Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Free Hugs ReUppies

Well, I took both comps last week but am not quite thawed out enough to begin blogging.

But I thought I'd wet my feet by learning to post a U-Tube video on the blog...and perhaps you've seen this video, but I've been in bookland for awhile. It was nice to see this on the way out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

An Interview with Laurie Boucke, the Guru of Infant Potty Training

Laurie Boucke has been researching infant potty training since using it with her third son in 1979. She is the author of three books on the subject. Her most popular book is Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living, which has been translated into Italian, German, and Dutch. Her work on infant potty training has been written about in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and other major newspapers. Her documentary, Potty Whispering, is scheduled to be released in November 2006. She kindly joined me for a live telephone interview from Boulder, Colorado on Border Crossings, a radio show on Houston's Pacifica Radio Station, KPFT 90.1.

Click here to listen to the interview. The whole thing is nearly forty-five minutes. She gives a brief explanation of the method at the beginning. We had a lot of fun doing the interview, so I imagine it will be fun to listen to. Also, here is a link to more information about infant potty training that is mentioned during the interview: pottywhisperer.com.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Love My Poetic Husband

We've had a very stressful last week or so...BabyG got strep that turned into very mild scarlet fever...and was understandably, vociferously, and persistantly aggrieved...GreenDaddy got an unknown, draining sickness and a headache...I tried to study every spare moment...GreenDaddy's hardrive crashed with an already-three-days-late joint project on it...I started making the stressed-out grimace GreenDaddy hates...it rained inside my car which smells like rotting corpse breath, now...BabyG was too sick to do her favorite weekend-at-the-pool-with-Daddy routine...

And now my comps are a week away! I study every night until 2am because I get at least three, sometimes four hours of absolute alone time.

In all this muck, GreenDaddy wrote me a poem...And I wanted to post it because my concept of Green Parenting isn't just about junk mail, overgrown gardens, and the general lifestyle of dirty hippies: it's about relationships, and supporting not only the children in the family, but the grown-ups...and I feel so lucky to have a poetic, caring, supportive husband at this juncture that I could cross the street with my eyes closed.

A Great Vibration

When I took courses in physics I learned about particles
about the resonance of benzene rings
about the supposed measurability of all things
as if a meter exists for all phenomena
and if a given meter does not exist
it will be invented.

In philosophy courses I learned about limits to knowledge
about the failure of metaphors to describe the electron
about the difference between the wavelength for red
and the lived experience of redness
as if the connection between consciousness and the world
will never ever be understood.

And yet, at midnight last night,
when I walked out of the bedroom
there was a great vibration
not in the air
but in the substratum
in the ether
in the layer of the universe that Michelson and Morely
proved does not exist
and I could sense that it was coming from your head.

Your books were spread across the table
-- the classics, the masterpieces, the cannon! --
and you had turned them into something shimmering
like a thin layer of water
spilling over a dark stone.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Talk Too Much We're Rude, Deal With It

Friday, our blog was reviewed by I Talk Too Much, We're Rude, Deal With It, a group of people whose schtik is, for the most part, to say nasty things about other peoples' blogs. Not surprisingly, they were very angry about our site.

The reviewer was so put off he couldn't muster more than three sentences about why he hates it. Usually they devote at least five or six paragraphs. So we stunned him with horror, bascially. The best part to read in the reviews, really, is the comments, though.

Things that put people off:
1) GreenDaddy taking BabyG to the Pro-choice rally
2) The site design
3) Our "enviro-fascism"
4) Dirty hippiness of the site
5) They think their lives are not political, and by extension, that our attempts at Green Parenting are somehow more political than their blissfully ignoring the environment, society, etc.

A couple people on their site liked ours, which was nice; one woman defended Raj's taking BabyG to the rally.

I'm the one who put the site up for review because I just wondered what people in other facets of life think of a blog lik ours.

I'm actually very satisfied with the review, for some reason. Most of our friends, and commenting readers, think the way we do. I start thinking everybody believes the same as we do. It's a good reality check to remember a lot of people are afraid and/or annoyed by people consciously making choices.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Incompetent Gardener, Part II

I had a dream a year ago, before our baby was born that by this time I would no longer be the incompetent gardener. I dreamed that our whole yard would be edible and that I would have a rotation of plants that produced seasonal, organic food to supplement our regular groceries. I dreamed of turning our food waste into compost and using that compost to fertilize our garden, thereby avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizers. But with childcare, my forty-hour work week, and MaGreen preparing for her doctoral degree exams, our yard looks rather pathetic. And BabyG has strep right now.

My garden plots are mostly overgrown with weeds. The six tomato plants I bought never produced a single tomato. They are scraggly vines. I should pull them all out, but I just look at them with disappointment every time I park my bicycle by the side of the house. The seeds I bought from Bountiful Gardens are slowly becoming unviable in the refrigerator.

