For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A test

Setting myself up for mobile blogging. Might be able to post more often this way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Just a quick note to say I'm going to be on the road and out of province for a while, so there will be no posts again until sometime in July.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

In her own words...

I stumbled on this compilation just today, though it was uploaded almost 2 months ago.  I don't know how old the specific clip I will be referring to is.  Listen carefully.

Did you catch it?

Try again, starting at about 1:43 through to 2:00

Did you catch it this time?

This is Michelle Obama speaking:

"What that reminded me of was our trip to Africa... uhm... two years ago... uh... and the level of excitement that we felt in that country - the hope that people saw just in the sheer presence of somebody like Barack Obama.  A Kenyan.  A black man.  A man of great statesmanship, who they believe can change the fate of the world."

When I first heard it and caught her referring to Africa as a country, I had to laugh.  I seem to remember someone on the Republican side (can't remember who) being dragged over the coals for referring to the African continent as a country.  To be fair, a lot of people seem to make that mistake, simply because that's how the word is used, as if Africa were just one, great homogeneous country rather than quite a lot of very diverse countries.

Then I heard to referring to her husband as a Kenyan.

I had to replay is again, just to make sure I wasn't mishearing it.

So what was she saying?  I suppose one could try and brush it off as her referencing his cultural ethnicity, perhaps?  His racial ancestry?  You'd think his own wife, however, wouldn't refer to her husband, a US politician, as a Kenyan unless he actually was one.  Not that it would be the first time, as he was heralded by another politician for being a US senator, even though he was Kenyan.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  With the release of a pdf of his birth certificate, it's all supposed to be over and done with, but with stuff like this coming from Michelle Obama herself, no wonder so many don't believe it!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

To market we went.

While Eldest and I were outing-and-abouting today, I finally got to see an outdoor market in our area.  We've been living here for over 6 years now; it's the first time I've seen it and only the second time for Eldest - and that was 5 years ago!  I keep hearing about how great this market is, but it's one day a week, starting mid-spring and only running through to the end of summer.  They also open very early in the morning and are closed by mid-afternoon.  I just haven't been able to make it, though I know people who visit it every week, waxing poetic about all the offerings.

I have a love/hate thing with markets.

On the one hand, I love how diverse they are.  There are things you can buy in markets you won't find anywhere else.  As a supporter of free enterprise and capitalism, I love that there are all these small entrepreneurs selling their wares, and want to support them in their endeavors.

This particular market has fresh produce, home baking and canning, jewelry, art, clothing and even wine.  Several kiosks sold meat - elk, bison and grass fed beef were included, and another sold beef jerky.  A few places were selling transplants and hanging baskets for the gardeners, with flowers, vegetables and herbs available.  There were a couple of places shilling health food/supplements, and a couple of local restaurants had food available.  Tables were set up in one area, where eaters could be entertained by buskers - a couple of guys were playing when we went by, and they were fantastic.  I didn't have much cash on hand, but what I did have, I dropped into their guitar case.  From what I saw already there, we weren't the only ones to appreciate their talent.

It has all the makings of what should be a wonderful morning. 

And yet, I came out of there in a snarly mood.

Why?  Well, as much as I like the diversity of vendors, it's getting to the point that whenever I see words like "organic" or "all-natural," I get a foul taste in my mouth.  To me, the words scream of obnoxious pretentiousness.  That and I can't help but feel sticking the label on their products (which included "fibres" and clothing, as well as food) is a convenient way to charge triple the price.  I know it costs a lot to get organic certification, but sheesh!

Which leads me to my other problem with markets.  I have a limited budget, but we are fortunate enough to have room for some extra luxuries.  I don't mind spending more for greater value.  However, much of what I saw that I might have wanted to check out more, I didn't dare, because I didn't have enough spare cash to buy anything.  We passed a clearance bin of casual shirts (long sleeves t-shirts, I believe they were) labelled $40 each.  If that's the clearance price, I won't want to know what the regular price is!  I've got a pair of tuxedo shirts that cost less than that.  Both of them together.  I mentioned how I increasingly feel the "organic" labels come across as pretentious, but some of these kiosks didn't have those labels, but still screamed "pretentious" so loudly, I didn't feel comfortable walking past them, never mind pausing to look at their wares.  It felt like going to an event in jeans and a t-shirt and discovering it was black tie. 

But maybe that's just me.

I am not actually complaining about their prices.  Vendors can charge whatever they need to and feel the market can bare, and clearly there are lots of people willing to pay those prices.  It's just that, going to markets and not being able buy much of anything really puts me in a foul mood.  It's not like we're broke or anything.  I could have bought all sorts of things - but doing so would either wreck our budget, or eat into the funds we've got set aside for our road trip.  Not only do I hate going to markets and not be able to buy things for budgetary reasons, I feel bad for the vendors seeing people walk past their kiosks and not buying.  For a lot of these vendors, this market is where they make their money for the year.  I want to support them and feel bad not being able to.

