Friday, July 15, 2011

Kegals, Squats, & Tiny Hineys

News has reached Casa de la Bohemia, that Kegals are not only ineffective, but possibly counter-productive.  The newest news suggests that the key to a strong pelvic floor is having a big firm booty.  The brilliant scientist that came up with the newest news says we should be doing squats instead. Okay, so I get very excited on the first day and start squatting every chance I get.  I counted 80 squats that day.  (Did I mention, that the little witchlings and the little cat think I've gone and dropped my basket?) No, sweat.  Next morning, no soreness.  This continued for several days, til I got to thinking that my tiny little white girl 'no-ass' (as my friends lovingly refer to it) is obviously NOT muscular enough.  This should be a bit painful if it's going to be effective.  So we checked the all knowing internet and found that we are doing squats ALL wrong.  Essentially, while doing a squat, you should appear to be sitting down onto a chair.  Your feet should be hip length apart & pointed forward.  You should face directly ahead (which is hard while squatting, so I suggest doing it in front of a mirror) and I find that placing a book on my head helps me stay more balanced and 'drawn in' while doing this exercise.  Your knees should never move forward of your toes & keep your posture nice & your back slightly arched.  Now is the part where I mention that if you plan on doing this exercise in front of a mirror, give yourself an extra 15 minutes, cuz you will want to have the time to laugh at the jack-ass in the mirror with a book on her head sitting in an imaginary chair and falling like a damn fool.  And if ya wanna go hard core and build a butt, you should use weights.  I used 11 lb barbells and I am sorry.  Gauge weight size, by if you can do 10-15 squats easily while holding them.  If you can, they are too light.  Every time you want to quit, just think of Depends.  And for some real incentive, go check out the Mama Sweat blog where the original info is!

Now I'm gonna go tippy-fuckin-toe to a hot bathtub, so I can soak my tiny sore hiney and relax with the knowledge that, after seeing this, the kids will never think me infallible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Green Cooling Tips from Hell

In the spirit of Summer, here at a latitude near Hell, I have some cooling tricks (minus the air conditioner) to share.  

During the hottest part of the day, when the air outside is much hotter than inside or the Sun is shining in and heating things up, you must keep the heat out.  Use heavy drapes with a white backing (which reflects the ultraviolet rays) to keep the Sun from getting in.  This isn't really the most effective method because, like in your car, heat gets trapped between the glass and the curtain.  What works best, as tacky as this seems, is to tinfoil your windows.  Yes, you just read that right.  I said tinfoil your windows.  From the inside of the window (with the shiny side facing out) press the tinfoil onto the glass, using tape to hold it in place if necessary.  Crinkling the foil a little helps prevent it from blinding passers by.  I recommend disinfecting your windows with something strong, like bleach, before you do this to prevent mold from growing between the window and the foil.  If shiny happy windows do not appeal to your neighborhood association, you still have options.  White shoe polish.  Yep, you heard that one right, too.  Most neighborhoods, complexes, & communities require that your blinds or curtains show white from outside,  Luckily, white reflects light best of all the colors (unless tinfoil is a color), and is a good second choice for painting your windows.  Shoe polish is my favorite product for the job because it applies without much mess and washes (scrapes) off easily enough when the weather starts to cool.  It may take several applications to get it on there thick enough.  But it's essentially the same principal as the tinfoil, to reflect the light and the heat away from the glass, not through it.  If you plan on keeping your windows closed and not painting/tinfoiling them (like if you are using an AC), you can 'double pane' them yourself.  It's just like insulating your windows in the winter.  Use plastic wrap or clear plastic sheeting to make an airtight cover around the window, leaving space between the window and the plastic.

