CLOTH DIAPERS?

PAMPERING VS. DIAPERING


When my son was born, my mother bought me dozens and dozens of diapers with big safety pins. Rubber panties, too. And, because she was no dummy, she also got me a brand new washing machine and dryer. They were Maytags and I bet they are both still running somewhere, 47 years later.

Cloth diapers by Gerber

Owen was only a few months old when Pampers, the first of the paper diapers appeared on the market. They were insanely expensive and incredibly leaky and poorly fitted. I checked them out … and stayed with cloth diapers. I liked cloth diapers. They were really useful. Dusting, mopping, polishing, among other things. I sometimes wish I had a few dozen of them. They were made pretty good dish towels.

Eventually, when the kid got older and the price of paper diapers dropped … and their quality improved, he was switched over. By then, he had mostly gotten it together with toilet training anyway.

These day, Pampers and other paper diapers have become a major source of pollution. I wonder if anyone has reconsidered making a u-turn and going back the other way. Of course, cotton has gotten ghastly expensive … but maybe there’s some other reusable material that would work. Because, before everything was disposable, many things were reusable.

It wasn’t such a bad arrangement, as long as you had a good washing machine and dryer.

CLOSE TO HOME TOO

Matthiessen State Park day trip, by Rich Paschall


When you are heading out on your Day Trip, you may wish to take a long a few provisions.  On our recent trip, my friend and I took a small flexible cooler with some water and flavored water.   Then we dropped into the pockets some granola bars, chewy bars of something and some small pieces of chocolate or something.  They were just quick snacks.  If you plan to visit some picnic grounds, it is a bigger production and you should plan in advance and start earlier.  We are not so organized so our lunch was at the concession stand and our dinner was at Culver’s on the way home.

Our main goal of the day trip was Starved Rock State Park.  This spot is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Illinois and rival’s Chicago’s Navy Pier in surveys of the best places to visit.  This may seem a bit odd to those outside the state who know of Chicago only.  We must do a lot of state park advertising in neighboring states.

After our view from the top of the famous rock, my travel companion was interested in heading down into the canyon and seeing at least one of the waterfalls. I confess that I was totally unaware of the next stop of the day.  It is not as well-known.

Just a few miles south of Starved Rock State Park is Matthiessen State Park.  I did not want to disappoint my friend on his quest to find an Illinois waterfall, so we took the short drive down Illinois State Route 178 and found the entrance to this wonderland of flora and fauna.

French fort

Frederick William Matthiessen had acquired 176 acres of land here in the late 1800s where he built the private Deer Park.  In it he constructed trails, stairs, bridges, and dams.  The private buildings of his estate are gone now, perhaps a sad decision, but the park does contain a reconstruction of a fort like the ones the French built in the 1600s.  After Matthiessen’s death the land was donated to the state.  Additional land was acquired and the park is now a sprawling 1700 acres.

Going down
A peek at our destination.

The fort marks the beginning of the hiking trails that will lead you down into the canyons.  The trails are well-marked and you will not get lost, even though there are many choices along the way.  There are two waterfalls you may wish to see in the upper and lower dells.  I guess we chose the closer one in deference to my considerably slower pace.   You can head up the trail to Matthiessen Lake and Lake Falls or down into the canyon and the “wishing well” and Cascade Falls.

Above the falls

We had already gone down a long way when we got the view of Cascade Falls from above.  We could see some hardy souls had made the descent, and we decided to head down the trail until we found the stair way that would take us the rest of the way down.

Sandstone walls

A stream runs from Lake Matthiessen down to Vermilion River.  Over the centuries a waterway carved out the canyon revealing the sandstone walls.  The minerals in the water have added to the coloring of the sandstone. The mineral springs on the land are also an attraction for the large deer population.

We followed the stream through the canyon until we decided the only safe route was not through slippery paths and mud, but along the stream.  We took off our shoes and socks and wondered  on our way.  We saw others trying not to get mud on their shoes, without much success.  You would have to cross water to get to the falls.  After the long trip down, we were going to make it all the way.

Cascade Falls

OK, it is no Niagara Falls, but it is hidden in a canyon and unique to our state.  It was a wonderful exploration of what nature can offer us here.  We were pleased with the pleasant nature trails and the variety of plants and trees to be seen.

The state park also has horse back riding trails, biking trails, an archery range and large picnic grounds.  It is a great place for family and friends to enjoy nature.

Late Afternoon sun on the canyon walls

Because of its proximity to Plum Island sanctuary, you may be lucky enough to spot a bald eagle here in late fall and winter.  I was lucky enough to share this adventure with a good friend, and that is all that really matters to me.  Get out on a day trip with friends and enjoy the world around you.

