June 2005

Here’s the whine…
The heat, I don’t mind so much. This year the heat has come early though and it has been brutal. My garden is suffering. All of the greens are garbage (bitter), I’ve lost many plants, and most of the rest are in imminent danger of dying. It isn’t just that they need a lot of water – they are cooking in their own juices.
But the air quaility… I’m not sure whether to be outraged, afraid, or to just give in and lie down right now and die.
It has been horrible. Days and days of smog alerts. *ALL* of southern Ontario and more… even as far north as North Bay. It is still June and we’ve spent almost 3 weeks hiding in the house.
People who are normally not noticable affected are feeling it. I manage to experience it all with my own special twist, of course. My eyes burn, I have trouble sleeping, and my sinuses express their outrage by spontaneously bleeding now and then. But my joint disease… now there is a sinister little *ahem* for you. Any possiblity of that vague condition “inflamation” and all hell breaks loose. My joints are all inflamed, as are my lymph nodes. I can’t turn my head. The inflammation has pinched the damaged nerve in my left arm so that my arm has been numb – in that really painful electric shock way – for two days. I drop stuff all the time and I bang my arm and hand into doorways and countertops, because I really can’t feel where it is all the time. It’s like leprosy, only not.
And my joints are all… spongy. I don’t really know how to describe it. There is even more give than usual and I can’t pop even a finger back into its proper place. It is most noticable in my feet right now. When I put weight on my feet, the joints just give, very painfully. So I can hardly walk. And when I do, I hobble, bent over like an old man.
From what I’ve read, it’ll take two years to get my immune system back to normal. It has been almost one and yes, duh, things have improved. But I struggle against and cry about the remaining weaknesses in the meantime. And I worry… how much better will I get if I am being poisoned by the air I breathe?

So.. here’s the bitch…
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to someone about the smog alerts and he said, “Yeah, I don’t understand why it’s so bad now. Every year it gets worse.”
To which I replied, “Yep. And it will continue to get worse until we all re-evaluate how we live and where we live and drastically change our approach to transportation. We drive too much.”
And he said, “WHAT?! You don’t really believe it’s cars, do you?!”
And I said, *sputter* *gape* *sputter*
Finally I managed to blurt out, “Holy sh*t! Grow up and take responsibility for yourself and for your choices!”
Nice man, really, but kind of stupiT in that ignorance-is-bliss kind of way.

So then, the news reports are all a-sputter – WAIT… if anyone knows of a news outfit that REPORTS news rather than CREATES and/or SENTIONALIZES it, please let me know asap. Thanks.
Where was I? Oh yeah… the news reports are all a-sputter about the smog (well they were, until a poll out last week showed that we’re all tuning out the smog alert crap on the news) and how OMG!!! 59% OF OUR SMOG COMES FROM SOUTH OF THE BORDER! BECAUSE OMG THEY BURN COAL TO PRODUCE ELECTRICITY AND THEY WANT TO BUILD MORE COAL BURNING PLANTS!!!!!
hmmm…. very interesting and of course, I have a few thoughts on this.
The 59%… I’m not entirely convinced, because you see, several years ago, a study was done in Windsor, Ontario. The beef was that Detroit was polluting Windsor and somebody wanted to get some numbers on this to take to umm.. some American agency or something. Or maybe just for some more scientific-sounding complaining. That study showed, that because of the prevailing winds, Windsor air was moving into Detroit most of the time, not the other way around. And when pollutant loads were taken into account, the long-term overall trend was that more pollution from Windsor ended up in Detroit, than pollution from Detroit ended up in Windsor. Obviously, not a very popular result.
Now, I fully understand and accept that air quality models are evolving all the time and that sources of and kinds of pollutants change. So maybe that study does not apply today. Also, it would be helpful if the “news” report said more than it did… a stastic without proper reference means nothing. 59% over what time period? Which pollutants? Under which conditions? … ANYway. It’s moot. For two reasons.
Here’s the first… Let’s say I buy the 59% number… that still does not negate our own rapidly increasing contribution. Nor does it negate our culpability. 41% is a lot to work with.
AND… I love this one. Guess where a goodly portion of our (as in Southern Ontario’s) electricity comes from. GUESS! UH-huh… those American coal-burning power plants.

