Posted by: scintillatingspeck | November 14, 2009

Keeping up momentum.

I’ve decided that I want to write, despite the fact that I don’t have a well-thought-out post already scripted in my head.  I want to keep up my momentum with blogging and trust that at least a few words will be useful or insightful to somebody.

I decided to get rid of all the tableware (cups, plates, utensils, etc) in our house that are made of plastic.  Most tableware designed for children, especially, seems to be made of plastic, probably because it doesn’t break and comes in nifty colors and patterns.  However, I don’t want to keep this stuff anymore, even though the items were given to us with the best of intentions, even though Lily really digs her Barbapapa plates, even though they aren’t broken and are still useable.  The frugal scrimper in me really doesn’t like to get rid of useful objects, but I’ve decided that anything that slowly leaches toxic materials into my baby’s food and drink is not useful.  To some degree, I am going on the precautionary principle here–  although some compounds in plastic have been found to be toxic and others supposedly not, I feel better just assuming that it’s better to simply avoid as much plastic as possible.  This is not easy.  I also got rid of a bunch of plastic toys while I was at it.  Meanwhile, I have made a few small purchases to make this easier; I bought two little metal cups at Goodwill (one copper, one pewter), since metal doesn’t break when dropped either, and I bought a little reusable, cloth snack bag to carry Lily’s snacks in (for sale at Wheatberry and made by a local company called Snack Taxi).  The snack bag has cool owls on it (those who know Lily are aware that she is very fond of owls).

Yesterday I also took the plunge and ordered a Big Berkey, which is a gravity-fed tabletop water filter which can process something like 12 gallons of water a day.  I’m glad I made this purchase because it makes me breathe easier about access to clean water.  We do have camping water filters as well, where you pump the water through manually, but the gravity-fed model doesn’t require that kind of work.

Speaking of shopping… I was sorely tested today in the “don’t buy stuff you don’t need” goal.  My dear, sweet friend Kristi invited me to go to the Twist Fair at the Northampton Center for the Arts today, and my eyes just about bugged out of my head.  It was pretty overwhelming.  But I greatly relished the opportunity to spend time with Kristi and get all kinds of inspiration to do my own crafty projects.  I did break down and buy ONE item, which I definitely didn’t need, but I am trying madly to justify the purchase by telling myself, at least it’s made of felt, and it’s beautiful, and I’m supporting an artist– it’s a headband of felt leaves that I fell in love with.  Here’s a picture from the artist’s Etsy site; mine is more blue and purple than this one, though.  Kristi asked me, “When was the last time you bought something just for yourself?” and I was finding it difficult to remember, especially in the category of accessories.  Still, I am trying to resist the siren song of the consumerist impulse, the seductive internalized voice that says, “Do it for you.  You deserve it! Don’t you want to feel special?”  I tell myself, at least I bought direct from the artist, at least the money isn’t going to some crazy greedy international corporation, at least it is handmade, at least when its useful life is over, it will decompose and leave no polluting remainders for thousands of years.

Yesterday I had real leaves in my hair, to Lily’s great delight (although she was also fascinated by the leaf headband today and promptly put it on her own head).  Yesterday we had a quiet day at home and I foraged even more hickory nuts.  I haven’t weighed all of the nuts I’ve foraged this season, but it must be at least 50 to 75 pounds.  That could be an underestimate.  Possible explanations for this include:  a) I was a squirrel in another life, b) it kind of feels like an Easter egg hunt, c) I love free food that falls out of trees, d) I love that I can identify wild edibles, e) hickory nuts are full of great protein and omega-3 fatty acids, f) it lessens my anxiety about the state of the world to store food.  Anyway, during the foraging, Lily kept wanting me to sit down and give her milky, which I did while husking the nuts I had just gathered.  Then we started flopping onto the ground and I told Lily that we could feel Mother Earth holding us up better that way.  Lily cried out joyfully, “Mother Earth! Mother Earth!” and tackled me repeatedly.  We rolled around and leaves became lodged in my hair, which Lily thought was grand.  I did too.  How did I get so lucky to have this little girl in my life?  Some days are much harder than others, but the past few days have been laden with Lily’s sweetness and light.  My Lily Angela, my Angel of the Lilies.  (That link will bring you to a photograph of a stained glass window at the UU Society of Amherst, where I have been attending Sunday services for the past few months; the window seemed like a good omen for my reengagement with a UU congregation.)

Speaking of delight in little girls, this has been an important week for two friends of mine.  My friend Katherine gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Anny Elizabeth, on Monday, and my friend Carol gave birth to her fourth child, a daughter, Fiona Clementine, yesterday.  I am grateful for their safe passage into the world and ecstatic for their families.

And just to continue this disjointed post: thank you to everyone (human or otherwise) who showed me loving little gestures recently, in words or deeds, allowing my downward spiral to start spiraling up again into a place with more light, leaves, and hickory nuts.



  1. Jen, I almost always read your blog posts. You’re honest, and I’m constantly struck by how clear your writing voice is. Thanks for you..

  2. Thanks, Ray! I appreciate your words, and you.

  3. This is just such a lovely, heartening post! I looove the part about Lily and Mother Earth. Thanks for sharing, and best of luck with the Bean Farm!

  4. Thanks, Adrie! 🙂

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