Friday, November 28, 2008

feminine product reviews

happy buy nothing day! it's a holiday that everyone can enjoy, regardless of income. no purchase necessary!

contrary to the spirit of buy nothing day, i have a couple of product reviews for you.

no matter how opposed a gal is to accumulating stuff, once a month or so she's going to need a few accessories.
(as a side note, if you can't imagine what you'd do without menstrual products maybe you should donate to goods 4 girls, a charity that distributed cloth pads to girls in africa so they can attend school all month long. they're cool because they take both cash donations and handmade cloth pads, so people who don't have money can just sew some pads and make a big difference in a girl's life)

first, the keeper. i love my keeper. it's similar to a tampon in that it's internal, but better than a tampon in that it isn't a health hazard, holds more, is reusable, causes a lighter flow, is cheaper, is generally more comfortable*... i like it. there are a few different types of reusable menstrual cups. the divacup is another popular brand. the keeper is a little sturdier, the divacup squishes more easily. i suspect that i'd prefer a divacup for that reason, but i'm not about to trash my perfectly good keeper or go out and buy another. it's not like i can use more than one at a time, right? and the keeper is made in the states, so it's more ethical. either item is pretty freaking ethical, though. and economical. and environmentally friendly. look at this.

the downsides:
it sometimes seems to exacerbate cramps. i guess the walls of the cup push back against painful muscles or something. either way, when i'm really crampy i take it out.
public bathrooms can be a problem. i like to rinse it out and put it back in whenever i pee, which is hard to do in a little stall. i've found ways around this, like finding smaller, one-toilet bathrooms, but it is a little inconvenient.

the pros outweigh the cons by a lot.

but any girl who's ever had a period will tell you that accidents happen. regularly. and a reusable cup is no different from a tampon in that it can only hold so much. i generally prefer to have some extra lining in my underwear for my cycle, to keep me from needing to throw out perfectly good undies because of stains.

that's where this comes in:my organic cotton/ hemp pads from claire de lune. they're so ridiculously soft, i want to rub them on my face all day long. instead, i let my crotch enjoy them. and they are definitley enjoyable. after using cloth i could never use a scratchy, stinky, gross disposable pad. more common are lunapads or mother and maiden pads, but i prefer the smaller sellers on etsy and other places, since the prices and the customer service tend to be better. i throw my cloth in the diaper pail, but lots of other women just throw them in the wash with everything else. claire de lune says this in her store:
Find a medium sized Tupperware container or buy a funky teapot to use as a soaking pot. This will reduce staining and keep you from having to launder everyday.
Hand or machine wash. I like washing by machine with like colors in cold-warm water. Cold will preserve the flannel better.
Tumble dry hang on your line!
If you are worried about staining try throwing in a natural oxybooster.
personally i'm not that worried about having a stain here or there. that's what they're for, right? and i spend less time rubbing them on my face when they're less than pristine.

*many women find cups to be uncomfortable until they trim the stem. trim the stem, baby!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the stuff that ledgends are made of

every so often at social gatherings someone will come up to me and ask me if i really wore a diaper full of sub sauce. people i don't know. complete strangers have heard of my fame, my derring-do. and i have to answer yes.

here is my story.

years ago i was living in a house with a bunch of people, working at subway, spending most of my time drinking coffee and wandering around with my friends.
my favourite of said friends was this punk who had recently moved there from ontario. he had a great sense of humour, awesome tattoos, and my skin tingled whenever i accidentally brushed against him. i really liked his eyes. we spent hours wandering the city together, looking at cool houses and big trees, talking... but we were not an item. not interested. no sir.

it came time for me to leave. i'd had enough of living in that city and was going to mexico. i didn't plan on returning to that particular city, since the world was my oyster and, to quote kimya dawson,
I've had this itchin in my shoes since I was just a little kid
but i was bummed about leaving my friend behind. but no guy is worth getting stuck in some disustingly cold city for winter, right? um, yeah....

so back to the story. we decided we needed to do something awesome and insane together so we'd never forget one another. we grabbed some adult diapers from a hospital and i took a big bag of chunky ranch sub sauce from my work and we made memories, replicating the toddler experience.

i shouldn't have refrigerated the sub sauce.

we were sitting in my kitchen, playing cards. he wore just a diaper, lots of tattoos, and even more body hair. i wore a diaper and a t-shirt. chunky ranch sauce was running down our legs. the slime was oozing into places that no condiment should go. there was a knock at the door, and i made him answer it. i hadn't told him that my parents were arriving that day from oregon, a three day drive. i hadn't told them that a scary-looking dude in a diaper would be answering the door. i hadn't seen them for a year. i stayed in the kitchen for a moment and snickered, then went to the door to rescue my poor friend.

we were married two years later.

Friday, November 7, 2008

on voting

congratulations, world, on ousting bush. felicitations, americans, on electing a black man. may things turn out as well as you hope. (because, you know, he's secretly a marxist muslim arab terrorist who eats babies, but he won't reveal his true self until after he's sworn in.) (i'm kidding, people)
the only way nov 4 could have gone better is if prop 8 had been resoundingly defeated in california and i had won the lottery.

but i digress.

a few weeks ago we canadians had our federal elections. being the political junkie that i am, i was reading and talking and theorizing about the whole thing nonstop. i would have gone out and volunteered, but my son was sick, then my parents were here.
on the day of the elections my partner and i had a discussion on why voting is important. i consider it to be a duty and one of the most important things i can do. especially as a woman. i owe the women who fought and suffered so i could vote this much, as least.
but, he said, if everyone else is voting one way why even vote? if we vote with the crowd it makes no difference and if we vote against the flow it makes no difference. why bother?
i bumbled and stumbled and tried to articulate why we should always vote, but i didn't have the right words for it.

this past sunday i went to a bob dylan concert. his showmanship was mediocre at best, but the thrill of actually being there was looked like this.

in the middle of the concert, when the whole arena was clapping and screaming and whistling, i had an epiphany.

voting is like applause.
really, it makes no difference if i join in applause. i can clap or not, either way it's a deafening noise. you can choose not to clap, too, it's ok. but if everyone chooses not to clap, you don't get applause, do you? if everyone chooses to put their hands together for someone or something, something amazing and communal happens. so, fine: don't clap. don't vote. but you're just standing there like a douchebag while everyone around you is contributing.