Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Christmas dilemma

The Holidays are getting closer which is causing my mind to skip ahead from shopping and eating and giving to getting. I have been making a lot of trips to donate assorted goods ever since I moved into my apartment, and I'm not done yet. I'm trying to take a hard look at what I have, and get rid of what I don't really want/need/use. I'm definitely not cutting back to the bare minimum, but two black skirts that are the same style? A candle that is nice but I'll never use it? A really cute stuffed frog that will get more love elsewhere? I can do without all that, and I'm still no where near minimalism.

What I wonder is, what is appropriate during the holiday season as far as receiving gifts are concerned. I feel bad if someone spends their money to buy me something, and since it is not something I like and can't return I re-gift it or donate it. This happens fairly often with my Japanese step-people. Why can't they just send sushi? Since communication at all is difficult, and my dad won't do it, there is no way to tell them "thanks, but no thanks". I have repeatedly told my parents that I only want things that are not plastic, are earth friendly, green, biodegradable, etc. Gift donations, or "memories" (like time together) are great.

But what about everyone else? How do I tell anyone else that might want to buy me things? Do I even tell them? I could post something on facebook, I know people have done that. And, when I do get things I'd rather not have, what then? Telling my dad that I appreciated the foot bath massage thing but would just prefer a pedicure did not work so well. He and his wife ended up a little insulted (or maybe it was just her). Should I not say anything?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lovely Luscious Lunapads

a brief public service announcement;
"for those of you that are easily grossed out, or disgusted by the talk of intimate women's products (and I don't mean vibrators) please leave". Kind of reminds me of when we had the talk in elementary school. I think this is the part where the rest of you watch a show about sharks or something.

Finally, a review for one of my new favourite undergarments: Lunapads. Lunapads is a really cool company run by women selling all sorts of cool products to let you have a "happier period, naturally". Among a few other things. My pstyle came from Lunapads.

You may be wondering, how on earth could I be referring to menstrual products as cool? To start with, let me describe lunapads. They are reusable, menstrual pads and they are the most comfortable thing I have ever worn. They are made of the softest cotton fleece in a wide array of fabrics from organic to conventionally grown cotton. There are other companies that sell reusable menstrual pads (gladrags is another popular one) but part of what sold me on Lunapads was the assortment of fun fabrics they had to choose from. That, and the design seems the best. The website is pink and cheerful, they have quick and helpful customer support, and their blog and videos seem to have the right balance between feminine, feminist, and self reliance. They are not in your face as some feminist groups can be, they don't seem to push you or come off as extremists. They are frank and open, but never gross or obscene.

Another great thing about Lunapads is the section on their website dedicated to donating pads to women in developing nations. I have thought about what women in third world countries do durring their periods, but only in passing and without thinking their was anything that could be done. Lunapads makes it easy to donate pads or money to women in other countries - they also have a pattern to download if you want to sew some pads and donate those instead. Their blog features stories from women who have delivered the pads, stories of how they have helped women in these countries, and what life is like for them without adequate sanitary supplies.

Back to why I love my lunapads (even if I don't quite love my period). Before I discovered reusable pads, every month I suffered through nast, uncomfortable, smelly, crinkly, wasteful disposable, irritating pads. Somehow I was sure that those nasty things (even the Seventh Generation brand) were irritating me. While researching different reusable pad options I discovered that I wasn't the only one. The plastics and chemicals and whatnot in the disposable pads irritated other people too! Amazingly enough, not only are my lunapads super comfortable, they don't smell and obviously they don't crinkle. Instead, I have a the wonderful feeling of not wasting. I buy the pads once and they'll last me roughly five years - as opposed to throwing out about six or so pads every month and contributing to our ever growing landfills. With lunapads you get a wonderful feeling of self reliance and they come in fun happy designs. Some other products they carry to make your period happy are lunablend, which is a mix of essential oils to help with PMS and a Lunachart. The Lunachart helps you to chart your cycle and thereby get more in touch with your body and the cycles you go through. Charting your cycle not only helps you if your trying to become pregnant (or avoid it) it also causes you to pay more attention to your body and notice any patterns or irregularities. Perhaps if I chart my cycle I can be a little more prepared next time I feel like going postal (like calling in sick or at least dabbing on some lunablend).

