Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pushing Gravy Uphill...

Kurt putting the finishing touches on the bay window.

...is finally paying off! Yesterday, with a bunch of smiling volunteers, we moved most of the Mercantile merchandise into the store. Let me repeat that. WE MOVED THE MERCANTILE MERCHANDISE INTO THE STORE! Whooeeee! Kurt and I can walk in the bedroom now, without scooting along sideways between boxes like crazy people. We're hoping to have a "soft" opening on Friday after dinner - by soft we mean that we're just opening the doors and inviting Rabbits in for a little looksee. I'll post more pictures as I get displays done.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Food Matters - Green Mom's Carnival for July 2009

Food. It is my passion. I like cooking food, eating food, thinking about food, and reading about food. I read cookbooks for fun, and have made many new friends in restaurants after staring unabashedly at their plates. There is nothing better than cooking a hearty and healthy meal for friends and sharing it over good conversation. And while I was horrified to find out that all of those delicious photos of food that I had been drooling over online were actually referred to as "food porn," I could not stop looking!

We, as Americans, are at a crossroads, foodwise. We can continue to be taken for a ride by corporate agriculture OR we can take control and say "enough." WE CAN BE POWERFUL. Every single time you purchase produce from a local farmer's market instead of produce flown in from, say, Chile, you are taking a step in the right direction. Every time you avoid purchasing commercially prepared food with high-fructose corn syrup you score one for the good guys. Every time you let grocery store managers know what you will (and will not purchase) you make a difference. It is not only your right, it is your responsibility. There are lots of ways to make a difference. Many are included in this month's Green Mom's Carnival posts below.

Stepping off my soapbox, I'll make room for others to spout off, encourage, and share their truths. Thanks to all who participated!

Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green starts us off with two great must-see movies, King Corn and Food Inc., and a reminder that every one of us can make a difference. Watch the trailer for Food Inc. at Retro Housewife; King Corn is available from Netflix. Best enjoyed with non-GMO popcorn, organic butter and sea salt. But I digress...

Anna at Green Talk shares many ways to get local healthy food into your family's diet. Also included: inspirational photos of her garden and encouragement for all. Gorgeous!

Lynn over at Organic Mania, and Maryanne at Not Quite Crunchy Parent both have a bone to pick with the USDA and the growing ambiguity of terms like "organic" and "natural." How on earth are mere mortals to unravel the secret code and know what is really what? Lynn and Maryanne can help.

Jennifer at The Smart Mama reminds us of the joy that children find in fresh grown food, and that growing our own is often possible - what a great place to start! Fresh blueberries 1, Lunchables, 0!

Jammies and Jam are on Renee's mind at Enviromom. Yes we can!

And speaking of fresh delicious food, the post at the Green Phone Booth, where ordinary women become eco-heroes, features photos that make me happy AND hungry.

Katy at Non-Toxic Kids reminds us that organic by itself isn't necessarily the answer, and confesses her difficulty in "steering clear of the frozen and canned organic foods that call to me-- "no cooking! look, we are organic, we must be healthy!" Even better, after reading her post I vowed to forgo my daily Dr. Pepper (speaking of eco-guilt) and go out to the garden and harvest some kale for dinner.

Mindful Momma gives us just the nudge we need - it is up to each of us to help ensure that our food systems are safe. Click here to read her post, and to take (easy!) action supporting the Organic Consumer's Association, and get info on farm and food issues.

Beth at Fake Plastic Fish
provides some (organic, wholesome and plastic-free) food for thought about food packaging. Because really, don't you find it a teensy bit ironic that organic food comes wrapped/encased/surrounded/bagged in plastic? Arrrrggghhhh!

Diane and her Big Green Purse take on Pepsi, Eco-Fina and disposable plastic bottles. Because woman doesn't live by food alone. Yay Diane!

Karen at The Best of Mother Earth reminds us why we eat, and garnishes her post with some encouragement and practical advice.

