Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working 9-5

It's 6:30 am. The Weepies sing The World Spins Madly On as my alarm begins to go off. I lay in bed allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness before I hang my feet over the edge deciding on an exit path that won't involve me stepping on Ellie who is sleeping peacefully on a pallet on the floor beside my bed.

I carry Ari, who was also awakened by The Weepies, down the creaking stairs, across the cold, wooden floors and through a darkened house straight for the coffee pot. God bless my mother for always making the coffee ahead of time! Ari watches with interest as I pour myself a cup, black, with a splash of sugar free hazelnut creamer. I walk quietly into my parent's bedroom, holding Ari with one arm and clinging to my coffee with the other. "Mom," I whisper. "Mom, it's time to get up." I hear shuffling in the darkness and a few minutes later she emerges in her bright red terry cloth robe, her and Ari both in head to toe red, seeming overly festive for this dark and early hour. I hand her the baby and head up the stairs with my coffee.

My pants and shirt are laid out neatly on top of the dresser; I ironed them the night before. The girls clothes, socks and shoes are also laid neatly out on a cardboard box, the shirts and sweaters resting above the pants and the shoes below them as if they were once filled with the bodies of children who suddenly just vanished. There is a list in the kitchen outlining for my mother what my children normally do in a day, what time they eat and sleep and what games they like to play. Two bags of breast milk sit on a shelf in the fridge waiting to be heated ad poured into bottles.

I'm going to work. I have never left Ari for more than a few hours and I have not had a job for almost four years. I'm apprehensive but excited. Outside of my writers group, this is the first thing I've done for ME since I was pregnant with Ellie.

After I've showered, done my hair and put on my makeup, I gather my things: my purse, a computer bag, and my breast pump in it's discreet black shoulder bag. I kiss my children goodbye and head out the door feeling as though the majority of my heart is still there behind the glass waving with sticky, syrup covered fingers. So, this is how working women do it, I think to myself. How do they do this every day? How do you leave your life, your children at the door and put on your work face? I'm about to find out.

Although I am joining the ranks of working women today, there is nothing typical about this day or this job. I climb into the waiting car driven by my father. He has decided to go with me. You see, I'm working at a golf course for part of the summer as a cart girl. This place was my home for many summers and two thirds of the rest of my family are nearly permanent fixtures here as well. I don't play golf, but I grew up surrounded by it; I have a dog named Fairway for God's sake. Of all the roads diverged in yellow wood that this Dilettante has travelled, THIS one is my favorite.

We pull up to the clubhouse and I open the heavy wooden double doors and step inside. The pro shop at first seems empty, but then a familiar mop of dirty blond hair atop a bespectacled head pops out from around the corner. It is attached to a tall, lanky body covered in a lime green polo shirt and white pants. It is my brother and just like the rest of us he marches to the beat of his own drum and those white after labor day and before Easter rules go in one of his ears and out the other.

So many things are the same and yet so many things have changed. My first year working here was over seven years ago. My brother and I were both still living at home, he was in high school still, just as tall but even lankier. I was in college, early twenties, and looking for a summer job. At that time my brother and a few other high school kids washed and put away the golf carts at the end of the day. Just as I'm doing now, then I was a cart girl. I was scared that first day, nervous about maneuvering the steep hills in the beverage cart, nervous about talking during someones swing, but mostly just scared of the unknown. "Don't worry," my brother said, "it's just like Caddy Shack out here, you're gonna love it." And he was right.

Today, as I walk down the limestone steps to the snack bar and look out over the cart path and the first tee, I am flooded with memories of this place. They come in fragments and faster than I can absorb all of them as if this part of my life was flashing before my eyes. I see myself younger and laughing, always laughing, as I speed around the narrow asphalt cart path, I hear The omnipresent sound of The Dave Matthews Band in my ears, I see warm summer evenings and fireflies, I see myself hand feeding two orphaned raccoons and several deer in a manicured, Wonderland like setting, I see spilled drinks and bets about drive distances, I see swarms of cicadas and kissing in the cart barn, I see me at twenty three and it's as if I've blinked and now stand here turning thirty. In an instant I see everything that's occurred to the wild blond girl from then to now. And here I stand in the same place, surrounded by the same people and the same things, in the same skin and bones I wore almost a decade ago...but I am not the same.

