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  • Chemical Candy Chaos!

    I am the type of person that would rather go hungry than to eat food that I don’t like, or is bad quality. Eating is such a pleasurable experience for me, and goes way beyond the basic need to fill my stomach. I want to have a tantric experience with my meals. I don’t want to eat just because I am hungry – I want my wet mouth to orgasm while I fill it with delicious sausages.

    Local and organic of course.

    Maybe this can be annoying for others – especially for those who want to just eat and move on with the day but have to instead wait for me to find the perfect artisanal pizza place specializing in hand foraged pixy farts.

    For example: There was this one time when I went hiking in the Swiss Alps with my boyfriend and friend, and we got really lost. We finally came across a sign that read “Wanderweg” and decided we would go there, and take the train home. We followed the path for a few miles, then came across another sign that said “Wanderweg.” This sign, however, pointed in another direction. We were confused, but followed that path for another few miles. We then came across two signs, that pointed in opposite directions, and they BOTH read “Wanderweg.”

    Toni: Where the fuck is Wanderweg!!!??

    Finally we passed some other hikers who explained that “wanderweg” means “path.”

    We didn’t get off the mountain until 10 at night, and had been hiking for 12 hours with no food or water. When we finally got to the small town, everything was closed except for one restaurant. Inside there was an old man smoking cigarettes and chewing on his hands. He showed us the menu, which consisted of a variety of canned meat.

    Toni: Ummm I don’t think I’m gonna eat here.
    My Boyfriend: What??! DUDE I am starving! Lets just eat! There is nowhere else?
    Toni: It just doesn’t look very good. And the smoke is bothering me. I won’t even be able to taste anything. Maybe we can take the train to the next town? Or walk there?

    And that was the day my boyfriend strangled me.

    And here is a story where my 5-year old almost choked the fuck out of me. The Munch and I were coming back from a road trip, and had been in the car for a few hours. She told me she needed to go to the bathroom, so I pulled over at a gas station. Once we were inside, she wanted a treat.

    The Munch: I want a treat.
    Toni: No. Not here. I can’t.
    The Munch: But MOM I AM REALLY HUNGRY! YOU DIDN’T GIVE ME DINNER AND I WANT A TREAT.
    Toni: I can’t buy you chemical candy.
    The Munch: PLEASE!? What about these?
    Toni: Sour Patch kids? No way dude! Those are chemical kids coated with sugar flavored chemicals.
    The Munch: What about these??
    Toni: Reece’s? Those are just partially hydrogenated oil patties. I can’t. I can’t support those companies. I can’t get you these natural nuts? Or GMO free chips if you are hungry.
    The Munch: BUT I WANT A TREAT!
    Toni: It’s not going to happen.
    The Munch: FINE!!!

    The Munch STORMED back into the car. She was PISSED! When we finally got home a few hours later, she was STILL mad! She went to bed furious at me.

    The Munch: I REALLY WANTED A TREAT!

    The next morning when she woke up, she still had the idea of treats on her mind.

    The Munch: Can I have a treat?
    Toni: Yes you can… but we have to go to the Green Grocer to buy one, because we have nothing here.
    The Munch: That’s too far! I don’t want to get back in the car!
    Toni: Neither do I!
    The Munch: Let’s go to the General Store.
    Toni: I can’t do that. All they have is chemical treats. If you want a treat we have to go to the Green Grocer.
    The Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    It’s not like she doesn’t KNOW I only buy organic food. The Munch is FULLY AWARE that I am never happy when someone gives her chemical candy to eat. Halloween was a big challenge for me! We had agreed that was the only chemical candy she would eat. But for whatever reason, she was NOT feeling my commitment to quality food this day.

    Toni: Dude I am not saying you can’t have a treat. I am saying you can’t have a chemical treat. The Green Grocer is five minutes farther than the General Store. Let’s just go there.
    The Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT TO WAIT THAT LONG!
    Toni: Can I tell you why I don’t want you to eat chemical candy?
    The Munch: FINE!
    Toni: Do you remember what war is?
    The Munch: When people kill each other for power?
    Toni: Yes… and back during World War 2, the Americans developed a chemical called “agent orange” to kill people. But when the war was over, they started using those chemicals on the food as pesticides – to kill the bugs. But pesticides kill all life – including butterflies, bees, and even birds!
    The Munch: BIRDS TOO?
    Toni: YES! And then we eat those pesticides! And these same companies have also have genetically modified plants, created a monopoly on seeds, and are arguably destroying the farming community. Plus… we don’t know the long-term impact of eating GMO tomatoes with fish genes in them.
    The Munch: I don’t want fishy tomatoes!
    Toni: And you know cancer? Since we have been doing this to our food, more and more people have been getting cancer. It’s hard to say it’s not related. So I don’t want to support these companies, because when I give them my money, I am saying that it’s okay to poison food, poison people, and poison the land.
    The Munch: Fine we can go to the Green Grocer. But I am getting TWO treats.

