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on the other hand…. October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 4:52 pm

so much of what i’m turning up is GLARINGLY OBVIOUS and so damn easy to find its alarming that lots of people don’t know this stuff.

“the government tests for chemicals people carry around in their bodies, it doesn”t check for the pesticides most commonly found on fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores. Trace amounts of agricultural chemicals — so-called “pesticide residue” — show up on many fruits and vegetables grown with conventional farming techniques. …..The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has conducted several “body burden” studies and found that dozens of industrial chemicals can be found in the average American”s tissues, blood or urine. But the CDC looks for relatively few pesticides, and fewer of the pesticides most commonly found on fruits and vegetables. “Just because they”re not looking for them or finding them doesn”t mean they”re not causing problems,” said Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group. “And they”re certainly not looking for them.”


i have to be careful with all the EWG credits, i dont want to write this having all of my sources trace back to the same group over and over. but they are really the ones leading this field, so its hard to find something that doesnt trace back to them somehow.


and then some totally unrelated but kinda great music


October 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:19 am

cordelia is sick, sick, sick. ive never known her to be this miserable. shes the kind of person where it takes a mac truck to take her out. this is her mac truck.

she woke up coughing, crying. i got her a bottle of milk and cuddled her, which she usually doesnt tolerate. i know her throat is sore because shes been largely refusing to eat for the past three days so it might be a day for milk, formula, maybe tea. yesterday she slept for an hour and a half, another sign her little body is fighting something nasty. also, we know what it feels like cause both jim and i have it too, though it  seems to be hitting her hardest. blaze missed the boat on this one i think, lucky girl is getting my antibodies. (i wonder, if you drink raw goats milk, do you become just that much more protected against goat colds?)


Protected: kiki isnt bottom of the totem pole, i am October 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 2:28 pm

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surprise overnight guests October 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 2:49 pm

we went out for a walk yesterday evening and came across a baby squirrel on the sidewalk. he was the tiniest baby squirrel i have ever seen, he didnt have all his adult coat yet and was still mostly covered in baby fuzz. we watched him for a while, wondering why he was out of the nest as it was obvious that he was too young to be on his own. then we saw another one. and a third. two black, one grey. mom should have been up in a tree yelling at us for being so close to her babies, but she wasnt around. squirrels are active during the day, and by this point in the evening, we figured that if momma hadn’t come back for them by now, she wasnt going to. and while the best momma to a baby squirrel is a momma squirrel, a wildlife rehab center is a good second choice.

the woman who lives in the house came by and said that there was a nest up in the roof of the house but she hadnt seen any adults around for a while. we discussed what to do about these three babies, and we decided that we would take them home and drop them off at the wildlife centre. we put the babies in a shoebox that the woman gave us and carried them home. it was late enough in the evening that we knew that we would probably be keeping them overnight, but we dropped into a vets office on our way home to see if they could take them. the tech at the desk said that she was a wildlife rehabilitator and had been feeding baby squirrels just that morning at the centre, so she gave us some advice for what to do with them (which, it occurs to me now, might be useful to pass on!) she said to call and leave a message with the wildlife centre and give them a detailed message about where we found the babies, what they were like (eyes open, not all their fur, clumsy, not afraid of people and willingly approaching us) and they would call us back when they opened in the morning. handle them carefully cause they do have sharp teeth! keep them in something other than a shoebox over night (we used a cat carrier) and dont give then anything to eat – they wont starve overnight, and its better that they eat what they are supposed to eat than we stuff whatever we think is appropriate through the bars, since likely these guys were not old enough to be weaned yet. give them a shallow dish of water, some old cloths or towels, and a heating pad or hot water bottle because they likely cannot regulate their own temperature. (unless you are keeping them over the weekend, then its different and you need to find somebody to tell you what to do) having provided them with their new guest house accommodations for the night, hey just curled up together in a ball and went to sleep.

