Happy New Year

Dreamweaver the missing manual (for CS5 from out of the Calgary Public Library) is 1074 pages of information, tutorials, hints and even some extra advice for those who are experienced in all of this.
So that would be 11 days at 100 pages a day.  I have had it since Tuesday night and am on page 109
Don't expect to hear from me for at least a year!

Please check this out! For now only people in western Washington will be able to see this PBS special I produced. The air date is Saturday October 15 at 8:30 am and at 11:30 am from KBTC Public TV, Tacoma, WA. Hoping for a national PBS release in the spring of 2012!

What brings me back to Blogland? Well it's the upcoming Willow Manor Ball, of course! I need to tear myself away from slaving over the hot quilt PBS movie and get my act together to attend. It's always fun! Lots of cyber celebrities and outrageous goings-on! The food is always scrumptious, the drink overflowing and the conversations are always fascinating! Oh and the guest list is always stellar. Fred Astaire was my date 2 years ago, for example. I'm waiting for Angie to release Brad to attend the ball with me this year. He wears a tux so nicely. I need to line up my second date choice ... and figure out my own wardrobe and mode of transportation.

Childhood in Grown-up-ness

Lately, it seems, the Lord has given me incredible moments of childhood. Swings are new and exciting again. Somehow there is the possibility for joy in the most insignificant of moments. It began a few weeks ago when I rediscovered a little playground nearby. There I flew as high as I could possibly fly on the big swing, danced around the grass in bare feet, jumped on the bouncy see-saw, and hung upside-down from the bars. I sat in the middle of the field and crushed dry birch leaves in my hands, surrounded by their sweet scent, and engulfed by waves of unclear yet beautiful memories.

Babysitting has been good medicine for my grown-up-ness. They showed me reliance on authority (for me, my King!), and the simple joys of forging new trails through a patch of bush, or ruling the neighbourhood aboard a rattling scooter. I thought my scooter had long since found its way to the dump, but when I returned home, there it was, nestled among old flower pots and jugs of lawnmower gasoline at the back of the shed. It still has a 'Jesus Loves Me' sticker on it that I remember thinking was super cool, many moons ago. So I took her for a spin, the bones in my hands being grated as we scooted over some of the bumpier roads. I still get a thrill out of going downhill, and my mind still starts running, dreaming up all sorts of situations and scenarios that I and my imaginary world could find ourselves in. To say I missed it would be misleading--growing up has been good--but how I am enjoying 'returning to my roots', and re-loving the joys of my younger years. I praise the Lord for this gift.

I'm going to enjoy my childhood more, as life goes on.  I'm certain of it.   And I think He would like that.

"Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me." "  Mark 9:36-37

Wow.  Me doing anything within the will of God, is me receiving Jesus, which is me receiving the fullness of God.  Something to ponder, for sure.  And Oh, how Jesus loved children!


Headed to Dufferin tomorrow

Fish are already.  See you tomorrow. 

I like to read vegan literature when I get a chance to. I generally find myself gravitating more toward books on animal rights, welfare and advocacy than anything else, but as of late I've been trying to incorporate more health and wellness into my literary diet. Most recently, I selected Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, who is probably more commonly known for her books Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor. Crazy Sexy Diet is a follow-up to these and is an exploration of how a mostly raw, whole food and plant-based diet took her from a terminal cancer patient to energetic, positive and thriving.

From a health perspective, I'm not sure there exists is a more sound argument for veganism than Kris' story. Kris was in her early thirties, fueling her body via the Standard American Diet (SAD). Put simply, the SAD is mostly comprised of highly processed convenience foods and it is generally the diet of choice here in North America. Typical of SAD enthusiasts (myself included, for a large portion of my life), Kris' concern was less with what was in the food she was eating and more with whether or not it would make her fat. Like many of us, under the SAD she suffered from chronic ailments that sadly have become normalized in our society - acne, frequent colds, allergies, depression, eczema and fatigue, to name a few. All of these can be typical byproducts of SAD participation. When combined, however, they can very quickly go from annoying to life-shattering.

