Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Honestly, who throws a shoe...er...or two?

Well, for starters, this guy does:


Is it wrong that I'm having trouble caring? Is it even more wrong that I wish the man hadn't missed??

I guess I'm not exactly in favour of randomly throwing shoes at world leaders. But seriously, what if they really, really deserve it???

As much as it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to do so, I have to give Dubya props for handling this thing like a champ. Not only does he appear to have mastered the ol' "bob an' weave" (perhaps he's never been particularly well-liked?), but when the Secret Service appeared to want to usher Dubya away into a safe area, Ye Ol' President raised a hand and shook his head, in a sort of "I'm fine, don't be silly" way. He was also quoted as saying, "So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?" This tells me one of two things. Either, he was truly sympathetic that perhaps the citizens of Iraq had been put through enough at his hand, and maybe he deserved having a shoe or two catapulted at his head, or maybe he didn't want the last moments of his presidency to be marred the image of him being a big, weenie, 'fraidy-cat. Although, for some reason, my instinct tells me that it might just be the latter.

Apparently, from a cultural perspective, shoes, being the lowest thing to the ground, are considered dirty, and are the filthiest, most vile symbol of disgust that one could present. Whilst throwing said footwear, the journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, was also quoted as saying, "This is your farewell kiss, you dog!", and "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Hmm. Perhaps he was just saying what the rest of the world was thinking.

Thanks for nothin', Asshole. Don't let the door hit you in the ass. Or do. Either way.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Hoodwinked, Part Deux

So, as a follow up to this post:

http://twigsandroots.blogspot.com/2008/11/tis-season-to-be-hood-winked.html ,

I just have a visual statement:

Ugh. That's all I have to say.

By the way, this is outside the store that I work at. I get to look at it all. Day. Long. Gah.


Thursday, December 4, 2008


So, it seems that GG Madame Michaelle Jean has granted Harper's request to prorogue parliament until January 27th. I don't know much more than that at the moment, however.

I'm not sure that suspending parliament at a time of economic distress is such a good idea, but it certainly wasn't tenable as it was, so I suppose this is the only answer at the moment. Maybe by January, they'll all pull their heads out of their asses and calm down. Both sides have done one hell of a job spinning this thing, and frankly, I can't stand any of them right now.

I am really hoping that things turn out for the best, but this is really just stop-gap. The problem is still underlying, and no one is sure how to pull out this particular splinter, so for now, we're just band-aiding it and hoping for the best.

May cooler heads prevail. I guess we'll find out January 27th.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Fall of the Canadian Government


So, I was going to try and explain this whole mess, but I could not match the description given above. She did a phenomenal job.

Basically, my country's government is about to fall, one way or a-tuther as I see it. I really don't envy the position of Governor General Madame Michaelle Jean.

Let me just say this about that. I am torn. Completely. First, I don't think a minority government is an effective way to govern, since motions are either passed by threat, or not at all. So, either nothing gets done, or the ruling party has the ability to really screw everyone over. In short, I blame our lazy-ass non-voting populace for getting us into this mess. Even had it been a Conservative majority, at least we wouldn't be in this position.

I don't want our government disrupted in any way right now, because I know that the economy is in trouble...The TSX is plummeting, and I don't personally believe that GG Jean dropping the election writ, or handing the keys over to the Liberals is necessarily a good idea at the moment.

Here's the thing, this article makes a strong point. The vast majority of Canadians (as in 2/3's) did NOT vote for this Conservative government. However, the majority of Canadians also did not vote Liberal, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, or Green. I am a Green party supporter, being a staunch lefty, but even I am able to take a step back at this moment and see the problem here. I voted Green. I did not vote Liberal, NDP, etc. I am an educated voter, as well, and so there was a reason why I did not vote for those parties. They are simply not aligned with my values in the same fashion that are the Greens. Therefore, the Libs are not, in fact, representative of my values.

Another problem, as I see it, is the current Liberal leadership. I might be more open to this coalition if the Libs had already run their leadership race, and Stephane Dion had been replaced by Michael Ignatieff, which I suspect would have happened. My problem with Stephane Dion is not his moral fibre; rather, from everything I've heard, read, etc., he seems like not only a man of integrity, but a kind and genuine person. The problem, I believe, comes from the fact that he is very entrenched in Academia, having been a long-time University professor, and as far as I know, his actual experience as far as relating to the average person with a job and a family is minimal at best. I want him teaching me political science, not practicing it on Parliament Hill. I do wish him the very best, though.

