Think Globally, Eat Locally – A Book Review in Three Parts

Part 2: The Politics

How much petroleum does it take to get a banana from Costa Rica to your fruit bowl?

How much erosion does the soil suffer to support cash crops that the soil was never meant to support?

How many farmers never eat the food that they grow? How many are no longer farmers because of a global economy that has industrialized the production and distribution of our most basic resources?

How, in such a short amount of time, have we lost all abiltiy to rely on ourselves for the gathering and preparation of our own food?

How have we lost the ability to rely on ourselves for our basic survival?

And why does the food that comes from the grocery store taste nothing like the food that comes from our neighbouring farmer’s fields?



Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

You know the talk. The should we/shouldn’t we-think of the consequences-are we ready to go to that next level-what about the fun mystery of it all-talk. It’s a part of life, and it most inevitably (hopefully, if you want it to) will come up. At some point. And like most important decisions, the thing that the two parties involved should do, is talk about it. Get it out there, feel comfortable discussing it and be candid about your feelings. Come to an agreement that you are both happy with. Because if you can’t even do that, than surely you’re not ready. And once you go for it (if you go for it – remember, you have a choice), you can’t take it back.

I always want to do it. I’m that kind of gal. Mystery or not, I want to know what I’m in for, and I want to know as soon as possible. How will it feel? How will things change? How will you react? How big will the smile on my face be?

You are of a different mindset. You think that we should take things slow, be teased a bit; wonder, dream. You are a little more romantic than I am; a little more old-fashioned. You are patient and content with the knowledge that eventually, it will happen.

But I start to convince myself that things will be a certain way, and while I would never be disappointed with the outcome (I wouldn’t – I could never be disappointed), I need to know if things will be different than the experience that is already burning itself into my imagination. And my imagination starts to go wild pretty early –

I’ve done it your way before. It was good. It was so good. It was tough, but I stuck it out. And yes, in the end, I was happy and satisfied and thrilled and blissed out and excited.

And now we’re doing it again, with someone new. And that in itself is incredibly exciting and I love how close it brings us, and I love every moment of it and I can barely put into words how wonderful it is. And that feeling? That experience? It’s coming, I know it is, but I can’t wait. Not this time. I want it now. Now. Now. Now.

And I got it.

And it feels so freakin good.

It’s a girl.



Tuning In

I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve cultivated a less-than-desirable morning routine of allowing Bee to watch TV bright and early. It is partly the result of a lapse between the time that I leave for work, and the time that Chris achieves semi-consciousness, and partly the result of sheer overindulgence.

Whatever the reason, Bee now watches a good 45 minutes of TV pretty much every morning. It’s worse on weekends, as neither one of us is willing to cop to a state of semi-consciousness until at least 8 am, and Bee can wake up as early as 6:30. She doesn’t notice that I’m lying on the couch, drooling if Diego is on. So between weekends and the occasional morning that I remain at home, I have become fairly well versed in television for toddlers.

It’s certainly not like when I was a kid – television was all about Sesame Street, Davey and Goliath (what? It’s old testament), Fables of the Green Forest and Mr. Dressup, and the weekends gave way to gems like The Harlem Globetrotters, Captain Caveman and Schoolhouse Rock.

And now? Well, Mr. Dressup is dead (r.i.p), Elmo has taken over the old ‘hood and The Green Forest must have been clear-cut. What do children today get? Nothing but a sorry mix of value tales and low-budget puppet porn – oh, wait…

Anyway, here are a few of what I consider to be the good, the bad, and the ugly of children’s television programming. Let the brain rotting begin:

The Good:
Zoboomofoo – I dig the little lemur's show, partly because this was Bee’s first TV show addiction, and partly because I like dorks, and you don’t get any dorkier than the Kratt Brothers. Sure, it’s formulaic, and yes, Zobooland is always recycled and rarely makes sense, but seriously, how cute is it to hear my kid say, ‘Oh, a kinkajou!’

Nanalan’ – everybody wishes she had a Nana like Nanalan’! Mona is one lucky puppet, what with a caregiver as invested as hers. Seriously, Nana never says, Mona, take your annoying dog and scram – Nana needs a gimlet. No, they’re too busy baking play-dough, frolicking in the rain and watching the best damn puppet shows I’ve ever seen on a, well, puppet show.

Backyardigans – the Backyardigans have flava’. Tyrone, Uniqua and the gang have the music, the moves, and the imagination. Makes me very intolerant of bad kids’ music on other shows, like…

The Bad:
Hi-5 Oh god. Shoot me now. Bee seems to enjoy watching this irritating gang of theatre-school dropouts prance around to the worst song-and-dance routines ever written. I want to smack the silly smiles right off of their faces. And I would, except I don’t want to get all tangled up in their gay headsets.