When the symptoms got bad enough, Kris visited her doctor. Soon afterwards, she was told that her liver was filled with so many tumours that it looked more like Swiss cheese than it did an internal organ. There were also ten more tumours found on her lungs. Adding insult to injury, the cancer was deemed inoperable and radiation/chemotherapy were not considered options.

Because she was SOL when it came to the more popular western medicine options, Kris really had nothing to lose by looking into an alternative that most oncologists would probably roll their eyes at: the supermarket.

Crazy Sexy Diet is a documentation of all that she learned in doing so.

The story of how Kris saved her own life isn't really all that complicated. To think - if she achieved the results she did with cancer, imagine the positive impact following this kind of diet can have for the rest of us?

I think what I like most about this book is that it is very informative, but at no point is it pushy or demanding. I like to think of it as a friendlier version of Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch is one of the more controversial vegan-oriented books to ever hit the market and one that I personally didn't respond all that well too. I appreciate the effort, and I do believe that anything that gets people "talking vegan" can be considered a good thing. All the same, I worry that it perpetuates misguided vegan stereotypes and furthermore, I don't really think that berating and degrading people into a certain line of thinking is the best course of action in the struggle for long term change. I understand that Skinny Bitch was written with a hint of sarcasm and even silliness to it, but even so I found the dialogue to be patronizing and downright insulting at times - and I am vegan! For me, education and empowerment always do and always will trump intimidation.

With Crazy Sexy Diet, you get the tools required for change without the added attitude. The chapters are thorough and informative without being completely overwhelming. It is the perfect book for a curious carnist or a novice vegetarian/vegan. Long-term vegans may have already discovered some of Kris' secrets (which is one of the reasons that sustaining our veganism is so darn easy!) but there are a lot of little helpful hints and suggestions that even the most seasoned vegans will find useful.

"Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger." (p. 10)

Kris Carr's diet and lifestyle revolve around maintaining the delicate acid-alkaline balance in the body, measured via the pH scale. The last time I interacted with any kind of chemistry information it was the eleventh grade and in that class I spent far more time making googly eyes at Paul than I did making googly eyes at the periodic table of elements. To say that I have no working knowledge of the pH scale and the acid/alkaline components of substances is an understatement.

Thankfully, Kris walked me through it, explaining why alkaline-rich foods are so important to body functioning and just how alarmingly acidic the SAD is. She also explains why, when it comes to keeping it alkaline, the food preparation process is just as important as the food itself, with raw, living foods maintaining more of their nutritional integrity than those that are (literally) cooked to death. Sad news for a raw veggie hater such as myself.

She goes on to highlight how the body compensates for our own lack of diligence when it comes to maintaining balance - mainly, by mining integral minerals from bones, teeth, tissues and organs, thereby hindering their functioning and in turn encouraging a multitude of acute and chronic impairments as tame as a runny nose or as serious as an immune disease. This could explain the seemingly ironic correlation between countries that consume the most calcium (via dairy products) and the increased incidence of osteoporosis: cow's milk (and cheese, and butter, and ice cream), like other animal proteins, is highly acidic, thereby forcing the body to leech alkaline from from bones in an attempt to neutralize the imbalance, in turn contributing to their deterioration.

Kris covers alkaline-rich foods while also exploring the importance of phytonutrients, chlorophyll and enzymes among other things - terms that, strangely, you never hear in our nutrient-starved, diet-obsessed and generally quite ill society. We can tell you the number of calories in a bag of potato chips but very few of us know why kale is so good for you. How many of us even know what chlorophyll is? Honestly, the last time I thought about clorophyll it was while writing a fifth grade science report on plant photosynthesis.

Listen, I'm not saying you're going to buy into all aspects of this book. Admittedly, she lost me a little bit in the meditation section. Not that I'm somehow opposed to meditation or reiki or spirituality or religious dialogue. It's just not as much my scene as superfoods and paraben-free face wash and learning about how the digestive tract works. For others, spirituality is as integral to their health and wellbeing as the pesticide-free apple they have in their lunchbag, and that's fine too. Whatever works.