Surprised? I’m not. But I am surprised (naively) by what boils down to irresponsible news-reporting. The point was to stir up a little over-the-fence name-calling and stir up some kind of trouble. If the point was to report the facts and to give useful, rather than simply inflamatory, information, then the reports all would have shown that, when you look at the numbers, we are poisoning ourselves.
I am also surprised by the willingness, the almost desperation, of people to clamp on blinders and carry on down the highway, muttering about Americans and how we can’t really do anything about them anyway and refusing to even acknowlegde our own role in this and that we CAN do something about it. 59% is a lot. But it isn’t all. We have control over more than 41% of the smog pollutants.

So what are we gonna do about it?

Nature Challenge
One-Tonne Challenge

Same-sex legislation passed

Last Updated Tue, 28 Jun 2005 21:55:18 EDT
CBC News

The Liberals’ controversial same-sex marriage legislation has passed final reading the House of Commons, sailing through with a vote of 158 for and 133 against.

It’s about time :D

On Thursday, my spinning wheel finally arrived. I was horrified, however, when I went to my PO Box to pick it up and saw the condition of the box. There were holes. It was crushed. And one end was held together with Canada Customs tape – never a good sign. Luckily I was on my way to my Dad’s to pick up Jordan. When I got there, I sent one of the kids to get him and to tell him to bring a knife. I stood beside my car, staring at the mutilated box.
We opened it right there on the lawn. It wasn’t a good sign when a chunk of wood, broken off from somewhere fell out into my hand.
It was as I feared… the spinning wheel was broken, broken enough that it didn’t function. One of the main support pieces was busted. One of the treadles had several missing pieces (one of them was the piece that fell out of the box – we didn’t find the others). And the whole thing looked like it had been beaten with a hammer.
I looked at my Dad. I felt like I was 5 years old and had broken a toy.
Can you fix it?
Yeah, I think I can.
I am nearly 40 years old, but there is still a part of me that when I’m sick, wants my mommy. When something is broken, I want my daddy. Luckily for me, even though I have long left behind the childhood notion that my mom could make me feel better, no matter how sick I am, and that my dad could fix ANYthing, the truth is, my mom really does know how to take care of you when you’re sick and my dad can fix pretty much anything that is fixable. He has a large, well-equipped workshop and he knows what he’s doing.

So, with the faith of my 5 year-old self, I left my spinning wheel with him.

He brought it to my house the next day.
Yes, he’s that good.
My wheel was repaired and beautiful. It still has the hammer dents, and some chunks missing under the treadle, but it works. He had stopped to buy some c-clasps on the way over and put the last one in and we gave it try. Because of the beating it took in shipping, the alignment was off and there was some minor rubbing. Mark and my dad adjusted and fiddled, but it wasn’t going away. We talked about sanding one of the pieces down a little or letting it just wear down. I left them to it and went back to making dinner when they started talking about washers. I wandered by later to see Mark cutting up an empty water jug to make a washer that was thin enough for what they needed. It worked.
And so does my spinning wheel. :D

That night, after dinner, I sat down at the wheel just to, you know, check it out and stuff.
I accidentally spun for 4 hours. oops ;) In the end, I had this bit of cream wool. It’s kinda lumpy, and a tad overspun, but I’m happy with it.
The next afternoon, I accidentally spun for another three hours. I had some fibre left over from my spinning class… it was a poorly blended mix of white and blue. It was poorly blended on purpose… there was a lesson in there ;) The blue was much more slippery than the white so I had a hell of a time trying to spin it evenly. Plus it was full of pills. I found it so frustrating (and I got the point!) that I had only spun a little of it. So I dug that fibre out and set out spinning the rest of it. The rented wheel I had was an older, single-treadle version of the wheel that is now MINE MINE MINE. :D Spinning the crappy blue stuff was noticably easier on the double treadle (where I have better control of how the wheel turns) and I spun all that was there, then plied it with more of the cream I had spun the day before. It is, of course, more lumpy than the first stuff I spun, but that I was able to spin the blue stuff at all was progress.