I also am not in favour of corporate bailouts. I frankly have a bit of a problem with the fact that when times are hot, Capitalists tout the virtues of the free market, but when that free market falls (as any free market will--there WILL be boom and bust cycles, period), all of a sudden they have their hands out for money from the taxpayers. Sorry folks, but if you liked it so much when times were good, you should have been a good little squirrel and put away money for a rainy day, and maybe invested in updating your product (bio-diesel vehicles anyone?). I'm no economist, but it seems to me that whether you are running a household, a government, or a business, it should always be on the principle of saving when things are good to help you through the bad times.

Am I happy that people will lose their jobs if these companies bankrupt? No, of course not. This system is not set up, though, to support long-term industry, and anything based on a non-renewable resource is at risk. The question would only have been whether it would have tanked today or a couple of years down the road. From destruction comes rebirth, like the larch tree growing up out of the remnants of a forest fire. I would prefer to see my tax dollars going toward helping those people to pay their bills in the meantime and find a career in a more long-term industry than toward a bunch of CEO's that want $5M golden parachutes when they finally decide to stop billing the company hourly for their golf games.

This having been a fairly major issue to inspire the non-confidence vote to begin with, I have to say that I'm with the Conservatives on this particular issue. If this is a free market, then it is. If it is not, then with your bailout, you better expect us to regulate the hell out of your ass, including enforcing anti-trust laws, which have been long ignored by way of loopholes and subsequent precedents, deciding on the payscale of the executives, and regulating the implementation of employee benefits, ensuring that companies must provide adequate benefits, regular pay raises, and adequate family time, while also ensuring that a large percentage of profits are overturned into the re-investment into sustainable product and industrial practices.

Just my opinion. :S

Anyone who knows me knows how much I DON'T want to agree with the Conservatives. But I have to agree with them on this one. You can't spend your way out of a recession, and I really do believe that we have to tighten our belts, and worry about looking after PEOPLE with our limited resources, rather than corporations and (pardon the rhetoric) the fat cats that haven't had to work for their money for the last 3 decades.

While we're at it, how about making sure that there are some concessions made to shrink the government a bit, shedding some dead weight. I could think of at least 3 families and small businesses that could use that income more than an 85 year old wealthy Senator who hasn't shown up for work in twenty years.

P.S.- If you know his address, maybe you should swing by his place to check on him. Just a thought.

We'll know what's going on by Monday. If you're from here, I'm sure you're glued to CBC. If you're not, wish us luck. This could be a bumpy ride. :S

Oh, and if you didn't vote?

Go fuck yourself.

Friday, November 28, 2008

These are a Few of my Favorite Things...

You know that Christmas song that plays obnoxiously in every mall this time of year?

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes...

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes...

Yup, you know what I'm talking about. Well, first, for those of you who don't know, that wasn't some contemporary ballad written to sell electronic gaming systems. It is a classic song, from a "The Sound of Music", and in its day, was fantastic.

I guess I should probably update my blog profile, because another very important fact about me is that I'm a total theater geek. I did musical theater in my city for years, some amateur, some professional. I'm a singer first, though, and was raised by a musician who instilled in me a love for music. I learned the piano, guitar and learned to sing. My skills on the piano and guitar are questionable at best, but I still love to sing. I try to maintain a healthy amount of shame, however, and do not play the piano or guitar in public unless absolutely necessary.

Anyway, with that little part of my autobiography out of the way, on to the purpose of this post. I'm not Oprah, but in the spirit of yesterday's American Thanksgiving, I'm going to give a little shout out and a little appreciation for some of my favorite things. Alas, there are too many to list here, but these are a few that are on my mind these days.

1) Waking up before the alarm goes off. What an entirely different start to the day that is.

2) A fire in the fireplace. I love the warmth of the hearth and the feeling of contentedness that it brings.

3) The smell of fresh cinnamon rolls. Mmmmm....

4) The smell of any home-cooked meal cooking. My next endeavour will be a hearty beef stew...I think I might be hungry.

5) A really good Merlot.

6) Pubs with close friends, drinking rum and shooting the shit.

(OK, enough with the food and alcohol. I do other things besides eating and boozing, I swear!)

7) Kitty snuggles.

8) Clean sheet day! Woohoo! Clean sheet day! :D

9) A hot bath, with any possible luxury, including candles, bath pillows, epsom salts and aromatherapy.

And maybe some wine. OK, NOW I'm done with the booze.

10) Good conversations. :)

May we all learn to practice more of an attitude of gratitude!

Cheers! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For the Record:

Dinner was amazing. :)

Peace out.

In honor of my American friends.

So, American Thanksgiving is tomorrow, eh? :)

Well, winter is upon us. Or, erm, technically should be. Thank you Climate Change, no snow yet. That's right, folks. I live in Alberta, Canada, and we have yet to have a snowfall that will stick for more than a few hours. It's nearly December. Brown Christmas, anyone?

