Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A post totally unrelated to knitting.

I haven't been doing much knitting lately. I've been charting patterns, working with sample knitters and generally doing lots of paperwork. But very little knitting. So this is a post about everything BUT knitting that's going on in my life (and that's a lot!).

First, I said a few posts ago that I was going to talk about An Inconvenient Truth. We still haven't seen it yet, but I had a long talk with a friend who had and it has re-energized my commitment to working to lessen our family's impact on the planet. Now that I have children, this seems like such an important thing. We're starting to do simple things, like composting. And making an effort to recycle absolutely everything that can be recycled. Turning lights off when we leave a room. Stuff like that.

Today we're possibly going to do a much larger thing. We're going to go test-drive a diesel-powered Jetta, which we'd buy in order to use biodiesel. Why use biodiesel? Well, the diesel Jetta gets at least 42 miles per gallon on the highway. Biodiesel is pretty much completely clean - the only greenhouse gas it produces is NOx. No carbon monoxide, no ozone, none of the other nasty stuff. It simply converts back to CO2 which is what plants use to make oxygen. Go here for more info.

There are tons of people using biodiesel in Portland, and there are several commercial pumps we can use. There's also a co-op, where we can get it at about half price for putting in some work time. If we go someplace that doesn't have biodiesel, we can switch to regular diesel at any time. Plus with biodiesel, apart from engine oil, there's absolutely no reliance on foreign or domestic oil. No drilling in Alaska. No sending money to the Middle East. What's not to love?

I've also dusted off the old bicycle and I'm trying to use that for shorter trips. I rode to knitting group the other night, and it was so much fun (other than a sore tushie - it has gotten soft after not being on a bike in over 6 years!). I could check out people's yards, smell the flowers as I rode by, feel the wind in my face... I was puffing like a steam engine after the first couple blocks and arrived at knitting red-faced and sweating like a pig, but I still had a mighty fine time!

The other big thing that has been keeping me from knitting is my nursing moms group. We are gearing up for World Breastfeeding Week, which is the first week in August. We're planning to do little coffee meetups around the city all week, and then have a family picnic downtown in Pioneer Square on Saturday. We've renamed ourselves (we are now MomMA - Mom's Milk Anywhere) and are working to get a website, blog and Cafe Press store up and running. My co-founder Chris and I were also interviewed by a reporter from the Oregonian (the big Portland newspaper), and we'll hopefully be the front page story in the Living section sometime during World Breastfeeding Week. Things are really starting to happen! But it's taking up a lot of my time, needless to say...

I have a little lactivist rant in response to a ridiculous newspaper article from NC, but I'll save that for the end of the post. I will be announcing some fun things involving MomMA soon that can involve folks all over the world. Stay tuned!

We had a little excitement in our neighborhood last night...actually, not our neighborhood, but one very close by. It was strange hearing all the helicopters buzzing over our house - reminded me of living in LA! For awhile, we lived in the Miracle Mile district (which is between downtown and Beverly Hills), and there were LAPD helicopters constantly circling over our neighborhood.

Continuing on with the random nature of this post, I'll give you some pictures now.

Yesterday, we got locked out of the house for about four hours. Fortunately, my mother-in-law was home, so we spent the afternoon over there. Unfortunately, all my knitting was locked away from me. Anyway, I took Sydney to her swimming lesson and left Owen with his grandparents. He got soaked playing with the hose and his grammy sent him home in this:

It was so funny to see him walking around in a little dress!

Last weekend, Bill ran in the Oregon State Games 1500m race. Here he is, running himself into the ground on one of the hotter days we've had this summer:

If you click on the picture to get a bigger version, you can see him in the white shirt right below the big red pole. Right in front of super-tan shirtless guy. He came in 5th overall but 1st in his age group (and got a nice medal as a result).

We were going to go berry picking afterwards, since the blueberries and raspberries are going strong right now, but it was too darn hot. We went to a local berry stand instead and got these beauties:

We got six pints of each berry type for $20. So yummy! I held them on my lap for the drive home and totally gorged myself. One of the best things about living in Oregon is all the great produce. Love it!

Speaking of produce, here are some shots of our crazy wild garden. Mind you, this is in our front yard, so it definitely looks interesting from the street...

Here are some of our wild-and-crazy tomato plants (which have totally overrun the green pepper plants, much to Bill's delight (he thinks green peppers are the world's most disgusting food)):

See how many tomatoes are on here?

Unfortunately, they're probably going to ripen while we're on vacation. But I'm hoping that there will still be some good ones when we get back.

For those of you who remember The Pumpkin from last fall, here are some pictures of its offspring. Here is one we transplanted from the burial mound to the garden bed:

And here is what we left growing wild:

It's doing pretty well, but it's kind of under the eaves so it's lacking water and sun. Anyway, we shouldn't lack for pumpkins this fall! Or zucchini...

