Friday, November 28, 2008

My family and art

Ages ago, like the beginning of this blog ages ago, I started a collage on my wall and put pictures of it on here. When I got home from NBTSC, I added a painting I had made there and that I'm now getting around to showing on here. Actually, I believe in my Not Back To School Camp post I actually have a picture of the painting in progress... It's abstract, and nothing special really, but somehow it just really appeals to me. *Shrugs*

I also took pictures of my family today. Below are Emi fresh from a shopping trip today, and wearing her brand new gloves which she loves, and my father. They are both made of pure awesomeness. :-)


Quotes, quotes, and more QUOTES!

I love quotes. Period. Words are beautiful, and when a particular sentence or paragraph stands out to me, I try and write it down somewhere so I'll remember. Sadly, there are many, many quotes that have simply been forgotten before I got a chance to save them. So this is now my official quote collecting page. I'll put a link to it in the sidebar, and I'll add new ones here whenever I find them. I hope you like at least one or two of these amazing, funny, ironic, profound, or just plain (to me) awesome quotes. :-) Please do tell me any cool quotes you know of, as I'm constantly collecting new ones! Oh, and don't worry, I don't expect anyone to read them all. It's just a general quote repository for me, that you're welcome to browse! :-P

"You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long" Boris Yeltsin

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." Joe Stalin, comment to Churchill at Potsdam, 1945

"Join the Army, see the world, meet interesting people - and kill them." Pacifist Badge, 1978

"And I have seen better men fight to the bitter end, following orders form you, and I don't think it's treason to ask for a reason when nothing you've told us it true."
Jason Fisher (from the song Dear Mr. President)

"The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living." Omar Bradley

"If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war." Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in
large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." Voltaire, War

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
-Howard Zinn

“A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.”
-William Blum

“Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
-Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”
-Ambrose Bierce

"In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this." Terry Pratchett

"It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I can't see." Eleanor Farjeon

"Purring would seem to be, in her case, an automatic safety valve device for dealing with happiness overflow." Monica Edwards

"To bathe a cat takes brute force, perseverance, courage of conviction - and a cat. The last ingredient is usually hardest to come by." Stephen Baker

"Of all the toys available, none is better designed than the owner himself. A large multipurpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any direction. It comes completely assembled, and it makes a sound when you jump on it." Stephen Baker

"A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys." Barbara Holland

"If you take [a copy of] the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain." Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman.

"If humans died in a healthy culture, they would not lock out the earth in metal coffins and carve their names on stone monuments, but would instead place the naked body in the earth and plant a tree above the silent heart."
-William Irwin Thompson

"Yield gracefully when someone pushes in front of you. You can then stab them in the back." Ka'a Orto'o Gnomic Utterances, X xx (from The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones)

"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it." Jack Handey

"I hate intolerant people." Gloria Steinem

"We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives."

"The first step to getting what you want out of life is this: Decide what you want." Ben Stein

"With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back." Russian proverb

"For those who understand, no explanation is needed. And for those who don't, no explanation will ever be enough." Unknown (at least to me!)

"If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag." Author Unknown

“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.”-Chamfort


Racism, Sexism, Ageism, Prejudice

"A racist will state many reasons as to why a certain race is undeserving of equal treatment and respect. A misogynist can list a myriad of reasons as to why women are inferior to men as a gender. As with other forms of irrational group prejudice, the ageist will provide you with many excuses for treating children with... less regard and respect than they themselves deserve to be treated." - James C. Talbot



"To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death." -Jules Henry

“War is when the government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself.” -Unknown to me!

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" JFK

"When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty."

“Kill Capitalism before it kills you!” Infoshop slogan

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe

"The hardest battle in life is to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else." E. E. Cummings

"I should really like to think there's something wrong with me —
Because, if there isn't then there's something wrong,
Or at least, very different from what it seemed to be,
With the world itself — and that's much more frightening!" T.S.Eliot

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." -Jack Kerouac

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead

"1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them."
-Kurt Vonnegut

"Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, schools destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the mainstream media destroys information, and religions destroy spirituality."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

"The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity."
-Dr. Robert Anthony

“Find out just what the people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
-Frederick Douglas

“Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.”
-Arundhati Roy

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill,”
-John Lennon

“The point of public relations slogans like ‘Support our troops’ is that they don’t mean anything… That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That’s the one you’re not allowed to talk about.”
-Noam Chompsky

“The corporations don’t have to lobby the government any more. They are the government.”
-Jim Hightower

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
-Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945

“Expecting FOX News to report real news is about as silly as waiting for George Bush and Dick Cheney to tell the truth… Americans care, but it’s tough to care when you don’t know what’s going on. That ignorance is what the warmakers count on and what the corporate media delivers.”
-Amy Goodman

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’
But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’
And there comes a point when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

“The truth hurts, but denial is what will kill you.”