It's also been unseasonably warm, and my cat, in his infinite wisdom, has suddenly been struck with the idea that it must be spring. So, all day and night he scratches at the door to get out because the little dumbass is suffering from spring fever.

He's driving me crazy. Good thing he's neutered. I don't need him siring any more neurotic kitties.

He's not the only one who is getting messed up by this weather. My own body is confused. It's acting weird. Maybe I'm just coming down with something, who knows. But I just know that this is atypical of how I normally feel in winter. At the risk of getting rotting vegetables thrown at me (kindly direct your compost toward my bin, thanks...), I actually really like winter. When you grow a garden, you tend to get pretty in tune with the seasons, and summer means hard work. You are on your feet getting pricked and stung, you're dirty, your hands are down in the dirt, and your knees and back kill you from the lifting, kneeling, hauling and weeding.

It's a pretty good life, really. I'd enjoy it more if I didn't have to work outside my home. I'd love to devote my days to my little bit of earth. I love when I see food start to come up. It is so rewarding. Mark Twain once said: "Time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food." I couldn't agree more, Sir. Now, pay off my mortgage, and we'll talk.

In any case, summer is so different from the rest of the year. We even eat differently...Lighter foods become more the norm...lots of cooler foods. Chicken salads, a little barbeque with colorful, garden fresh veggies on the side...We work hard, we play hard, we eat great.

Then, as winter rolls around, things get darker. Days get shorter. I really believe that this is Nature's way of saying, "Summer is hard. It's time for rest now, because next summer is not going to be any easier!". We eat our harvest of squashes, carrots, parsnips and pumpkin. (Sadly, this season was too rainy, and my pumpkins ended up with "Powdery Mildew". It ruined the fruit. I was not happy, but I think I know how to prevent it next year.) We crave warmer foods, fattier foods, foods that sustain, foods that nourish.

I know I'm a nutritionist, but I personally believe that nutritional science has been one of the worst things to happen to our health. We have forgotten how to eat actual food, looking instead for packages that list calories, fat grams, protein and carbohydrates. We are more disconnected than we ever were. Which, I believe has been a primary cause of obesity and disease, frankly.

We no longer eat consciously. I suppose we think that as long as the packaging on something shows fewer calories, that we can eat it "on the go"...And I understand all the theories about eating all day long, or "grazing". I'm just not sure I agree with them. Food is our life force, and it needs to be respected. Spending our days unconciously shoving food into our mouths so that we can keep overworking is working against Nature's plan. If I am going to eat a meal, I'd like to prepare it. I'd like to sit down for it. Some good conversation or a glass of wine (or both) never hurts. I'd like my body and mind to relax so that I can properly digest my food, and get full benefit from it.

I had a wicked craving for seafood yesterday (and then felt nauseous all day and couldn't eat it anyway...hopefully today will be better...). I went to my local grocery store, and could not help myself. Now, see, I usually meal plan WAY in advance, so fresh fish is not normally an option because living on the prairies, there is no guarantee that there will be any available. When it is available, the quality is sometimes dubious, and sometimes downright offensive.

However, yesterday I went to the grocery store in search of some decent seafood, and there it was. Stuffed salmon. I know I could just as easily stuff my own, but...damnit, it looked good! Wild salmon stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. So, that's what we're having for dinner tonight.

I don't know how many calories it contains. I don't really care. I will eat until I'm satisfied, not stuffed. I will sit down at the meal with appreciation for where it came from, and I will give thanks for it. My vegetables came not from a grocery store but from my own freezer and cold room, and before that, my own backyard. (One of them came from the farmer's market, admittedly...) So, I say big thank you to Mother Earth for her bounty, and letting me in on her secrets. To see a tiny seed turn into a zucchini is nothing short of miraculous. It is truly beautiful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A little bit of Wicca slips in there sometimes...

So, I'm typically a bit of an eclectic...Spiritually speaking, I mean. I'm not Wiccan, and not generally pantheon-oriented, but there are a couple of Goddesses and Gods that I do hold near and dear. ;)

This time of year, I tend to connect with Hestia (Roman: Vesta). In Greek Mythos, Hestia was the Goddess and protector of the hearth. She was a homebody, and was happy to hang back on Mt. Olympus while the other original twelve (including Aphrodite) went off on wild and crazy adventures. Hestia took an oath that she would remain a virgin (along with Artemis and Athena), and that she would attain a future of her choosing, rather than the choosing of others.