Related: CLOSE TO HOME, Day Trip

THE DOCK BY THE RIVER – AFTER AND BEFORE

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: AFTER AND BEFORE Y1-08


From Paula: This challenge is the AFTER and BEFORE. It invites you to post the same image in black and white, and in colour. The topic and subject are arbitrary. The only condition is you post an image captured in colour and you turn it monochrome in post processing.


We were down by the river today. I was hoping to discover Autumn lurking in the trees, but we found, instead, a fine summer’s day. Rather warm and bright … and humid enough so I had a lot of trouble keeping my glasses from skittering down my nose whenever I looked into my camera. Plastic eyeglasses and a sweaty nose-bridge do not go well together.

The little pier that was falling down last time we were here has been repaired … and here it is. First, in color, then black & white.

The dock at River Bend
The dock at River Bend – monochrome

A lovely day … but not Autumn yet. The light is the right color — yellow, almost amber — especially as it gets late in the afternoon. There is a yellow gold tint in some leaves, but overall …. it’s still summer in the valley. Hot and humid.

Garry is gratefully enjoying an unexpected month of summer. He has rightly pointed out Autumn will be here soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the blue sky and the deep green trees.

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WAKE UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

During the past two and a half years, Garry and I have logged endless hours watching the current political nightmare unfold. I can’t count the number of hours spent analyzing “millennials,” folks approximately my granddaughter’s age. How disaffected they are. How they aren’t going to vote because “this has nothing to do with me” — a direct quote from my granddaughter.

I love my granddaughter with all my heart, but that just pissed me off to a fare-thee-well.

The world into which the now oft-dismissed “baby boomers” were raised — despite maudlin memes on Facebook — was very far from a perfect world. Classified advertisements for jobs were divided into “Help Wanted: Male” and “Help Wanted: Female.” It was legal and enforced. As for people of color and immigrants, their help wasn’t wanted on any page.

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70 years later, the Help Wanted advertisements looked pretty much the same as they had in 1892. Photograph: Library of Congress Archives

Jim Crow laws were legal. Inter-marriage between races was illegal in all southern states and many northern ones. There was no Medicare. No Medicaid. If you lost your job, or your job didn’t offer medical benefits — and employers were not obligated to provide benefits — you were out of luck.

People reminisce about the 1950s and early 1960s as if they were perfect days for everyone. A world in which jobs lasted forever. Spanking kids was totally cool. No one was hungry. True-ish — but only if you were triple white.


Triple white = White collar. White skin. White picket fence.


If you were anything else, you lived a very different reality.

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Did I mention that abortion was illegal? Illegal abortions were frequently fatal and effective birth control hadn’t been invented. It’s not that we didn’t have sex outside of marriage. Of course we did. Hormones, boys, girls, love, and passion were never different than now, but acting on these urges was far more dangerous. The ramifications of “getting caught” were perilous and possibly illegal, so we were sneaky. We had sex in cars, not beds.

We hid our social lives from “the grownups” who were also “the enemy.” Child abuse was not illegal. It was ignored or absolutely approved of. Beating your kids was “discipline.” Which is why I get enraged every time I read one of those Facebook “nostalgia” posts about how great it was to be able to hit your kids.

Hitting kids doesn’t make them better people. It just informs them it’s okay for bigger, stronger people to hit smaller, weaker ones.

January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve.
January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve. Photograph: New York Times archive

My generation — we old people — were out there manning the barricades. Marching for justice.

We changed the world. Not as much as we hoped, but some. We certainly tried. We fought racial and gender discrimination. While waiting for the law to change, we hid our homosexuality or trans-gender identities. Not doing so might do us in. We never gave up the fight, but time has had its way. We got old and most of us have put down the signs and stopped marching.

It’s your turn.

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The world got so much better and now it’s getting so much worse again. Looks like the stuff we fought for is going down the tubes.  I know you feel the world has failed to live up to its promises to you. Life is hard. Good jobs are scarce.

The truth is that life — real life — has always been hard. Good jobs were always hard to find. No one told me life would be easy. Did someone tell you that? If they did, they lied.

It’s time for your generation to step up to the plate. Put down your phone. Go fix stuff. Fight for a better life and a better world. Vote! That’s how change happens. If you don’t care enough to stand up for yourselves and your future, no one else will care. All the work we did will vanish. It will be the real 1950s all over again. I don’t think you will like it.

Then, as my mom used to say, you’ll really have something to cry about.