I vaguely remember multiple trips to large home improvement stores, a fair bit of solo child-wrangling while my husband worked on the tiles in the kitchen and played gigs, some cleaning, some grocery shopping, etc... yawn.
The one very memorable thing I did was to bake this carrot cake. I used olive oil (I find the olive flavour disappears with baking but makes a cake taste richer), cut out some of the sugar and tossed in a few raisins instead. I also added some cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The cake was a-fucking-mazing. Seriously. Between the husband and I, we ate half of it in one sitting after dinner. I wanted more later and I'm pretty sure someone else snuck some more later. It was dead easy to make and, for those who care, contains no grains at all, not that you miss them whatsoever.
Damn, now I'm regretting not finishing the rest for breakfast.
"Be that as it may, in my tube at Wild Wadi, I have a mini epiphany: Given enough time, I realize, statistically, despite what it may look like at any given moment, we will all be brothers. All differences will be bred out. There will be no pure Arab, no pure Jew, no pure American-American. The old dividers—nation, race, religion—will be overpowered by crossbreeding and by our mass media, our world Culture o' Enjoyment."
"Man, it occurs to me, is a joyful, buying-and-selling piece of work. I have been wrong, dead wrong, when I've decried consumerism. Consumerism is what we are. It is, in a sense, a holy impulse. A human being is someone who joyfully goes in pursuit of things, brings them home, then immediately starts planning how to get more."
Excerpts from an article in GQ on Dubai, "The New Mecca" (via what possessed me)
Stick with me here.
Recently I've been reading up on the "Paleolithic" diet. Years ago, I read the amazing book "Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival". It made a ton of sense and really struck a cord with me. I cut back on refined carbs in my daily food, put blackout blinds on my windows and tried to get as much sleep as possible (damned late-night babies increasing my sleep debt). But I'm human (translation: weak and lacking in impulse-control) so I still snarf way too much sugar regularly even though I'm completely convinced it's dragging us all to a diabetes-cancer-autoimmune-disease-ridden-possibly-premature grave. I also don't really buy the author's endorsement of Atkins (ugh, that website is obnoxious, sorry) because it encourages the use of artificial sweeteners, something which I just can't believe should be part of a nutritious diet.
Anyway, lately my house dust/dust mite allergies have been driving me nuts. On weekends it's gotten to the point where I have to take an antihistamine first thing in the morning to avoid spending the whole two days miserable, sneezing and snotty. I follow all the "rules" about dust allergies: I have hardwood floors, with minimal rugs, I vacuum the whole place once a week, I have covers on my pillow and mattresses, I wash the bedding in hot water once a week, I put filters on my heat vents, I keep the house cool, I try to manage the humidity, I've cut out coffee and monitor my alcohol intake, etc... Nothing seems to be work and I hate being sick, especially on the weekend.
So I'm hitting the google looking for other solutions and finding stuff about chronic allergic inflammation being made worse/triggered by gluten sensitivities. Which takes me back to the whole "get rid of refined carbs and improve your health" thing (I guess the kids are calling it "Paleo" these days). One site I'm reading mentions that, from their perspective, in terms of an ideal fat-to-protein ratio, pork is one of the best food choices for humans. Which strikes me as somewhat funny, because one of the few things I remember from my undergrad is how closely related pigs and people are (e.g., pigs are prime candidates for xenotransplantation). And, because this is the way my warped brain works, it occurs to me that if pigs are really great food for people, perhaps people are even better food for people.
Now, of course, one would need to account for the increased risks of contracting a prion-based disease associated with cannibalism. But really, this risk would have to be weighed against the huge potential ecological gains. We can argue all day about whether farming meat or veggies is less harmful for the environment, but I think it's pretty obvious that if we assume that humans are the worst polluters (arguable as well yes) or at least the worst biologically-based destroyers/subverters/offenders of the Natural Order, then we have to accept that a few less humans is a good thing for the planet.
To me it follows then that eating those people is better for the planet and our own health, individually and as a species. Ecologically, their biomass will not be inefficiently wasted as it would by simply burying or cremating them (insert Monty Python skit here). Healthwise, in addition to the optimized nutritional food source, we'd very likely experience improved cardiovascular and muscle fitness gains from having chase our food and/or escape from being eaten. Cue: survival of the fittest, the elegant Gaia-balance is restored, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The one thing I'm still trying to figure out is whether eating vegans or people who predominately consume fastfood is better nutritionally and/or environmentally. Ultimately it's probably an ethical/practical toss-up and probably boils down to a purely aesthetic choice. Wouldn't it be wonderfully ironic if vegans tasted like chicken?