The great thing about this book is that you can adopt it all, or you can adopt some of it. You can make small changes here and there, or you can book yourself for a colonic, do a juice fast and make a meditation corner in a quiet room in your house all in one day. At no point does Kris demand that you integrate every last exercise and recipe into your life - she is just telling you what she did, what worked for her, and what might work for you too. I love a little bit of advice without a side of guilt.

Furthermore - and this is what I really, really love about this book - Kris at no point demands that you stop living your life. Not once does she ask you to stop participating in the occasional bender of fried tofu and bottled wine. The best part of life is living and she doesn't want to take that away from anyone. Sometimes it's the binges we go on and the nights we lose track of how many beers we've had because we're laughing too hard with our buddies that are the ones that keep us going. They are healthy while being so disturbingly unhealthy. The key, just like when it comes to pH, is keeping it balanced. This quote sums it up the best, I think:

"Consistency is important but you don't have to be perfect. Health is about keeping in an overall right direction...You may have a beer and chips in the afternoon followed by a shot of tequila for dessert. This is life - it's sweet, fun and unpredictable. I am not perfect and I never will be. Perfect is beige. I am red hot! So are you...You don't politely sit at tables - you dance on them. And after last call, you get back out on the health highway." (p. 17)

A lot of us don't have cancer, but some of us will eventually. It's scary to think about a group of all the people that we love and care about, and when cancer will affect it. Not if cancer will affect it. But when. Or maybe it already has. Too often. I'm not saying this to be alarmist; I'm saying it because it's true.

"We've been brainwashed to believe that we no longer understand our bodies." (p. 15)

My bottom line is this. We could do absolutely everything right - eat all the right food, get the right amount of exercise and remove all the toxins from our environments. And the cancer (or the heart disease, or the stroke) could get us anyway. Fit and healthy people get sick everyday and I don't want to take away from that or somehow victim-blame those who are already sick, regardless of how they fueled their bodies before or during their illnesses. These things make terminal disease no more or less tragic.

I'm just one of those people who believes in stacking the deck in my favour, regardless of whether or not it works out. I think it is time that we all began empowering one another to fight for ourselves and our right to live long and healthy lives. We need to start holding our own, because sadly, no one is going to take care of us for us. Instead there are actually many forces out there intent on doing the direct opposite: misguiding us into a false sense of wellbeing via marketing, advertising and those ridiculous "SmartCheck" labels they put on cheap cans of salt with soup labels on them. This book is part of the journey toward this kind of self-empowerment, and I encourage you to check it out!
Not much reading or knitting going on around here.  I'm mired deep in election work.  It's nearly 12 hours a day by the time I get home.  But I wanted to join in the Yarn Along fun, so here are all the veggies I finished since last week:

This knitting fruit and vegetables seems to be addictive.  It's so much fun to start knitting something and have it done just a short while later.

Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?

Lately, as most of you know, I've been a Mexi-can't. As most of my twitter followers know, the only thing I have been able to do is go out to restaurants. But tonight, finally, I made dinner and it even involved a dough. Don't get too excited, I'm not posting a new recipe. I made my staple mexican rice, (the recipe can be found here), as well as Tempeh and Soy Chorizo Empanadas, or, Tempeh-Nadas. This pretty great recipe came from a pair of fellow Canadian bloggers - Kaylie and Malloreigh of Vegan Mischief. I finished the Tempeh-Nadas in the oven with some salsa and mozzarella Daiya. Everything turned out super nummy but, mostly I was happy to return to my kitchen!

In other news, I still haven't quit Vegan MoFo. I even have a top secret plan written out in a notebook. Doesn't that fill you with anticipation!?
We were thrilled to see an artist (Mary-Leigh Doyle) at work en plein air.  What could be more wonderful -  just at the Elbow Drive, Glenmore Trail junction... which I drive by every day (school run).  So we will have happy memories of chatting with the artist as she, firstly, prepared the background and then made it come alive with her everyday scene?!? of shoeing magpies.
Like my daughter Mary-Leigh loves puns... Hope you get them.

This isn't to say that we wont miss the ghosts that used to make random visits to this area... indeed, at this very spot, some months ago.  I am sure they will have gone to better place.