I must say, I connect with Hestia for a number of reasons. Clearly the virgin thing isn't one of them. Ahem. The first is the fact that I, too, am an unapologetic homebody. Sounds strange for a Gemini, probably, but as I was discussing with a friend the other night, my moon sign is Pisces. Often the moon is a greater indicator of one's inner consciousness than their sun. Our Sun sign (mine being Gemini) is what we show people, and likely what Freud would refer to as "Ego", while the moon sign is our inner working, psychological and emotional motivations, etc., or, with relation to Freud's theories, the "Id". I'll show you my bubbly, friendly, funny, silly Gemini, but when I'm alone, I'm the quiet, reserved, overly sensitive, intuitive, dreamy and painfully disorganized Pisces.

I'm digressing. My point is that I seem to be tapping into a deeper part of my personality...and perhaps that's good. Maybe that makes me somewhat self-aware. Or maybe it makes me a big weirdo with a penchant for wingnut theories. Anyway.

Back to Hestia. I feel most confident when I am providing, feeding, warming, caring, and welcoming. Understandably, I am certain that I do not yet possess the warmth or wisdom necessary for one to carry this out, but this is much of what I enjoy doing. I love having people in my home. Caring for them. Feeding them. Making them feel welcome.

That said, I also love Hestia's calm, grounded, peaceful self-assuredness, which I KNOW that I do not yet possess, but will strive to do so. In my naivete, I am knee-jerk. I am unwise (in the best way possible, of course! ;) ), and I am insecure. Hestia was at peace with her lot...Hestia was ambitious enough to go after what she REALLY wanted, breaking the mold of what was technically expected of her, and chose a life that was unconventional. She was comfortable with that, and did not compare her life to that of others in order to be driven by shame or self-consciousness. She walked forward, only toward her own happiness, regardless of the myriad of expectations that would have been placed upon her. She listened inside, rather than out.

In my youthful(ish) abandon, I strive for her warm, nurturing groundedness.

The other Goddess that I will admit to having something of an affinity for is Artemis (Roman: Diana). Artemis was also one of the three Virgins (seriously, what is that about?!), but she was the Goddess of the hunt, protector of animals, and protector of women, particularly women in childbirth. Anyone who knows anything about my previous career endeavours may find that a little uncanny.

Artemis was scrappy. She was maternal, in spite of never having born children herself. She also, however, had little patience for nonsense, as she took the heinousness of cruelty very seriously, and had little sympathy for the perpetrators.

I love that she fought. She was Hestia's antithesis in a way. Hestia was peaceful and non-confrontational, for the most part, and Artemis was a "take no prisoners" kind of gal. She fought for those who could not fight for themselves. I dig it.

They both intrigue me, for different reasons. Perhaps my admiration for them, like my astrological signifiers, denotes two different but equally important parts of my personality.

Or maybe I'm just a big weirdo with a penchant for wingnut theories. Who knows? :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Hood-winked...

I just need to get this off my chest. Why, you ask? Because I'm working in a mall. And every day I consider clawing my own eyes out. And this is my blog, so if you don't like what I'm saying, you just don't have to read it. I don't mean that in a passive-aggressive way, either. If it ain't your cup o' tea, feel free to keep on truckin'.

Sometimes I think I might just be sensitive, or tuned in. Or tuned out. Or fucking crazy. I'm not sure. But this reality that we seem to be living in as a society is not one that I am readily buying into. Maybe that's frustrating to some. But I have always felt like an outsider, and I suppose it stands to reason, that as an outsider, the customs of the insiders must seem a bit odd.

Maybe I'll never understand how it is that debt creates wealth. And I'll never understand how a new car or bigger house will make me more whole or happy. Maybe I'll never buy into eating junk food to make me happy and taking diet pills to make me skinny. I feel so foreign as I watch drug commercials touting the latest, greatest Trojan horse, and contemplating how we have been kept sleeping amidst this great robbery of our spirits as we participate in the 'work, spend, consume...work, spend, consume' treadmill. The worker bees are kept quiet for want of one more day's profits.

I feel disgust when I am listening to Christmas musak in November, played in a dark mall with no clocks, like a casino, so that the patrons lose sense of time and spend their life savings on the latest crap imported from China. I feel sad when I watch a child, who couldn't be more than six or seven, struggle to walk because obesity has taken his balance and grace from him so young. Then to watch that same child down a can of Dr. Pepper and a big tube of sugar (literally), while standing outside my shoppe...All I can think is, when will someone love you enough to help you stop???

I look around and see signs, and Christmas decorations, all advertising a "low, low price" and making promises of happiness, health and fulfillment. They make such promises to us to remind us that we have not achieved these things. "Here," they say, "let me give you what you are obviously missing."

Our inadequacy complex serves them well. We are reminded that we are less than. Less than the celebrities on TV. Less than our neighbours, friends and certainly less than those peddling their mass-produced wares.