Either way, I'm hoping it'll fix my sneezing. Even if it means that no one wants to come to my house for dinner anymore.
Inspired by Free-Range Kids, I'm going to encourage other adults to take a walk on the wild side today. To undertake at least one activity loaded with perceived (mostly artificial or vastly overstated) risks.
Some fun ideas I've compiled:
- Go for a run/walk in your neighbourhood, alone, without a cellphone. Bonus points for doing it after dark.
- Don't renew your CAA membership.
- Eat a hotdog from a streetmeat stand.
- Don't follow all 7 recommended steps to a perfect hand washing technique.
- Have more than one glass of wine in a single evening.
- Eat the skin on your roasted chicken or fat on your steak.
- Talk to a stranger.
- Bake something with "expired" eggs.
- Dye your eyebrows with a do-it-yourself hair dye kit.
- Stop using your home and car alarms.
- Spend some time in the sun without sunscreen.
- Get a tattoo.
Or, just be a bad-ass like me and fill up your (BPA-free) water bottle at the regularly quality-tested water fountain rather than the (never-cleaned, sits in the sun all day, very likely never quality-tested) water cooler.
I am just so very sick of being told to be afraid. Especially about the wrong things.
You know, just in case you missed the memo from the weather yesterday. Nothing says "Welcome to Hell" like a nice ice-rain storm.
Edited to add: please note that the fall special has been extended into the winter. I'm already looking forward to the spring special. Anyone want to guess how much it will be?
"Why would a man haul his luggage out of an airport hotel early in the morning, when he was not checking out, and then return to his room within the hour without it? That question, coupled with Brennan’s careful process of elimination, led him to the conclusion that the victim had been taken out of the hotel inside the big man’s suitcase.
But it seemed too small. It looked to be about the size that air travelers can fit into overhead compartments. But the man himself was so big, perhaps the size of the bag was an illusion. Brennan studied the video as the man exited the elevator and also as he left the hotel, then measured the doorways of both. When he matched visible reference points in the video—the number of tiles to each side of the bag as it was wheeled out the front door, and the height of a bar that ran around the inside of the elevator—he was able to get a close approximation of the suitcase’s actual size. He obtained one that fit those measurements, which was larger than the bag on the video had appeared to be, and invited a flexible young woman whose proportions matched the victim’s to curl up inside it. She fit."
From a completely engrossing tale of brilliant real-life detective work in Vanity Fair.
"I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked."
From a scary article on academic mercenaries.
Now if I could just find a way to erase the ear/brain trauma I suffered years ago in a farmer's market in Halifax where I had the extreme misfortune of hearing a string quartet play Eleanor Rigby. Poorly.
Chamber music + Beatles tunes = crime against humanity.
A ton of stuff that's currently making my "add to cart" trigger-finger itchy:
- Yellow Owl stamps
- This quilt
- Granted sweaters
- Regional Assembly of Text Vancouver t-shirt (and I don't even like Vancouver!)
- CB2 mini porcelain spoon (I actually did try to buy some of these as gifts for people but then found out that the shipping doubles the cost - stupid teasing American stores)
- heyday design's large beaver jar (as in our national animal - git yer head out of the gutter)
- Kid O coloured cubes (I'd say that they're for the kid but who am I kidding: so pretty!)
- Any and all of the shoes from Gravity Pope
- dip cups from up in the air somewhere
- Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (I got sucked in by a preview and then found out it's classified "young adult" - I think I officially have a problem)
- Sweet Fine Day's Kitchen Conversions print
- This house (I love to torture myself using mls. It's a sickness.)
- A MacAustland's blanket
- The Shatner Show book (he shoulda been Govenor General)
- Fuji Instax 210 (damn you Polaroid obsolescence)
- A custom Aristotle bike
- Modern Art print by Craig Damrauer
- A canvas teepee (yes, just like every other "fixie" (see UO bike above) loving hipster douchebag)
- Speaking of UO-loving hipster douchebags: for the kid, a Fisher Price Classic Record Player
- Ork's Great Lakes poster
- Easy Gluten-Free Baking (we're lucky not to have any known gluten issues but sometimes I feel that we could all use a little less wheat in our lives and guts. I may actually buy this for the office gift exchange since my manager is celiac and always gets the shaft on office treats, something I can relate to from my Twinkie-packing days)
- Flip & Tumble produce bags (not that I ever f*&king remember to grab the million other reusable grocery bags I have)
- A bottle of small-batch Forty Creek Whisky (who knew that the spelling "whiskey" is American? I blame my ignorance on my early childhood exposure to US Sesame Street)
- Giles & Brother hook with leather lashing (and, you know, like almost everything else they make)
- Haptic Lab Ottawa Baby Quilt (so when we finally blow this pop-stand for better climes the kid can have a momento of where she was born)
- A CSA share from Upper Canada Heritage Meat (I've read that meat that's raised with love tastes better and I believe it. My raw-fed dogs had better hope we don't get too broke... I kid: there's not enough meat on them to make it worth it.)