  • During the hours that the sun is not shining in or the air outside is cooler, you'll probably want to open your windows and doors.  You can decide which ones to open to direct air circulation throughout the entire house or to a specific area.  Generally you want more windows open in the direction the wind is coming from and fewer open where the wind is going to.  If most of the wind is coming in at the North side of your house, you want to open as many windows & doors possible on that side and then a few on the South side to let the air out.
  • Similarly, you may want to direct air in from a certain direction.  If, for instance, you have a patch of trees to the back of your house and highway out front, then you would want cool forest air coming in and hot air not getting in.  This is easy if the breeze is coming from the cool side, follow the directions above.  Open lots of lower windows on the cool side and a few upper windows on the hot side.  If upper and lower aren't applicable then just ignore that part.
  • The upper lower thing can also be used to completely air out a house more efficiently.  Open lowers in the direction of the wind and uppers in the direction its going.  The air comes in from the lower side and pushes the hot air (that rises up) out the upper windows.
Tip: It's worth every penny to make sure you have screens & that those screens seal around the edges, especially when the heat drives every bug out from under it's rock to find a cooler spot.  I use clear packing tape around the edges of my screens to keep the creepy crawlies out.  

Fans can be used to direct air flow, and though they are used many different ways, that is all they ever really do.  My favorite kind to use is a cheap-o Dollar Store box fan.  They are so versatile and usually fit perfectly in windows.
  • If the air is cooler than your body temperature, a fan cools you by blowing cool air towards you, replacing the air around you that has been warmed by body heat.  If the air is warmer than your body temperature, you are likely sweating and the fan speeds the evaporation of warm sweat off your skin and into the air.  It takes it's heat with it.  For this reason, having a fan blowing in an empty room does not necessarily cool it.
  • Freeze gallon jugs or 2-Liter bottles full of water. (as many as will fit in your freezer, preferably) Put a frozen jug between you and a fan and enjoy.  When it melts, replace it with a frozen one and put it back in the freezer.  Because the jugs of frozen water keep the freezer cooler longer, keeping them in there offsets the electricity it takes to freeze & refreeze them.  And because the freeze is coming on less often, it is putting off less heat.
  • Ceiling fans are most effectively used only when someone is in the room (they don't do a good job of pulling in cool air or pushing out hot air) and on the setting where they pull air up rather than pushing it down.
  • Use fans in windows and doors to force a certain pattern of air circulation.  Force a cross-breeze when there isn't one.  Direct air in from cool areas out through hot areas (like the kitchen).  Create more air pressure in a room that has fewer windows/doors by directing air in from the outdoors or in from the indoors to cool a room faster.
  • There are also little exhaust fans that blow cool air.  These are a great last resort for those who just won't  or can't turn on the AC.  They use very little electricity; comparable to that used by a large fan.
Cool Living
You've heard of Green Living, this is similar.  The objective is to create as little heat as possible.
  • Turn off any appliances, devices, & lights you aren't using and try to use those things less.
  • Use energy saver lights, they produce WAY less heat.
  • Turn off your T.V. You won't believe how much heat they produce.
  • Cook less.  Make more salads & slaws.  Cook in a crock-pot, and put that crock-pot on the balcony.  (Defend against ants with a protective circle of ground cinnamon. No Shit! It burns them like acid!) Grill your food.  Resist the urge to bake anything.
  • If you must cook, use a fan blowing from the interior doorway to your kitchen and another blowing out the the exterior opening of your kitchen.  If you have only one fan, choose the interior doorway, blowing air from inside the house to the outside.
  • If you use central air, and are trying to keep your kitchen from heating up the rest of the house:  Seal it off by closing any doors leading to the kitchen or covering them with curtains.  A blanket works fine for this.  Close all vents.  Direct air in from one exterior window or door and out another.  If you only have one exterior opening or one fan, position it to blow from the most interior part of the kitchen toward the biggest/only exterior opening.
  • Dry clothes on the line, or on hangers outside or in the bathroom. (Direct sunlight is good for bleaching whites and colors, use it like you'd use the chlorine stuff.)  Directing a fan at wet clothes speeds the process.  I know it seems like a lot of work, but once you've smelled line-dried sheets, you'll never go back.
  • Leave the hot water heater off most of the time.  Look in your breaker box for how to turn it off.
  • Wash dishes by hand or, if you must use a dishwasher, set it to drip dry.
Other Stuff
  • Stay hydrated!  Plenty of fluids are necessary in hot weather!  There are lots of cooling herbal teas & lemonades to choose from.  Drinking mint anything is a great idea, too.
  • Make 'sun-tea'.  Put your herbs/tea bags in a tea pitcher full of water in the sun and wait a few hours.  Doesn't heat up the the house.
  • Take cool showers.
  • Wear as little as you can get away with.  (I live in a bikini top)
  • Mix a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle of water. (preferably with a fine mist setting)  Shake vigorously and mist yourself (avoid eyes) for a quick cool off.
  • Wet your hair.
  • Try to keep activity to a minimum during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Use the water hose to spray down your roof & sun scorched walls.
  • When all is said and done, a little weather magic never hurts either!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    The Whore Archetype: Part 1

