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September 22nd, 2003
Life at the center of action

I read this article from Common Dreams on Saturday. It’s alarming, it’s a bit depressing, but it also made me angry.

The soldiers seeing action in Iraq deserve better than what they are getting. A women’s online community I belong to is putting together some “Care Boxes” for some soldiers. What are they asking for? (This is for a woman soldier) Tampons. Underwear. Soap. Eye drops. Why in the heck are these people having to call upon civilians to send what are BASIC necessities?? The military should be providing this items, in quantity. Does Donald Rumsfeld have to ask civilians for soap and toilet paper? He damn well should be.

Until recently, wounded soldiers were being billed for their food while in hospital. Billed for their FOOD, after being wounded in the line of duty!!! What total CRAP!

Support our troops. Pay them right, support their families at home right, provide them with basic necessities NOW, and bring them home safely. These men and women deserve better than what they are getting.

Posted by Claire at 09:28 AM | Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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I’m so mad.

Several weeks ago, my mom came up to Portland with my little brother and sister to do the school clothes shopping. There is a particularly nice, and large, Goodwill in Beaverton, so we went there to find the good bargains. This particular one (off Cornell Rd.) has a lot of barely used, or practically brand new clothing–the best kinds to find at Goodwill prices. I love shopping there.

I found the perfect coat. Red, with this really nice fabric. Perfect fit, large enough to wear over a bulky sweater (for the ever-important layering), light enough for warmer days, breathable fabric, no rips/tears/holes, zipper in fine working order. The thing was almost brand new. It was perfect and I loved it because it was under ten dollars. I needed a new coat, and I can’t afford to buy a new one, at least not a new one as nice as this one was. My mom very kindly offered to buy it for me, which made it even better.

Yesterday, while we were packing up our car, someone stole my coat. We keep a close eye on our stuff at all times, but in the hustle and bustle of breaking down tents and loading cars, both of our backs were turned long enough for someone to snatch my coat and saunter off like they owned it. Which they do, now. I’m so mad about it, because I can’t afford to replace it with a new one as nice as it was, and good luck finding another one used as nice, this late into the winter clothes shopping season. The racks at Goodwill will be pretty picked over by now.

I could just cry. I loved that coat, and I felt very stylish in in (it was such a nice bright red!), and it was MINE and someone else had no right to steal it. I needed it, and now I don’t have it anymore. Some days I just hate people.

Posted by Claire at 08:35 AM | Days Go By | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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September 19th, 2003
Media Politics+Soap

So, according to this article, Bush’s admission that Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 barely made front-page news for many newspapers. And people like to call it the “liberal” media. Gimme a break.

Okay, I don’t have the heart for much more political ranting today, so that’s it.

In other parts of my life, I made the BEST fragrance blend yesterday. I bought this FO (otherwise known as Fragrance Oil, a perfume oil for cosmetics) called Almond Biscotti a while back. It smells like almond cookies with hints of coffee. It’s very, very good (the lotion and bath milk I’ve done with it turned out divine). I wanted to make a soap smell that smelled like these cookies my mom makes at Christmas–basically a biscotti (although the Sicilians didn’t call them that) with almonds and anise. So I added anise EO (otherwise known as Essential Oil, a plant-based volatile oil with strong scents, and some claim, healing properties) to the almond biscotti FO for a soap batch. The result: YUM! I recognize that some people find it weird that I want my soap to smell like cookies, but food scents are comforting to many people, including myself. It sells well…

I also made a chai tea blend (YUM!), a ginger spice blend (mostly yum), and once I figure out how to do the proportions, I’ll have an evergreen forest blend. I have pine eo and spruce eo, but the pine tends to take over and smell just like pine-sol. I think I’ll add some peppermint to freshen it up. I can’t think of anything else I must have for Christmas. Any requests or ideas out there?

Oy, I love making soap and blending fragrances. My essential oil blends have been selling REALLY well, I’m so pleased. My goal was to have half EO blends (so-called “all-natural” fragrances) and half FO scents (my “mostly natural” soaps), and I’m basically there. I love my job.

Posted by Claire at 09:04 AM | Politics, Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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September 17th, 2003
Robin McKinley

I’ve decided to add yet another category: Books. I’m trying to finish getting my books unpacked, and reading and releasing again, so I figured I might as well talk about what I’m reading while I’m at it.

I just finished a Robin McKinley book called Spindle’s End. I think this is my second favorite of all her books. The Blue Sword is still my favorite.

But I digress. Spindle’s End is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (McKinley specializes in retelling fairy tales, usually with a decidedly feminist bent), and it is excellent. I liked the conversations with animals the best, but her descriptive language and characters are superb. I want to go live in that world, it sounds much more interesting than our own, non-magical one… The princess saves the day, and the happy ending has a twist to it (I really liked the realism there). I think the author has done a good job writing about real feelings, so it isn’t all glossy and perfect. Life is messy and choices are messy, and she includes some of that in the story–even the magic is plausible, not just the wave-your-wand kind. I wish I could talk to animals…

I own all of her books now, and they are all excellent. I also particularly recommend her short stories.

Posted by Claire at 09:08 AM | Page Turners | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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September 15th, 2003
In which…

…Claire blathers (or is that Lathers? Har.) on about soap…

So I broke down and bought a 25 lb. scale yesterday. The one I have right now can handle up to 6 lbs. (I think) but it’s starting to act funky and I think it’s on death’s door. Some of my soap batches are coming out a little weird, so I suspect the scale is screwing up. I don’t particularly want to make more soap until the new one arrives, but I think I need to. The new scale was shockingly expensive, but we discovered a credit card we never activated (heh, I recommend NOT leaving those lying around) which DH promptly donated to Soap Dreams. I’m in one of those situations where I need the scale muy pronto, but I won’t have any money for it for at least a week. So, credit card. I can pay for the scale on the next billing cycle. It’s nice to finally have a credit card for Soap Dreams because now I can stop stealing from our home account whenever I’m short on cash and need supplies.

I think cash flow is my biggest challenge. I always seem to need supplies now, but won’t get money for them for a week or two. What I really want is a fairy grandmother to lend me $1000 interest free. Ha! Don’t we all wish we had one of those?

Anyway, gearing up for fall and Christmas. I have always been cynical about holiday shopping because of how crass it’s become. But then I realize that it’s not small businesses and artisans and craftspeople who have made it crass, it’s the large corporations. Or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself when I send subliminal messages to “Buy More Soap!” I really need to make a brochure talking about how damn eco-friendly and worker-friendly and every other -friendly my business is…

Posted by Claire at 09:18 AM | Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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