Apron Stringz ZINE!!!

What do women do when they hit emotional bottom and start questioning the core and direction of their lives?

That’s right, have a baby!

But, congratulations to me, it’s not a flesh of my flesh, keep me up at night kind of baby. It’s a zine baby. Reconnecting me to a former part of my life where I used to persue such creative endeavors with abandon.

What is a zine, you ask? Why, back in the old days, before every punk had a laptop, an iPad and a blog, we used to sit around with pens and papers, scissors and glue sticks and make these playfully intimate little snippets of life called zines. Part journal, part magazine, part art project. All awesome.

My old zine, from before children, was called Subsist/Resist. I would detail my gardening and hunting adventures, make collages with political import and rip Mary Oliver poems shamelessly. My first ever issue explained, among other things, how to make an oil lamp out of a tin can– almost 10 years before Knutzen and Coyne made such projects mainstream.

For better of for worse, Subsist/Resist and the bad-ass lifestyle it depicted have slid away from me in recent years. But not the zining! At least, not completely! It may have taken me almost a full year to finish this slim little edition (more than the gestational time for a human fetus in fact) but I did finish it friends! And that’s what counts.

Apron Stringz Zine, Issue #1: Getting Shit Done (With Kids)

Some of us came to this crazy, earthy, DIY lifestyle early– driven in like myself with the self-righteous rebellion of youth and just never left. Some of you came to it later, perhaps wiser, certainly more humble. We’re all of us feeling around in the dark. When you walk the path less travelled you make your map as you go.

At the start of any personal revolution it’s easy, even blissful. The honeymoon phase. Sticking around for the long haul, that’s the trick. As we get older, we’re inevitably pulled toward what we grew up with, what everyone around us does. We are pack animals, social creatures by habit and mainstream culture is a force to be reckoned with. Living at the fray is some hard stuff.

Having kids is perhaps the truest test. That magnetic pull of our mother culture gets crazy, sometimes ruinous. Maybe it’s just because we’re so exhausted, and the convenience of modern America beckons so seductively. Maybe it’s because we can’t help but want to raise our kids the way we were raised. Maybe it’s because we feel that much harsher the judgment of every eye at the playground.

Whatever the reason, having kids can often normalize people.

How do we keep our radical ideals a realized part of our lives? How do we integrate these budding souls into our daily routines without getting pulled too far off course? How do we keep up with all the motherfucking cleaning that kids imply and still manage to grow a garden, cook from scratch, and generally stick it to The Man?

Don’t look at me, I asked you first.

In some respects this incredibly complex subject is all I ever write about. My own personal Holy Grail. There are many, many psychological hurdles to be crossed, but in these 28 pages I explore the more tangible side– the balancing act of involving kids in our DIY activities; having the faith required to leave them to their own devices for awhile; and the inevitable massive clean-up that follows either tactic. Don’t expect answers, consider this instead a long afternoon of bullshitting with friends over coffee. Remember when that used to be possible? Nowadays you’ll read it in the bathroom in stolen paragraphs over the course of a month, but– it’s the thought that counts.

Also included is your very own copy of my most popular post ever, A Love Letter to New Mamas, handwritten by yours truly and in an envelope like a real old fashioned letter!!! Keep for your very own or send to a mama in need.

Apron Stringz Issue #1: Getting Shit Done (With Kids) — $5 including shipping, $6 overseas. If you would like to order just the Love Letter it’s $2 domestic, $2.50 overseas. (Although a sign-in box will pop up, you actually don’t need to have a Paypal account to checkout. Look around on the bottom left hand side for the credit card logos.)

Reader Reviews!

I loved the zine. It actually inspired me to be a better parent! Seriously. “Involving them”- that’s the one I gotta work on. The babe is still a bit too young to help (not even walking yet), but I still wear him a lot when I have stuff to do and he (mostly) seems to enjoy it.

I love that you stay true to your punk roots with the zine format. I never had one, but I remember all the cool kids in junior high were into making them and it is somewhat of a lost art now that we’re in the age of the screen. I actually never read blogs before I stumbled upon yours, so I thought maybe I had been missing out on this whole world of punk-urban-homesteading mommas. But since then, no other blogger I’ve found really covers it like you. I think that most of the others that are similar are really missing the “stick-it-to the-man” edge that yours has. Not for everyone, I’m sure–but you had me at dumpster diving Barbie :)

You rock! ~Daniela

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I LOVE the zine, it came today. Thank you.

Thanks particularly for the Do Dogma, Don’t Dogma piece. You have basically summed up where the Attachment Parenting as a standalone method falls short and it’s been bugging the hell out of me how to articulate the missing piece– the de-attaching bit. Your writing is both inspired and inspriring.