    We hear lot's of things about sluts, whores, prostitutes, courtesans, and fast women.  We've heard that the creature known as The Slut, is in fact a myth.  We've also heard about, and perhaps known women who've 'slept their  way to the top' in one way or the other.   The pilot episode of Sex in the City, ponders the question of whether women can have unattached sex like men and then the inevitable follow up question of whether they shouldWe Our Puritan/Gluttonous dichotomy of a culture teaches us to view sexually adventurous women as both the ideal 'liberated' woman & as a home-wrecker (poor Angie) or tart.  We've, more recently, heard that The Mythical Slut (see above), does in fact exist and it is NOT okay to rape her! (Love these Gals, check to see if they've got something going in your area!)  Prostitution has been called the oldest profession, and we have archeological evidence dating back to Pompeii and earlier of a thriving industry.  We know the Bible references the cult of Ashera or Ashtoreth, and the sacred prostitution involved in worship (though at one point, the all powerful YHWH was known to seek the pleasures of her bed).  And we know that, at least in Judea, Sacred Whores did not like to be likened to prostitutes, as there was a HUGE difference between the two.
    Webster gives us the following definitions:
     Courtesan: : a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper-class clientele.
     Whore: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money. 
    Slut: : a promiscuous woman.

    At this point, we know a prostitute is the same as a whore and they would both prefer to be Courtesans.  A slut, a tramp, a floozie, a coquette, etc all have sex for fun, not money (but maybe drinks and baubles).  And there has been ritualized prostitution in a number of cultures for religious purposes throughout history.  Now on to the touchy subject of marriage, prostitution, and philosophy.  It can be said that every marriage is a form of prostitution, more frequently than not involving both parties acting as prostitute.  Before you pull out your scythe, hear me out.  Prostitution is generally defined as the the exchange of services (sex) for money or other tangible valuables.  Now be honest, your husband would not be out working while you take care of the kids if you weren't in a relationship (these almost always involve sex, in my experience).  At the same time, even if you are both working outside the home for monetary gain, you (as in both of you) are still using sex as a way to reduce your bills by cohabiting.  So relationship = sex = cohabiting = splitting the bills = monetary gain.  Go ahead, have your hissy fit, I know you liberated women out there are smart enough to realize that this is the case and essentially the only way to have a relationship.  We trade sex for all sorts of things that aren't tangible as well.  We stay in a marriage for the sake of the kids.  We have sex because he/she was having a bad day, even if we weren't in the mood.  (What did we get out of that? you may ask.  Simple answer: to comfort your mate.)  Hopefully you've heard me and understand that I am not cheapening marriage with my statement. :)  Ladies with a life-partner are doing willing sex work with someone who is (hopefully) also doing willing sex work, & with double the intangible rewards.  So a married woman is a cross between a prostitute and a slut with a preference for one lover.  Hell, in some cases (I don't have to mention this religion by name) married ladies are practicing a form of Sacred Prostitution, as their religion may dictate that it might piss of a male deity if they dare say no to their husband.  Needless to say, there is one last form of The Whore;  She is the slave.  The one who has been stripped of her power, who has lost her autonomy, and the one who is unwilling and then has the blame heaped upon her. 

