Sunday, October 26, 2008

brothers and their mother

the baby is going through a phase where anything vaguely humanoid is 'mama!'. the boy is going through a phase where he practices being literal and anal. so the baby walks around the house spotting all sorts of things and calling them mama and the boy follows him around, correcting him.
'no, that's mickey mouse.'
'no, baby, that's a veggietales!'
'NO, BABY!!! I TOLD YOU!!! that's the BROOM!!'

they have such different personalities, but they passionately love one another. with the sort of love that has room for violence and cruelty and indifference as well as hugging and sharing and playing with a dump truck in the kitchen together for a whole hour.

this week the boy went to see a pediatric gastro-endocrinologist. for the last couple of years i thought that my son had celiac disease. it turns out he doesn't. he has a mystery illness that includes dramatic responses to exposure to gluten, shitting blood and mucous and something that looked just like a placenta, a weak immune system, and very poor growth. and it seems to be getting worse. the doctor recommended a bunch of tests, since she has no idea. she specializes in this type of thing and has no idea whatsoever. that is simply not reassuring. i got to hold my boy down while he screamed and writhed as 6 vials of blood were drawn. partway through his vein collapsed. it was even less fun than what you're imagining. the next day i divvied up his morning poop into five sample containers. it was a fantastic 24 hours, i tell you.

i try not to think about the various things that could be wrong with my little boy.

*trying desperately to cheer up so this post doesn't cause depression and despondence across the blogosphere*

i've been knitting a ton. the holidays are coming and i have a huge list of things i want to make for people. i'm happy with what i've churned out so far, but i can't post pictures because *sob* my camera doesn't work. still. agh.

off to angst about sick children and dead cameras.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


blogging seems so empty and pointless without pictures.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

i'm a winner.

remember the contests i mentioned a couple of posts ago? well, let me tell you.

i won!!!!!!

i'm stoked. i never win things. except that time i won an ipod, but that was a total fluke, because i never win things. i came in last in a 3-legged race when i was 4 and got a little medal for it, and i still have it because i never win things. have i mentioned that i never win things? anyways, i get one of the wristlets from here. i'm going to leave it in the shipping package and get my partner to give it to me for christmas or solstice or whatever we decide to celebrate, in the end.

other news:

you, my most astute of readers, may have noticed that my posts have been sadly photo-less of late. my camera died. i need to call the company (damn you, olympus!) but i hate calling people and i hate confronting people and i'm pretty sure i won't get a new camera without both calling someone and being (politely) confrontational. so i've been putting it off for a couple of weeks and it sucks. i hate not having a camera. every day moments happen that i have to just sit and enjoy instead of running for the camera and missing. it sucks. i'm stuck watching the baby obsessively hug and kiss the boy. and i have to listen to the baby figure out new words instead of just recording them and watching later. and the boy's silly faces and clever, articulate observations? i have to actually enjoy them and respond to them instead of just putting a small recording device in his face. woe is me.

i'll call the camera company next week.

ps. i have no idea why the font is so big today. but i kind of like it, it'll make life easier for those readers who are optically challenged.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

book review: supreme courtship

i love a good christopher buckley book. and i liked this novel.

mr. buckley, in my mind, is the author of brilliant, cutting, hilarious books about american politics and commerce. little green men, florence of arabia and boomsday are witty, clever, and informative. the chuckles kept coming as the pages kept turning. i highly recommend all of them.

supreme courtship is about an honest but unpopular president who, to spite washington, elects a tv judge to the supreme court. things get a little convoluted, but eventually the president end up campaigning against his will and fighting for a presidency he doesn't want. a respected politician goes from being the chairman of the senate judiciary committee to being the president (on tv) to running for president to...
read the book.

it should all be there. the plot is fascinating, the characters good, the pace just right, the writing intelligent. but it's not as sharp or clever as buckley's previous work. i can't put my finger on exactly what's missing. i still think it's worth reading, but i'm not as evangelical about my recommendation as i would be if i reviewed his other work.

