30 September 2009

UBCM Passes Affordable Housing Resolutions

Both resolutions of the Union of BC Municipalities call for action - on the part of the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The first ... will see the UBCM lobby the provincial government to develop a strategy [for] the use of pine beetle affected timber in the construction of homes throughout BC, and demands that BC mills be utilized as part of the strategy to reduce BC's housing shortage.


The second resolution was put forward by the City of Vancouver, and also submitted and endorsed by Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond Port Moody, and New Westminster. It called for the UBCM to urge the provincial and federal government to develop a National Affordable Housing Strategy that provides necessary long-term funding to support the construction of affordable housing across the province.

Now, here's the thing. The COSTS or MATERIALS to build housing are not the issue. It can take a mere few thousand dollars - and some have done it for NOTHING - to build structures that will provide permanent, adequate shelter. The problem is the willingness of existing property owners and municipal office-holders to enable land to be used in innovative, inexpensive ways.

The UBCM might begin not by telling other governments what they should do in support of 'affordable' housing, but by committing its members to reforming their own by-laws to allow housing alternatives that require little land, and even less in building materials and labour.

Until this happens, I question the sincerity or concern behind such UBCM resolutions.

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Oh, the Irony!

What on earth are we to do?

How can we persuade Canadians to vote for us?

Where, oh, where have we gone wrong?

So cry the Martinite backroom boys who, come to think of it, didn't do so well with Paul Martin either.

Similar hand-wringing is portrayed here.

Scott Reid, who was director of communications for former prime minister Paul Martin, said the Liberals are actually doing worse than the polls show.

The problem is that Liberal support among those likeliest to vote is soft, while Tory support is strong.

"We've got to really start to pay attention to committed voters," he said Wednesday. "The sad truth of our democracy at this moment in time is that 60 per cent of people tend to vote, particularly when cynicism is running as high as it is with respect to the prospect of an election. So how are we doing among the committed voters, those who say they are likely to vote? Those numbers are even tougher for us. And that has got to change before we get to a ballot box."

Mr. Reid said the party needs to figure out a strategy to "identify a coalition of voters that allows it a victory."

Here's a thought...

How about the Liberal Party of Canada offering something to attract MORE PEOPLE TO THE BALLOT BOX?

How about a meaningful policy to dump our single member plurality voting system in favour of a multi-member system that delivers proportional representation?

How about making the votes of all those who visit the ballot box count? Instead of what it is now, like 27 percent of eligible voters electing a party to a minority or false majority and getting a Prime Minister NONE of us had the opportunity to vote for?

Guess not.

(Doncha love the straw man arguments of the status quo?)

NB: As Ed Broadbent said recently on a September 2009 CPAC/Macleans discussion on democracy, until the Liberals or Conservatives back proportional representation, it won't happen. And that means, I ain't holdin' my breath. (H/t to nbcdipper for prodding my memory.)

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BC Backtracks !

Unbelievable, but true. The BC government has restored the $440,000 it axed from domestic counselling in the province.

Solicitor General Kash Heed made the announcement in a press release, after his government faced a wave of criticism in recent days for slashing funding to women's groups.

Now if the Powers-That-Be would only reconsider cuts that have dug into the province's daycare programs, lessen the heavily burdened post secondary students and provided truly 'affordable housing' for cash strapped working poor and seniors, we may begin to feel like our voices are being heard.

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29 September 2009

The Dentist

What do poor working people like me do when they have to visit the dentist? When they know they have work to be done or risk losing their teeth? Or suffer the consequences of infection and the following agony of pain?

For me, I visit the dentist and have the doctor inform me of what needs to be done to avoid complications before deciding to follow through - or not. Luckily for me, I have known my dentist for thirty years and he is willing to allow me to make minuscule payments each month to dispense with the bill.