And what of my progress re-website?  Well, I find that a combination of some knowledge of Photoshop + my age, such that I do remember some code ( from typing up my thesis in one of the first versions of word processing ), put me in a good position on the exponential learning curve for Dreamweaver..... though still on the uphill and struggling part...
Thanks to all who messaged me advice.  I'm really encouraged, thanks.

The other day we decided to go on an afternoon drive to Algonquin Park to admire the autumn colours.  We were not the only ones to think this would be a perfect way to spend an early fall afternoon and as we arrived at the park's visitor centre we were surprised at the amount of cars and tour buses in the parking lot.  We enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours touring the facility and then returned to the car for the one hour drive back to Matthew's.  As we were putting kids in car seats (a time consuming activity), we noticed a white Toyota  backing out of a spot close to the entrance just as someone else was pulling in.  The person pulling in stopped and waited for the Toyota to finish pulling out but the driver of the Toyota stopped, blocking all traffic, and sat there and waited, we're not sure what for.  We all stopped what we were doing to watch.  The Toyota just sat there for the longest time and then finally moved.  As I got into our car I overheard derogatory comments about Asian drivers.  I don't care much for stereotyping people because of their gender or race,  I gave that up in about grade six or seven when I discovered that boys didn't actually have cooties nor were they especially stupid (well the jury's still out on that one).  On the ride home though, I bean to think there was some credence to the idea that Asian drivers...hmmm... how do I put this nicely?....sucked!  We got stuck following behind the Toyota for a fair while driving on roads that were windy and narrow with very few opportunities to pass.  The posted speed was 90km but we often were slowed down to 40km and on the crest of hills we were practically stopped.  Perhaps the driver was nervous because of these signs.

There were plenty of them around (the signs that is, not the moose).  

As we were finally able to pass, I glanced over at the female, asian,driver who sat hunched over the steering wheel intent on the road ahead, white knuckles clenched, and clearly nervous.  

The whole situation reminded me of one of my favourite episodes of the Office.  

While driving behind the Toyota I noticed the license plate and snapped a picture.
BMAD?  We were after driving a good fifteen minutes behind her, we were also afraid.

180 Movie

This is such an important film, and it only takes 33 of your minutes.  Please watch it, pray through it, think about it.  And then visit www.180movie.com

Hidden Valley Farm is located in the Grey-Bruce region of southwestern Ontario. It is an organic farm that welcomes Bed & Breakfast visitors during the summer and early fall months. The farm is owned and operated by Erika and Wilfred, both of whom are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and have been for longer than I myself have been on the planet at all - their participation in a plant-based lifestyle is related to health reasons that stem from certain religious convictions.

Sadly, upon leaving I did learn that there are some animals present on their farm that are eventually sold to slaughter and in the name of full disclosure I want you to know this too. I wasn't aware of this before I visited, and after finding out I wasn't sure how appropriate it was for me to blog about my time there. My main concern being that it might be construed as my granting permission to acts of violence against animals.

In the end, I've decided that not blogging about it makes little to no sense at all. Through a little self-reflection I've determined that my conflictual feelings are nothing but an extension of the dilemma that we vegans expend considerable amounts of energy exposing and it involves the notion of food disconnect. For example, I visit and blog about non-vegan restaurants with vegan options all the time. Some (maybe even most) of these restaurants have fifty shelves of meat and cheese to every one shelf of vegetables and soy burger patties. Fifty shelves of meat and cheese from unknown origins and unknown abuses.

And yet when it comes to talking about my visit to this farm, a red light went off in my head. What I learned from this crisis of conscience is that I'm just as susceptable to food disconnect as the many carnists that I often struggle to find common ground with.

This conflict of mine seems to be the result of the precise point in food production under discussion: the one where the animals are killed. This ugly component of food production is just as present in the restaurants I visit and blog about. Probably even more so in terms of the abuses incurred as a result of the mass production of the animal product required to sustain a standard restaurant. And yet because it's already occurred and has been so neatly cleaned up, made into something that looks so very un-animal in its plastic wrap, it creates far less of a mental and emotional reaction within me. What a strange realization that I made about myself this weekend!

