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full moon belly – at 35 weeks with 35 days to go. July 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 4:07 pm

water bear is starting to wear out her welcome. there is no way to be comfortable any more. shes pretty cramped now so her little feet catch me under my ribs all the time. i used to be able to rub my belly over and over or stand and sway or rock on the spot to soothe cordelia so she went to sleep, but that doesnt seem to work for the water bear (she does like my humming though). i feel like my ribs are bruised. my midwife says they just might be. other than that, water bear has nestled her head deep into my pelvis and i frequently feel her little hands up by her face – i can only assume shes trying to find her thumb or play with her ears or something. i am getting so itchy and am coming up in red welts on my belly where my stretches are – just one of those things you get for babies due to be born in the heat. straight-up shea butter is all i can find that stops the itching. full moon belly – stretched, taught, uncomfortable. backaches.

today a new fridge showed up. its really one of those low-end, bottom of the line fridges that don’t do anything particularly special (except that refrigeration in itself is pretty special) and it even comes in a colour that nobody wants – black. but compared to the old fridge (which, when they pulled it out from the wall, we discovered had been installed in 1981 and came from a warehouse in mississauga that certainly doesnt exist anymore) anything is vastly improved, new and amazing. we also discovered that somebody, and what looks like many years ago, noticed that the fridge was dripping and decided to ‘fix’ this by sliding a shallow roasting pan under the leak. so we had a pan full of what used to be water covered in a skin of multi-coloured mould, which we identified as the source of some of the bad smells that appear in the kitchen sometimes in the heat. jim nearly threw up when he tried to tip this thing out.

apparently everybody wants stainless steel fridges with icemakers and laptop screens in the doors. we saw a fridge that was lit up by light blue LEDs in strip lighting on the inside, making me think of those lights that people run along the undersides of their cars, or maybe an airport runway. we even saw a fridge that had a clear glass door so that you could see all your food inside. i think that would make me want to clean the fridge out all the time. theres fridges with special extra drawers for i dont even know what. theres fridges that come in expensive wood paneling. theres fridges that cost as much as my university tuition. all of it.

our 80’s, oatmeal-coloured fridge has been working part-time whenever it feels like it, and it doesnt like to stress itself out too much in a heatwave. we are lucky we didnt have any meat in the freezer because the fridge liked to freeze and thaw and freeze and thaw and we decided that we had had enough of that. it did this last summer too, only not to the extent that it has done it this summer. our landlord gave us permission to trash it and bring in our new one (which we bought, so its indeed ours and we’ll take it with us when we go) saying she was amazed it had got this far. shes a pretty awesome landlord. our previous landlord would have taken like three days to get back to us and then gone out four days after that and chosen the cheapest, smallest fridge he could find and then arranged to have it installed very badly by some inefficient buddy of his.

KEG is going to bring us some secret eggs today. theres been an ‘egg inspection lady’ as they have called her (they also used some other less friendly words too) who has been desperately trying to shut down their egg sales. Emma said that this woman demanded that she search the truck and picked through everything looking for chicken eggs, which emma didnt think was within her legal rights to do.  meanwhile, theres absolutely no problem with duck eggs, which KEG has been selling in the meantime. sounds like a case of big egg farmers really trying to shut down little egg farmers. i asked about the duck eggs, bill said  “we can sell them still because basically, nobody has a huge monopoly on duck eggs yet. we should start one i guess. i’m going to go home and draw up plans for industrial duck egg farms.” the way around it is to do an egg CSA, which KEG is working on. emma says ‘or we’ll get some aracuna chickens and then just tell the egg lady they are smaller duck eggs.’

last year when there was previously a bit of a scuffle over eggs and both KEG and zach were briefly shut down. shannon told us last year when we asked what was going on, “its perfectly okay for you to drive up to the farm to pick up the eggs yourselves, but if we bring them to you, we’re risking your lives. somehow they dont understand why we aren’t buying that.”  zach had to put his eggs through a whole long big certification process that took weeks to complete and basically means that he gets very little profit on selling his eggs, so little that its hardly worth it for him. but he says he’s keeping it up anyway because its what he and his customers believe in and collectively, everybody wants to see it continue. the thing is, we are not only buying eggs for ourselves anymore, but also for my parents and jims parents, so we can pick up 2 -3 dozen every week, and we really do not want to loose that as good eggs are mostly sold under the table in toronto and are really hard to find.

people, stop hating on the farmers markets. their eggs are better than your eggs any day. i think you know that too.