But for others, especially those who are receiving welfare or disability benefits the choices, are not so straight forward. They must wait until the looming tooth decay brings on infection and almost unbearable pain. IF they can find a dentist who will work for the prescribed amount allowed by the medical system and IF they can arrange transportation to the willing dentist and IF they can afford the antibiotics necessary to reduce the infection before the work can be done, then will they have their teeth treated.

Why are the working poor, the self-employed, the disabled and those who are receiving monetary benefits from the government of the day, seemingly less worthy of dental treatment? Why indeed.

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27 September 2009

Humour and Poor Eyesight

So I was fuzzily reading the report of Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland, which had been based on a 30-year-old US arrest warrant. Polanski's crime, to which he confessed: sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old.

Given that media tend not to use certain words, imagine my surprise when I 'read' this:

The challenge was made after the allegation of misconduct emerged in a documentary released last year "Roman Polanski: Wanked and Desired."

Definition of 'wanked':
1. An act of masturbation.
2. A detestable person.

Either works.

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If a CEO says it, then it must be true

If a homeless or street person says it, it cannot possibly be true. Even if it is, it's a truth of little significance.

But does a truth spoken by, for example, Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes have significance? Such as, "homeless people aren't just a problem to be minimized or cleared away; they have amazing potential"?

Half of Seattle's homeless population are parents in their prime productive years, with children in their prime development years.

In fact, homeless families tracked by the University of Washington had better high school graduation rates than the Seattle School District....

"Most homeless families are right on the edge of being a productive part of a healthy community and a thriving economy," said Raikes.

People living the life have been saying this for decades, probably for centuries.

In WISE's own itty bitty project - which unexpectedly resulted in a book that sold to universities, resource centres, libraries, social service professionals, healthcare clinics, nursing students... and to places on and off this continent -, we TOLD YOU that education wasn't the issue. Neither was lack of intelligence, talent or resourcefulness.

Hell, you try living on nothing and see how well you do! Resourceful?! In spades.

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Galiano or Saltspring Islands

Any of our online readers or friends live there? Or know someone who does?

There are two subsidized seniors housing developments on Saltspring Island. They purportedly accept pets, per their listing with BC Housing. Still, that policy could have changed; I've seen that happen before.

Another subsidized seniors housing development exists on Galiano.

Two of the three places are for people 60 years of age and over. I'm 59. Good enough to apply I should think.

So I've done that, sent applications to all three places, but have no idea what the developments look like, their amenities, whether they're open to off-Island applicants or whether they do, indeed, accept pets.

Anyone have contacts who could find out?

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More Cuts to the 'Left Wing Fringe Group'

Those uppity women of the vast Canadian 'left-wing fringe group' and their children are going to endure more funding cuts here in BC.

The BC government, lead by Liberal Gordo Campbell, have decided that women fleeing criminally abusive partners, don't really need money already allocated to support them in their efforts to protect themselves and their children.

The province's Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has slashed $440,000 in funding this year to groups that provide counselling and support for battered women and children.

Of course, it is merely another broken promise.

Critics accused the B.C. Liberal government of reneging on its 2007 promise to lead North America in eliminating domestic violence.

Ho-hum, more of the same. Those uppity women will have to get off their butts and raise the funds themselves, along with begging for money to provide other 'non-essential' programs, like daycare, low-cost rental units, and early childhood education.

Cuts to what the province calls the Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling program were magnified yesterday by the release of Turpel-Lafond's report, which focused on the murder of six-year-old Christian Lee in Oak Bay in 2007.

The society will now have to raise extra money privately to keep the programs running, said executive director Carolyn Fast.

I truly hope the over-taxed-paying public have deep pockets and will kindly scrape up the meagre $440,000 the BC have chopped to support those 'fringers' and their children seeking asylum.

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25 September 2009

Imagine What It's Like

... to have yearned for a tiny place all your own, a tiny house or a trailer, one whose maintenance fits within your budget and where you and your furry companions can live in peace.

Imagine that someone comes forward and says to you: "I'll buy you a tiny house or a trailer; just find a place to put it."

