January 2005


While I find myself turning away from the consumer mindset more and more, there is a special place in my heart for gadgets, and occasionally, I aquire a new gadget that brings me joy on every level.

Last week, I bought one of these joy-bearing items. That’s right, I bought a LitterMaid Self Cleaning Litter Box

It has only been a few days, but this litter box has changed my life. In fact, my life is actually worth living since I brought this baby home.
No more litterbox stink! Yay!
No more scooping! Yay!
And my drama-queen maine coon has stopped pooping on the floor. Yay!
I was bugged by the big plastic trays that you are supposed to throw out; it seems so wasteful. But I have already discovered that I can pull out the tray, dump the contents into the trash and then put the tray back. Yay!

The other night, the three of us sat down and watched Super Size Me

When it came in the mail (it was in my queue at Zip.ca), I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it with Jordan or if Mark would even be interested in watching it. They were out, and I watched most of it before they got home. Once they were home, I told them I had something important for us all to watch together. Both of them wanted to see it. I started the movie at the beginning again.
I should give some background. We are vegetarian. Jordan is 8 and a very dedicated vegtarian. Sometimes when I tell people that, they smirk and say, “Oh, let me take him for an afternoon. I bet he’d be love to eat a Happy Meal when you aren’t breathing down his neck.”
First of all, that is just plain wrong. You couldn’t make Jordan eat a Happy Meal if you had a sharp stick. He doesn’t want it and he chooses – of his own free will and everything – not to eat it.
Second, when someone laughs at the idea that Jordan is dedicated to vegetarianism, it is a serious underestimation of Jordan’s world view and sense of self. I am always surprised at how little people actually listen to what children have to say – especially when what children have to say is a postion that reflects thought and personal values and runs contrary to what the adult thinks or does.
Woah! How’d I get way up here on this soap box? *ahem*
Anyway… Definitely worth watching as a family. There is a wee bit of swearing in it. I just mentioned it before we began watching and reminded Jordan that seeing it here does not make it ok for him to do it. Besides, the message is worth it.
The message that this food is harmful is made very clear. But the most important message, I think, is how manipulated we, especially children, are by a company like McDonalds, how they alter culture in the name of profit. This is addressed in the movie, but is more thoroughly examined in the book Fast Food Nation. I read it several years ago and find myself recommending it to anyone that will listen. It was the first book that I put on Billi-Jean’s Official List of Books That May Change Your Life.
If the words liberal and granola and vegetarian give you a rash, let me assure you that neither the book nor the movie are granola or liberal and as far as I know, neither Eric Schlosser nor Daryl Isaacs are vegetarian. So yeah…. not just for weirdos ;)
What was I on about again? Oh yeah… products that change my life. Fast Food Nation changed my life, But Super Size Me underscores it all because it is so visual. It also makes the information accessable to more people, since many won’t take the time to read the book.
My Rx? Read the book, then watch the movie. Seriously. Together, they are almost as good as the self cleaning litter box.
Almost.

The other day, a friend was talking about the sound of skates on ice. He is a Hockey Player and had been to see live figure skating and loved it. He said, … I do have an appreciation for skating of any kind. I love that sound of the blades cutting into the ice. I love skating. This is one of those things… you either get it, or you don’t. I get it. It is, to me, one of the sweetest sounds.
This morning, I was still in bed, still sleeping soundly. I had woken briefly a little earlier, given thanks to anyone who was listening for the fact that Jordan was obviously going to sleep past 7AM since it was daylight and he hadn’t been in my room 468525862 times already, and gone back to sleep.
But then I heard it. Not only was it the sound of skate blades cutting into ice – it was the sound of skate blades cutting into natural (i.e. outdoor) ice. I was confused. My still-mostly-asleep mind raced through its memory files trying to make sense of what it was hearing. I remembered the rinks in our backyard when I was a child, I remembered skating on frozen ponds and rivers.. finally, I pulled myself awake and realized that the sound was coming from my backyard.
I scrambled out of bed (lets leave out the part where I was tangled in the top sheet and fell out of the bed, head first, k?) and away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash opened the blind, and this is what I saw.