All I want is a house that is paid off. A home that no one can take from me. It doesn't have to be pretty (God knows it isn't), and it doesn't have to be big (we are reminded of the smallness every time we have to turn sideways in our living room to sit down). I want a garden, so that I can eat, no matter what, and a way to provide the basics...heat, water, electricity. My furniture doesn't have to be brand new...I would be afraid to be my regular clumsy self, the self who spills stuff, and who loves her cats more than her vanity.

Do I occasionally get woo'd by consumerism? Well, yes, but I really believe that I am able to draw a particular line...I watch women run around frantically looking for "Acai Berry" because Oprah says it will make them lose weight. All I can think is, how have we lost such faith in ourselves that we don't believe our rational thoughts are as valuable as Oprah's fleeting ones, particularly when hers are so heavily beholden to corporate sponsors and shareholders?

Who knew being an outsider could be so freeing?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friends are the Family you Choose...

Well, I think I've processed it all. I supposed now it's time to "write it down", as it were. Because, well, that's the kind of shit I do.

I took a trip this past week to visit some friends. It was absolutely incredible.

There's a saying that "friends are the family you choose". I would have to agree with that. There are things that these people know about me that few, if any do, and they are the ONLY ones who know it all simultaneously. They were absolutely incredible hosts, which seems like the understatement of the year, but I mean that.

The thing is, I really believe that one of my life lessons has been, and will be understanding the inherent meaninglessness of genetic connections. I don't mean that to sound crass, or to undermine relationships that DO happen to have a genetic component. However, the fact that I am waiting every day for my chance to meet my own children, who will not happen to be genetically linked to myself or my husband, and the fact that I can have such a deep, wonderful, and important friendship with these people. With whom, I might add, live in another country, and grew up in such different (and yet, such similar) ways as I did.

It was amazing to be with people who "got" me. To whom I didn't seem too nutty (well, maybe just a little...), and with whom I could laugh or cry at anything without judgement. It was wonderful to feel so cared for.

For this next bit, you'll have to imagine my best television commercial voice. Sorry 'bout that.

So, this is my way of letting my valued friends know that they have now been upgraded to family! Congratulations! So, with all of that having been said, let's go through the new features that come free with your V.I.P. status, shall we?

* No gimmicks, gadgets, headgames or general B.S. Come as you are. There are no pretenses here.

* 24 hour emotional support, available any time of day or night via phone or email. Toll-free calling available with a simple ring signal.

* Unconditional love and support, even when it's not apparent or visible.

* Free laughs. On the house. All the time. (For best results, try drinking a glass of wine or two first.)

* And finally, our home is your home. We promise that whenever possible, if ever needed or wanted, you will be presented with a warm bed, hot tea (or cold beer!), a home-cooked meal, and a really big hug. No questions asked.

Below is a music video that I believe sums up my connection with these people. It won't make a lot of sense at first, but stay the course, and toward the end of the video, you'll understand. ;)


I love you both, my Kindred Spirits.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where have our Communities Gone?

Ah, so Samhain has come and gone, and we are still experiencing incredibly beautiful weather. Today was 12 degrees (celcius)...Ridiculous for November 1. Halloween night was just as beautiful.

Last night, we handed out candy to some pretty cute kids. And some pretty large teenagers, who I usually feel compelled to humiliate before they get anything. :) I heard more than one rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Whatever, kid. If you're taller than I am, you're going to have to earn it. ;)

Our wonderful neighbours came over with their 6 month old daughter, Kaiya...She's beautiful, and she was dressed as a poodle. It was absolutely precious. They are great people. They really look after us. When my husband and I were gone on our honeymoon, our old whirlybird got blown off our roof by the wind, and Barry grabbed it, climbed up onto our roof, put it back, and left us an apology note for going on our roof?! Such a sweetheart. It's great living next door to people like that. Even though they did make fun of my "health food candy", which, for the record, was still delicious, but it was sweetened with cane sugar and brown rice syrup. Don't laugh, I'm a nutritionist, for crying out loud! :)

One thing that was evident this Halloween, though, was how many people are no longer taking their children trick-or-treating in the traditional way. Apparently though, the malls were packed with kids.

I understand the inherent risks that seem to becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Sexual predators seem to be rearing their ugly heads more and more often, and with increasing populations, globally, there just seem to be more and more crazies running around. I understand, too, the increasing need to be vigilant with our children, since it is, after all, our responsibility as parents to protect them. I would like to think that I would protect someone else's child just as I would protect my own.