Imagine that, feeling hope for the first time in a decade, you try and you try and you try and nowhere can you find land on which to place a tiny home. No RV pad is available, although there's no shortage of used trailers for purchase. No land is available that hasn't restrictions on the type of structures allowed; houses must be of certain minimal dimensions, they must have this or that amenity, and so on.

Imagine then that you must say to your potential benefactor: "I can't accept your gift of a tiny place. I can find nowhere to put it."

Imagine hope fading.

Imagine that the same someone comes forward and says to you: "Alright, if I can't buy you a tiny house or a trailer, then let me buy you a scooter. Then you'll be able to get about without pain. Just tell me the total cost, including insurance, and I'll send you the money."

Imagine hope rising.

Imagine enthusiastically checking online and deciding with the help of your potential benefactor whether it should be a Honda Jazz or a Yamaha Vino. Imagine scouting out the prices, learning about the licensing and insurance requirements, adding up the costs. Imagine reporting back your findings and the two of you deciding on the Vino.

Imagine the excitement growing, not just yours, but hers too...

Then imagine thinking: "Wait. Consider what you're doing. You don't live in a secure place. This is a high-theft area. There's nowhere to keep your scooter safe: no garage, no locker, no area inside the building. There's no carport, no awning under which your scooter can be kept from 30 to 40 cm snow dumps, no protection from the snow plow when it comes to clear the parking lot. The scooter will be exposed to vandalism and theft and the elements all year-round; and there's nothing you can do about it."


Possession of a scooter depends on relocation to a more secure residence.

Now suppose that word came in the spring of a rare, subsidized, seniors residence. It's one of the few rental places in this province, subsidized and not, that accepts pets.

Imagine someone applying to that development and the applicant being put on a waiting list.

Imagine hope waits.

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Those Darn Homeless and "Affordable Housing"

Seems BC is intent upon locking up people who refuse shelter accommodation. However, as Jody Patterson points out, there are a whole lot of reasons having nothing to do with mental illness to be unpersuaded by shelter amenities.

Then there are the problems of establishing permanent housing, which I discuss further below. (Hint: Affordability isn't the problem.)

About sheltering street people,

sometimes, it's as simple as not being able to bear the thought of lying on a mat in a big room with 70 or 80 other troubled souls trying to make it through the night in noisy, restless fashion. Or about having no place to leave your cart without all your worldly belongings being stolen by the morning, or another night of waiting in line outside the shelter just to find out there are no beds left, by which time all the good outdoor sleeping spots are long gone.

It's about having a spouse and wanting to sleep like a couple, or having a pet that you can't possibly leave outside alone in the cold. When our region's "cold wet weather" protocol kicks in - and believe me, it's damn cold and wet before that happens - only one adult emergency shelter, the one at St. John the Divine, welcomes couples and pets.

Then there's a whole other group of resisters with severe addictions, whose sleep/wake cycles are so completely out of whack that the idea of lying down quietly at night for eight hours isn't even an option.

Some have mental-health issues that keep them out of shelters, although not many in my experience, and certainly not enough to give Coleman the quick street cleanup he's envisioning. There's also a tiny group who would actually choose to live outside no matter what: Modern-day hermits, maybe 32 people in all in our region.

One positive solution is already here, in Vancouver. It has nothing to do with arresting people or having them corralled by police and left at shelters that may have no room for them.

The City of Vancouver has had amazing success with such populations using a new kind of shelter piloted late last year. None of it has required arresting people.

The goal of the project was to lure resisters inside by providing shelter with a difference - locked spaces for carts, couples and pets allowed, a 24-hour TV room to accommodate the sleepless, the dignity of booking another night before you left the shelter rather than having to line up much later in the day and hope for the best.

The empty buildings used for the shelters were pulled together quickly and on the cheap, with an operating cost of roughly $1.5 million for the three-month pilot. All were located in areas where people were already sleeping.

...More than 500 people who'd previously refused to use shelters came inside within a few days of the shelters opening last December.