Arthur – I don’t know if this is such a terrible show, but I hate the style of animation. Can’t even bring myself to watch long enough to find out if it’s a really terrible show. Bee doesn’t like it either. Unfortunately she doesn’t mind…

Elmo’s World – like I said earlier, Elmo is just not in my scope of reality, and I didn’t particularly ever need him to be. I really got my hate on for the little red weirdo when I worked at a toy store during the Tickle Me Elmo craze. I don’t know, inviting someone to tickle you just seems dirty, man. And what’s with the stupid fish? It’s not like she contributes anything.

The Ugly:
Big Comfy Couch – this is the one that I truly can’t stand. I’m not sure if it’s the totally low-budge, chaotic sets, the fucking clown noses, or the supporting cast. I hate it all. I can dig strange, but Lunette’s world just seems like a bad acid trip to me. And that couch looks fucking disgusting, like Major Bedhead would bag a prostitute or Lindsay Lohan on it. Probably has.

Wonderpets – again, freaks me out. The style of animation; the weird is-it-real, is-it-not-real meld of stills and live action; the speech impediment – was this their way of trying to be inclusive? Because I find a fake speech impediment just kind of creepy. And annoying. And the fact that every song has the same tune? Cheap.

So there you have it. It’s enough to make me want to ditch cable (we keep threatening.) Hopefully no one ever critiques the shows that I watch.


Think Globally, Eat Locally – A Book Review in Three Parts

Part 1: The Prose

Think Globally, Eat Locally. That’s the prevailing edict to be extracted from Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon’s engaging account of their year of local eating, and the subsequent ‘locavore’ movement it has inspired.

Adapted from the pair’s blog , The 100-Mile Diet (published, ironically as Plenty in the U.S. despite the use of Imperial measures) is the telling of a Vancouver couple’s quest to reconnect with the food that they eat, the land that they inhabit, and the frightening impact that food production and distribution has on our planet. It is a stark reminder of how far removed we are from the food that we consume, and just what destruction occurs in the chasm between field and table. Am I scaring you? ...[more]


Thank You

…because Father’s Day began for you at the crack of dawn, cleaning up a little girl’s barf.

…because you spent the next 5 hours alternating between cradling that little girl in your arms and cleaning up more and more and more barf.

…because you insisted that it was ok for me, pregnant, to go have a nap.

…because once that little girl was feeling better, you set up a shade zone in the backyard so that you could play outside together.

…because you’re sitting on the couch watching muppets from space instead of spaceballs so that a little girl can chill out and rest next to you.

…because you didn’t complain at all about having a peanut butter and jam sandwich instead of a big barbeque for dinner.

…because this is not special behaviour for you – this is you.

…because I can’t wait until I see you with both of my children.

the reason for the season



There's a What? Where?

Since the nausea stopped at week 13 (thank you, oh hormone-stabilizing goddesses), I kind of have to remind myself that I am pregnant. Well, no, it’s not that I have to remind myself that I am pregnant – the clothes not fitting/busting out boobs/extreme emotions/gluttonous need for ben & jerry’s help to keep the pregnancy real – but I have to remind myself that there’s actually a person in there. That this pregnancy is not just a 10-month state of being, it’s about growing a person.

Chris remarked last night that he felt like he hadn’t spent much time with this baby. Dude, I told him, I shlep this baby around with me all day and I feel like I haven’t spent much time with it. There have been no daydreamy, quiet moments bathed in soft light where I sit, contemplating the being in my belly. There have been no teary, sentimental serenades. There has been no wide-eyed, wondering discovery of fluttery movements that I finally clue into as my babe trying to tell me to shut the hell up, with teeny tiny fists flying.

In a way, it’s been better than all that.

My first trimester was spent in a hyper-vigilant state that wobbled between fear of losing the baby and fear that I wouldn’t make it to the toilet in time and I'd barf on my desk. The past month and a half have brought back a sense of security – in my ability to be a safe incubator, and in the baby’s ability to grow strong.
It’s true – I don’t spend much time contemplating this little being, and the journey we are on. I have a toddler to take care of. When I was pregnant with Bee, she was the recipient of 100% of my maternal focus. She still is. But I’m pretty sure I’m made up of more than 100%.

This baby is getting everything it needs from me right now, and we have our moments.
Being a mother to Soon to Bee means taking care of myself, nurturing my body so that it can nurture my baby; trying to keep the frustration and moments of rage at bay so the baby doesn’t have to deal with my negativity; trying to get Chris to play with my hair as often as possible so that the baby gets lots of relaxing serotonin. We’re ok without the romantic, backlit daydreams that I simply don’t have the luxury of time to bask in. This baby is getting an experienced mother, a more self-assured mother. A mother that knows it’s ok to make decisions and mistakes and choices that other people roll their eyes at and to eat ice cream straight out of the container.

And I know what those little flutters are now, a whole heck of a lot earlier than I did with Bee. And those flutters come just often enough to remind me what all the ice cream eating is for. We have an understanding, this baby and me. We are getting what we need from each other right now. We have our moments, even if the soft lighting just makes me fall asleep.


Speaking of Hippie Commies…

Well, we finally found our way out of the airport, and I have finally had a decent night’s sleep, so I may be able to string a coherent sentence or two together, but you can be the judge of that.