It seems to me, though, that by isolating ourselves from one another, we continue to run increased risks of not knowing who we're dealing with. In spite of our fantastic neighbours, we really don't know many other people on our block. Besides Barry, Dana and Kaiya, We know our neighbours on the other side, and they are fairly nice people, although they keep to themselves, and there is a Vietnamese family down the street, who seem pretty nice, with two young daughters and a little Bichon puppy...All I know is that the woman's name is Kam...but I really couldn't tell you much more. Perhaps the creation of community is a way of us keeping each other accountable, and ensuring that we have a sense of who we can trust. I do believe we were blessed with instinct for a reason.

In addition to what I think is just general ickiness of people spending any holiday inside a mall, I really believe that we are robbing ourselves of an inter-connectedness and interdependence that is really necessary for a thriving society. We need each other, like it or not. No one can do this alone, and by knowing your neighbours, or at least knowing enough about them to know whether or not they can be trusted, we empower ourselves to protect our homes and families.

We must not let fear rule us. Isolation breeds fear, which breeds isolation, which breeds fear, which breeds isolation....you see where I'm going with this?

I am beginning to make a conscious effort to involve myself with my neighbours. I am volunteering for my community league. My husband and I will be volunteering to do community watch in the New Year as well. It is well-documented that communities with more citizen participation tend to be safer, and have decreased incidence of crime. Perhaps it is time to begin to heal and rebuild our broken communities.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unappreciated Beauty

Today, my mother and myself drove to a small town about 150km away in order to pick up the beef that we ordered from my cousin, who happens to raise grass-fed, organic beef, and fairly close to home. I consider myself fortunate.

Now, before I go on, I will say, yes. I eat meat. I get that question a lot, actually. Apparently, if I am a natural health practitioner, there is some sort of prerequisite that I must be a vegetarian. That is not the case. Honestly, my health and personality go south when I don't eat meat, and while I do believe that many people can subsist on a vegetarian diet, I am not one of them. I don't believe a person has to be meat-free in order to be living ethically anyhow. With the availability of local farmers raising grass-fed, humanely raised meat, I think there is hope for those of us out there who simply can't thrive on an exclusively plant-based diet. On a spiritual note, I am usually conscious to thank the spirit of the animal that sacrificed it's life for my food. Yes, life is a circle, but I still thank it for its place in that circle. More on that another time, though.

So, my Mother and I were driving to go and pick up the beef, and I began to pepper her with questions...so many questions. Information about her childhood, her and my Dad's early courtship, their early years of marriage, anything she knew about my Dad's childhood, and pretty much any other interesting facts that I happened to be curious about. In our conversational travels, we meandered around the topic of the farmland that my Dad's family had owned in southeastern Alberta years ago.

I loved that land. I spent a lot of my childhood out there. We had a horse named 'Fancy' (don't blame me, I didn't name her), and there were dogs, cows, chickens, pigs, and sometimes turkeys (maybe the dumbest creatures EVER...). There were two farmhouses on the land, the very small 2 bedroom house that my grandparents lived in and the larger 3 bedroom farmhouse that my Uncle, Aunt Sue and two cousins lived in. I was born many years after my older siblings, and in their youth, my uncle actually was married to a different woman (Barbara) and had three other children, all of whom were grown when I came along. Really, it's not as complicated as it seems. Sue was his second wife, and he had two boys with her.

When my dad was growing up, my grandparents lived in the larger farmhouse (with 5 kids! Probably not large enough!), and later built the small house for my uncle and his new bride Barbara to live in.

Well, my grandparents have both passed on now, as has my uncle. My dad is the only brother left in his family. My grandmother passed away when I was six, and for years after, my uncle and grandfather continued to farm the land until the nineties when Big Oil wanted theirs.

There was oil on that land, and an oil company came in to make my grandfather an offer. By this point, my grandfather's health was fading (he was 85), and he was thinking of selling, but he never wanted to sell to THEM. He knew what that meant for the land. The land he had put so much into. It meant it would be destroyed. The derricks would go in, and not only would it be the end of the land, but it would likely never recover. You see, when oil is drilled, the land loses all of it's water and minerals at the same time. The land becomes virtual desert. Trees are the only hope of keeping any topsoil or moisture, but the soil is so depleted that even hardy, indigenous trees can't survive.

My grandfather gave a firm 'no', which is when the oil companies began to play hardball. They brought in arbitrators, made threats, harassed, superceded and stonewalled any other offers, and there was even some questionable property damage that occured during that time, leading my grandfather to believe he was being bullied.

Grandpa began to lose steam, and my uncle wasn't of much help, mainly because the land wasn't in his name, making him rather powerless in the face of these companies. In the end, my grandfather sold, moved into a senior citizen's lodge in Castor, Alberta, while my uncle moved his family to a small farm outside of Brooks.

