Monthly Archives: May 2012

Growing ∞ Lilacs, Ladybugs, and Rainbows

Honest Winter, snow-clad, and with the frosted beard, I can welcome not uncordially; But that long deferment of the calendar’s promise, that weeping gloom of March and April, that bitter blast outraging the honour of May how often has it robbed me of heart and hope? George R. Gissing

I love how you can find written words which express just about any sentiment you are experiencing.  It is comforting somehow to know that my frustration, or sadness, or joy, has been felt by at least one other person in this life in a very like manner.  We have lived in our house now for 11 spring seasons, but I have never paid such impatient attention to the arrival of springtime events as I have this year.  It’s as though I have years of stored up spring fever waiting to burst free.

Being preoccupied with our daughter’s care for the last 10 years, I really can’t recall the approximate dates of previous spring flowerings of our lilacs.  This year, the blooms finally began to blossom only in the last couple of days.  May 28 seems very late to see lilacs beginning to flower, but I am celebrating them none the less. Our last frost alert for this year was only 2 days ago, which is about 13 days later than the average.  We have had a very long and cold spring which, as Mr. Gissing expresses above, has been very difficult to endure.  So with all due joy and celebration, I am posting a few photos of this year’s marvels of spring – spring blossoms, ladybugs, and rainbows.


 


 


 


 


 

                            One flew on her hat so we had to search for more friends to join the party.


 

  

 

 

Playlist ∞ The Navy Song

War is rich old men protecting their property by sending middle class and lower class young men off to die. Always has been. George Carlin

This is a very moving song by Canadian band Billy Talent.  It is a love song and an anti-war protest all in one. It succeeds beautifully at capturing your emotions – stripping away all the political baggage that persuades us there is justification for war, and making the issue very personal. Cut down like lambs at slaughter indeed. As one youtube commenter simply stated – this makes me sad. Please listen.

 
The Navy Song
Time, rolling along with the waves
A thousand miles away
Holding you close in the rain
Seems just like yesterday

Lost up in a faraway place
And in my hand remains
A black and white print of a face
I’ll never see again

I gave my life to save her
The ocean turned to red
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Cut down like lambs at slaughter
Good men were left for dead
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Love, certain till death do us part
I’m drifting in the dark
Wounded and wishing to fall
Into your faithful arms

I gave my life to save her
The ocean turned to red
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Cut down like lambs at slaughter
Good men were left for dead
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Beneath the sky of hate
Beyond the sea of pain
In heaven I will wait
Until we meet again

Go, I gave my life to save her
The ocean turned to red
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Cut down like lambs at slaughter
Good men were left for dead
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

I gave my life to save her
The ocean turned to red
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Cut down like lambs at slaughter
Good men were left for dead
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all
In the fall, in the fall
When the tide took them all

Playlist ∞ Pajama Club

Love all things Crowded House related and even better that Neil + Wife deciding on a nice little project as a couple and became better friends in the process. Count me in the Pajama Club.   Youtube commenter

If you had your college days in the 80’s, then you were probably a fan of the Finn brothers, first with Split Enz, then with Crowded House.  We have been having our own Finn brothers revival here at our house, searching both old and new music of Neil and Tim Finn on Youtube.  This is how we found Neil’s newest project, Pajama Club, which he started with his wife in 2011.   

For the Finns, filling the silence of their empty nest, and trying something new, is as important as the finished product. “I’ve learned how to be restless, creatively,” Finn says. “And I like what happens when you keep yourself open to new things happening. It keeps the music fresh and alive.” (Guardian)

The Finn’s joint venture is a particularly intriguing concept to my husband and I, being basically the same age as Neil and Sharon Finn, even though our own empty nest days are a looong ways off.  It is inspiring to watch a long-married couple who still seem to enjoy each other’s company, and who continue to look for ways to keep their relationship growing.  In the interview below, Sharon and Neil talk about the founding of the band, parenting, and the tracks on the first album.  Neil actually reminds me of my husband, who can, at times, enjoy getting under people’s skin.  


 


 
Another song I like from the album is “Tell Me What You Want”:


 
Let me know what you think!

Health Matters ∞ From SAD to Raw – 8 Weeks

It is estimated that 60% of disease is caused by the SAD diet. If food is the culprit, I believe that food can be the answer.  Susan Powers, Rawmazing.com

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Good medicine

May 22 marked 8 weeks of our new eating plan and the time has flown by, as it always does.  Unfortunately, as seems to be the norm for us, we had a few other challenges to deal with in the same time frame, which limited my opportunities to invest in incorporating change into our diet. These included, but are not limited to:

-working on developing my blogging skills, since I only started my blog 3 weeks before deciding to revamp our eating habits.

