Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Get Your Fingers Out of Our Cake Holes

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." (The Godfather)  

The Ontario School Board has flipped its fucking lid. Our local paper had an article this Sunday about a Mom who dared to make cupcakes for her son's class for his 9th birthday. She and her kid stayed up late the night before decorating them and he was apparently very excited to celebrate with his class. But Dalton's school board Huns had other plans. (I can't find the article and I can't be bothered to search... Google Newmarket/Mom/cupcakes to read it for yourself... )

When Mom tried to give a cupcake to the school secretary she was told to get her filthy, disgusting, sugar and allergy laden poison OUTTA THERE. Obviously, the birthday boy was very upset and cried but the school board has a heart of ice.

The new nutrition rules which have been introduced into our public schools are evidently designed with our children's safety in mind. Guess that's why they insist on store-bought poison over something made in someone's kitchen.

Let me put it another way:

Cake Recipe (Store Bought Variety)
Sugar, enriched wheat flour bleached (wheat, nicain, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid) water, whole egg, partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed & palm oil, citric acid, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, invert sugar, salt, dextrose, sodium bicarbonate, acidid sodium aluminu phosphate with sulfate, food starch-modified (corn, tapioca), nonfat milk, cocoa with alkali, wheat starch, monoglycerides, propylene glycol - THIS IS A FORM OF ANTIFREEZE mono esters, sodium sterdyl lactylate, calcium silicate, corn starch-modified, whey, baking powder, wheat gluten, natural & artificial flavor, soy lecithin, sodium acid, pyrophosphate, polysorbate 60 & 80, monocalcium phosphate, cellulose arabic xanthan guar tragacanth carrageenan carbohydrate & locust bean gum, sorbitantristearate, chocolate liquor, sodum caseinate, soyprotein, caramel color, calcium propionate, rice flour, liquid whitener, high fructose corn syrup, microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioners glaze, sorbitol, canola & coconut oil, hpko, triethyl citrate, glycerine, polyglycerol esters, algin, titamnium dioxide, e461, methocel, alcohol, carnuauba wax, dextrin, potassium sorbate & sodium benzoate preservative to maintain freshness potassium sorbate, phosphoric acid, methyl & propyl paraben, sillicon, sodium hexametaphosphate, carmine, red 3, 5, 40, yellow 5, 6, blue 1, 2, blue 1 lake, black lake

Cake (Homemade)
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk

The school board would prefer that you bring in the store-bought variety because it has a list of ingredients and it will be peanut free.

Wow. To me, that is like having a couple of kids in the school who can only breathe carbon monoxide, so they start pumping it into the building and fuck the kids who breathe oxygen.

I understand the need to be cautious of food allergies and blah, blah, blah, but do you honestly think the kids are better off with the chemical laden "cake" rather than one that came from someone's kitchen and contains ingredients found in nature? And they scratch their heads when behavioural problems and diabetes arise.

We got the new Food Guidelines at the beginning of the school year and I find them vexing. Last year I baked a few things for my kid for various school events and they were welcomed and gobbled down. Now we are told that only store bought cake and fresh fruit and veggies are allowed. The fresh fruit and veggies I don't have a problem with, but I can guarantee you that a roomful of children is going to have a BIG problem. Remember being a kid? When your Mommy asked you what kind of cake you wanted for your birthday, did you say "Oh, Mother. Cake? Be reasonable. It may spike our sugar levels and make us serial killers. Please set out carrot sticks and low-fat cottage cheese. And don't forget - no nuts!"? What kid is going to eat the fruit and veggie platter when there is a delicious sodium hexametaphosphate and propylene glycol cake right there??? Mmmmm.... sorbitantristearate. (This cake also contains propyl paraben. This is an ingredient used as a preservative in most cosmetics. It mimics estrogen. You should read this )

The Government claims they want to bring better nutrition into the schools, but they certainly have a half-assed way of going about it, no? Anyway, it really isn't up to the Government to regulate nutrition. They've dropped the ball on that one, too. The kids don't want to eat their "healthy" cafeteria food. They go out to McDonald's. Or bring food from home. (I am waiting for the new home lunch guidelines. It's only a matter of time.) There needs to be a balance. Have fries. Just make sure you fry them in good oil. Use fresh-cut potatoes instead of frozen, sodium laden processed ones. Have fresh pastas and salads and sandwiches. Prohibition DOES NOT WORK. It never will. Find a balance.