“What’s public opinion? It’s the education system plus the media.”
-Mark Green (President of Air America radio)

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.”

“Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know; I was an EHM.”
-John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“Fascism - A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”
-The American Heritage Dictionary, 1983

“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
-David Rockefeller, September 14, 1994

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”
-Edgar J. Hoover

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who Is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”
-Henry Louis Mencken

“Government cripples you, then hands you a crutch and says, ‘See, if it wasn’t for us, you couldn’t walk.’”
-Harry Browne

“As a rule of thumb, if the government wants you to know it, it probably isn’t true.”
-Craig Murray

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.”
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
-Albert Einstein

“Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country, for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria.”
-Howard Zinn

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
-Thomas Pynchon, Jr.

“It does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continous, the essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labor. A hierarchal society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. The war is waged by the ruling group against its subjects, and its object is not victory, but to keep the very structure of society in tact.”
-George Orwell

“Those who manipulate the organized habits and opinions of the masses constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country”
-Edward Bernays, assistant to William Paley, founder of CBS

“…ironically, perhaps, the best organized dissenters in the world today are anarchists, who are busily undermining capitalism while the rest of the left is still trying to form committees.”
-Jeremy Hardy, The Guardian (UK)

"You’ve got to rattle your cage door. You’ve got to let them know that you’re in there, and that you want out. Make noise. Cause trouble. You may not win right away, but you’ll sure have a lot more fun."
-Florynce Kennedy


"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." Leopold Stokowski

"And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done

"The music in my heart I bore, long after it was heard no more." Wordsworth

"Music is what feelings sound like." Author Unknown

"If time and space are curved, where do all of the straight people come from?" Author Unknown

"You could move." Abigail Van Buren, "Dear Abby," in response to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood


 “There is no neutral education. Education is either for domestication or for freedom.” -Joao Coutinho

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." Albert Einstein

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." Dorothy Parker

"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education." Bertrand Russell

"Education is the period in which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know." G. K. Chesterton

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." Albert Einstein

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey

"The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions."
- Noam Chomsky

"The structure of American schooling, 20th century style, began in 1806 when Napoleon's amateur soldiers beat the professional soldiers of Prussia at the battle of Jena. When your business is selling soldiers, losing a battle like that is serious. Almost immediately afterwards a German philosopher named Fichte delivered his famous "Address to the German Nation" which became one of the most influential documents in modern history. In effect he told the Prussian people that the party was over, that the nation would have to shape up through a new Utopian institution of forced schooling in which everyone would learn to take orders.

So the world got compulsion schooling at the end of a state bayonet for the first time in human history; modern forced schooling started in Prussia in 1819 with a clear vision of what centralized schools could deliver:

1.Obedient soldiers to the army;
2.Obedient workers to the mines;
3.Well subordinated civil servants to government;
4.Well subordinated clerks to industry
5.Citizens who thought alike about major issues. " John Taylor Gatto

"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it...and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself."
Grace Llewellyn

"Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, so study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in." Leonardo da Vinci

"The trouble with talk about 'learning experiences' is that it implies that all experiences can be divided into two kinds, those from which we learn something, and those from which we learn nothing. But there are no experiences from which we learn nothing. We learn from everything we do, and everything that happens to us or is done to us." John Holt, Instead of Education

"It is absurd and anti-life to be a part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry." John Taylor Gatto

"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
George Bernard Shaw

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” Ivan Illich in his book Deschooling Society

“Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends upon knowing that secret; that secrets can only be known in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind concieves of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessable only to those who carry the proper tags.” Ivan Illich

“Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn maths and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization. I know. I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.” Seymour Papert