TO BE CONTINUED...(with MORE pictures)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thingamajig Tuesday: Self Sustainability and Permaculture

If you know me personally, you have probably at one time or another heard me talk about my dream life. This life involves living on a self sustaining farm, mostly "off the grid", and farming away to my little hippie heart's contentment. Almost Amish except I'll still dye my hair, shave my legs, and grow hemp. While this has been and always will be my dream, it is just not in the cards for us right now, so I continue to dream. But I promise you this Dear Readers, before I got married my husband promised me that one day I could have a Brown Swiss cow and a island full of monkeys, YES MONKEYS! Golden Lion Tamarins to be precise, and I have not held him to his word, but one day, ONE DAY I WILL HAVE THAT COW! I'll let Monkey Island slide, but only because when I had kids the need to own a monkey suddenly seemed fulfilled.

Over the years as this dream has grown and taken a clearer shape in my mind, I have gleaned knowledge from here and there about this type of simple living and learned that, LO AND BEHOLD!, there are other weirdos out there just like me. People that want to survive off of what they can provide for themselves, people that enjoy a hard days work, digging and planting in the Good Green Earth. According to my dad these people are called Old Burnt Out Hippies Who Are Working The System, but to me they're Inspirations.

Today's Thingamajig is Permaculture...and This house that I want to remake one day just for me and my family.

I mean, SERIOUSLY, is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Now, I am new to the Permaculture movement, but from everything I've read thus far, I want to crawl inside of it and call it mommy. Here's an example: You plant a garden and let your chickens run through it eating pests and fertilizing it in the process. Kill three birds with one stone! I am so all over this it's not even funny. As soon as I get a yard that is. Now, what I want to know is Who's coming with me?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thingamajg Tuesdays: All Creatures Great and Small

My parents don't have regular television, that is to say, they don't have cable. They don't even have public channels on the main TV in the room where my father's butt has made a dent in the couch from years of plopping down and tuning in. These days he's tuning in to the many free DVD's from the local library, particularly anything English.

He, not realizing that I have two small chiclren to attend to on a nightly AND daily basis, is always trying to get me to stay up and watch hours of old English films with him. Me thinks I doth protest too much. Because I finally gave in two nights ago. And now I'm hooked too. GAH!

He was finally able to entice me with a series based on books that I had read as a youth. The name of this series is All Creatures Great and Small. I asolutely adored these books when I was young, but it was a hard sell to convince me to watch them now. The film is grainy, the lighting is poor; I had a dozes reasons NOT to watch any of them, but I let him talk me into one. JUST ONE EPISODE, I said. And then, despite, the film and the lighting and the difficulty understanding what those blokes across the pond were saying, I fell in love with them just as I had the books.

The series follows James Herriot, a country vet in England, as he begins his practice under the eccentric Siegfreid Farnon. This was an era before gloves, and it is certainly a sight to see Herriot elbow deep in a cowItalic one minute and then sipping tea from fine english china the next, all cheerio and too right, chap.

If you like animals and think more women should wear dresses and more men should wear three piece suits and pocket watches, then these books or films are for you.

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

Last week the girls and I made the trek from DC to Indiana, home. We'll be here for several weeks to give Jeremy some much needed time to focus on his mountain of school work. It. Is. So. Good. To. Be. Home.

Things are still crazy around here as I try to work out a schedule for myself and the girls. Once again we're finding our rhythm, and over the next few days as we do that, my posting here will be sporadic, but I promise you that as soon as I have figured out once again how to get these girls to sleep at the same time, I'll be back at it again every day. Until then...I'd like to repost one of my favorites from the last time I was home. I hope you enjoy it.

Many years ago, when my parents took us to the 1800's farmhouse that they wanted to buy, I cried. It had no air conditioning and smelled like moth balls and remorse. Even worse was the location. It sat in a town outside of Indianapolis that had nothing to offer a nineteen year old girl with a penchant for the night life. Just small town, middle American charm nestled quietly in the midst of corn and soy beans.