I have some beautiful alpaca fibre to spin, but I don’t think I’m ready. I’ve ordered a whole pound of white Corriedale Roving for practice. So far, I can only spin one size reasonably well. That size needs more practice, plus I have to learn to spin other weights as well. In the meantime, I’m not buying any more fibre. No really. None. *whimper*

I have 14 Robert A. Heinlein novels on my night stand.

I’m pretty sure I have an illness.

Oy.. I’m behind. I write lots and lots of updates in my mind, but somehow, getting them posted here is sometimes difficult.

Two weekends ago, we had Jordan’s Birthday party. We rented a local rink and had skating and hockey for an hour, then an hour in the party room at the arena. There were 52878472 kids there. Well, maybe not that many, but there were at least 15. When they came off the ice, they were TIRED! YAY! … subdued, quiet, hungry, thirsty. I was feeling pretty sure of myself there for a while. But as the crowd devoured 5 extra large pizzas, two huge bags of chips, 16 litres of Gatoraid and almost all of a half-slab cake, they came back to life. With a venegnce.
With 15 kids and as many adults, there was chaos. By the time Jordan was opening presents, I had calmly accepted the chaos and watched Jordan, with the help of 30 other little hands, open his gifts and cards. Adults seripitously set aside small gifts and money so they wouldn’t get lost, quietly removed anything that had become some kind of weapon and occasionally reminded a little one to please use better manners.
But really, fifteen 8-10 year olds, most of them boys? Manners are not exactly a priority. Fart jokes are. As are, apparently, bathroom jokes, wrestling and general rough and tumble play.
I was serene. At one with the chaos. And my feet were killing me. Next time I need to wear more comfortable shoes.
Jordan had a great time. It was, he said, his best birthday ever, and what did he do to deserve so many wonderful friends? More than a week later, he is still in awe and still can’t comprehend that he has so many wonderful friends. hehehe :)

On Father’s Day, Jordan and I slept in (oops) and woke to find Mark, up and dressed and playing video games. Jordan and I quickly organized ourselves and while Jordan made a card, I readied the gift – a hockey bag with wheels. Later on, after I paid a vist to my Dad, we drove to King City to see Mark’s parents. As we pulled into the driveway, we could see a stack of fertilizer in the garage. I have to admit, it made me a little uneasy. But after a trip to the hardware store to buy a switch, I was outright alarmed.
Who needs that much fertilizer? And a switch? Was this the makings of a b*mb? I sat in the backseat on the way home from the hardware store thinking… true, my fil does have 2 acres of property, much of it lawn, there was a fertlizer spreader for the lawn tractor there, and as far as I know, he has not produced any kind of minifesto. I racked my brain but could not come up with anyone my fil would want to blow up. And I’ve known him for 15 years, so I’d know if there was anyone. Right? RIGHT?!! But still… that’s a lot of fertilizer…
As it turns out though, on closer inspection I realized that these sacks are full of a natural barley-based fertilizer that doesn’t blow up, nohow, noway. I would have been relieved except that I was never worried in the first place ;) A man has to fertilize his lawn, you know.

When we first arrived though, something happened. We went around back and found my fil tinkering with his lawn tractor, preparing to spread fertilizer the next day. (What?!) Jordan, who loves anything with an engine, was definitely interested and made a beeline over there.

And then this happened:

And then this:

Over the sound of the engine, we could hear him giggling. This is the image of a 9yo boy in his glory. It doesn’t get much better than this. :)

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