Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Shame in My Game (hamsters, karaoke, and herbs, oh my!)

So I spent the past week  month  year week being pretty busy...as per my usual routine.

I've been working on a couple of really exciting herbal commissions, including a moisturizing castile shampoo/body wash that's turned into hours of fun chemistry experiments. I don't follow very many rules in life (or the kitchen) but I do try to follow the "mostly organic and always pronounceable" policy. All of the natural recipes I've found resulted in a really watery product (think Dr. Bronner's), so I'm experimenting until I find the right combination of texture, conditioning, and cleansing properties.
 So far, I've made about 6 different versions of soaps and soap-lotions - even a soap/massage oil! - but nothing I'm completely satisfied with. Yet.
Tonight I played around with the shampoo + salt = bath gel trick, and somehow ended up separating out all the oils and fats from the from the water. I've got a few more ideas to try tomorrow, though, and I keep tweeking the essential oils, so the whole cabin smells amazing. I feel like such an inventor!

In other news, my friend Danica and her daughter came to visit from Pennsylvania. In addition to swimming, raspberry picking, visiting the farm, and harvesting wild mint and St. John's wort with us grownups, Avey was gracious enough to regale me with stories of her new hamster, Miss Pretty Pretty Princess Fiona Angel Loveykins the First. Apparently, Miss PPFALF is quite the charming companion, and if any readers are lucky enough to visit her, you're encouraged to bring gifts of both wildflowers and fresh vegetables, as befits a rodent of her distinction.

Besides concocting and visiting (and of course farming) I spent last Thursday night at a friend's karaoke birthday party, held at the fantastically divey Frannie O's bar (conveniently located behind the almost-empty K-Mart plaza, for all your plastic needs). It was glorious. Not only did I make some new friends, I got to continue one of my favorite hobbies - Sucking At Karaoke On At Least 6 Continents. Whoo-hoo, half-way there!

This is a big deal for me, folks. I have dreams of building a sturdy bridge of international goodwill and cameraderie on the solid foundation of off-key and poorly timed renditions of popular songs. Nothing says "I demonstrate respect for your culture by embracing my role as visiting laughingstock" like missing the high notes in front of a crowd of semi-drunk people who have the option of insulting you in another language.
In this case, the language was Vermonter, a dialect composed almost entirely of unintelligible glottalizations, spoken in a cadence reminiscent of the jarring motions of a small rowboat adrift in heavy seas. Lacking other offerings of socio-anthropological significance, I offered up my ego in 2 1/2 minute doses for the locals' perusal.

The whole evening was a blast, but it's left me wondering why I'm so game to make a fool of myself in front of strangers in pursuit of my own enjoyment. Certainly I wasn't always like this. In fact, I used to have terrible stage fright, and I distinctly remember spending countless sleepless hours during adolescence, squirming in embarrassment over a seemingly endless stream of social blunders and unintended pratfalls.
Is it possible I used up most of my shame reserves prematurely?  Have I doomed/blessed myself to a future of strange, self-selected autism?
How terrifyingly liberating.
As a side note, I should point out that I mean no insult to nor jest at the expense of anyone anywhere on the spectrum - I'm pretty sure when we're done pathologizing everyone who falls out of the mean range of "normal," society as a whole WILL feel a sense of well-deserved shame for our treatment of people with differences. That one of my first thoughts about this period of potentially amazing mental health was to wonder what the DSM would make of it is an irony I haven't lost.
Still, "socially shameless" isn't exactly a descriptor that applies to most women in this culture... any culture, really. Where's a good feminist treatise when you need one? Help me, Simone de Beauvoir, you're my only hope!
Sigh. Maybe this is all just part of being a healthy, functioning, self-loving individual. But if that's the case, how come so few of my sisters (and brothers, for that matter) are joining me?

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