Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Think I Will Come Back as a Pioneer --

My Aunt Willie, while learning to drive and having a huge aversion to backing up, clung to her adage "just keep going forward".  I have always tried to live by her wise witticism but lately I feel like I am going backward more than forward and some days I feel like I have turned around and am running the other way.

I guess there are several reasons for this -- my age, first and foremost.  I actually remember a time when things were different --- not necessarily better -- but different and as I am aging I am finding that I prefer that  "other"  time.  Our constant ability to access the media 24/7 is another.  I remember a time when all the news we got was the newspaper and the 10 o'clock news.  Of course, there was the radio but that was mostly the Top 40 -- the constant blaring of "evil" rock and roll.  Now, however, we are bombarded with the the news of the day -- wars, rumors of wars,  and everything -- EVERYTHING -- that is wrong with the planet and our life on it.  Basically, what I am hearing on a daily basis is how toxic our lives are.  Is this true?  Is it a media fabrication to evoke some sort of change in us and our behavior to affect some sort of governmental result?  As my husband says, "at our ages, does it really matter if we eat vegetables from BPA coated cans"?  Well, I don't know but what I do know is that I am tired of being confused about my existence.  Do the things I do in my day to day life really affect the planet, my health, the health of my family SO negatively?  I don't think we will ever know the answer to that question.

As I have become more and more uncomfortable with the reports of the toxicity of our lives I have been trying to change things on a personal basis and I have been doing a lot of thinking about my life as a child, how things were done and how people lived.  I have tried to implement little changes so as to NOT freak out the Hubs too much lest he think I am ready for the little "home" with less stress.

One of the things I have done is made a huge effort to de-plasticize the house.  I have done a pretty good job of it with the exception of zip-lock bags.  For some reason, I can't get the Hubs to wrap his lunch in waxed paper and the thought of carrying a lunch box/bag that you have to carry home is beyond his realm of acceptance.  He can tell me how his mom used to wrap his 2 pennies for milk at lunch (clue as to his age!) in waxed paper but I am not sure the man realizes that waxed paper is still being manufactured even though I have several varieties in the house.  As a result I have been having great fun buying pyrex even though the modern stuff has plastic lids it is still an improvement but I prefer to buy the old stuff at the antique store -- the stuff with the glass lids and it costs a pretty penny but it is great.

In my attempt to turn "green", I have been buying more natural products.  I use this to wash my hair and my husband uses it to shave with.  He says it makes his face soft.  It does.

It doesn't give my hair the ummph (sp?) that the volumizing shampoos do but it squeaky clean and it doesn't strip out all the natural oil. 

I tend to buy "green" cleaning products but I am moving away from that as well.  From many blogs and comments, I am learning how to make "natural" cleaning products that work well and are less destructive to the environment and will actually cost less in the long run.

I use a homemade "soft scrub" product that I learned of from a friend, Alicia.  It is a mixture of

                      1/2 cup baking soda
                       liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's)
                       1 tsp. food grade vegetable glycerin

The process is that you mix the baking soda with enough soap to make it pasty -- it doesn't take a whole lot -- and then you mix the glycerin in it and put it in a nice, wide mouth jelly jar with the cute gingham lid.

Works great and looks good if you leave it out next to the sink.  The product is more than acceptable (the scrub, not the jelly) and it makes my sinks shine!!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to research laundry soap.  I have been using All Free and Clear for my HE machine.  I would prefer a powder since I have the machines that sit up on the drawers for storage and the bottles don't fit in the drawers which sort of defeats the purpose.  So, I tried 7th Generation laundry powder and, while it was ok, I wasn't thrilled.  Can't tell you why, just wasn't thrilled.  I bought another brand of "green" soap called "Charlie's Soap".

I haven't tried it but I am sure I will.  It is almost like my new concoction except that it comes in a big, plastic tub which sort of goes against my "no plastic, not in MY house" rule. cut to the chase (a little late for that, I suspect) I have been making my own laundry detergent.  The recipe called for Fels Naptha soap which I wasn't feeling too good about -- but it also said to use Ivory or basically whatever you bathe with -- that way you will know there aren't any allergies.  If you use a body wash, yeah, this won't work.  Gotta go back to bar soap.  So, here is what I used.

The recipe is:

                1 cup grated soap

                 1/2 cup washing soda

                 1/2 cup borax

                  Combine -- use 1 T for small load, 2 T for large

                  I also use white vinegar in my fabric softener well in the machine.

Ready to grate the soap -- no special equipment needed!

Grating soap is fun! And easy!

Voila!  Laundry Soap! Yes, that is a plastic spoon -- recycling!

This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of laundry soap and I can honestly say it goes a long way.  I have washed quite a few loads and I am still not out although I will be making more today. 

I have also replaced all the liquid soap in the bathrooms with bar soap -- Dr. Bronner's -- and I did handwash a load of dishes this morning with the same bar soap.  So, all in all, I feel pretty good about what I am doing and I sort of feel, for a moment, that I have slipped back in time a bit.  All these soap suds are blocking out the work outside and I feel like I am living in a much safe environment.

Jumping off the soap box now.

And the question is --- what, if any, kind of music do you listen to when you're reading?

And the answer is -- none!  I usually have the television on or nothing at all.  I prefer nothing at all but in the evening, that isn't the case around here.  I have tried listening to internet radio while reading but it doesn't work so well because I tend to fiddle around with the radio instead of reading!