Sunday, December 30, 2007

Auld Lang Syne!

If you have ever been lucky enough to write a letter to a favorite author and to receive a reply (Donald Hall replied to my letters every time; E.B. White did not) then you will understand what an absolute honor it is to have an author write to you first. I heard from Rebecca Kai Dotlich today, who, thanks to the wonders of Google Alerts, had seen her poem on my blog.

We emailed back and forth several times and it seems that this woman is as beautiful as her writings for children. Her new website is up and running and I encourage you to take a look. Her pages where she writes about growing up are filled with those wonderful memories that the writers and readers among us will certainly recognize: a world of books, words, teachers (encouraging ones and not so encouraging ones), and the thrill of having something of yours published for the very first time.

See you all in 2008!!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Shortest Day - Dearly Love Your Friends

The Shortest Day
By Susan Cooper
Christmas Revels, 1977

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen:
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them,
Echoing, behind us- listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Green Lice. Twice As Nice?

Ah yes. Egg nog, stockings hung by the chimney with care, warm evenings by the fire, lice, a reading of Dickens' Christmas... Wait a second, wait a second. Say that fourth one again? Lice?

Fortunately, I am not writing from direct experience. Yet. The Wanna-Greenies have so far been spared those nasty nits, but I suppose it's only a matter of time before When Lice Strike, the movie, comes to a head near us.

Why, then, do I have lice on the brain? The Washington Post just had a recent article profiling a professional nit-picker, who, using simple equipment and oodles of time, removes those offending buggers by hand. Although the concept of a professional nit-picker is by no means new, it got me thinking about how the standard treatments for treating lice are not very green at all. The active ingredients are, after all, insecticides and although some hardcore greenies may find me to be a green abomination, what with my use of ziploc bags and plastic bottle liners, I think I might have to draw the line at malathion.

There are a host of suggested alternatives from hair dryers (it's the heat, baby, the heat) to olive oil to tons and tons and tons and tons of cream conditioner. What has been your experience with those lousey louses and were you driven to use the big guns when all else failed?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday - Green Holiday Card Bubble Craft

Even though it's *only* the 19th of December, my holiday cards are already looking a bit droopy hanging there on the armoire. As you consider what to do with all that cheery cardstock, post-holiday, think about making some colorful "bubbles" with your children. Depending on the card's size, trace a ramekin, saucer, or other small round dish on the card's design, cut it out, and then decorate (if it even needs additional sprucing) as you please.

When you're done, send those bad boys, with love, to Miss.Donna Quirke Hornick. Do I know her personally? No. But could she, and her room, use a little perking up right now? Yes. Works for me!

Bubble on!

{{More fabulous ideas over at Shannon's house}}

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gift of Green Reviews...Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place

When MotherTalk offered up copy of The Middle Place, I jumped at the chance to receive an advance copy of this memoir by Kelly Corrigan.

I first saw Kelly Corrigan, on the Today show back in 2005. I'm not sure why I was home at the time, usually I was well on my way to work by the time Katie and Matt were on the air. I suspect I must have been home on maternity leave - the day Kelly's dad's bladder showed no "discernable signs of cancer" happens to be the same day Sprout was born. I saw Kelly with her dark, thick hair, just growing back, and her mom, Mary, and her dad, Big George, and listened to their words. Now you can read Kelly's words, beginning January 8th when the book is finally released. I highly recommend you do.

I had the strange experience of beginning The Middle Place, a chapter where Kelly is filling out those tedious medical forms with all the check boxes right before she goes in for her biopsy, just as I had finished filling out all those tedious forms with the check boxes as I waited to see the dentist. The contrast between our two "simultaneous" experiences was not lost on me. Sure, I suppose there was a possibility that my hygienist might find some sort of rare tooth-related neoplasm, but chances were slim. My day was all about getting the cleaning over with; a small side trip on an otherwise worry free day. I wouldn't be giving this appointment another thought. So I couldn't help but think of the differences between my experience in that benign (no pun intended) setting and her appointment that instead marked the beginning of a series of appointments that were more than just a tad routine.

When I finished reading her memoir, just a day later, I immediately felt that The Middle Place is one of those books that you'd love to re-gift (ask her mother about that one) just so you can spread the gospel of Kelly Corrigan to your friends as soon as possible, yet at the same time selfishly wanting to hold onto it for yourself, for no other reason than the comfort of knowing that it's sitting there on your bookshelf to pick up again at any time. There is something incredibly visual about The Middle Place. I could picture everything she described from her reverse in pike on the diving board to a singular evening she spends with friends and family when happiness trumps whatever the future might hold. So much of what she writes resonated with me even though I have not had many of her experiences, from siblings to cancer. But being a daughter, wife and mother seems to be the tie that binds - and even though this memoir is about cancer, it's not about cancer, if you know what I mean. It really is about so much more. To me it's more about, as Kelly writes, "that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap", the frustration of your body being so in control of you that it forces you to miss you daughter's preschool orientation picnic, her examples of fear and pain, being an adult and then, with just a gesture or a word, becoming a child again.

This is a book that alternates between the past of her childhood and the past of her adult life. Parts are heartbreaking - a preview of life's future events flicker by as a preview to a play that we can only hope a parent won't miss. This is not a puritanical piece of work either. There is drinking, and swearing, and with out a doubt, I will never be able to look at pair of Guess jeans in the same way again. Thank you, Kelly, for that.

