El Naturale

(Easy there. I know it’s au naturale – I had a sweet friend in college who would proclaim she was going “el naturale” (“AY-ull NATCHER-ahyl”) all drawled out, when she wasn’t wearing makeup. Funny memory.)

After years of fighting the incessant Austin hippie magnetic force, I’m caving. In small ways. (And I’m talking about the old school Austin magnetic force, not the newer, more obnoxious “OMG I caved and bought the YSL bag when my Barre3 class was over before brunching with my tribe at this new gourmet restaurant you’ve never heard of. So ghetto” hogwash.)

While I love the idea of going all pioneer woman (the legit kind, what with the making of lard soap and churning of butter and casting of our own bullets for muskets – yes, this and more I learned how to do when I was at Pioneer Day Camp in Houston…) … I do greatly appreciate and enjoy things like dishwashers and climate controlled homes and non-dirt-floors and not having to sew my own clothes…so there’s some compromise here.

(There’s a photo of me circa 1993 living my best life at Pioneer Day Camp. I’ll dig for it and share it in a later post.)

If you just think about it, it’s pretty strange: all the random ingredients that are added to products that serve purposes that are already easily covered by other, more simple, things. We make things more complicated, for what? Increased shelf life? Convenience? Mass production? Case in point: laundry detergent. What is even in it? Companies aren’t required to disclose what all they put on the bottle. Tide lists these ingredients on their website but helllooooo I didn’t pay attention in high school Chemistry (honors, thankyouverymuch) and why male models, there are so many ingredients! And some of them could be responsible for things like skin rashes, respiratory irritants, oh and it contains carcinogens, no big deal.

Enter the googling of “homemade clothes detergent” and voila! You can make your own, using borax and essential oil and baking soda and some other stuff and (cue Paula Cole’s fist in the air)…. girl, yes I did. I just made my own laundry detergent.

‘Cept it’s not really in powder form. It looks more like poorly chopped cauliflower in an overstuffed snowglobe. The instructions say to just add some hot water to it before putting it in the machine to help dissolve the soap (oh boy this is getting complicated… making a note to make this about saving gobs of money to keep Tim from marching over to Costco and (becoming a member and) buying a car-sized container of Tide. Back to the food processor. Whew. We’re good.

And don’t worry. Lots of lavender essential oil added and first two loads of laundry have been a success and we still smell nice. I’m probably saving like $9,384 a year or something awesome like that, using legit pioneer ingredients like 20 mule team borax, because that’s a thing and every fledgling pioneer needs the strength of a 20 mule team in her arsenal. I’m practically using a washboard and a bar of lye soap outside my log cabin. Yeehaw! I need a battle cry for these pioneer ways. Suggestions??

gosh pam, control your child.

So after 6ish months of being a bonafide SAHM, I’m finally venturing out beyond my standard cattle trails to Starbucks, Target, and the library and am exploring some of the fun kid-things that this wonderful city offers. I’ll be chronicling the more noteworthy experiences here as time and mental capacity allows.

Today: Book People children’s storytime.


I love me some Book People. Back when there was freedom, I’d spend hours there, reading interesting books and accidentally running into Brene Brown at her event (met her, she signed the Daring Greatly book I decided to buy after listening to her, we ended the night practically BFFs #lifegoal) or getting a chair massage from a hippie masseuse or picking a new country/destination for the next big trip, so I was predisposed to have an awesome time at this children’s shindig.

But no.

We (convinced two sweet mama friends who each have two kids to join A and me) got there a few minutes early to ensure decent seats, and the people already there were hovering over their kids and marking their spaces. Clearly everyone was wary of everyone else’s kids and whatever germs they were carrying. This was the responsible crowd.

By the time the storyteller began, the delinquents had showed up, crowding all over the place and letting their sniveling children roam wild and free. There was now no semblance of personal space or volume control or acknowledgement of the storyteller for that matter. It was CHAOS.

The storyteller tried to make small talk with the adults, but all I could think of was GET ON WITH YOUR BOOK, LADY. She asked everyone who was a nanny to raise their hands, and over half the adults in room shot their hands in the air. Okay, then. Now that that’s settled we can begin.

Feeling neither young nor sprightly, my legs were falling asleep as I strained to hear her tell these stories with pictures I couldn’t see. Relatedly, I could barely see the words to the songs, and the songs went too fast for us to use the sign language she was trying to teach us. She meant well – maybe she was trying to get this thing over with. This whole ordeal lasted 30 minutes but felt more like an hour – we would have left sooner, but there were SO MANY children we couldn’t escape. Like fire hazard level of people, or maybe I’m just more protective of my personal space than the average human.

So that’s what you can expect if you are planning to attend such an event. You’re welcome. (a simple fix would be to simply limit the number of people after who can enter!!)

The morning was redeemed tenfold by a trip to Steel City Pops afterwards, the best popsicle (or “poppy-sicle” or “popsicabable,” depending on which toddler you ask) joint in Austin. Life goes on. So glad we had some friends with us on this morning’s adventure!! Next time we might stick to somewhere outdoors with a tad more personal space.

Till next time..

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