You know how the week went for Chris and Bee – not only did Chris keep the house, the cat and the child clean, fed and full of beans all week, but his words made me laugh, and I needed that way more than I need a clean kitchen. (Although I do like a clean kitchen.) Big-ups to the huz – you are clever and you are an awesome dad, and I’m proud that all my internet friends now know a little bit about why I love you. Oh, and yes, you are also hot.

Thanks to you guys for keeping Chris’ fire for writing stoked, and his ego stroked. Chris now demands rose petals be thrown in his path and that I address him as ‘Your Awesome Highness, Christacular, King of the Crushin’ MommyBloggers.’ He also insists that GW Bush is the greatest leader ever, and that the unicorns cry no more. Seriously, what the hell happened while I was gone?

Bee weathered the separation beautifully, and gave me a homecoming that made me start bawling, something that I had actually avoided all week. She climbed into my arms, put her head on my shoulder and started stroking my arm, as if making sure that I was the real thing, while whispering ‘love you, mummy.’ It’s been ‘Want the Mummy’ in the sweetest way since I’ve been back, but I’m not about to argue with that. There was absolutely no separation anxiety when I had to leave her (again) the following morning to go back to work – proof, as my friend suggests, that our intensive attachment parenting techniques breed trust and security. Usually I chalk Bee’s wonderful demeanor up to a freak of genetics (if she hadn’t been born at home I would have been convinced that she had been switched at birth and that some kind, gentle couple were dealing with my brat right now), but still, it’s nice to feel validated once in a while.

Oh, and something else happened while I was gone – we are weaned! Hooray! So, the ol’ girls have about 4 ½ months to rest up before they are put back into service, but I will enjoy every minute of it. I told Chris he could enjoy about 5 minutes of it once in a while, but otherwise, back off.

And the visit with my dad? Tough. But good to be there. I’ve learned that illness, and dealing with illness, is complicated. Take good care of yourselves, friends – you don’t ever want your children to see you like that.

although largely redundant, they're glad I'm back


Kgirl abandons family to the wolves week, days 4-7

Yes, I admit it, I stalled on the blogging thing. I accidentally was doing work related stuff during work hours instead of writing about diapers. So the week is over, wolves were kept at bay, and I thought I might sign off with some highlights from my week of single parenthood.

Fascism was definitely nice. George Bush was so right, unilateralism is the way to go. No diplomatic compromises with the hippie commie mommies. The patriarchy was in full effect, even if it did pander exclusively to a little girl. In fact, we basically did whatever Bee wanted to do. I experimented a lot this week, and for the most part it worked well.

I disproved the notion held primarily by her mother that Bee needs quiet chill time before bed. I went with the Dad school of thought that exhaustion puts kids to sleep, not quiet time. 6:00-7:50 run her up and down the slide at the park.8:00 play ‘can’t catch me’ and putt pj’s on. 8:10-8:30 group sing-a-long of ‘Old Macdonald’. 8:30 asleep.

Also, Bee is hydrophobic. And deeply paranoid about it as well. She is, in her head, living a real life X-files episode, if you were to substitute Big Foot for really fuzzy bath towels and Area-51 for the bathtub. She is convinced we are out to get her which, like most paranoid fantasies, is absolutely true. So when she saw all the water and soap and the Yeti Towels, all her fears were confirmed, and tears emerged.
But because it was a patriarchy this week, I vowed to stay the course, and make the tough decisions. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, er, I mean, toddlers. Rather than put her in the bathtub as conventional thinking dictates, I laid all the towels on the floor and put a bucket of water down. It was going to get wet, and I knew some things, like the extra rolls of toilet paper, weren’t going to make it. A ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner hung from the showerhead.
She loved it. We had a great time, I was soaked, the bathroom was soaked, and more importantly Bee was soaked and soaped. And fine with it. Twice. In one week.
Don’t mention this to child services, but that’s a new record.

And speaking of clean, it is now bludgeonly obvious that Mommies Make Messes, not babies and daddy’s. You don’t need to use a plate if you just eat on the lawn. Sandwiches, burgers and wraps are their own plates. It’s just common sense. No dishes = no washing = less environmental footprint / low economic impact.

But probably the most memerorable moment was when Bee and I picked Kgirl up from the airport. I scored some awesome parking karma and got a spot right in front of the parking entrance at Terminal one. We were waiting for awhile, which was largely due to my impatience to see her, so we left the house way too early. I called her twice a day while she was gone, because I missed her so much, even though my almost superhuman parenting skills make her largely redundant.When Kgirl finally came out, we were all smiles and hugs and Bee was overjoyed to have her mommy back and would spend the rest of the day clinging to her, as I tried to unsuccessfully remember exactly where I had parked the car. It was such a good parking spot I didn’t bother to look what floor or area it was in. It’s just that good of a spot.

So keep checking back for Kgirl’s triumphant return, when we eventually find our way out of the airport.