I am so excited to be swimming in home-grown vegetables! Our berry bushes, on the other hand, don't seem to be producing anything. We've got a couple raspberry bushes that look like they might do something later on, a couple blueberry bushes that have kind of gone dormant, and a bunch of strawberries that have been blooming without producing any strawberries. I guess we'll have to give them some more time to get established or something. In the mean time, we're certainly not lacking fresh berries around here!

Okay, time for me to wrap this up and tackle the mountain of work and laundry that I have to get done before we leave on Saturday. I've been in denial about this trip, so we're going to have a couple of brutal days trying to get everything ready. Wish me luck!

As promised, here's my lactivist rant. First, go read this ridiculous article from the Daily News of Jacksonville, NC. And here follows my response:

Dear Ms. Toler.

I just finished reading your article "Some food for thought for nursing moms" from the July 7 Daily News. While you made some interesting points, I strongly disagree with your statement that breastfeeding needs to be done in private.

First of all, you contradict yourself when talking about the Victoria's Secret incidents. The moms there were trying to use dressing rooms to nurse (which, I think anyone would agree, are a private place), but were refused and directed to the restrooms instead. None of the moms actually breastfed in the store - they politely asked permission first and told that breastfeeding in the stores was against company policy (which is untrue).

You go on to say that you're a strong supporter of breast feeding and don't find anything shameful, weird or strange about it. You state that you preferred to feed your daughters in private because you wanted to give them your full attention and let them nurse in a calm, quiet environment. That is great, but just because you preferred to feed your daughters in a private spot doesn't give you the right to say that everyone else must do it the same way. And planning your outings around your baby's feeding schedule isn't always possible, either. I've breastfed two kids, and they were extremely different. My daughter would eat on a two-hour schedule which you could almost set your watch by. My son, on the other hand, hasn't gone more than three hours without nursing since birth (and he's now over a year old). Now that he's older, he can go a few hours during the day without eating. When he was younger, however, he would go through phases where he'd want to eat every half hour for a few hours at a time. It was impossible to predict what his schedule would be. I suppose I could've just never left the house, but how fair would that be to my daughter who would be forced to miss playdates and trips to the zoo just so I wouldn't have to offend anyone with the sight of the back of my baby's head.

Which brings up my next point. I can't believe that you actually compare breastfeeding in public to being nude. That's just beyond ridiculous. In general, you have a thousand opportunities a day to see women who are showing much more exposed flesh than any breastfeeding mom. Just go into Victoria's Secret. They may be covering the dreaded nipples, but there's a lot more breast shown by those models than I've ever displayed while breastfeeding either of my kids. People are not uncomfortable with breastfeeding because of the exposed flesh, they're uncomfortable because it's something they hardly ever see. I used to feel that way myself, before I had kids and surrounded myself with breastfeeding friends. Same with my husband. Both of my aunts had babies right around the time that we got married, and they were unconcerned about nursing anytime and any place. It made my husband uncomfortable at first, but these days he doesn't even notice when a friend is feeding her baby on our sofa. He sees it so often that there's no shock value. It's as normal as seeing me eating lunch.

You're right, being a mother is full of inconveniences. When the health benefits of breastfeeding are so incredible (reduced risk of SIDS, allergies, respiratory problems, diabetes, obesity, higher IQ, and on and on), why would you want to make it more difficult than it has to be by forcing women to go to great lengths to make other people "comfortable"? When I breastfeed in public, I'm not trying to make an "in your face" statement. I'm not trying to make any statement at all. I just want to be left alone to feed my baby the best food he can get in peace. If you have a problem with that, you have the right to look away.

I sent this in as a letter to the editor, but I don't know if they'll print it since I'm from Oregon (and who cares what some crazy person from Oregon thinks, right?). Do any of you guys live in NC? If so, and you'd be willing to write a letter to the editor, please let me know.

Thanks, guys! And I'll see you on the other side of summer-vacation-road-trip-from-hell. I'm thinking optimistically about it already.


Blogger Jenn said...

OMG. She is an idiot. Honestly, could she list for me the other "wonderful uses for breasts"? 'Cause I'm having a hard time thinking of some off the top of my head.

Have a great time on your trip!

2:45 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Have a great trip! And congrats on the Oregonian article--I can't wait to read it! :)

2:58 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

And like Jenn, I would love to know what the other wonderful uses for breasts are. I've apparently been under-utilizing them. :)

3:16 PM  
Blogger Lolly said...

I can't wait to hear what your impression of the Biodiesel Jetta is! My family is committed to making some real changes too to lighten our impact on this planet (I wrote a blog post about it the other day!) and definitely see the movie. So effective and such a powerful message. Together we can tackle this gargantuan problem!!

Best wishes,

4:36 AM  
Blogger Knot Another Hat said...

Way to go Chrissy. I hope they publish your letter because it is a very well written counter-argument to Ms. Toler's absurd and naive article. But then again . . . that's the south . . .

7:28 AM  
Anonymous DebbieJ said...

oh I had to laugh at your little dumpling, he is soo darn cute in that haha. Love the berry pictures and the veggie photos. I love to garden, although we haven't planted anything this year. Maybe next year!!

7:40 AM  

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