Monthly Archives: August 2011

Meat School

Alright, so I have not dropped the ball on the meat project – in fact I have been busy learning as much as I can about local meat that I just haven’t felt that I’ve had enough time to dedicate to a sufficient post. But alas, I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I have receieved and started reading (not done yet) Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I am learning all sorts about the beginnings of the industrial food industry.

In addition, I have done some ground research about local farmers that “pasture raise” their animals. I found a handy dandy website for Eat Wild which lists farms that ethically raise their animals and lists where they are located etc.

Also, I accidentally stumbled on a few local farmers at the White Rock Farmers Market (go figure) that are in the same biz. Unfortunately I was still not eating and getting over the plague while I was there this weekend so I didn’t buy anything, but now I know where to find some of them. For now, I am going strong and have avoided random meat consumption (since I’ve only really been eating for a couple of days now since this all began) but I feel armed with enough to go on to take a good crack at my ethical meat project.

Once I have done some meat shopping I will have more insight on the farms’ processes and costs etc….

Stay tuned!

http://www.eatwild.com/products/canada.html

http://michaelpollan.com/the-omnivores-dilemma/

 

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If I had ___(any amount)____ million dollars

Do your debt and credit card bills keep you awake at night? Tired of avoiding bill collectors’ calls? Are your student loans piling up and your clothes were purchased new by somebody else that donated them eventually to a thrift store 10 years ago? Then you must feel like me! Well, perhaps not as extreme as it sounds, but sometimes it feels that way. Being a forever student who works a ton of a lot, I often find myself feeling extremely overwhelmed with the difficult task of living paycheck to paycheck. To be honest, I  am burnt right out. I am at a job that I have mixed feelings about, but ultimately I know that I am ready to move on. But I feel stuck. Been here before anyone? So this morning I used my morning bus meditation time to daydream about what I would do if I won the lottery or came into a large sum of money (which would be anything over $100 at this time).

My ideas were humble….I would pay off debt and leave my job of course (pending the winning amount is over the previously suggest $100, otherwise I guess I could put that toward one bill). I would take time off to finish my educational goals. And with the extra time I may have, I would use it to do other ideas I have had in mind that are nice ideas, but merely that at this time. I would love to organize a fundraiser, volunteer as a Big Sister, and offer my services at an outreach for the homeless. I would also love to go visit my Grandma and Grandpa in Ontario which is currently a small fortune to fly across our own country. That’s not much, nor very exciting to most people. And I realize that there are these superstar good samaritans out there that manage to overcome huge life challenges, hold jobs and volunteer…and to you guys I salute you. I just can’t find the time nor energy at the end of a long work week and the rest of my spare time is spent balancing my bank account and stressing myself to sleep.

I am hoping that once we manage to make our planned move this fall over to the island, I will manage to shed some of this worry. I realize that I am wasting too much of my own good energy stressing about bits of life that are insane and missing out on doing more good and having more fun. But until then, I guess it’s time to go grab some lottery tickets. Now accepting lucky number ideas……..

Yes, I’m still alive….

No, I have not been hiding or avoiding my duties as a new blogger. I have been the lucky recipient of what turned out to be the most insane intestinal virus I’ve ever encountered. It came on hard and fast last Tuesday afternoon while miding my own business on the busride home from work. Suddenly….the smell of everything around me was too much. My mouth became dry and I knew I needed off the bus and I needed off it quick. I managed to make it home (barely) and from there it went from bad to worse. So to spare the details of what happened in the fateful days that were the worst of this year for me, I spent lots of time running for the bathroom, fighting high fevers and dealing with chills, body aches and cold sweats. John had it too, though he was lucky to fight it off somewhat in a matter of 36 hours. I was not the lucky one. If he hadn’t made it out like he did, we were going to need a nanny for the couple of days we were both buggered.

Finally after losing a battle with high temperatures and extreme dehydration, I was off to the hospital to get plugged into an IV to help replace the 7lbs of fluids I lost in a couple of days. It was so awesome getting plunked down next to a lady who had similar symptoms who was puking into a small paper plate-bowl 3 feet away from me. That made me feel so much better.

Once home that night, I was feeling slightly alive, which was an improvement for sure. Until the night wore on and I got hit with more vicious chills and fever. By the morning I too was puking. Awesome. Back to the ER to get ushered into an enclosed room where everyone that talked to me wore masks and paper suits over their scrubs. I really felt welcomed. However, they kept me longer, pumped me full of more fluids (6 bags in the two trips) and sent me packing.

