Sunday 1 December 2019

A letter to my co-worker (who will probably never read this)

To start off, let me set the topic. Our conversation about homelessness this morning.

You had said something about the homelessness epidemic being such a shame, and how the fellow across the road sleeping in a doorway shouldn't be there. I agreed thinking there was compassion in your heart...

But then you continued and said that "it's really their own fault". I was stunned and could only say "Really?". You elaborated by telling me of the times you've witnessed "some of them completely tweaking". Now knowing you to be one to drink and smoke-up I asked, "Someone's life is going so shitty that they're huddled sleeping on a business' porch in a freezing rain and ice storm, and you're gonna tell them they're not allowed use $20 on drugs to escape the crappiness for a few hours?"

You got all insulted and straightened your back saying that you might drink and get tattoos but you "prioritise food and a roof". I was so dumbfounded that all I could say was "$20 won't get you an apartment." And left the room before I lost control.

Now that I'm not at work I don't have to hold back and all I can say is what-the-ever-living-fuck? What non-suicidal person doesn't prioritise the necessities of life? Do you honestly believe that you are so fundamentally different?

When have you ever had to worry about the cops destroying your property for the crime of sleeping? When have you ever had to wonder IF you would eat today? When have you ever had to choose between shelter OR food? Do you not understand how hard it is to be poor? and how much harder it is to be homeless?

Without even knowing this guy's story, you're convinced that given the same life, you could have made choices to not be in the same place. Are you really so blind to your privilege? Do you really believe you can always make decisions to keep you safe? Do you really believe that everything is under your control?

Or are you just scared that if you have any sort of compassion for the underserved of our community, you'll have to recognise that they're humans in shitty situations and you're just a few months/a few accidents/a few small changes away from being in the exact same place.

I have no idea how to explain our privilege to you, I have no idea how to teach you empathy, so I will not be sending this to you, only venting to the world.

Friday 22 November 2019

2019 Garden Update

It's been a while so here's some garden updates. In September I got assigned a community garden plot that had been abandoned for 3 or 4 years. The weeds were 3 feet high and thriving. My garden neighbour said that last year she complained and they mowed it... once.

I went one day with some gloves, pruning sheers, and cardboard to start the no-dig garden process. It wasn't easy. The compost bin was upside down, the land had dips where rabbits or other small critters had dug in under the snow during previous winters, and a bunch of those three foot tall weeds were some sort of mint.

During the cleanup I found one lone ripe cherry tomato. I figured if it could survive this mess it would thrive with whatever I threw at it and saved it for next year. (It's currently in the freezer.)
Here's how everything looked once the weeds were cut down, the compost in the bin was used to fill in the holes, the bin was reassembled right side up and filled with the chopped weeds, and then wet cardboard was put down over the whole thing.

Just a few days later the weeds were already looking pale and sickly. It was a few days before I could get sawdust for the paths so it sat as just cardboard over the weeds for a while.

Beds and paths complete.
The sawdust was from a local community wood shop and
the compost had been provided for the community garden from municipal green-waste.

End of October. Tarped for the winter.

Mid November. Some ice puddles but over all looking good.

That's about it til I order seeds in January. I'll try to remember to post then.

Tuesday 8 October 2019


I read a post on Tumbr talking about "activity cravings" when you really want to DO something but you don't know what, and how it seems the more options you have, the worse it is. When I was a kid, we called this boredom.

When we were all very young (5 kids under 10), if one of us said "Muuuuum, I'm boooored" she would look at us and say "well if you can't entertain yourself I could use help with (dishes/folding laundry/etc)". It was always whatever she was actually doing in case we needed some mom-time and didn't know how to ask.

Most of the time, by the time she said "can't entertain yourself," we instantly said "nevermind" and went to find a cool rock in the back yard or whatever.

One day I was having a particularly bad case of the want-to-do-somethings and decided chores were better than boredom. I went to mom and spoke the magic phrase, her reply stopped midway waiting for me to run out of the room and I repeated, "no really mom, I am SO bored" and we did dishes together. :-)

Once dad got custody we never had time to be bored (assigned chores, after school programs, etc) and I think that's a shame.

Kids should be bored occasionally. I think it teaches self-direction & sense of self that is important as an adult.

Sunday 1 September 2019

Growing Hope Homestead

Just started an instagram account....... don't know if I'm going to regret that.

I've been talking a lot with Wolfie about the homestead gardens/ animals/ etc and I'm very happy that we overlap but have our own interests. I'm more interested in the annuals & cultivated perennials, and he's more interested in foraging and food forests.  We also have a bunch of non food ideas of what we'd like to accomplish on the homestead and he was very amped up when I told him that Hugslut and I had been talking about the possibility of a community centre that helps the local LGBT & homeless communities, with a tool library, helping people get connected to programs that they need, and a pay-what-you-can dinner.

We're all just hopeful hippies at heart.

