Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Circle of Life (with pieces of ham)

When I was a kid my mother used to say "Children's waste goes to mother's waist" as she picked at my leftovers. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not understand this little play on words until adulthood. Probably post-college (I can be a little slow sometimes).

Having chickens has made me realize how much food our own kids waste. On the counter we have a bowl into which we scrape all scraps considered delectable by chickens (basically everything but garlic, onions, coffee grounds and egg shells). It's a lot of food.

Here's the breakfast and lunch contributions for today:

(poppy seed bread, pieces of ham, pita chips, radish tops, nibbled apple slices, cheese, milk)

But here's the good news: they turn all this into eggs. Everyday. Garbage into food!

(That egg on the left is the normal size for our chickens.
That egg on the right is some monster birthed after much loud squawking yesterday.
I'm betting it's a triple-yolker. Poor dear. )

Okay, so I'm leaving out the poop part. If I'm perfectly honest I have to admit that mostly, they turn our leftovers into poop. But does this bother me? Does it gross me out? It does not! Because we turn the poop into compost which we use to grow the vegetables that our kids won't eat. The vegetables that end up in the scrap bowl, and are fed to the chickens, who turn it into eggs...and poop. We're like our own little biosphere over here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What I needs is a secretary

I am not the only one parked at Ocean Beach, sitting in my car and watching the wild Pacific through the windshield. The old Chinese man in the car to my right is napping, mouth wide open. The suburban-looking man two cars away in the silver highlander is smoking a cigarette, (I'm thinking his family still thinks he quit for good back in 2001). On my way in, I passed two old ladies sitting in a Civic, arguing.

Me? I’m blogging, catching the last 27 minutes before it’s time to pick up the kids from the hula-hooping babysitter and make dinner. And really, I can’t complain about the office space. I mean, I have a minivan, and as work carrels go, it’s pretty spacious.

This is what my time is like these days, little snatched moments that I try to stuff with something productive (I have a productivity disease and can only feel happy if I can list some worthwhile accomplishments for the day; this isn’t as hard as it sounds since I sometimes allow myself to count showering among my achievements.). Today my patchwork went like this: two hours on the couch while the kids were at school, then three more hours at Peet’s until I got kicked off the Wi-Fi. Now it’s Ocean Beach, with surfers tumbling in the white water right in front of me and the crazies sticking yet more old seagull feathers in their dreadlocks.

And in the killing-two-birds-with-one-stone category, I’m pretty sure the sun baking me through the windshield is good for my cold.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playing Catch Up

As you may have noticed, I'm not exactly winning any Blogger of the Year awards for frequency lately. I apologize for my dereliction of duty. The good news is, my freelance life is booming. The bad news (for you, at least) is, with the exception of about 9 hours a week, I am taking care of my kids. Those precious free nine hours are spent writing about hotels or interviewing people who know stuff. Every once in a while they are spent watching You Tube videos forwarded by my mom.

But here are the four most exciting things that have happened to me and my family in the last week. Because, you know, I want you to feel up to speed.

1.) An MFA creative writing class at DePaul University in Chicago is using a short-short story of mine called "Why You Shouldn't Have Gone in the First Place," as an example of "time and place." I know this because one of the students wrote me an email to say he liked it. Isn't that nice? It's in this book, along with many, many good short stories. I wrote it a hundred years ago. Maybe a thousand.

2.) I had a minor but important parenting breakthrough after my total Sylvia Plath collapse last week. Here it is: I don't have to follow one parenting philosophy word-for-word. I can pick and chose and figure out what works for us. Like, I can give time-outs AND involve my children in decision making and conversation. I know, it sounds elementary, but for me, freedom from thinking I am a failure at being the perfect "positive discipline" groovy parent has been revolutionary. Peace reins in the household. Also, I think the fact that my children saw me just sob my eyes out has made them realize that I do have a breaking point and that they probably don't want to see it again. Proof once more that fear is as good a parenting tool as anything else.

3.) We went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival where my kids sang along to "This Land is Your Land," got filthy dirty, and learned the phrase "jump the fuck up." Thank you, Steve Earle.

4.) Green Apple Books has a candy drawer in the office and, as the wife of one of the owners, I have access to it. I will now be working here every Monday morning.

Peace and chocolate, my people.

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