“It is much easier to condemn a child than to understand a child.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mundane educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom, go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts.” Frank Zappa


"We have been too kind to those who are destroying the planet. We have been inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind." Derrick Jensen

"As a longtime grassroots environmental activist, and as a creature living in the thrashing endgame of civilization, I am intimately acquainted with the landscape of loss, and have grown accustomed to carrying the daily weight of despair. I have walked clearcuts that wrap around mountains, drop into valleys, then climb ridges to fragment watershed after watershed, and I’ve sat silent near empty streams that two generations ago were “lashed into whiteness” by uncountable salmon coming home to spawn and die." Derrick Jensen

"The people of your culture cling with fanatical tenacity to the specialness of man. They want desperately to perceive a vast gulf between man and the rest of creation. This mythology of human superiority justifies their doing whatever they please with the world, just the way Hitler’s mythology of Aryan superiority justified his doing whatever he pleased with Europe. But in the end this mythology is not deeply satisfying. The Takers are a profoundly lonely people. The world for them is enemy territory, and they live in it like an army of occupation, alienated and isolated by their extraordinary specialness.” Daniel Quinn

“For us to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. The lies are necessary because, without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.” Derrick Jensen

"Having long laid waste our own sanity, and having long forgotten what it feels like to be free, most of us too have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world. Seeing four salmon spawn causes me to burst into tears. I have never seen a river full of fish. I have never seen a sky darkened for days by a single flock of birds (I have, however, seen skies perpetually darkened by smog). As with freedom, so too the extraordinary beauty and fecundity of the world itself: It’s hard to love something you’ve never known. It’s hard to convince yourself to fight for something you may not believe has ever existed." Derrick Jensen

"Even now, we hardly love the Earth or see with eyes or listen any longer with our ears, and we scarcely feel our hearts beat before they break in protest." Stanley Diamond

"The only measure by which we will be judged by the people who come after is the health of the land base, because that is what is going to support them. They are not going to give a shit whether or not we were pacifists; they are not going to give a shit if we supported Israel or we didn't support Israel; whether we voted green or democrat or republican or not at all. What they are going to care about is whether they can drink the water, whether they can breathe the air, whether the land can support them. One of the important questions is to ask what does the land need from you." Derrick Jensen

"How is it conceivable that all our lauded technological progress--our very civilization--is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal?" Albert Einstein

"Imagine,” Tyler said, “stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you’ll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles."
-The book Fight Club


"The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own." William Hazlitt

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow, shovelling, and poetry...

It snowed yesterday and today, which means Emi and I got to shovel for the first time this Winter. Just lovely. It's only a couple of inches, just enough to cover the ground, and it's awful and slushy. Now it's raining.

In other news, I wrote another poem. It was in response to a poetry marathon thing, so the first line of my poem is from the poem above mine. I also posted it on my poetry blog.

Oh, and how about this new layout? After seeing Emi's blog, mine just seemed so boring... So I made it less boring! I love the colors, and I just feel like it has a very nice, cozy, wintery feel to it. :-)

I'll leave you with a couple of photo's of what it's like outside. Hope you have prettier weather!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Pasta and Emi's new blog

For weeks I've been bugging Emi (she decided she wanted her nickname to be spelled with an 'i' for some unknown reason) to get her own blog, and she finally did tonight! After hours spent perfecting the layout, setting the settings, writing, and finding pictures to post, it is finally up and running! As well as giving both Emi and my Mom a permanent place on my sidebar, I will include the address here, just because Emi insisted I must. So here, please make her happy by visiting her space at

Oh, and here is a photo of the delicious pasta dinner I made, which was mentioned in my previous post. I think that tonight is the first time that I've ever eaten pasta without cheese!


Slight changes...

Not much is going on really. I added links to my other blogs in the sidebar of this blog, and it took me far more effort than it should have. Being the silly that I am, I didn't realize I could add links by simply adding a 'Links List' gadget, so instead had Emy spend half an hour trying to figure out the XML using her limited knowledge of HTML that she hasn't used in years. I think she was ready to smack me when I discovered the links gadget. I also changed the template for my trash blog, to one I found on a blog template site recommended to me by Sheila , which is really cool. I'm also still really looking forward to using my new camera (see below post)!

Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is how people treat their pets, and how I specifically treat the animals I share my house with. And I'm not really happy with how I treat them. I'm trying to be more respectful, to keep my temper even when Winston (80 pound Airedale terrier) won't stop headbutting me in the back of the knees, or Flora (bouncy little Fox terrier) won't stop yapping. That's a hard thing to do. But I think I'm making headway! Winston especially is really stubborn, and when you yell at him, it doesn't always even work. It seems if I ask him nicely to do something, he actually does it a bit faster! And I've been trying to be more respectful with the cats too. Instead of randomly cuddling them without seeing if they want to be cuddled first, I've been sitting or lying next to them and just talking. If they want cuddles, they get up and move closer. I think we're both happier that way.

And now for a vegan update. I went vegan a couple of weeks ago, and at this point I'm finding it harder than expected. The big stuff isn't bad. It's not really hard to avoid straight milk, cheese, and eggs, but I never realized how many things have dairy or eggs in them!! Baked goods, candy, pasta sauces, other sauces, chips, crackers... And the list goes on! I ate a piece of toffee today that had butter in it, even though I knew it had butter in it, and now I'm feeling guilty that I'm not feeling guilty. Arrrg! I think that when this month is up, I'm going back to vegetarian. However, I am glad that I'm doing this. It's really made me think about what I eat in a new way, and I don't think I'm going to be consuming nearly as many animal products as I was. Milk on cereal is something I'm not doing anymore (hey, good soymilk tastes the same anyway), ice cream always makes me feel sick unless it's good stuff like Ben & Jerry's so I'm cutting that out (yes, even though it made me feel sick I'd still eat it sometimes), eggs dito, and olive oil tastes better than butter anyway. So all I'll really be going back to eating are all the things I'm currently avoiding that have just a tiny bit of dairy or eggs in them, or baked goods.

And now I'm off to make supper... I haven't really been cooking much, so I think I should tonight. I'm going to use the canned base of a roasted garlic and red pepper sauce, then add sauteed onions, black and green olives, and baked spinach and jalapeno tofu pieces. And I'll serve that over twirly pasta of some sort... I think I should find out if I'm cooking for just me or everyone now.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something amazingly exciting happened last night...


I've been wanting a digital SLR camera for ages, but I've been hemming and hawing about the price, and whether I'm a 'good enough photographer' and whether the price will go down significantly so I should wait... But Costco had a really good deal on the camera I wanted, and my dad offered to pay a huge chunk if he gets to borrow it sometimes, and I do really want it... So last night my mother, father, and I piled into the car, excitedly poked at the floor model (or at least I did that), and waited anxiously while they dug around in the storeroom to find it (erm, wait a second, that was just me as well...). So, even though I'm not using it until Christmas, and we only opened the box up long enough to make sure everything was there, I now own a brand new Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS with a 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm lens, and a nice camera bag to keep it all in. So I am VERY happy about that! Even though, having just spent $820, I'm also VERY worried that prices will drop significantly after Christmas... Oh, and yes that's the exact type of camera I got featured below, only mine is in silver. :-)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New poetry and the miracle of my sister cooking *gasps*

I wrote a new poem last night which I'd love you to check out (and some of my other poetry that's on that blog to if you want!) at Thanks! :-)

In other quite surprising news my sister is (*gasp*) actually cooking!! It may just be packaged pudding mix and all that her cooking of said mix involves is stirring, and she does have help (from her bunny rabbit Kumagoro pictured below) but still... Emy's previous cooking adventures have often ended in charred food at the very least (once she set something on fire in the toaster oven... I've yet to let her forget about it! :-P), but this time things seem to be going well! As my mother says, we'll make a cook of her yet! Love ya Em :-)


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yet another new blog...

Yes, I've done the unthinkable. I've started yet another blog. I think I have four now, each one themed (poetry blog, one page story blog (which I haven't added anything to in ages *blushes*), this general blog), and the newest one is all about the acquiring of secondhand yet still totally usable stuff. I love shopping at thrift stores, and haven't bought anything new in months (my grandma has bought me a few things that I couldn't really turn down... I've told her I don't need new cloths, but she LOVES shopping!). I also love driving or walking around on garbage day, and seeing what awesome stuff people have put out in the trash. I've found some truly beautiful, often useful things that way! I also occasionally go to garage sales, bazaar's, flea markets, or other places where previously owned items can be acquired. My idea with my newest blog is to post (erratically, just when I feel like it) photo's and the stories attached to them of all my cool secondhand finds.