Even the hardy chard and dill plants I wrote about in my last installment of The Incompetent Gardener finally died. It was these two survivors that "renewed my enthusiasm not only for gardening, but for the whole green parenting project." I was again on the verge of giving up on gardening altogether as a silly romantic yearning. Then one afternoon my neighbor gave me new hope. I'm not sure neighbor is the right word. He shares a long wall with us in the split duplex we live in. He is a union electrician and is given to walking around the property aimlessly, poking at the ground, or talking to the sky. When I saw him that one afternoon, he showed me his latest discovery, an oak seedling growing next to my tomato patch. Although my soil improvement and constant watering did not produce any tomatoes, a little oak tree thrived because of my efforts. A beautiful and momentous accident. I really want that seedling to grow up with BabyG, so I can tell her they were born around the same time and that were babies together. I dug it out of the ground and potted it in my compost so I can move it to a perfect spot this winter.

A few other survivors of my incompetence subsequently kept my hope alive. I planted an eggplant plant from the store and it grew huge. It has produced three eggplants in the same number of months. What I value about that eggplant is not the food it has produced, but that I have closely witnessed for the first time in my life how a flower turns into a fruit (or vegetable or berry or whatever it is). I am embarrassed to admit that I never saw how the blossom closes up and then slowly starts to fill out. How it takes on the purple color.

Another survivor is this basil plant we brought home from Whole Foods and stuck into the ground. It was destroyed by a tree trimming service we hired. I think they ran over it with a machine. MaGreen harvested the crushed plant down to a stump. Our neighbor really wanted the plant to live because he used the leaves in his salsa. I think his cravings coaxed the basil, and my gardening dreams, back to life

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Greendimes: another use for "Just One Dime A Day"

I keep not wanting to write because I feel like I've been off studying long enough that when I return I should have a fabulously written, hilarious, and/or life-changing post to regale you with. And I don't. But now GreenDaddy keeps dropping hints about the abandoned state of Green Parenting, and clearly, he is not talking about HIS having abandoned it. All I have time for lately is studying and eating and kissing my baby and, um, trying not to trip over ALL THE CREEPING MOUNDS OF JUNK MAIL THAT MAKE MY LIFE A WALKING, HOARY NIGHTMARE. You know what I mean.

A-hem. Speaking of junk mail, I just paid $36 to have this organization called Greendimes write letters to all the junk mail senders to take me, Raj, all our alter-egos, as well as the alter-egos of the people who moved away from this address years ago but left their trash-mongering names behind, off their lists. I could have paid $3 per month, but I opted to have them write letters once a month for a year because we're neck deep in mail here.

But wait! There's more!

Also, every month, these people are going to plant a tree to help replenish the world with more junkmail sources. (Remember: a tree is just another name for the Junkmail Bush). Right. Really, I think they're going to plant the tree to symbolically counter-act all the trees junkmail has killed...100 million a year, they say.

So we'll get twelve trees planted in our name, somewhere in the world...and our mail will no longer consist of things that come almost daily and that go straight the recycle bin: UFO related offers, chain letters, Marlboro coupons, and half-priced psychic readings...all meant for Aaron Fance (God DIME you Aaron Fance, wherever you are!); credit card offers in my name but good for anybody who opens the mail and sends it in (God DIME you too greedy people!); and, most peeving, of late, Party City Haloween ads filled with seven year old girls dressed like hookers...which is too depressing, really, to damn with a cheesy pun.

Anyways. Greendimes is a fairly new business, it seems. They have good customer service. I'm excited to see if this system works.

They also want other people beside me to join. I think you might as well. (And they're not paying me to say this. They don't even know what Green Parenting is.)

Well, now, toodle-oo. I'm off to study more books -- or actually to study the Too Late the Phalarope Summary on BookRags. I read the book but now they're all blurring in my head and I need something to sort my ideas out. ...but no more chatting, people, because my comps are just 13 DIMES AWAY...)

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Recent Interview with My Eight Month Old

Me: I’m not sure I want you to grow up thinking that we live in a Global Capitalist Patriarchy in perpetual crisis like you implied in our last interview. I want you to be happy. I want you to go hiking more than I have and spend less time shouting into megaphones.

My Baby: But Daddy, have you considered that another word for crisis is opportunity?

Me: I think I read that once in a Deepak Chopra book. Or did I hear that on the Oprah Winfrey show?

My Baby: I want you to be serious.

Me: OK. So you are saying that crises are openings. Ways out. Chances to create a different world. Opportunities to resist.

My Baby: Not just opportunities to resist, Daddy, but opportunities to live more joyfully.

Me: Give me an example.

My Baby: Well, we’ve talked about how capitalism tends to tear apart communities, social structures, and families. Even Sweden has elected a new government that plans on reducing state support to women and families on the grounds of making their economy more competitive in this era of globalization. It’s a race to the bottom. Families are preserved only in so far as they hide costs like childcare. On the other hand, as Rosemary Hennessey points out in Profit and Pleasure, women in paid employment can often live outside of traditional kinship ties. They can choose to refuse marriage. They can choose to be lesbians. They can choose to enter a heterosexual marriage. They can choose to leave one.

Me: So you want to be a lesbian?

My Baby: Would you be OK with that if I did?

Me: I want you to try to create the most meaningful and joyful life for yourself as possible. If that meant being a lesbian, I’d be fine with that.

My Baby: What if I think being a cheerleader for a professional American football team is the most meaningful and joyful life I can live?

Me: No.