What’s fair?

November 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s always tricky for me to state a price on the things I make as well as the things I repair. The times I’ve charged what I calculated (including time, thread, needles, sewing machine wear and tear, and electricity) I’ve thought the price was too high. But I’ve always been paid.

What I don’t account for is that it’s a lot less of a hassle for someone to bring me their clothing repairs than to try to tackle it themselves, especially if they don’t sew. So, you would also need to include in your hourly wage your expertise.

I’ve talked about this for a couple of months and now what I do is that I charge a set fee for certain things and others, depending on how complicated they are, get a slightly higher price.

Compared to other seamstresses I think I charge lower but I also haven’t been in this business for long so I take every hem as more learning.

Anywho. I’m happy with the way things work for me right now and I just want the work. So I’m good.

What I really wanted to bring up here is the fact that there are many more people who don’t even have the option to get paid a fair wage.

This morning, while talking to my mom on her way to work, she pointed me in the direction of the San Jose Mercury News where she read about the Tech awards honoring social entrepreneurs.

Here’s an excerpt:

Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award
World of Good Development Organization (Emeryville): The nonprofit, represented by Audrey Seagraves, far left, and Ella Silverman, teaches basic business principles to poor women who do at-home work, such as stitching money pouches, to ensure they earn an above-poverty-line salary. It created the Fair Trade Calculator software, which provides localized pricing evaluation of handmade goods to improve the wages of “informal” workers.

The fair trade calculator is really cool. You should check it out when you get a moment. You can do a quick search or sign up and include more information in your calculation.

I suggest the next time you buy a gift for someone you go out of your way to buy fair trade. Buying handmade doesn’t always mean fair trade but it usually does if you are buying it from the same person who made it. You can always ask!

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Choosing books at the library

November 18, 2009 § 1 Comment

It always feels good when you pick up a book at the library, peruse it’s story, illustrations and cover, bring it home to find that the little girl you chose it for loves it.

flora

Flora’s Blanket is such a book. The story is very simple. I love it. Flora is having a hard time falling asleep so her mami and papi ask her what’s wrong. Turns out Flora can’t find her blanket. So first her brothers and sisters offer her their blankets but Flora wants hers. Then, they all go looking for Flora’s blanket. Flora ends up falling asleep as they are looking for the blanket so mami and papi put her in their bed and get in with her so they can all go to sleep. Then, her papi finds Flora’s blanket underneath his pillow.

Repetition makes this story work. Even baby brother repeats Flora’s “no” when she doesn’t want her siblings replacement blanket. It’s the sort of book that bilingual baby can repeat and tell back to us. It’s also innocuous enough that she can continue living a simple life (though she seems to be getting more and more complex in her thinking).

I say this only because we read her a book (two in a series) that turned her world upside down. They were Pinkalicious and Purplelicious. They’re about a girl who loves pink and one day, after eating too many pink cupcakes, turns pink! She ends up eating things that are green so she can turn back to normal. That one was fine. And bb loved that the girl was called pinkalicious. Bb was calling us bluelicious and blackalicious and so on for a while. It was fun.

Then Purplelicious came into the scene. In this book, the girl who loves pink is in art class and some other girls tease her for loving pink. They say black is the new pink. Funny, to those of us who can separate a book from ourselves. Not the case with our little girl.

Bilingual baby has a tendency to embody any book she’s reading and processing. So, when she reads Harold and the Purple Crayon, she walks around town with her imaginary purple crayon drawing streets and bicycles and helicopters and … you name it.

Maybe it’s because I was given a verbal slap on the hand by another parent for reading Purplelicious but it really did seem to affect bb.

We went through the moment with Purplelicious and we’re learning a lot about how affected bb is by books. In turn, we pick out books that vary in intensity. Some kids books are simple but push a message. She doesn’t like a lot of those. Some of these moralsy books she really gets into and wants to know why one character treats the other in a mean way.

It gets us talking.

Spent

November 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

I keep wanting to blog but am either too involved in my day (which is supposed to happen) and I can’t get to the computer to deliberate or I end up staring at the computer feeling like I have nothing to offer my gentle reader. Either way I feel like I’ve spent the last of my energy on my kids and with no nap from bilingual baby I end up going all day long. Like right now. So, here is another summary of things.

I’m researching tooth cavities and it’s exhausting. That’s all I’ll say, since I don’t have the brain power to get into it right now.

I’m still sewing, which is a great activity for me. Somehow it comes naturally and I can do most of my sewing without the use of my brain. (I’m sure I use my brain; it just doesn’t feel like “work”.)