As far as I am concerned, Premiere Dad and his nannies are a bunch of self-deluded "do-gooders" who come off as having our Best Interests at heart, but are really nothing more than Dolores Jane Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (If you haven't read Harry Potter, you should. If you don't want to, I feel sorry for you.) Basically, they feel they need to control every aspect of our lives because we are too stupid to do it ourselves. McGuinty is beyond arrogant. He is a thief and a liar and a self-serving creep who is followed around by other self-serving creeps and they are destroying our public schools and our province. Why don't we just get it over with and rename oursevles Daltario? Or more likely: Samsung presents Onguintio.

I just hope that I can sell my novel and have enough money to send my daughters to private school before Daddy Dalton decides to have them micro-chipped and finger-printed "for their safety". Don't laugh. Was there ever a time where you really thought you would ever let an airport security official feel your crotch "for your safety"? Wake the fuck up, sheeple.

A few weeks ago on Family Day, our town had a little festival in our Town Park. One of the service clubs is famous for their homemade chili, but it's too bad it isn't store bought canned stuff because then the bylaw enforcement officers would not have had to come and shut them down. It seems as though our home kitchens are disgusting, germ ridden hell holes which we are too stupid to keep clean. Only factory kitchens are acceptable places to prepare food for the delicate public. I am not sure if Dalton and his crew know this, but we evolved from primates and probably at one time ate each other's feces and we managed to survive and indeed flourish.

The Government has very strict regulations on farming and what you as a consumer are allowed to purchase. You want unpasteurized milk? Too bad. You could go to jail for buying it.

The Government has strict controls and by-laws on farmer's markets.

The Government does not want you to be an organic farmer.

The Government wants to put "guilt" taxes on junk food.

The Government wants to raise the price of wine and beer to discourage us from drinking too much.

I would be very interested to know who owns shares in ConAgra and Monsanto and how much money flows into politicians' coffers...

I am personally tired of governments who have their own self-interests at heart. Whose mandate it is to enforce their narrow-minded views and regulations and make us think we need them. A government who really only cares about re-election and passing the buck and the blame. Ontario is crumbling, but hey, at least we'll have chemical cakes to sustain us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Post that Should Have been Posted a Month Ago... Better Late Than Never

"... so be good, for goodness' sake... somebody's comin'" - Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters

Well, here we are; a month and a bit into the infamous 2012. The End of Days. The Mayan End Date. The Apocalypse, blah, blah, blah... What would life be like if we didn't have the end of the world constantly hanging over our heads? If it's not planets colliding, it's God getting pissed, if it's not God getting pissed, it's some asshole with a big bomb, if it's not the asshole with the big bomb, it's the Mayans. What do we do for 2013? I guess it's back to nukes. And God, of course. God is always getting pissed off at us for something.

According to Chinese tradition, it's the Year of the Black Water Dragon. It's a year of action and good fortune, but also potentially a year of excess, so rein it in, fools! Apparently, the Dragon does not suffer fools gladly. Anyone who tries to get ahead by lying, cheating and taking advantage of others will feel the wrath of the Dragon. I guess that means we can say good-bye to most politicians and reality stars. Look at Kim Tardashian - the year has not started out well for her, nor has it been particularly kind to Republican candidates in the USA. I will try not to laugh - I don't want the Dragon kicking my ass.

Whatever you believe, it's certainly an auspicious year. It feels to me as though things are going to be accomplished this year. Probably good and bad. Whatever happens, I think that we are going to look back on the eve of 2013 and say " Holy shit! What just happened!?" So let's keep our hands and feet inside at all times, relax and enjoy the ride!

No doubt zillions of resolutions were made this New Year, especially now with the End Date approaching. A little Last Chance attitude never hurt anyone. (That I can think of, anyway... ) A year ago, that attitude certainly helped me to finally get offa my fat arse and do something. I thought about how I would feel about myself in a year if I stayed on the same path. I've had too many of those New Year's Eve regrets and have nobody to blame for them but myself. That's a hard dragon to face. The fact that everything that sucks in your life is directly linked to YOU. Yikes.

So, here it is, a year and a bit later and I have actually kept a New Year's Eve promise. For the first time EVAH. And I feel pretty bloody good and smug. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say a year's worth of daily yoga can change a person quite significantly. Not just physically, either; spiritually, mentally and emotionally as well. It's as though I'd been wearing a corset for a long, long time and didn't realize it until it started loosening.

Keeping a resolution feels so great and it really isn't that hard. I didn't want to lose another year to the If Only monster. Sometimes all it takes is kicking your own ass really, really hard. But you have to really kick it, not just one of those feeble "I'll kick it on Monday" kicks. Do it NOW. Kick it. KICK IT HARD.

