I love that in my little town, there are pretty much no stores open on a Sunday. It’s a day to focus on home and family and being outdoors, not on what to buy next. You can buy food though, but since lots of people live quite far our of town, even the grocery store is quiet on a Sunday. People don’t tend to bother to drive in. Anyway, I don’t know whether it was the full moon last week, or the fact that it was a Sunday or the very beginning of spring, or just a great big giant coincidence, but EVERYONE in the store was buying crazy healthy food. I was in frank awe, staring enviously into people’s baskets, where I am usually feeling quietly smug. I was fairly ashamed to take the packages of spinach ravioli and the pre-made organic cheese pizza from my basket-I usually cook from scratch but have been a bit lazy in the kitchen these last few weeks. And yes, yes, I know, it’s not cool to look down on people for eating crappy food (or for any other reason for that matter) and that virtue should be its own reward (blah blah blah), but sometimes it is hard to go to a special section of the grocery store to buy food that looks and tastes exactly like the food everyone else is buying only it costs more and I guess it just helps to feel a bit superior when I do that-otherwise I might just feel foolish. I’m working on it, okay.
Anyway, I was busy gawking at all the organic healthy foods this healthy looking middle aged lady was pulling out of her basket and suddenly: a bright orange bottle of Mr. Clean. It looked so very out of place and I was suddenly struck by how ridiculous and insidious that name is. It seems just totally weird and wild to assert that something is “clean” when it’s covered in toxic chemicals. I know this concept isn’t a revelation or anything, but I feel like maybe it will help me refine my thoughts on this subject to articulate them, so bear with me:
I feel like we’ve been persuaded by tricky marketing that there is some magic accomplishing some very simple tasks. It makes me feel like a total slave to know that I’m paying a corporate chemist to make mystery cocktails that do tasks that human beings have been accomplishing successfully for hundreds of years without the help of plastic or synthetic chemicals.
I don’t feel that I should be required to buy marketed products in order to keep my house, my clothes, and my body clean. I hate looking at the physical containers and their claims about how “organic” or “natural” or “plant-derived” something is. The ingredients listed are invariably chemicals, no matter how “green” the product markets itself as. And the price is crazy expensive compared to the natural alternatives.
I also think that having these products around promotes clutter. Marketed cleaning products are the antithesis of simplicity: they have a zillion ingredients, most of which are totally unnecessary and less than benign and they really only exist to sell themselves to me. In other words, terrible psychic energy. Having stuff around that is neither useful nor beautiful is the definition of clutter. I don’t think branded plastic containers are nice to look at and I don’t feel that a highly processed product made of synthetic chemicals is useful in light of the fact that the job can be done better, more safely and for way less money.
One exercise I’ve enjoyed that has helped to change my perspective on this is to actually remove products from their pretty containers and put them in simple bottles without labels. It looks lovely and does a great job reminding you that you just paid $25 for a few ounces of goop and a plastic container. It strips the product of its marketing and reminds you of its real value.
It has been such a positive experience for me, to be liberated from buying cleaning products, that I really want to share it in more detail, but I think that’s for another day.
Just a bit more to say (not about cleaning products):
I finished some knitting projects, pictured above. The pink knitted hat and leg warmers are by my sister-in-law’s mother (aka my only real life knitting friend). I bought some bare yarn and did a bit of dyeing with turmeric and it turned out quite ugly! When it finally stops snowing, I’m setting up a little dye studio outside as it was WAY too messy to do in the kitchen.
Also: I confess that I’ve started to feel a bit insecure about this blogging thing. It’s not so much that I feel weird about posting photos of my child, it’s that I’m afraid that other people disapprove of it, and that makes me feel like I need to address the issue explicitly. I know that a lot of people feel strongly that since you can’t get your children’s consent to post public photos of them, you shouldn’t do it. I know, or at least sense, that there are people in my community of family and friends who might disagree with what I’m doing here. I guess I just want you to know, if you’re one of those people, that Brad and I have given this some careful thought and consideration. Here’s what I’ll say:
I follow a lot of really gorgeous personal craft blogs where the writers, almost invariably Moms, feature photos of their lives, their homes, the beautiful things they make, and the gorgeous children they are sharing their lives with. Reading these blogs is so inspiring, I just can’t imagine that any adult (ie former child) would be embarrassed or unhappy to be in these photos. When I look at pictures of myself as an adorable child, I see just that, an adorable child who isn’t around anymore. I don’t remember tons about my childhood, especially when I was under 5, and looking back I think it really was a time that belonged to my parents more than it did to me. I was hardly making memories at all when I was small and don’t strongly associate with the cute little person I see in photos. I know she’s the same person as I am now, but I don’t feel such a strong personal connection to her that I care at all who sees my image.
As to notoriety, I honestly don’t expect that very many people outside of my community of friends and family will read this blog, and if they do, I am happy to share the photos that I’ve shared. I live in a small town. Anyone here who wanted to could figure out where I live, what my baby and my husband look like, and who I am. Predators and other bad people are out there, I realize, but not just online. They could be on my block or at the grocery store or wherever. I know Kung Fu and have crazy new Mom-strength, so watch out. Notoriety (such as it is or ever could be in my wildest craft-crazy dreams) doesn’t bother me and I simply can’t imagine how posting a few photos of my baby could have any effect on her future. As she gets older, I may start to feel differently. Together with my husband, we’ll figure this parenting experiment out by listening to our hearts and our heads. Right now, both tell me that we’re okay. So, in case you were wondering, I’ve given it some thought. That’s all. Happy spring! I ate two pieces of chocolate cake today with white chocolate eggs on top and they were really really good.