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Yeye Has Moved!

March 31, 2011

I’ve moved blogging homes to www.soulvegmama.com

Connecting with other women and mothers on this latest phase of my life has been so inspiring. I wanted to change the scope and look of the site.  I haven’t been posting as regularly here partly because I’ve been working on this change.

Please join me at www.soulvegmama.com and subscribe to stay updated!

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Post-fever Lessons

March 20, 2011

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What’s a granola mom to do when baby has a 104 fever?

It’s amazing how fear can derail your thinking. With friends and family who are nurses, acupuncturists, naturopaths, doctors, herbalists etc. you would think these new parents over here would call someone for advice in handling a crisis like a high infant fever. But, no – we didn’t even think about it until days after the tailspin ended.

An almost 9 month old SJ developed a random fever that got as high as 104! Without baby fever medication on hand and no preparation for dealing with a moment like this, we took him to the emergency room. After his fever came down from the children’s Tylenol the nurse gave, we let them test him for some idea of the fever’s cause. This is the number one reason I hate hospitals. Forgive me medical friends, but the climate of fear in hospital culture is too pervasive for me.

Maybe it’s because I have so little experience with doctors and hospitals, but the whole setup is rife with patient disempowerment. And what the one(s) with power say, must be the case. Even in my limited hospital experiences, that hasn’t proven to be true. This time was no different.

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The gerryrigged IV cover that SJ defeated

Read more…

College graduate, Kitchen Kindergarten

January 30, 2011

Is it easier to recall the number of times you’ve eaten food that WAS prepared in your own kitchen than food that WASN’T?

After undergrad (Happy Sesquicentennial, Vassar!), I didn’t know what to do in the kitchen. What are these schools thinking? Releasing an adult out into the world with no meal plan and virtually no culinary skills is untenable. I’m kinda kidding, but not really. A doctor called Mark Hyman recently wrote a great article about how changes in the way we understand food affect our health and family relationships. When I read the following quote, I knew I had to write about it:

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society. (From “How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life“)

If you know me personally, follow me on twitter, or have perused my archives, you know I’m vegan* and something of a foodie. I love to talk about food, recipes, and farming. I love discovering new vegetables, grains, beans and other edible wonders of the earth. I love to eat and I love to cook…now. A few years ago, that wasn’t the case for a myriad of reasons, mostly: lack of cooking confidence, an ignorance of how to organize my kitchen and what I even needed in it, and a limited awareness of produce options.

I needed a poster like this!

 

I remember my first attempt at making gravy…burning the flour and ending up with a lumpy gooey mess. I scraped it into the trash immediately to hide the evidence.  And since we’ve come to trust each other over these past couple of months, I can even tell you that I cried! How could I be so educated, yet so food illiterate?

Dr. Mark Hyman urges families to create and stick to family rituals around preparing and eating food. How prepared were you to eat well by your family or educational institutions? Does your family now practice any family rituals around food outside of holidays and special occasions? Do tell!

*Mainly vegan diet, but I love honey. Some folks would take my card for that.

Kuumba: On beauty and betterment

December 31, 2010

The Kwanzaa principle of the day is Kuumba, which means creativity. Kuumba is quickly becoming the principle that speaks to me most deeply because it implies action. After the previous 5 principles where the focus is on getting together and being intentional about what we do in our family and community, kuumba reminds us to make sure that our positive intentions actually lead to positive outcomes.

Oh, we can go so many ways with this. Read more…

The Never-ending Road Trip

December 30, 2010

It’s been way too long since Yeye said anything here.

In the weeks since that last post, SJ got sick for the first time with a fever, no less. In keeping a 2.5 day new-mother vigil over him worried about his temperature, I neglected my own health and fell prey to his cooties. He got better and I learned to knit and purl while convalescing.


As soon as we were well enough, we embarked on what was to be a 5 day road trip to Chicago and back. It appears that mama nature was working out some cooties of her own in the northeast with a snowpacolypse of a blizzard. In response, we’ve been creeping through the south dropping in on family members waiting for Brooklyn to pick itself up.

Our little road trip has turned into a 6-city winter tour. Read more…

What’s holding you back?

December 9, 2010

About three weeks ago, a friend brought together a group of people for a 30-Days to Do It Challenge.  The basic idea is that you set a goal to be achieved within the next 30 days.  At the same time, you also create a consequence that the thought of losing or having to do it motivates you to accomplish the goal.

My goal is to draft a chapter in a book I started with a friend last year to give pre-teen girls a fun, smart, amd multi-faceted perspective on menstruation and their changing bodies. Right around the time we started working on it, I found out I was pregnant and ushered in a whirlwind of life-changes.  Needless to say, I’ve gotten very little writing done.

A few weeks ago, I learned about the book “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win
Your Inner Creative Battle” by Steven Pressfield.  Bestselling author of Jay-Z’s new book/journalist/filmmaker/amateur pilot dream hampton tweeted one day that it’s the only book on writing she recommends.  Being that I admire her body of work and fancy myself a writer and general creative type, that was enough to pique my interest.  I bought the book on sale for $1.99 in PDF form and recently started reading…with only a week left in my 30-Day challenge. (Don’t worry…I’ve been writing…a little)

This guy is dropping serious jewels like every other page. Literally.  The book addresses the issue of “Resistance,” that silent, vicious force that helps us find comfort in procrastinating – or even ignoring – the projects and callings that have gotten buried (or have we hidden them?) under our family obligations, 9 to 5s, and general over-committedness.  Here is an excerpt on Resistance as a motivator of victimhood that resonates with me lately, so I wanted to share with you:

“People aren’t sick, they’re self-dramatizing….The acquisition of a condition lends significance to one’s existence.  An illness, a cross to bear…The condition becomes a work of art in itself, a shadow version of the real creative act the victim is avoiding by expending so much care cultivating this condition…It seeks to achieve gratification not by honest work or a contribution made out of one’s experience or insight or love, but by the manipulation of others through silent (and not-so silent) threat…Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work.  Don’t do it.  If you’re doing it, stop.”

Now, Pam from Road to Joy once tweeted something about needing to “mama up” and do the daily things that must be done and I’ve run with it.  Clearly, parenting is a full-time sacrifice.  Marriage and committed partnering requires the work of cooperation, constant communication, and self-cultivation.  And, I’ll be the first to admit that even though I love my family life and the opportunity to be a work at home mother, but many times I want adoration acknowledgment for my work and can make a production of it.  In thinking about this chapter I need to finish drafting by next week, I’m reminded that for all of my complaining of missed sleep, I could have my chapter written in no time.  I could have my portion of the home office organized.  I could have found and enrolled in those next few science classes I need to take to apply for the midwifery program.  When it comes down to it, it may not take much time to complain, but it does waste precious mental and spiritual energy that are better used elsewhere.

OK…your turn.  I’d love to hear from my family, good friends, and web mamas about something that Resistance is or has been keeping you from achieving.

Wordless Wednesdays: Aggressive Infants

December 1, 2010
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5 and 3/4 month old SJ’s handiwork

Drs. James Comer and Alvin Pouissant say “children love to tear up newspapers, magazines, and anything else they can get their hands on…it is really a safe release of aggression…Let them sit on the floor and tear up things you don’t want.” (from Raising Black Children)