    The Whore has always fascinated me.  In fact, I come from a long line of 'traditional' prostitutes, several generations actually.  My mother was a self-loathing whore, victim of the Virgin/Whore conundrum.  So naturally, being raised in the church, she felt it necessary to confess to me all that she had done, and by the time I was 8, I could accurately describe various sexual acts, std's, and the resulting damage incurred by the female reproductive tract.  Despite my mom's best efforts, I managed, by age 25 to really embrace my sexuality in all it's glory.  It seems as if I can identify with each type of whore at different points in my life.  Perhaps you can too.  Right now, I am feeling particularly attracted to The Courtesan, so the second part of this series will deal with her in detail.  With any luck, I'll have that out by next Sunday.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Color Correspondences: A Guide for Kids

    As many of you Mothers know, there isn't a whole hell of a lot of material out there for Pagan kids.  And there is almost no FREE material, (single mom in the Great Recession here) so I make a ton of stuff myself.  I especially LOVE making worksheets and little spells & crafts I can do with my girls.  I think one of the main reasons we have so little material is because Paganism includes more factions (I mean, paths) than fought in the entire Lebanese civil war.  Seriously, look that shit up, EVERY faction fought EVERY other faction at one point or another.  I don't know how the fuck they kept it straight.  Anyhow, I have spent the last I don't know how many fucking days compiling a little booklet, designed to be put in a 3 ring binder or similar, called Color Correspondences: A Guide for Kids.  I'd say that the age range is about 5 to 12 years old, but you might find it works for other age groups as well.  It's about as non-denominational Pagan as you can get.  Since this is my first 'public' workbook publication, I'd really appreciate any feedback, good or bad (but be nice!), or suggestions.  Unfortunately, you have to print each page separately (working on it).


    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Magic Carpet Powder

         This carpet freshener recipe is the culmination of many years of experimenting with different powders for different purposes.  It is very simple, yet very effective at ridding your house of unwanted odors as well as a number of common household pests & is safe enough to use on the floor your baby chews crawls on.  It will kill and repel roaches, fleas, & ants.  It is also hypo-allergenic for the most part.
    • Borax (AKA Boric Acid)
    • Baking Soda (Dollar Stores are a cheap place to look.
    • Fragrance or Essential Oils
    • A large jug or jar with tight fitting lid
         The first thing you want to do is mix equal parts Borax & Baking Soda.  I hate having a sprinkle of this or that left over and this need not be exact measuring.  I use the 4lb 12oz box of 20 Mule Team Borax, which translates to 64 oz.  Then I mix in 5 14oz boxes of Dollar Store brand Baking Soda, which translates into 70 oz.  This gets me up to about 2 gallons of powder.  You can use a fragrance oil, like you find at Wally World, or any combo of essential oils that please your nose.  I use about 20 drops of oil per pound of powder.  If you used the same measurements I did, then you have 134 oz or about 8 1/3 lbs.  so you need about 167 drops of oil or 2.78 teaspoons according to this site.  The amount of oil may be increased or decreased to meet your needs.  Mine recipe is a little on the aromatic side.  I make mine in very large batches but feel free to reduce the recipe.  1 cup of  borax & 1 cup of baking soda with 20 or so drops of oil is a good starter batch.
         So anyway.  You add the oil to the powder in a jug or jar with a tight fitting lid.  You should only fill your container about 2/3 the way full so that you have shaking space.  Put the lid on and shake vigorously.  Shake daily for about a month.  Then it's ready.
         Now, here is where the magic comes in.  I like to use the principals of aroma therapy, astrological influences and herb magic in my preparations.  For instance, a floor powder made on a Friday, during a Waxing Moon in Venus, using Rose & Sandalwood oil, & adding in an opal just for kicks, would provide you with a floor powder suitable for stirring up some romance.  As a true believer that magic should permeate our lives, I encourage you to use these recipes as a chance to squeeze in some 'everyday magic'.  Burn a candle & focus on the intended result as you mix your powders.  Visualize your intent when you do your daily shaking of the mixture.  Treat it like a spell instead of a cheap, natural, home made carpet powder.
         Another thing you can do with this combo is to add Tea Tree Oil to it and use it as an germ killing soft scrub(perfect for toilets).  It can be used as a laundry detergent as well, I use about 1/2 cup per load with castile soap.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011


