Jul 31 2010

Apathy – Who Cares?

I don’t think there have been many times in my life when I have been so disappointed in the human condition. I mean, come on people! There is a whole, big world out there and ┬ámost of you can’t even be bothered to learn about the one just outside your door!

I searched around the net for an image to accompany my “apathy” post and found so many. Which is kind of ironic because you wouldn’t think that apathetic people would do much posting of anything.

Remember the post a while back about Pecha Kucha? How inspiring it was to sit in a room of people who actually understand the principles of smart growth and the potential of our generation (and the one after us) to be infinitely more clever about the way we accommodate population growth??? Remember that?

Well, that warm fuzzy feeling was summarily shut down upon re-entering the insulated world of the town I live in.

Sure, I’d go so far as to say most of the people who do live here are totally for smart growth, the accommodation of a growing population, local food production and some of the most innovative green initiatives that have ever been proposed, willingly, by a developer.

The issue is that most of them think that it will happen without their input or support.

Worse than that, some people have so little regard for their community that they will allow others to feed them un-substantiated nonsense and accept it as gospel because that is far easier than learning something for themselves.

This is what your apathy sounds like:

“Oh, it’s going through. Of course it will happen. It’s a great plan, why wouldn’t everyone jump on board?”

“Me? I don’t have time to write a letter or fill in a survey or answer questions on the phone. I have a life you know.”

Crazy hey?

The people that do make the time to answer questions and surveys etc are the ones who are passionate one way or the other.

So, one one side we have the passionately for. On the other we have the passionately against. Both sides feel that they are right in their convictions. They are engaged and, sometimes, educated and, presumably, believe that what they are doing is in the public good.

(let me qualify that last bit by saying that sometimes people lie to make their point and while I find that morally reprehensible, I do think that their philosophy of the end justifying the means is sometimes better than sitting back and letting everyone else do the work)

In the middle we have the great, unwashed masses of apathetic individuals who believe what they read and allow others to do their thinking for them.

Shame on all of you.

You claim to want a future for your kids but you’re not willing to stand up for them.

You claim you want to see things done a better way but you make no effort to help move toward that goal.

“Eating locally is hard.”

“I have to drive my kid to school, it’s 3 blocks away and it’s raining.”

“I can’t take public transit because I have to wait an additional 15 minutes.”

“I leave the TV on all day so the dog doesn’t get lonely.”

“Who has time to hang clothes on the line?”

“The dishwasher works better with fewer dishes in it.”

These are all things we tell ourselves to justify our waste and our apathy.

In the years to come when you look out over what could have been a local, organic food-producing farm and see the blinding lights of greenhouses, don’t say I didn’t warn you that your apathy was to blame.

Jul 15 2010

Back to Basics – I mean REALLY back, way back, far back!

You wouldn’t believe what we all take for granted these days.

I guess it all began with our parents. They grew up in a world where everyone knew that potatoes grew in the ground and peanuts grew on trees.

Their moms made bread and ice cream and sometimes soap. We like to say things were “simpler” then but really that’s not true.

Beating your sheets against a rock in the river was far less appealing than stuffing it into a machine that did all that for you. And even the dryer has become such a staple that my own kids don’t even know that you can actually hang up clothes to dry!

In some places clothes lines are illegal now because they are unsightly. Oh man, if my grandmother knew that she’d lose it!

Nowadays (I sound older there than I am btw) we rely on the conveniences for everything. My ex-husband thinks the 100 mile diet means that if the grocery store is within 100 miles that counts!

Now that I have successfully managed to work from home I have started to look around me to see just what we can either live without or make ourselves.

We make bread, lots of bread. I love doing it because it saves a bundle and I know exactly what is in the bread we make (still working on that recipe page for you ;)

We make ice cream. Mostly because a small tub of the stuff now retails for $8.99 which I completely resent! If there were flecks of gold or if it could make you thin I’d consider that sort of financial outlay for ice cream but so far I haven’t found any that does that.

This week I was marveling at the massive amount of lavender that is growing and blooming in my garden. I love the smell of lavender. I’d like to harness that smell and keep it all year long. Then it occurred to me that people have been doing just that for years. Actually, hundreds of years.

Since I feel it’s my job to impress upon my kids that we can do just about anything (with help from the ultimate convenience, the internet) I decided we’d make lavender oil this week.

