Friday, December 19, 2008

The Snowy Day

"Snowy Day" by suntom on Flickr
Today was the first full-fledged snow storm of the season. Z1 went out to the backyard to play in the snow and he had such a fabulous time. His laughter was just so light and his energy so carefree and childlike.

I'm reminded of the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, one of my favorite books as a child and one that is most definitely a part of the boys' library. I loved how I saw myself reflected in that book as a child. As an adult I'm fascinated by how Keats captured the pure joy, no elation, of child on a snowy day.

Do you remember when snowy days equalled a huge play opportunity and not a huge pain??

There is Enough for Everyone

Today is Friday and so I was thinking of what music I was going to share today. The song I want to share is from an album called Nemozian Rasta by my favorite reggae band Midnite. The title of the song is "Enough for Everyone". I scoured the web trying to find it but I couldn't.

I wanted to share the song because of what I meditated on this morning.

So many of us on this earth have a scarcity mentality. We don't believe that there is enough for everyone. This belief manifests in a number of ways. Some of us hoard things. Some of us are stingy. Some of us are greedy. Some will pillage, rape, kill to make sure that we have. Even that we have over and above what they need. Others of us grow accustomed to going without. To being the victim of someone else's greed. We get used to being the "have nots" and get comfortable accepting a handout, stuff that's free "with strings attached" because deep inside we feel the only way we can have is if someone who has feels compassion for us.

But it's a lie. It is a lie that there are limited resources for an unlimited amount of people. There is enough for everyone. If we would disabuse ourselves of a scarcity mentality we'd open ourselves up to divine inspiration, we'd reconnect to the Source, Jah. In Jah, everything is possible. There is no lack. For me, Jah is manifested in us (if we choose to acknowledge and live up to it) but also, and very importantly, in nature and in the Earth.

When we are trapped in scarcity (or poverty) mentality, our energy is too tied up in making that scarcity/poverty the reality. The Buddha once said, "With our thoughts we make the world." It's not an exaggeration or some philosophical mumbo jumbo. It's true. When our mind is consumed with scarcity, we forget to find our balance, to connect, to get in tune with Jah and therefore the Earth. Getting what we need to survive (even if we are not 100% clear about what we actually need to survive--because you will indeed survive without that new flat-panel HDTV) takes on such an urgency and such a desperation that we can't see clearly. But the Earth will always give us what we need if we would just work in balance with it.

Extracting thousands upon thousands of barrels of oil is not balance. Throwing away tons of garbage that won't bio-degrade is not balance. Sending all manner or pollution and waste into our atmosphere is not balance. Depositing techno junk into outer space is not balance. Forcing the earth to produce food using chemical fertilizers and pesticides is not balance. Pouring raw waste and sewage into our lakes, rivers, oceans is not balance. Hoarding grain and food in barns to manipulate the market price of food while people literally starve to death is not balance. Giving ourselves all kinds of chemical medications and other pharmaceuticals to mask and alleviate the symptoms of our illness is not balance. Spending trillions of dollars on warmongering while babies die of diseases whose cure is simple, basic, cheap water purification is not balance.

We, the race of humans, are in serious trouble. We are out of balance.

But not to worry. Everything seeks equilibrium. Pendulums swing back. And then forth. Balance will be restored. The Earth will heal herself.

We decide now whether we want to be a part of that healing (after all, we have done the damage) or if in the Earth's process of healing, we will be the illness that is purged.

Right now, it seems like there is not enough for everyone. People are losing their jobs and can't feed their families. All indicators say we are in another depression. Some say that our way of life is going to change so drastically that we will not even be able to believe that we used to live the way we did. I don't know. But what I do know is that everything seeks equilibrium. And we have a choice to make.

There is a chant that I&I often chant at Nyabinghi Ises
Two roads before you
Make your choice
Two roads before you
Make your choice
Two roads before you
Make your choice
For there is hell and there is zion
Make your choice

Both hell and zion (heaven) can be found here on Earth. This place can be either hell or zion!! I do believe with all my heart that there is enough for everyone. But we have to make a choice. Right now.