Overall, though, the wares available were really interesting, and I did enjoy seeing them.  Well....  Seeing as much of them as I could.  Which leads me to my main problem with markets.

Market goers.

You know how, when you're walking through a mall, you get stuck behind someone who's shambling along slowly, taking up half the aisle, blocking the way and forcing everyone behind them to slow down to a crawl?  Then when you see an opening, you quickly dash around them before it closes up again?

Well, that's what we had to do.  Unfortunately, we kept having to dash around people so often, we never quite got to slowing down to a normal pace.  I started to get a crick in my neck from rubbernecking at the displays as we squeezed our way through the crowd (and this was a relatively sparse crowd, due to the chilly weather).  Before we knew it, we'd raced from one end of the market to the other, then were racing back again down the other side.  We tried to pause and look around - at one point I even picked up some smokies so we could sit, eat and listen to the buskers (just in time for them to stop for the day... oh well! *L*).  Once we were done eating, it was right back to rushing through the crowd.

Now, I do understand people wanting to walk slowly.  They're shopping.  They're looking at things.  There were quite a few people in walkers or wheelchairs, or walking with canes.  No problem.  What gets me are the people, or groups of people, who saunter along in the middle, or weave back and forth from one side to the other, cutting people off and blocking the way.  Could they at least saunter on one side or the other, not in the middle or back and forth?  There was one woman wandering slowly along, weaving from one side to the other with every step.  Anywhere else, and she would have appeared inebriated.  I tried going around her several times, only to have her weave right back into me.  Eldest finally saw an opening and sped up to go around when her ankle give out because she'd stepped into the gutter and the pavement tilted unexpectedly.  Just as I was about to ask if she was okay, the same thing happened to me!  Neither of us were hurt, thankfully.  Then there was the guy we got stuck behind while he shambled along, head down as he texted while he walked.  I swear, it was worse than trying to get through a Zombie Walk!

By the time we'd seen the entire market, I was in a crappy mood and glad to get away.  As if that weren't enough, there was a chilly breeze.  The temperature was fine - comfortably cool to walk in - but the breeze was just enough to bother my ears.  For me, that means an ear ache and sudden head rushes.  At one point Eldest looked at me and told me I looked terrible! *L*  When we had the chance, we went indoors and continued our wandering there.  Though it was only a few blocks from home, I ended up calling Dh for a ride to avoid making it worse.  It's been several hours, and my head still feels wonky, though the head rushes have stopped.

It should have been an enjoyable day.  I love wandering around with Eldest, checking things out and just talking about whatever comes up.  I keep thinking I'd love to go back to this market when I have some spare funds to actually buy something (like some of that beef jerky!), but then I think of just how much worse the crowds are on a day that isn't so cold and damp. 


Maybe markets just aren't my thing.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Yes, prayers do get answered

A few posts back, I wrote about how we were hoping to get a road trip out to visit family.  We'd originally been looking at making the trip as a group near the end of summer.  With how gas prices have been going up, along with all the other expenses (except our electricity - that one is actually going to go down!), the amount of money we'd need for the trip was going up while the amount we could set aside for it was going down.  Just to make it even more challenging, we'd have one night's hotel stay en route in each direction (we've done the drive without staying at a hotel, but that is something to be avoided, even with two drivers).  I don't have a credit card, so that means having a rather large chunk of cash on hand for a deposit.  It was looking increasingly unlikely that we'd be able to swing the trip at all.

My family, meanwhile, has been working on getting a permanent monument placed on my brother's grave.  At the one year anniversary of his death, there are plans for a get together, including a mass and blessing of the new monument. 

Of course I wanted to be there, but just couldn't see how we could swing it so close.  Though there was still a slim chance that we could make it out at the end of the summer, there was just no way we could come up with the money for the trip so much earlier.  Still, though I told my family it was unlikely we'd make it out, I have seen too many things happen unexpectedly for me to rule it out.  What could I do, but send out a quick prayer and hope the answer would be in the affirmative!

Well, our little miracle happened, and with greater generosity than I dared hope for.  Granted, we won't all be able to go.  Dh can't book the time off - with all the holiday time he's been using as sick days, I'm not even sure he'd still be able to take the time at the end of the summer.  Eldest has her art sale to prepare for.  That means it's going to be just Youngest and I making the drive out.  This will actually allow us to leave earlier and stay longer.  Not too long.  The van will be needed to haul things around, plus I've become a crochet instructor and need to get classes arranged.  Still, we'll have at least a week to do the trip, and could probably take a day or two longer.

I'm looking forward to seeing both sides of the family while we're out.  I just wish it could be for a different reason.