Thursday, January 8, 2009

Keep Your Laundry Happy & Healthy

I've decided that along with talking obsessively about myself, I would also like to talk about the cool products that I use, trust or that I am trying out. This is really just an extension of talking about myself, which is the way we Cavills like it. I will probably do this once a week or so. It's good practice for real writing and I do want to share with you the things I love, except my husband, because that's a little too HBO for my house. I might also do the occasional 'Shout Out,' which won't be so much a review, as an ode to something or someone that is awesome (i.e, my boots from Garnet Hill, my kids). So there you have it, and here you go:

Biokleen Citrus Laundry Liquid
This earth-friendly detergent is free of all polymers, petrochemicals and optical brighteners and will get your clothes as white as you mother's Arm & Hammer. There is no comparison to similar laundry liquids, which, while adequate at cleaning clothes, tend to leave whites slightly grey and barely make a dent in stains. I used them anyway, because I wanted a chemical-free product, but may never go back now that I have tried Biokleen. I have only used the citrus, which has grapefruit and orange peel extracts, but they do offer free and clear and cold water versions. Biokleen is more expensive than the other earth-friendly brands, but is offered online in bulk or at lowered prices. It is also concentrated, so it goes a long way. The only downside to Biokleen is that you have to rinse the measuring cap after you use it, which is a minor hassle if you don't have a laundry sink.

• photo by studiosaynuk

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Resolve to be Resolute

I started off this blog talking about the self-improvement kick I have been on lately in order to clear out the cobwebs and make room in my life and head-space for writing and other endeavors. So far so good. The 7 days of 2009 have been productive ones. I started my blog; Violet got dressed seven times without having an hour-long meltdown and standing in the snow barefoot; I applied to be a volunteer at Tribeca Film Festival* and I returned to the gym after weeks of gluttony and napping. Still, there is more to be done and what better way to hold myself accountable than telling the 12 of you reading this, my resolutions for 2009. 

1) Write at least 3x a week. Today is my third time writing this week, so this is a manageable goal. 
2) Send one pitch a month to some sort of magazine about something. This one is a little vague and could use some work.
3)  Do 20 squats and 20 lunges everyday. I know it's not much, but the odds of me even doing this are slim, so starting small is good. I actually made this resolution 7 days ago and have done 0 squats and lunges everyday. 
4) With Mark Bittman's new cookbook, Food Matters, serving as inspiration, and to be both frugal and healthy — I want to cook more vegetarian meals. This is counter to Adam's resolution at birth to eat meat with every meal, so we will see how it goes. 
4a) Cook more.
4b) Plan the week's menu every Sunday and try to use what is in the freezer.
4c) Go an entire month without eating out or ordering in or buying any food other than groceries and Starbucks (I have to live!). I think April is the designated month. It should be an interesting failure experiment, to write about. 
5) Learn HTML. Adam promises to teach me. This might be like when my dad tried to 'teach' my mom to drive.**
6) Do more crafty stuff and baking with the kids. Winter-behavior has already started (mine, no mine, mine, no mine, MINE, MIIIIIIIIIINE, MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE), and I want them to live to see spring. 

That's it. I'm counting on the hounding of my 5s of readers to keep me on track. 
Tomorrow: My first product review. Can you stand the wait?

* I was put on the wait list before I even filled out the application. Stupid me should have applied months ago. Next year, I will know better. I'm now looking around for other similar volunteer opportunities. 
** My grandmother ended up teaching my mom to drive.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Coffee, please

I am in a deadly post-playdate, 6:15, tired fog right now. I haven't started dinner and I just snoozed through the part of Super Why! that explains why the story had to change. Although even when I'm awake I can't figure out why they have to change a perfectly good story to solve a very easy problem, but I'm not 4 either. I am however 14, and Gossip Girl killed last night!
Well, let's back up. It didn't so much kill as satisfy my desire to see Serena and Dan back together. What can I say? I'm a shipper.* I like the central couple to be together. Sure I get bored and annoyed with them and then annoyed when the show splits them up and then excited when they get back together. This is what my shows ask of me and for them I will do anything. It's really irrelevant anyway, since they will have to break up again soon, because of the Lily/Rufus love-child, who I think is going to turn out to belong to someone other than Rufus. Even Chuck disapproved of dating someone with whom you share a sibling and as much as I tried to rationalize this, it would be be very odd.

