Monday, June 30, 2008

the last great adventure (that i missed)

five and a half years ago the western world was in a tizzy. bush was certain that iraq harboured weapons of mass destruction and was pushing as hard as he could for war. many people were equally certain that no such weapons existed and bush really just wanted some cheap oil. many, many people didn't really know what to think. it was fun times. remember?

my life was all in a tizzy, too. i had just started working at a homeless shelter (which i loved) and gotten engaged to a heavily tattooed man (whom i love) and was about to start jewellery school (which i loved). thins generally rocked. but this war thing - it bugged the hell out of me. and i didn't want to sit around and talk about it over a bottle of cheap wine. rather, i wanted to do more than that. my partner and i were considering joining cpt and going to iraq as human sheilds. yes, that's the group that included the people that got kidnapped a few years back. they're evangelical christians, but so were we at the time. the idea was that we'd document human rights violations committed by both sides during the conflict. when bombs fell from the sky we would be in hospitals and schools, hoping to protect the brown people with our whiteness. i was so noble and so naive.

it was actually pretty complicated. on the one hand, we could stay in canada and make out and plan a wedding and i could go to school and we could make out and things would be good. on the other hand, we could get married in a hurry and go to iraq and possibly make a difference and make out and have experiences that we could never replicate elsewhere and make out. so what did we want, to make out in the safety and boredom of canada, or the danger and adventure of iraq?

obviously we chose to stay here. we wanted to have a chance to be married and stuff before going into such a stressful, dangerous situation. at the time it felt like the impulsive, wild part of me was being squelched.

but it's good that we didn't go.

  • the foreign aid workers were given an ultimatum right before the war began: get out or do what you're told. mostly they were told to go to weapons factories and power plants when the bombs dropped instead of the more humanitarian-type places. but hussein used foreign aid workers as pawns, the same way he used every other resource at his disposal. can you blame him? the dude ended up in a hole in the ground eating doritos, it's no wonder he did all he could to avoid that fate.
  • 4 cpt team members were kidnapped. one was killed. that would have sucked. especially for our families back in canada.
  • our families would have freaked right out the whole time we were gone. that's actually one of the main reasons we didn't go.
  • our first year of being married was brutally hard. my birth control made me incredibly depressed. i was too young to be married. i was 20, for crying out loud! i'm glad that we got through that year here, with all the people who love us, instead of in a dusty war zone.

but there's a little part of me that looks back at that choice with melancholy. it's the last chance i had to go do something wild and extravagant and inadvisable. now i have kids and so i can't throw myself in harm's way. and i've gotten soft. i like having showers and a bed. running water, people who speak english pretty much everywhere... i'm used to this. it would be really hard for me to go back to being as flexible as i was. i was made of rubber back then.
anyways, i can't really blame the utter dullness of my life on anyone but me. i chose not to go to iraq.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

rabbits and ducks

i've yearned to be a homesteader for a long time. i read about it, plan for it, think about it... gardening and helping out at my friends' farm is all part of my urge to be a farmergirl. lately i've been fixated on the idea of raising rabbits for meat. i refuse to support the meat industry and so am mostly a vegetarian, and i'm not that thrilled with it. rabbits are incredibly cheap to feed, easy to kill and reproduce like rabbits. their meat is very healthy. so i've been researching getting a couple of mama rabbits and a daddy rabbit.
i've also been interested in ducks for eggs & meat. my city has laws against poultry, but none against fowl. they're supposed to be another of the easiest animals to breed & raise.
i was reading up on it today and came across a fun fact - rabbits and ducks can co-habitate! their diets and physical needs are fairly similar, they tend to get along... i'd need a big-ass pen for all my bunnies and duckies, but i could do that. they could live in the garage. or the basement. probably the garage.
so how do i convince my partner?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a milestone, i hope

15 feet away from me, on the other side of a wall, a little boy is going to sleep. by himself. without breastmilk. i hope.

a few times in his 2.75 years he's been tricked into falling asleep without nursing. for the past 3 nights i've managed it. so tonight as he was getting his pyjamas on we had a conversation about how boob is for babies and he's a boy and so he's too big. he's not sure about the whole thing, and wants his boob back, but overall he's taking it a lot better than he would have a month ago.

i think it's probably too much, asking him to both wean and put himself to sleep in the same night, but i don't seem to have an alternative. the baby is too wired to go to bed right now and i'm the only adult here. so i'll just keep going back for one more hug & kiss, then another snuggle, then a quick pep talk, then to refill his sippy cup...

see how little he is? he can't be almost 3 already, can he?

Friday, June 20, 2008

book review: the know it all

this book was found in the bargain bin at munro's books for 6.99$. sorry, mr. jacobs, you probably didn't make much money off me. but it was a fantastic holiday read. it's the travelogue of a man reading the encyclopedia britannica, cover to cover to cover to cover to cover... here are two excerpts.

