Thursday, May 31, 2007


my dad and i were having a discussion about capitalism a while back, and i was trying to explain why i thought that capitalism was a harmful and exploitive force to many people, especially in developing countries. not that i want to be communist, just that i don't think that capitalism is necessarily "christian" or more virtuous than other forms of commerce. and, in fact, many times it harms one person in order to bring cheap goods to another person. (i.e. sweatshops in china so that walmart can sell me cheap stuff.)

however, i am not all that eloquent, and so i found a post on No Impact Man's blog about this very subject, and he talks about how capitalism in it's purest form allowed one person's altruistic idea to benefit himself and others buy selling a needed item (benefitting those who buy it) at a profit (benefitting him.) this is what i think that my dad was trying to say, that capitalism is positive when used this way. right now in our country, however, much of our consumerism is a negative form of capitalism, where most of our needs are already met, so the market tries to create artificial "needs" in order to sell us stuff. the newest cellphone. the fastest computer. the biggest house. benjamin barber wrote an article for the l.a. times that says it much more eloquently than i can.

a way forward from this gluttonous cycle could be to turn our capitalistic market towards fulfilling some real global needs. instead of marketing botox, market malaria medicine. instead of selling a bigger gas grill for the yard, create clean water systems for a third world market. creating inexpensive, useable items for developing countries benefits those with little money, and using those same resource-conserving items could benefit wealthier nations who are beginning to realize that they need to make changes in the amount of energy they consume. read no impact man's post here.

so, dad, this one's for you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fair Weather Vegetarian

so, i am just about done with john robbins' book "the food revolution". in it, he gives a lot of compelling arguments for why a vegetarian diet makes sense not only from a health standpoint, but also from the perspective of environmental sustainability.

most people know that eating more vegetables is good for you, but i had never really stopped to think about the effect that factory farming has on the environment. i sent chris a link to the article, "vegetarian is the new prius", and after reading that and watching a link to (which he said that i shouldn't watch, because it would make me cry), he is on board as well. what we have decided for our family is that we will eat vegetarian at home, and when we are at restaurants, and if possible, at other's homes as well. but, if we are at someone's home where there isn't a vegetarian option, we will eat what is available. and, i still have a few things in the freezer that we will use up, rather than waste. mostly, we are deciding that as far as our food dollars go, we are no longer going to support the factory farm system. thus, the 'fair weather vegetarian.'

now, before you get all worried that i've gone completely ga ga here, let me just say that i am not saying that i think it's somehow morally wrong to eat meat. i think that God gave us many good things to eat, meat being one of them. if i could afford to buy locally produced, small farmed meat, or if i had access to meat that was hunted in the wild, i would eat that without qualms. and, there are times when i will be able to afford sustainably harvested seafood, and we will probably buy that occasionally. the monterey bay aquarium has a seafood watch program, which monitors the status of fishing and helps decipher what fish is a good choice and which ones are overfished or farmed in harmful ways. they also have a little wallet card that makes knowing what to buy much easier.

however, that said, i do think that our typical diet in america is pretty meat-heavy, and i am beginning to realize that there are many ramifications of that, not only on a personal level, but also collectively as a nation. from a peace-and-justice standpoint, there is a lot to link our (and other wealthy nations') consumption of meat with some of the ways that poorer nations suffer. meat is cheap in our country, so we eat a lot of it. but, there was a time not too long ago when meat was a luxury--probably a good way to approach it even now.

on a positive note, this exploration has caused me to find some fun resources for vegetarian cooking. i already have the blog "vegan lunchbox" linked to the left of my blog, which is a website full of super fun lunch food. and unless you are worried that veg food is all hippy and health foody, i have also come across the cookbook "vegan with a vengeance" and the accompanying website the post punk kitchen, essentially full of vegetarian junk food, like lots of cupcakes.

so, what do you think? are you willing to make changes to what you are eating for the good of others, the environment, your own health? do you think it makes a difference?