these babies slept in the basement where its warm and dark and quiet, because while i do like baby squirrels, i dont really want to mix them with my babies or my cats. these babies had lice/fleas, something that i dont want in my couch! so the basement was a good set up for everybody. (also, it was quickly obvious that having them spend the night in kikis cat carrier inside was too much excitement for the cats.)

in the morning i called the wildlife centre, who asked a bunch of detailed questions and then confirmed that we had done the right thing and that they wanted us to bring them in. when i dropped off the babies, the two women at the front desk said that they had never seen baby squirrels who were this skinny who werent listless and really sick, these guys were active and pretty robust-looking, which was a good sign as their condition shows that they have been on their own for a long time. still, because they have been on their own and at least one them seemed to have pneumonia, they are not yet sure what their outcome will be.

(click for bigger versions so you can actually see them – its dark and they hide).

they are cute now, sure, but the vet tech showed us the scars on her hands, saying “they get a little crazy when they get older!”


October 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 3:59 pm

made these yesterday. they are more like little cakes than cookies. cordelia runs over to the counter where the plate of them is and reaches her arms up towards them, asking for one.


this book is like a super-long essay, except that it doenst have a due-date. which is nice, it removes the pressure from this seemingly endless project i have taken on. i liked essays so long as i wasnt crunched for time (which i often was). everything aobut it is so confusing. i am stuck trying to work out the truth about the dirty dozen list. people (the people who are in science that is, not hte people who take the list with them in their iphone apps to the grocery store) are not so quick to trust it because the people who made it apparently are not clear on the system they used to do the grading, and i cannot find the fully-published work anywhere, but i am finding a lot of evidence that there was no fully published work. this does not of course mean that they didnt do the work, it just means they didnt write the academic paper afterwards to share with the public. however, this does make you less credible, unfortunately.

another criticism i keep finding is ‘the levels detected are within, and usually at the very low end of, the legal levels of pesticides that you can have on a piece of fruit/veg.’ then people say that this debunks the list because ‘within legal levels’ of chemicals are not dangerous. like the government told us that the low levels of lead in our tap water wasnt dangerous. we got a filter anyway. common sense would tell me that ther eare no safe levels of lead, like there are no safe levels of pesticides. ‘within legal limits’ does not mean ‘will not damage your nervous system over a period of 20 years.’ it only means that somebody set a number at somepoint ad told the rest of the farmers to stick to it. besides, thats the ‘legal limits thats allowed to show up once it reaches the grocery store’ whereas there does not seem to be a legal (or even measurable) limit to ‘how much chemicals washed off the apples when it rained and are now in your groundwater instead.’ also, its a sad truth that hte people who set the legal limits probably dont have all the answers yet or information, simply because not enough time has passed. thats where i keep hitting dead ends – the answers arent there yet. some people have evidence that chemicals are bad for you, others say they are not. everybody is sure that they are correct. i cant even be sure that how i am going to write it all up is going to be correct either. i can only tell you what i know to be true at the time, which may, and has many times before in history, turned out to be actually false later.

this ‘legal limits’ thing has another problem. the people who set the legal limits are greatly influenced/under the control of those people who are the ones doing the spraying. like how the dairy board would like you to think that you need to drink a gallon of milk every day because then your bones wont go frail when you are old. misleading, but if it makes them lots of money then they are all for it. like how the food pyramid is drawn by a team of rather biased people who are again, following the money. nestle went into Africa and told all the mothers that their formula was better than a mothers breast milk. lots of babies got really sick and died when formula powder was mixed with dirty, polluted water. lots of families went further into poverty as they spent all their money on ridiculously expensive formula. nestle is not your friend. and how do you get yourself onto the dairy board? well, probably you are a dairy farmer. probably you have been a dairy farmer for your whole life and play by the right kinds of rules.