Now ten years later, their loving, hand toiled restoration of this house has made it a place I treasure. It has been a source of respite for me in times of great hardship and pain. It is listed in the registry of Historical Places and once upon a time it was called The Lemon Drop House because the woman who lived here would leave a bowl of Lemon Drop candies just inside for the neighborhood children. Times have sure changed, huh?

Red Geraniums, a sign of summer. I used to to hate them and the way they smelled. Now, they are a beacon, a reminder of home. And when I pull up to the front of this house, they remind me of my family and that I am home.

These stairs. I have climbed them more times than I can recall.
Drunk, and very quietly in the middle of the night so as not to get caught.
Fast, two at a time, up to the top, to slam my door in youthful angst and protest at the dictatorship of my parents.
Wistful and swooning. In love for the first and last time.
Offering goodbyes as I left for what I thought would be the last time on my wedding night.
Up to the top again and again as I returned after Hurricanes, deaths, deployments, and babies.
I have knocked myself out running down these stairs.
And one time the mailman saw me naked because I was forever forgetting my towel as I made a mad dash up the stairs to my room.
After a decade, I know every place they creak and every loose spindle. And I know at the top is a room that will forever be mine. Where I will forever be their child.

A room full of books. A better place I cannot think of. Well, maybe if they added a movie popcorn machine it would really rock my world. On these shelves sit The Harvard Classics and from these books came the great enlightening of my mind. You can travel anywhere without leaving the room.
There is a dent on this sofa where my Father's butt has resided for the better part of the last decade. It is oddly comforting to fall into it and then to heave ho myself out of it in a rocking motion. Only not so much while I was pregnant.

Oh, the conversations that have been had on this porch.

Discussions celebrating the life of loved ones lost.

Pontifications about life, God, and things much headier than who Jennifer Aniston is dating.

I have sipped coffee and iced tea in this place and waved at neighbors bicycling past and finally realized that all the other things I used to think were important were just emptiness. And chasing the wind.

I washed my second child in the glow of the amber light to the tranquil sound of the rain on the honeysuckle vines. As I felt her soft skin and examined my aging hands against it, I pondered the journey I have made. I wonder why it took me so long and so many bumps along the way, to finally understand what this life is all about. I wonder if it was the only way to get me to appreciate it. Would these moments be as sweet if I had not experienced the bitterness of pain? Would I love so deeply if I had not felt the searing ache of losing so many? Would I enjoy a life unencumbered by material possessions if I had not lost everything? I can't answer these questions because I'll never know. But, however I got here, I am glad to be at this place. Content.

For so long I vowed to leave this place at the first opportunity. And I did. And I came back to this place. Time and time again. Now when I am away from it I long for the quiet. A quiet punctuated by the laughter of children, and crickets, and the occasional barking dog. It is a stillness and a quiet that allow you to breathe. I have come full circle on this part of my journey. And I am better for it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Blog of Note: Cute Overload

Sometimes you're just having a crappy day. If you're me, that day might involve waking up several times during the night to one or two crying children, and then perhaps an overturned GALLON of milk at breakfast, then maybe a diaper filled to overflowing (onto your shirt) with contents that resemble chocolte syrup, only it's not. You finally get the kids to take a nap and realize that this is the first time ALL day you've been able to sit down. What do you do?

Sometimes I look for words of inspiration in one of my favorite books, sometimes I stare at the wall and try to absorb the silence into my soul so that I can remember it later when 1,845 battery operated toys are going off at the same time. And then SOMETIMES I go to this site: Cute Overload.

OHGEEWHIZ, if a bounty of really cute baby animals isn't enough to make you smile, well then, I don't think there's any hope left for your soul. You may as well go check in to The Hotel California. But I'd wager that it is, so go, go on, check it out.

I stumbled upon this blog one day while googling the word cute...because I do things like that, just google random words. You should try it, it's fun. Anyway, I ended up going through almost every post on there and still wanting more. I hope you enjoy it.

I mean, come ON, if that lil thing doesn't make you scrunch up your face in delight and do a little dance of ohmygoodnesswookathiswiddweearsnoseandfeets! then I don't think I even know who you are anymore!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Three-ing

Sometime last summer, on a warm and breezy day, the kind of day where you leave all the windows open and drink sun tea, I sat down to enjoy said tea and the most recent issue of my (now defunct) favorite magazine, Domino. I had miraculously gotten both children to take a nap at the same time and was oh so looking forward to a few quiet moments alone. With my tea, and my thoughts, and the remote control for once.