    It's 4 in the morning, here at Casa de la Bohemia, and we have the doors open and citronella burning.  I'm sitting at my laptop happily tapping away, searching for the next new Paleo recipe...perhaps something I can put in the crock pot now and eat later?

    Rosie:  Holy double shit! (her own phrase, I don't know anyone who says this)
    Fi: What? and why are you yelling.
    Rosie: (still with headphones on, listening to F.Scott's metal)  Flies are attacking the light.
    Fi:  That's not flies, it's moths.  Moths are good.  I once met one this big.

    Funny thing is, this convo is soooo typical, including the cursing.  But I never let them use words to demean or hurt others in any way (even, not so dirty words!).  Believe it or not I've gotten reprisals from other parents who allow their children to behave ever so fucking hatefully, but don't curse in the process.  I ask you this: Is social conformity of higher value to teach our children, than kindness?

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Home Made Playdough

    I needed to steam the carpets today, so I made the girls some home made play dough to keep them out of my hair.  It's a heluva lot cheaper than the shit at Wally World and you can whip up a huge batch in about 5 minutes.

    You will need:
    • 3 parts flour (any)
    • 1 part salt (anything but rock salt)
    • some kind of oil, canola, vegetable
    • water
    • vitamin E capsules (optional)
    • Food Dye (optional)
    Make the dry mix by combining 3 parts flour and 1 part salt.  In a separate bowl, mix water and oil at a ratio of 3 parts water 1 part oil to total about 1 cup if your dry parts(above) are cups.  A few vitamin E's squeezed into the mix will help lengthen the shelf life, and if desired should be added to the bowl of liquid at this time.  Also, if desired, food dye is best added at this time.  Alternately, for color, one might use a sort of vegetable tea instead of water above.  In my opinion, this decreases the raw shelf life of the dough.  Most of the plants listed as Natural Easter Egg Dyes will work here.  After you finish mixing all liquids, pour them into the bowl of flour and salt.  Mix with a fork until it gets clumpy and then knead into a ball.  You may need to add a bit more flour or water/vegetable tea at this point.  It should feel like regular play dough and taste like salt.  Best kept in the refrigerator inside an air-tight container like a zip lock bag with all the air squeezed out.  Depending on the temperatures in your area of the world, you may be able to dry your creations outside in the sun.  Let them get 'over-done' and make sure you flip them to let both sides dry.  Could take a day or a week.  You can also dry them in the oven at a low temperature like 225 F.  Here you should also turn them over and let them get over done, but make sure they do not burn!   After they completely dry, an hour or a day, you can paint them or seal them with varnish.

    Some Ideas on What to do with PlayDough:
    A blurry pic of some things creations about to go into the oven!

    • Make beads by rolling dough into small balls and poking holes through with a toothpick.  Great for necklaces, ornaments, bead curtains, poppets, etc.
    • Make an altar tile with a cool design on it like a pentagram or the Tree of Life.  Do this by placing a coloring page over some dough that you've rolled out to your desired thickness and poking holes along the lines to create a stencil for you to use on your dough.  Or if you have a bit of artistic talent you could free hand carve the picture of your choice.
    • You can also use cookie cutters to make great shapes for Yule ornaments, Charms, and all other manner of nonsense.
    • I've made offering bowls, incense holders, coasters, decorative tiles for hanging, little plaques, candle holders, and even little goddesses.
    • Bits of Glass & Metal can be used in the before baking process.  In the after baking process, get creative with glue & paint & buttons & yarn & glitter & so on!
    If you make something great, come back and tell me about it!  Or even better post pics!