so go ahead, read it. supreme courtship won't hurt in the slightest and you'll probably really enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


i'm in love with
my partner has asked me to compile a holiday wishlist for him, so i've been perusing the merchandise over at etsy for a few days, and it's addictive. i lie down to sleep at night and suddenly think 'oh, i should see what ecoetsy has by way of yarn...' and before i know it i'm out of bed, turning on the computer, starting another obsessive session with the crack otherwise known as etsy.
most stuff on there is handmade. my favourite stuff is eco-friendly (just ender 'ecoetsy' when you're entering your search, it takes the work out of finding the good stuff) and canadian-made. tonight i discovered that the official transcanada etsy team (quelle mouthful!) is hosting giveaways, here and here and here and here. get on it, yo! handmade, canadian made, beautiful stuff!

off to etsy a bit more...

freaking ugh.

when i lived in mexico there was a donkey carcass by the highway. it was at least 35 degrees* every day for months and months. the carcass stayed there and rotted for months and months. the flies swarmed. the air was unbreathable. we would walk miles out of our way to avoid that section of highway. there are no words i can use that would adequately describe the way that dead donkey smelled.

but my compost smells worse.

it's a healthy, living compost. writhing with bugs and worms and maggots. the bottom is beautiful black gunk, worth its weight in gold to my garden. and i believe in composting, it's one of the best free things a person can do for the planet. but it stinks. not particularly when you open the top to put stuff in. it doesn't smell at all from a few feet away. but if you open the bottom to scoop out the composted material, watch out.

food scraps, newspaper, rabbit shit and garden scraps, swamped with rabbit piss every few days and left in a black container in the sun to stew. sound tasty?

and i plunged my hands in, up to the wrist. crouched over it. spent half an hour breathing it in, filling small buckets and carrying it to my garden. i had to come in partway through, it was too much. i seriously contemplated running across the street to the fire station to ask if i could borrow a rebreather.

ok, done whining. i'm headed back outside now.

*that's 95 degrees in americanspeak

Saturday, October 4, 2008

book review: in search of april raintree

in search of april raintree by beatrice mosionier is freaking intense. it's like the colour purple or i know why the caged bird sings in that it's the based-on-a-true-story account of a little girl becoming a woman through the most incredibly brutal circumstances. i actually prefer it, since it's more relevant to my culture. i've never experienced firsthand racism towards black people, but i have witnessed some of the scenes described in this book.

april raintree is the daughter of a couple of alcoholics and the older sister of cheryl raintree. they are a metis (part native) family living on the canadian prairies. the story is april's account of the girls' removal from their parents' home and placement in various foster homes. april fights valiantly to survive, rise above her miserable circumstances, and protect her sister. it's terrifyingly honest, showing the girls not as brave little survivors or victims, but as human beings who make bad choices and suffer the consequences, and are seriously messed up from all the evil that is done to them. the protagonists are complex and real. they aren't innocent by any means, and i, as a reader, didn't like them at certain points in their development, but it was a damned good book.

my culture is profoundly racist towards native and metis people, but after years of seeing it i had become desensitized to it. this book reopened my sense of outrage that people could treat other people so very badly. after crying my way through segments of the book i wanted to go kick the shit out of some white people.

as a white person i want to apologize with every fibre of my being for all the disgusting, horrific, insidious wrongs people of my skin tone have perpetrated upon pretty much every other people group on the planet. we suck. please forgive us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

book review: not buying it

every night this week after the babes have gone to sleep i've settled down on the couch with my knitting and not buying it: my year without shopping by judith levine.
i like it. it's honest, witty, cohesive, applicable - all the things i like in a book, and i tend to agree with her fairly constantly. judith and her partner, paul, go a year without shopping. they buy groceries, home repair stuff, etc, but the endeavour (with varying success) to not spend money as entertainment. they don't go to movies, don't eat out, and don't indulge in 'retail therapy'. judith is a politically active non-republican and the book is written about the year that bush was re-elected. she is passionate about ousting bush from his (usurped) role and deeply affected by his election. (not reelection)

she is excellent at articulating something that i have felt for a while about opting out of consumerism. it's green party fundraisers, vegan collective job applications (declined) and fitting in with the geez and adbusters crowd. (which i probably would, if i ever left the house) it's occasionally raising one's voice with rev. billy and the church of stop shopping on buy nothing day. (which she does) but 99% of the time it is boring and inconvenient and a real drag. it's walking in car-centric strip malls. it's arriving home starving and having to actually cook dinner, instead of pulling out a tv dinner or picking up some mcdonald's on the way home. it's scouring the earth for the least harmful way to clothe, feed, shelter and entertain oneself instead of turning on the tv and zoning out. it is tedious. but i'm not going to stop.