Changing one's way of thinking is not an easy task. But once we achieve it, everything else comes easily.

Let us remake our world while we still have some say in the matter.

Last Saturday, December 13, 2008

One family was able to boast of having a doctor amongst them.

That family was the family of my sistren Nya.

Nya is now a Doctor of Chiropractic.

I just wanted to shout you out on my blog. Sometimes it's surprising and uncanny how "on the same wavelength" we are. It seems that despite space and time and all, we stay connected somehow. Girl, I am so proud of you and I know that this is just the first step to many, many wonderful things.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Up at Five

So as usual, I woke up at 5. When I woke up, my head felt funny. You know, like I needed to go back to sleep. But today is Thursday. The boys have a program to go to and they have to be there by 10. It's about a twenty minute drive too so in order to get them in the car, there, out the car and into the building on time, I have to leave at about 9:15. Which means that I have to shower before they wake up.

They generally wake up at 7. So in these two hours I would like to:
1. journal and meditate and chant
2. blog and read blogs
3. check my e-mail/respond to e-mail
4. stretch and exercise
5. knit or crochet something
6. finish my book

Now, really, I could spend two on any one of these activities if I really wanted to. But instead I'm trying to make these 2 hours magically accommodate all of that. And yo, it is stressing me out. And that's stupid as all get out. No matter what, something has to give.

And yesterday, Z2 woke up at 6:30.

I keep saying to myself, "Chi-Chi, you don't want to lie to yourself by saying you're going to work out" and willing Blogger to hurry the hell up. But I have not been honest with myself. Look, I have 6 things on the damn list to do, all important to me. How do I choose what?

Anyway, I finished knitting a hat yesterday. The yarn is fabulous. Rowan Cocoon, a merino wool and kid mohair blend. Supposed to look like this. The hat looks absolutely ridiculous on my head. Instead of feeling just a bit disappointed, I'm actually angry that I wasted practically my whole 1 1/2 hours yesterday plugging away at it trying to finish it. Anyway, here it is. I ran out of the tan yarn and used a creme one that I had in my stash to complete the top. It actually didn't look so bad on my niece and it's very, very warm. Sorry for the crap pictures.

It's just not healthy. Maybe I should have just stayed in bed.

Oh, and then to top it all off, on the computer screen, the hubby tapes a note: "Hey Chi-Chi, I need some food to bring to the office party today."

No words.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Can You Do About Your Genes?

It's not a secret. Even though I am well past adolescence, I still struggle with acne. Thankfully, though, as I get older the acne is much milder and breakouts are becoming rarer. But, like other acne sufferers, I've tried it all, of course. Everything and anything. Except that I draw the line a putting my morning urine on my face. But other than that, you name it, I've tried it. Natural (honey, apple cider vinegar, drinking gallons of water, fasting, enemas) and not-so-natural (Oxy 10, Clearasil, and prescription stuff). One of the best things about being pregnant was that for 10 months I had not one blessed pimple. My skin actually glowed.

But I've learned to live with acne and I just accept it as something that I'll just have to put up with. It's genetic. My mom, in her mid 50s, still has acne. I also consider myself lucky that the hubby has acne issues too and so he empathizes with what I go through completely. And where did he get it from? Yup. His mom who, in her mid 60s, still suffers. So, I'm not into trying anything else to keep the acne from coming. All I am into these days is how to keep it mild and how to make sure that the remnants of it are minimum.

But what I really worry about is my children. Both their parents carry the genes for acne. It's feasible that both of them could possibly struggle with acne in the future. And that worries me. I mean, acne kind of pretty much ran my life as a teen. It embarrassed me to no end and some days, I didn't want to go out. I would never, ever leave my house without foundation on my face. Not even to the corner store.