Fux, Johann
I'm proud of myself. When I saw the name Johann Fux - an 18th century Austrian composer - I didn't giggle. Sure, there was a faint smile, but I'm getting better, I tell you. I didn't ask myself whether Johann Fux on the first date or whether Johann Fux while wearing proper protection. I didn't secretly think that "Fux You" would make a cook T-shirt.
The more i progress in the alphabet, the more successful I am at stifling that eleven-year-old boy inside me, the one that still thinks a good Beavis-and-Butthead-style scatological pun is a cause for great joy.
It's not easy. Just the number of asses alone will tempt even the most evolved mind. I've learned about The Golden Ass (a book by a Platonic philosopher) and The Wild Ass's Skin (a novel by Balzac). I've read about the half ass (a type of mule in Asia) and Buridan's ass (an animal in a philosophical parable). But it goes way beyond asses. Asses are just the start. You can also take a trip to the river Suck (in Ireland), where you could fish for crappies (a freshwater bass) while you drink some Brest milk (a town in Belarus known for its dairies). If you're bored, you could have a stroke-off (while playing bandy, a version of ice hockey) and fondle a bushtit (a small bird). If you're feeling smart, you might want to argue the impact of Isaac Butt (an Irish leader), or debate the merits of the Four Wangs (Chinese landscape painters), who might have been collected by the Fuggers (an art0loving family). Or else, just take a flying Fokker (a German airplane)

But we were born of risen apes, not fallen from angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams, however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses
-Robert Ardrey*
this book covers an incredible breadth. pop culture, ancient culture, collecting sperm samples, being a son and a father... Jacobs writes like a human being on a multitude of (alphabetical) topics. he informs, entertains and enriches his readers.
i wholeheartedly endorse it.

*this is actually me quoting jacobs' book quoting the encyclopedia quoting ardrey. but this is my favourite new quote. i'd write it on the walls in jiffy marker if i was still living in my old house, where we did stuff like that.
oh, and it's interesting to note that the book's index, which includes such listings as ''life, chaos of' and 'meaningful cross-referencing, see cross-referencing, meaningful' and 'mensa(ns): obesity of', there is no listing for quotes, forcing me to flip though the book looking for this one. it took longer to find the thing than to type it out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

coming to you from crofton, bc

i freaking love it here. i want to stay forever. i never want to leave. why can't i live here?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

i'm gone for a week to bc. i'll eat some fresh salmon for you.

and kara won. because she was the only one that entered. pathetic.

Monday, June 9, 2008

me so crafty

i've taken up knitting. i've made:
gloves with a mitten flap for my sister

a skull dishcloth for myself (with lots of holes and mistakes because i was learning how to knit in two colours)

and another skull dishcloth, this was my first-ever knitting project and it turned out ok, considering. nothing like my kickass mitts, though. obviously.

mismatched socks in ugly yarn. but they're mine and i made them so i wear them constantly.

that's it so far, but my skills are definitley developing. i've been turning a few ideas over in my mind, thinking of things i could sell on etsy. actually, i'm hoping to have all my ideas planned out and online by the end of july. i don't want to talk about it more specifically quite yet.

and what's this about only one entry in my contest? kara's going to win by default! enrich my online experience, people, and you could win a humiliating video!
the contest closes wednesday morning.

rainy day contest

it's raining. here's photographic evidence. my boys already love staring out the window, but the rain makes it even more mesmerizing. they've barely left the window all morning.
my cucumbers like the rain a little less. this is the second time in a week that they've been immersed. last time the planter was full to the very top with water by the time i bailed them out. i don't think they'll survive this again. i guess i'll just buy cukes when pickling time comes.
i have freaking water damage all over my freaking house because it freaking leaks every time it rains. my basement floods every time it rains. my windowsills drip. my walls get blisters full of water that the boys and i pop and then drywall-y water runs everywhere. it makes me want to sell the house and rent. but enough of my bitching.

i've noticed that other blogs have contests with prizes. stuff like gift cards. that ain't happening. but i do have a humiliating video of myself dancing, my boobs and belly flopping all over the place. i made it this morning in a fit of boredom. and i will award (read: email) it to whoever points me in the direction of a fantastic new blog that i haven't already seen.
leave the links in the comments section.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

two things: an evening in pictures

my baby's current hobby is looking out the window. if i look around and don't see him i just assume he's crawled off to the bedroom to look out the window.
that makes me sound like a bad parent.
if it helps any, i often join him. i usually spend at least a couple of hours a day looking at traffic, pedestrians, trees, etc. right now it's especially exciting because of these.
i freaking love lilacs. they smell so great and brighten up even the ugliest corners of this ugly ghetto. life is better when the lilacs are out.