I watched him for a long time. I have never had a passion like hockey is for him.
Yesterday was not a stellar day for Jordan nor for me. School work completed was almost nil; I was unable to inspire him at all; and he was in a foul mood most of the day that even he couldn’t stand and, despite his efforts, he was not able to shake.
As I watched him on that little rink, skating, turning, I could see how good it feels to him, how it soothes and energizes him, and how good it is for him.
I decided then, that there would be no school today. Instead, we will each do things to refresh and renew, so that we can put that bad day behind us.
When I went outside to deliver a mug of hot chocolate, he was rosey-cheeked and content. He sat on the step sipping his drink while I crouched on the ice, wearing pyjammas, mittens, boots and big bed-head hair, patching a hole in the ice. And I was content too. I’m pretty sure it is a Canadian thing ;)
He spent most of the morning skating. Now, he is on the couch, still in his snow pants, drinking hot chocolate and watching a science show. We’ll leave soon to run a few quick errands, then he can skate all afternoon if he wants. I have a date with a good book :)

We had some nasty wonderful Winter weather yesterday – finally! Everything in town was closed up – except hockey rinks and Tim Hortons. We know our priorities around here! :D It was bitterly cold though (wind chill near -40C/-40F) and I worry for the homeless and people without heat. I had it good… tucked under a blanket in front of the fire in my warm house and drinking hot chocolate. I am so lucky for what I have and I wish I knew better how to spread it around.

My good fortune allows me to enjoy a winter storm, though. And the three of us were snuggled in front of the fire. It was very cozy. There is something about being inside and warm, while watching through the window the snow whipping around and hearing the wind howling that speaks to your soul. It is probably a remembrance from early homonids, who, having found good shelter, sat safely by their fire, watching and hearing a storm rage outside.

Today, while warmer than yesterday, is still very cold. The sky is bright and blue and the sun is shining. With the sun’s warmth so weak at this time of year and with no cloud cover to hold any heat in, the sunniest days here are usually the coldest.

My dad is here, helping Mark put an ice rink in the back yard. When I was little, we always had the best backyard rink in the neighbourhood. As soon as Jordan could skate (at 2 years old – like I said – priorities ;) ), I wanted a backyard rink in the winter. Mark was not so enthusiastic. But this year, with his new found interest obsession with all things hockey, Mark agreed (read: I brought a kit home and he didn’t flat out refuse to do it hehe). So.. depending on how things go out there, we sould be skating tomorrow. Yay!
While The Men and The Kids are outside building the Best Backyard Rink in the Neighbourhood, I have been scrubbing toilets and washing floors. Strangely, I woke up this morning wanting to do this. This is such a rare occurance, that I didn’t question it. And now I have vinegar-clean floors in at least part of my house. Yay!
I have cookie dough ready to go into the oven when they come back inside. And I have the fixens for hot chocolate too. Yay!
Yep, it’s a three-yay day here today :D
I should probably check on the progress of our rink! :D

I can’t seem to get going on this stuff again since the Christmas blow-out. I’m having trouble finding a schedule or being organized at all.
The point of many of the items on my 101 Things list is to help me to be organized and to be moving forward. None of that has been happening this month at all. It isn’t that the deadline of 1001 days is haunting me, but since I began this project a few months ago, I have really enjoyed that feeling of moving forward, of being focused on goals, of accomplishing things. It is very satisfying. There are moments of joy in it, even.

It looks like some serious interim list-making is in order.

I took this picture because the team won the tournament. They were so happy and I wanted a picture of my boy with his trophy. This picture does not bring me joy, though. I look at his beautiful face and the trophy and the goalie equipment he has wanted for so long and every fibre of my being screams OMG!!! MY BABY!!! MY BABY!! Make him stop growing up so fast! *sob*

I try to be happy for him, really I do.

I made this scarf for someone for Christmas. The yarn is really pretty – it has mohair and a multi-colour metalic thread, so it is fluffy and shiney. A perfect combination. It wasn’t exactly a hit, but I liked it.

I currently have three knitting projects on the go. One is an overdue birthday present for a friend (I had never used this yarn before and underestimated how long it would take. It is slow-going with this stuff!), another is a felting project that has kind of been set aside while I wait for some inspiration on finishing it, and the last project is a pair of socks because I am determined to conquer the four double-pointed needles! I’m not sure what my problem is with this. I’ve been knitting since I was 7 years old, I first knitted on dpn more than, umm.. 15 years ago, yet, I am consistently defeated by them. *shakes fist at sky* I will do this! I will! … just not on this particular pair of socks, apparently. grrr.

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