I began to flip through the first few pages of my magazine when I heard the voice of a child yell through my open window. "HEY," they shouted," YOU KIDS BE QUIET! BE QUIET KIDS! YOU HEAR ME? I SAID BE QUIET OUT THERE!"

Geez, I thought to myself, what a piece of work that kid was! Whoever his parents were, they obviously weren't doing a satisfactory job of keeping that mouthy little thing in line. And then I smiled to myself, congratulating myself on the fact that MY children would never be so rude, so outspoken. They were on a schedule, sleeping like little angels in their beds just as I had told them to do. Because I was after all, the one in charge. I was running the show, those kids couldn't tell ME what to do.

And then my own private Parental Awards Ceremony for myself was abruptly interrupted by the sound of one of the bedroom doors opening. I craned my neck to see who was coming down the hall way. It was Elsbeth. She stood before me with her legs apart and her hands on her hips, very much like Superman, scrunched up her nose, contorted her face into the most sinister shape a two year olds could be, and said, "Those kids were making too much noise out there so I told them to BE QUIET! BE QUIET, I said, I'M TRYING TO SWEEP IN HERE!"

And then it dawned on me. It hadn't been someone else's child I had heard yelling so forcefully outside, it had been my own. The tiny voice that she had used to affect such an authoritative tone had been carried out her window and over to mine just a few feet down. As I sat there letting this realization sink in, I began to laugh. She continues to amaze me.

Since the time she was still an infant, this child has been in possession of an old soul and a temperament so fierce and strong it impresses even the most hardened of dictatorial types. Case in point: All my dad had to do when I was a kid to make me cry was to look at me a certain way and perhaps add a Dirty Harry-esque sneer. I would turn into a blubbering heap of pigtails on the floor. Ellie? Not so much. Once, on my parents patio, Ellie had been playing with her toy horses when my father kept trying to strike up a conversation with her. She was repeatedly quite rude and disrespectful to him, making faces and frowning at him. This had been going on all day with the two of them and I could tell my dad had about reached his limit. He and I both warned her not to speak to adults in such a way and that if she continued there would be consequences. I was thinking more along the lines of a time out, but apparently my dad had other plans.

He asked her a question, very nicely I might add, and she looked up and said, "HEY PAPPY DON, I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU!"

I saw "the look" cross my dad's face. He picked up one of her horses and hurled it over the fence. "You see?" he asked, "You see what happens when you talk to me that way?"

A maniacal glimmer lit up in Ellie's eyes and she squealed with glee. "OOOOOOOOOOOO, throw this one next, Pappy Don, throw this one next!" She wasn't phased. Not. A. Bit.

I feel like I spend so much time correcting her attitude and dealing with her strong will that I sometimes forget how small she really is. She's always seemed so grown up. Like we are practically the same age, just trapped inside different sized bodies. And then I hold her. And I feel how delicate her body is; how delicate she really is, and I want to hold her there forever, never letting her go, never letting her grow up. Holding on to this moment for as long as I can if only with my mind and my camera.

It's her voice that gets to me the most now. It's almost like a chipmunk's and yet the things that come out of it are sometimes profound and blithely Innocent all at once. It's an ironic dichotomy. I'd like to share a personal video with you. I've never shared video here before, one because I can't stand the sound of my own voice, and two because that takes this blog into a whole new level of my personal life. We are about to go from a two dimensional relationship into a three dimensional. Dear readers, will you still love me tomorrow? Do you promise to call?

There are things about this video I wish were different. I wish I wasn't in the bath tub. I wish there weren't dirty clothes on the floor. I wish Ellie's hair was done and her shirt was clean and wasn't on backwards (that was HER doing BTW). But you know what? This is reality, there is no glossing over here. This is a snippet of my life with an amazing little girl. A little girl, who is just that, a little girl. No longer a baby and yet still so small. I have to remind myself of this sometimes, especially after she tells me that God told her that she could have lollipops for breakfast and drinking milk in bed does not in fact hurt your teeth no matter what the resident dentist says.