another argument that i dont see has any strength – “well, the chemicals cant be so bad, cause the farmers eat their own food too. would they feed those apples to their family if they knew they were bad for them?” while i’ll admit that i dont know for sure but i am probably smart enough to take a guess at this one. two things, im thinking – one, the farmers are very much under the control of higher powers (ahem-monsanto) to spray what they spray and of course they are being told that they are doing a good job and that its not dangerous because thats what the higher powers would like them to do and what they would like them to believe. follow the money. and two, we just dont know yet. we dont know how bad this will be when my grandkids have spent 30 years being exposed to some chemicals we think is safe to use right now cause the cancer hasn’t shown up yet (well, it has, actually,) it took years for people to realize that DDT was probably a bad move. DDT is still lingering around today. we dont know for sure, but theres a heck of a lot of evidence that something is wrong here. listeria in melons. e.coli in spinach. pesticide residues in breastmilk.

there are also chemicals that are making their way into america on imported foods that are banned for american farmers to use because they have actually been found to be dangerous. i have not yet found evidence for the same to be true with canada but im sure it is. we get lots of our produce from the same place that america does. i have to keep my stats all sorted out since i am writing this for GTAers who are not shopping in american foodstores, but we are not really too different in some respects.

‘about 1/4 of organic food that you get in the store has resides of chemicals in it anyway,’ i have read a couple of people arguing. this is their justification for buying conventional apples instead of organic ones – why pay the marked-up price if its not truly organic anyway? ts true – the chemicals are so much a part of our soil, air and water that even organic food can come into contact with it even despite farmers best intentions and efforts, though it will be less than if the apple tree was treated with chemicals directly. however, this does not not mean you should buy conventional apples, you idiots. it means you should be angry about the fact that chemicals are so long-lasting that they are showing up in organic food, and not contribute to it any longer. the reason that organic food is showing traces of chemicals is because you keep buying those conventional apples in the first place.

another problem – mark bittman has written a number of cookbooks, two of them which are cooking bibles in our house. (as a side note i really, really recommend these titles to anybody – ‘how to cook everything’ and ‘how to cook everything vegetarian’. we have both.) flipping through one yesterday i foound the small section about buying organic food or not. he says its a political and personal decision. he prefers to buy local when he can get it, be it organic or not, because local is far more sustainable. he doesnt make a great effort to buy organic when he’s in a grocery store because he isnt convinced that industrial organic is all that much better nor all that much sustainable either – its jsut a new label on the same industrial food system. there are those people who buy avocados, then those people who only buy organic avocados, then those people who dont buy avocados at all. all for their own reasons.

a label with many, many loopholes, im finding. up to 5% of ingredients on organic ‘junk foods’ (its a loose term, but anything that is per-packaged and comes in a nice box with some green writing) can be non-organic. i grabbed a bag of organic corn chips out of our cupboard to check this out. yup. organic cornmeal. then it stopped. canola oil, and some sea salt (i doubt that you can have organic sea salt vrs. non-organic sea salt so the salt doesnt really count) and im sure that the canola oil made up less than 5% of the total ingredients in the chips, so it fits the labeling specifications and you cna sell it as organic. but there you go. (we didnt buy them cause they were organic. we bought them cause they have less than half the salt of every other brand of corn chips we could find.)

i see that this is going to get bigger and bigger and it’ll be so hard to find where to draw the line. i dont want to make this a huge, difficult, ‘eating animals’, ‘food inc.’ sort of project that takes years and goes into great detail and digs up stats that the government tries to hide and talks to people with blurred out faces who may loose their jobs cause you talked to them or breaks into (literally, for foer) poultry farms in the night to see whats really going on. i want to reference those sure, and tell people “to read more about this, go check out this book” but what i had in mind initially is the book that says “yes, theres a market in your neighborhood. you should go check it out, it has cool things and nice people.” with a little bit of the correct information in it to help people make informed decisions. its not my place to tell you  that you cant buy the avocados, but i want you to sit and listen and realize what you are contributing to if you choose to buy the avocados, and then i’ll leave the decision up to you.

