have them in the pantry:
I have them in the bathroom:
The coolest part of these labels is that they wash right off! (Even accidentally, so don’t get your jar near water if you want to keep the label!) No scrubbing or special solvents to rid your item of stickiness. They wash right off in the dishwasher. Or under the faucet. It’s pretty cool to watch it dissolve off of the container under a stream of running water. I think it’s safe to say my OCD loves these things!
Ball Five-Blade Herb Scissors. Holy mother of pearl, if you’ve ever spent ten minutes finely chopping herbs for a single meal, you need these scissors!! They have five blades, so you can chop herbs in jig time. I have been a parsley chopping fool for the past five months. I got these scissors three weeks ago, and my life hasn’t been the same since. Snip, snip…oh, look, all my chopping is done. I have time to have a glass of wine while hubby lights the grill! These seriously rock!! The first time I used them, I freaked out when the parsley stuck all between the blades, leaving me to wonder how in the heck I was ever going to get all those herbs out of those tiny, sharp spaces. And then I looked at the cool plastic sheath that came with the scissors. There’s a corresponding five-blade grid on the end of the sheath that is used to clean out the scissors. Voila!!! No wasted herbs. Why can’t everything be this easy?
Ball Herb and Spice Lids. I thought the little quarter-pint jelly jars were too cute when they were sold as a set of four with these regular-size flip-top shaker lids. But now, Ball sells the lids in separate two-packs. I already had a full set of the tiny jars and was using the jar/lid/ring combos for my spices. But fiddling with lids and rings every time I want dried basil or shrimp seasoning gets old. These lids offer four generous holes covered by a secure flip-top. I love their size and color. My spice-cabinet loves their easy stackability.
Ball Mason Jar Infuser. Okay, so this one really isn’t a kitchen tool. It’s a sippy cup for adults. Whatever. I love it. This infuser fits wide-mouth mason jars and supplies a drinking lid and removable infuser compartment. Just fill the infuser with your favorite herbs, fruits, whatever, and fill the jar with water or tea. Moments later, you have a rockin’ flavored beverage. The infuser is dishwasher safe and BPA-free, for the win!
So there it is, folks: my love of all things Ball. Green rocks!
(I am finding a lot of crazy stuff in the vault, which duly represents the crazy in my head. Much like the saying goes for blowing your nose: “Better out than in.” LOL. Enjoy…)
I am an absolutist. (Is that a word? I should have looked that up first…sorry.) I would normally say I’m an extremist, but my understanding of extremism is that it breeds intolerance for other people’s decisions, and that just doesn’t sound like something I want to be. For instance, I believe that certified artificial food colorings are absolutely bad for us. So I spend three times as much money on Unjunked m&m’s for my kids’ candy treats. That’s my absolutism. If I were an extremist, I imagine I would storm the middle school and demand that they stop selling Skittles to innocent kids. And then my son would die of embarrassment because his mom is the crazy lady who attacked the concession table. So I just prefer to work in absolutes. And here’s how I came to this conclusion:
I was thinking about this the other day, feeling like I was sitting far-out on a hippie limb all by myself, wondering why we as a society even allow poisons in our foods, much less voluntarily consume them. One thought led to another and the next thing I knew, I had planned out the next two decades. The odds of my children finding and falling in love with others who had been raised on grass-fed beef, organic veggies and homemade bread are slim to none. And then I started thinking that my poor grandchildren (God willing I ever have any) will face all the health problems that I’ve tried to prevent in my own children, simply because my daughter- or son-in-law would have contributed the wonky chromosomes tainted by Big-Ag and corporate America, all because his or her mother didn’t give two hoots about Roundup-resistant wheat and soybeans. And then I’m quite technically back where I started.
So then I thought how nice it would be to have a huge commune for those of us who want to live away from the oppression of our corporate food supply. We could farm together, raise happy chickens and cows, and control everything we consumed. We would be untainted by the outside world.
There are just two problems with this idea: 1) I’m not, and have no desire to be, Amish; and 2) no matter how good our intentions at the beginning, eventually we would all find some Kool-Aid to share.
So, no, this idea of segregating ourselves from modern society will never work. And I wouldn’t want it to, really. My rules can really only be imposed on me (and my kids for the time being), and that’s okay. So I’ll just hang on to my absolutes and do what I can to make the world a better place in my little corner of it.
Unjunked candy, anyone?
I have a rather insane storage vault of unpublished posts, both for this blog and for my life and love ramblings over at DomAndLori. Some of them are not just unpublished, they are unfinished. But I intend at some point to publish them anyway. Here is the first to come out of the vault:
Let me be honest at the start, here: this is not something I want to be talking about. For the second Christmas holiday in a row, my family is battling head lice. Go ahead and gag now. I’ve made a morning of it, myself.
