Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheap toilet paper is a false economy.

This is the received wisdom and should be heeded by all. I hate using a public toilet and pulling something akin to tissue paper off the roll. It's better than the wax paper in British toilets, but not by much. It seems to me that if one type is perhaps one cent per square and another is two, but you have to use three times as much of the first...well, that math is pretty easy.

That's it for profound thoughts today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sometimes human nature is very, very sad.

So, we're looking at possible preschool-type experiences for the Spawn. Not that she's likely to go to school unless the public option improves or the private option becomes more affordable. That's a digression. One of the options I investigated on Friday was a parent-run preschool co-op that's just starting here in the 'Couv. It'd be local, unlike Footprint Farm down in Portland. It'd be parents so there wouldn't be a problem with me hanging around in the background. I'd have a voice in how things were done. Right.

I attended an organizational meeting at Cafe Sip 'n' Play 'n' I can't hear you it's too loud. When the meeting started, there were three other maternal units there. So far, so good. The one person who wasn't there was the only one in the group who's actually a friend rather than just another parent. Well, the topic of snacks came up and the missing friend had requested snacks without food colouring or processed sugar. Wow, you'd think she'd asked for food prepared under a blue moon by a full blooded Rani using only the toes of her left foot. Things went rapidly downhill from there, including which curriculum to use (it's an informal preschool, is a curriculum really needed?) and possible inclusion of Baby Einstein. Gah.

What really got me down though was the mob feeling with the food discussion. One lady started it and got the other two going so fast I never had a chance to mention that I happened to agree with the food requests. I think if it has just been the other two, things would have been fine. But three seems to be enough to create a herd. It left a really bad taste in my mouth.

You will be unsurprised to learn I decided against getting involved. Instead, my friend and I are trying to get our own group going. We are talking to people who have the same apparently terribly non-mainstream views on things like food and Baby Dumbstein. Somehow I never thought of myself as belonging to a subculture, but I guess I do.

Obviously the whole thing bothered me quite a bit or I wouldn't still be thinking about it. Am I just terribly sheltered? Is this what life is really like for most people? Backbiting and least-common-denominator led? I guess it's a good thing this happened since the Spawn is not a frog and doesn't need boiling at this tender age.

Back to chat and occasional irony next time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toddler Art, Part II

Here is yesterday's painting. The Russian influence is obvious, I think.

Oddly, this one doesn't have quite the same purplish cast as many of the others have had. Perhaps that's because it's layered even more thickly than usual. She doesn't starve her canvas, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Toddler Art

So, the Spawn likes to paint. This involves putting EVERY single colour of paint she can find onto the paper and mixing them all together. The order of colours varies, but the end result is always the same. A streaky grayish-purplish-brownish mess. Today she painted this way on the same piece of paper for a good forty-five minutes. She seems to like it, but I feel she's been overly influenced by the Russian school of painting. It's too dark outside now to take a good picture of the most recent work, but I'll post one on the morrow.

Actually, she likes to paint more than just the paper. She also paints every available body surface, excepting neck and face (thank goodness). This is not the accidental straying of paint, mind you. This is deliberate spreading of the muck all over her exposed body surfaces. She likes to be "decorated". The only way I was able to wash her off from the most recent bout was by offering her a temporary tattoo to replace it with. The things we stoop to....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Better Gardening Through Neglect

That is what I shall title any gardening book I ever write. We are slowly improving on the taking care of the garden front, but it is slow.

Case in point. Here is a good example of why you should thin your carrots.

And here is what happens when ALL the volunteer tomatoes are not only allowed to grow, but to grow with virtually no support or confinement.

I have gotten rather blase about stepping on tomatoes. These will all be going to make space for a hopefully slightly less neglected winter garden. Perhaps I'll find a good recipe for green tomato salsa or chutney. Or perhaps recipes for both are in order as I suspect there are a lot of green tomatoes hiding in there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is road planning really that difficult?

This has been irking me for some time, but what the &@%# is the deal with having three lane roads abruptly turn into two lane roads for the space of a kilometer at most? Plenty of clear land on either side of the road too, so they can't use that excuse. I think Portland just doesn't like people who live in the 'Couv, so they try to make it as hairy as possible to get from here to there. Either that or there's a class on sadism included in every highway designer's curriculum.

Gluten free ain't all that fun....

So, for a week and a half I have managed to eat no gluten. Whoopee. I have once again determined that gluten free bread is NEVER a substitute for the real thing. Preferably hot out of the oven, possibly with some butter melted into the fresh slice. Gluten free pancakes, yes. Gluten free biscuits, yes. Even gluten free cookies can be okay, if not inspiring. But if it turns out that eliminating gluten actually improves my health, I'm going to be one very disappointed person.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm back! Hurrah!

No update last week because we were all off having fun. We went to the coast and wreaked havoc on all the sand we could reach. Well, I suppose it was mainly the Spawn that did that. She was terribly excited about getting to finally visit the ocean again. And sand, of course, is a toddler's best friend. This despite extremely changable weather. It was sunny, it was windy, it rained, it was sunny, it rained, stir and repeat for the whole of one four day weekend.

We explained the concept of towns and countries to her over the weekend. I have no idea how well she's grasped it, but she does know we live in Vancouver, we visited Seaside, and we stopped at the park in Longview. In fact, she's decided that all her pants are "Longview pants". This is opposed to short pants. When we're in the midst of a drama-fest with her, I remember that she now has a sense of humour and that surely has to count for something.

In other news, we have processed three cases of incredibly tasty peaches. One case is turning into peach wine with another waiting the same fate. Two cases were either eaten or frozen for later eating. There's something very surreal about a row of peeled peaches. They're so...shiny. They still have all their peach colour, but they lack that essential peachy fuzziness. The chickens have been happy to deal with all the peach skin though.

We're also in the process of processing six cases of tomatoes and most of a case of pickling cucumbers. The tomatoes are cooking down into sauce and will be canned in our shiny new pressure canner. After all, it didn't explode when we canned broth.... It will be interesting to see how many quarts of sauce we end up with. The cucumbers will be turned into dill pickles for the Better Half and the Spawn. Well, I expect I'll eat a few too, but I like my lime pickles better. Lucky me, I'm the only one in the house who does like them.

The turkeys have been a right royal headache lately. They have become escape artists. The Better Half clipped their wings again, which will hopefully put an end to all that for a bit. If it doesn't help, we shall be having our turkey dinner a bit early this year. The poor Better Half was trying to get all six of them back inside the fence earlier this week. They were running around and around the trees and the Spawn's climber. The Spawn thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen, but the Better Half was definitely avicidal.

We now have stuff planted in the winter garden, hurrah! Just lettuce and spinach so far, but other stuff will follow soon. We're going to do beets and kale too, at the very least. Possibly bok choi and cabbage (not my choice, but we can always pickle it) as well. It will be interesting to see if the tree trimming the Better Half did makes the garden space viable for a winter garden. It's pretty marginal for a summer one, unfortunately. Though we should get a few pumpkins and delicata squash before first frost.

My current class, Political Geography, is being several shades of unprintable. The textbooks didn't arrive until the first week was halfway over. The writing assignments were hidden in a new spot on the web site. There are now five places I know of where such things can be found. What's wrong with consistency? And the professor is in the process of changing textbooks, so half the documents for the class reflect the new book and half the old. It's just a tad confusing. And annoying. To say the least.

I feel sure there's something brilliant and insightful I'm neglecting to say or something terribly cute that the Spawn's done, but we're all a bit short on sleep today and there are an awful lot of tomatoes on the counter so....

Good night!