a lot of what i am finding is comparing grocery store produce to grocery store produce.industrialized, large-scale organic to industrialized, laege-scale non-organic. organic avocado to non-organic avocado. local is a whole other ball game.

the correct information is really, really hard to find. everybody thinks they have it right but the problem is everytihng i can find is conflicting with everything else.


october unprocessed October 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 12:13 pm


go the whole month without eating processed foods.

we nearly do this every month, and i think that a large chunk of what i do eat thats processed (which is a very small chunk of what i eat in total) is cause of when we go to other peoples houses. if it were just us in our own kitchen, there would hardly be any processed foods at all.

in book news, i am getiing nit-picky with what im finding, moreso for my own knowledge and probably what im finding wont all end up in what i write up for other people.

this, for instance. stop being so damn confuing!



this ones great too: “isnt it fantastic that we caught those canteloupes really fast so only 18 people had to die? hurray for us! praise industrialized foods!” no. the correct thing to write your article about would be: wouldnt it be fantastic if THERE WAS NO LISTERIA IN MELONS  in the first place?



yesterday October 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 4:26 pm

cordelia puts up a big fight going down for her nap, her teeth are bothering her. a dose of tylenol helps, but its still a struggle. she ran out milk in her bottle for the second time and waved it at me, asking for more. this is a bad sign, this may mean that she skips her nap like she did the day before, i dont get the break i need, and i then have a grumpy over-tired toddler all to myself for the rest of the day again. she threw the bottle on the floor. i feel like smacking her – shes so incredibly rude and unappreciative, and shes going to rob me of what could be my only quiet hour to myself i will get for the next 24 hours. i let her get really pissed before filling the bottle back up and giving it back to her – then that relief from being really mad helped her go to sleep in 3 minutes after that. relief – i thought it would be better when she got up again.

no. she woke up and immediately the crying started. i figured she would feel better if she ate something so i gave her a hug and then set to work on finding her some lunch. she hadn’t eaten much all day because four molars are cutting through and its been painful for her to eat. she wandered around and whimpered, grumpy, while i came up with some lunch. roasted sweet potato? usually a favourite. sat her in the highchair, offered her some sweet potato. she took one mouthful then pushed the rest away, signing ‘finished’. maybe i guess wrong – she turns to the table and points to the bowl of stir-fry that is supposed to be my lunch at some point today (it never was. there’s no time for eating) so i got her some of the noodles out of that. that was okay for awhile, then suddenly, ‘finished’.  got her some of the pasta she hadn’t finished at breakfast, which she ate one noodle of and then threw the rest on the floor. i really don’t appreciate her throwing it on the floor so i scooped them all back up again and got some yogurt instead. yogurt is usually a good one cause its cold on sore gums. yogurt lasted for three spoonfuls. i put all these foods on the table and waited. she pointed at them and made hr ‘give me that’ noise, so i went through them again one by one, trying to find which one it was she wanted. not the sweet potato, she waved it away. not the pasta. not the stirfry. not the yogurt. not anything.she pointed again. i gave her a second chance to pick something to eat, but she pushed them all away again. ‘finished, finished, finished’. got her out of her chair, put the food back and cleaned up while she whined. i entertain the idea of hitting her again, running it through in my head and hanging onto the promise that i won’t do it in reality.

i am also supposed to be making icecream to bring to thanksgiving dinner  -we are making two batches but they need to be made one at a time. i go back to check the machine, which is supposed to have frozen the icecream by now. cordelia follows me crying cause shes in such a shitty mood. well maybe if you’d eat something. once the icecream is done my plan is to get it in the freezer, clean up a little bit, get the girls in the car and drive downtown to meet jim and some classmates for dinner. to get two babies changed, dressed, packed up then allowing for blaze to stop the whole show to nurse for a while and then get everybody and  the stroller in t he van by myself takes about an our. you cant leave either baby in the car alone for too long or else the yelling starts. i cant leave either baby alone in the apartment for too long, same thing. i cant trust cordelia to stand nicely on the front lawn and wait for me while i load blaze into the car, shes just as likely to follow me out onto the road. never mind that i need to figure out how and when to get the stroller. its like that game of can you get the fox, the chicken and the bag of corn across the river without ever leaving them unattended with each other. cordelia keeps whining and crying.