- MamaK's aromatic play clay (it sounds so yummy I may be tempted to eat it)
- Lambswool robot hot water bottle cover (for my to-be sister-in-law perhaps, though I'm not sure how she feels about robots)
- Pure beeswax tea lights (apparently burning beeswax somehow improves indoor air quality. They'd probably look great in these firepot candleholders if CB2 ever lowers shipping costs. Grrr.)
Ok, I'm cutting myself off here because I could go on for days. Really. I have a problem. Or a talent depending on how you look at it.
Anyone needing a personal online shopper let me know. At least it's slightly more constructive than a gambling habit. Right?
1) Bodies of female Olympic athletes.
I'm bookmarking this site and these images for when the kid hits puberty.
2) This is why small kids are great.
"Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters—sometimes very hastily—but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.”Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.”That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it." ~ Maurice Sendak
(via Sarah Brown)
Goddamn those cookies suck.
They have the consistency of wax-covered, coarse-ground chalk dust mixed with burnt toast and taste of used dried toothpaste. My tastebuds may never forgive me for insulting them in such a manner. You have single-handedly ruined Fall for me. I doubt I will be able to sleep at night for months knowing that many boxes of these cookies are still out there, roaming the streets searching for innocent victims.
I'm just happy that I wasn't the one conned into forking over my hard-earned cash to some blue-clad imp for them because then I'd be really angry. By placing them out in the office kitchen, some passive-aggressive anonymous fellow cube-dweller was clearly trying to get rid of the curse of them before they left a permanent pox on their house.
I'm sure I should learn a lesson in partaking of food abandoned by others but I still hold that the majority of the blame lies with you. I hope you burn in the fiery bowels of hell for all eternity. Preferably right beside the place where they bake these cookies.
Apologies to all two of you that used to read my old blog for recycling part of a post. I've had plans and ambitions to renovate our (mostly original(?) circa 1950s) kitchen since I moved in but the cost and a fear of living with chaos (I hear kitchen renos are the most fun) has kept my urge to take a crowbar to the place in check. Then I noticed a few weeks ago that the totally unsealed sink has rotted out the counter to such an extent that it looks about 2 weeks from falling out completely. Good times.
So we hit up the giant home reno store and grabbed a new sink (2 basins - the luxury!), a faucet (no more crappy plastic knobs growing mold under them where nothing can reach to clean) and new counter top (goodbye shitty worn-out weirdly absorbent whiteish counter!) and new backsplash tiles (bon voyage poorly-grouted tiles with wooden framing!!). And, although I have loved the kitch-value it added to a nasty kitchen, the peacock blue walls are going too.
We don't have the cash to do a full overhaul so the horrible cabinets will be staying. I love that they are sturdy and solid wood but the shelves are at useless heights and have been painted with cheap wall paint so we're frequently picking small bits of flaking (hopefully not lead) paint out of our food/drinks.
God-willing, the majority of the work will get done this weekend so we're not eating frozen pizza for more than a couple of days. I am so excited about even these small changes that I'm like a kid at Christmas.
Snaps from a roadtrip.
Took a long weekend and headed down south to Hamilton to couch-surf with friends and family. The kid was a total trooper despite a lip-splitting, face-smash Friday night and teething-related fever Saturday night. Experienced the joy of her first Timbit and meeting horses on a hike in the Dundas Conservation Area.
The second time around the zookeepers asked volunteers from the local chapter of La Leche League to nurse their babies in front of the primate. When the second baby was born the primate placed her baby in her arms backwards but with some guidance from the staff quickly learned to feed and care for her baby.
This is how we learn. We observe the behavior of others."
~Leigh Anne O'Connor
Excerpt from an interesting discussion of "breast burkas" and how they undermine the (re)normalization of breastfeeding.
I can be a little slow on the uptake (hell, until this September I'd never owned a phone with a camera in it) but I read this and it really hit me: we're living in an amazing situation where perhaps for the first time in history, the invasiveness tables have been turned. The "state" is just as much on camera and under scrutiny as the populace. Cheap mass-market technology is letting little brother catch up to Big Brother.
