Saving Me

I read a beautiful post on Sarah Bessey’s blog about what was saving her. She invited everyone to participate, and I am late to the party, because I always am what with one thing or another, but here I am at last, and I bear cake.

What is saving me is this: wonderful blogs, and finally having a space of my own on the internet where I can say what I’m thinking and think what I’m saying and somehow align the two. Wise words, beauty in life, small moments captured in the hecticness of life. A husband who can cook and clean, who rides out my exhausted tantrums, who is God’s love incarnate in oh-so-many ways. Books are always saving me, and at the moment it’s Dresden Files and Kate Daniels, new short sotry authors, and thinking of new texts for school. It’s the people who surround me in my day-to-day moments, the ones I’m blessed to share my minutes with, the ones I love, who let me be me, who take my quirkiness in their stride – it’s you, because you’re one of these people, sharing my life with me, laughing with me as I sometimes stumble.

But mostly – oddly – it’s dog poo, and putting the small person to bed. Because he’s been crying and fussing and not wanting to leave my side, and so to clean up the yard I strapped him on and wore him until my back muscles cried, and we worked in the warmth of a pre-spring afternoon, sunshine gilding his hair, like yellow labrador hair, and the smiling eyes of our dogs. I moved, and used my body in the way it was designed to be used, and carrying a child so close felt like the small heaven of quiet-soul moments, felt like the sunbright warmth of connected people, felt like happy dog fur, which is both happy-dog fur, and happy dog-fur, tumbling freewheeling spiralling in the breeze as I scoop and shovel, scoop and shovel.

No one knew that dog poo could be spiritual. (Well probably they did, but my soul had never heard it.)

It’s putting him to bed, forced into slower rhythm of twilit rooms, of soft white humming of the washing machine and droning from a far-distant tv. It’s knowing I can’t leave because he wants me close, it’s realising that I need him close, and learning to enjoy, to stop, to not be forced, because when I have nothing better to do I love these nighttime rhythms, and I have nothing better to do, because he is a priority. So I sing into his forehead as I lower him to the mattress, pat his stomach, smooth his hair, give him Eeyore and drap myself along his cot like a swooning maiden made kneeless by sighs of love, and my heart swells, and I remember dog poo, and how soul-quiet comes when we let it, not when we demand it.

I lie on the floor, still singing, still humming, and for the first time all day I let myself relax, and putting him to sleep is no longer hard, draining work, but my solace in a frantic day, and I thank God for a small child who needs me, even though I am tired of need, because I need need, and he needs me, and it because of this that I am lying on the floor soothing myself as much as him.

One day, I will remember lessons learned in soul-quiet moments, and the moments will come thicker – like honey, maybe, the sweet glaze over a life well lived, slow and luscious and dreamy.

I wrap my smile around the thoughts of honey, and take my saving thoughts to bed.

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Sweet Potato Savoury Slice

My best friend in high school introduced me to this, and I haven’t made it in yeeeeears. But, I have lovely fresh sweet potatoes grown only a couple of hours away from here waiting to be used, and a bazillion and one eggs (otherwise known as 43 o.O) in the fridge because both Boyo and I thought we were out. Oops. So. Lunch, that is tasy and filling and nutritious and all those other good things.

 

Sweet Potato SliceIngredients

400g ish of sweet potato – peel it, and slice it thinly

200g of feta – hard, soft, whatever you like best

1T crumbled basil (I used frozen from fresh for the first time, which was surprisingly good, actually)

6 eggs – free range of course 😉

1/3c of cream – I used thickened as that’s all we had

 

Microwave/steam the sweet potato until nearly cooked. Layer half in the bottom of a greased baking dish – mine was about 15cm x 22cm at a guess. Crumble over half the feta and sprinkle over half the basil. Mix eggs and cream – I beat lightly with a fork until combined. Pour half of it over the sweet potato etc in the dish. Layer on the rest of the sweet potato, feta, basil and egg mixuture. Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins until nearly set and just browning. Remove from oven and sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy hot or cold :o)

What. The Hell.

So, here’s some terrifying information for you. Randomly, I was doing a click-read-click spree again tonight and stumbled across a Nov-2001 article where Johnson&Johnson were promising to remove a known carcinogen from their baby products. UM, I THINK THAT WOULD BE A REALLY GOOD IDEA, JOHNSON&JOHNSON. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

It prompted me to go grab Small Person’s shampoo and examine the ingredients. The carginogenic compound is not listed, but of course, I had no clue what most of the listed ingredients were. Usually, the solution is to ignore these ingredients – but tonight I was struck by curiosity.

Here are the terrifying results. Some ingredients fell under more than one category, so despite what the numbers add up to, this is out of 15 ingredients.

8 safe (sigh of relief)

BUT:
1 known skin irritant
1 known immune system irritant
5 known skin toxicants
1 not safe for use on damaged or irritated skin
1 toxic or harmful for organs; not for products used on the mouth (lipstick etc) – dude, this is BABY WASH/SHAMPOO. OF COURSE IT’S GOING IN THE MOUTH.
1 potential neuro-toxicant

What. The hell.

Seriously. From now on, we are all bathing in olive oil with sugar. (Actually, I totally bought some grape seed oil from Costco on the weekend for the Small Person – it’s supposed to be one of the best oils for the skin ;)).

If you’re interested in checking out any of the complicated products on your ingredient lists, google, or use this awesome site here.

Octopuses Achieve Consciousness

This makes me irrationally happy. Octopuses and I have a very love-terror relationship: the freak the heck out of me, but I also adore them.