Sometimes when I am watching my beautiful children sleeping with their flawless skin, I wonder what the teenage years will bring for them? I would give a lot to make sure they didn't have to go through what I went through. My hope is that somehow, the genes skipped a generation or maybe that since both the hubby and I deal with it, that somehow they canceled out.

But really, what can you do about your genes?

I used to think that prayer could turn things around. I'd go to sleep and full of faith believing I'd wake up and be able to see. Without my glasses. Hasn't happened. I recently thought that maybe applying The Secret could reverse my chronic allergies. Hasn't happened. I just feel there are certain things in this lifetime you just have to learn how to deal with. Nothing is going to change it. Dyslexia. Shortness. Any physical disability. And you may pass these on to your kids. What you should be working on more than anything is getting real good with you so that when your children look at you, they know how to approach [insert whatever challenge here] if that ends up being their lot in life.

I know for myself that if my children do end up with acne that I have a whole lot of lessons that I have learned the hard way.
  1. Gentle gentle gentle. Don't overscrub. Find something that works, doesn't over-dry and stick with it. Don't pick. Don't touch. Gentle.

  2. Don't be shy about giving folks the finger when they ask why you don't wash your face or drink any water or make stupid suggestions like drinking your cat's urine mixed with tomato juice while standing on your tiptoes with a mask of egg yolks and bird droppings slathered all over your face or just generally give unsolicited advice about your face.

  3. You are always loved and always beautiful no matter what. Someone in this world (besides your mama, of course) looks at you and thinks you are gorgeous. That someone should be you, first and foremost. If you are convincing, the world will be convinced.

I really hope acne is not in the cards for them (or that feeding them consciously keeps it at bay). But if it is, they have a mama (and papa) who will help them get through it as she has gotten through it too. Smashingly, at that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I don't participate in the "mommy wars"

Up until a couple of months ago, I did not know any committed stay-at-home moms who are also women of color. When I say committed, I mean women who have decided to stay home with their children , providing 95-100% of childcare for an extended amount of time.

Just a heads up: I don't participate in the "mommy wars". I've been on both sides of the fence and both scenarios present challenges and problems. At the end of the day, in my mind, it seems that most women have to decide which challenges and problems they are more willing or capable of dealing with.

Anyway, in my personal experience I have met mamas who stayed home for more than the usual 6 weeks. Mostly they planned their pregnancies to coincide with when they would be off for summer vacation or they decided to stay home for the first year of the baby's life and then return to the work force. The latter was my plan initially. Actually, when Z1 was born, I really did want to be a stay-at-home mother but the hubby rightfully pointed out that we needed my income to move the house repairs along and basically just to gain ground financially, i.e. not stagnate. The compromise was that I would stay home for one year and then I would start working full-time. I was comfortable with that plan because the hubby worked a shift that was opposite to the time I worked so he would be providing childcare during the day. The biggest reason why I am a SAHM right now is the childcare issue. Anyway, a few months before Z1 turned one, I dutifully started looking for a job. I was fresh out of graduate school and green as a meadow. I must have sent out 30-40 resumes and, I kid you not, even with a master's degree, I got about 3 interviews and 2 job offers, neither or which was ideal.

Let's just say that the job I chose was pure hell. Generally I'd come home in tears, frazzled and stressed and then I developed a serious case of hives. But your girl is tenacious and I would have at least finished out the year had it not been for the hubby saying that the price the family was paying was too high--and it was. I didn't anticipate how much work I'd have to bring home, that my entire weekend would be devoted to lesson planning. With the hubby working weekends and basically leaving for work as soon as I got home I was often at home with the baby by myself. And I was one mean mother. Snapping and annoyed most of the time. The principal at the school suggested I get a babysitter to watch him while I did work away from work (work that I was not being paid for--go figure). Anyway, I did look for other employment only to find out that once you've made a commitment to a school, you cannot be released from it unless the principal allows you to and the principal at this school was not about to do such a thing. Nobody wanted my position and she knew it. She basically lied to me to get me to accept it. Anyway, I resigned instead of taking a leave-of-absence, which I perhaps should not have done, but I was ready to be done with the job. I started substitute teaching in my town soon after and that was another special kind of hell. One day in March as the students I was babysitting substituting for were jumping from desk to desk and flicking the lights on and off and throwing pencils across the room, I decided that if I had to deal with that foolishness, at least as a full-time teacher I had a good salary and benefits. I purposed to look for full-time employment for that coming September.