In other news, I found a quote that I love today:

"When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty."

Which made me think of this quote:

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" JFK

I wish I knew who the first quote was attributed to... In even more news, I heard about a while back, but I just checked out the site for myself today. It seems like a totally awesome way to travel, and I plan on seriously looking into it sometime when I'm not so tired and my brain is working better!


Memories of slightly warmer times...


For a while now I've had the idea to write a blog post about some of the numerous things I'm grateful for. Not thankful, that sounds mildly snobbish to me, or at the very least obnoxious (no offense to anyone one else who uses it... I just have some bad connotations attached to it in my head :-S). Just the things that make me whole, make me happy, make me feel immensely grateful to be a part of this world. This has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, since the Canadian one has passed (I was too busy making delicious food to think of anything else I was thankful for other than food!), and I don't celebrate the American thanksgiving. It's simply something that's been floating around in my head, so I decided to write it down.

I am immensely grateful for:
  • Warm fuzzy cat-family that climbs on my shoulder or lap and vibrates with happiness, lovingly blinking or eyes shut in contentment. Being poked with a cold little nose and licked by a tongue rough as sandpaper when it's decided I need to be groomed. Smooth whiskers and soft fur.
  • Big clumsy dogs, and little bouncy ones. Hugging the dogs, and getting kissed nearly to death. Playing hide-and-go-seek with Winston and Flora, and the excitement on their faces when they find me. Cuddling on the floor with them both. Shared looks of love.
  • The freedom to see that we're not free.
  • Unschooling. Being able to learn what I want, when I want. Getting to explore the world on my own terms.
  • Autumn, with the smell of woodsmoke on the air, the crisp wind, the trees that dazzle as they flutter in the wind, orange and red and yellow and green. The smell of Fall! Racing the wind and losing, exulting as your spirit races still. The sound of leaves skittering over the pavement. The clear sky and cold stars.
  • Winter. Walking at night over fresh fallen snow, the streetlamps turning the ground into a billion glittering ice-cold shards of snow. How everything is muffled, and when I turn around, my bootprints, and the prints of my companions, are the only thing that mars the otherwise untouched blanket of whiteness. Singing Christmas songs as we walk home, laughing as the snowflakes catch on our eyelashes and sting our cheeks. Huge fluffy flakes that make perfect snowballs. Curling up in front of the wood stove on the coldest, darkest nights.
  • Spring, when the snow finally melts, and the rivulets of melting snow make their own miniature water-ways. The constant drip as icicles steadily shrink. The first blades of grass when the snow is all gone. The sweet smell of melting earth. The first dandelions, picked and put in water, yellow bright and cheery. The first bugs, met with much excitement. Sunbathing in front of the window, so happy to have the beautiful yellow beams of light replacing the cool blue of Winter.
  • Summer sun, lazy days spent soaking up the heat. The feeling of relaxation and community that seems to happen when school is out and everyone has the freedom to hang out (almost) as much as they want. Beautiful gardens that fill my heart with joy. The springy feeling of grass when you run or sit on it. Sitting on the sun warmed front steps, watching the sun set. The smell of sun and earth.
  • Night time. Nights when spirits seem to fly, when my heart feels so full of joy it might burst. Walking through the shadows, voices hushed as secrets fall softly on the still air. Nights spent running around laughing, singing full volume, ruining the silence and most likely waking someone or other up. Nights spent sitting in darkness on the roof of the car, watching the leaves dancing as some unknown presence spins by. Nights spent looking up at the moon, and the stars.
  • Cooking. The feeling of pride when a recipe of my own invention actually tastes as good as I'd imagined. Good cookware and knives (which make me way happier than such mundane items should!). Opening the pantry and feeling my heart lift at all the rows of food stuff just waiting to be made into a terrific meal.
  • Reading books that open my eyes to the world, that let me see things in a new way, that bring me great joy, and great sadness.
  • Writing poetry, seeing my soul pour out in the scribbled pen marks on a page. The feelings I get while I'm writing. The feeling of satisfaction and mixed emotions I get when I finish a poem. The pride I feel when I actually like a poem I've written!
  • My sister, who is truly my best friend in the world, and with whom I can share anything. The beautiful open-hearted conversations we have while lying in bed that last well into the night and early morning.
  • My father, who teases me mercilessly and whom I regularly get into mock fights with. The jokes we make and the quiet companionship we share. The look of pride and affection on his face as he looks at me, and how I can almost always make him laugh.
  • My mother, who genuinely agrees with my opinions more often then anyone else. Who will ALWAYS give a hug when needed. Whom I love talking with every day. Who is the most amazing mother ever.
  • The unconditional love I get from all my family.
  • Friends that squabble constantly, whom I get mad at, then forgive. Who get mad at me, then forgive me. The countless conversations we've had. The times I've laughed until I hurt from their antics. Games of Shark in the basement, walks in the woods, and cuddling in people piles.
  • Friends that I've never met, friends I want to meet, people I want to get to know better, and people I'll never meet, yet still have a special place in my heart and memories.
  • The whole damn world, which never ceases to amaze and fascinate me.