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do YOU Know It's Christmas?

~ Look, I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I'm sayin' grace. When you say grace, you can say it to Grownup Jesus or Teenage Jesus or Bearded Jesus or whoever you want.~ Ricky Bobby

When I was born, I was not Christened. My parents were children of the 60's and didn't believe that I should be saddled with a religion I did not ask for. It was tough as a little kid being a heathen in a very conservative Christian town. There were times when I was convinced (because a lot of Christians told me so) I was going to Hell because I didn't have the Mark of God on my forehead. We were one of very few families who did not go to one church or another. Not that the teachings of Christianity escaped me. Far from it. Every week a minister came to school to tell us stories from the Bible. I was always bothered by Genesis - if Adam and Eve were the first and Cain and Abel killed each other... where did we come from? It made no sense to me then and it makes no sense to me now.

But this post is not about Adam and Eve and Eve's subsequent fuck ups - that's a post for another day. This is about the usurping of a beautiful story and a beautiful human being.

I would consider myself agnostic. I believe in intelligent design and a Divine Universe, but I really have no more idea of what is out there than anyone else on this planet. One thing I do know though, is that if Jesus Christ was a real person and did what everyone claims he did, well then, most Christians don't deserve him.

Here we are a little over a month from Christmas and the usual grumblings are starting about keeping Christ in Christmas, and why do we have to say Happy Holidays and to hell with everyone else's religion - Christmas is sacred and please get those dirty, nasty, pot-smoking, jobless Occupy bums off the street before they ruin such a beautiful and peaceful occasion. Of course, the irony is completely lost on that segment of our populace which absolutely refuses to pull its head from its ass. It's just so cosy and comfortable and familiar up there, you know? Nothing uncomfortable to deal with (except for the discomfort of a head up one's ass...)        

I love Christmas. I love the allegory of a tiny, perfect baby being the hope of all humankind. As the story goes, the world came together and shut the fuck up to appreciate the miracle of this child and the hope he brought with him.

Then, 33 years later, they nailed him to two planks for his radical ideas. Bad Jesus. You should have stayed a baby.

I believe that Jesus was a real man, minus the religious dogma. I believe that his purpose, his dharma (if you are a  fellow yogi) was to open people's eyes and to remind us of our divine natures (interpret that how you will.) He was one of those scary radical thinkers who challenged the government of the day, the rules of the day, who encouraged others to think for themselves, to wake the fuck up. Sound familiar, at all?

In the last two thousand years, millions of people have been slaughtered in the name of Christ. Something simply does not jibe. There must be a huge chunk of the story I missed along the way, what with being heathen and all. I missed the part where after he was crucified and returned home to Heaven, he strapped on a sword and declared, "Dad, this means war. Fuck'em if they don't believeth in me!" thus launching a couple thousand years of misery, persecution, executions, witch-hunts, genocides, forced conversions, etc., etc. I missed the part where Jesus turned into a warmongering, hateful deity who ordered his believers to torture and kill in his name.

I know. How DARE I speak of our Lord and Saviour in such a manner? I say, how DARE YOU take someone who only wanted us all to stop behaving like apes and use him to justify your hatred, greed and intolerance. I mean no disrespect to apes.

Most of my friends and family and people I know are Christian in one way or another. I often wonder if they actually hear the words spoken from the Bible, if they actually understand what it all means or if they are just going through the motions of being Christian. If they accept being Christian the way they accept having blue eyes or big feet. Just one of those things. Because, damn, this is one bloody, violent, misogynistic religion. You dare to argue? The Bible is not exactly filled with fluffy bunnies. It's one of the scariest books out there. Revelations? There's an awesome way to end the story. With absolutely no hope, we're all fucked, THE END.

So what's the point? Oh, right. To Be Saved and the only way to Be Saved is to believeth. So do you believeth? Or do you just say you do to reserve your spot?

If Christians are so convinced that they need to follow the word of Jesus to get to Heaven, why are so many so intolerant of others? Most (and I admit, up until last year I was one of them) get offended by "Happy Holidays" and huff and puff and blow their chests out and demand Christ be put back into Christmas. He was NEVER taken out of Christmas. It's just good ol' intolerance. The kicker is that it happens at CHRISTMAS in the first place... one of very few religious holidays that is actually about something beautiful and sweet and hopeful. About the birth of a man who preached TOLERANCE.

It's enough to make one's head spin.