I've been vegan for quite some time now and I like to think of myself as equally outraged at all levels and stages of violence against animals. This experience and subsequent reflection have been nothing short of humbling and educating - I've realized that I have a lot to work on in terms of the biases that I didn't even realize I still subscribed to. It has rendered me a little bit speechless, quite honestly, so I apologize if this documentation lacks a bit of the zazz I like to think my other posts have.

Now that I've gotten the disclaimer done and over with, as conflicted as I am, I do want to share my time at the farm with you, with the realization that some of you may be outraged by it and that I may very well lose some readership and some of the confidence that you have in me as an ethical vegan. At the same time, I hope it contributes to an awareness of veganism as a lifelong learning process, replete with many shades of gray, with each and every one of us defining veganism for ourselves.

Part of the reason I want to go ahead with posting is because I want to acknowledge Hidden Valley as one of the very few B&Bs where those eating a plant-based diet can feel completely and totally comfortable with all the food options available. Guests can rest assured knowing that Erika will accommodate all of their diet restrictions and that all food served is healthy and mostly organic with no concern about cross-contamination when it comes to kitchen equipment. More often than not, your meals are even fresh-picked from the farm's very own garden, full of flavour without much sugar and other not-so-great additives.

Having gone vegetarian in the early 1970s, the farmhouse is lined with book after book about vegetarian diets, many of which are classics that have long since been out of print but mark veganism as its meant to be: vegetable and grain-based. I am obsessed with pre-1990s vegetarian cookbooks, so if you ever want to see me freak out with excitement, hit up a second hand store and find me a cookbook that predates premade, mass marketed vegan sausage links.

Erika is so open about the items she uses as well as the preparation process that she even spent an hour of her time dictating recipes to us so that when we got home we could replicate that which we enjoyed so much of at the farm.

Dinner was served at 6pm on Saturday night and we indulged in organic field greens straight from the garden, topped with a lovely lemon and grapeseed oil salad dressing and what we now affectionately refer to as "Erika sprinkles" (made mostly from sesame seeds and nutritional yeast). We also had a pesto and butter bean pasta and the most wonderful fresh-from-her-garden ratatouille.

Dessert was an incredible apple crisp!

We enjoyed great conversations about veganism, sustainable farming and the quest for long-term health, and Erika even joined us for a few rounds of Mexican Train in the living room after dinner! It is evident that both she and Wilfred are gentle and kind-hearted people and I learned so much about how they personally participate in a plant-based diet. Erika is also a vegetarian cuisine instructor (as well as a fitness instructor, on top of running a small nursery school!) and we spent a lot of our time asking her about her tips and tricks when it comes to preparing vegetarian meals.

Breakfast was served on an almost unbelievably beautiful fall Sunday morning, and it was gluten and flour-free, oat-based waffles topped with maple syrup, date butter, an apricot spread, and the most amazing all-natural organic peanut butter that I must locate here in KW. I lost count but I totally ate four or five and I regret nothing.

It's so rare that I come in contact with the animals that I am so adamant on getting people to eat less of. Seeing them interact with one another and protect and play with their young as well as the trust they showed not only when they approached us, but also when they let us reach over and scratch their furry heads, will always re-affirm my choice to not and to never again consume animal products. It is disheartening to learn the fate of these incredible creatures after the fact, but I am comforted knowing that I have nothing to do with what happens to them or the million others like them.

Here I am. Today.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow,yet here I am.  I feel constrained, yetthat is exactly what I don’t want.  Idon’t want to be tied to anything, I want to be alone, and free, and motion-full,not distracted by other stories that invade my mind.  I wish I wish.  That seems to be my life song.  Regret. Yet I don’t want it. Remorse.  Yet not over sin, justover decisions, decisions that are neither good nor bad, but simply are.  I am. He is.  They are.  It is. And so we exist.

I began, 20 plus years ago, I barely was.  I try to invade the space where thatoccurred, the time when that occurred, the itthat that occurred.  I barely was, yet Igrew, unnoticed, unknown, unfelt, unheard, unseen.  My heart was formed.  And then my heart beat its first beat.  My face was formed—unique—my fingers andtheir fingerprints, my eyes, and their first glimmer of light, so faint throughthe darkness in my cocoon.  Yet it wasnot mine.  Already the world did notbelong to me.  It was hers.  It was his. It was His. 