Thursday 8 August 2019

I've come up with what I think is the ideal property listing for us.

Remember this isn't actually real....... as far as I know.

 - - -

10 acres total that back onto the Bay of Fundy of which, 5 acres are wooded with some fruit and nut trees through-out as well as some sugar maple, and 2 acres are fenced pasture/hayfield.

The property is hooked up to the electrical grid, but also has a solar/wind array that covered 75% of the previous owner’s usage. Phone and cable lines are connected to the main house and Fibre internet is available in this area.

The spacious main house has a full unfinished basement, newer vinyl siding(2010), and a new steel roof(2017), and a well cared for wrap around porch. It has 3 bedrooms on the upper floor as well as a full bathroom. The main floor contains a large kitchen with enough room for a harvest table, plenty of counter space near the sink and stove, and all the cupboards you could dream of as well as a large pantry off the kitchen. The living room has a large south facing window and a Russian/Masonry style wood fireplace. A half bath + laundry room completes the main floor. Appliances include gas stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, HE washer & dryer(2015)

Above the detached 2 car garage is a bachelor apartment/ in-law suite with it’s own full bathroom and kitchenette. Perfect for an older teen, or as a rental property.

The old bungalow style farmhouse is nearby but a reasonable distance for privacy. Recently wired for electric, it is heated by a wood stove, and is still in great condition. It has a full bathroom and small kitchen with water from the main well. There are two bedrooms off the living room. The previous owner was using it as a writers retreat.

Outbuildings include a small barn, 20x30 poly-tunnel, as well as a 10x15 greenhouse near the main house, and a few small sheds in various states of repair.

- - - - 

This property would house the 5 adults we plan to have living there full time as well as providing space for dairy animal(s), poultry, hogs, and rabbits and a massive garden.

What do you think? What does your dream home look like?

Saturday 3 August 2019

Update with bad news

I'm surprised it's been so long, time seems to be drifting quickly. Life was chugging along nicely for me with Aikido twice a week, part-time at work and part-time housewife, slowly digging through & decluttering the backlog of our stuff....

Then, at the beginning of July, Franklin's liver became a problem and his health took a turn for the worse. We worked long & hard with the vet to try to get him back to health... but he passed away July 29th.

Hugslut and I are still working hard towards our goal of a homestead to call our own before 2024, and maybe by then we'll be ready to let a new pet into our life.

On a happier note, Bard has passed his first bar exam and will be a proper lawyer very soon.
I'm very happy for him and wanted to share his success with you all.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

First Time At Aikido

I finally got to the Aikido class. Hugslut came with me to check out a Saturday morning all levels class. She was less drawn than I was so I went to a free beginners class by myself last night. It was SO MUCH FUN!

Aikido pictogram
I threw myself into it determined to not be the scared newbie who doesn't even manage a summersault because they're so tense and I had a great time. The people are great, and the class size is small enough that there's enough high levels to help with all the low levels (because if you pair a newb with a newb they're both just gonna get hurt).

As I was signing up, I was chatting with one of the higher levels and he was telling me "just relax and don't worry if you don't get something. We all started there and no one gets the techniques right on the first try . . .  except for Dancers, we hate dancers. I mean, we LOVE dancers, but we 'hate' dancers. They'll walk in off the street as a rank newb and watch the sensei perform a technique once and pick it right up. It's all just choreography to them." To this I think I mumbled something about seeing how that could be frustrating... and then promptly forgot it since I have had no dancing classes and had nothing really to add.

Later, I was paired up with a different blackbelt and having a hell of a time keeping my balance on one move we were trying to do. I told him "I don't know what to do with my feet so they just stay put and then I fall down"(I was supposed to loose my balance, but 2 seconds later in the move, and in a position he could support me and I didn't actually fall). He stopped, stood by my side and talked me through "and when I do THIS, then swing your right foot all the way back so you're facing the back door". Then next run-through I could feel the flow of where I was going and did NOT fall down. At that point he said, "Ah, a Dancer" and I'd never been so "wtf? no?" and "d'aww, thanks" at the same time.

Today I was surprised. I expected some bruising and a bunch of DOMS, and instead. . .  nothing hurts, I have no bruises, I'm not even stiff, but my joints are . . . . lazy? My knees and an ankles are both on work-to-rule. They sometimes say no to getting up from sitting, they sometimes wobble on walks, and refuse to carry additional weight. It got better as the day progressed, but it was SO weird. If something hurt I would have gone to a doc but, it seems I'm just getting some enforced rest.

I'm hoping to be back to normal for Saturday morning. A Saturday morning & Tuesday night schedule would be awesome if I can. . . If my body won't let me yet, once a week will do.

Friday 29 March 2019

Everything Is Temporary

I've been using the mantra "everything is temporary" to remind myself not to get bogged down in the minutia of organizing when there's still decluttering left to do. My plan is very simple, but very broad and therefore time consuming.