I believe in Christmas. I believe in peace on Earth, goodwill towards all people, angels who watch over us, the inherent goodness of people, hope, joy, love and most of all, of a tiny, perfect baby who wanted nothing more than for us to love each other.

Maybe instead of putting Christ back into Christmas, we should be putting Christ back into ourselves. Not in the religious dogmatic way. In the form of pure love and light and hope and tolerance and charity and compassion.

Then Hark the Herald Angels Sing!! What a beautiful joyous world we would have.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, Happy Yuletide, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus and Happy Holidays to all the rest.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Everyone Else Knows More About Parenting Than You Do

Is it just me, or does it seem that there is an absolute epidemic of people telling you how to raise your children? From the childless to the childlike, everyone has an opinion. Sometimes they are helpful but mostly they are just annoying, bordering on infuriating. Why do I tolerate this? What else is one supposed to do, besides telling people to fuck off and mind their own business. Which, admittedly, is exactly what I should do.

I have no idea if this is exclusive to me or if all parents are receiving advice from various fonts of wisdom. Is it because of shit like "Nanny 911" and "Super Nanny"? I honestly cannot remember ever giving unsolicited advice to someone regarding their children. That particular subject seems to be very personal and none of my goddamned business. If only others would practice the same restraint. Or am I the one in the wrong? Should I be jumping in there telling other Mums what their kids should eat/wear/read/watch? Should I be questioning their sleeping habits (dear God, you are/aren't a co-sleeper.... !)? Should I be reprimanding Mummy if her 2-year old kid still has their dummy? Questioning their clothes? Their head-size? Their toilet habits? Their sippy cups?

And now the school has weighed in with their own advice. My 4-year old daughter has been involved in two (gasp) Incidents this week. Moving her stuff to be close to her friend and writing with crayon on the floor. Clearly, she is a discipline case who should immediately be sent along to juvie. Maybe these are Gateway Crimes which will lead to arson and turning a gun on her classroom. I mean, we have to start crushing their spirits from an early age, right?

A little perspective, please. The kid is 4-years old and 30 lbs in a lead suit and this is kindergarten, not the fucking army. Not only is it kindergarten, it is the first full-day, every day kindergarten in the country. I tell you, by Friday those little ones are dragging their asses out of their class room and a good deal of them are not exactly perky. This is just shy of a full working week for these kids, so can we cut them a little slack?

Twice this week I have been gently reminded to teach my child the importance of Following the Rules. I assured the teacher that the kid is not exactly running around the house pissing on walls, lighting fires and strangling puppies while we cower with fear in a corner.

And as for Following the Rules... I WANT my kids to challenge and break them. I want my kids to try to affect change when they think something is bullshit and unfair. I don't want mindless drooling automatons who say "yes sir, no ma'am" and sit and stare straight ahead like programmable 'droids. No one who ever made an impact on the world unquestioningly followed the rules.

So the next time you want to offer advice on my parenting skills, I will NOT follow the rules and be polite and contrite. I will tell you to mind your own fucking business

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What the Fuck is a Hipster Anyway?

It has been brought (gently) to my attention that I am so out of touch I don't even know a hipster from a lobster. I always thought anyone who mindlessly followed the In crowd was a hipster. They ARE - sort of. They don't want you to know they are mindlessly following the In crowd. Time Magazine defines them thusly: "Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They're the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you've never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don't care."

Well, not to sound like a hipster (apparently they have also done EVERYTHING before everyone else and are completely and utterly bored by it) but I have been calling these people hipster doofuses for years. Or is it hipster doofi? I stole the term from Seinfeld. Do hipsters watch Seinfeld or is it too popular? Or is it ok to watch because it's now retro? Or is retro just soooooooooo last week?

Fuck, it seems like an absolutely exhausting way to be. I was in Toronto last weekend (God, I am so fucking homesick for Toronto I feel physical pain) and was able to view hipsters in their natural habitat. They seem harmless enough, if a little grubby and just a bit up their own asses. It seems to me that actually being a hipster contradicts everything that hipsterism is all about. I mean, isn't the point to look as though you are part of a cool subculture? In that vein, if everyone is dressing the same, does it not become mainstream and therefore no longer subculture?

It's fascinating, actually. A trend that totally contradicts itself. In order to be a true hipster, one that gives two middle fingers to mainstream losers, one would have to constantly reinvent oneself in order to stay ahead of all the other hipsters. It could potentially become an all-consuming activity. Are there different levels to hipsterism? Like, he's sort of a hipster, but only on the weekends. Or she is such a hipster even SHE hasn't heard of her favourite band...?