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Beginnings

well, the lilacs are blooming all around our yard, the first spring that we have spent in our new house. spring is my favorite season, and lilacs are my favorite flower. they last for just an instant it seems, but while they are here you can't help but notice them. i have to say, there are times when i identify with that sort of drama.

we spent a lot of this weekend in the car, driving through wyoming to my cousin jennifer's wedding. it was nice to have a change of scenery, and this has got to be the prettiest time of year to drive through wyoming. just miles and miles of green, rolling grassland. the children slept, and the grownups got a chance to talk to each other. just what the doctor ordered.

also this weekend, grandpa and great-grandpa estoll spent some time working on putting up a playset in our backyard. chris found it on craigslist for free--someone had just moved in and the previous owners left the set in their backyard. gotta love that. when we got back, the kids were so excited to climb and slide (and spy over the neighbors fence).

jonathan, not to be outdone, has taken to standing unassisted, sometimes for up to 30 seconds at a time. he put on quite a show for the family, many of whom were meeting him for the first time at the wedding. i wouldn't be too surprised if he started walking before his birthday...a boy has to keep up with his brothers somehow.

and so, life goes on. we have a good life.

Photo credit: Flickr/ladyLara

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


**warning**do not read this if you wish to think that motherhood is always rosy and gay***

i can't fall asleep, which is a rare occurrence these days. normally, i crash into bed and steal as many hours (minutes) as i can before i am awakened by someone who needs me. but tonight i think there are just too many thoughts for my mind to shut off yet.

motherhood does not come naturally to me. don't get me wrong, i love my kids, i am grateful for the chance to be home with them when they are young, i think that it is valuable to have a parent be a primary caretaker for these early years and our family has made sacrifices to have that happen. however, i am not one who dreamed of being a mom from the time i was young, or thought that i would be perfectly suited for staying kind of just happened.

and so i go through these phases. i've mentioned before about the momentary panic i feel after the birth of each child, that feeling of "i've got to get out of here!" that strikes and motivates me to look into all sorts of (unfinished) grand schemes for other diversions. grad school. spanish language. this blog, even.

today, i wish that i could go to work. to do what? i don't know. i don't have a career or a path that is laid out to follow, i just wish that i did. not all the time, just a little, a few hours a day, a few days a week. something to ease the constant pressure of being the only fulcrum in the spinning world of my children's chaos. is it really so terrible to have other people be involved with my children's lives, to watch them occasionally while we parents pursue other things? is the nuclear family, one parent home, one parent working, really the only way to turn out well adjusted, respectful, thoughtful children?

i worry that by the time i finally get to the point of viably being able to follow any dreams beyond the four walls of my house, that i will be unable to remember what they were, or who the person was who did the dreaming. that i will be so consumed by this all-consuming job that there will be nothing left of me outside of it.

i used to be smart. i used to be good at what i did, with fresh ideas and a passion for learning. is it petty and selfish to want to be that again? probably. but i miss that girl. i miss the "me" outside of anyone else's needs or wants, the me who was my own person and not constantly someone elses someone. i'm tired. i'm so tired. i need to breathe. i need to breathe without feeling like i am clawing for every breath that i take.

everyone says that being a mom is the best, most important job out there. and then, they move on to the next thing. everyone says it, but not many people want to do it, i mean really do it. everyone gives it lip service because that is the "correct" thing to say, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of the ugly, hard days, no one really wants to know about that. there are not many people who can honestly say they will roll up their sleeves and jump in when someone needs saving. it's the most important job out there. now lets talk about something *interesting.*

so, do i just suck it up and wait for the phase to pass? or do i look to see what is coming next? and if so, how do i know what the next thing is? is looking for something that will benefit me the act of a completely selfish and self-absorbed person, or will the effects of more room for me to breathe have benefits for the rest of my family, too?

do i pray for more contentment where i am, or do i pray for the courage to make a change?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


sometimes, God really uses my kids to illustrate to me why He says that the faith of a child is something for all us grown ups to strive for.

the other day, i was feeling rushed and nicholas was not listening *quite* as fast as i wanted him to, so i was harsh with him on the way out the door. after we got where we were going, (and i'd had a chance to think a minute), i realized that i had been wrong to be so harsh to him. so, before getting out i pulled him aside and told him i'd been wrong, and asked if he would forgive me. without a second thought, he gave me a hug and said "i love you, mama." and that was that. no grudges, no making sure i really *knew* how wrong i had been, just instant forgiveness.

i have so much to learn.