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Archive for the ‘For School’ Category

From Grass to Cheese is the name of a new documentary about family farming. I learned about this film by clicking on a picture of a cow eating grass… The picture really sums it up. Cows eat grass. They make milk. We take milk and with minimal effort turn it into a variety of products that benefit us, nutritionally and otherwise. But alas, there is no grass to your cheese, unless you have really searched far and beyond your local Safeway. From Corn to Cheese would be more accurate, but considerably less compelling…and far less nutritious. Cheese and butter made from the milk of pasture grazing cows is nutrient dense and very much worth the cost. The taste is better too; more cheese-like and more butter-like. Try some.

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This blog is being completely infiltrated by my school assignments. Thats my disclaimer. We are also embarking upon Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which I have written about before. Thats my other disclaimer.

Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt is an essay written by Jean Kilbourne. It documents a recent history of sexism and blatant oppression and objectification of women in the media; in advertising, specifically. For instance, an ad for shaving gel depicts a picture of a nice looking man on the left with the word “heartbreak” under his photo and a razor on the right with the phrase, “soap and water shave”. The enlarged and catchy text is where the essay derives its title, “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt”. The article suggests that a man = inevitable pain for women, comparative of a bad shaving job which also inevitably inflicts physical injury. The implications of this advertisement are huge and multifaceted…the fact that so many of these sexist dominated ads are for products that invariably subject women to male superiority and preference is telling in and of itself. Alcohol is strongly implicated in (although not responsible for) many assault cases with female victims and male batterers, and is marketed by heavy sexism. Shaving products? Really? While women have historically made valiant attempts to rid themselves of bodily hair, one might question, why? Why the effort? The cost? At this point in time, I believe it is safe to say, there is a standard of beauty and it includes hairless women. One must not offend the men that hold women to that standard.

I find the aforementioned image illuminating. We live in a society that is heavy with heterosexual priviledge and gender entitlements. Of course advertising reflects that. I also don’t think that any of us can expect corporate media to advocate peace in the way of freedom from the oppression of society and domestic violence and sexual assault and whatever it looks like to specific people who might not include themselves as victims under these labels.

And…if you live in Homer or thereabouts, you should definitely attend Stand Up For Peace which is one step towards cultivating awareness of the problems to which we seek solutions.

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So, I take Judah to alot of playgroups. Homer is a nice little town and rates highly in the ‘fun activities for babies’ criteria…I hear that Bethel is really lacking playgroups (but I actually have friends there) and while Fairbanks has it’s own share of baby oriented events (and friends), I would have to, you know, drive alot further to reach them. I certainly would not walk to them. Thus, Homer wins out again, I suppose. The thing is though, people overhear me at these playgroups asking Judah if she needs to use the bathroom and they look at me in a strange manner and ask me if she is potty trained. This provokes eye rolling on my part, as the answer is complicated and if I go into it attempting to explain, they will think I’m crazy and probably won’t even believe me, so the question leaves me at a loss for an answer.

I’m sure I have mentioned this before, when I tell people about elimination communication, they think I’m nuts. They tell me it does not work. (Oh, really?) They say it’s terribly hard. Gross. Complicated. Biologically impossible. I just really don’t understand, I mean, what is not to embrace about not changing diapers?

So anyway, the ridiculous thing is that I am in the midst of writing an (overdue) essay about elimination communication for my English class. Perhaps I shall begin passing my Finished Product out to those who question me regarding Judah’s “elimination” habits. I suppose our playgroups provide a general demographic of people who represent the targeted audience of my argument. Perhaps my essay with it’s strong thesis and several supporting reasons would succeed at convincing individuals of what is apparently biological normal anyway. But wouldn’t the cost effectiveness be a convincing factor in and of itself? For instance, imagine spending less than $200 on diapers (which are reusable even, as they are cloth!) for a child (such as i did…) as opposed to spending between $2,000 – $3,000 which is the average spent for conventionally potty trained and disposable diapered children. Or the environmental factor…no washing diapers, no diapers in the trash, but poo and pee in the potty, as a reasonable alternative! Or the convenience of the brilliant scheme! I have never packed around a diaper bag. Zach, (five month old) Judah and I were stranded in Anchorage once with no diapers of any kind, but as sense would dictate, we did have a tiny toilet for our small child, and she used it and never once had need of a diaper. In a similar situation, I was stranded at a conference in Girdwood once, for three days with (six month old) Judah sans diapers…we had one small pee incident. One!