People who are homeless have as much right to choice and dignity as anyone else. Of the choices they might make, how hard is it to imagine yourself refusing to be separated from your spouse or your pet or your entire worldly belongings?

It's not rocket science to reduce homelessness only to those people who would choose it as a lifestyle (many of whom reject the 'homeless' label).

Temporary measures include permitting and supporting tent cities, and providing serviced parking areas for people whose homes are on wheels (cars, trailers).

Permanent solutions must begin by changing the municipal by-laws that effectively enshrine NIMBYism. In few communities is it possible under current laws for the construction of a village of tiny houses. In my own community, laneway housing is still not permitted, despite Vancouver's recent example. (Regarding the latter, $150,000 to $200,000, which includes BC Hydro servicing, are the costs typically cited for the construction of a tiny house on existing property. The City of Vancouver is allowing these laneway houses only to be rented. Why would property owners bother? The costs cited are absurd. A tiny house can be built for one-tenth the price.)

The tiny house movement has coincided with the green movement. Downsizing is in vogue. Municipal laws and other regulations pertaining to buying property and house construction haven't kept up.

The problem of 'affordable housing' isn't one of lack of innovative ideas for shelter materials, construction and community design. The developers are out there who would build these things.

The problem isn't affordability of the shelters themselves. People in the US are building their own homes for NOTHING, from recycled scraps, from shipping containers, from old railway cars. Others are buying materials for under $3,000. Still others buy their tiny houses pre-built for under $25,000. Then there is the mobile home option: fifth wheels and other trailers. Too many used trailers to count sit unoccupied on RV dealer lots.

In other words, the problem isn't the HOUSING.

The problem is systemic NIMBYism, the failure of municipalities to accommodate changing community needs, the lack of will on the part of politicians at all levels to open their eyes and see where the problems truly lie, and the "I'm all right" attitude that blinds too many residents from seeing the need for change.

The problem is the LAND on which to place the housing, land whose use is not restricted by municipal laws. The problem is ALLOWABLE housing.

The problem has NOTHING TO DO WITH AFFORDABILITY and EVERYTHING to do with keeping 'those people' out.

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24 September 2009

New T Added to My Wardrobe

... or soon will be. The new T shall serve as background to the snazzy logo which graces the top right corner of this blog.

My thanks to a certain someone who saw my comment on another site. While Challenging the Commonplace proudly sports the logo of the "Left Wing Fringe Group called Women," I expressed regret at being unable to spread the word in a more upfront, in-your-face kind of way.

Soon, I will be.

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Big Box $tores

Front Page news this week in the local paper announcing the Grand Opening of yet another Big Box Store.

A few weeks ago it was the Grand Opening of a large chain drug store, with people sleeping overnight on the sidewalk to be the first fools - oops!, I mean 'shoppers' - to bustle inside the next morning for a chance at winning the door prize of an in-store spending coupon.

In late spring, the news covered the dubious 'celebration' of opening the largest American department store at the edge of this once sleepy little burg.

Sprinkled throughout the same paper are articles encouraging all of us to economize; to reduce, reuse and recycle; to choose to use public transit; to support local farmers; and to prompt voters and their children to challenge governments to 'save the environment'.

No wonder we are all confused about how to balance our conditioned desire to acquire all the stuff that big business wants us to buy - for their shareholder's profit only - and our collective need to find meaning and safety in the society we have helped create.

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22 September 2009

Funding to Clear the Streets?

What this story doesn't tell anyone is that the 'funding' provided to scoop homeless people off the streets of Vancouver and deposit them at the doorway of shelters will end, conveniently, shortly after the 2010 Olympics are over.

"This bill would have police arrest citizens who are not guilty of any crime, and detain them without any charge, simply because they are homeless," Eby said.

The officer takes the person to a shelter. If the person is not accommodated at the shelter, alternate accommodation may be found. As a last resort, and in order for the police officer to discharge their legal responsibility, the individual may be taken to police cells, either voluntarily or involuntarily, where they will be held until the extreme weather declaration is no longer in effect.