Untitled from Jill Hayes on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Feature ~ Thingamajig Tuesdays (Or My favorite iPhone App)

Every Tuesday, I'll tell you about one of my favorite gadgets...things I love, things people I know love, hell, you love something? You want me to talk about it? Send me an email and tell me about it (as long as it doesn't involve adult nudity or refined sugar, the consumption of which has been known to make people blind AND develop hairy palms...sorry Uncle Jim, at least you can't see your hairy palms), and maybe I just will.

Today's Thingamajig is my favorite iPhone app, it's called Polarize. It takes any of your photos and turns them into much cooler polaroid photos. Now, if they could just invent an app that could do that to some people I know. There is even a Flicker group for people who use this app to share their photos. When I got it, this app was free, I'm not sure if it still is though, but even if it's not, I think it's worth a few bucks.

At first I did have some problems with it crashing on me and not allowing me to upload the photos to Facebook, but lately those things haven't seemed to be a problem.

And now (insert ascending drumroll here--->) for the pleasure of your tastefully discriminating eyes, I will share some of my favorite photos that I've taken with this app.

As you can see you can also add sharpie-esque labels to them...all I have to say about the above photo is: W-A-T-E-R, Helen. You fellow nerds will get that; all others, carry on in your dithery.

This is Olive. Despite his pure and chaste looking appearance, he has an unquaffable need to impress "the ladies" with extravagant courtship dances and songs..."The ladies" that he finds particularly interesting are white socks, crumpled paper towels, and a beanie baby dove that he has had his way with countless times.

Husbands are like a box of, wait, that's not right. Why is it that the snarkier I get, the more he laughs?

Dupont Circle...I have vertigo...nuff said.

And this wasn't the first time I've caught them in a compromising position either. Momma warned me about those Barbie dolls.

You want some books from the library, Ellie? Well, you're just gonna have to work for them, now, MUSH!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Natural Cures for Depression...That Don't Involve a Sledge Hammer and Jack Daniels

When I was a kid I loved bologna. I can remember really digging one of my favorite snacks...cold McDonalds french fries rolled up in a piece of bologna. Seriously. That was three decades ago. Everyone loved bologna didn't they? I mean, wasn't there was even a song dedicated to our Bologna's first and last name, extolling all it's processed and saturated fatty virtues? I believe there was, and don't lie, you know you loved it too. Shoot! That song is the only reason that I even know how to spell B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

Now when I think of eating a piece of bologna, or even cold McDonalds french fries, I can choke back waves of nausea. What we know about food, and the way it is processed and handled before it gets to us is so much more than we knew thirty years ago. It's just like cigarettes really. Everybody was gleefully lighting up and puffing away, unashamed, before they knew of it's full dangers. And so it is with our food. The age of innocence in regards to what we eat is drawing to a close. It comes on the heels of widespread and various cases of tainted food, recalls, and sick people and animals around the world.

Movies like Food, INC and The Future of Food have opened the eyes of a large and growing group of Americans. We are demanding better options for our ourselves and especially our children. We've taken the red pill and there's no going back now. Words like red # 40, yellow #5, BPA, and high fructose corn syrup don't puzzle us anymore. They're not just words on the back of pretty paper boxes. They now translate to: DANGER. And maybe we don't know exactly what danger, but we know enough to say no. No more. And that is how change is affected. That is how you fight the Goliath of food corporations, an FDA that doesn't seem to have our children's best interests at heart, and a government who is too slow to act. We fight those Goliath's with our voice and in true American fashion, we fight them with our wallets.

We choose to buy foods that don't contain those ingredients, foods whose ingredients we can pronounce and are familiar with. Ingredients which we probably already have in our cupboards and refrigerators at home. But, I've gotten on my soapbox again when all I really intended to tell you about was my battle with depression. Let me shove this weathered soapbox back under my bed and have a seat at the kitchen table. Come, sit with me. Let me tell you a personal story. And don't worry, this time I promise not to talk about child birth. Well, not ALL about child birth.

After I had Ari I would wake up in the morning barely able to walk upright; my joints and back ached so badly and I had little bruises all over my body. I attributed these symptoms to the recovery process. I also suffered from bouts of seemingly incurable sadness tempered with fits of rage. And sadly, the rage was often times directed at my family, not The Machine. I saw three different doctors, explained my physical and emotional symptoms and the issues and medications I had dealt with because of my eye. They all chalked it up to stress, depression, and child birth. They sent me away with advice to seek counseling and a tidy little prescription for Zoloft.