The other ridiculous thing is, a lady followed me home in her car one day, yelling out of her window to me, “are you the one who potty trained her baby?” So I gave her a book about ec, called Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. The book is now in the process of being passed around to various pregnant women at the playgroup. Hopefully they will read it and learn.

It’s easy! It’s simple! I only wonder, why would someone choose not to practice ec?

I should add…I do have nice friends in Homer. But still, I resent the fact that most of the people  I know and love live in two far away destinations.

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In one of my textbooks for school, there is a cartoon in which a young girl holding a rag doll is standing outside of an open doorway. One caption says, “knock, knock” and the other says, “who’s there”. The sign on the door says “internet chat rooms” and you can see inside the doorway into a dark, dark room with many sets of eyes peering out, but no faces. It’s obviously an illustration of the known dangers of internet chat rooms and the many cases of tragedy that have befallen young children who interact in these chat rooms. I have spent many hours in trainings about the dangers that the internet presents to kids. Everyone has seen the cop shows. Abductions, Sexual misconduct with minors…murder. It seems as though the internet provides a haven of relative anonymity to predators and perpetrators of sexual crimes against children, specifically. Pretty alarming things take place in and because of these chat rooms. What kind of infringement of free speech or cencorship would it be to ban them? Worthwhile, or a violation of rights?

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Oh My!

If you were hoping to be offended today, please click on this link. Peruse all of these shocking images…and then scroll down to focus on number seven. It’s possibly less alarming than most of the other advertisements, however what I find most disturbing is the fact that it was banned. I mean, smoking kills, right? I think the fact that smoking is harmful has been established and not as a simple, painless process either, but rather as a long and drawn out ordeal. Not at all glamorous. Why then is the analogy of pain or even death too distressing for viewers? Arguably, the fish hook through the lip has nothing to do with smoking, however, I think it’s a little bit clever. Get unhooked? Kinda clever, anyway. So, does the problem lie within the possibility that the ad is just a bit too powerful? Maybe it will convince a few too many people? Who exactly benefits from this ad being banned? Thats what I am wondering…

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Health Care

Everyone likes to pontificate about health care; making presumptions, proclaiming uninformed statements and drawing illogical conclusions. I’m here to do the same…somewhat. Admittedly, I do have opinions and they may not be the most researched and educated but I have them and I’ll share them but I’ll recognize that there are possibilities that I have not considered, but mostly, I just have some questions.

Why is health care so expensive in the first place? I realize that to some extent, this is due to the massive amounts of malpractice insurance providers carry, which seems tricky to me. It also seems as though health care providers typically make quite a bit of money, which is fair I suppose, given that they assume a large amount of responsibility for the health of individuals. I think that historically, doctors and midwives and herbalists worked under more of a bartering system such as, I’ll attend the birth of your child and you will give me a winter’s worth of potatoes…or so I imagine. I don’t think that the potatoes totaled out to equal much wealth either, but that possibly the doctor or midwife or herbalist had an extremely devoted interest in their community and the babies being born and people falling ill were neighbors, relatives and friends. So money, along with the fear of lawsuit was negligible.

I feel like people utilize health care a lot more than they should. I mean, if you break your arm, what are you going to do? Probably you should go to the doctor. Doctors are known for having great skills at setting broken bones and assisting a complete recovery. And when you and your child and your dog have a sore throat and runny nose, you should all stay home, eat onions and garlic and drink tea. I don’t understand the compulsion to constantly have a doctor assess every situation. A person asked me once of Judah, “how much did the doctor say she weighs?” And I just could not believe it. I put the baby on the scale and determined how much she weighed…and yes, that is an innocent question into which I am projecting much, but it indicates to me how we look only towards a doctor for an evaluation of our well being and give them all of the responsibility for our health instead of proactively taking care of ourselves.

Blah blah blah…I have taken this opportunity to rant about why I dislike going to the doctor.

Moving back towards the topic of accessible health care: for me, the question at this point really comes down to individual people. I think universal health care is in theory nice, but in practice can end up not ideal for anyone. What is the ideal solution to the situation in which a person becomes ill or has a tragic accident and neither has insurance nor can afford medical costs? And what about illegal immigrants who are afraid to take their dreadfully ill child to the doctor not only because they don’t have insurance or money, but will they be deported? While some may feel strongly that they should or should not be in the US to begin with, would not everyone agree that a sick child needs medical care? Should you have to be in a position where you might lose your home and every asset if you encounter health problems that incur astronomical medical bills?

I’m just wondering. What is the ideal solution?

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