i was peacefully reading blogs (boobs,injuries & dr. pepper) when the boy called me to come look out the window and see 'kee-kats fighting!!!'. dumpster fires and catfights brighten my days, so of course i came. this is what i saw.
those cats are not fighting.

as a matter of fact, they've done the deed at least seven times since i took that picture. right now they're doing it right in the middle of the street. maybe they've been listening to the beatles. if they have, they were misled. someone is watching them. and taking pictures.

hutterites do it better

this year the tomato seeds were started too late. and something is wrong with them. a bunch of them died, so i replaced them with seedlings from home depot. then the cutworm attacked and most of them died. i was feeling like an abject failure as a tomato gardener. so yesterday i went to the farmer's market to get my last seedlings before throwing in the towel. i met some wonderful hutterite* women who talked tomatoes with me and sold me some plants for practically nothing. hutterites are so cool. if it weren't for the sexism inherent in their culture and the religion, i'd join them in a heartbeat. alas.
my original seedlings look like this

one of the hutterite seedlings

* hutterites are halfway between the amish and the mennonites. they live communally and farm organically but use tractors and computers and whatnot

Thursday, June 5, 2008

update 2

two goat babies!
i'm still waiting to hear more details. i'll let you know.


today i woke up in a fog. it's raining, i'm tired, there are ten million things stressing me out, and the coffee sucked. so i snapped at my babes, grouched at my partner and generally tried to make everyone as miserable as i am.
i'm so not a rock star.

things to do when i'm cranky and don't like my kids: (a list for myself)
  • pull out the crayons
  • find toys they've forgotten about
  • let them empty the container cupboard
  • put on music and dance around with them until my mood improves and/ or they get worn out and fall asleep
  • read to them
  • claim to be going to the grocery store and leave town

ok, maybe not that last one. hitching in the rain sucks.


a new baby goat has been born at the farm. it is allegedly the cutest thing ever. and i missed it. bah.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

so much for that.

we loaded the car right up to the roof yesterday and headed out to the farm. it is 82 km away. that's 50 miles. we listened to and out come the wolves as we drove. that's one of my all time favourite albums.
we got there and put up the HUGE tent. here it is, with views from inside.just beyond that line of trees is the river. there were fly fishermen out enjoying the day. it was
seriously perfect. not too hot but definitley not cold, no bugs, a light breeze... it was heaven.

this is pippin. she's the ideal farmdog. friendly, well-trained, big... the boy was obsessed with her and spent as much time with her as possible.

these are twiggy, toots and tagalong. they are alpine goats.
twiggy has gender identification issues - she is technically a she, but doesn't get pregnant, has a beard, is more aggressive than a typical female goat, a bit taller...
toots is my favourite. she's more reticent than twiggy, but friendly and loves a good scratch behind the ears. she's pregnant and due in about two weeks.
tagalong is pregnant, too, due at the same time as toots. she's shy so i didn't really spend time with her.
i spent lots of time feeding the goats, scratching the goats, talking to the goats, showing my kids how to treat goats... the goats eventually got bored of me and started ignoring me. and it turns out that they don't really like rice bread. or peanut butter on rice cakes. they just aren't into gluten-free food, i guess.

the boy and pippin checking out the chicken tractor. according to wikipedia,

A chicken tractor is basically a movable chicken cage without a floor. It is usually of light construction so one person can drag it around the yard, it may have a couple of wheels at one end to make this job easier.

The chicken tractor has a number of advantages over fixed cages: The chickens always have fresh ground to scratch at and grass to eat. The cage never needs cleaning; when the enclosed area starts to look worn or patchy, the cage is simple dragged to a new location, the droppings left behind help to fertilize the soil.

i didn't get any pictures of the chickens themselves, but most of them looked just like this. there was one rooster, also black. his feathers had a beautiful sheen to them. the boy spent hours looking at the chickens, feeding the chickens, talking to the chickens, traumatizing the chickens... he seems to be as attracted to chickens as i am to goats.

that night it got cold. really cold. really, really cold. down to freezing. and believe me, we were freezing. we had stacks of blankets but i still lay awake for most of the night, shivering. breastfeeding when there is frost on the ground is really no fun. it was awful.

i was too tired and couldn't cope with the thought of another night like that, so in the morning i decided to come back to the city.

we spent the morning doing a little bit of weeding and lots of enjoying the sun and the animals. my dude mowed a section of the lawn with the ride-on mower. i spent a good amount of time sitting on the grass with tracy, the chick who lives there. her daughter is the same age as my baby, and the two of them adore one another. they are collectively the fattest, cutest, doolingest things on the farm.

so here i am, back home. i'm disappointed that i couldn't stay for the week, but it was not to be. i'll get back out there in a couple of weeks.