I'm not by nature someone who's worried about "the Man" listening in on my life. I'm too boring for that. Generally I'd say I'm much more relaxed about the whole privacy thing than the average person. I don't like the idea of closed-circuit cameras everywhere but they can catch criminals. I'm not a fan of how easy it can be to get wiretaps in this country but I think they are necessary. I'm practical enough to wish we could end the security/privacy BS and each have single ID card for health care, driving licences, social insurance, passport, etc. I think that if you want access to good cheap health care you'd better be willing to let them use your data for research and statistics. I'm not on facebook because I can't be bothered and I don't want all my personal info controlled by the whims of some egomaniac twit. You get the idea.
I know that police have a (mostly necessary) crappy job you couldn't pay me enough to do. I have immense respect for cops who do their jobs well without losing sight of the fact that most people are good and should be treated accordingly (presumption of innocence and all). However, being a cop is a job that attracts a certain personality (just like any profession does), a personality that tends not to appreciate having their authority questioned, especially not by the people they're meant to police.
In 1991, I was aware of the circumstances surrounding the Rodney King beating. I grew up on the West Coast so the LA riots seemed very close. But I don't think that until I was reading the article I quoted above, I fully grasped what a key moment that was. In fact, only in reading the wikipedia link on Rodney King did I learn that the term for this situation is "inverse surveillance". In Canada, we now have Robert Dziekański and more recently images from the Toronto G20, during which apparently many police officers removed their badges to avoid being identifiable.
I guess the old policing argument that if you're not doing anything wrong you shouldn't be worried about surveillance works both ways. Interesting times.
Had a great weekend full of winterizing, cooking, eating, drinking, friends and family.
And, thanks to daylight savings, the kid blessedly passed out at 9pm last night (the two previous nights she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed until 12:15am and 11:30pm). I celebrated by going to bed at 10pm.
Of course, my brain tried to kill me this morning by waking me up at 5:30am convinced that my alarm had not gone off at the appropriate time. When my alarm actually did go off, I was motivated to get out of bed and put on pants solely by the knowledge that it's a three day week for me.
Heaven only knows that it ain't missing the view from the cubicle that gets me in to work each Monday.
"Hot and Heavy pumpkin pie
I'm someone with lots and lots of opinions. Many of them strong. And many a tad "controversial" to most people. From previous experience, most of the time I'm pretty good at limiting the free expression of my opinions in mixed company. The other day I slipped-up a bit and gave several people more of a glimpse into my personality than I'm normally comfortable allowing relative strangers to see.
Except, of course, on the Internet: Hi! Hello there! Thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry, it's going to get a little heavy here for a bit but then I promise I'll go back to posting pictures of clouds and cute babies.
We were discussing several individuals recently in the news who've been tried and convicted of doing utterly horrendous things to people. I won't name names because I don't want somebody searching for information about them to find this blog. I don't want to be associated with them or the unspeakable things they've done.
I consider myself to be a very liberal person. I unequivocally support equal rights. I believe meat animals should be treated humanely. I feel strongly about universal health care, harm-reduction strategies, legalization/regulation of street drugs and social support for people in poverty. I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture and low-impact living. For many crimes, I support restorative justice.
I also, in a very narrow set of circumstances, strongly support a death penalty.
I know that the death penalty, as it currently exists in the United States, is fraught with serious ethical and legal issues: a lack of proper legal representation for criminals charged with death penalty offences; long appeals processes rendering the argument of cost-savings void and making good arguments that death row can itself be cruel-and-unusual treatment; over-representation of minorities on death row; etc., etc.
I also feel that some people have been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to have willingly and knowingly committed actions so atrocious that even their deaths will not even constitute a meaningful step towards retribution for the harms they inflicted on their victims and victim's loved ones.
Still, in these cases, I see their continued existence to offer only more opportunity for causing pain. These individuals will not be healed and returned to society to atone. They thrive on getting attention and hurting people. Every time they are up for parole they get-off on the renewed interest and making a sadist's farce-and-circus out of the whole justice process.
If they were dogs, we would put them down without a second thought. Humanly euthanized with a touch of regret that they were ruined creatures beyond our healing capabilities.
... And, that was pretty much the gist of my side of the conversation. Their side was some stunned silence and a bit of backing away. Awkward.
So, ya, I don't think I'll be doing any drinking at the staff Christmas party this year. I'm pretty sure my coworkers are shocked enough by my sober opinions.
Next up: my opinions on assisted suicide. Anyone still here?
The kind of run that reminds you why you continue to throw yourself out the door in all sorts of weather against sanity and good judgment to make your body do something it hates you for the whole time you're doing it.
It's gorgeous outside right now. If you're in Ottawa and you can get outside: do it, do it now.
Absorb some of that rare precious sunlight and crank out some Vit D before you have to start smothering yourself in layers of down and wool just to be able to take the dog out for a piss.