Monday, August 25, 2008

New things, etc.

As Richard cooks soup for our dinner, I thought I would share a few things with you all that make me happy.
I just got back from Vancouver Island late last night, where Amber and I did our doula training course. For those of you who don't know what that is, basically a doula is someone who is a 'professional birth partner'. It isn't medical, so I won't actually be delivering babies, but instead physically and emotionally supporting the mother (and in turn her partner) through childbirth. The research showing benefits is pretty amazing, and I am really excited to start supporting women! You can check out this wiki page for a little more info, if you're interested.

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend with some amazing women and AMAZING vegan and raw food. We were pretty spoilt. Aside from doula stuff, Amber and I checked the local yarn store out (Richards scarf is on hold until I get more yarn) and found this beautiful bulky green Peruvian Highland wool which is almost the softest thing I have ever touched (exaggerating only a little). Since we're both mostly enjoying knitting squares at this stage in our knitting career, we came up with an idea for twisty, scrunchy neckwarmers and both whipped one up while in Courtenay. Richard was good enough to model it for me, and I think he looks rather handsome, although the neckwarmer looks way more brown than it does in real life. I guess this is due to the flecks of red and gold it has in it. I love how high it goes up at the back to keep you cozy and warm.

As much as I had a great time on the island, coming home to my own bed was wonderful, especially as Richard had made sure that the house was all tidy. What a treat! I also came home to notice that our veggie garden is well on its way (ok, really I saw that this morning since I arrived back in Vancouver at midnight last night). I can't believe how well our peas are doing and we even have a cute little eggplant on the way. Our chard is looking very ready to be harvested, so I think we'll be using that for tomorrow nights dinner. Yum.

One more thing to show you before I go. Recently it was the birthday of one of the little girls I nanny, she turned two. She is pretty crazy about her tea set, and about food in general, so I decided to maker her a picnic. I had seen a great tutorial for playmat/bag combo on Soozs Big Adventure and made it in a picnic theme. I had a bunch of felt I was meant to be using on another project that I turned into food (3 iced cookies, 2 popsicles, 2 fortune cookies, 2 fried eggs and ravioli), added some plastic ants for good measure and voila!
I think she likes it.

Until next time!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh yes.

My lunch was so good today, I had to take a photo and share with you all the goodness that is curried carrot soup and a Terra breads walnut roll. Swooooon.

Thats all.


On Mondays, it is only my boss and I at work. He usually arrives around 1ish, and today he has gone out to lunch so I have at least another whole hour of time to myself. Hurrah!

Of course he hasn't left me any work to do, and while Im sure
many people think working at an art gallery consists mostly of looking glamorous and wearing only black with one fabulous accessory as people slowly browse art they don't really understand, that is unfortunately not the case with this place. I could try the black outfit one day though.

So I have been escaping into the vortex that is etsy, and would like to show you a few things I'm drooling over in case anyone needs any present inspiration (not my birthday, but just because you love me).

I have a thing about yellow at the moment, and homespun yarn always. You can find this here. She is very clever!

So dreamy.

Fall is coming up, and I think this would be perfect!

And finally, this girl has the most amazing photographs. So whimsical and beautifully surreal.

Ok, and actually finally this time....the blog that has been keeping me company.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Nurse-in update

While my boss is on the phone (you can see how seriously I take my work) I thought I would quickly update you on the H&M nurse-in. The show of support was awesome! So many people, so many boobs. For those of you who have been to the Vancouver store, the mall entrance was all but blocked off by mums, dads, partners, siblings, supporters and media. There were people both inside and outside of the store, drawing LOTS of attention.

One of the best things I noticed was the really wide range of people there. Unlike what I'm sure some people must think, it wasn't only young freaky hippy mums. There were all ages, ethnicity's, levels of alternative-ness (ha!), genders and sexualities. There was a nice community feel to it, people were chatting and swapping stories, watching kids play and doing all that comes naturally with being a parent. All of this did well to reinforce that this is a normal, natural and beautiful act.

H&M were rather reluctant to come and talk to us, there was a rep there from Toronto who basically hid in the back of the store until we all went back there in order to challenge her on H&M's views regarding breastfeeding. Of course she said it is not at all the policy of the company and was obviously a mistake made by the staff (hmm, apparently by 2 or 3 staff along with the manager of the store) - nice, drop your staff in it. When we asked if the staff was aware of this policy, she assured us they did and it was in their training manual. However, strangely when we asked to see this....she was finished talking with us and was ushered away by two minder-like looking people. Eventually she told us that it was a confidential document, and no we could not have access to it.


What really surprises me, was the lack of ability of H&M to deal with the situation - or probably more likely, the degree in which they underestimated the outrage by breastfeeding mothers and their supporters. The best thing they could have done, was admit fault, apologise and make amendments to their store policies. How hard is that?? You would then not only have done the right thing, but would also win back a large amount of your customer base. The second more sneaky way could have been to quickly type up a policy so she at least had something to fake with!

All in all, I think it went really well. I don't for a minute believe they have/had a policy on breastfeeding, but I'm glad that she was pushed into a corner and said so. We and Manuela Valle have something to hold them to. As for those people who still think its offensive, or even for those people who support breast-feeding but only when its hidden away somewhere (yes, even in those lovely comfortable rooms businesses provide women with AS A CHOICE) - I think the question that needs to be asked in response is...why? Why is it offensive? Who or what has told you that? What is inherently offensive about feeding your child? Is it because its a breast, which has been made to be purely sexual? Is it because we so rarely see people being intimate or mothering, that it scares us a little? If so, then the issue is no longer with the breastfeeding woman, but with ourselves and who we chose to let tell us what is right and what isn't.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tom and Barbara

Secretly this is who I want to be. I don't think I fully understood the whole homesteading aspect of the show when I watched it as a young girl. Mostly I just liked the way they talked and honestly believed my Grandma played the part of Margo Leadbetter (an uncanny resemblance to Penelope Keith).