Having an assortment of fun patterns may seem superficial, but getting in touch with your cycle and attractive pads helps to change your perspective on your period. Instead of dreading uncomfortable disposable pads, I don't mind so much when its time for my period now, and I get to choose which cute print to wear. Cocoa Kaleidoscope or my new organic Magenta Mandela?

As to cleaning them, I don't find it gross at all - certainly no more gross than washing cloth diapers. Just rinse or pretreat or scrub or whatever, toss them in a bucket or whatever to soak until its laundry day, and hang dry.

You might be thinking, "I don't wear pads, I wear tampons so Lunapads aren't for me". Tampons are still disposable, they are still treated with an array of chemicals (even the cotton ones), and anything that could potentially cause death should make you think twice. For people who are not interested in cloth pads, and like tampons, there are still other more environmentally friendly alternatives. There is the diva cup which gets rave reviews and there are natural reusable sea sponge tampons. I think I'll give those a try next, for swim suit season (even though I'll still only go in ankle deep... I'm sure your still shark bait...). According to which sells sea sponge tampons "The average woman uses nearly 600 pounds of paper and cotton throughout her lifetime menstrual cycle. In North America alone, an estimated 20 billion bleached pads and tampons end up in our sewage systems each year. Sponge tampons are reusable for 6 months or more."

Give them a try, you might fall in love. You might get more in touch with yourself - that is one aspect of lunapads I love. They don't make you feel like your period is gross or something to be ashamed of or secretive about. Its natural and it doesn't have to be horrible. I know I won't be going back to disposables.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Am I a lady?

I like to think that I am a lady - certainly less of a Lady than the Queen, but definitely more so than say, Britteny Spears. But I wonder sometimes, what is it that makes me a lady? There are some things that are "unladylike" which I don't do - like spitting (ew) and others that I do (if you don't burp you will explode, or at least have stomach issues). Currently though, what is bothering me is language.

I used to swear very little, but as certain words became more mainstream and everyone around me was saying them, the list of words I do not say got smaller. I certainly do not say the "f" word, or any of the vulgar words used for the female genitalia. Or, as I prefer to say, "junk". I have somehow decided that it is ok to say "bitch" if its used jokingly "those bitches" - I blame this on Dave Chapell. Or "shit" if I'm pissed off (maybe the "f" word if I stub my toe bad) but I try to avoid letting them become a part of my every day language, and not to use them in anger. I definitely avoid using the "n" word, hesitating even to use it in a quote.

In my own family my parents very rarely cuss, my older brother hardly ever, I seldom do, and my youngest brother cusses more easily. Which leads me to wonder, is this a generational thing? Words you would not have heard on the radio before are no longer being bleeped out of songs or TV. I am of the belief that we are going to pot, and this would be just another example of the degradation of society. Perhaps it is not a generational change as I work with a woman in her 50's who cusses like a sailor, and some of my friends - older and the same age as I - swear freely.

Those who swear would probably say that this is a good trend, we should all loosen up and they're just words, right? And I'm too bourgeoisie wanting there to be a difference, wanting to carry myself in a certain way, wanting to be respectable.

And so I find myself back at the question, am I a lady? Can I be a lady and still work in a "man's job" and burp and fart. I have found that in trying to fit in this man's world, I try to act more like the guys, and talk like the guys and I am no longer quite sure what is really me. Am I really coarse? Can I burp and still not be coarse? Does how I dress weigh in to whether I am a lady? I think guys have it easier, I think it would be easier to decide if a guy was a gentleman.

What do you think, what makes a lady and am I one?

On the argument against me being a lady, I present this logic;
Food is the way to a man's heart.
Food is the way to my heart.
Therefore, I must be a man.

which is more important? i.e. which would you choose at the exclusion of the other?