By saying that I am NOT a hipster, does that make me a hipster? I shop almost exclusively at Value Village - does that make me a hipster or a hoser? I write a blog and complain a lot about the state of the world - does that make me a hipster?

No. I like Coldplay and would rather use Labatt 50 to wash my car. I gave up plaid shirts at the end of the 90's and I wear a touque because I am cold. And I have kids. And one of my favourite movies is Titanic. 

Guess I am the antithesis of a hipster... which is sort of hipster... this could go on for days... 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baby, I Was Born to Run... Maybe

We have a man in the neighbourhood who runs in his bare feet. We call him Barefoot Running Guy. (D'uh.) Of course, we wrote him off as a crazy, stupid, hipster doofus who likely spent a lot of time in Africa finding himself. My kids love him - they yell "Mummy! Barefoot Running Guy! Barfoot Running Guy!" and we all run to the window to see him padding quietly up the street, oblivious to the stares, honks and general head scratching.

Apparently, this is the Latest Thing in Running. Having been out of the city for 6+ years, I have no idea what the fads are anymore. When you aren't constantly surrounded by hipsters, you tend to lose track. It seems as though Barefoot Running is the THING. Go bare or go home. Time to burn your Nikes and chuck the pedicures and grow a nice thick crust.

I was a runner for most of my 20's and a good part of my 30's. I put about 40 kms a week on my bod and was very lucky to never have a knee injury. (Until I blew both knees doing yoga... my own fault. Not yoga's. But that's another story.) I did, however, have shin splints, hip pain and tendinitis in my left foot. Running became a painful chore and was no longer fun, so I gave it up. That was about 8 years ago and I have desperately missed  the glorious endorphin high, the time to myself and the moving meditative quality of running. 

Could running in bare feet be the answer? Me, I love being barefoot. It's one of the many reasons I love yoga so much. Loathe the way shoes feel. I hate the way running shoes make me look like I have giant Mickey Mouse feet. However, the idea of running on the street with no shoes on really oogs me out. People SPIT on the sidewalk, for God's sake. Dogs pee and poo. Squirrels get laid. I really don't want to step in that stuff, right? Plus, I have light coloured carpets. But there is an alternative! Foot gloves. That's right. For a mere $110, you can protect your feet from sidewalk nastiness. My eyes are rolling so hard I can see the inside of my skull. 

Barefoot runners are FANATICS. Theirs is the only way to run and Goddess help you if you think otherwise. There are blogs dedicated to all things Barefoot and blogs dedicated to debunking all things Barefoot. It seems an even split. Both sides make valid points, but it doesn't help a girl who wants to figure out how to run again without eventually ending up in a wheelchair.

Perhaps the answer isn't what we wear on our feet, but that a new FORM is all we need. The New York Times ran an article entitled The Once and Future Way to Run. Seems that we have forgotten HOW to run. It's an interesting read, whether you are a runner or not. Just another example of how science has fucked with Nature and really, at the end of the day, how turning a profit is the most important thing in our world.

So what to do? I hate the idea of wearing hipster gloves on my feet, but I love the idea of running the way Nature intended. At the end of the day $110 is less than what I used to spend every six months on new running shoes and there is no harm in trying.

Maybe I will someday be known in the 'hood as Crazy Barefoot Running Lady.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Poppy Thieves

Sometimes our 21st century lens gets a little mucky. There are those of us who tend to forget or don't know and don't care to find out, just why we have Remembrance Day. I was saddened and felt more than a few chunks rising when I read an article about poppy donation box thefts. Seems it happens every year. Gross.What the hell is wrong with people? 

Just as disturbing was this reader comment: "Where do the proceeds of poppy sales go? Is it to charity, or to the memory of a bunch of warmongers from a previous generation?" Shall we remind the commenter that if it wasn't for these "warmongers" he/she would be typing their comments in German? 

I believe this is my third blog post regarding this very subject and it's getting tiresome. So instead of going off on a rant about how some people take their freedom for granted, I will focus on the segment of our population who are not assholes. The people who wear their poppies every November, who take two minutes on November 11th...

OK. I tried, but fuck it... One Remembrance Day about a zillion years ago when I was a receptionist, I paused at 11:00 AM to observe the two minutes of silence. Along came our boorishly loud and self-impressed project manager who never ever stopped talking, saw what I was doing and made fun of me in her boorishly loud and self-impressed way. What an asshole.

Anyway... it's good to know that for every asshole, there are at least 10 people who pay their respects, in their own way. It doesn't matter how you remember, but that you do remember.