I truly had hoped that we would be done with all this nonsense once the kids got out of elementary school. Oh, sure, I had seen many a note come home in their backpacks about a lice sighting in their wee years’ classrooms, and I was smugly grateful that it never struck us personally. Until 2012. There we were, minding our own business, settling into the new home, enjoying Christmas and BAM!! We were hit with a one-two punch. Vic and me. E-gad! This is what I get for snuggling my kids? I took roughly five days off of work to deal with 1) the infestation of those little unseen buggers and 2) my personal trauma/embarrassment/failure as a parent. Overdramatic much??
To debunk any misconceptions of the nastiness that surely must exist in my home and on my person, I learned the following during that horrific week of wanting to claw my own eyes out:
Last year as I was confessing the horror to a coworker, she knowingly stated, “It doesn’t matter how natural and against chemicals you are, once you are dealing with head lice, you will practically douse your kids in gasoline just to get rid of it.” Omigosh, having now been through it twice, I can tell you…truer words were never spoken.
For months afterward, any time either of my children itched above the neck they would run to me and blurt, “Check me!!” and I would commence to combing through their hair to make sure they were not infested again. And fortunately, they never were. But there I was this morning, unassumingly stroking my son’s hair as he slouched on the bathroom floor, nauseated from what we would determine four hours later to be the flu. The flu, people. My son is wrestling the flu and I’m thinking out loud, “We need to cut your hair soon, sweetie. Wait a minute, what’s this in your hair? WHAT THE %$#@! IS THAT?!!!!!!!”
But I knew exactly what it was. And I was nearly sick right beside him. Within minutes I was checking the Hubster, my daughter and myself, determining whom to treat and whom to all-out quarantine, practically in tears with the memory of last year. But I sniffed the tears back, grabbed my keys and a ponytail holder and sped off to WalMart at 6:30 in the morning to begin my journey:
Step 1: Drop well over $100 on every kind of lice treatment on the shelf. Throw in some homeopathic cough meds and several packs of Ricola, and hope something gives the kid some relief.
Step 2: Treat every head with gawdawful pesticides while Hubster strips beds down and begins the laundry cycles. I love the Sanitize feature of my washing machine. It’s great for making sure my stuff is clean when we’re dealing with crap like this. Forget that it takes four days to wash two loads. Sheesh!
Step 3: Send text messages to family members whom we have been around during the holidays. Pray that they don’t have it too. This brings up a touchy point: Yes, it is highly embarrassing to admit to someone that you have head lice. I get that. I’ve had it twice now and sharing the news hasn’t gotten any easier. You will feel like a pariah. But hear me on this one thing: You must let others know so that they can treat and/or prevent the malady in their own households. Yes, it sucks to call someone up and say, “Hey, great seeing you the other day! I’m so glad we got to spend those eight hours together! By the way, we have lice, so check your heads.” There’s no easy way to do it. But you have to. And when that person you’ve called is dealing with head lice later, hopefully he or she will remember your honesty and pay it forward.
Step 4: Run to the pediatrician’s office for flu test on a Saturday morning. Thank God they are open on weekends!
Step 5: Take a moment to actually breathe and read the label on the spray can for the furniture. I had forgotten why I didn’t use it last year. Dear goodness. We would have to sit all four of us plus the dogs outside in the cold while the stuff dries on the furniture, then ventilate the cold into the house so that we can once again breathe indoors. Who the hell created this stuff? Monsanto?
Having two dogs and one flu-ridden son prevents me from opening windows and spraying toxic chemicals in my home on a December day. So I took to the Internet, hoping something somewhere would provide some measure of treatment for my furniture and non-washables. Vacuuming, steaming and scrubbing just doesn’t seem like enough. In the five days I took off work last year last year I wiped down, scrubbed and cleaned every surface to the best of my ability. I was exhausted. I’ll do it all over again out of necessity, but I’d like some help.
And so I stumbled upon the Logic Products Group, founded by a mom just like us. She too dealt with the horror of head lice and discovered that there were no natural, safe treatments available. She has remedied that. I ended up on her site because of her household spray, which is reported to be safe for repeated use around pets and people, unlike any of the spray products you will find at the pharmacy. I ordered a bottle straight from her site and another bottle from Amazon with my Prime membership. Unfortunately, I won’t have the product until next week, so I’ll be vacuuming and scrubbing until then. Without the benefit of trying the products yet, I am impressed by what I see on their site. They have general products for the home as well as flea and tick treatment for pets. (Update: I purchased the furniture spray and the lice shampoo. I sprayed everything down and was pleased with the spray, but did not have the opportunity to use the shampoo, as it arrived a week after the trauma had ended.)
The Nourishing Gourmet also wrote a great post on natural treatments of head lice. Neem oil and tea tree oil are top choices for treatment and prevention in her post.
So – quick recap – we have head lice, flu and now (oh joy!) a puking dog. There simply is not enough wine in this house. I seem to recall a bottle of tea tree oil in my bathroom cabinet, so I’m off to mix that into some water and spray on all our heads for good measure. Hey – better than gasoline!