Fabulous Ruchi of Arduous Blog continues to be the voice of reason, the burning bush, the spirit of sanity in a sea of orgasmic (but organic!) desserts and sweet things. Defending balance in the eco-blogosphere, she is calling for blog posts about healthy food, which while possibly less exciting, are much more real. I've got that writing assignment on my list for tomorrow!

And last but certainly not least, Lisa at Condo Blues is looking for ideas for her abundant mint harvest. Click and help her out!

Thanks for joining us!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alline 1, Lyme's Disease 0

Hi all. Just reporting in that I do NOT have Lyme's Disease. See the details at Ecovillage Musings: Doxycycline, or Alline Opens a Big Can o' Whup Ass.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dances With Ticks

Two weeks ago I returned to Dancing Rabbit from the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair ebullient, ecstatic, enraptured and just plain happy with the reception that both Dancing Rabbit and the Milkweed Mercantile had received.

People walked up to our table and a smile just spread across their faces. “Wow,” they sighed, “you have such lovely stuff.”

I had to agree. I have spent three years researching, thinking, writing, and obsessing about the perfect combination of merchandise. Products that are more than mere “stuff.” I wanted to make sure that everything would be durable, last a long time, be more than worth the money spent, be made by people who were paid a fair wage (or at least owned the business). I had spent months on Etsy looking for artisans with ethics, and had been gratified to find an abundance of talent and heart out there looking for a place to shine. I found many women-owned and SAHM businesses which I am thrilled to support, and people doing incredible things with reclaimed resources. When the only organic cotton flannel hanky producer decided she was not interested in selling wholesale any longer I hunted down the fabric and bought a serger to make the hankies myself. And I haunted auctions to build my stash of vintage hankies for my personal campaign to make the laundering of hankies (instead of the disposal of tissues) a way of life again.

But within a week I was in bed. I woke up achier than I had ever been, had an on-and-off fever, an inability to stay neither awake nor vertical, and absolutely no appetite. In six days I lost ten pounds. The doc, given the info he had, could only diagnose a vague virus, and proscribe Tylenol and sleep. Then late Saturday night, lying in bed sweating with fever while under the wind-tunnel of a ceiling fan on ‘high,’ I noticed that while all of my skin felt cool and clammy, an area behind my left knee felt warm, and a bit tender. Unable to sleep, for that moment anyway, I crawled out of bed, went downstairs, hauled out a full-length mirror and took a gander.

When they say “bulls eye” when talking Lyme’s disease diagnosis they are not kidding. There on the back of my leg, in brilliant Technicolor, was a 6-inch-wide blazing bull’s eye. I felt relieved and pissed off at the same time – relieved that I finally knew what was wrong with me, and pissed off that it was most likely Lyme’s disease.

The next morning Kurt took me to the ER, where test were taken, educated guesses made, and antibiotics proscribed. After just one pill I was able to sit upright for over an hour for the first time in almost a week. The exhaustion lifted, and I could not stop eating. (So much for my unexpected weight-loss program!). So while I do have some sort of disease (we won’t know which one until the tests come back) I at least know what is wrong, and that it can be fixed. Everything I’ve read online verifies that early treatment almost always takes care of it.

And once again I’ve come to appreciate my health, and my life. While lying in bed day after day feeling absolutely awful, unable to do anything but doze and think I couldn’t help but remember my friends and loved ones who have gone before. Marcia at 25, Carter at 40, Jess at 47, Cindy at 50, on and on and on. Lots of pain, lots of suffering. Soon my little bout of tick-ness will be neatly cleared up. I’m almost back on my feet, and am struggling to feel worthy. It’s an odd sort of survivor’s guilt I suppose – why do I get to be here? What worthwhile things can I accomplish on behalf of those I’ve loved who did not get as much time? I’m still working on it. In the meantime I'm taking lots of naps. More soon!