I have never particularly cared for the way any 'teen' show has handled teen pregnancy. From the convenient miscarriage of Julia Salinger to Andrea Zuckerman's inexplicable (for her character) decision to marry Jesse and keep her baby and now the rage at Lily for giving her son up for adoption. How about empathy instead of anger? Is Rufus really so unaware of who he was at 18 as to think he would have taken the child from her and raised it himself? And for all his righteous monologuing about being parent of the year, he just took off with Lily and left Dan and recently-homeless and unschooled Jenny to their own devices for an unspecified amount of time. Nice. And I know I will probably hate the addition of the love-child to the cast, because I almost always hate new characters. Good riddance, Aaron!

I brazenly referred to Dan and Serena as the central couple, when I know many would argue that title for Blair and Chuck. I will admit that I am a latecomer to Bluck or Chair or whatever it is their 'Net posse has no doubt dubbed them. I found last season's Chuck silly and unbelievable and Blair paled next to her blond Goddess of a bff. But this season, I would say that they are more than the central couple (sorry Danrena/San fans), they are the heart and soul of the show. They manage to be conniving, hilarious, sexy and heartbreaking. When Blair pulled Chuck off that ledge, every 14-year-old girl in America longed for the day that they could be that there for their own alcoholic, CEO, dandy-dressing high school boyfriend. Modern day Heathcliff, hanging out on rooftops instead of moors. It didn't turn out so well for Cathy, but Blair has better resources.

Next week we find out what happened with Blair and Uncle Jack on New Year's. I sense a Three's Company-like misunderstanding in the works.

I told you I loved Gossip Girl. xoxo

* TV-watcher obsessed with couples or relationships.
** Party of Five. I think Julia actually had the miscarriage on the way to get an abortion.
*** 90210 - The Original. I think for awhile Andrea wasn't even sure who the father was! Talk about forgetting a character's character.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to a Better Blog Name?

Yes, it's another blog. By a mom. And while I can't promise I won't post pictures of my kids or talk about them, probably a lot, it's really my attempt to write a little, after too much time not writing. It's called Back to Me, because although the mother and wife and domestic engineer that I am now is, as Oprah might say, a 'fully-realized person,' she is not the whole me.
That me got left behind in bits and pieces over that last five years, which sounds worse than it is. It's really the usual story of diapers and meal planning and school runs and my playground social life taking over, while my free time was replaced by naps and Facebook and chat rooms and Food Network.

I recently had dinner with a friend who said that for her, creative pursuits were just an extension of mothering, so therefore easy to keep up with. I could only respond with shrugged shoulders and, 'well, I can't.' But I am going to try now. It's time to see if I even love to write anymore. I certainly still love to talk about all of the things I want to write about, like parenting, politics and media, and that's what you will find here. It might just be a series of digressions — I don't know. I do know that writing went from the passion of my life, to work, to, if not drudgery, than something I avoided. It was easily replaced with other things and a lot of excuses.

I was afraid that I was very bad and very boring and very past all of that, back there, the interesting stuff that makes people want to write or more accurately makes people want to read what has been written. The tail-end of 2008 became a time to regroup. I lost weight; organized my cupboards and closets and the kid's toys; bought nicer jeans and better moisturizer. I quit - mostly - the chat room that sucked my time and my will (really) and I put the laundry away when it came out of the dryer. I wanted to shed the routines and the stuff that made it feel impossible to be creative. I also saw our country take a brave leap forward when we elected Barack Obama, and in addition to breathing a sigh of relief for the world, I realized that applying my ass to the seat really isn't much work at all and that it was long past time to get to it. I don't think I've gotten any more interesting, so there is still that problem, but I'm ready to see if I am bad or boring or at the very least I'm ready to let you all know my strong feelings about Gossip Girl. Hence, Back to Me.

Having second thoughts about blog name. More on that later.