I was born, and chaos began. Not my chaos, but chaos that would change my life before most of itbegan.  And so I drank another child’sdrink, and waited, cared for by foreign hands, the first words I heard withclarity not being uttered in the language I would learn to speak first, but inthe gentle sing-song of my first country. Time slowed, then, my little fingers grasping for what wasn’t, my tinymind completely unaware of the prayers cast frantically at the feet of theFather.  My mother lives today.  He saved her. And He would save me.

I don’t know what happened those first few years.  Those memories will have to wait untilfurther revelation.  Until then, I relyon second-hand information, but these are my words.  Relating unnecessary foolishness can wait forother epics.  I was 2, it was mybirthday, the carpet was red, and there was a closet.  That is my earliest recognizable memory,though I have no idea why.  And then Iwas 3, and the carpet was mint green (except it wasn’t).  There were stairs, and a balcony, and I wasborn in the kitchen (except I wasn’t). Ice cream cake.  Granny in theliving room—or is that a photograph? Feeding the ducks—or is that a photograph too?  Dancing in the isle, swinging on the swings,exploring the shed, listening for cougars; now the memories begin to tricklemore freely.  My blue flowered coat,standing on the grass, and then my tree. Now the recollections flow abundantly; my imagination was unleashed.  I could create.

My childhood was beautiful, I danced, I lived, I was.  We played together, we lived together.  My big self is simply an echo of my smallself.  At first I thought it was theother way ‘round, but it’s not, at least I don’t think so.  I was so aware of life, so aware of theearth’s spinning, and of the ever-changing stability of green-ness andwind.  I played with imagination, I livedin it, and I revelled in it, drinking in the possibilities like elixir that mylife depended on.  Truly immersing myselfin the realm of the unknown was my daily sup. I was fulfilled in my life, for it existed within the One in whom my life began—a pattern that breaks all tooquickly for many people.  But this is mystory—His story in me.  I could list manylittle regrets, of the kind that seem so monumental as a child.  Sometimes, when I soak my soul in the fabricof my childhood, they still feel huge, untameable, unconquerable, and my heartcries a little.  Then slowly, my heart’sgrubby little fist releases its hold: “Take it, God, it never was mine”. 

Choir.  Capture theflag.  Schoolwork.  Nonsense. My tree.  Oh, to twist among itsbranches again—and yet somehow there is incredible comfort in the fact thatbecause it was good and it happened, it will always exist.  There is nothing about those moments thatneed ever be snuffed out; I can return to that occurrence any time Iplease.  What a beautiful thought!

And then childhood began to wane, and so did I.  Isn’t that what happens to most of us?  When childhood dies, so does a big piece ofour souls.  Mine was slower to becrushed, and solid food has reconstructed much of the repairable parts, yet Istill grow worried about the areas that seem irretrievable, unattainable.  Perhaps one day, or one something else.

Regrets really began. The leadings were inaudible, the directions unclear.  I ploughed forward, unable to make out facesin my soul.  And then, just as I was nolonger able to be me, all hell broke loose, because I did.  I wanted so desperately to be me, for thattiny 2-celled organism I had been some 16 years before to come back to life inmy heart.  I tried.  I tried. I tried so hard.  Trying doesn’twork.  And I wasn’t.

I dabbled, I twirled, I drank in the wind, running amuck inchaos of my own, revelling in the wonders that God has rightly placed in thisworld, from willow, to blood, to body.  Islowly soaked my soul in shame, though I was performing this un-sacred actunaware.  It would take God to resurrectmy heart, for it was no longer human, but ghoulish, though its emitting offaerie projections and faux-truth un-realities remained consistent with mydeeper yearnings.  Yet the cries of myvery being were being slowly stifled too, and so I longed with all that I amfor Truth.  Searching frantically withgrace became my bread and water, no longer satisfied with the first fruits,drinking un-filled of another one’s drink. My pudding was swirled.  Myvanilla was tainted.  My blood was givenup.  I was all but dead. 