 

soca July 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 11:57 am

its a mix between soul and calypso, coming out of the Caribbean. it makes cordelia dance, which makes me dance.

 

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Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 11:31 pm

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sicklet July 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 11:38 am

she woke up twice to throw up during the night. we stripped the sheets, stripped the kid and jim took her to shower. she was not pleased about the rather inconvenient shower while her only goal was to go back to sleep, but doesnt seem to have any hard feelings about it now. her body is purging something but we dont know what it could be – she didnt eat anything different than what we ate yesterday. unless it continues i am not concerned.

some things i may do today:

-wash the diapers. this is going to be a ‘things i need to do’ if cordelia starts having a day of serious pooping to purge from the other end as well.
-convert senior saskatoon berries into jam before they become too senior to use. possibly add in the last of the also very senior raspberries as well.
-finish good copy of wedding henna design
-walk up to tibetan import store to check out jewelry
-possibly make cordelia some sweet potato cookies

and it starts with a tiny sicklet girl needing a nap.

 

more market July 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 3:28 pm

the market has moved. the woman who runs the market found that she was just about scraping by with it in its old location, so now it has moved up the street to a new space. yesterday was the opening week of the new location and since its right on yonge it was super busy. talking to the people who run KEG and to zach and a couple of our other regular vendors, nobody is totally pleased with it. the vendors and the regular shoppers prefer the old location in the park in the trees and grass with the freelance dog park in the background, they dont like being right out on yonge st. i agree with them, but as i told zach, “if this is going to allow the market to keep running and it means that you’ll still be here next season, i won’t be selfish about it.” he agrees with me. his family has been pushing him to drop this market for a long time now because for him, its creating more work than any substantial amount of profit.  (however zach frequently drops his prices and gifts onions to his regular customers). i also blame the heat and the heavy waterbear belly, but i didnt enjoy the sudden crowd and the packed atmosphere. cordelia, who is used to being plunked in the grass to follow along as her own toddler-pace now had to be scooped up and carried because there was no space for her to roam. the vendor who usually brings her 12-month old daughter to sit under the table and play in the grass couldnt bring her today because theres no space for the babies. other vendors who used to bring their children to go play in the park didnt this week. theres no park anymore.

i also feel kind of protective and slightly imposed upon – the market in its old location was intimate and you saw the same people over and over. out on yonge st its lost that comforting appeal, and, worse, now theres strangers in my market. this is my market with my vendors who sell me my food every week – we’ve been coming here for over a year, you ‘fresh off of yonge st people’ dont know what this is about. you dont know the farmers names, you havent been supporting them and they supporting you for a full turn of the seasons, you dont know anything. thats what i was feeling. consciously though, i can put that aside because many of those ‘fresh off of yonge st people’ are just like us and will happily become long-term customers if given the chance, then there wont feel like theres such a big divide between the ‘us’ and the ‘them’ (and really, theres never anything to gain from that ‘us/them’ divide, ever) the market needs the new customers to keep it going and i recognize that my selfish feelings would keep that from happening. i cant say ‘i support this sort of food movement’ and then ban other people from it who would just as likely support it too. i cant say ‘i think everybody should make educated food choices and be given the option of making a change’ and then get upset when they wander through the market, learning about food and considering making that change. i am aware of these feelings so i can watch them. where they come from interests me because they are entirely counter-productive to what needs to happen.

everybody i talked to said basically the same thing “i dont like the new location or the atmosphere, but it may be what we need to stay here.” everybody was adjusting and seems hopeful that it’ll work out. plus, theres a few new vendors as well, so hopefully the space can expand and more farmers will come and join in. there were a few vendors last summer who haven’t shown up again this year, and that needs to stop happening if my girls are ever going to have a memory of where their food came from.