I try to get out of the houseĀ  a couple of times a day but don’t usually get out with many friends because of my forethought. Weeks have gone by where I haven’t called or emailed our dearest friends to hang with.

Since so little is coming out of me right now, I might as well take the kids for a walk. They’re finishing up their snack- homemade hummus (without the garlic).

Adjustment

November 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

Once again, I’ve had loads of things to comment on but have been having a harder time putting them into words… and saying things I wouldn’t mind others reading about and potentially taking the wrong way. I can only guess I’ve already done that. I’m also passing into a phase where I just don’t want to discuss bilingual baby’s behavior, development, etc, without being able to have a conversation in person. I do go back and forth on this because I have found some blogs to be so candid that I’ve felt supported by their content.

What’s happening is that bilingual baby is entering a new stage- where she’s much more aware of what we talk about when we’re around her. I was at a LLL meeting and they were talking about weaning. Everyone turned to me assuming that I had completely weaned my daughter. I shared a bit about our nursing journey and in the middle of me talking my almost 3 year old asked if I was talking about her. The rest of the day she kept asking me to repeat what I had said about her.

It’s like an acting exercise. What you say about a person, what you say to a person, and what you do, all say something about your character. I can only assume that bilingual baby is taking her first steps into understanding the characters in her life.

In light of this discomfort I’m having at broadcasting her life, I’m making a couple of cosmetic changes (I only mean that they are changes from the outside in, not that I’ll be making upgrades and making the blog look nicer). I’ve changed the photo- my mouth- that’s where you heard it. Also, even though the url won’t change, I’m changing the blog title to:

bilingual baby’s mami

(mami is pronounced similar to “mommy” and “mammy”)

Why these little changes? I need to remind myself that I’m writing about me. This is ultimately my experience and I want to see that every time I enter to blog.

I’ve got a number of unfinished blog entries that I may just scrap as I make this turn. Y’know, I started this to remember what was happening when I had a little kid. Then I had two little kids and now one of them remembers a lot more than I do.

I feel the need to be sensitive to that.

So, here to stay, but with less of the this-is-what-baby-can do, I bring you “bilingual baby’s mami”.

It’s always about me.

I have a cavity!

November 7, 2009 § 4 Comments

Agh! Apparently I have a cavity.

I’ve got an appointment to get it taken care of. In the meantime, based on some reading I’ve done of the work of Dr. Gerard Judd, chemist, who studied the effects of fluoride on teeth, among other things, I’m brushing with Dr. Bronner’s soap, flossing a million times a day, and I’m even brushing with a special tiny tooth brush that can reach tiny spaces. Despite the yuck factor of brushing with soap, I have to say that my teeth have never felt this clean. Even after getting them cleaned by a hygienist. I’m also taking some supplements to help my teeth reenamelize . My hope is that my teeth will get rid of the cavity or at least some of it.

I have a dentists appointment with another dentist in Colchester on Monday. He practices holistic dentistry, which means very little to me right now. We’ll see what I learn at my appointment. He comes highly regarded.

Dr. Judd wrote a book called Good teeth from birth to death. Check out a short version of his book here. You can also check out Tooth Soap for some first hand stories on how people’s teeth have “recovered” from having cavities.

I hope to be that lucky.

Two visits

November 2, 2009 § 3 Comments

My inlaws visited last week. Like most visits I was worried that I would have a hard time, seeing as they aren’t my parents and we don’t have that history. No ill intended, but I will never be able to talk to my inlaws the way I can talk to my parents. That’s just a fact.

The visit went well. They even stayed with us for two nights. Most of my friends are calling me a saint at this point. Haha! They must have more challenging inlaws than I do because really it was fine. One of the bumps that threw bilingual papi and I off was we found out that bilingual baby has a cavity, midway through his parents visit. Of course, I feel completely responsible for that cavity. Once it was confirmed at our visit to the dentist for our cleanings, I couldn’t help but spend all my brain power figuring out where I went wrong. It became a challenge for me when I’d hear that bilingual baby had sauntered off at lunch time to have pastries with her grandparents. I can’t blame either of the two parties. I could, but where would that take me? How in the world would that help? So, today, when all bilingual baby wanted to have for lunch was bread and a sweet treat, I flipped out. I’m still recovering from my flip.

I’m not quite at the point where I can do much more than sit and wallow and I’m feeling really raw. In time I’m sure I’ll find the balance.

 

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