So, I’ve managed to make it out alive and I’ve managed to drink more powerade and gatorade to last a lifetime. I can finally eat as of late yesterday and I even celebrated a solid poop for the first time in almost a week! The end is nigh! The human body sure is an amazing thing. It’s ability to heal and fight off illness is crazy. Thankfully mine fought long and hard and it eventually worked. I’m back to continue blabbing about what comes up. Updates to the Meat Files soon to come folks!

Meat Problems

The trip to the island was moderately successful and definitely enjoyable….mostly. We toured around neighbourhoods, checked out some houses and played with the dogs throughout the day.

So why then, do I have meat problems you ask? As we loaded on the 2nd to last ferry sailing last night from Nanaimo, we were conveniently parked next to two large semi trucks transporting cages upon cages of live turkeys.

It was indeed a disturbing couple of hours. I watched as some of the turkeys struggled to stand up straight and found myself wondering if there were any up there that may already be dead. If that were the case, then some live turkeys were left to be stuffed next to dead ones? Gross and sad!

All of this morbid but difficult thinking brought me back to a philosophy course in ethics I took a couple of years ago that introduced first year students to the ethical dilemma that is meat eating. Now I am not out to judge vegetarians, vegans or meat eaters. I am just trying to figure out a way to understand the meat industry.

The ferry ride turned me off poultry for a while. But then I got to thinking….I’ve always been alright with eating meat – as long as I don’t think about the grotesque method to get it on my plate. Ignorance is bliss I guess. But I am an animal lover and a passionate person and having my future Thanksgiving forced in my face last night, I feel responsible to do some research on the idea of “ethical meat”. How attainable is it? How ethical is it really? Can I commit to a new lifestyle?

Well, consider this the start of a personal experiment on myself….details to follow in the coming days/weeks/months. My goal is to seek out pasture-raised meat products for consumption only – that is, I will not eat any old regular meat from the grocery store. It’ll be tricky though. Of course there will be snags and challenges. With the clever marketing tools out there that love to broadcast “Free Range” and Organic or whatever their claim is, I am sure it is not all that meats the eye (yup, smarty-pants usage of meat instead of meet).

I’d love some input from experience or tips or whatever. It’s a big subject. I’ve ordered a couple of books on the topic to familiarize myself with what “the experts” are saying.

My guess is it should be interesting and freaky all at the same time!

Bottoms up!

Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians – Politics – CBC News#.TlKblK4jKl8.facebook

Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians – Politics – CBC News#.TlKblK4jKl8.facebook.

 

A truly moving letter by a monumental guy.

OBITUARY: Jack Layton’s legacy as a fighter – Politics – CBC News

OBITUARY: Jack Layton’s legacy as a fighter – Politics – CBC News.

A major loss for Canadians. He will be sadly missed and remembered for his major contributions to Canadian Politics. I am proud to have voted for the NDP as Jack Layton lead this party historically into the official opposition. Thank you Jack for your service.

adventures on transit

As an aside, I’ve had a built up list of rants and observations from my regular transit commutes, mainly for me to get it all out.

The first topic of concern:

1) personal grooming and hygeine on the bus

Why is it that some people are completely ok with the following activities while on transit?

-flossing (yes, I’ve witnessed it and dodged some flack)

-nail clipping (this one was brought to my attention by John, who has a patient that is a bus driver. This apparently sets him off big time. Recently I heard the familiar sound of nail clippers at the back of the bus. disgusting)

-Q-tipping (I have not witnessed this, thankfully. But I have spotted the aftermath of some nasty and waxy looking q-tips – barf)

-painting nails – it stinks, especially on a hot stuffy bus that doesn’t have openable windows.

My recommendations for those who take transit are the following:

-carry purel or some form of antiseptic

-carry a small roll-on tube of your favorite scent – you can find these at The Body Shop, Escence, hippy places. You’ll be greatful.

-a small paper sack in the event that you need to be sick but be sure to do it nearest to the person that caused this reaction.

2) annoying situations on transit include:

-train station door blockers (these are the people who have mastered where to stand so that the train doors will open to them from the platform.) These idiots are the oblivious dummies that create a human wall that prevents you from getting off the train at your stop. MOVE idiots, let me off so that you can get on. BLAH!

-loud phone talkers (I don’t care what you did last night, what you are doing tonight, and what he said to you. Have your blab-fest before or after you are on a bus/train with hundreds of sweaty people listening to you)

-line jumpers – I take a bus from a station that often has a long line of people. line jumpers like to pretend that they do not understand the protocol for common human decency and will pop out of nowhere when the bus arrives and climb aboard first.