And then I found out I was pregnant and due in December.

Now that summer I had the chance to do the SAHM thing again hard-core and what I realized was that I really enjoyed it and wouldn't mind doing it long term. So the hubby and I had that talk and we both came to the conclusion that as long as it was possible, me being a SAHM was good for the family. It certainly was good for me because I really needed to think about whether teaching was actually the profession I wanted to be in.

This is getting long. Sometimes I think I write more for me than for anyone else because had this been someone else's blog, I may have stopped reading by now.

Anyway, it seems folks always question the legitimacy of being a SAHM. Now, I know that often the issues of class and race are intertwined but as I said until recently, I didn't know any Black SAHMs. Every Black mother I know, including my own, works. Maybe it's because every Black mother I know is essentially in the same class as me, i.e. middle class--no nanny or housekeeper, no yearly Caribbean vacation, no personal chef or stylist. Basically, we all have to work to eat and we're grateful there's a very little left over to spend on things we want. Or maybe it's cultural. Maybe Black women are socialized to work outside of the house. We've always been expected to and, in my experience, it is much more respected to do some kind of outside work even if it's part time. Generally, it's just not cool to depend on a guy for your paper. As such, being a full-time SAHM, to me, is not honored or respected. I even hear SAHMs making disclaimers like, "Oh, I do a little on the side" because it is just not cool to be just a SAHM.

"So what do you do?
"I'm a SAHM."
"Oh, I could never depend on a man to take care of me." Because my man doesn't depend on me to take care of him? It's a relationship based in reciprocity. And at the end of the day, someone has to take care of the kids. It might as well be me.
"Oh, I would never let a man give me money because then he thinks he controls you." Because I'm so weak and easily-manipulated that I would sit around letting him run me for the "opportunity" to SAH.
"Oh, I'm far too ambitious to stay at home" Because, of course, I don't have any ambition. How do you know that my SAHM is not conscious and well-thought out?
"Oh, it must be nice to be able to afford to stay home" Because I'm rolling in a shit-load of dough. Did you just pull in up in an Acura 4X4 to come out of your face and say that to me, the one who walked here to save gas money? Look, I know some people really do struggle on the two incomes but *most* Americans live far, far above their means and if you really focused on it, and really wanted to, you could probably make a good go of being a SAHM. But the fact is, you like the extras. It is important to you to be able to purchase that Coach wristlet just because you want to.
"Oh, I wish I didn't have to work . . . it would be so nice to stay at home all day." Because I don't do shit all day but sit around watching t.v., checking e-mail and eating bon-bons. Maybe that's what you would do but I take my JOB seriously.
"Don't you think you're wasting your degree?" which is related to "When are you going back?" which is basically saying that I'm lazy. If I thought I was wasting my degrees, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. I'd be using them. Don't you think I have weighed the costs? Do you take me for a complete idiot? I'll go back to work when it's time to go back to work. But right now I am working. Hard. Albeit not in my field. I'm trying to achieve something here.

So I often find it fascinating. If I were to say, "Oh, I work in childcare" and I leave my two babies with someone else so I can go do my job, I would be commended as "pulling my weight" and being a valuable part of society and hardworking. But if I say, "Oh, I work in childcare" but that childcare is the childcare of my own two babies, then it's open season to say all kinds of nonsense, belittling what I do. I mean, seriously, whenever I go to the playground, I often see Black (I mean Black in the broadest sense, i.e. all women of color) as nannies to White children. If you are a nanny, you get paid so now it's a worthwhile job. Or is it something more insidious? It is that those White babies are worth more to you (maybe because they represent a paycheck or maybe for other reasons) than your own children? Is that unfair and mean of me? Well, if we want to get all historical about it . . .

