Friday, March 19, 2010

Boy, was I a good citizen this week!

So this week I did the following:

1) Completed my income taxes.
2) Filled out my census form.
3) Enrolled my daughter in kindergarten for the fall.

About the only thing I missed was voting, jury duty and signing up for military service! Although we are still house-sitting for a member of the armed forces (hubby's brother) and I voted a month ago for a school levy issue. Does that count?

FYI, we are due to hear this coming Monday about the grant proposal (actually, a preliminary letter of interest) that I wrote for Johnny and Michele's Heart & Soil organization. Crossing my fingers that they will invite us to submit a full proposal!

Tomorrow is a big day for events. The Healthy Kids and Green Parenting Fair, sponsored by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, will be held at the south Park Community Center, and the Tacoma Community Gardening Summit, sponsored by MetroParks, will be held at the Manitou Community Center, from 10-3 and 10-4, respectively. Johnny and Michele are presenters at the latter. Fortunately, the two locations are within a five minute drive of each other. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mystery solved? And more about hair

Remember my Seattle Organics castile soap mystery? I have an email in to a company called Ballard Organics, asking if they were once called Seattle Organics, since I haven't been about to find anything about the latter. It's possible, since I've been seing Ballard Organics soaps on the shelves in several stores, and the labels of the two products looks the same.

In any case, I wish I had heard of them sooner. I just received an order of AAA shea butter, which I ordered online because as much as I want to buy shea butter from a local company, Alaffia, $10 for 2 ounces doesn't compare to AAA's $25 for 16 oz. But on Ballard Organics web site, they sell 16 oz. of shea butter for $24.25. Even cheaper and local! I would need to find out more to know if their shea butter is unrefined and as good quality as Alaffia's and AAA's.

I know I talk a lot about hair, but it's a black woman thing! So, I went to get my hair done last week (for the first time in more than a year), along with my daughter, with a hair dresser who works in the barbershop where my husband gets his hair cut. I told him that I don't want to use chemicals on either of our heads, and I want to find something I can do with my hair naturally and easily, and that daughter wanted her hair straightened. He gave me a nice cut, and applied a product called Noodle Head, which he said would keep it curly. I like the cut, hate the product. It contains, of course, a list of unreadable ingredients (although a quick scan on the Safe Cosmetics Database shows that many of them are low hazard), and alcohol is the second biggest ingredient (after water). My hair looked great at first, and an hour later, was dry and rough to the touch.

I think I'll stick with my homemade products, thank you. I really like Green Barbarian's hair recommendation -- washing with 2 T. apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. water, and then conditioning with a mix of 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. vodka in 8 oz water, with a little essential oil for scent. And my conditioners are working well.

The hair dresser did recommend a product that I purchased and do like: a paddle brush, which is great at detangling curly hair (when wet). I also just invested in a better flat iron, which a woman at Sally's Beauty Supply said for very curly hair, needs to heat up to 450 degrees. The one I bought was far from the $240 the woman at the mall tried to sell me at Christmas time--only $40. I won't use it often, but I'd like the option to straighten my hair or my daughter's on occasion.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Once more, I don't have enough time to post all I want, but I'll try to do this quickly.

Everything is connected... that's what I've been thinking about.

When Colin Beavan reached the "no more electricity" stage of his No Impact project, he realized that some of the challenges he and his family would face are the same that impoverished people around the world face daily: keeping food from spoiling; keeping cool in hot weather, and warm in cold weather; doing laundry and other chores without labor-saving devices; providing artificial light after the sun goes down so children can do homework; etc. As Beavan writes on p. 170, "When you take the 'use less' philosophy to scale, you have to question its worldwide applicability. Because how on earth can someone who has no access to electricity possibly use less?"

This makes me recall what the Permibus folks said: any "sustainable solution" that doesn't work for poor communities and urban communities isn't sustainable.

I am working with our friends Johnnie and Michelle on a grant application for their organization, Heart and Soil, so that they can do more projects engaging youth in community gardening, provide more support for local gardeners and small farmers, and do more community outreach and education. Their long-term goal is to ensure that everyone in Pierce County has access to health, local, sustainably grown foods. As Johnnie put it, if something were to happen to the highways between Pierce County, where Tacoma is located, and King County, where Seattle is located, the shelves in grocery stores throughout Pierce County would be empty in 48 hours.

Speaking of connections, we've been talking about ours. Johnnie and Michelle moved to Tacoma about the same time we did (they came from California); they are also house-sitting; they, like us, have backgrounds in community service and youth development; and they, like us, really want to make sure that the sustainability movement doesn't leave out low-income communities and communities of color. So there is at least one reason we're here in Washington after all!

And speaking of Tacoma, it's funny how one of my complaints about Washington two weeks ago has changed. We've had a lot of sunny days recently, while the east coast was getting slammed with bad weather.