My grandfather died four years later, still regretting the sale, and finding it too painful to look at pictures of the homestead he had built and raised 5 children on with his wife.

My uncle passed away in 2004 (his funeral was on my birthday) after complications with his lungs. My uncle, an avid smoker, had developed emphysema, and when he was out in the field one day, he collapsed, and by the time the ambulance arrived, he was gone. His sons were 18 and 16.

We drove past the turnoff to the farm on the way to Forestburg, and my mother and I had a little moment of silence. So many memories on that land, that now is nothing but turned up gravel and sand.

We drove through southeastern Alberta, which ultimately, as a result of extensive oil-drilling, has become Canadian desert. According to my mother, many farmers in the area are going under because their crops simply cannot survive the hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. My cousins, now grown, are farming free-range beef, and are fortunate to have wonderful friends, family and neighbours who buy from them, partly because they are reasonably priced and do a great job, and partly as a little memorial to their father and their grandfather who taught them everything they know.

As we drove through that Canadian desert, dirt kicking up behind us in the middle of October, I realized something.

There is beauty even here.

Thank you for the memories, Ivan, Sue, Grandma and Grandpa. I love you.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I haven't been writing, I know...I bet you thought I forgot? Well, I never forget, but sometimes I find that I go through times when I really can't write another word. I'm not one who writes prolifically...I'm much more of a sporadic writer.

Anyhow, I was finally inspired to write something when sitting in a massive traffic jam on my way to my job today. I had a sort of "stream-of-conciousness" thought that lasted a while. I thought it best to get it down on "paper".

Balance is a funny thing. Like anything, what goes up must come down, and if there is something taken too far in one direction, it will soon begin to creep in the OPPOSITE direction.

I know it sounds like I'm speaking Kling-On right now, but allow me to provide some examples.

In my chosen profession, I am a health practitioner. I work with people to restore balance to their minds and bodies by way of diet (a word that I hate, but am forced to use at the moment for lack of a better one...), and sometimes supplements and lifestyle adjustments.

Much of what I do, I do using the concept of "constitutional typing". That is, I take into consideration all of the things that make them an individual. Blood type, Dosha (Ayurveda), Traditional Chinese Medicine, Body/Metabolic type and lifestyle are all things that are carefully considered for each individual I work with.

The principles of most of these systems work on the premise that the body is "Type X", for example. With this type, they possess inherant characteristics that ultimately are played out day by day, either through symptoms if over-aggravated, or through markers of good health when in balance.

Still follow? Cool.

For example, say "Type X" is aggravated by more of the same characteristics...let's say some of "Type X"'s characteristics include dryness (of the skin, hair, etc.), and coldness (low body temperature, low blood pressure), and we put "Type X" outside on a cold, windy day. Theoretically, this would aggravate "Type X"'s already cold and dry tendencies, making their symptoms more apparent. But perhaps, by putting them in front of a warm fire, with a warming glass of red wine or a cup of hot tea, their symptoms would be diminished.

Balance. I realize the simplicity of that comment, but it's merely to make a point. That too much of anything is unhealthy, and maybe everything, good or bad, should be counterbalanced to form a healthy situation.

Let's also take Feminism as an example. Feminism, at it's root, started for exactly the right reasons. Women were at a social disadvantage, and the disparity was evident in everything from the workplace to personal relationships to child-rearing. Domestic abuse was rampant, more often than not, unreported, and women were, generally speaking, not permitted to make unorthodox decisions regarding their own lives, such as the pursuit of a career, travel, or the choice to not get married and/or reproduce.

Things are different now. I won't say they're perfect. We still have a long way to go. I can see that some disparity still exists. It is my belief, however, that we, as in WOMEN, are aggravating and exacerbating the situation by becoming overly-vigilant with one another, and removing the element of choice from our "sisters".

I have another example. Surprised?

When I was 21, I began treatment for a long-term health issue. I insisted at the time that I wanted a female Ob-Gyn, believing with naivete and absolute abandon that surely she would be more compassionate than her male counterparts, and perhaps would be more understanding of my situation.

My first appointment began by her reviewing bloodwork requisitioned by my referring GP. She was dismissive, and appearing utterly bored, sarcastically chuckled and told me that I would never have children.

My first reaction was to cry. Listen, don't judge me, I was 21, and had received some pretty devastating news pretty early in adulthood. When I began to cry, she began to write me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I explained that I was just sad, and didn't need the pills. She scoffed, and began to explain to me that women don't need children to be fulfilled. She then embarked on a 15 minute diatribe about how women are "programmed", and how our personalities and thought patterns are just taught to us by the "patriarchy".