I know, I know, making money is a necessity and it is a serious blessing (I won't say luxury) to be able to stay home even if it requires as much frugality and cost-cutting as humanly possible. If the hubby couldn't do as much overtime as he does, my behind would be looking for employment if not already working. Probably at a job I'd hate because any teaching position to be had in the middle of the semester will suck as much as (if not more than) substitute teaching.

There are many issues that being a SAHM brings up for me. They are valid issues. The hubby is the breadwinner and does an excellent job, no doubt. It has taken a long time for me to be comfortable and really believe that "his money is my money". I still don't all the way believe it and while I do have my savings, there's that nagging concern, small it is, but still there. One of my favorite bloggers, BlackGirlinMaine, asked just the other day "Can You Take Care of Yourself?" and while I think I can, it's really makes me nervous. Oh, I know I have what it takes to survive. I know I would survive if anything happened to the hubby but how hard would it be? How much would I and my children have to go through while I got on my own two feet? Furthermore and in any case, I know my children won't be small forever so they won't need me like they do no forever. Will I be able to get my foot back in the door when I'm ready? Will I be able to gain ground or have I permanently set myself back by not being in the work force? I saw how hard it was to get a job when I was fresh out of grad school. Who will hire me now that the economy is in the toilet and my resume has huge gaps in it? I didn't fully anticipate what an all-consuming job being a SAHM is. I have to rise at the crack of dawn, literally, to squeeze out a moment that is all to myself. Seriously, that is the only time I can use the bathroom in peace and quiet. I wish for more adult conversation and contact--it gets lonely at times since most of my friends work or are in school. I still struggle with the feeling that unpaid work is not as valuable as paid work. In other words, am I valuable since I'm not paid for what I do?

Really, I should be. I found out through my friend that the state subsidizes child care for low-income mothers. These low-income mothers, it seems, don't go to work. My friend, who daily battles traffic and races like a bat out of hell to pick up her son by 5 o'clock doesn't see the same frenzy on the faces of the other mothers who stroll in leisurely to pick up their kids dressed in whatever house shoes and clothes they seem to have rolled up out of bed in. So the state will subsidize someone else taking care of my kids but won't subsidize me taking care of my own. . . interesting.

Honestly and truly, if it comes down to it, I don't think women should be SAHMs. Look, my Igbo ancestors carried their babies on their backs while they worked tending to their land or buying and selling at market. There was a whole community supporting their motherhood. No mother was ever isolated at home solely responsible for her children. There was a network. But the way our society is set up means that often, being a SAHM or a WOHM are the only choices, and are at extreme opposites on the spectrum. No mother makes the decision lightly. There are few opportunities to bring your children with you to work. Even in a female-dominated industry like elementary education, there is little in the way of on-site child care. There are few opportunities to work part-time doing something that actually makes it worth your while to work. Most times, it seems, it is all or nothing.

As I said, being a SAHM boils down to providing the best childcare for my children. I believe I am the best childcare for them. Being a SAHM allows me to do other things in my household that enhance my family's well-being and experience as I've said before but really, it's about the childcare. But, truth be told, if I could find flexible part-time employment that I enjoyed, that didn't take too much out of me AND an ideal childcare situation, I probably would be working somehow. I am seriously considering going back to school to see if I could make that theoretical situation a real one. It wouldn't be until the boys are school age (that would mean no homeschooling), however. I still want to be a major part of my children's lives, always available physically and mentally.

