The Daily EO: May 19th, 2012

This is my 100th post – I can’t believe it!

What has happened to the farmer’s markets in Muskoka?  Farmer’s Market.  This implies that either a farmer owns the market, or it is a market for farmers’ items.  And a market that one would go to get items that FARMERS sell.  I made the mistake of getting caught up in the romance of a farmer’s market again this year and attended Bracebridge’s Farmer’s Market this long weekend.

Do I want gluten-free baked goods (3 booths!)?  How about buckwheat heating pads?  Or perhaps to have my face painted?  No.  What about wooden crafts?  Aprons and other items made with colourful fabrics?  No, No, NO!  I was Ontario Fresh Asparagus.  I want organic spinach.  I wanted rhubarb!  (well, no, I didn’t, but I wanted to see it being sold).  And maybe even some early cherries or strawberries?  Okay – I’ll buy a pie or cookies from a farmer, but please people!  This is not a craft show.  It is a FARMER’S market.  Things that grow – or things that eat things that grow.  Please leave your “I’ve-already-seen-it-1000-times” stuff at home.  Or haul it to the craft shows.  Or rename this Farmer’s Market to Craft Market.

There were two vendors selling vegetables at the farmers market (out of 30+ booths).  One was a real farm that was selling seedlings and rhubarb.  Good work, guys!  I can’t garden (really – I can’t – I kill plants with my aura) and I don’t like rhubarb much.  No matter, I was proud to see this local farm selling obviously farm grown items.  The other is an outfit that has duped tourists for years.  What was the first hint today?  It was the 15″ long celery for sale.  Celery is available in Ontario in July and home-grown celery does not look like what you buy in the grocery store.  It is May!  Ontario Farm grown celery is normally shorter and with more leafy greens than the standard from the supermarket.  Anderson Produce – you know I’m talking to you!  Please stop selling vegetables at the farmer’s market – at premium prices I must add – that you know and I know you purchased from the food terminal in Toronto.  Yes, the tourists from Toronto don’t know any better, but the locals know your game.

There were a couple of places selling meat and fish.  I wasn’t particularly looking for either, but glad to see a couple of places selling such items.  One was trout from Milford Bay.  Considering my aversion to anything fishy, I didn’t even linger, but good and local!

The smart farmers have given up these wastes of time markets and instead started selling CSA shares.  That’s when you purchase a part of the farm’s bounty at the beginning of the season and you share in what is produced.  I’d suggest you’d better get a share because the farmer’s markets doesn’t seem much of source of any local food!

May 19th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Beginning of this season’s boycott of the Muskoka farmer’s markets.  Thank goodness I have another source for farm fresh asparagus – even if I have to import it from Tilsonberg!

Maintenance May Day 19:
Found away to discuss our future options with Emile in way that we could both hear each other. (career, connection, soul)

The Daily EO: May 18th, 2012

Somewhere along the line, man discovered that if your feet are warm, you feel warm.  You feel cozy, positive, happy and know that all is right with the world.  I’ve been known to put dry towels in the dryer and then wrap my feet in them.  And putting on a thick pair of socks on late summer day after a day of swimming and flip-flops (I’ve changed my vernacular – I say flip-flops now instead of thongs like we always called them in British Columbia.  Sad really that everyone now things I am speaking of underwear) is pure bliss.

In the modern era, some genius contractor invented radiant heated floors.  If you have not experienced heated floors, then you must.  You Must.  Bare foot or in socks, its like a hug from the floor to your feet.  Like a little kiss on each toe (if you go in for that sort of thing).

Today I was at my friend’s birthday party where great amounts of calories and alcohol was available for consumption.  I had heathy choices – yes, and I even prepared by bring diet mix to have with vodka instead of drinking wine or other items.  Yes, certainly I was going to partake in cake – I made it after all – and the steak, but I had gone for a run, I had some calories.  Plus, what’s the point of living until you’re 110 if you don’t binge on things along the way.

Later in the evening, my kidneys had done an admirable job of converting the consumed beverages into waste and I needed to use the bathroom.  I wandered in and was quickly reminded by my feet that my friend’s have a heated floor in their bathroom.   While I peed, I considered the following thought: If my feet felt so good on this floor, imagine what it would feel like on my back.  Now, consider the bathroom was right off the dining room.  I simply open the door, lay on the floor, and be warmed by the radiant heat while still participating in the conversation.  This is a flawless plan!

And so I did just that.  Social graces inhibited and therefore I could enjoy it in all its splendor.  I’m telling you, good conversation with warmth through your back, very good.  Glorious.

May 18th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The best idea I have ever had – execution equalled anticipation.

Maintenance May Day 18:
Baked a Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake for my friend’s birthday.  (connection)

The Daily EO: May 17th, 2012

I was asked today to help a friend create vegan cocktail snacks for her catering job next weekend.  Just 10 people.  She has the harder part – to make regular food for 90 people.  So, sure no problem.  Last weekend I had to make a Vegan cake for my meat-eating vegan nephew who is allergic to dairy and eggs.  We have to consider his allergies for all meals there. For a month in January, I made vegan meals all the time for us.  I try to continuely incorporate other proteins than meat into our diet.  But does that make me a Vegan Expert?  No, but I suppose around here, it’s pretty good darn.  And I work for cheap.