    “Seriously Mom, can you just shut your mouth hole?”

    munch shutting up toni

  • Just Because You Are Privileged Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Entitled

    My kid is privileged. Not like Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West or anything… she doesn’t have $100,000 diamond earrings, wear designer Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses, of have birthday parties where a giraffe does cocaine off a hippo’s tits. We don’t have it like that. But The Munch lives in a house where she is fed, warm, and has plenty of toys. She attends a wholesome school where they learn what acorns are made out of, and the biggest stress of her day is not getting to eat as many cookies as she wants. Compared to the vast majority of the world, pretty sure she has it fucking made.

    I know there is only so much you want to expose your 4-year old to regarding the tragedies of the world – but I also don’t want The Munch to be an entitled little shit who doesn’t understand how lucky she is. There is innocence to childhood you don’t want to corrupt, but letting your kid believe the world is exclusively a benevolent place can also be corrupting. There is a delicate balance between being truthful, and just traumatizing. I don’t think I need to explain the horror of child brides in India, but I do think we can talk about sweatshops making crappy plastic toys she doesn’t need. I am not trying to make my kid fear the world, but I do want her to have a realistic perception of it.

    I try to make these conversations authentic, and come up when appropriate. It is not like I put her to bed at night and whisper in her ear, “sleep well sweetheart… and just remember 90% of the indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforest have been destroyed, and every 2 minutes someone in the United States gets sexually assaulted. Nighty night.” Yet there are many opportunities to talk about complex issues and give The Munch some perspective.

    I try to provoke exchanges that help Munch understand that the world does not exist to serve her every need. No dude, you cannot keep the water running in the bath just so you can fill cups with the “waterfall.” Water is a precious resource and we have to respect it. There are children who have to walk miles to get access to water. Yeah running water is fun to play with, but once the bath is full, you have to shut it off so you don’t waste it. Fine maybe this comes to bite me in the ass when she insists I wash dishes with only a stream as thick as a pubic hair, but at least she has got the right idea!

    The Munch and I can talk about resources, environmentalism, the economy, whatever – it just has to be in a context that has meaning to her. For example, she loves to eat candy so we can debate how certain candy has a lot of chemicals, and that is why we don’t buy that kind. The chemicals are bad for your body, unfairly compete with farmers who grow organically, and make the ground all yucky. I don’t have to say how Monsanto products cause cancer or factory farmed meat comes from animals who lived in torture chambers and then were mercilessly murdered – but I can say that meat didn’t come from a happy cow, so lets find another kind.

    Kids are way smarter than we think, and they do have a sense of empathy even if they are mostly driven by their egos. They are kind of like men in that way. JUST KIDDING! There was one afternoon when Munch and I talked about homelessness, and she wanted to know if there were any children that didn’t have a house to live in.

    Munch: Who are they mom? Do you we know any of these children?
    Toni: No we don’t know them, but there are millions of them in the world.
    Munch: Can we see them?

    So we went online and looked at pictures of homeless children, and talked about why some people have money, and others don’t. It is not like we discussed major economic theory or the Federal Reserve, but she does understand the concepts of selfishness, and greed.

    Toni: Certain people have so much money that they are able to ensure that they keep making more money. Once you have a bunch of money, it is easier to maintain because you are running the businesses that make all the money. It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to go around; the problem is the way it is distributed. The people who have the most want to keep the money for themselves, and not share it.
    Munch: Why don’t they want to share? Didn’t they go to school and learn about how it is important to share?
    Toni: Well they did. But it isn’t just about the money. Money also means you have power. And people want power.
    Munch: But is the power more important than children? Why can’t the people with money give money to the children so they can have houses?
    Toni: Well, that is a good point. But it isn’t just the people that need to change. It is also the systems.
    Munch: But who makes the systems?
    Toni: The people.
    Munch: So pretty sure the people just need to change – then there will be no more children who don’t have homes.

    (Turn off that fucking bath water!!)

    privilidge-blog-(i)

  • So That Was A Total Fail…

    It is hard to figure out how to motivate someone to improve. What is the best strategy to encourage behaviors you would like to see more of? Do you tell people all the stuff they are doing wrong, and hope they change out of shame/guilt? Do you give them incentives, or bribes? Or do you try and manipulate by telling stories, and comparing them to others?