Left out of the book are photographs of Kelly's treatment experiences taken by her and by her husband, Edward Litchy, so supplement your reading of The Middle Place with these fine black and whites by going to Kelly's website, Circus of Cancer. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your words and photographs with us and for sharing with us a little bit of what it's like to be a Corrigan, from Wooded Lane to California and back again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Green Hindsight Is 20/20/Would, Coulda, Shoulda/Etc.

Since I began this journey towards greeness, I have learned so much from my readers and from my readees. In retrospect, there are a number of things I would have done differently had I known what I know now. Here are a few green/eco-friendly/natural wouldas:

1) I would have used cloth diapers. Not 100% of the time, but perhaps while I was on maternity leave or when were were just hanging around the house.

2) I definitely would not have used plastic bottle liners.

3) I still would have vaccinated my children, but I would have spaced them out a bit more (the vaccines, not my children).

4) I would have been less nervous about breastfeeding. What I feel is lacking most in terms of breastfeeding education is that breastfeeding is not a science. Some people need to breastfeed more, some less, some "ten minutes per breast and again every two hours", some good luck getting anything else done. It wasn't until my good friend Elisabeth told me that breastfeeding is more like "breastfeed for 40 minutes, have a slice of pie, start breastfeeding again", that I realized you pretty much do what it takes and forget all the advice books.

5) I would have worn my babies more rather than used the infant carseat/snap and go for every little thing.

What are some of your woulda/shoulda/couldas? And remember, don't beat yourself up over them. We do the best we can.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Zoot Suits (You)?

It's been five years since we've moved into our home and our upstairs (small peaked roof with dormer) has wall to wall carpeting. Here is what is lurking (and not so lurking) within the carpet: orange juice/apple juice, cat puke (cleaned of course...but it *that* clean?), various child-related expulsions (cleaned of course...but really...oh, nevermind), probably dust mites and allergens, probably ground in boot dirt, probably sand from a Very. Unfortunate. Incident.

Green Husband has given me the go ahead and I am calling in the big guns for a thorough cleaning. I want to use Zoots a kinder, gentler carpet cleaning company. I hope they clean in my area - have any of you Zooted?

Also, did you ever wonder what would happen if your child could post a message to a Pre-Schooler listserve? I am sure my children's postings would look something like this.


Getting in the Spirit Update: Holiday cards have arrived. Lights are on tree. Green Grams present has been mailed. Legs have been broken off Tinker Bell ornament ("She was stuck in the lock.").

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Attention Green-Mart Shoppers!

I have stayed away from making holiday gift suggestions simply because there are so many of you serving up adorable ideas, but I just want to bring your attention to two possible options for, you know, the gal who has everything (but does she have a beehive) and the fair trade lover in your life.

Green Nana reminded me about Heifer International. And no, it isn't just about heifers anymore! The milk from one goat or the honey from one beehive can make a huge financial difference to a family that is choosing between sending a child to school or having them earn much needed money for the household. You can even surprise a mama with a llama! And don't worry - you won't have to concern yourself with shipping and handling charges for the water buffalo. It's all included.

If you're lucky enough to be in Bar Harbor, Maine right now, trip on over to a new shop on Firefly Lane and browse Fair Trade Winds' selection of fair trade goods. Not going to be Down East any time soon? Order from the dozens of products on their website; free shipping on orders of $50 or more through December 31st! I purchased several items and received them promptly by mail in boxes that had obviously been recycled. Fair trade and green to boot!

Happy shopping!


Update: Stayed tuned for "The Mac Goes Back" post. Yes, that's right. To the store. So disappointed my MacBook friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Do you ever feel that you're so far Behind that you don't even know where to begin? I've missed you all, and your blogs and photographs and projects are inspiring me to get into the holiday spirit. For some reason I'm just not there yet.

Way back in November, Miss. SusieJ tagged me, so let me get back into the swing of things with a Seven Random Things About Me meme. I sure would like her cookie dough recipe though. As I mentioned, I am Behind.

So here goes...

1) I once won an essay contest sponsored by Kiplinger's Magazine and spend my $1,000 prize at The Inn. We still ended up owing $264 at checkout. For one night and one dinner.

2) One of my favorite smells is of calamine lotion.

3) I did not learn to drive until I was 30 years old.

4) Jenny Rough was the first person to leave a comment on my blog. Well, Anonymous was really. Thank you Jenny, and Anonymous...whoever you are.

5) I am busily planning our first family vacation. Guess where we are headed? Graceland, Dollywood, Grand Ole Opry. Yes. It's true.

6) I am a librarian. I am a habitually late returner of books. My overdue fines for 2007 were well over $100. Somebody please help me.

7) I am trying not to mind that I am so Behind. Sprout and Pip don't have a clue that their Mom should have the cookie dough done, the Christmas tree decorated, the holiday cards addressed, the crafts made, the week's worth of dinners in the freezer, the laundry done, and Everything Perfect. They just want to go outside and make angels in today's new snowfall. Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go!!

I tag all of you who are also Behind. Take a few moments to share seven random things about yourself - hey, those other things can wait...they have so far!