May 17th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Recognition for my “expertise” in veganism.

Maintenance May Day 17:
Purchased 3 lottery tickets from the Lions Club at The Independent.  (soul)
Tried a rock climbing wall for the first time – despite my general nervousness of heights and looking like a fool.  (body)

The Daily EO: May 16th, 2012

I loved the show “The West Wing”, but somewhere around the 3rd or 4th season stopped watching for some reason.  After I read “Stories I only tell my friends” by Rob Lowe (enjoyable book by the way), it reminded me about The West Wing and never did see the end of it. So, I decided, it was time start again add watch CJ, Josh, Sam, Toby, Leo, Charlie and POTUS do their fast-talking-while-fast-walking routines.  I have to start at the beginning so I remember what happened.  After all, the show started, well, it must have been at least 5 years ago.

According to IMBD, it was 1999. Wait, is that right?  1999?  How could that be?  It was only a couple of years ago – not 13.

What is happening to me?  If I find a book that published in 2003, for example, I still think it is quite recent – god help me if it is about the internet or cell phones or something.  I still think I graduated from high school relatively recently – forgetting that I missed my 20th high school reunion a while ago.  And somehow it is already May 16th – my brain didn’t notice my fingers typing one digit higher each day in this blog.

It’s a strange thing, time.  Our brains seem incapable to of keeping accurate track of it – it’s always speeding up or slowing down.  Things that happened 10 years ago seem at recent as things that happened 5 years ago.  And if I go home to my childhood house, the past seems even closer yet.

May 16th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Enjoying the reruns of The West Wing because it was a good show (who doesn’t want Jed Bartlet running the country?) even if I can’t remember when it was on TV.

Maintenance May Day 16:
Volunteered for Saturday registration at Spin The Lakes Bike Race. (soul, thankfully not body)

The Daily EO: May 15th, 2012

As I promised last Tuesday, Emile and I returned to the United Church for the final movie in the “Think About It” movie series today.  The movie was called “The World According to Monsanto”.  It’s a documentary about Monsanto, one of – if not the largest – Agro/Biotech companies in the world.  It had allegations of FDA/government/Monsanto collusion, scientist smear campaigns, worldwide food/farmer control and destruction of our natural specimens.  If only half of the things in the movie were true, then it is horrifying.

The movie was presented by two gentlemen who care deeply about many issues the world.  One was moderate, and I listened while he spoke.  The other was a rabid protester who was practically foaming at the mouth just introducing the movie.  “The most EVIL company on earth.” foam, foam.  “Agent Orange!”  drooling, foam.   Emile and I were avoiding eye contact so we wouldn’t giggle.  And what is funny about poisoning our world?  Nothing.  But it’s the messenger in this case.  Get ahold of yourself, man!

See, there are a bunch of us in the middle – we care, we modify our behaviors when educated about the impact, but we just don’t care *that* much.   So, when faced with an activist or protestor that seems to only see the Black and White of an issue, it turns us off.  I start to think that this person doesn’t truly understand the complexities of the issues, hasn’t researched the problem and I really shouldn’t take anything they are saying as anything more than ranting.  The hallmarks of such a protestor is someone who presents opinion as facts, whose conversations connect not through facts but instead unrelated “evil acts” by corporations/governments and who cannot see small marginal changes as improvements.  So moderate types like me have difficulty relating to such a person and therefore we toss the message out with the messenger.  That only harms the cause.  You’re losing me – and I am the majority!  The people in the middle who care, but just not as much as you do.

The “discussion” at the end of the movie was more of the same.  Are all genetically modified foods harmful?  I don’t know.   Are there any pesticides that can be used in moderation without damaging our ecosystem?  I don’t know.  Is Monsanto the most evil corporate on earth?  Well, heaven doesn’t seem the goal.    But we didn’t discuss that.   Instead, all the participants seemed to think it was more helpful to bring up all sorts of scandals, conspiracies, cover ups, corruptions, etc that have ever happened (or alleged to have happened, or even probably didn’t happen) that were unrelated to the movie or the issue.  Then an activist stood up to invite us all to a “peace picnic” on Sunday evening in the park.   She then used it as an opportunity to brag about all the protests she has been involved in.  “That was me!” echoed through the church.  Get me out of here.

I occasionally wonder what is wrong with me – why don’t I care enough?  I do try.  I buy organic when I can afford to, I avoid GMOs in soybeans, I drive a small fuel efficient car, I buy natural and organic health and cleaning products.  I am doing okay.  But I am not suddenly going to move into a yurt and shun all corporations, screaming “Kill the corporate pigs!” while banging on a hand-made drum.  Let’s be real here.

So, you want my heart?  When speaking to me, bring a coherent unbiased presentation of the facts, speak about one issue at a time, tell me your ultimate goal in this protest and then tell me what I could do in my every day life to make a difference.  I will listen, I will think about it, I might support you and I may even make the suggested changes in my life.

