Thursday, December 27, 2007


Winter break is upon us and that means Drawing II is behind me. Although the semester started out with "inconsistent" work, due to the unpredictability of family life (call weekends, late starts and early dismissals for Juj, separation issues at daycare with Maia, sick days, snow days and just plain exhaustion days where the last thing on earth I wanted to do was pick up a charcoal pencil and a kneaded eraser), the end of the semester picked up with a series of drawings of a subject and medium of our own choosing. I worked fairly steadily in my sketch book, drawing natural objects like branches, berries, roots and stems in conte, ink and graphite. The final project was a series of 30 drawings during which I became interested in drawing, hatching and washing with ink using brushes, quill and bamboo pens on watercolor paper. I was satisfied that I had learned a few things and was able to submerge myself in the final drawings in a way I hadn't been able to during the semester. Up next, Fibers in January and I can't wait!

Merry Finals and a Happy Double Ear Infection

Holy crazy cow! Holidays always bring such excitement, overindulgence and surprises, and this year was no exception. Snow piled deep on the sides of streets, we slopped through ice and cold to my final exam... 3o drawings done in two class periods, finished up at home over the weekend. Missed book club and a holiday party to get them finished, but dang it they were done. Over that same weekend my dear daughter caught a cold, which turned into a cough, which turned into sleepless nights and inconsolable crying and finally into double ear infections. Which then led to antibiotics, which caused her to break out in hives and welts across her back, which sent us back to the doctor for a penicillin allergy label and a prescription for another antibiotic and ear drops for the pain. As the week closes, my dear is on the mend and thankfully was able to enjoy all of our Christmas magic through oodles of parties, presents and sweets.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Arsenic, Cadmium and Mercury Oh My!

Parenting has really entered a new age. If you haven't checked out you should before you wrap up those Christmas presents if you want to know what their Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury and Chlorine contents are. Yikes! Playskool Mr. Potato Head - medium levels, Playskool Tinker Toys - medium levels, Fisher-Price Doctor's kit - HIGH levels, Nuk pacifiers (orthodontic) Med and just a tincture of Tin! Even those Gerber soft tipped baby spoons are full of lead and we loved ours. We are now supposed to avoid #7 plastic, canned foods, plastic baby bottles and plastic cling wrap according to this toxic laundry list brought to you by Environment California. And if you haven't had yer fill yet, see Z Recommends for some actual healthy options in the sippy cup department. Whew, I'm exhausted, aren't you?

Then I'll leave you with a few fun places to do your post holiday shopping for some safe, natural and imaginative toys:
Oompa Toys
Nova Natural Toys and Crafts
Three Sisters Toys
Planet Happy Toys
Natural Pod

But I'm still not getting rid of my 1970's Fisher Price little people collection, I'll just have to stop myself from gnawing on them!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dear Mead Johnson,

So, apparently more fuel has been added to the baby formula debate. A study conducted by The Environmental Working Group has shown that bishphenol-A is found in trace amounts in the lining of powered and liquid formula cans and the caps on the nursette bottles. All of which I personally used in the form of very expensive Enfamil powder formula to supplement breastfeeding. I was outraged when I heard the minimizing comments from Mead Johnson. Bishphenol-A (BPA) is known to effect the developing brain and reproductive system. It has also been shown to cause multiple cancers in lab rats at very low doses. The general opinion of makers of baby formula like Mead Johnson (Enfamil) is that they "have no reason to believe that BPA is present in significant amounts in any of (their) products." Well now they do, but of course they will minimize this study. They also have no reason not to either, since they haven't done any testing themselves, or at least made it public.

"Mead Johnson is not required to test our products for presence of BPA, and we have no reason to believe that BPA is present in significant amounts..." Well if the government says it's fine to give infants even the smallest doses of toxic chemicals known to cause abnormalities and cancer, then it must be okay! Ha! Nice PR Mead Johnson. Email them at and tell them to get the BPA out of the packaging.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Swap On!

I hosted a swap party in early December and scored some serious loot! Many thanks to the former owners of a) a set of gold painted owl salt and pepper shakers b) a pair of perfectly fitting, nicely worn-in retro jeans c) a fantastic large brim hat, and d) an illustrated guide to medicinal herbs... just to name a few. For those unfamiliar with a swap party, this is a great way to recycle unwanted items, get a few great freebies and hang out with the ladies. Each person is asked to bring between 3-5 items that they can live without and would like to put into the pot (regift). Often folks take the opportunity to clean out the closets, the atics and the bookshelves to make room for the upcoming holiday. Popular swap items are clothes, kitchen ware, jewlery, books, music, shoes, but can include just about anything. This is better than the goodwill bins people, cause you don't have to fight over that Prada bag someone got sick of. You pick cards from a deck and take your turn in that order. Snide comments and dirty looks are all part of the fun. Then whatever is left over (those 80's clothes someone has held on to for decades) goes to the goodwill. It's good fun all the way around!