I know I'm missing a million things. I know that there are soooo many things I'll remember later and and kick myself for forgetting to add. I think this also ended up mushier then I intended, but what can I do. It made me happy while writing it. :-) Ooh, there's another thing I'm grateful for: Blogging!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vegan. For a month, at least...

I've been thinking for a while now about becoming vegan... I've been vegetarian for nearly ten years now. When I was six (so my mother tells me), we were at some type of street fair, and one of the tables was a setup on animal cruelty. Apparently my six-year-old self was so moved by compassion for what I saw that I declared I would no longer eat meat. Being the wonderful unschooling mom that she is, my mother supported me entirely in that. I didn't stop eating chicken fingers and hot dogs until I was eight, as those were my favorite types of meat, but from eight on, I haven't eaten any meat whatsoever. Because of my vegetarian diet, I learned a lot about nutrition at an early age. We as a family have never been much into following the Canadian Food Guide, seeing as the dairy industry (among other industries I'm sure) actually puts pressure on the government to say you need more dairy then you really do (I mean think about it, cow milk is made for extremely fast growing calves, not fully grown or slowly growing humans. Plus, you know how you always hear about dairy being an excellent source of calcium? Well, the type of calcium found in dairy is very hard for your body to absorb. Other sources are much better.), but thanks to my mom I had the three important groups of foods I should always eat firmly in my head: Grains, vegetables, and protein. As long as I had those three categories at virtually every meal, I was good. Grains and vegetables are pretty self explanatory, and as for protein that could mean cheese, tofu, legumes (lentils, chickpeas etc.), or fake meat substitutes that were based on soybeans. As I got older, I got more sophisticated in my knowledge of dietary requirements, finding out which essential nutrients are found in which foods, which supplements I should probably take since I didn't get adequate amounts from my diet, and other such things. I hardly think about my diet anymore, since it's become such a habit. Still, for every single meal, I notice whether or not I've included the three major food groups of grains, vegetables, and protein!

Anyway, that went way off topic in the story of how I became vegetarian, bt back to the vegan thing. I went through a stage where I decided it "wasen't cool" to be vegetarian because of animal rights (yes, I'm embarassed about that stage. What can I say, it's past now), so said it was just health reasons and habit, which was parcially true. But the only way I could "not care" about animal rights was to deliberately not find out about the awful things that animals go through to become food for us humans. Now that period of time is behind me, and I'm proud to say I care very much about animal rights. I wouldn't want to be kept in a tiny cage that I couldn't even turn around in, neglected and tortured, and then killed so someone could eat me, so why the hell would I put another living creature through that? And in the last few months, I've been thinking about the rough time other animals go through to produce other animal products like dairy and eggs. I don't think I want to put animals through that either. I've thought of trying to go free range only, but cows, even when free range, are awful on the environment, and it's nearly impossible to find eggs from chickens that are kept organic and free range! I think perhaps the huge chicken industry in Quebec makes sure no small competitors can survive... So I decided to make a commitment to myself: To be completely vegan for one month. At that time, I can see what I've really missed, if I think I'm missing anything important in my diet, or other important considerations. Overall, vegetarians have a much lower rate of heart disease than meat eaters, and vegans have a much lower rate of heart disease than vegetarians! Veganisn is quite healthy, as long as you pay attention to what you're eating, and there's only one vitamin/nutrient you miss as a vegan so need to take a supplement for (I can't remember what it is... Which means I should take out a book on veganism from the library next time I'm there). So wish me luck with my vegan month. And I hope I don't miss pizza too much!

