Tag Archives: daily life


29 Jul

This is post is semi-random, to be sure, but I had to share a victory I celebrated today. After literally years of failing to capture an “Amish buggy in my rearview mirror” picture, I did it this morning! I snapped this outside Red Haw, OH just after 8 AM this morning. I was parked at a stop sign. Safety first!


Please also note the new photography device featured in this image… a real digital camera instead of a cell phone cam! Many many thanks to my friends P and A for their generosity.

I’ve been trying to take a photo like this for years now. I think my friends who live in places other than rural Northeast Ohio have a hard time imagining the juxtaposition that one can encounter daily in this area. There is a buggy hitching post at the WalMart in my city. It is not uncommon for traffic to be backed up for a block or two by a slow-moving buggy. In the truly rural areas outside the city where I live, it is the rare store with a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy, because many Amish people do not wear shoes in the summer, and they make up a large portion of the paying customer base. I think the image of a buggy in the rearview mirror does a good job of communicating the ways that cultures can collide and fuse together.

Just for kicks I’ll throw in a couple more things I have captured recently. Fair warning, the next image MAY DISTURB YOU.

This winter, my roommate and I became aware that something small and rodenty was sharing out apartment. We never saw any trace of a mouse in our kitchen; no nibbles taken out of our bags of potatoes or boxes of Lucky Charms in the pantry. No tiny mouse turds anywhere. But there was a hole in the bag of cat food we had stored away in a cupboard connected to the wall of our house. And then I discovered a pile of cat food in my winter sweater box, which had been stored in the attic. This was very disconcerting. I did not like the idea of rodents keeping their food nestled between my cardigans. Yuck. However, because we never actually saw a mouse, and we had no desire to murder a mouse who may have simply been taking shelter from the cold Ohio winter, we decided to just move the cat food to a plastic container and hope that the mouse/mice would return to their outdoor home as spring dawned.

Well, it would appear that our mouse is a bit of ┬áhomebody. He surprised me in the bathroom just days ago, and I barely had the presence of mind to trap him under my roommate’s toothbrush cup.* He was very fast, and I can only thank the good Lord that he was small. If he was a big scary rat thing I don’t think I could have done anything but flee.

I still had no desire to murder this mouse, so I removed him or her to the great outdoors with great haste. But I did take a couple pictures first. For posterity. And to show my roommate’s cat that she should be ashamed of herself for failing to defend our apartment from the scourge of vermin.

Okay, one final “captured” thing. Today I headed to Maurer Farm Market and came away with two pecks of fragrant, beautiful peaches. They were second pickings– fruit with minor blemishes or bruises. Which meant I got them for just $6.50 per peck. since my peaches are about to become jam, pie, and peach butter, the fact that some of them looked gnarly is not an issue.

I only started learning to can and preserve at the end of last summer, so I’m really excited to “put up” more food this year. I think I’m most looking forward to combining the white peaches with some frozen sweet cherries for jam! Jam that will hopefully never be snacked on by a rodent.

Readers, do you like to eat jam? Do you like to make jam? Do you have a vermin scourge plaguing your home? Please feel free to chime in with feedback of any kind.

*Note to all concerned: I have already promised said roommate a new toothbrush cup unmarred by rodent presence.


why i use a menstrual cup, and maybe you should too

15 Jul

Warning: If you are so immature as to be unable to deal with the reality that most women between puberty and menopause menstruate, this post will be challenging for you. Grown-ups, read on!

There are some topics that I have been hesitant to post about here on my blog. I am not a “share-all” kind of person, and there are some things I discuss only with a few close friends, and some things I rarely discuss at all. That said, I have decided that the pros outweigh the cons in this case, and although it’s not something I would bring up over Sunday brunch, I am coming out to the Internet to say: I use a menstrual cup.

I have been using a silicone menstrual cup monthly for five years, since the summer of 2006. This product has transformed the way I experience my period. Since literally all of my friends either a) menstruate or b) know someone who menstruates, I wanted to share my personal history in the hope that others can experience the convenience and economy that a menstrual cup allows.

I first encountered menstrual cups while in college. Some feminist group on campus would occasionally advertise for The Keeper, a brown rubber cup, and for parties to sew reusable cloth pads. At the time, I was a little grossed out by the idea. I guess I just wasn’t ready yet.