-going through the process of looking for, then beginning the training of, an aide who is now coming into our home to help care for our cp girl.

-another stage of this undertaking was adapting to having the aide in our house on an almost daily basis. Since we homeschool, most of our family is at home all day long, and adding an outsider to our mix takes getting used to, even though she is a very sweet and kind girl. Our preference would be to care for our daughter ourselves, but after 10 years of doing so, we are burnt out and can no longer do it alone.

-initiating a relationship with another government agency regarding the aide issue as the number of care hours our daughter requires is not covered by the agency we began the respite programme with.  This includes multiple in-depth interviews and paperwork regarding her extreme care needs to get the care in place.

-working our way through our spring birthday season, as we celebrate 5 birthdays within the space of 6 weeks. We do birthdays very simply around here, but 5 in such a short time takes some sustained effort.

-having 2 appointments in the city for our daughter. We try to limit the numbers of trips we have to make for our daughter’s medical needs, as they are truly exhausting.

-getting our garden in shape, planting our veggies, fruits, and flowers for the summer growing season.  Last year was our first year back at gardening after a few year’s break, so there was still a lot of cleaning up to do this spring.  (We live on almost 2 acres of land.)  This included trying to start plants from seeds for the first time ever.

-doing our tax returns (x7), and compiling all our homeschooling receipts to submit for reimbursement.  (Alberta is the only province that I know of that provides some minimal funding for homeschooled students.)

-continuing to research brain injury, health issues in general, and the world we live in.

My head kind of spins just reading that!  Happily, our improving health has made it a little easier to deal with the stuff that comes our way.  Even though we have not been consistently eating raw/vegetarian/vegan, both my husband and I have each lost about 11 pounds.  More importantly, our clothes are fitting way better (I have dropped 2 sizes in the pants I am wearing), and we are more comfortable being active.  And that is in spite of our birthday season, a couple of traditional pasta suppers, our celebratory spring-is-here steak barbecue, and other departures from strictly healthy eating.  (Don’t tell anyone but we actually bought doughnuts for the family from Tim Horton’s on our way home from our city appointment!  We were very tired!)  Our goal is still to reach about 60% raw, but we don’t have a nervous breakdown if we have an off day.

Some of the things I enjoy about our new food lifestyle:

-grocery shopping is a lot more fun, and easier somehow.  I spend almost all my time (30 minutes?) in the produce section, bagging fruits and veggies.  It takes a lot of time to fill 2 carts full of enough fresh produce to feed 12 people for most of the week.

File:Légumes 01.jpg

Our weekly shopping expedition! Kidding, almost!

-I feel like we can occasionally afford to buy some more exotic fruit, because we are not spending that money on dairy (very expensive!), or meat (still buying some, but much less).

-we have much less garbage, and a lot more raw material for our composters, which is a definite bonus to my gardener’s heart!

-I am having fun trying out new recipes with old favourite and new favourite ingredients, like raw baba ganoush, raw ratatouille, bok choy salad (which was surprisingly very yummy, as I had never had raw bok choy before).

-we are all trimming down, and looking healthy.

Problems with this food plan? Just one really.  We run out of supplies before the week is up, and either don’t have the time or the money to go and replenish the larder.  (An illustration: 12 bananas x 7 days = 84 bananas, or 13 average sized bunches.)  That is more of a logistical problem than anything else, though.  Overall, we are very pleased, and are looking forward to ever-improving health.  The linked articles below are very informative if you are looking for more reading.  Wishing you good health!

Related articles

And Now For Something Completely Different…Four Yorkshiremen

And you try and tell the young people of today that and they won’t believe you!

Not much needs to be said here.  A classic Monty Python skit performed live at the Hollywood Bowl, 1982.  This sketch was first done on the At Last The 1948 Show, (1967-1968) with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, and Marty Feldman.  The link is here if you want to check it out.  (Some fans consider it the best version.)

Freedom ∞ Parkour – Choose Not to Fall

Confidence is gained when you realize you choose your own path, you choose not to fall. If you’re afraid to fall, you fall because you are afraid. Everything is choice. Daniel Ilabaca

People find their spiritual awakenings in the most interesting of places. Since quite a young age, my own path has consisted mostly of the tried and true method of continually asking “Why?”, and looking for the answers to my questions with whatever time and energy was available to me to pursue truth.