Here are some photo's I took of our cats yesterday. Minni ("officially" my cat) is the brown one and Henry is the black and white one, and both of them are marvelous, loving, and beautiful creatures.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

As Remembrance Day rolls around again, and marks the 90th anniversary of WWI, I find myself looking at the ceremonies in a different light than I ever have before. I always just looked at the veterans, tears running down their faces as memories I can't even begin to imagine pass through their heads for the millionth time, remembering all the friends that passed away so long ago, all the horrific things they've seen, looked at them and felt so terribly sad. I still do feel so sad when I look at them, but now that sadness is overshadowed by anger. I hear the speeches, hear the broadcasters words, see the formal ceremony on TV, and I can't help but feel that, almost unknowingly, they're glorifying war. They say honor our veterans, for they fought for freedom, they fought to end war. They say they're fighting now to bring peace. But how can fighting bring peace?? I do honor our veterans. My heart breaks a little when I see the look in their eyes. But I think there's something far more important than honoring those veterans, empty feelings that don't change anything, and that something is simply stopping it all. There's a line from a song that really wrung true with me, even though I took it entirely out of context. "They all cry bloody murder over graves already dug". People always bring up the Holocaust, quite possibly the most well known tragedy of the past century, and I find it rather ironic when people say, as they often seem to, "never again", as if the Holocaust was a uniquely horrible event. There have been other genocides. There are CURRENTLY genocides happening as I write this. The soldiers in WWI fought "the war to end all wars" and that still seems to be the party line, although so many more wars have happened since The Great War. So here are the things I think the youth, me, my sister, my friends, my friends friends, youth worldwide, need to do. First, we must KNOW about the wars that have happened, understand the truth behind why they were fought, not just the propaganda we hear about from schools and governments (that seem to subtly imply war is a not so bad, or at least necessary, thing). To understand, and to NEVER forget. In that I agree with the government. We must never forget. But instead of being grateful, instead of sitting back, confident that our countries soldiers will take care of us by fighting some "morally right" war, look into the veterans eyes, look at the pain there, and say NEVER AGAIN. Not now, not in the future. I will not subject people to that, it has to stop. That's what we need to do. Fighting doesn't end war. As I write this I'm still slightly teary, in part because I'm not sure how much I can actually do. As usual, I feel like I only have half of the answer. I know we need to do something, I'm just not sure quite how to go about it. I just finished listening to one of the (in my opinion) most powerful anti-war songs ever written, and tears ran down my face. It feels so true now, even though it was written nearly half a century ago. I give you the lyrics here, and I urge you to listen to this song.

Universal Soldier (I think this version sounds the best, but don't watch the video as it's out of sync)

He's five foot two, and he's six feet four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from him, and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war

Other anti-war songs I find particularly touching:
Hero of War by Rise Against
Where Have All The Flowers Gone by Pete Seeger
Blowin' In The Wind by Bob Dylan (I personally like the Peter Paul and Mary cover)

Remembrance, and Peace,

Monday, November 10, 2008

I was tagged, so...

Sheila (I can't for the life of me figure out how to turn a name into a link, if someone can enlighten me, that would be awesome!), who's blog is, tagged me to tell six random things about myself, so here goes!

1. I've been vegetarian for nearing ten years

2. I hate eating anything that isn't organic, or using products that have nasty chemicals, so I'm always looking for natural options to things

3. I love writing, but rarely manage to write stories more than a page long (and even the one page ones are rare!) since I tend to lose interest in stories faster than I should :-S

4. I think hats and scarves are the most amazing fashion accessories ever invented

5. My sister is my best friend in the entire world

6. Finding new music that I like makes me unbelievably happy

So, as for who to tag, that's hard. None of the friends I know IRL have blogs... And many of the blogs I read I feel I don't really know the authors well enough to tag them. So my one tag is:

Stella (

Now speaking of scarves being an amazing accessory, here are some pic's I took of scarves and me! :-)