Oh, Brave New World.

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A Long Way to Go, Goils.

My clothes are chosen for comfort, not style and are often handed down to me by friends who know my tastes and intense dislike of shopping. Makeup left my face forever when I passed my 41st birthday. Silver streaks adorn my once blonde-streaked brown hair. Nearing 60, I have become 'invisible' to most of the population, except to be seen as a looming burden.

I lived through the ups and downs of the feminist~liberation age of the mid '60's and early '70's only to arrive in the new millennium to find that not much has changed for women, especially in the world of fashion.

Twiggy was the first emancipated model I remember, as she was only one year older than I and was in every magazine I leafed through. Being tall and robust at the time, I resolved never to fall for the 'I-have-to-be-thin-to-be-loved' dogma that was being sold to us, at a drastic personal price.

The fashion world claims two sets of victims. The first are the women who it uses as models, for a brief window, before discarding them. They are on average 25 percent below a normal, healthy woman's weight. We know how they achieve this, because many former models say so: they starve themselves. They live on water and lettuce for weeks. When they fall below a Body Mass Index of twelve, they start to consume their own muscles and tissues. Several models have dropped dead from starvation after success at fashion shows in the past few years.

And a lot of the rest of us follow blindly along, punishing our beautiful bodies, starving ourselves in an attempt to live up to the Western social standard that has been sold to us.

But there is a broader circle of victims, far beyond the cat-walk's cat-calls. They are ordinary women who are bombarded with these highly manufactured images of "beauty" every day, and react either by feeling repulsive or trying out semi-starvation for themselves. A Harvard University study found that 80 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, and only 1 percent are "completely happy."

I belong to the 1% of women that are quite content with our bodies. I am healthy, fit and totally unconcerned with outward appearances. For the other 80% - you've got a long way to go.

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21 September 2009

Oh... my...

Do you hear the yearning whimper?

Court-ordered sale on Galiano Island. Rustic log cabin.

This is one island away from me. It's accessible. It has its own land. My cats and I could live there, in peace. Can I pay the $89,000 asking price? Of course not.

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16 September 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

As David Akin, who supplies the photo, tweets: "the gang's all here!"

My initial reaction, over three tweets: "Gawd! All but 2 r women. Ya know, it makes me feel so excluded, always has since a tot. So sick of suits in our elite instns. If you're young & female, it's even worse. All those greyheads in upper tiers of biz, gov, unis. All men, w/ only the rare token female."

This gross non-representation made me feel sick as a kid, and it still does. Soothing words to mollify, that "at least the situation has improved" only make me more angry.

How much longer must females wait to be properly represented in our society?

It won't happen in my lifetime, as it hasn't for the lifetimes of women before me.

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Crazy for Raw Food

Yep, after twelve years as a vegan I've begun eating living food. That is raw, organic food only. First to go was morning coffee, which resulted in a three day headache. Next was the one slice of whole wheat bread I consumed with tofu, garlic and tahini, which I haven't missed at all. And finally, the steamed vegetables, hot bean recipes and other specially planned menu items that were favorites on my list for an early evening meal. So far, so good.

The raw food diet has been around for a long time.
The raw food diet, though new to many, has history on its side.

It started with the ancient Greeks," says Cousens. "After studying for a time with the Essenes-an ancient Jewish sect of ascetics and mystics - Pythagoras, the sixth century BC philosopher and mathematician, returned to Greece as a believer in live foods. And according to Herodotus, the father of history, the Pelagasians lived to be around the age of 200 years on a diet of raw foods.

Dr. Max Bircher-Benner read Pythagoras' work, decided to heal himself and used raw foods in his Swiss clinic in the 1890s, His contemporary, Dr. Max Gerson, used raw foods to core Albert Scbweitzer of diabetes. He also cured Schweitzer's wife of tuberculosis of the skin. Then there was Dr. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, who ran a live food clinic in Mexico from 1937 to 1970. People have used this diet for literally thousands of years."