cordelia shoves my legs out of her way, placing herself between the cupboard doors and me and pushing me. i am trying to deal with the icecream, which has not frozen and is adding to my stress because now i need to deal with it in a different way than i would have done if it had frozen and everytyhing was behaving itself and cooperating nicely. cordelia starts hitting her head on the cupboard doors, an alarming habit shes picked up for when she cant deal with her own stress. i offer to pick her up but she angriluy pushes my hands away, swats at me and rune off down the hallway screaming as loud as she can. fine. i hate you too right now.  cordelia is standing halfway down the hallway, red in the face and screaming like a banshee. if she knew the words she’d be swearing at me. i tip the not-frozen icecream into a bowl, and the bowl tips up and i loose some icecream across the counter. i start crying. that was the very last thing i could handle. i put everything down and run away down the hallway just like cordelia did. thank god blaze is asleep.

in the bathroom i shut the doors, sit on the toilet seat head in my hands and wait out the need to hurt myself. cordelia stops screaming, shes noticed im not around anymore. if she had kept screaming, i would have done. i text jim that im probably not coming for dinner and that i hate her. im mad at him for having to leave me too this on my own. when i calm,ed down enough that i could trust myself again i left the bathroom and went to curl up on the bed, shut my eyes and slowly counted my breathing. i hear her come up behind me. “ahp”, she says and climbs up onto the bed. i lift her over me, tuck her against my chest and hug her. as soon as i do, i feel the tension leave her and she sighs, loosening, melting right into me. i am still crying but its changed now from anger to relief. she lets me hug her, something she never sits still long enough for. “i dont hate you. im sorry.”we both gradually come back down to our equilibrium again.

jim calls to see how we are.. i put cordelia on the phone first cause i cant gather myself up fast enough to talk to him just yet. he’s stepped out of the seminar, offers to come home early. i say i think i will bring them down for dinner because i don’t think that staying in this space will make the situation better. when jim is gone i blow a puff of air across cordelias hair. she takes the bait and squeals, initiating a tickling game. we go back to working in symmetry again.

i realized then that its not that i cant handle it because of flaws in me that make me unable to tolerate what would be easy for anybody else, its that its actually really hard and nobody could handle it. i totally understand how children get abused – parents get pushed too far into the realm of ‘help i cant do this anymore’ and you just crack. i havent hit her yet, and hope i never do. i feel like i cant risk betraying her trust like that. when people tell you ‘oh they are just doing it for attention, ignore them, it’ll stop’ it sounds so ridiculous. what terribly misplaced wisdom. are you so stupid you cant listen to your own words? of course they are doing it for attention – she is screaming and running away from me because the truth is she needs my help. haven’t you ever pushed someone away in anger when you really need them close? needing them to realize that you’re hurting so they’ll be the ones to approach you when you cant do it yourself anymore?  ignoring that just teaches her that i don’t care and shes not important, making her push back harder. but then, yes, you’re right, eventually it’ll stop because she’ll know that im not listening. that must hurt. i know that hurts.

something like this happens every couple days, more when shes teething or sick (shes both right now). im getting through it by recognizing that emotions arent seperate from each other, they arent places you go, they are just part of the rest of the ebb and flow or the whole day, passing through like any other emotion and its usually gone in less than three minutes. ive learned this from cordelia who can swing from one extreme to the other in no time at all. it just feels so much longer while its passing.



kristy told me once that i was only having a baby because i was selfish. at first i was really upset by that, she made me second-guess myself. but now i see how stupid she just made herself look and how much of the power she used to have over me she took away by saying that. you know nothing.