Sea SpongeWorthy

For those on the spectrum of information-sharing that tilt to cringing when discussing personal hygiene, please turn away from your computers. Now.

For those of you still reading, please be advised this is not some treatise on acquatic fauna or an analysis, academic or satirical, of SpongeBob, Squidward, Sandy and Patrick, and the world of Bikini Bottom.

No, this is the ranting of a woman in search of the perfect menses-trapping-tool. Of that one thing that will not only suck up the, umm, monthly release of the Ganges River that my uterus spews forth since having children, but also not end up in what I'm sure has become an ever-growing mountain of bleached-cotton landfill.

I was raised on maxi pads, of course, as well as Tampax tampons, being a child of the early 70s. I moved on, in my 20s, to OB, having the, uh, balls to finally figure out how to shove the little thing up my hoohaw correctly. You all know what I'm talking about, too - the initial, tentative, scary attempts at putting the tiny obelisk in far enough so that it didn't feel like it was there. Of course, it still felt like I was trying to stuff the Washington Monument up there. But having been raised by hippy parents, I was more afraid of going to Environmental Purgatory than I was of some temporary pelvic pain, or of losing the chochi-plug in the nether regions of my cervix. So the attempts continued until I perfected the delicate technique that involved several steps - from spreading to sitting back, from relaxing to then clenching.

Through years of flow, in and out of full moons and monthly craziness, birth control pills and Aleve, I have purchased and used the Instead cup; more OB tampons than I can shake a (crampy) stick at; every iteration of a maxi pad known to womankind. Thin, thick, extra-thick, wide, overnight, double-wide, with wings, long, extra-long, navel-to-clavicle, without wings, light, heavy - you name it, it's been in my basket at the drug store. I stuck with OB tampons, as they seemed to entail the least amount of damage to the Earth post-use. Then I found the organic cotton ones at my local health food store and started to use those.

I didn't mind paying extra if it meant less of a toll on our planet. I felt virtuous and smart and as if I was heeding the admonition of a great chief of the Iroqouis nation - that we must consider our decisions and actions as bearing on the next seven generations.

Imagine how utterly, mind-blowingly angelic I feel as I write this, with a sea sponge, yes, you read right, A SEA SPONGE, playing the part of a tampon. An Oscar-worthy performance, mind you. No leakage, no pain, same process of insertion, only better coverage of my menstrual hole. And can we just, for a non-cotton-picking minute, talk about the Earth-loving, resource-saving piece of genius that is this innovation?

The sea sponge is like the ocean's version of bamboo!! It regenerates like a bunny in heat!!

They are purse-friendly, come with their own little cotton carrying bag, make OBs look like CO2-spewing smoke-stacks in Newark, and cost as much as one box of tampons. So even if you're not in the mood to save the planet, you have figured out that saving is the new black, right? Go spongy and send your kid to college! No kids? No problem! Take a vacation to Costa Rica, courtesy of Jade Pearl, the makers of the Sea Pearls Sea Sponge Tampon I'm planning on using for the rest of my menstrual days.

I'm so pleased with myself, I was about to forget to thank the Berkeley Bowl, in Berkeley, California (where else would I have found such an environmentally-friendly, hippy invention?), where I bought the two trimmable, customizable, naturally flow-sucking sponges that will, hereafter, adorn my uterine opening.

Here's to sustainability!!!


Family Funnies

Family is a funny thing.

Not haha funny, really. Funny, as in, it's crazy what we will say to one another that we would never allow anyone else to say to our clan members. I'm allowed to tell my sister she's acting like a spoiled brat. You don't want to be within earshot if someone outside the family attempted the same thing, though.

Funny, as in, I share genes and blood with my two youngest sisters and in fact, look more like Chara, who's adopted.

Funny, as in, my parents raised me in such a colorblind and family-is-family world that I only just realized last year that I'm the lone "white child" borne by my mother. All her other four children have black biological fathers. Yes, even my adopted sister. It's as if she decided, having seen my comparatively alabaster skin when I was born first of five, that she preferred brown babies. Maybe because they looked more like her beloved father, my grandfather, whose death when I was 12 nearly destroyed her.

Funny, as in, how unquestioning my kids are that Gabi and Xochi are their aunts, no matter how many times the kids around them ask about the "brown girls" who pick them up from and take them places. Even my older son's black classmates find the girls a curiosity, wondering aloud how people so brown could be related to my very white-skinned son. It's funny to see their faces as I explain that Gabi and Xochi are my sisters. Does not compute in their heads, even though my kids, having known nothing else except this family, find nothing remarkable about the differences in their skin colors.

Funny, as in, no one else in this world can infuriate me as much as my two teenage girls bickering about secretly looking at each other's texts and Facebook affronts; and in the next minute inspire such protective love in me that I feel it in my chest as if someone was holding my heart in their hand and squeezing it like it was a sponge.

Funny, as in, my younger son calling my ex-husband Papai, when Papai is not, in fact, his father. He's just the only one Dash has known in that capacity and so Papai fills the role beautifully - from love and hugs to worrying and fretting about his discipline (or lack thereof). Papai takes Dash on the weekends he sees our son, Luca. Papai is everything to Dash anyone would expect of a Papai - and it makes total sense in my funny little family that Papai is okay, nay, happy, with that.

Funny, as in, family is why I drink and why I don't drink as much as I used to. Like sometimes I need a dose of Mommy Juice so I can stay patient just one more hour but I end up drinking just half the glass because otherwise it's too much and turns into an unhealthy habit that cuts five years off my life during which I could be enjoying grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And watching my sons and my siblings experience the same infuriation and passionate love for their own kids - emotions that reach their arms around me every day and take turns putting their hands over my eyes.

Love, anger, love, frustration, love, love, impatience, love, love, love, crazy, funny, family love.

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Location:World Way,Los Angeles,United States