I've already applied this logic to my clothes and books to be a proof of concept on easily gathered categories. The rest of our stuff isn't really sorted into categories yet and is spread across the house, So my plan is as follows:
  • Day to day life needs to run smoothly. The decluttering has waited this long, and it can be done in the gaps.
  • Sort everything into categories (some obvious garbage/donations can be tossed in this step)
  • Go through each category carefully with Hugslut in order to keep only the things that make our life better. 
  • Seeing what's left & organize our stuff in a way that allows for frequent enjoyment of the beautiful things, easy access to the commonly used things, and easy tidying/cleaning/care of all our things.
Logically, organizing has to come last. My clothes and books aren't even necessarily in their permanent place (eg: I'm considering merging my long sleeved shirts and pants in the same drawer since there's few of each). If I were to (for instance) solidly decide that the dish rack goes on the fridge(where I've been keeping it for the last week or two), my brain would have been less likely to offer the idea it gave me yesterday which now has the dish rack tucked under the sink. 

Because organizing comes last, I'm moving a bunch of stuff from pillar to post (and because I've got perfectionist tendencies, that's scary to me) and I have to keep reminding myself that storage is currently temporary and that I don't have to sit down right this second and decide the BEST spot for the thing in my hand... because I can't know the best spot yet. There is too much left that can change. So instead I'm just trying to keep like items together as I sort through. 

Categories that have been decluttered include my clothes, my books, our makeup, my bathroom stuff.

Categories that are being gathered and have not yet been decluttered include a camping/travel section, a decoration/memento section, the tool box, the infrequently used cleaners/refills, my hobby/craft supplies, ect.

Things might get a bit messier & this might take til the end of the year, but I'm doing my best to keep the house livable and no more visually cluttered than usual while going through everything. That said, I do plan to go through EVERYTHING and so, "Everything Is Temporary".

Sunday 3 March 2019

Religion and Ethics

A manager I rarely work with started "chatting" with me before I clocked in today and the conversation carried on after I started working. She was asking a lot of questions about my family and I couldn't understand why she was suddenly so interested in my life but I thought maybe she was just being friendly.

Then the conversation came to my mom remarrying and then devorcing again because, in her words, god was punishing her with a bad marriage for divorcing/remarrying. My manager flat out said that her faith agrees with my mom's assessment of the situation.

We talked back and forth about religion for a while and eventually I got bored with her stubborn headed & contradictory arguments so I said something along the lines of "I get that you believe, I'm just not convinced." And when she replied "I'm not here to convince you" it was like one of those slow-mo movie flashbacks.

I remembered that getting someone to talk about their family was often the foot-in-the-door taught to evangelicals and other little bits of our conversation that showed she was indeed trying to convert me. I don't like mindgames.

I replied "Of course you're not. That would be unethical . . . you're my boss."

I think that was an "oh shit" moment for her because she didn't say anything for a few minutes and didn't bring it up again.


Wednesday 27 February 2019

The Tidying, Has Begun.


This place needs decluttering. I know that I'm going to do some serious spring cleaning as soon as the weather is warm enough to open the windows for a few days. Until then, I still have plenty to do. In order to pare down to the things we actually want in our home, I've decided to start tidying.

I thought it was gonna be fairly easy to start with my clothes. . .  might take a day. . . One day I had an hour before dinner and decided to tidy my sock & undies drawer. I didn't think to take a before picture til I saw the pile on the bed, so you'll just have to believe me that it wasn't a disaster, but it was very full.

A pile of underclothes that covers about 25% of the queen bed it sits on.

A 12" diameter cookie tin, a similar sized hatbox, and a mesh lingerie bag,
At that point I decided I had to post my underwear on the internet, and therefore, I needed pics.

So I took a pic of the two containers and the mesh bag that had also been filled with odds & ends of the same type that had also been tossed into the pile.

A small pile of bras, pantyhose, and socks in a purple laundry basketThere were a few things I decided "don't count" because they belong in a sexy/dress-up pile (a pair of opera gloves, a garter belt, etc) so they went with other play stuff. I was happily surprised to see that it wasn't just keep and trash piles, but that some of the items were in good enough shape to go to another home. I even had a bunch of unopened pantyhose that I had got in a bag of clothes from a relative that went in the donation basket because they weren't my style.

A small wastebasket filled with socks & underwearAll the socks with holes, and all the old thongs that are really not my thing anymore went in the trash. I just used the little wastebasket that was in the bedroom because honestly, I was kinda shocked how much I wound up throwing out.

At the end of the purge I KonMari folded everything I was keeping so it was nice and tidy. . . and now there's so much room in this drawer! Even after laundry (I know what's in the hamper I will still have a big hole with nothing in it!

That hole would fit a store folded t-shirt! I haven't figured out what might go in there yet.

That said, This ONE DRAWER took 90 minutes.
So, doing all my clothes, is going to take longer than I thought.