That's the thing about bananas...

A few weeks ago I asked Facebook followers to tell me what they wanted to see me write about and two topics prevailed:
Parenting Adventures & Why I Can't Eat Bananas in Public
No joke. "Parenting and kiddos, yeah, that's great, but we really want to get to know the real you." The latter suggestion got the most "votes"--which means my readers are as nuts--or should I say bananas? harharhar--as I am. I recently posted the most awesome summer DIY hack possibly ever to check off the parenting adventures request. Now let me tell you the thing about bananas and why I can't eat them in public.

The short answer: Politics. 

The slightly more informative and interesting answer, in list format of course:  
This is pretty much my husband and I as bananas.
  • I devoted an entire quarter of my undergraduate studies to learning about bananas through a critical feminist lense. I learned where they come from, how they get to my grocer, who picks them, who pays the pickers, and more importantly, what the industry looks like for those pickers. The adage "ignorance is bliss" never held truer than the changes I've felt morally and socially obligated to in my relationship with the sweet yellow fruit. I am as embarrassed to eat a Dole banana in public as I am to eat a Big Mac.* 
  • I am a woman. I have been subjected to lewd comments and leering eyes while eating in public on many more occasions than I care to recount. I am not sure where one musters the mindless moxie it takes to actually vocalize something disgusting like, "Mmm, that's it, real deep now..." to a complete stranger as she tries to scarf down lunch while waiting for the approaching bus, but if there's a risk it might happen I'm not a betting woman. I'll almost always leave the fruit at home.   
  • I always forget to take the peels out of my car. They end up as shriveled, utterly unrecognizable forms of their former glorious selves, and emit a spectrum of odor that goes from grossly sweet to compost in a day or two's time. It's disgusting, and sometimes comes with fruit flies.  
So there you have it: my banana-oriented idiosyncrasies. I know I'm not the only one with strange hangups with certain foods. I know some people who can't drink store-purchased chocolate milk because of rumours of pus-filled yuck milk comprising a great deal of the dark, rich goodness. I know a man who won't eat cheese if it crumbles when he cuts it. My little sister won't eat "green things" on her food (i.e. parsley) and strains them out of her ramen flavoring packets. Obviously people have their things. What are yours?

*If you want to know more about the numerous issues surrounding the banana industry, I recommend the following resources: Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politicsthis article from The Economistthis banana blog; or this great piece from the Science Creative Quarterly.

DIY Backyard Waterfall

Okay, so it's not a revolutionary idea or anything--it's been pinned a zillion times--but this is how WE made our very own backyard waterfall to help us beat the heat. It's been in use for almost a week now, and we are definitely getting our money's worth. In all this project cost us $1.29, which I actually spent last summer as this pool noodle has been in the garage all damn year.

Easy-Peasy Instructions

1 pool noodle
1 plastic cap from your recycling
3 strips of duct tape

Using a skewer, knife or other sharp object, pierce the pool noodle numerous times.
Next, plug one end of the noodle with the plastic cap. 
Then, duct tape the capped end closed. 
Finally, stuff your hose into the end of the pool noodle and you are ready to go. 

As you can see in the pictures, we enjoyed ours suspended between two trees in our backyard. It could also easily hang from a deck, balcony or single tree, or even be placed on the ground. We had some of our good friends over this morning to enjoy a little a.m. backyard waterpark action and it was a total win!

I just set up the kiddie pool underneath the waterfall and then lay out some good old fashioned soapy visqueen, and my kids (and the kids of friends) can play for hours.

How do you beat the heat? I want to hear all of your secrets!

My Boy, A Man.

In less than 24hrs I will put my firstborn son on a shuttle that will carry him to a flight, which will then carry him to Anchorage, from where he will drive to a remote town on an Alaskan peninsula. He will live, work, and soul search there for one month. This will be the longest he and I have been apart from one another in 17 years. While I am notably anxious to send him off, especially as I watch the hours pass and the send-off become more and more imminent, I am finding myself excited and hopeful for his journey. There are many reasons for this, but for brevity's sake I will focus on the top few here. I don't want to bore you by gushing about how awesome my kid is as he grows into a man, but it needs to be said.

First, the boy loves to travel. He has been taking solo flights around the country for a decade already, and has found himself in several other states on various adventures over the years. This trip will be his most independent of them yet. I expect that, in addition to learning copious things about himself, he will come back bearing plenty of lessons about work ethic, dependency, technological reliance, nature, and his place in the world.

Second, the last year has been ripe with transformation for Koa. He left school a few months ago, and since then has secured a fun and interesting volunteer position at the local Alternative Library, earned his GED, and finished Driver's Education. He has begun to explore and imagine a variety of career options and pathways for his future, and to discern and articulate what it is he wants most from life. This trip couldn't come at a better time insofar as helping him distill his dreams.

Third, he is staring down opportunities and has support I didn't myself feel as a teen. This notion is not insignificant, if only because I believe every parent's wish is to see their children have greater opportunities than they themselves had. After I left school and home at 15 I was on my own. For Koa to have our support and help in planning this adventure. for him to know that his bed will still be here, his seat at the table will be here, his family will be here, and his life will be here when he returns, he is receiving more than logistical backing... He is also getting affirmation that whatever he wants for himself in this world, his parents and loved ones will be here to support his work in achieving it.

And finally, he totally deserves it. Koa is a great gift to our family. He is compassionate, funny, smart, playful, thoughtful, loyal and talented. My son, the boy, has always been all of these things. My son, the man, deserves to find himself amidst all of the greatness that he has shared of himself with others. He deserves to feel the self-compassion in processing the difficulties he has surmounted this year, to internalize all of the growth, to challenge himself and see what he is really capable of independent of our immediate assistance, and to feel the freedom that an adventure like this is sure to provide. The constraints of the stress of teenage life are as real as they are in any other phase of life, and everyone deserves a break once in a while.
Dear Koa, I will miss you more than I want you to know. And yet, I am so excited to put you on that bus tomorrow morning. My son, young man, you have made me so proud to know you and grateful for the chance to be your mother. Travel safely, work attentively, and return wholly. We can't wait to hear all of your adventures along the way and upon your return, and to see the sick mustache you grow while you are away. We will be here waiting!

(love Mom)