Not only was this NOT what I needed to hear at this moment, it was categorically untrue. I was not raised in a patriarchal household. My mother was very much in charge, and would have been absolutely supportive had I decided of my own volition that I didn't want children. I always knew that getting married and having a family were CHOICES, and that I would have a safe place to land, regardless of which direction my path took me.

Dr. T attempted to TAKE AWAY my choices. What she did, was, in my opinion, completely ANTI-feminist. To attempt to shame me for wanting something that she didn't want is no different from the times when families would shame women INTO having children. The end is different, the means the same.

We must watch how the pendulum swings, and follow our integrity, not the momentum.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Path to Freedom...

So, of late, I've become captivated by the possibility of living off my little bit of earth. The notion of being unaffected by the "global economy", "rising food and fuel prices" and even the crowds and lineups at the grocery store have me intrigued.

My dear friend (www.diaryoaf.blogspot.com (Diary of a Filmmaker) ), and her hubby make videos. They are very talented people, as a matter of fact. They made a video discussing sustainability, and that, coupled with my recent fascination with the "Urban Homestead" has my thoughts almost wholly occupied.

My husband was not on board at first, until he realized that there was no downside for him. So, we live much cheaper, and he doesn't have to do any of it...Uh, OK. I contemplated getting chickens as well, but we back onto a school yard and have neighbours on both sides...Yeah, anyone who grew up on or around a farm knows the smell of chickens. They are...well...pungent. Anyhow, I wanted to have my own eggs, but perhaps I'll just have to wait until my neighbours are a little more enlightened. Or, we get hit with a food crisis of unprecedented proportions. Then, who'll be laughing, hmmm?

In any case, there is a family in Southern California, Pasadena, I believe, and they have what they call an "Urban Homestead". It's fantastic, They grow the better part of their food. My plan is to grow even more of what we eat, freeze more and start canning. I want to see if I can eliminate fruits and vegetables from my budget altogether, save for a few tasty treats from the farmer's markets now and then. I plan to get some fruit trees, as well. I look forward to having a functional yard.

Anyway, this family lives completely sustainably, composting, collecting rainwater...They are vegetarian as well, which I couldn't do personally (I pretty much wither away), but still, fantastic. I would love to pull this off.


Anyhow, these people are pretty awesome. They're also all over YouTube, under "Urban Homestead" or "Path to Freedom".

So amazing.

Go homegrown, Baby.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ear Wax...I know, gross.

So, apparently, there is now a council dedicated to just that:


Let me just say, is there ANYTHING about our bodies that we are allowed to be in charge of?

At all?

It would seem to me that the removal (or not) of earwax is not the kind of thing to launch a full-scale campaign over, regardless of where you stand on this "very important issue".

Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am Anann. Well, not exactly, but that is my pseudonym, and considering that most of you will only ever know me as Anann, I suppose this is all rather inconsequential.

In any case, this is simply meant to be a little diary. Any opinions expressed here are not necessarily the truth, but they are MY truth, at least at the time. Anyone can comment, but please have the cahones to leave a name, and the respect to speak like a grown-up. Or I will simply delete the comment. :) Not because you disagree with me, but because it is simply bad manners to walk into another's house, and use foul language and verbal abuse.

Now that that is out of the way.

My reason for this blog is simple. It is difficult for one to define one's beliefs without anyone to discuss them with. I have a few precious friends with whom I can discuss them, but I'm pretty sure they only want to listen to me rant for so long. ;) Plus, they have jobs. And lives. So, here we are. :)

I am a Pagan, as I said. I am an Herbalist and Holistic Nutritionist by trade. I use herbs and whole foods daily, both as sustenance, medicine, and spiritual offerings. I advocate for a sustainable lifestyle in all aspects. Environmentally, financially, physically and emotionally. I am not Wiccan, myself, but guide myself by way of many Wiccan principles. I seek to know the Creator through many cultural references: Hindu gods and goddesses and Aboriginal spirituality both play an important role in my own spiritual journey. I have been lucky enough to work with Ayurvedic and Shamanic forms of medicine often in my practice, and have been fortunate enough to see the spiritual elements of those medicines play a large role in their efficacy.

I work, as I said, every day toward sustainability. We're not there yet, but our goal is to be living off the grid by 2015...as in, completely off the grid. I know that sounds like a long time, but it's really only 7 years, which, in reality is not a long while to change your entire lifestyle.

I guess we wouldn't be changing everything. We already live in a house with a large yard, and grow much of our own food. Zucchini just tastes better when you've just washed the dirt off of it. :P I strive to be energy independent, and to be without anything gas-powered (cars, lawnmowers, bbqs, etc.), in the next couple of years.

On this blog you will find many links to resources, many educational tips, but mostly my great big, fat, unsolicited opinion on everything from health to politics.

Sorry about that. :)