I don't know that I had any specific point to this post. Everything I've said has been said before I'm sure. One thing I do know is that for me, to be a SAHM requires confidence and sometimes defensiveness. And I guess it is the defensiveness that is coming out in this post. But it's my position and if there's one thing I always try to do is to have a well-thought out reason for my position.

There it is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I got through it!

I did it.

I got through Denise Austin's Blast Away 10 lbs.!!

I bought this tape when I was in college to supplement going to my school's gym. I remember thinking that it had gotten too easy and that I would need to find a more challenging video. Fast forward to today and it is a challenge not to stop in the middle, wheezing.

But I did it today. I got through it and I'm so happy.

I purchased my Enell bra on Saturday and it is a wonderful, wonderful bra. I did jumping jacks with no pain at all. Everything stayed in place and the whole workout experience was so positive.

I recommend this tape to anyone who's just starting or trying to get back into shape. It's very good for beginner's. Ms. Austin can be a bit annoying though (perky and patronizing) so I follow the tape with the volume all the way down. Anyway, I can't wait to be back at the point where I'm searching for more advanced stuff. I also put some videos on hold at the library. One by Tamilee Webb and two others by Wai Lana (beginning yoga workout for me and one for Z1).

So here's my plan to start. Aerobics four times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Yoga/Pilates (I'm not sure which one--I have two different DVDs) on Tuesday and Sunday. I don't turn on the television or the computer on Saturdays (Sabbath). I think as Z2 gets more independent, though, I might see about joining a low cost gym to have access to a treadmill or just jogging in the neighborhood. I have never been able to run. DeStouet, if you're reading, it's you that inspired me to reach this goal.

I'm sweaty and tired. I know I'm going to feel this later on today. But that was good. I feel good. Woohoo.

Why are Rice and Beans considered "depression food"?

We eat it (and love it) all the time--not just during hard times.

Well, we eat beans a lot. I serve beans with a variety of grains like couscous, quinoa, cornbread/corn torillas or just whole wheat bread or buns. And we eat practically every bean variety (except I have not found a love for fava or lima beans).

One of my absolute favorite bean dishes is Lentil Dahl. I found the recipe initially in Cathe Olson's book called The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook: Whole Foods to Nourish Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women-and Their Families. It is an excellent cookbook, by the way, and the very one which introduced me to millet as a breakfast porridge, applesauce cake, and yogurt-making. Anyway, Lentil Dahl is a very simple dish that everyone in my family (including Z2) can't get enough of. So I'm sharing it with you today with a few simple variations (if you'd like to see the original recipe, buy or borrow the book or go here). I always use olive oil and I upthe spices and add a good amount of red pepper flakes to it. Unless tomatoes are in season, I use canned tomatoes and for a very special twist on the flavor, I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes.

Lentil Dahl

2 cup lentils (I use brown lentils)
1 strip kombu (optional--adds essential nutrients and reduces cooking time)
6 cups water
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
frozen green peas
frozen corn

Prepare the lentils
In a stock pot, place lentils and kombu, add water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer about 45 minutes until lentils are soft. (I sometimes cook lots of lentils ahead of time and freeze them. I defrost them and they're ready to use in the recipe.)
Make the dahl
In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute just till they start to soften. Add the spices and cook until they are fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes, juice and all and cook until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add the frozen green peas and frozen corn and cook until they are warmed through/defrosted. Then add the lentils. Stir everything to incorporate.

Take half of this mixture and pulse in the food processor leaving some texture (i.e. don't completely puree it). Add that half back to the portion that was left in the pan and stir well. Add salt if necessary.

Serve with millet, quinoa, brown rice, couscous or flatbread. Yum!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crazy and Insane

I don't know.

Sometimes I think it's not natural to be a stay-at-home mom, cut off, for the most part, from a large variety and array of adults. Personally, I tend to make up for that by talking to the hubby about conversations he had with his co-workers at work and, most significantly, by reading blogs and message boards. I wonder at times if by doing this, I've created for myself an alternate reality, a little bubble that's not quite in touch with what's really going on in the world.