There have been lulls in that search, in those moments of life where all one can do is maintain the status quo. As a family, we have spent most of the last 10 years particularly housebound, due to the extreme care demands of our daughter who is severely handicapped. This has been a fair burden to bear, but it has also been a gift in that it insulated us even further from the craziness of the modern world, and gave us a lot of time to reflect on the meaning of our lives.  A person can do a lot of searching while the body is occupied with simple, mundane tasks.

Room With A View

Daniel Ilabaca is an Englishman who found his own path to personal freedom through the discipline of parkour, or free running.  The James Bond film Casino Royale had an excellent sequence of this activity in the opening chase scene, for those who have seen the film.

Ilabaca - Old St

Parkour teaches adherents how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping.  Traceurs view the activity more as a state of mind than a set of actions; it is their attempt to overcome and adapt to mental and emotional obstacles, as well as physical barriers.

In the video below, Daniel Ilabaca speaks very eloquently about what parkour has brought to his life, and in just 3 minutes makes some insightful observations which can apply to anyone’s search for an authentic life:

In the world, in general, imagination and creativity have been lost. It’s been stripped away from us over..history, and has been slowly fed back into the world through computer games…That’s why kids are addicted to computer games.

It’s accepting that you don’t have control of the future, but all you have control of is now. You may not have tomorrow.

I found what I’ve been looking for through parkour which is a relationship with God.


My sons are big fans of the philosophy, and so am I, now that I have read more about it.  This is one more avenue to reclaim our freedom. Please watch and comment!

Playlist ∞ Little Boxes

And the children go to summer camp and then to the universities where they are put in boxes and they come out all the same.

I just found this cover version of Malvina Reynolds’ song “Little Boxes” (which she wrote in 1957), performed by Canadian band Walk Off the Earth. I wanted to post it straight away because it speaks to me so strongly.  As a mother, I have tried to refrain from forcing our children to fit into the little boxes that are the standard fate of most people nowadays.  This desire to avoid conformity and its limitations was the main incentive for choosing homeschooling some 25 years ago, and we are still on that journey today, trying to live in this world but not be controlled by it.  The video is a brilliant interpretation of the song, and their vocals are very strong.  

Walk Off the Earth also has a video up on Youtube of their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, which currently has over 110 million views, and were brought on Ellen to perform the song as well. They signed a contract with Columbia Records earlier this year based on the popularity they were achieving with their video presence. With all that, it is hard to know whether they are a genuine cultural phenomenom, or a manufactured one like Justin Bieber. I like to maintain a steady level of scepticism, keeping in mind Miss Marple’s rule of thumb, believe no one, in these cases.  So while I really like the song, I am also posting it under Our Daily Bread (and Circus).  

Growing ∞ Spring Has Sprung! Finally, Dandelions!

Dandelion Oh, hardy flower, disdained as weed, Despised for head of feathery seed, Your unsung virtues rate a ballad, Choice roots for wine, crisp leaves for salad.  Betty Gay

Any little one recognizes the intrinsic beauty of the dandelion.  Once we grow up and become obsessed with our neat and tidy lawns, they become our enemy (unless we are a little more forgiving of their presence, thereby earning the enmity of our neighbours).  For me, one of the true markers of spring’s arrival is the little bouquet of dandelions gathered without fail, year after year, by my young children (25 years now, and counting).  Here is this year’s collection.

Guess the year the posies below were gathered?

Although I have known for some time how healthful the dandelion is (twice the nutritional benefits of spinach), I have neglected to take advantage of the yearly free spring harvest available right outside my door. I vow this year to be more courageous and get those dandelions off our lawn, and into our salads, and smoothies, and …?  Did you know that everypart of the dandelion can be eaten? Dr. Peter Gail from Doc Weed’s Doin’s has written a book devoted to the benefits of dandelions, The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine, and has posted about making a dandelion root drink here.

I have had a recipe for dandelion blossom wine sitting in my recipe box for about 20 years, gifted to me from a friend, which I have yet to use and would love to try out, but I think that is a challenge I will have to put off for yet one more year.  Here is the recipe for those who may have a little more project time available than I.  It’s done old-school style, so it may take a bit of deciphering.

I would love to hear from anyone who tries out the recipe!

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