“Brisk” was the word the gas station attendant used to describe the wind that brought the temperature to -40 C the other night; someone not so reserved might have used more colourful vocabulary.
Yesterday afternoon, while supervising students waiting for the school bus, I noticed three junior-high girls huddled together in line, swaying and singing (or was it moaning?) Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya…
“Thinking of fire and warmth?” I asked. They nodded and just kept grooving.
Meanwhile, Susanna’s been experimenting with the cold in her usual manner–filling ziploc bags with water and seeing how fast they freeze on our front porch. She’s been doing this for years now, and when she was younger most of the water would land on the floor before it ever got outside, but now the process is pretty streamlined.
This kind of weather gets people talking. About cheap airplane tickets, tropical vacations, and even relocation. A friend of mine, who has taught in international schools around the world, came over for a visit recently and we started discussing the great things about living overseas–the adventure, the markets full of fresh fruit, the climate–and then I remembered how I felt when I came back. It was an overwhelming sense of ease, that came from navigating my home culture. Suddenly I noticed, and appreciated, all the sarcastic remarks and jokes I was “getting” without even trying. When people referred to something obscure while delivering a punchline I didn’t have to ask any questions; I knew what they were talking about and I “got” it. Believe me, it’s a beautiful thing to “get” something.
And so, this week, when someone forwarded me this link I laughed hard…no effort or cultural footnotes required. If I’d tried to explain to my former Guarani neighbours why this crunchy scale is so funny, the humour would’ve evaporated. Jokes poking fun at family cloth (a reusable alternative to toilet paper) aren’t so hilarious to someone wiping their butt with cleaned-off corn cobs out of necessity. While much humour transcends culture, there are some things that are funny because of our culture. The crunchy scale is one of them, and even though many people in my town wouldn’t find it the least bit funny, I know at least two of you who will.
My girls took the whole thing very seriously. I read off the requirements to get to the next crunchy level and they nodded their heads competitively. We stalled at level eight (requiring organic, local food that has been blessed by vegan unicorns), but then moved ahead when we saw it also included going “no-poo”. For those of you who think this is something to do with your excretory system, let me explain… Going no-poo means ditching commercial shampoos and other hair products containing dubious ingredients. There are millions of websites that detail why someone might choose to do this but this isn’t one of them. All I want to do is share the light I’m finding at the end of my 2-year-long, no-poo tunnel. Technically, it’s not really no-poo since I’ve purchased, and used, some natural shampoos during this time, but let me tell you, I stayed the course with vinegar and baking soda for a long time… way longer than I should’ve because
A) It’s no fun to wash your hair with something that doesn’t suds up
B) My hair didn’t feel clean
I found a version of this simple shampoo/conditioner on-line after I’d given up on baking soda and vinegar, and heard the girls complaining about rinsing out their conditioner.
“Can’t you just buy a two-in-one, Mom?” they’d asked.
“Of course I can, but I’m going to try and make one first,” I answered.
Here’s what I did and how it turned out:
All Natural Two-In-One Shampoo
1. Measure one part liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) with one part coconut milk (the kind you use for thai cooking).
2. Shake before each use. A little goes a long way–mix up one cup of shampoo at a time and it will store well in your bathroom.
3. You can add essential oils, or decrease the amount of soap or milk if the ratio isn’t quite right for you hair type.
4. Once in a while, when the girls have a lot of tangles, I rinse their hair with a little apple cider vinegar and water. They hate this.
Have a wonderful weekend, whether you are a no-poo experimenter, a cold-weather warrior, a veteran traveler, or none of the above.
PS. If you see me in person, don’t judge the shampoo by my hair–it’s toque season.
PSS. I feel like I need to clarify something… we don’t used family cloth.