Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So I had this teeny-tiny meltdown last night...we had just come off a two-week marathon of visitors (my parents and my youngest brother and sister--age 17 and 19--remind me to write a post sometime about how scared I am of having three teenage boys in the not-so-distant future) followed immediately by two dear friends and their darling children, winding down with going to a party where I knew no one and hiking with another friend Monday.

So lets just say by last night I was tired, SOOOO tired, and I was feeling kind of discouraged about how much we cheated on the modified 100-mile diet while we had visitors and about how C keeps using the white flour, which is only supposed to be for bread, for other things and about how we are going on a 4-day camping trip next week and how I really just want to buy spaghetti sauce in a jar (horrors!) and brownie mix (shocking!) and not spend the entire week eating homemade granola that has nothing in it because nothing GROWS here.

Then I just happened to notice one of our totally gross, grungy, baked-on, caked-on, slightly singed potholders sitting on the counter and I lost it. "I quit!" I told C. "I quit the 100 mile diet and the buy nothing year!" I was ready to run out to the health food store and buy a pair of those lovely, luscious potholders made from handwoven fabric from Guatemala. I mean, really go crazy (the only thing that saved me from this horrifying breach is the fact that the health food store was already closed, and I was so, so tired). Instead I crawled into bed with a cup of tea (Sleepytime--not chamomile from my garden because the seeds never even sprouted!!)

As I looked at my book choices for the evening--a collection of short stories by returned Peace Corps Volunteers or "Writing Fiction" by Janet Burroway, I thought of something M said to me last week while I was giving him his bath. He was demonstrating to me how the could hold his breath under water while I counted out loud. I counted to seven. He said that he could have held it longer, but he was going for seven.

"Why didn't you try for 10?" I asked.

"I don't have to be this Master Kid, you know," he replied.

Ah-ha! Perspective. I spend so much time trying to be more creative, trying to lessen my impact on the earth, trying to cook fantastic meals, trying to do all of these things that are all worthy and good, but if they wear me down to the breaking point, something's amiss. I don't have to be this Master Human, you know. It's OK to buy spaghetti sauce in a jar once in a while, or a sliced loaf of bread, or to daydream about nice potholders. And it's OK to read something that will in no way better me as a person. So I took an old-fashioned suspense novel off the shelf (and by old-fashioned I mean vintage 1960s Mary Stewart) and settled in with my tea and my slightly eased conscience.


  1. Damn tootin' M. Totally astute. We Type-A sorts beat ourselves up all the time for not being Master Mamas or Master Worker Bees or Master Whatevers...

    I am doing my best to put down all of the guilt over being a non-Master-anything and move on. Girlfriend, enjoy your book and tea and hey, even new potholders if you want.

  2. And I don't care wear the hell those nylon loops and plastic looms come from, we use offspring-made potholders that make me happy.

    You really do an amazing job of treading lightly on the earth - you should be proud.

  3. yes!!!! i thought you are amazing LONG before the 100 mile diet....maybe you should build in some *non*-guilty pleasures each week - like reading trashy novels (although i have to say - your choice of trashy novel is still much more wholesome than my occasional trashy magazine).


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