Now 20 or so years on, Richard and I are embracing the idea of living simply and becoming somewhat self-sufficient. We've got a pretty large balcony, so a lucky enough to have a decent amount of space for living in the city - which means lots of place to play and attempt to grow our own food. Mostly we don't know what we're doing. I did find this excellent book though recently, on sale at People's Co-op Books on the drive. Such a treat! It has so many great things in there, from step by step instructions on how to begin growing from seed, to a guideline for making a herbal tea garden complete with handmade teabags. Love it! Its been super helpful, so I thought I would take you on a little trip through our first gardening attempts. Be sure to check out the website. We got our first few plants awhile back at a local community garden, so while shopping at Home Depot recently we thought we'd pick up a few more and some potting mix. Of course us not driving often makes expeditions like this a little tricky, but luckily this time a Capers shopping trolley came to our rescue. Living where we do, we got no strange looks whatsoever.

Plants so far - basil x 2, arctic kiwi, lavender, some cute succulent, a few cacti and jasmine.

I've since been warned not to buy plants from there, apparently they often come with diseases. Oh no! My theory is that we'll love ours back to health if this is the case.

My next gardening stop was The Vancouver Seed bank for some winter veggie seeds. I have gotten a bit of conflicting advice about starting seeds at this time of year, but I figure that it has been super sunny and warm so I may as well give it a go. I honestly thought the seed bank was another pot store, but it turns out they have a fairly wide seed collection, so I picked up some broccoli, cauliflower and dwarf kale seeds. Yum!

As Friday was lovely and sunny, we decided to head over to Urban Garden and grab some sees starter, etc. We were lucky enough to be given a bunch of window boxes and flower pots. So we got to work transplanting the plants we'd already bought, and sowing our peas and salad mix.

Unfortunately waking up to grey, rainy skies on Saturday dampened our spirit a little, Murphy,s bloody Law. So rather than continuing on in our gardening frenzy, we popped up to Figaro's Garden near Commercial Drive to take a look while we waited for the sun to come out. That store is such a treat! We managed to get some great new potting mix and a few more garden treats.

Plant stock take x 2 - rainbow chard, hot pepper, cilantro and an eggplant with beautiful purple blooms!

So while I was a little worried about my seed babies (I've been dragging them around the balcony to get as much sun as possible), we figured we'd leave the plants out in the drizzle for now (but doesn't the jasmine look so happy in her new, roomy home!) and head down to the pub for some beer and a yarn, with yarn and our lovely friends Robert and Amber. Perfect for a rainy evening. Ciao!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Breast is best.

On my way to work this morning, I noticed that the headline in the local train-trash said something to the effect of 'Mother Told Breast Feeding Is Offensive'. I read on to find that Manuela Valle was breastfeeding her 2 month old daughter in H&M when she was told (not asked) that if she was going to continue to breastfeed, then she must do so in a private dressing room so as to not offend customers. Amazing.

What I found to be offensive (aside from the treatment of Valle), was the response of people to the story (on the CBC website) who were talking about breastfeeding as some completely unnatural and disgusting practice. Comments about mothers needing to feed their babies at home and not in public, that it is gross, that breastfeeding in public is 'fine but' you can't just whip it out. Im pretty sure that she was just quietly doing what is perfectly natural for any mother to do, and that is feed her baby when she needed it. As for feeding children at home, does this also include bottle or solid fed children? I don't think so. Any suggestion that her action is offensive, is simply a perversion of a good thing. This is only reinforced by asking a woman to breastfeed in private, making it out to be something that is shameful and to be hidden. Apparently this is not how the BC Human Rights Commission sees breastfeeding, which states "women who wish to breastfeed or express milk can do so while walking in stores." Take that, H&M.

I was also concerned at comments being made that this was a possible set up, and that (heaven forbid) Valles has a PhD in Women's Studies. I'm sorry, does this somehow make her treatment acceptable?

So tomorrow, if you're in the Vancouver area, there is going to be a nurse-in at the H&M store starting at 12.30. There is also going to be a protest station outside. Although I am not a mother, I will be going along to show my support!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here we go!


So I've been thinking about this blog thing for awhile now, have spent awhile making it pretty, and am now of the mind that I should probably actually write something. Novel, no? I'm not 100% sure what this blog will be about to be honest. I don't know that it will be about any one specific thing even. Really, I'd just like to have a wee spot to chronicle my ideas about, and the ways in which I am trying to live in such a way, that I feel satisfied and authentic. Does that make sense? When I say satisfied, I don't mean like 'fat cat' kinda satisfied but more of an 'I know this is right' kind. I'm looking forward to meeting others with ideas to share along the way!

I've been reading various blogs now for a little while, and I love the community of ideas that is created. That and getting new recipes because what girl doesn't love baked goods. I feel like I've been inspired by the people I read about, and by my friends and family to actually do and get good at so I can continue to do the things I'm excited about. I'd love for you all to join me, or for you to allow me to join you!
These guys (two basil and an arctic kiwi in need of a wife) are coming too!