the nonconsumerism and politics combine to make it an informative, enjoyable read, one i can really relate to. i'm definitley borrowing her other books from the library.

but reading about not buying frivolities has had an unexplainable effect on me. each evening as i have enjoyed the book, the knitting, and the silence, i have had a nearly uncontrollable urge to order pizza. i can't get it out of my head. it's like that youtube video - clinging to my brain like a toddler with illicit candy - i can't pry it loose. i'm not hungry. i can't afford pizza. i don't even really like pizza that much. there is no good reason for this pizza fixation, but i desperately want a pizza guy to show up at my house with a fragrant box of grease. in an effort not to delve deeper into my psyche, i am going to just blame the book. all this talk of not buying has made me crave pointless consumerism. damn you, judith levine.

well, not really. actually, i think you kick ass. come for coffee sometime.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ethical clothing: a retrospective

about two years ago i was reading about the human rights and environmental issues presented by north american overconsumption. i was pissed off that something as basic as clothing myself caused people and the earth to suffer. my contribution to these wrongs seemed inevitable. but i got to thinking... is it? could i opt out of consumer culture?

i don't have much money, so i couldn't go spending hundreds of dollars on hemp clothes tenderly coddled into being by unionized former child prostitutes in the third world (although, if i had the money, i would definitley support such an endeavour) and the city i live in isn't known for its overabundance of counterculture, so i couldn't just go to a mall and have a variety of ethical clothing options handed to me.

in fact, when i started out, it was really hard. there was a fraction the number of online sources of ethical clothing that there are now. and everything cost more. niche markets are like that. but i searched (this was back when i used yahoo instead of google, so i can't say i googled) and checked the clearance sections of several sites weekly until i found the things i need with ethics i could live with at prices i could pay. i paid 11$ for my organic hemp, union-made hightops. i got underpants for 8$ a pop, organic cotton and union-made. i got socks, 2$ a pair, organic cotton, made in the states (hopefully not by undocumented workers). it's gradually become easier and easier to find these items. last month i spent 6$ on organic cotton, made in canada yoga pants at zellers. (that's the canadian equivalent of target)

ethical has become trendy, and that kicks ass. blogs have popped up all over the place with info on what not to buy, what's ok and what's fantabulous. it's become almost easy to skip the mall.

well, almost. i'm about to have a major issue, since my winter boots need replacing and i'm not aware of any affordable, ethical options. finding used sorels (or similar) is nearly impossible. also this past spring i ended up buying two perfectly unethical bras at 60$ a pop. it was insult to injury, paying so much for something that i was opposed to. but my boobs thank me. and i really don't know what i'll do about a winter coat in a year or two. i rushed out and bought a dressy shirt at old navy the night before my sister's wedding, since i was three weeks postpartum and didn't fit the dress i had originally intended to wear. so it's not perfect. but neither am i.

it's nice. i started out anxious about how i was going to make it work and looking enviously at all the cool things i couldn't have. i felt so sure that a new this or a pretty that would make my life sparklier and happier. but then i sort of just forgot that those things in the stores are available to me. now when i walk through the mall i see all sorts of things on racks, but they aren't for me. before i had kids i could walk past racks of kids clothes and register that they were there, but not give them a second glance. what would i need with kids clothes? now the whole clothing department is off limits to me, more or less.

so i'd like to welcome the rest of the world to the place i've been for the last couple of years. relax, stay a while! take in the incredible textures of organic cotton and the amazing prices of thrift store items! realize that what you already own is more than you will need for a long time.