Just a quick note here, you can actually burn lavender while making oil in a crock pot (a recipe that seemed infinitely easier than building an essential oil still from milk jugs and copper tubing)

Anyway, attempt #1 illicit a slightly burnt lavender oil. I’m planning on filling the pot with another round of flowers to see if I can strengthen the mixture.

If it all tanks, I have an alternative. We’ll dry a ton of the stuff and put it in eye pillows for when I make them do yoga with me! hee hee.

I feel a bit bad for the kids. They have no idea that they are about to enlisted to scour the neighbourhood for edibles like pears and apples and figs in the next few days.

Jul 10 2010

Biggest Bread EVER!

In our on-going attempt to eat healthy we now make bread, lots of bread.

Think bread-maker on crack.

When we bake bread we make 4 loaves at a time. This activity saves tons of mess and cleanup because when you use a bread-maker you can only do 1 loaf at a time and have to clean up the whole shebang after each effort.

See? Smart huh?

I don’t know how much you know about bread but it’s really not an exact science. Bread is not hard to make, it just flies in the face of everything you’ve been taught about following recipes.

When we first came up with this brilliant plan (motivated as much by $5 loaves of “organic” bread as it was by the whole eating healthy, 100 mile diet thing) we discovered that there are many, many, many ways to make bread without a bread maker. And as many ways as there are (that’s a questionably constructed sentence isn’t it? ;) there are people on the internet with an instructional video.

We followed several of those peeps but they were rarely making whole wheat bread and guess what? There’s a big difference between the whole wheat and the bleached to shit, no nutrients left in it, nasty white nonesense that most people seem to be using. To which I would kindly suggest that they just buy Wonder Bread. It’s just as crappy for you as that white junk you’re making but at least they add a few minerals to their formula.

But, I digress.

Ironically, the very best bread recipe for whole wheat bread came from the side of the bloody whole wheat flour bag. Go figure.

So, after several hit and misses from internet bread-making self-styled gurus, that the kids were required to choked down, we have now hit on a winner!

I’d re-print the recipe for you here but I used up all the whole wheat flour and threw out the bag. You’re now going to have to wait for the new “home-grown recipe” section of my blog or go out and get a bag of whole wheat flour :)

The image above is Shaye kissing the biggest loaf we’ve made so far. Now we know how commercial bread gets it’s shape! You just put in wayyyy too much bread batter so that when it bakes it goes over the edges of the pan. Who knew?

Jul 1 2010

What the Fuck Karma! Enough Already!!!

Three days! Three, 3, three!!!! fucking days!

It took 3 days to trash my new scooter :(

I really want to blame someone else but have only myself to hold accountable.

I, like most people, have respect for my stuff. I never, knowingly, put my stuff in harms way. While I will stop short of akinning my stuff to my children, I generally take pretty good care of the limited amount of stuff that I have.

I will admit that I have been showing off my scooter this week. I was excited. I had a new toy. I was also excited that my new toy was cool and pretty and perfect. It was definitely show-off-able material. (I like shiny things, what can I say)

There is a reason there are no testosterone-fueled men in my life. The reason is that they have a tendency to look at stuff in a different way.

Take the new scooter for example. I think of it as a cool, jazzy way to scoot around town, doing errands etc. It also provides an entirely new fashion opportunity for me – see me in the goggles a few posts ago.

Enter a man. A man sees my new, shiny, perfect scooter as something to macho-ize (I made up that word. It’s my word and if you want to use it you’ll owe me royalties ;)

This is how the conversation went.

Man: I wonder if you can do a burnout. (rubs his chin in deep thoughtful contemplation)

Me: What’s a burnout.

Man: You just hold the brake and spin the back tire so it kicks up dirt.

Me: Why?

Man: Cuz it’s cool.

Me: OK

Man: Not near my car!

Me: Ok (turn bike slightly around so that the back tire won’t kick dirt on the car)

Here’s where I hold the brake and rev the bike. Nothing happens. I, eventually, notice that I am holding the back brake so the back tire does not move. It’s determined by “man” and I that to do said “burnout” someone else must hold the back brake as it is on the same grip at the revvy bit.


Me: (gripping both brakes hard as it goes into the VW Torag parked 6 feet away) Expletive, expletive, expletive!

Kid belonging to man: That’s a bad word.

Me: Go away.

Man: I told you not to have it close to the car.

I hate everyone :(