December 20, 2012

Off the Grid

In honor of the light of solstice and Mayan calendar of endings and beginnings, this is me coming clean about something I was thinking about today...even though it is probably oversharing. 
I have just today realized that I have not always helped the men in my life be the best they could be. I let them slide. Young girl/woman me, as a counter-culture anti-patriarchal hippie, did not demand/insist/encourage that my man bring in a decent wage to support us. I allowed exclusion from the "mainstream" of "working for the man" or any regular working they did not really like. Thus we suffered from lack of income, but with a back-to-the-land lifestyle - living off the grid but not feeling it was a sacrifice, actually preferring it and gaining valuable life skills and experience few people have these days. Close to nature, wood-heat, no electricity, cabins that were cold, often hauling water and more. Hand sewing. Foraging. Little or no transportation. Campfires with singing and food with friends. Tribal dancing and open natures, braids and ethnic fabrics or no clothes at all. But, the guy/s were given too much leeway - I was too "compassionate" when I should of encouraged a way to keep us with some money. I let the philosophy of the time and lifestyle allow me to expect little from them other than freedom from conformity. We were forging a different path. I am not knocking the lifestyle or memories in any way, I am only chastising myself for expecting so little from the man. I think it would of been better for them in the long run to work more to gain some financial integrity for our little clans. I don't mean just the work it took for daily survival. 
I was pregnant and barefoot but I cannot use that as an excuse for not doing it myself. 
It was a really hard life when I look back on the days. We thought we knew so much, aye. Walking in the dark along paths lit only by the moon, coming home to light the fire with gathered wood, cooking on wood stoves, fetching water from creeks, washing cloth diapers by hand. Romantic notions and youthful vigor helped shield me from the the harder realities. This was in the late 1970's and early 80's, before we had such universal access to computers, etc. Now, if I was in that situation, I could at least earn some money from a variety of online ventures. We always made things - our family/clan was especially gifted with talented leather workers and crafters. I sewed and made all the kids' clothes and my own too, beautiful hippie dresses from bits and pieces. We made mocassins and intricate beaded items. We were so ephemeral. We were stardust, we were golden, we were getting back to the garden.
One thing is certain, I have the skills to survive off the grid if needed. I do not take luxuries like water and electricity for granted.
 But, I did not help the men, my lovely, gentle, imaginative and creative men, accept their full responsibilities and the lessons that brings, by my agreeing to live without simple basics for so long. (They too, being mid-century dreamers, straddled the old and new, often belonging not quite to either time.) It is the double-edged sword of hindsight, but with no regrets. I would hope that young women will not be reluctant to have their men do the right and sometimes hard things needed to keep families afloat, and don't let responsibility or burden be passed on. I have been careful about raising my sons to be strong and reliable men and my daughters to have a care for their own worth. I think a woman's right attitude and encouragement can go a long way in making the world a better place and help people step up to the plate. 
There are more of us speaking about the wild bohemian days of the 70's now, more stories being told. I have only begun to tell mine.

December 11, 2012

Musings of a December Boomer

 Today is another solar circle completed for me and here are a few things I can expound on, indulgently.
1. I think witch hazel is the best thing ever for skin.
2. Use real cotton balls or pads to clean skin often with witch hazel. Fresh and toned, yay. 
3. I mix, in the palm of my hand, a sprinkle of bare minerals powder, some moisturizer, some witch hazel (both rose water kind and regular) and apply all over my face. This takes care of moisture and light coverage all at once. I started doing this because I thought I could make my own version of a "BB" cream but more tailored to my likes - such as no heavy perfumey smell. You can add an extra little squeeze of sunscreen or other products if desired. It is great because all is mixed together and thinned with witch hazel, per use, in your hand. Your skin will be happier and more moist. When it dries a bit skin feels good and the look lasts all day. No one wants to look cakey or like they are too done. Girls, fresh is best and quicker is too! I haven't applied mineral powder with a brush for over a year now - just this quick method.
4. Witch hazel is also good around hairline for refreshing the hair that gets a tad oilier around face between washings. Oh, I tell you, this stuff is good. Clear and sparkly like vodka, cheers. I like the slight natural smell of it (witch hazel, not vodka).
5. I have converted to using WEN on my hair. Altho I cannot afford it (I have been frugally portioning out my last bit). My longish hair is naturally on the curly side and living in the coastal Pacific Northwest with our 78 kinds of rain, WEN helps keep it from Antoinette bouffant. I drug my heels for years before I finally tried it, but now I know. You do not have to use as much as the company says, just work it in very well. My hair is more itself when I use it. I do not like overly fussed hair that seems to be the trend now - I like wild and free and pretty.
 manga art by Fuyumi Soryo 
6. I have stopped eating grains and feel much better. Also have stopped eating dairy and legumes AND added sugar or over processed foods.
7. Today I am having a cherry pie that my boys are making me for my Birthday. I usually have German Chocolate Cake but decided on cherry pie this year. It will have homemade crust (the boys make it perfectly)and sweetened canned cherries but I do not mind. I am not a fanatic about avoiding afore mentioned foods but just feel better when I do. Lots of veggies and some fruit, seeds, nuts and protein and I am good to go. Some of my main go-to foods these past months have been baked yams, zuchinni, sunflower & pumpkin seeds and lots of fresh apples. It is cool that eating many apples seems to naturally remove coffee stains from my teeth. Oh yeah, still drinking coffee (black), are you kidding..! I had begun to feel like it was too easy for me to be trapped on the sugary/carb merry-go-round and my blood sugar was feeling spikey. Dropping these things from my daily diet has really been easy and rewarding in the way I feel.
8. I have been planning a hefty blog post about some of these musings for awhile now and I see that it is getting very long! I will break it up and work on the musings over the course of the week.
9. I love parsley. Flat leafed or curly - and always have some growing. It overwinters here on the temperate coast very well.
I also love radishes. Any kind.
photo found here...
10. I am a huge huge fan of South Korean movies and television shows. I could go on about this but will save it for another day.
11. I love Asian pop culture. I lived in Japan for three years as a young teen and have never been the same since! I have a hard time finding people my age who even know what I am talking about sometimes..
Itsuko Azuma "Pulstella"
12. As a girl who was born in 1956, I finally realized as a mid-century person, I easily straddle old/new, past/future and that goes for styles, knowledge, experience, technology, culture and other parts of life. My generation saw the turns from traditional America to modern America like none other. It is all integrated into my persona and I feel like an adventurous discoverer/participant of the old world and the new world, and I can see the connections and interstices. As has been said by others before me - what a long strange trip its been! I am giddy with excitement for the next 56 years of my life and let me tell you, I never, ever, ever, hardly, get bored!
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