Here and There

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've read a lot of recipes for homemade laundry detergent.  I've been wanting to make one, because it seems very frugal, but some of the recipes sounded too involved.  Boiling a pot of soap on the stove sounds gross. Another annoying thing is the measurements all seemed so arbitrary.  One cup of Borax (even though you have to buy a 4 lb. box?) 2 bars of soap, etc.

I decided I wanted to try a simple, large batch of powder-type detergent.  So I went for the basic 3 part recipe, but in the easiest quantities:  1 large box of borax, 1 large box of washing soda (which is different from baking soda in that is is sodium carbonate NOT sodium bicarbonate...interesting.)
and a bar of laundry-type soap.

I did this outside, I grated a bar of soap and combined all three ingredients in a garbage bag.  It was powdery.  It looked suspect.  Very "Breaking Bad".  I filled an old container I had sitting around and labeled it "Laundry Soap".  About half my batch fit in this container, I have the rest in the garbage bag waiting to refill the container. 

Here's the kicker.  You only use 1 TB of soap per load.  This batch of detergent could last me months and months! 

I used it to wash a regular load of clothes and it was great.  I used it to wash a sheet and mattress protector that had been in an accident, a pee accident.  There was no pee smell lingering after I washed with the detergent.  So, thumbs up so far!  I will say the smell of the soap bar is a little weird to me.  The clothes don't smell like it, but when I open the container to use the detergent, it's not my favorite smell.  Next time I would use a bar of Zote (another laundry soap) and see if I like that better. 

You can get Borax at Target, and I got the Fels-Naptha at CVS, but the Washing Soda was hard to find.  They had it at Berkeley Bowl West.  All the ingredients together cost me about $8.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zombies Attack!

Okay, now that I've shared that I get fevers with somewhat frequency.  I want to share an interesting result of this.  The fully written in my head poems that I come up with laying there in the wee hours.  I mean, literally the words are in sentences that I picture in print on a page.   In the moment, I think these are genius!*

Zombies Attack (inspired by fever dream, Paula Deen, and a scene in the film, Titanic)

She watched the fires burning out her window.
All over the city, small fires, like someone took all the possessions of his home, put them in the street and struck a match.
The children, a boy and a girl, sat at the table waiting for dinner.  They didn't know that tonight was the last night.

She fed them the best dinner she could come up with.
She ate a stick of butter.  She contemplated eating a second.  Then regretted eating the first.
Then she opened the fridge to eat the rest of the quarters.

As she stood at the drawer, the light in the fridge went off.
All the lights went off.
Oh my God!

She told the children "Bedtime!" in her lightest voice.
They followed her as she led them to their beds, sang a song and prayed a prayer.
Tonight her prayer was like one of a very old woman.

*They're not!  But the next day I think they're funny!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On chronic illness, and reading.

I've been dealing with a chronic health issue for 8 months now.  It's hard for me to even believe it's been that long.  But it has.  As I look back over those months I feel like I've changed in a way, the person who I was before I started getting fevers was carefree, spunky, hopeful.  Now I feel more reserved.  I don't take my health for granted when I am doing well.  I notice that I feel strong.  I notice when I feel a fever creeping on and can call it at 99.4.  I hesitate to plan weekends away or parties.  My doctor said it's two steps forward, one step back.  That I will get better, and my body will get rid of this virus sometime.  I don't really know.  When I feel depressed about my health, I remember there are those who are much, much more seriously ill.  I try to be grateful for what I have.  I try to maintain my sunny disposition that is such an integral part of my identity.  I try not to talk about it too much.  I don't want to feel "robbed" of who I am because I'm going through a negative experience.  I guess I am forging the more mature personality of a generally cheery person who has had some negative experiences.  That is a very good thing to hold on to.

I've had more time to read this year, with some increased rest-time.  I've taken a page from Bora's booklist and read Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, checking it out on my kindle from the library.  (Which is an amazing way to access books!)  I recommend it.  It was a beautiful book of stories and those last three stories were so rich and heartbreaking.  Absolutely beautiful.

Now reading A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson.

Trying to keep track of what I've read in 2012:
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Black Nature:  Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry
Radical by David Platt
White Fang by Jack London
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri