The river winds around a bend and there remains in the curve a little beach of river rock left behind as the river reached its lowest level of the year. A small pool of water higher up the bank is crusted with a thin layer of crystal ice on this crisp winter afternoon. Beautiful, with bumps and frozen bubbles. It’s surreal, looking like the entrance to other worlds. He’s 5 and it’s just too tempting. Jump! Crunch! In cautious Grandma mode I suggest we should toss rocks ahead of us to make sure there are not any deep parts. There his no shortage of rocks! Bonanza! Who knew you could have so much fun breaking ice?
All I was trying to do was sign up for a Canada/USA “duel”, just for fun. And contribute to the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society along the way. The Dynamic Duel, Canada vs US, is a virtual 5k run or walk. I asked my daughter (D1) who is participating if I could do it. After all they might want to add some age to the mix. It turns out several other people’s mothers are doing it too. I’m in!!
Then drama, panic and virtual heart palpitations ensued.
I went to do my 5k walk at the off-leash park. I missed the walk with my husband and D2′s dog in the morning so I thought Aspen might like another walk. He never says no.
I got a text from D1 saying “don’t forget to turn on RunKeeper”.
We got to the park by the river and before I even got the car locked he was off. “Not tired! Not tired! Let’s go!” He was off in the snow mingling with a couple of friendly dogs and their lady. I set off to catch up. The trail goes all the way the the old River Bridge. I took the first few dozen steps wondering how far it actually was to the bridge where the off-leash trail ends. Then thought “Uh-oh! RunKeeper! I need to be able to show I did this!” I stopped to turn it on. The dog pack disappeared over the hill. I played catch up. Except I didn’t catch up.
Now I am not walking for Canada or any cause. No photos in this section! I’m in a panic. He isn’t my dog. Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Beyond where my husband usually turns back I still hadn’t seen the delinquent. Kept going. Eventually he has to come back to look for me. (I have treats.) The trail was good in places and slippery/icy in others. No rushing. I got all the way to the bridge. Another panic. What if he’d gone over the bridge? Where should I go now? Then I met the nice lady with the friendly dogs. She said Aspen had turned back a long while ago. How did he get by me? Well, he’ll be at the parking lot. He’ll wait for me, right? Uh-oh! What if he gets dognapped, or hit by a car or runs off? I am 15-20 minutes from where he undoubtedly is so I call my husband. Could he meet us at the parking lot in case Aspen was waiting there? He said sure, what is an afternoon nap compared to losing the grandpuppy? Just as I thought I’d better call D2 to tell her to expect a found-doggy call, my phone rang. It was D2. Someone had found him. She texted me the number; the rescuer said she’d wait at the parking lot until one of us got there. That was when I realized I had not been breathing. Breathing deeply I headed back to the parking lot. My husband was there. Aspen was there. The nice lady and her dogs were there. He came running over, wagging his tail and saying, “Where have you been?”. I took the delinquent dog home.
I looked at RunKeeper. It was at 3.2K. Uh-oh. I wasn’t finished and I still had errands to do in town. On the plus side I had remembered to pause RK and had not lost the whole thing. We have a nice trail in our area but I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and have a look at a different trail on my way to town. Just 1.8K to go. I parked by the boat ramp and walked along the river. I’d go .9k and then turn around and come back. I crossed a creek where brilliant green grass nestled among the snow and ice. The water rushing down to join the Bow sounded icy. The trail wound up through the woods. It was sunny and lovely with the aspens making shadows on the snow. Different Aspens. A lot less stressful. A little farther on I came upon a tunnel. It followed the creek and went under the road. The sound of the water echoing in the tunnel was wonderful. At that point I paused RK to take a couple of photos because the creek was magical and the ice crystals forming were so pretty in the sun.
I forgot to see how far I had gone so ended up going more than 5K but it’s win-win right? The dog is safe. (Thanks Anna for rescuing him.) I did my walk, saw beauty in the silver, singing creek and rewarded myself with a latté on the way home. And I have the evidence that I did it.
All year long we celebrate freedoms. Remember, remember the 5th of November. D-Day in June, remembering the desperate attempt at storming the beaches of Normandy, Pearl Harbour Day, V-E Day, Canada Day, Independence Day in the US, Bastille Day in France and many more in cultures around the world. They all serve to remind us of the pain of fighting, the destruction and loss, but today I remember with gratitude the men and women who saved us from Fascism in Europe. Yes, we were rushing to the defense of the mother countries; our own country had not been invaded but both of our founding nation had been invaded or attacked, brutally.
People still bravely go to the defence of their roots, trying to help out in the troubled places of the world.
The words of “In Flanders Fields” are engrained forever in my memory. For some reason I was the go-to girl for reciting the poem in school at the annual service. You didn’t read things out then; you memorized them. We didn’t have a holiday on Remembrance Day but we stopped everything, solemn words were spoken, the poem, was recited and 2 minutes silence was strictly observed at 11 a.m. In remembrance. There were two sets of words that stuck in my memory: “..scarce heard amidst the guns below”. I was a child who loved solitude and silence. The thought of guns that could silence the larks was horrific. The other is “Take up our quarrel with the foe, To you, from failing hands, we throw, the torch…”. I didn’t think of it as a figurative torch of freedom. I saw in my mind’s eye beat-up hands tossing real torches to those of us left. I think I was always afraid the torch would go out. How could we not carry on their fight? Every year for years I recited, trying not to cry in case the torches went out and likely worrying about the larks too.
The end of WWII was fresh in eveyone’s memory then and every adult had lost friends and family members in both World Wars. There were many old vets around from WWI who had been gassed or shell-shocked and of course, received no treatment or compensation in those days. My mother’s fiancé had been killed. My uncle missed the birth of his second son and the death of his wife because he was overseas flying missions with the RCAF. Both my Dad and my Mom’s father were farmers so they were not supposed to go. Even so my Dad tried. But he had varicose veins and they said no. I never noticed that they slowed him down but I might be secretly glad that he didn’t meet the fate of Mom’s first love.
The image above reminds me of so many of those old vets, my parents’ and my grandparents’ family and friends, and the young men that they had once been. I don’t know the source but have seen it in many posts this week. Let me know if you know.
Those people who went to war gave up everything, home, friends, family, education, jobs, to go to fight the Fascist regime that was trying to take over our home countries, the founding nations of our country, England, France and their Allies, the regime whose value system justified killing millions in “ethnic cleansing”. I have met Holocaust survivors, seen their tattooes and heard their stories. They celebrate their freedom every day, while eternally mourning the millions destroyed, most often including their families.
These images are from the Arnold Bauer Barach Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives. They are of Bergen-Belsen, just one of many internment camps the Nazis ran. The first is a mass grave there. The survivors in the second photo are walking past piles of shoes. So many shoes, so many lives lost.
Canadian soldiers have since fought and lost their in lives in conflicts since then in Asia and the Middle East. They have acted as peace keepers and still do. They still have their bodies, physical and mental health destroyed in looking out for us all. We need to remember their sacrifices, give support to those who are still with us and rejoice that we have the freedoms that we have. Perhaps there is hope that one day people will end violence, will stop trying to tell others how to live, will stop being greedy and power hungry. Perhaps one day “We Shall Overcome”, but in the meantime, Remember. Don’t let it have been in vain.
I’ve become a food warrior after a big wake up call – cancer – and the increasing number of allergies in my family.
So I find it very disturbing that the Competition Bureau of Canada is limiting my choices because of an arbitrary decision they have made. Our local Sobeys store is one is 23 stores across Western Canada that they insist must be sold as part of permission for Sobeys to buy Safeway Canada. (Cochrane Eagle story) Victoria will lose some stores and the sale of Thriftys store in Sapperton in New Westminster, BC is being widely protested by locals.
I have not been a great fan of Safeway in the past, mainly because of the quality of produce I’ve encountered. In Victoria Thrifty Foods (now owned by Sobeys) and locals had much better produce. Since moving to Cochrane though, I have changed my mind. Safeway here has great produce, and lots of organic choices available. I can get most of what I want in the fresh fruit and vegetable category here without having to shop in Calgary, a great bonus as I believe strongly in shopping local. But they do not carry much else that is organic, notably staples. Until Sobeys opened I had to shop in Calgary for those.
Just this year in June Sobeys opened in Cochrane, a brand new store in The Quarry, a new development in downtown Cochrane. And the store is locally owned. Now this store supplies the other part of what I need. They carry my organic staples. They also carry beef that is grass-fed and guaranteed to be free of antibiotics and growth hormones. And they have dried fruit and nuts and seeds that are organic, as well as staple items like organic peanut butter and organic coffee (reputed to be two of the worst items for pesticides internationally. Source Dr. Andrew Weil) In addition there is their new Jamie Oliver relationship which promotes real food and good recipes. (I am not being paid or rewarded in any way for saying this. I just like the recipes and recommendations.)
Our other larger local choice is stocked mainly with processed and packaged food sourced from the big food companies which are doing their best to make sure we are not informed as to what is in our food. GMO vs non-GMO is another story. The jury os still out on that and I will not get into it here. Lastly while we know we are soon getting a Walmart, we can also be fairly sure that the food they carry will not be free of preservatives and perhaps, pesticides. If the store were sold to Community Natural Foods it might serve my purpose but any other including Co-op is not likely to carry the assortment of organic that I want.
We made mistakes as young parents choosing to use processed and packaged food instead of real goods. It was convenient and we were totally unaware of the amount of preservative chemicals, salt and sugar that the food companies had introduced, as taste enticement and to improve shelf life. Agricultural and food government administration has not helped, insisting on preservatives that have to be one of the main sources of the spike in allergies and illnesses in current society. I understand why, there being a great danger of food poisoning from spoiled food. However, I have been tested for sensitivities and will not buy food containing sulfites and sulfates. So that leaves me with “real food”.
Our generation drifted away from growing full fledged gardens, mainly because it became so easy to access fruits and vegetables in the stores, whatever the season.
My youngest daughter who became vegetarian at 12 and very soon after, basically organic, does not have allergies, nor does she have other health and weight issues. She has taught me a great deal. I am moving back in time and growing a garden like my parents and grandparents did, and teaching my grandchildren to love gardening too.
So I resent having my choices limited at a time when our relatively small town is going through rapid growth and we need services that satisfy our needs. I prefer to limit purchases in other areas and spend my money on good real food, thereby staying alive to play with my grandchildren. That is after all, why I moved here. I would prefer that the Competition Bureau let well enough alone and allowed us the choices we require. Anybody hearing me?
It’s sharing time and the green-eyed monster has arrived. We are only three weeks into sharing our day with the baby who is crawling about like a speed demon and soon to be a toddler. The first week was like a little holiday. C wanted to play with E and all was well. He gave me detailed instructions as to how the baby was to be looked after and fed him lunch, much to E’s delight. At the end of the day he mentioned that we had not had any Lego time but didn’t seem too concerned. Shades of things to come. He can’t stay for dinner on weekdays anymore when the baby is here because E needs to go to bed. He hasn’t complained about that yet.
The following week we had had our weekend sleepover on his own so we had done our usual range of activities, crafts, baking, outdoor time and the only thing that was a little disturbing was that the baby had been allowed to arrive before him. What might we have been doing without him? He has only ever been here on his own or with the whole family, often aunts and uncles included.
But this was the third week. Their Dad dropped them off together after kindergarten and when I went to answer the door he was pinning up a sign that he announced read “No Babies Allowed”. He had also printed his brother’s name to make it very, very clear. So we had a little chat. Dad had already told him that Grandma and Grandpa were the other children’s grandparents too and had to be shared. Some things are hard to share. When Dad had left we talked about it some more. How he will always be that special first one, how he is older and able to do other things and how we will be sure to have our own time on his own, but it needs to be at other times now. So he turned the paper over and drew another picture that he says states “Babies allowed, no Connor”. He does look a little cranky though and I am not sure that “no Connor” was what we wanted either!
We won’t have the spontaneity we once had… no “Let’s go for a walk, to the beach, to get ice cream, etc.” And we still didn’t have any Lego time (babies eat Lego). Ice on the hill and walkway meant he couldn’t go sledding because I had to stay with the baby and was afraid to let him go on a steep and dangerously icy hill on his own. So we baked instead, a creation of his own. He devised a way to “trap” the baby inside the kitchen with us and lots of toys and the cupboard full of plastic containers to occupy him. And the baby will soon be more mobile and easier to go out with.
Problem solved? Have we exorcized the anger? I doubt it but we will work on it. He was, after all, the only one for more than 4 years. We have had a weekly day from the time he was just over a year except for the time after they had moved here and we hadn’t yet. He had just turned four when his twin cousins were born and his brother was born 3 months later. Then we had that baby time when the little ones did not “interfere” as they sat quietly (most of the time). Now they are becoming little people and quite vocal, even though we have no idea what they’re saying most of the time.
Yesterday he asked me how to spell uh-oh. I thought we’d leave the dash out as his 5 year old grasp of letters and spelling is quite new. He had lots trouble with the dual nature of the word. Me, I am having lots of trouble with this new uh-oh in our grandparenting life. Do let me know if you have any suggestions to keep us busy while also entertaining a 13 month old. This is when I really miss the beach!!
One year olds have to learn to walk. Two year olds have to say “No!”, often in a big loud voice because they are developing minds of their own and learning that they are a separate entity from those other people who feed them and tell them what to do. Would you really want your child to remain a small complacent and infantile creature? Three and four year olds have to test the limits. And so it goes.
Woody, my kids’ famous bio teacher, told me teenagers have to sleep a lot; it’s a biological requirement dictated by the arrival of hormones. Woody said so, so it must be true. The head of the school told me that teens must rebel. That it is healthy and you wouldn’t want it otherwise (and not to sweat the small stuff).
When you’re in your twenties you need to be idealistic. You need to try to change the world and make it a better place. Progress is based to a great extent on the insistence of young people to change. So don’t rain on their parade. Let them try. Rejoice in the consequences if they get things right. And don’t forget to listen. You might learn something. We changed quite a lot in our day. I have high hopes for our children’s and grandchildren’s generations. It’s still Spring for them.
In our thirties we have the world ahead of us. We have growing confidence in our own competence. With any luck it doesn’t get knocked out of us. The trials of education are completed, skin problems and hopefully, selfconsciousness are in abeyance and we can forge ahead knowing there are decades of productive time ahead. We are also at the peak of our physical abilities. Deterioration of strength, sight, organs and whatever else starts to fall apart later has not seriously set in and we might just stave it off if we look to our health and nutrition. Our small kids are endlessly fascinating as we watch them learn and grow. They are also endlessly tiring as we try to cope with jobs, household stuff and volunteering never mind teaching them everything they need up know in the 5 extra minutes we have each day,
In our forties we are settled in. If not, we are breaking out and forging new directions, making new paths and feeling our mortality. Hair gets grey, wrinkles appears, sight deteriorates. Horrors! (I have an earth-shattering revelation for you: those things really don’t matter!) The small kids we had enjoyed in our thirties are getting bigger, more expensive and we spend a lot of time at exhibits, arenas, recitals, pools and sportsfields. They are more challenging, sometimes REALLY challenging, but interesting in a different way. (Wish I had that picture of Lindsay’s rugby black eye.) (but not the broken jaw.)
Later it becomes more contentment and satisfaction rather than zest and joy. There are still moments of pure enjoyment but they are more serene. If I run into Woody I will have to ask him if this too is hormones. Yes, I know we can also be bitter and disillusioned at this stage and wonder, “Is that all there is?”. This is the time when the kids are launched and the nest is empty (maybe). Life may be full of new adventures or it may be full of emptiness. Grandchildren, when they come, are a great bonus! But I hope we have learned by then to grab the moment and take the time to appreciate what is after all a pretty amazing and wonderful world. Look out there! There are great satisfactions to be had: ideas, projects, images of beauty. Social media offers links to a huge array of things to see and learn and appreciate if you can’t afford to be out there travelling or you don’t want to be out in the world. I don’t think I mean Facebook. I mean following the right sort of blogs and the right people on Twitter and even some photo sites. It’s all about being selective and not drowning in trivia. You must choose your poison, not someone else’s. But here is an example of a wonderful photo blog that lights up my day whenever I feel like wasting time. And there are so many online courses. What makes your heart sing?
We discover with any luck, that what we were meant to do is what were have been doing all along. Or when the proverbial door closes a new and exciting window opens. If we are lucky we have realized that what is important is people and connections with them, the earth and its beauty and the wild places that inspire the soul. And we find that there are a few more interesting things to fit in. It may be growing a garden, travel, reading, art, learning a language, creating something. I hope you have your own list. Malls, plastic, disposable goods, planned obsolescence, celebrities and current fashion are all facts and drivers of our economy and our first world lifestyles but they are not inherently satisfying.
I promise to enjoy the leisure time there might be at some point. I am soon going to enter another decade and there are some prompts popping into my head. Better do this while I still can! Better think seriously about those languages, degrees, programs, etc. I am not at all clear what the decade after that and the other ones later might mean.
Let’s rejoice that the world is turning pink this October. And that we are surrounded by horrible black moustaches in November. Let’s celebrate increasing cancer awareness profiles. Let’s not waste precious energy worrying about which cause got more ink or more money. It will all be good. Synergy will ensure that solutions generate other solutions and that knowledge gained is shared. The sooner the better.
The numbers are staggering. Breast cancer will strike 65 Canadian women a day in 2013 according to Breast Cancer Canada. That’s almost 24,000 women who have to suffer the trials of some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Prostate cancer seems to eventually strike most men. It’s slow progression means most will die with it, of other causes, than of it. Its presence can still weaken the immune system, making the prostate cancer sufferer susceptible to more ills. My husband is a survivor. His father also had prostate cancer. He has 2 sons. My son has twin boys and my daughter has two boys. My husband’s son has a son. That’s quite a chain. So I rejoice for the impact of Movember. If you want to see a picture of the cutest twins in the whole world my son is starting his Movember campaign early this year. We need to get this solved before those little guys grow up!
I am a survivor of the disease that whispers, ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer will strike only 2600 women per year in Canada (according to Ovarian Cancer Canada) so while the numbers are much smaller, the survival rate is what is staggering here: 1750 of those women will not make it.
We all know many people who’ve had breast cancer, some several times. We’ve lost precious family members and friends and celebrated with some who have made it through. So the sea of pink out there during October is a wonderful and inspiring thing. I was so excited to see West Jet go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I wonder how many of their employees have been impacted? Certainly hundreds of thousands of their passengers have.
The focus on breast cancer fund raising has generated testing that works, development of new chemo drugs and post-chemo drugs that boost survivor rates. It also provided an anti-nausea drug that arrived on the scene just before my treatment and saved me endless misery (see what I mean about synergy?). Breast cancer is no longer an absolute death sentence as it was when I was younger. I am pretty sure that death sentence for all cancer that prevailed a few decades ago is why the “C” word engenders such fear. Breast cancer survival rates have improved dramatically since the 1980s. Now 88% of women survive, probably because of awareness and consequent earlier detection according to Breast Cancer Canada.
Debilitating fear can strike when you hear a diagnosis of cancer. When your body is “invaded” by rogue cells, creating illness and abnormality, there is also a feeling of violation, a loss of control that imposes a psychological burden on top of the physical illness. The treatments for various cancers are different, the time frames different but we are all sisters and brothers under the skin when struck by the big “C”. Ovarian cancer is the silent cancer, the disease that whispers while it is sneaking up on you. It is characterized internationally by teal, not pink. We don’t have the same momentum as the pink movement does but we are getting there. Of course we don’t have the same high numbers. But we do have a much higher death rate. Of my 10 member post-chemo support group from 8 years ago, only 2 survive other than me. We are right on to the statistics, a 70% death rate if not diagnosed early. How sad! The really scary part is that the symptoms are so subtle and the disease is so virulent that before many people are diagnosed they are in advanced stages.
But this September, Ovarian Cancer’s awareness month, there was a much higher awareness profile, an increased communication, more sharing of symptoms information. This weekend at the last local farmer’s Market of the season I came across the awareness stash of another survivor, some printed material and teal buttons: There are also wonderful small movements happening like Teal Toes.
And how could you not cheer looking at these fabulous Icelanders painting a highway lane pink?
Let’s all rejoice in the success of increasing awareness profiles. Let’s all support one another. Let’s give three cheers for the pink, teal and black and maybe peach and purple and any other colour/group that is passionate enough to get out and try to solve something. A breakthrough in one area will lead to breakthroughs in others. We win by sending positive energy and loud hurrahs to those waging their own battle.
And meanwhile back at the farm, other doctors and researchers are working on finding out what has gone wrong in our world that so many people have cancer, are allergic and have attention deficit disorders. Could it be our food? Could it be toxins? And what are we going to do about it? That’s another post for another day with my Food Warrior straw hat on.
I know, it’s easier for me; my life has been spared and neither I nor my husband have active disease. But there is one thing I do know. To focus on good energy and positive thoughts is critical to survival.
Heading out to Explore Alberta this morning we found our anticipated event shut down because of wind so we went in search of ice cream (of course). The power of Google led us to the small community of Black Diamond where there are some family roots. It also led us right into the 1950s.
The ice cream place was a total surprise, a vintage 50s “Soda Shop”, soda as in ice cream soda, complete with chrome and vinyl, Elvis, classic movie posters, vintage jukeboxes ….Del Shannon and Run, run, run, run, runaway, Roy Orbison (who had worn out his run apparently, no number of quarters would bring him up), the Witch Doctor, Purple People Eater and many more!
We had ice cream. The baby’s first cone. It wasn’t such a hit so we had to have fries. They were a hit.
You’ll notice in the background that there were even vintage 50s waitress uniforms – in pink. They sell poodle skirts and real crinolines in case you are looking for a costume.
We sat in our booth
and munched on our fries and played the jukebox. And looked at the displays.
My daughter was very patient with me. She didn’t laugh. She supplied quarters. It was fun.
I’ve spent a lot of time this summer prowling farmer’s markets. One of my first questions to vegetable vendors is: “Is your produce pesticide-free?”. The reply at a local weekly market was “We use just a little bit.” Should I laugh or cry?
Some vendors have some of each and are good about labelling which is which. Perhaps some crops are less susceptible or perhaps some are from greenhouses where critters are easier to control. I was making pickles and relishes and asked for organic carrots. What I got were carrots labelled “Farmer’s Market”. Now I don’t know if anyone has registered that as a trademark but it would be a pretty powerful brand these days. The branding implies back-to-the-earth down-home value, good nutrition and somehow, integrity. But I suspect the folks who packaged those carrots use pesticides. They are not labelled organic.
These are even better, especially since, 1. the price is right; we grew them ourselves from locally sourced seed and, 2. because they do not have to be transported long distances. If I had a large enough garden and a root cellar I would not have to worry.
As it is I will be haunting the indoor farmer’s market over the winter spending my money with local producers who do have large storage facilities or alternatively shopping in local stores that carry organic products because I firmly believe that pesticides are behind many of our current developed world health issues.
The branded ones may have more nutritional value than the carrots in processed soup. They are after all “real food” rather than processed additive-ridden mush. (Are my prejudices showing?) Indeed carrots may not even be on the dirty dozen list (see link below) of the worst foods for pesticide. However, if you’re trying to avoid pesticides they aren’t likely what you want. My point is that the branding can be misleading unless you take the time to read and analyze. Confusion about how good that package of carrots might be is understandable though.
There is much misunderstanding about good food and food labelling. I believe real food is best, whole food, as unprocessed as possible. I definitely want to feed my grandchildren foods without pesticides but also without preservatives and additives or excess sugar or salt. The need to increase shelf life to keep goods useable in a long food chain has evolved into something that I believe is creating allergies, health issues and lack of proper nutrition. I am not an expert but research is beginning to show that hunger is much better satisfied by good food than by empty calories. It seems good whole food is more nutritious than processed and additive-polluted food. Are you surprised? So perhaps the extra expense of good quality food is justified and we will break even in the end. In our parents’ day everyone had a garden. Our generation fell for the ads and the ease of fast food and processing. Society is paying. We have to start making it better before things are ruined forever. I am delighted to see people loving to grow things again and saving and sharing seeds.