Not everyone agrees that eating only raw food is good for you.

Long term, the raw diet may have questionable benefits. The same Journal of Nutrition study that touted the heart-health benefits of dining raw also found that study participants had increased levels of homocysteine due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Further, a Washington University study found that people following a raw food diet had lower bone mass, although apparently healthy bones.

Critics of raw foodism also warn against a host of nutritional deficiencies including low calcium, iron, protein, and insufficient calories. They point out that while it’s true some enzymes are destroyed when food is heated, the body in fact produces and uses ample digestive enzymes on its own. Further, cooking can actually make certain nutrients easier to absorb, as with the beta-carotene in carrots. As Bronee points out, “Not all cooked foods are created equal. There’s a big difference between deep fried and blanched.”

I am enjoying the change. My body is responding well. I am sleeping better; my hormones are fluctuating less; I'm losing a little weight; the urge to snack on sweets in the evening has disappeared and my emotional health is improving. Not only that, I find my food bill has dropped a couple of dollars a day. What could be better than that?

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14 September 2009

Conservatives Do It Again

This time it comes directly from Stephen Harper's mouth.

When answering a question posed today by Bob Rae in Question Period regarding the lack of his government's defence of Canada's healthcare system against US right-wing attacks, Harper responded:

"The Canadian healthcare system will not only survive attacks by right-wing commentators in the United States and [sic] even survive one by left-wing incompetents in Ontario."

The hate-on for Ontario by right-wing Conservatives in this country continues.

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Making Parliament Work - or MPW - Part 2

IF the government responded with relevant answers to all questions during Question Period,

AND IF all MPs conducted themselves with decorum whilst carrying on their Parliamentary duties,

AND IF the Liberals, Bloc and Conservatives agreed sufficiently on proposed legislation that they effectively had a coalition,

THEN what happens to the NDP's position that its MPs are the only ones who want to Make Parliament Work?

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13 September 2009

Making Parliament Work

On Twitter this morning, I learned that Libby Davies, one of Canada's most dedicated MPs, is about to leave for Ottawa and for Parliament. She says that the NDP is "aiming to make [Parliament] work."™

If MPs deliberately act to DISRUPT Parliament - e.g., they follow recommendations on how to obstruct committees, as written in a book issued by their party, or members of the government fail to answer questions in Question Period and instead use deflection or rail against the acts of past governments -, their clear aim is that Parliament DOES NOT work. Ergo, such MPs SHOULD NOT get paid.

Voters elect certain individuals, including the person who, as the 'majority' party leader will become Prime Minister, to represent them in Ottawa and to make our federal government work for all Canadians.

Ministers of Parliament are employees of the Canadian electorate. In any job in the private sector, an employee who doesn't perform as stated in the job description - or worse, performs such as to undermine that position's function - is fired. In the latter case, such employees can be sued.

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12 September 2009

For the Record

Regarding that "left-wing fringe group" that Mr. Harper so fondly derides - the one that includes women -, count me as a proud member.

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Prices of Food Staples Soar

On January 27 this year, I mentioned that the price of a single loaf of (whole wheat) bread, previously the least expensive in the store and made daily by a local grocer, had risen over the previous six months from $0.89 to $1.39. That same bread today is ON SALE for $2.00, which means this single staple food has gone up, over a 15 month period, by over 225 percent.

Among the ironies: the price of a 5 kg bag of whole wheat bread flour has remained constant over the same period. It can be purchased - on sale, at this grocer or regularly, at another store beyond walking distance - for $10.

Thanks to friend Daphne, I acquired a used bread maker awhile back. Now I make my own bread. But with all food staples going up, including rice, whose price also has more than doubled, now I'm thinking of cutting out all grains except my morning oatmeal. A large bag of that, for the time being, continues to sell for less than bulk price. (You really have to watch those bulk prices. They're frequently double the prices for the equivalent packaged product.)