3) distracting fashion choices – this one can also be amusing

-Lenseless glasses frames (what is up with this odd new trend? Clearly these people have never really needed glasses and don’t understand how utterly ridiculous this concept is)

-unstable hi-heels. I like heels, and I admire the ladies and gents that can rock them. I do not applaud those who wear them and can’t properly walk in them, especially on a busy train/bus with jerky starts and stops. this usually results in someone toppling over.

-emos. refer to this link for what I am getting at.

 http://totallytop10.com/current-affairs/odd-news/top-10-weirdest-emo-kids

The last couple ‘o days….

So I survived work this week…infact, yesterday was pretty decent. I got to help fix a guys’ bike and the result was a super happy guy getting to ride his bike for the first time in over 3 years 🙂 That was neat.

What was not neat was getting home to my building to find a smattering of new notices from the passive aggressive Strata Council on the bulletin boards. Allow me to explain the lead up to this ridiculousness……My building is managed by a Strata Council (those of you who have experienced this, my heartfelt condolences). Often, there are silly notices up that enforce trivial rules, their main obsession – the underground parking. There could be dirty diapers strewn about the main hallways but if there is ANYTHING beyond vehicles in the underground parking you will get “postered”. I know this because we had a gerry can in our parking spot and were promptly notified. The insanity is that we could easily be storing dozens of gas cans in our suite, but they are strictly prohibited in the parking garage where nobody lives and if one leaked it would leak onto concrete. I digress……Recently there have been a few notices up regarding window washing, various trades people coming by and one complaint about people accessing the roof and partying up there (oh how I love my building). Later this week, one of my fellow passive agressive neighbours took a red sharpie to the notices and wrote CARPETS CARPETS CARPETS. Odd. Interpretation is up for grabs here, but I guess someone likes or dislikes the state of the buildings carpets.

It gets better.

Coming home from work last night, I go through my usual routine – spill my bag out at the front door, locate keys, check mail and glance up at the bulletin board. There was a new notice. Yes, this notice was a notice about people vandalizing notices. Stop killing trees you pompous idiots and get a f@cking life! For some reason I found all of this quite humourous and worthwhile of sharing.

 

On another note, tomorrow is the big sailing to the island and I couldn’t be more excited. The first thing on my list of things to do is grab a big glass of milk.

For today’s agenda, its looking like a nice day for the beach, work on a kntting project I have completely neglected and think up a feast for tonight, and finally, I’d like to familiarize myself with how to use this fancy camera that belongs to John where I can really capture pictures versus my wee digital one. There is a nice batch of lovely sunflowers I pass by on my dog walks that are screaming for a picture but the camera I have just doens’t do them justice. We’ll see how it all pans out.

 

The Tyee – Why Shave Your Nether Regions?

The Tyee – Why Shave Your Nether Regions?.

For ladies (or gents) who could use a laugh or relate to this. I never thought I would read such a long article about pubic hair.

Homebody

So, today I had the rare chance to work from home….that is my coworker made the trip out to White Rock to spend the day working hard with me on a project while remaining “beachside”. If only every work day was like this! It just makes me realize how much I truly dread my trek into the big city (the transit commute does not help) to put in my 3 long work days a week. Now 3 work days a week doesn’t sound like much, but the length of the shifts are LONG and the 1.5hr commute each way, equals daylight dread.

How then, can I find a way to permanently work from home? Ideas? Ok, perhaps that is not exactly possible just yet.

In the meantime I might as well get the heck out of the big city lights (or at least working near them) and try a slower-paced lifestyle. This weekend my other half and I will take the 2 hour ferry ride to the land of Island Farms Dairy products

That’s right! The plan is to check out houses and liveable neighbourhoods that fit better than this crazy commute and insane housing prices and lack lustre dairy (seriously, have you tried IF milk?!)
It may seem like a drastic move but the way I see it is I might as well try out a new place and if it sucks, try something else. Afterall, I’m in charge of my own life so I might as well enjoy it – and I can assure you, I do not enjoy this commute nor the busy-ness.

So until I can figure out how I can get rich while sitting at home (or even just comfortably financially stable) we’ll attempt a move to the Island where rental prices are lower, the milk tastes better and I may even run into these guys on my commute!

But until the weekend arrives, it’s back to the grindstone of work and chipping away at my courses at home. How to stay focused!?