And I did not know it.

Deeper rumblings were roaring forth, covering the veryexistence of life itself with vitality. He is alone so that I am not.  Hewas, so that I can be.  I am, because Healways has been.  The Lion’s Song hasbeen sung—is singing.  Creation arose fromits grotesque slumber.  Salvation is.

And I existed.  Thedarkness, with its snaky fingers and shadowy penetrations, was tornexcruciatingly from my heart, as I writhed in terror and regret, weeping andfalling in repentance before the Lamb who is a Lion.  Perhaps one time I shall comprehend themagnitude of that occasion, but today, I can only say that it was the mostviolent experience of my life to date. My life was torn from me, reformed, un-violated, grace poured out, andfaith appropriated.  My death wasundone. 

Yet am I who I was?  Iam who I can be, somewhere, yet I don’t even know me.  I followed the will of God, I went where Iwas supposed to go, and then all of a sudden silent disruptions began to cloudmy clear horizon.  Uncontrollable fogbegan to cover my paths, and fear began to creep its crawly little noses intomy peaceful heart.  It was different thistime, for I was covered differently, my two-cell self far better preserved, butit hurts.  To this moment, there remainssome of that terror, that fright, that distrust that is so shameful to one whonames the Name of the Most High.  If Hecan tear the shroud of night from the blackest of blood-pumping organs, He canbe trusted.  Yet the future scaresme. 

The future is no less real than the past, I realize that,but its un-reality is unnerving.  My calmhas been lost, is lost, yet it is.  Hecan restore it, as He has restored all else and can and will.  Time is irrelevant, if I am surrendered,submitted, cured, healed, not in control.  Restrained in freedom to the King: That isLife.  That is Truth. 

I have found Truth.  Iam afraid of the future, and the past, and the present.  I am afraid of life.  I am not afraid of Life.  Life abundantly, that is what I ampromised.  I am promised, for I existwithin The Promise.  I am redeemed.  I must walk. I walk. 

A conclusion cannot be come to, for time is irrelevant, andthere is no conclusion for irrelevancy of being, and so all that I can say isthis: I am in Him who is I AM.


Remember these?   Well, I've found some more.  Oh how times have changed.

I did receive a vacuum cleaner  once for Christmas many, many, years ago.  Yes, Ian is still alive.   I was young and stupid back then.

Why was I not aware of this? What a horrible mother I was insisting that my kids drink water or fruit juice.

The best fifteen cents a mother ever spent.

Am I the only one that detects some sexual overtones here?

Men are better than women?  Yeah, if you're gay!  There's some serious man-on-man eye contact going on there. I think this is the precursor to Brokeback Mountain.  "Nice knickerbockers friend"  
"Why, thank you." This ad was definitely written by a gay man.

Tracy Harper's mom was more concerned about  her daughter looking "fashionable" than she was about her daughter being labeled chubby. Tracy was born a few decades too early, by today's standards she's practically anorexic.

And we're concerned about our kids playing with toys manufactured in China. 

Cultivate alcoholism more like it.

Because I want nothing but the best for my boys. 

And here all these years I've been keeping cellophane away from my babies.

Can anyone say sexist?  Finest projection? Just what is it they're selling? Do you think those twins are adopted?

So not true! Trust me on this one.

Dear Adman; Sooner or later your wife will drive home the fact she hates this ad by running over you.

Blow in my face buddy and see the places you'll go!

My birthday celebrations weren't too exciting to me this year at first. It seems as if God has something against me this time of year. Two days before my birthday I caught a cold. This is pretty much inevitable. Every single year, at this time I start sneezing and coughing like a fool. It definitely wasn't a good start but it ended pretty fabulously.

My day started with a delicious brunch at Nectar Social House. This restaurant makes me feel like I'm a super fabulous, important person. If you ever have a chance to go there, just go. It's super yum food and has such an uplifting atmosphere. The only problem I had was that brunch only starts at eleven-thirty. I think it should start at ten-thirty or eleven, but that's just me.