Thank you for doing what you do. –Motherfunker

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Got yo zine mama. Love love love love love times infinity and fucken beyond.

Sloppiest of kisses to ya. MWAH!  –Shadymama

Big Whoopie

My Man finished finals yesterday. Whoopie! He’s taking the week off, before he starts summer work. In a rare moment of realism we decided that rather than taking a trip, we both wanted to just stay home and kick it. The plan is for him to sleep till 11 every day (he has been epically sleep deprived lately), then he’ll take over the parenting till dinner time. Double whoopie!

All this last week I mulled over in my mind what fun project I’d want to do in this blessed week. The house is of course a wreck, and I’ve still got a few boxes left to unpack. But I’m not about to let my week get eaten up by that! I have several little chores that need doing, and I want to put some good time into the garden, which has been neglected for weeks.

Here’s my hopeful list for the week:

  • Plant cover crops at the community garden. I have lots of summer crops going, but about half the beds are empty right now, I just pulled up the last of the spring crops. It’s getting pretty hot for planting most veggie crops. True summer here is a time to rest the garden. The bugs get crazy and really, how much okra can you eat?
  • Refill and plant my 3 homemade Self Irrigated Planters. I made these our first fall here, took photos and always intended to post about them. Maybe posting goes onto the list too…
  • Get screens for two of our windows so we can let in cool morning air without bugs. Our old house had window AC units, which means you can’t open your windows for any passive cooling, a sad irony. We are so excited that this house has opening windows!
  • Rig up a solar dehydrator so I can make fruit leather! This is in the very hopeful category, but might really happen. You just never do know about me.
  • Fix the broken bike trailer.
  • Fix the leaky toilet.

That’s all well and good, and a solar dehydrator is pretty exciting, but I like to have a big project. Big enough that it will suck up all my time, take so much longer than I thought, and prevent me from getting to the house cleaning… Ahem.

I had a pretty heavy duty affair with the idea of getting chickens. There’s a space between the house and the fence that’s about 8 feet wide by 30 feet long, completely overgrown and just begs to be turned into a chicken run. You could raise some happy hens in that much space! But of course, we only have one more year in this house, then it will be back to Alaska where I already have a nice coop, ready to go. I kept trying to convince myself that all I needed to do was fence the two ends, and throw together a couple of pallets for a coop. ‘It’ll be quick!’ my wicked side whispers, ‘an afternoon. Then you’ll have chickens! And eggs! You know you want to…’ In my other ear my good girl self reigns me in, reminding me just how many times I’ve thought projects would be so quick and easy, and been so very, very wrong. (Including, but not limited to, the aforementioned coop at our house in Alaska) Do I really want to spend my whole week building a chicken coop?

Plus, with all that initial cost for only a year of eggs, the numbers don’t work out very well. I can’t figure it down to much less than $4/dozen, which is the price of good eggs at the farmer’s market.

Of course it doesn’t make sense. Not a lick of sense.

Nevertheless.

As my friend put in this morning, “Last time I talked to you, you were definitely not getting chickens. Now you’re definitely probably maybe not getting chickens.”

Which about sums it up.

The other time eater idea is making a zine. A zine is like a little, personal homemade book. Usually just photocopied and hand-bound. I used to make a zine in my last life, called Subsist/Resist. You can view the last issue on flickr. But be warned, since the zine was handwritten (yes, you read that right. Somebody has to remember how to write with a pen, for after the revolution) what you will find there are scanned images of it’s pages. It really doesn’t make any sense unless you view as a slideshow. Click slideshow in the upper right hand corner. It’s a little surreal, but how backwards fun is reading real human script on a computer?

Blogs are great, I love the immediacy of them. I love that I write a post, and it’s done! An accomplishment I can point to. Mamas need that sort of thing. It’s efficient, a “quickie.”

But a girl can’t live on quickies alone. Zines are substantial, fun and satisfyingly tangible.

Of course what I’m doing here is talking myself out of the chicken idea and into the zine idea. Surely y’all can help me out on this one, since you have not much to gain from the former.

This will mean my writing energy will go into the zine for the next week (and doubtlessly I won’t be done in a week either…) This space might be purty sparce. But at the end of it y’all can order a real live, signed by Calamity, paper and staple zine. You can hold them in your hot little hands, and read them without plugs or batteries. Keep them forever and ever, until you get cancer and I’m famous and you sell them for $394,003 each to cover medical expenses.

Wow, consider that. What a great investment, right?

Reserve your copy now, while prices are still in the single digits!