 

Protected: July 14, 2011

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July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 6:17 pm

we made ginger beer, Caribbean-style.  its not actually beer its more like tea really, but you drink it cold/room temperature (im sure it would be lovely hot as well) cut with fizzy water. its nothing like the stuff that comes in cans. its not nearly as sweet and actually has that strong, fresh ginger bite to it, with cinnamon and cloves too. its colour is similar to kombucha but its clouded and murky.  we havent found many people who like it other than us. actually – only one other person so far, but we havent made it that often of shared it around very much.

i am suddenly motivated to reintroduce myself to henna again. i am designing our own wedding henna patterns, following one of those newer fashions of half the pattern on my palm and the other, matching half on jims palm.  the henna in my freezer is a mix of powders and pastes of varying qualities and ages, most of them experimental. i picked up some cones two summers ago to test them out, looking for a local source of good henna. there was a festival going on at the time so these cones were everywhere and i wanted to test them and see if they were worth stocking up on, but with a suspicion as to their ingredients due to their crazy overpowering smell.  its a plant product after all, and over time it will slowly deteriorate. henna especially doesnt last very long once its made into a paste. in order to sell pre-made pastes that can survive the journey from retailers in pakistan or india or wherever to canada, they are regularly spiked with some nasty chemicals and dyes and in general its a good idea to not trust them.  doesnt help that the labels may be written in many languages, none of them being english, so i dont know whats in the pastes anyway and its always a gamble when buying a ready-make cone. really i should have known better but i was being hopeful. anyway that particular paste i wasnt pleased with – the colour didnt last at all. i tried to save the cones by tinkering with adding some ingredients but they mostly took up space in the freezer while i didnt use them. i didnt really want to use them on other peoples skin as i couldnt speak for any of the things that might be in the paste, and certainly didnt want to use them while pregnant (which i have spent a great deal of time being recently)  in the end decided it wasnt worth the effort and finally tossed them out the other day, knowing i was much better off to rebuild my supply with better quality henna that i trust.

next part of the henna clean out – the powders.  three tiny bags of powder i bought from a real, trustworthy supplier online who deals directly with artists. the other bag i picked up at a local indian grocery store.  sometimes you can score big with bags of henna from the local indian grocery store but more often they are a miss. its a trial and error game mostly, being careful to check for expiry dates and ingredients and aim for the labels that you recognize. this bag was fine and gave a nice dark red colour, but hadnt been sifted and so it was too lumpy to use for body art. i saved it for my hair, if i ever wanted to colour my hair bright red again. i never did. i sifted it once and it took a ridiculous amount of effort and i was determined to make it worth it. so it sat in the freezer for like three years while i waited ‘for the chance to use it’ which of course never happened, so it of course expired slowly – plant product, after all. i mixed up the powder the other day to check it out – its dead. tossed that out too. the freezer is gaining space.

moved onto the more expensive powders from the real, trustworthy supplier. one bag from yemen and two from a region in northern india. both are known for producing good hennas, but they are all about 4 years old now so it really doesnt matter what the quality was like at the time, its a matter of seeing if they held out over the past four years or not.the one bag from yemen looks promising so far, but i have yet to see what it can really do.

i do have one good source of henna, through another artist that my mom knows through her work contacts. this woman has in the past gifted me with a couple of her cones of paste for free and they were quite good. i can buy paste from her (much safer to buy paste from another artist) but its expensive to just buy the paste in small amounts and, if you were to, say, start a business, this is a not-very-profitable way to go. but i do a periodic check online every now and again to see if anybody has started selling a good powder nearby (nearby being anywhere in toronto, so i dont have to keep ordering it from retailers online. there are many, many places that i could get henna if i wanted the sort of henna that comes with kerosene, hair dye or camphor in it) and this time i was surprised to find that an artist in mississauga has started to stock her powders in a store in toronto thats a 20 minute or so drive north of me.

basically, everything is laid out in front of me in a very inticing way – its the middle of summer, i am making a move on clearing out my old henna and finding local (hah – local henna) sources of henna and have dived back into reading just about everything i can find. i have at this point in time an amazing contact with sasha who i could use to get me into contact with lots of big pregnant bellies who would probably like to have henna parties. my mom has lots of henna-friendly friends. i have lots of henna-friendly friends. i have in the past been paid for my work, sometimes it was a paid job but mostly its been tips. i need to keep practicing because i am never pleased with my own work yet, but i think that over time i could make something of this. the woman who ave me those free cones also said she could use another artist to tkae with her to big events. i feel like had i been working at it already, i could have got there by now.