 

In other news, I think I have begun to clarify my relationship with writing. Happy days. Also, the bread-shoggoth is beginning to make bubbles; hopefully we shall have an active culture soon and can start experimenting with this whole bread-making idea. Rah. Also-also, I totally survived the English teacher Professional Development workship that I was asked to run last night, and it went swimmingly. They have encouragd me to volunteer to run it again next year. Also-also-also and also finally, I must now run away to do Sekrit Project things for tomorrow’s hens night (for my high school bestie, not me). Pictures forthcoming. Woo-rah.

Humanity

There are days when I want to crawl into a corner and cry because of the atrocities that are committed daily, hourly, minutely in the name of ‘humanity’. This world is just so broken, and I am just so little. It’s frustrating, and heart-breaking, and soul-destroying if I allow myself to forget the starfish – that throwing one out of a million starfish back still matters to that one. And dearest God, it is hard to remember sometimes, especially when I have a broken care meter.

I’ve been reading tonight about the over-sexualisation of prepubescent girls and, in the course of my read-click-read-click-read spree, I stumbled onto information about the Nestle boycott. I’ve heard about that somewhere very recently, like in the last week, probably from similar sites in a similar read-click-read spree, and tonight just solidified my desire to have nothing to do with the company. Details here. So now I’m all depressed about the state of the world, because it’s when I get into read-click-read sprees that my broken caremeter affects me most – because I have almost no ability to STOP once I get reading something, anything (yes, I compulsively read, even the cereal box, if there’s writing on it and it’s in my line of sight, I’ll be reding it), and so spress like this pile depressing information on my head like snow, piling and piling and piling until it’s like an avalanche and I’m suffocating and I can’t do anything and I feel useless and the only thing I can do is walk away and stop caring.

And then I hate that I don’t care any more 😛 Welcome to the bizarre and unnatural cycles of my head.

But then. The pasta boiling in the pot beside me right now is at least made entirely from real, pronouncable ingredients. There are no apparent connections to Nestle that I can detect. Doubtless, millions of other corporations are doing stuff just as screwed up, but I can’t battle them all, I hyperventlate just thinking about it, and I cling to the starfish, and remember that I am not here to fix the world, I’m not, I can’t, I’m not God… I’m pretty much only here to fix myself, and I do that by caring for others.

So I let go, release the death grip on my heart, allow myself to feel just a little of that caring. I bundle the rest of it tight, the pain, the frustration, the fury, and I give it over to someone who is the only one who can deal with it, and I take a deep breath, and remember the starfish, and force myself to smile at a pot of bubbling pasta that, to the best of my knowledge right now, is cruelty-free.

Enter: A Shoggoth

Husband has decided he wants a shoggoth – not quite the Lovecraftian version, but the edible version, which is actually fairly close 😛 Anyway, that is what the Sparkly One calls it, and I have adopted the name.

So, I am researching shoggoth-making, and we have our first little experiment sitting in a jar on the bench. He’s to be fed every day this week, and hopefully, weather-dependant, he make be ready for bread-making next weekend. Stay turned, bwa ha ha. O:)

(Also, because we have yeast in the cupboard that needed using, we made a quick loaf which is now in the oven. A little suspicious about how it will turn out, because we… made a few mistakes. Like forgetting to add yeastuntil it was already all mixed up. Oops. Again: stay tuned.)

My Favourite Face Scrub Ever

Totally random, but I have to share, because I’ve just made up a new batch and it really is awesome. I always intend to use this stuff 2-3 times a week, and in reality end up using it about once a fortnight, if that – but whenever I do, my skin practically glows the next day (I’m a night showerer), so you know.

Also, bonus: it’s DEAD SIMPLE.

Wanna know what’s in my super favouritest face cleanser/scrub ever? Sure, I’ll tell you.

Sugar.

Olive oil.

That’s it. Though sometimes I throw in a spoonful of dried lavendar from the garden, because it smells pretty. And yes, I know, cleaning my face with oil sounds counterintuitive – but it works, and apparently I’m not the only one who does it.

So there you go. Favouritest scrub ever, and all you do it mix the two ingredients together until they form a goopy paste. Good for all skin, not just your face.

To The Girls Whom Now I Overhear (A Note In School)

Oh, girls. If only I could convince you, as you sit there pouring out your hearts, that your hearts are liquid gold, precious and already beautiful. You long for months of soul-searching, for grand epiphanies that will reveal to you the way, that will somehow take your feet and place them on the path to Where You’re Supposed To Be… But life isn’t like that. Only in books, and not even always then.

Listen, sweet girls, to the wise words of your friends. We all change, but the important things always stay the same. Sometimes friends fall away – but the important ones will always stick. Listen to the girls who stick. And listen most of all to that voice inside, the one that prompts you to accept, so unquestioningly, the proffered 40-hour famine brochures, that prompts you so instantaneously to help others, to love them, to care. You are good people, girls. Your hearts are wise. It doesn’t feel like it now, because now you are young and everything feels raw.

But that, not months of soul-searching, is what will make you wise. Wisdom doesn’t come in an hour. Wisdom is the result of the pain you currently feel, of a heart overburdened with caring, of knowing that all you want to do is never hurt another person again, but having to do it anyway, and learning, and moving on. Sometimes, it’s okay to feel unwise. We all do.

You are beautiful, girls. You have big hearts. Listen to them, and you will find your wisdom.

I’m sorry for overhearing.