    The other day my friend Gita was visiting a friend of hers, who has a little daughter slightly older than Munch. I asked Gita how her time was with this little cherub. I was then informed that this girl had not only NEVER watched ANYTHING EVER on a SCREEN, but also just had her first “sweet treat” in the six years she has been alive on planet earth. It was a piece of organic dark chocolate, and it was rejected for being “too sweet.”

    Yeah, I had those plans when I first became a parent. My child was never going to be exposed to the evils of screen media, only play with wooden spoons, speak Mandarin, and exclusively eat green vegetables bathed under the moonlight of the 7th solstice. But I failed. None of that worked out at all. The Munch LOVES eating treats, and if she had her way she would watch the Little Mermaid for 19 straight hours without moving – except to ask for more ice cream.

    I showed The Munch a picture of said perfect little angel from the planet of purity, and explained that Auntie Gita was on vacation with her.

    Toni: Doesn’t that little girl look nice?
    Munch: Yeah… she does.
    Toni: Maybe you will be friends with her one day?
    Munch: Yeah! That would be fun!
    Toni: Do you want to know what Auntie Gita told me?
    Munch: What?
    Toni: She told me that little girl has never watched anything ever. No movies, no shows, no nothing?
    Munch: Not even Frozen?
    Toni: No. And you know what else Gita told me? That she has never eaten any treats!
    Munch: Mom. That is the saddest thing I have ever heard. We should send her some of our treats. Like we should send them on the plane today.

    vivienne-blog-(i)

  • March Against Monsanto

    On May 25th a mass protest is being organized against Monsanto.  I do not necessarily believe that protesting alone can change policy in this day and age, yet I do think that it is worth our time to do whatever we can to express our discontent with corporate plutocracy.  If anything it is at least an opportunity to better network with each other.

    We need to be as proactive as possible to an impact on how our food system works.  It is important to organize and educate each other, as well as deeply investigate the companies that are feeding us.  Right now, the best form of activism is being hyper aware of how you spend your money, and not supporting companies that are contaminating the land and their product.

    People are very impassioned when it comes to this issue, and there are many different ways to analyze information.  But no matter what your opinion on GMO’s and pesticides… whether you seem them as problematic or necessary… here are two ideas worth chewing on.

    Do you remember Russia… you know, the country we were at war with for WORLD POWER? Yeah, well they haven’t gone away – even if we did break up their empire.  Recently the president of Russia met with John Kerry and he is pretty pissed.

    “President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war… At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.”

    I don’t know about you, but a world war sounds terrifying.  Especially one that is based on corporate greed and a refusal to adapt their business model.  I am not saying Monsanto can’t make money.  Make all the money you want Monsanto.  Have it all.  But maybe not murder the bees while you are doing it?

    I think we all know how important bees are to our food system, and the rest of the world seems pretty concerned that they are all dying.  And if all the bees die what are our options? To get children to pollinate the flowers with their tiny fingers?

    The other thing worth thinking about is that Monsanto impacts the entire world’s food system.  That is too much power for any one company to have over the most precious resource on the planet.  You could have more money than god, but if you are hungry and thirsty you are going to be in a bad mood, and eventually die.  Food is vital.  Our food system needs to be governed by a collective effort, not ruled by a dictatorship.

    There are many things we can argue about when it comes to geopolitical issues, but can’t we all agree that we don’t want to die in a world war, and that eating is important?

    I am inspired by the fact that Monsanto has already been removed from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, and Switzerland.  It gives me hope that we can do it here too.

    march-monsanto-blog-(i)

    march-monsanto-blog-(i2)

    May 24, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Eating, Environmental Impact, Health, Musings • Views: 1262

  • Sometimes Being Eco is Annoying

    I really don’t want to live in a trashcan of a world, but being eco can be annoying.  To exclusively support organic fair trade local products that you also happened to grow in your back yard, had harvested by virgins, and processed by leprechauns is a fucking challenge.  The other day I thought I would buy some organic cotton t-shirts for The Munch, and one shirt was $40?! When I saw the price I threw up in my hand and then had to eat it because my dinner was from the organic store and my tofu kale wheat-free sandwich was not cheap.

    I know the responsibility is on me to be the change I want to see in the world, but I already changed my underwear today -isn’t that enough?  It is a lot of pressure for me to always make the right decision when there is so much crappy crap out there that is way crappy, but easier to get.  My main question is, why is there so much temptation to poison ourselves with toxic shit?  We have so much access to such a vast variety of products, but the majority of them are actually semi dangerous.  Major corporations are exposing us to some sort of poison, subjecting employees to horrific working conditions, and sometimes secretly feeding people rats they think is lamb.