I mean, I really feel like we're in another great depression, larger in magnitude than the first and with more far-reaching consequence. I really feel like when the depression is "over," life as we know it will be completely and utterly different. Unrecognizable.

Maybe if I spoke to more people in real life, I wouldn't feel like I could very well be a nutcase because I'd come to realize that they feel that way too. That it's not just bloggers who are sounding the warning alarm and preparing themselves for the worst. That real-life people are really conscious of what's going on.

Or is it that the world at large and the few people I speak to are really blissfully unaware? They really don't know. Do they really think these are just "tough economic times?"

Is it insanity not to notice the signs?

Even astrology confirms that the time we are in is going to be a seriously difficult time. Is it silly to look to astrology for confirmation?

I might be crazy. I might be insane. But I am preparing myself spiritually and mentally for whatever may come. Good. Bad. Or ugly.

I meditate and affirm every morning. My spirit has to be in the right place to deal with a crisis. I work my mind every day. I have to be mentally fit to fix things and overcome challenges--even stuff I never thought I'd have to do. Like learn how to use a firearm.

The age of driving everywhere is coming to a close. I really believe that. So yes, I want to get in shape so I can fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes but I also want to be in shape because that gives me a better chance of survival. If I can run a mile, walk even more miles especially with a baby on my back, that gives me an advantage. I leave the double stroller at home more often now so that Z1 gets accustomed to walking. Long distances. Whenever I drive 20 or 30 minutes someplace, I think to myself that once the days of motoring are over, these kinds of trips are over. It would literally take me days to make a trip that would take 30 minutes driving. I wonder when fuel is no more, will I ever get to see my people back in Naija? Will I be stuck here in the U.S. . . . should I be making plans to move now while there's still some oil left?

Am I excited over lowered gas prices? Yes. It allows me to use the savings to stock up my pantry, buy books on gardening and other supplies that we may need. I know these low gas prices are a fake-out. I don't have any complicated studies to back up my feeling. I just know it. I don't drive unless I have to. It annoys me that where we live is so cold right now that unless we stay home, driving is often justified. As soon as Z2 walks well though, we will drive a whole lot less. I'm keeping it in focus. Driving is and always has been a luxury.

When I use water in my home I practice conservation not because I'm trying to be "green" but because there may be a day when conservation is *not* a choice, when water is rationed and scarce. Cloth diapering is great but it may one day be impractical. So I learn about elimination communication (natural infant hygiene) now. I hope to have Z2 out of diapers come late spring/early summer. I hope to know enough about it to show others around me who may need to learn. Having clean, running water is a luxury, unfortunately. Not a right.

I speak to my children about being resourceful and not wasting things because they can. Z1 in a store will ask for up to 25 things. I will counter each request with, "We don't need that."

Remember when I scored that cast-iron pot at the thrift store. I was so happy not just because I love the way food cooks in cast-iron but because . . . you can cook over an open flame with cast-iron. I have seriously thought about what kind of rig-up we could rig-up so I could cook in the fireplace.

Look, there are things I want like a new set of knitting needles. One part of me says "Save everything you can" while another part says "You might never have the opportunity to buy this stuff again with inflation." Are these the thoughts of a crazy person or a person who really knows what the hell is going on?

Have I jumped too enthusiastically on the conspiracy theory wagon? Again? Maybe.

Whatever, man. I'd rather err on the side of caution with this one. I'm focusing on emergency preparedness. Short term and long term.

The garden is in full swing this spring.

Small Confession

I love that new Akon song "So Paid".

I know. Akon? Really?

But it's so catchy. And he even harmonizes. LoL.

Eh, the hubby says keeping up with current music allows you to keep up and not get out of touch with the younger generation. I guess the fact that I actually (can you believe it?) like some of the music that my 17 year old niece listens to is a good thing.

I won't go as far as to embed the video. :)
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