I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled across the idea again, but I ended up doing enough research to want to try using a cup. I was finally questioning the idea that my natural bodily functions were disgusting. I’m hardly someone to shout from the rooftops that I love having a period, but I’ve accepted that it is a fact of being a sexually mature woman, and nothing to be ashamed of. Using a cup has helped me to be more in touch with my body and how it works.

Here’s what I like about using a menstrual cup:

  • It is easy. I had a very short learning curve with my cup. By the end of my first period using it, it had become practically second nature.
  • It is convenient. With a cup, you don’t have to worry about carrying extra pads or tampons around, or about running to the store when you get your period unexpectedly. Also, in five years I have yet to have a leak, even during heavy periods.
  • It is cheaper than using disposable products. I paid about $30 for mine in 2006. This website estimates that using disposable pads, I would have spent $226.33 minimum over the past 5 years. For tampons, $299.33. Again, these are the estimates using the least expensive pads and tampons as quoted by Luna Pads. Note that they also recommend replacing your cup every two years. In my research, this is not necessary. Before 2006, I used a combination of pads and tampons– but let’s say I only used the cheapest pads. By switching to a menstrual cup, I saved $196.33 over five years. Not too shabby, especially considering that my cup shows no signs of wear after five years… who knows how many more years I’ll get out of it?
  • It’s good for the environment! In the past five years, I’ve avoided throwing about 1,200 disposable products into a landfill.
  • It’s better for my body. With menstrual cups, there is no risk of Toxic Shock syndrome. You don’t have to worry about having processed, bleached fibers touching your most private of areas. Most cups are made of medical grade silicone, which is nonabsorbent, and easily sanitized.

Final points: It should be acknowledged that menstrual cups are not for everyone. I was sad to find that one of my friends, who purchased a cup after hearing my experience, has not yet been able to use it comfortably. Some women may take longer to become accustomed to using a cup. Everyone is different. Still, I believe that most women, if willing to give menstrual cups a chance, would find them an improvement to disposable products.

While researching for this post, I discovered that there are many more brands of cup available for consumers now than when I purchased mine five years ago. At that time, there were only four brands available– now, there are closer to twenty, with many options for size and color.

Resources for those interested:

This How to Use a Menstrual Cup page on Wikihow explains the basics of cup use.

This Menstrual Cups blog has many helpful brand comparisons to help women decide which cup to choose. This link will take you to all the comparison posts, which go into detail on everything from size to color to malleability.

The cup I use is a MoonCup, manufactured by a company in the UK. Apparently in the years since I purchased mine there have been some legal issues with selling this cup to customers in the US, because The Keeper company started manufacturing a silicone cup under the same name. MoonCup UK now sells their cup to those in the USA under the name MCUK. According to their site, it is the same product.

The Menstrual Cup community on LiveJournal is a great resource. There are countless posts where users provide advice about choosing a cup, using cups, and caring for cups.

Readers, any thoughts? Are you one of the few, the proud, the reusable menstrual product advocates? If you have questions I will do my best to answer them, but keep in mind that I can only speak from my own experience.

go ahead. rain on my parade.

18 Jun

It’s been a stormy, rain-logged summer here in Ohio so far. I am a person who enjoys both rain and thunderstorms (as long as I have the good fortune of a solid roof above my head). Still, it can be easy to let inclement weather spoil a summer day if you were hoping to enjoy a hike or a picnic or a walk to the grocery store.

A couple weeks ago, my roommate K and I were just about to set out on a stroll to the library when the heavens unleashed a mighty downpour. Since there was no lightning, we decided to roll up our jeans, pull out our raincoats and umbrellas, and go on a walk anyway. The last time I was out in such heavy rain was about fifteen years ago, when I was living in Pakistan and monsoon season was a force to be reckoned with.

we knew it was a doozy of a storm when we saw that the gutters were overflowing

our umbrellas offered some protection

but the water was really rushing down our street

and eventually I folded up my umbrella and decided to just walk in the stream! maybe when it's hot and humid later this summer, I can remember how cool and refreshing this moment was. Memories are cheaper than a trip to a waterpark.

The forecast for this week is stormy, too. Anyone want to join me for a walk?