Friday, July 31, 2009

Au Naturelle Part I

There is a trend in today's society to venerate things that are "natural." Hand in hand with this trend is a tendency to vilify chemicals. There is some inherent hypocrisy in this attitude that both amuses and frustrates me.

I am a modern girl. My husband is an extremely capable guy, who can adapt to any situation from big city to small town to third world country desert. He likes to tell me that I wouldn't have survived if I had been born a hundred years ago. I freely admit it. I think that my main requirement for the location in which we live says it all - I need city water and city sewers. I want all my water treated and stored elsewhere - no wells or septic systems for me! Also, I have a degree in biochemistry. If you put all that information together, you would probably surmise that I am not a big fan of all things "natural."

Recently, there was a story regarding a literature review of the nutrition value of organic food. The study concluded that organic food has no more nutritional content than non-organically grown food. This is something that I could have concluded without a grant or fellowship - the difference is not in what's missing from non-organic food; it's in what extra might be there. Pesticides and antibiotics and hormones...all the "chemicals" that might be present on your fruits and vegetables, in your meat, in your milk, because it's not organic. Unfortunately, if you really listen to all of the information, the pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones have the potential to be on your organic food too. Why? Because they're in the wind and water supply and on the birds and insects and animals that wander through your vegetable patch.

When I graduated from college, I worked for a pharmaceutical company. Because there were constant chemical reactions going on throughout the plant, the potential for accidents was always present. On one occasion, during production of an antibiotic, pressure build up in the system allowed the antibiotic to accidentally blow out of the roof vents and into the storm drains. Oops - antibiotics in the water supply. Wind carries pesticides and manufactured fertilizers on to properties where those compounds are not used. Rain does not selectively fall cleanly in one area, and save the contaminants for industrial areas. Derailed trains leaking toxic chemicals happen too frequently for my comfort.

My point is that all of these contaminants are already in the atmosphere. Sure, you're getting less of the contaminants on your organic produce, and maybe your organic meat is free of hormones and antibiotics (maybe). More likely, it's still there, but in lesser amounts. You'll probably ingest or inhale it anyway. Maybe it would be a better use of your money to buy into a local coop, shop at a farmers' market, or start your own garden. It's unlikely that organic growers will push the massive corporate farms out of existence. Maybe you'd be better off supporting research for safer pesticides or more earth friendly fertilizers. Whatever you do, stop spraying your lawn with weed killer!

Part II: The evils of chemicals or better living through chemistry?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Show and Tell

Show and Tell

I was going to write about how much more I appreciate my husband today. Because when he drives down the street and sees some scantily dressed jailbait sauntering along, he might look, but he doesn't suddenly cut his speed in half like the idiot driving the Infiniti compensating-for-something-mobile that I was following today.

And then, I was going to write about the cool cloud I saw before the storm the other day. But there wasn't much to tell, so I'll just post the picture.

Instead, I'll tell you about our twins...

No, you won't be seeing an ultrasound picture...

We have a set of coyote babies living in the stand of trees in our back yard. I find this very unusual, because I think of this as a suburban area. There are plenty of farms around us still, but the area is mostly subdivisions. I also think of coyotes as being more of a mountain or desert dwelling animal. I've recently seen the adult coyote roaming about the neighborhood when I'm walking in the mornings, and the other day, these two guys showed up to hang out under our tree. My husband wants to tame one and make it a pet.

Aren't they cute? I just hope they don't leave rabbit carcasses laying around. Or poop on the deck again.

Check out what everyone else is showing today. Go visit Mel!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I'm not fond of my teeth. I have large teeth and a small jaw. My teeth don't look bad, but after having four teeth removed to make room and years of braces, you'd think they'd at least be straight. When I had braces, I wore them for 2 years, and then wore retainers for 2 more years. When my orthodontist was satisfied that my teeth were settled in their final resting place, he removed my bottom retainer and told me that I could drive over my top retainer with the car.

Within a few months, my bottom teeth started to move. The front four teeth settled into a line in front of my other teeth, meaning that there is overlap. I still have a bit of an overbite, but it's not horrible. (My favorite overbite description came from Cousin Bob at my grandfather's funeral when I was 13 {and in the midst of enjoying my braces}. He told me that my overbite wasn't too bad - in comparison to his daughters who could bite walls). My top teeth stayed pretty straight, until I was about 24.

I'm naturally clumsy, and one day, while opening the car door, I misjudged the distance, and with the help of gravity, whacked myself right in my front tooth. That pushed my tooth slightly backwards. I've since managed to repeat the door incident, and then not long ago, walked directly into the corner of a wall. Given that this particular tooth is slightly recessed, I can't quite figure out why that's the one I keep hitting.

Today, I finally took action. My dentist made me a new retainer. Over the next few weeks, I will be moving my teeth around a little, so I can relocate the other front tooth to be more in line with the recessed tooth. The unfortunate part of this is that having a big chunk of plastic on your hard palate makes it difficult to talk properly. I now have a lovely lisp. I'm hoping that I'll be able to talk normally again soon.

I'm excited to be able to like my smile again. I'm not sure how long it will take. After that, maybe I'll upgrade something else. My husband is looking into LASIK, so maybe I'll go there next. I recently noticed that I have cleavage wrinkles. Given that I can barely muster up some cleavage without a serious push-up bra, I'm not sure how that came about. My hair is graying. Maybe all the running/walking I've been doing will help reshape my flabby portions. This could be a long term project - upgrading my appearance. It's good to have a hobby.