As per usual, Mark and I had looked at the menu beforehand, so I already knew what I want to eat. I ordered the asparagus crepes that had scrabbled eggs and local bacon inside. They were doused in a buttery sauce, and I had potatoes on the side. Mark ordered the steak and eggs. Such a man thing to do! It was a gorgeous steak with potatoes, crusty bread and scrambled eggs. It was one of the best brunches I've had at a restaurant in a long time.

After Brunch we headed to Halifax Shopping Centre. I have been begging Mark to bring me since Sephora opened and he finally brought me. I ended up buying the gorgeous True Blood palette by Tarte. Okay, I know its ridiculously expensive, but it was my birthday. After that, we browsed around. Everything had changed so much there.
I love the packaging!

Gorgeous colors!
 And then I remembered the candy apple store. It's a chocolate store that has giant candy apples, chocolate covered marshmallows, fudge, cookies and different sweet popcorn's. Of course, me being a sweet-tooth (understatement of the year) and Mark loving anything junk food (this is definitely true!) got a giant cookie. It had marshmallows, peanut butter, caramel, white chocolate, milk chocolate and who knows what else. And it was good. So good, it took 3 different times that day to actually eat it all. We tried to savour it, so we shared a 1/3 at a time!
Looks good, huh?

Of course we had our ritual trip to Starbucks and headed home and watched sex and the city 2. Sex and the city 1 was on the night before, so we had to finish the series. It's just what we do!
Ah, and before I forget. Mark cooked me my favorite foods. Spaghetti carbonara and my favorite carrot cake. I always pick the richest foods for my birthday! Only once a year I guess! Mark did a great job making my supper though, and I really appreciated a day out of the kitchen that day. I usually cook my own birthday meals- and usually want to. Weird, I know.
Mark did this all on his own! How cute!
love my hello kitty's!

Anyways, that pretty much ended my day. I ended up having a spa day yesterday, since I couldn't have it done last Saturday. Spa days are going to become a necessity in my life. If you have ever thought about having one, stop thinking and just go! So so worth it.

I hope you all enjoyed my extremely long post.

Until next time,

Quiet Evening on the shore of Georgian Bay

Beautiful Whitefish

Andrew did make it out fishing and caught some beauties.  Big, thick whitefish.  Some smaller guys too but the fish were a good size overall.  A good haul today and I am glad he got off the water as quick as he did.  The marine forecast called for an East wind this afternoon and it came with something to prove.  Could hear the waves pounding our shore and I was just thankful Andrew was on shore safe and sound. 
See you tomorrow, bright and early. 
Whilst on a visit to ACAD this morning I dipped into the work of Iran do Espirito Santo  at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery.
Below are a few images of some of the 7 large pieces on show.

Tape 2007/2011 latex on wall
Is is the result of a month long residency at ACAD and involves precise drafting, drawing and painting of latex, acrylic and marker on wall.
What a timely opportunity for me to visit 4000 square foot of line and mark since I am currently devoting some of my time to practicing and investigating design principles once more.

I found it v. amusing to see the ripped off edge on one piece of 'tape'  After many hours of using this nasty plastic for my packing boxes I know these shapes only too well.  The stunning feature is that it isn't plastic tape at all but rubber.

Fence 2007/2011 Permanent marker on wall.
Was rather disorientating for me - perhaps the interplay of the light and my vari-focals! was this the exact effect the artist wanted.  It appears that the fence is suspended some distance from the wall.
 Such brilliant variation in line... you could feel the bends in the wire.
A piece of ebony - probably a veneer leant up against a wall?
No, "A large square in black is carefully etched in minute detail, suggesting a faux ebony wood grain"  wrote Wayne Baerwaldt, Director/Curator, Exhibitions
 Detail of line...

Pieces are at times humorous, intriguing, illuminating or disorientating.  But always very fine.  "His work aims to critically engage or unhinge high modernist ideas associated with "progressive" architecture and design."  This from the documentation accompanying the exhibition... along with "Wit and paradox" So if you are interested in these things... what a great place to visit.

And what of my meeting at ACAD with the Extended Studies team?  Very positive I would say, very positive.