But in the general marketplace terminology is less than reliable. What is “Organic”? Does the word, if properly used and certified by bodies we know and trust, mean non-GMO? It does mean no pesticides, doesn’t it? Does it mean the same thing everywhere? Is it misused or abused? Is it all organic or partial?
What is “sustainable”? Again at a local market a supplier claimed their product was all good because it was labelled “sustainable”. The problem is the only basis for that label was that it wasn’t sourced in species at risk. That is good, but it turns out that many of the products (in this case fish and seafood) are from sources using farming methods that are quite questionable. Pesticides and antibiotics can be “necessary” when the creature being farmed requires penning. “Environmentally friendly” has many facets, not just one.
At the local market there are locally-made “hot dogs” without additives. I’ve gone back to making relish so the grandson who is old enough to be influenced by peers to eat the dratted things doesn’t have to have that green plastic kind. The interesting thing is that the vendor of those hotdogs is always sold out. it does seem people are ready fro change. You have to order ahead. Marketing opportunity? Branding Opportunity? In this case it is a real “Farmer’s Market” item and is enjoying success.
So take the “Farmer’s Market” lesson to heart. Here are four things you can do. Pick one and get started to better health:
1. Read labels and if you care about your food and your health, your friends, kids and grandchildren, choose carefully. Don’t necessarily believe the branding – look into it further. In some cases this means slowing down, also good, and ahem, wear your glasses so you can read the signs and labels.
2. Don’t believe everything you read. Again, look into it further and decide for yourself what changes you want to make, if any. We have often been misled in the past, usually by large companies with more profit motive then conscience. Check if claims on the negative side or positive side are backed by proper research. And remember some “good science” is wrong in the long term. Humankind is always learning new lessons. Another point is that when something is not backed by “good science” it is often because it is unknown, or has not been researched, not that it is not true, although it may be. You will notice that medical doctors usually say it is “not scientifically proven”. This is a tough one and confusing. But listen to your heart and go with what you believe to be true, not what is easiest.
3. Check out the “dirty dozen” foods that are most affected by pesticides and try to steer to the organic version of those if, like most people, you can’t afford to be totally organic. This list is updated every year. And note the “clean” list which indicates where you can be less stringent if you wish.
4. Choose one thing to make yourself more self-sufficient and sustainable. Buy local where you can, locally made bread, locally grown produce, local meat, fish, seafood. Grow a garden or even a pot of herbs. Herbs give a lift to your winter foods. Make and freeze your own ___________. Fill in the blank with something you love. Is it tomato sauce, pasta sauce, soup bases? Dehydrate something. Dehydrating brings the taste of summer back with a pop! Make food together with family or friends. It may just be more enjoyable than watching TV. There are many food blogs and internet sites with ideas. Have fun! Make yourself proud.
When my kids were small there was a Dr. Seuss book, in his Theo LeSeig guise, that was called “Maybe You Should Fly a Jet”.
Now I’m in the same position that they were when they were 5 and wondering what to “be” when they grew up. My real estate license expires on Thursday. I’ve been winding down for some time and have chosen a new place to live, back after 3 decades in an area I love. But there is a somewhat panicky feeling: who am I going to be? The choices when the kids were 5 and indeed now, were and are infinite for 5 year olds. At my age it’s a little different. I am unlikely to take up a new career that takes years to build. I had better hurry up if I want to be an competent artist. So I thought I would explore the options via Dr. Seuss:
She could learn to weave or knit,
Or she could sit and sit and sit.
Better she should dance and dance,
Or learn to sew up yoga pants.
Or mountain climb or write a rhyme
Maybe she should learn to rest,
That would be a mighty test!
Maybe she should drive a bus,
Maybe she should learn to cuss,
She could be an analyzer,
Or a secret hypnotizer,
(None would even be the wiser)
Maybe she could learn to blog,
Maybe she should get a dog,
She could be a health food teacher
She could hide where none can reach her.