It no longer makes sense, in other words, for the traditional staples to be considered, well, 'staples'. It now makes as much sense to make lettuce or other leafy green wraps, instead of bread sandwiches, and for this vegan to use low-cost legumes or pulses (e.g., I can get green lentils here for $2.10/kg) instead of rice. And I've already latched onto Daphne's idea of sprouting my own food, including from those same green lentils. My first batch is sprouting as I type.

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10 September 2009

Our Family Stays Together

Thanks to two kind women and Timmy, Mango, Pip, Frankie and Boomer, Brodie's and my trip to the SPCA, which had been scheduled for this morning at 10 A.M., has been cancelled. Brodie's blankie and towel, together with his favourite 'condo' have been returned to their rightful places. The cat carrier has been put away.

One household's generous donation will ensure that Brodie has enough to eat for the next year. The second household's donation will give Kiltie what I never thought would be possible: the special food she needs not only to recover, but to stay healthy and free of future urinary tract infections.

From our household

Kiltie and Brodie

to your households

Boomer (left), and Pip, Frankie and Mango



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09 September 2009

Heartbreaking Decision

Brodie must go to the local SPCA. My lovable sweet boy. Nine years old, affectionate but shy; he asks to be cuddled, rather than pushes for your attention. We've been together almost eight years.

Kiltie looks to be starting another urinary infection. So another round of antibiotics. If I could afford to feed her good, canned food, she likely wouldn't be experiencing chronic UTIs in the first place. What I've been doing instead is feeding them both half canned, half dry - since neither will lay off the other's food. And Brodie eats four times as much as Kiltie.

I can't keep doing it anymore. Out of my $67/month food budget, comes the food I buy for the cats. Something has got to give. Brodie is the logical, heart-rending choice.

Now am off to the pharmacy for Kiltie's latest round of antibiotics. Am hoping to get a ride to the SPCA later today. The quicker I do this, the better. Both cats sense something is wrong.

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08 September 2009

Cheap Chicks

This story really got to me.

I constantly hear about 'humane' ways to kill animals that some humans ingest. My response is 'what is humane about killing any animal when we really don't have to eat meat to survive?'

A vegan diet is sufficient for all our bodily needs. It is also environmentally-friendly and financially responsible, especially when the food we eat is grown at home or in our local communities.

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Update: Continued Blogging (un)Certain

UPDATE 3: It was my monitor. Just picked up a free CRT monitor, which was manufactured in 2000. Works fine, although I do miss the sharpness of my flatscreen. (So now I need better glasses. Sigh...)

My flatscreen monitor, made by LG in 2006, was the culprit. That fancy, schmancy, high-priced piece of tech will have to sit in my closet until sometime next year when, I hope, I'll have found a decent repair place and will be able to afford to get the thing fixed.


Sat Sep 5: UPDATE 2 - After fix described below, the monitor flashed again this morning on startup. I haven't another monitor, otherwise I'd swap to see if my LG 1970HR flatscreen is the problem - which is doubtful given it functions beautifully the rest of the day.


Fri Sep 4: The problem with my monitor/mini described here has persisted. Each morning the same flashing monitor, regardless of whether I shut down my mini the previous night or allowed it only to snooze.

I'm puzzled that while the mini goes on snooze throughout the day, whenever I've been away for 15 minutes, there is no flashing monitor when I hit a key to wake it up. The problem only occurs when the mini has been off overnight.

Yesterday after startup from snooze, I shut down the mini, checked all connections, cleaned dust off my super-duper power bar, then tried starting everything up again. Same problem. Decided to use the computer for the rest of the day and try a new tactic this morning.

Last night again used the snooze option rather than shut down. This morning, flashing. This time, I switched to a different power bar, one already here and obtained new with the purchase of a (long defunct) PC and barely used. While back there amongst the cords, again I looked for dust, checked the state of cords and their connections, especially those to and from the mini's power adaptor, and turned on the 'new' power bar.