I desperately wanted some relief for my symptoms, but I had a gnawing suspicion that this Dr. prescribed remedy was merely treating my symptoms and that we weren't dealing with the problem. The propensity for American doctors to do this, hand out RX's like they're candy and never really trying to get to the root of our problems was causing me to have a growing distrust of our current health care system. Almost everyone I know is on some kind of anti-anxiety/ anti-depressant and has been for years. What I wonder is, at what point does that stop? Does it go on forever? That was not something I was ready to discover.

I took the RX home and started googling. Sure, I was depressed. But I was also a nursing mother and just had a nagging feeling that there was something else causing my problems. The doctor had said that my joint pain was probably just the depression manifesting itself physically, but I knew that it was something else, I just didn't know what.

In the course of my internet research (and this is the part where any doctors reading this go: Oh geez, another one of THOSE people. Self-diagnosing, self-medicating coo-coo birds) I discovered that depression can be caused by a lack of several essential vitamins and minerals. The doctor had told me that with the Zoloft I may have to take it for several months before I noticed a difference, and even then we may have to adjust the dose and wait months again to see the effects. With these vitamins and minerals there were no warnings and no waiting months and months. I had nothing to lose, so I headed to the closest health food store, which happened to be a Whole Foods market. I bought every thing the internet article had recommended and took them home.

Within three days I was a different person. The pain in my body was completely gone and the bruises vanished within a week. I had energy, I was happy, I yelled a LOT less frequently. (Don't get me wrong, I have two small kids...I still yell sometimes).

Because of my success with these things and willingness to tell just about everyone about it; people frequently ask me to tell them exactly what I take. I thought I'd consolidate the effort and put it all on here for your viewing pleasure.

I will say right now, and for the record though that I am in NO WAY a doctor, nor do I have any formal medical or health training. I am merely one person who had a hunch that my body was trying to tell me something. That maybe it needed something that I wasn't giving it, and I just couldn't believe that my body could request a chemical compound synthetically created in a lab. So, I took a leap of faith in myself, and listened to what I thought my body was trying to say.

Here is everything I take in a day (minus the Calcium/Vitamin D/Vitamin K tablets I take twice a day...I'm out of them). Now, not all of these were found in the article about naturally curing depression, but some of these things I have been turned on to by various other health nuts I associate with and I have found every thing you see here to be essential in my feeling my absolute best. I am thirty years old, still have baby weight to lose and don't workout nearly as efficiently as I once did, but I feel better physically and mentally than I ever have, and I attribute much of that to these things. I would be happy to discuss at greater length with anyone any one of these items, just send me an email at

*Every morning I take one flax oil capsule, 250mg of magnesium, a women's multivitamin, a B-complex, and a shot of Bragg Apple cider vinegar.
*After every meal I take a scoop of Green Super Food and Fiber smart in about 6oz of water. Warning: it is NASTY, but totally worth it. You can also mix them in smoothies if you just can't handle it.
*I use really raw honey in my tea with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I also give everyone (minus the baby) an spoonful when they have a cough or sore throat. In addition to that, when my face is dry or needs to be exfoliated, I mix 2T really raw honey with 1T Raw sugar for a wonderful scrub/mask.
*I drink a couple cups of green tea every day...I've heard that there are beauty treatments you can do with this stuff too, but have yet to discover or try them.
*Every evening I take another 250mg of magnesium, a calcium combo, an iron pill, and another flax oil capsule.
* And then there's the coconut oil...some people I know swear by it's weight loss promoting abilities, but I'm not so sure about that. I use it as a deep conditioner on my hair about once a week, as lotion for the whole family, and even as diaper rash ointment. And then sometimes I just eat a spoonful to make me feel like I'm in Hawaii.

On top of ALL of that, I only drink green tea and water (well, I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning...but that's it) and I eat about 80% all natural, non-processed, non GMO, organic foods. I think this has also played a HUGE part in my overall health.

** Click on the above underlined words and phrases for links to great articles and information regarding the dangers of common ingredients in our lives and food.