Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cloth or Paper

Cloth napkins in an old beat-up napkin holder. (My camera seems unable to capture the color of the napkins with any accuracy, and black and white is so much better than the garish color my camera records.)

I tore the second piece of cloth into 42 napkin size pieces this morning. These are the first 6 hemmed, folded, and placed where we will reach for them instead of paper. I'm nearly out of thread that matches perfectly and now need to decide whether a close match is good, whether contrast is good, or whether to buy some more.

So far, for $14.70, I have a tablecloth big enough to cover my table at its longest, 12 matching napkins, and the promise of 42 thinner everyday napkins. Not bad.

The thing holding me back from switching to cloth has always been the cost of buying the napkins. You need more than just a few if you are using them for everyday. There has to be more to get after some of them get dirty, unless you are willing to handwash after meals. I guess I'm not. But fifteen dollars and some time seems a lot more doable.
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Saturday, April 04, 2009


I went with Laura and Luke to get Luke a proper haircut last week. I was there to take the pics.
Jennifer does a great job with kids and Luke enjoyed his haircut, even though he was tired.

Jennifer can work with wiggly kids that need stories and toys.

Luke enjoyed having Jennifer show him her tools as she went, and holding them for her some of the time.

He particularly like holding on the the trimmer and feeling it vibrate on his fingers. When Jennifer would touch it to the back of his head he would hold perfectly still so he could feel it vibrate.

I didn't get a good 'after' shot, but I think this last pic was taken when Jennifer was nearly done.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Hope for Zimbabwe

I'm on an email list for mennolink that includes peace stories. Susan Mark Landis sent out an email today that included the following story:

ON March 11, 2007 Sekai Holland was lying broken and bloody in a Harare
police cell after being brutally tortured on the orders of the Zimbabwean
President, Robert Mugabe. Last month, she shook the dictator's hand,
accepted his congratulations and sat down to share a snack."

Sekai is now "Zimbabwe's first Minister for National Healing, Reconciliation
and National Integration under the fragile power-sharing agreement between
Mr Mugabe and the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change [MDC], Morgan

She recalls her prison experience saying "They called the leadership of the
MDC in one by one and each of us was tortured ... when they couldn't break
my limbs they finally called in a young man with a crowbar and that was who
finally broke my arm, my leg, my ribs."

"She now hopes to set up a national commission of reconciliation similar to
that headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, and is determined that
nothing will get in her way."

"'We are not in the West, where people analyze everything - I'm always
amused by the way you do that,' she says with a laugh when asked how her
relationship with Mr Mugabe is possible. 'Once we decided to go into the
power-sharing agreement we agreed that nothing [would] force us out. It has
to work. And it is going to work because we are not going to leave and we
are going to make sure it does work.'"*

* Sekai's full story is available here:

There was much more in the email about Zimbabwe, but Sekai's story is amazing. Doing what is right at great personal risk, and forsaking desire for revenge...those are greater tasks than most of us can imagine.