    So there is plenty of incentive to be conscious consumer.  In fact I consider myself to be a PROsumer with all the positive shit I buy.  Get it? PROsumer rather than CONsumer? Am I lyrical genius or what?  But sometimes I want to be just like ahhh fuck it! I mean I got The Munch this hippy sunscreen because I read that sunscreen, although may protect you from getting skin cancer from the sun, actually just gives you another kind of cancer.  So I slapped the eco stuff on her, and it worked in the sense that she didn’t get burned, but it wouldn’t absorb into her skin.  She was walking around looking like Casper the Ghost the entire day.  I mean that is fine for a kid and all, but there is no way as a self-respecting woman, I can go out in public like a member of the Adams Family.

    Of course when we are talking about green products, food is the one I am most committed to.  But sometimes I get sick of being healthy.  Over the summer I am part of CSA (community supported agriculture) and get all my organic vegetables delivered to me.  They are grown in the most fertile soil and picked by a bearded farming angel.  Yet by time September rolls around all I want is to eat cheeseburgers and doughnuts.  I get so sick of vegetables I want to throw them against the wall, and then waterboard them.

    I know I should probably find a balance and feel peace knowing I am doing what I can and all that…. But what the fuck world?  Why can’t eco shit just be the only shit we can buy so I wouldn’t have to compare it to the other shit?

    (Here I am…. saving a spider and bringing her outside so I don’t murder her…. because I am environmentally responsible!)

    eco-annoying-blog-(i)

     

  • Branding A Child Mentally Disabled

    According to a recent study, 1 in 50 children have been diagnosed with Autism.  That seems like a lot! It is said that a contributing factor to this increase is that more doctors are identifying kids as Autistic than in previous years -so it is unclear whether the actual number is increasing.  Maybe there are more Autistic children because of something specific yet to be identified, or maybe there was always this ratio of Autistic children but they are only being labeled as such now?

    Bipolar disorder statistics have also skyrocketed 40-fold in children being diagnosed.  And the solution is to put them on anti-psychotic drugs.  A doctor can look at the symptoms, and analyze behavior, but does one person’s opinion of another mean they should be considered disabled and immediately medicated?

    The thing about mental “illness” that has always concerned me is that it is a completely subjective science.  There is no blood test or concrete objective experiment that can prove someone has a mental condition.  Brain scans can offer insight, but does not provide substantial evidence that can make a diagnosis concrete.

    When I was 10 a psychiatrist told me I had ADHD. Maybe.  But perhaps if she had asked me about my diet, and realized that it included candy for dinner, she would have possibly examined my nutritional intake before suggesting meds.  I ate more sugar as a child then Willy Wonka, and am pretty sure that was a contributing factor to my manic energy.

    When my brother was a young child his doctor diagnosed him with Autism because he hadn’t started talking.  My mom was very worried, and I am sure felt terrified, but she also didn’t believe there was anything wrong with him.  Rather than immediately sending him to professionals, she decided to be patient and continue seeing him as a healthy little boy.  When I was born, just before his 3rd birthday, my mother brought me home from the hospital and my brother spoke his first words.

    “Baby Toni. Baby, baby Toni.”

    And you know what? My brother hasn’t shut up ever since, and he is a Harvard graduate with two masters’ degrees.

    Maybe my brother and I are running around as high-functioning autistic, ADHD adults, or maybe we were just children developing into humans in our own way.  I wouldn’t say either of us is “normal,” because we are both totally weird, but I don’t feel like I have a mental disorder that I should have been medicated for.  Who is to say what is a “normal” mental state?  I don’t feel intellectually held back, even if I eat chocolate for breakfast.

    Having a doctor diagnose your child as “abnormal” and “disabled” can be crippling to both the child and parents.  Families can internalize news as  sentence set in stone rather a perspective that should be examined.  There is hope like in this study that suggests children can even out grow autism.  Of course there are kids who suffer from their mental state, and need immense help and support -but there is also a wide spectrum.  Medication should be the last option after everything else is exhausted.  Especially because the adults are making decisions for the child, and it is one that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

    (Here I am as Boy George and my brother as David Bowie…. pretty cool kids if you ask me!)

    branding-a-child-mentally-disabled-blog-(i)

    March 21, 2013 • 2 years old, Baby Brain, Behavior, Current Events, Health, Parenting • Views: 7870