Depressed the power button on the mini. It responded immediately. So did all peripherals, including the monitor. No flashing.

Am hoping all is well. However, the computer had only been off for about 15 minutes, not hours, so I won't be sure until tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.

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05 September 2009

Update: Continued Blogging Uncertain

UPDATE 2: After fix described below, the monitor flashed again this morning on startup. I haven't another monitor, otherwise I'd swap to see if my LG 1970HR flatscreen is the problem - which is doubtful given it functions beautifully the rest of the day.


Fri Sep 4: The problem with my monitor/mini described here has persisted. Each morning the same flashing monitor, regardless of whether I shut down my mini the previous night or allowed it only to snooze.

I'm puzzled that while the mini goes on snooze throughout the day, whenever I've been away for 15 minutes, there is no flashing monitor when I hit a key to wake it up. The problem only occurs when the mini has been off overnight.

Yesterday after startup from snooze, I shut down the mini, checked all connections, cleaned dust off my super-duper power bar, then tried starting everything up again. Same problem. Decided to use the computer for the rest of the day and try a new tactic this morning.

Last night again used the snooze option rather than shut down. This morning, flashing. This time, I switched to a different power bar, one already here and obtained new with the purchase of a (long defunct) PC and barely used. While back there amongst the cords, again I looked for dust, checked the state of cords and their connections, especially those to and from the mini's power adaptor, and turned on the 'new' power bar.

Depressed the power button on the mini. It responded immediately. So did all peripherals, including the monitor. No flashing.

Am hoping all is well. However, the computer had only been off for about 15 minutes, not hours, so I won't be sure until tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.

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02 September 2009

Continued Blogging Uncertain

I might be offline for awhile, not by choice.

For the past three days, I've been having problems with my monitor. It flashes for several seconds on startup. I can see the background, and can login and use the computer. But with the flashing I really don't want to use it because it makes me feel nauseated; and if it gets worse, perhaps it could damage my mini.

Users at Apple support suggested I get a DVI cable for the monitor. Bought the DVI cable today for $34 - which leaves $43 for food for the rest of the month. Hooked the cable up to my monitor and mini. After I spent a couple of minutes trying to get the mini to power on - the monitor started up. Once again, flashing.

Ever since I've had this mini, there's been trouble getting it to power up from the start button, especially if I've had it off in order to move my setup or attach peripherals. This time, the double-, triple, and quadruple-checking I went through, at all three connection points along the power supply, seemed worse or more sensitive.

So I'm worried. A Twitter friend suggested I plug the mini directly into the wall socket, but I haven't that option. There is only one two-socket plug in this closet and the main room offers nothing better. A power bar it must be.

Tomorrow before I start up the mini, I'll try the second of two power bars I already have here at home. I can't imagine both not working; the one I'm using currently is heavy-duty and the other was new when I got it and has barely been used. If neither works, then the cause of the problem is likely the Apple power supply: the adaptor or its connecting cable. A new power supply kit from Apple is twice the cost of the DVI cable I just got, which means I'll not be able to get that until the holidays when, hopefully, some money comes my way. Which also means I'll be completely cut off for awhile with neither phone nor computer.

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01 September 2009

Peacocks Posturing

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told Stephen Harper today:
Mr. Harper, your time is up. The Liberal Party cannot support this government any further. We will hold it to account. We will oppose it in Parliament.

As Mr. Ignatieff and his predecessor have said before.

Today Canadians heard also from the NDP. According to Thomas Mulcair, the NDP wants to "make [Parliament] work" and it will deal with the Harper government on a "case-by-case basis," provided the government manages "to work in the public interest."

Until I see Ignatieff delivering a non-confidence motion in Parliament, I won't believe his latest moment of bluster to be any more real than the last one.

Until I see Jack Layton get out of the Harper government substantive policy - such as bringing in a fair, proportional electoral system, as chosen by the people -, I won't believe anything he or his spokespeople say either.

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