Because right now? I am thinking you are all a bunch of wackos – and that you should be avoided – along with your message.

May 15th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Giggling in the sanctuary with my husband about the lack of grey in some people’s worlds.

Maintenance May Day 15:
Left my quarter in my shopping cart for the next person.  (soul)
Attending the movie as noted above to learn more about BioTech and GMOs. (knowledge)


The Daily EO: May 14th, 2012

I was a smart kid.  I always did well in grade school and I found it easy to navigate the world’s requirements.  I actually looked forward to taking tests and exams because it allowed me to prove to myself (and others) how smart I was.  Hey!  I said I was smart, not modest.   Anyways, I eventually learned that I wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.  And became much easier to live with in the process, I’m sure.  You’d have to ask my mom.

I was contacted on Friday afternoon by a recruiter to request a second interview.  She warned me, the second interview wasn’t going to be easy like the first – they were really going to “grill” me.  Hmmm.  I accepted the second interview and set it for Monday at 11:00 am.  As I was driving to the interview, the recruiter called me again to let me know the HR person called to warn there would be a lot of managers in the room – “Don’t get intimidated”.

This is where my childhood desire to prove how well I know my stuff came into play.  Grill me?  Bring it!  Intimidate me?  Just try it!  Ha!  Ask me anything about Materials Management, Manufacturing Philosophy, Management Principles!  I’m ready.   Pshaw!  Grill me, will you?  I Grill You!

And they tried.   The questions were intelligent, appropriate, and normally perhaps difficult.  But I’ll tell you this – once you’ve worked at a well-managed company that eventually went into receivership during the midst of unprecedented upheaval in your industry (automotive) and watched the American financial system collapse, there isn’t much that can faze you.  And afterall, I am a Materials Manager and that’s was they were looking for – its not like I had to name all the bones in the human body.

May 14th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  That was no grilling – that was a tanning bed.

Maintenance May Day 14:
Packed a healthy low-calorie lunch to eat on the drive home from the interview (body).
Asked the President of the company why there was a sign in their lobby that Read “31 Years of Excellence.  1980-2011”.  Did the excellence stop?  (career or not?)
Extremely courteous and friendly to the cashier at Shopper’s Drug Mart who was having a terrible day.  (soul)

The Daily EO: May 13th, 2012

Today was mother’s day and my sister-in-law’s birthday.  We all decided on a quiet day – brunch and dinner together and hanging out in between.  Not too much flair and fuss.  After brunch, my MIL and SIL and I decided to go shopping at the local mall.

At Sears, I tried on a Jones & Co summer dress that I didn’t need, but it was 50% off, and everyone else was trying on dresses, why shouldn’t I?  It was size 12.   It was close-fitting cut and needed fit properly or you’d be fussing with it all the time.  The  dress was too flappy in the bosom and too loose in the waist.  It didn’t fit right.  Sigh.  But, wait, . . . if it was too big in two different places, then perhaps I needed a size 10.  And a 10 fit perfectly!  It know I shouldn’t care.  I know the size number should never matter.  But a size 10!  I had a huge piece of Vegan Chocolate Cake that day and 30 ounces of wine in the previous 48 hours.  Pretty good.

Off to Old Navy where cheap shorts were my target.  I took all my size 12s into the fitting room – as surely the size 10 was a fluke.  (do not tempt fate) Apparently the 10 was  – all of these size 12 shorts were too small.  I had to bump up to a 14 in all of them.  Do you think it is possible to expand whilst walking through a mall?

Then to The Bay were I found a pair of Jessica Simpson jean shorts – that were sized logically – based on the universally accepted INCHES of your waist measurement.  I grabbed a 32  because my waist is 31 or 32 and looked on with confusion as fell on the floor.  I had to drop down to a size 29, and really a 28 would be even better.

May 13, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  When did the length of an inch change?  I am so behind the times.

Maintenance May Day 13:
Didn’t let my MIL purchase those weird almost-skin-tone shorts at Cleo.  (family, soul)
Had a good heart-to-heart with my MIL (connection)

The Daily EO: May 12th, 2012

Alcohol is poison. It takes a large dose to kill us but nonetheless it is poisonous. It slows your reactions, impairs our judgement, affects our metabolism and pushes our liver to process out the toxins.  But yet, we wrap it up in fancy bottles and talk about strawberry undertones and food pairings.

The detrimental effects of processing alcohol on my body was obvious than when I ran Saturday morning. (see how committed we are?)  After consuming about 10 ozs of wine on Friday with delicious food pairings, I ate a healthy, low-calorie healthy dinner and went to bed at a reasonable time.  We drove to an area of vineyards near Emile’s parent’s house (read: nice and flat) and started out.   The flatness of the area had that dessert oasis effect where things seem much closer than they are.  I ran and I ran and I ran and when I finally made it to my goal – a cross street – I checked my GPS and found I had run . . . . . 7/10 kms.  Huh?  This is not possible!  And the worse part?  The car was now .7 kms away.

I managed to sprint, stumble, and drag myself 3.3 kms, but it wasn’t gazelle-like nor inspiring.  Emile, of course, dug deep and managed to get in 5.0 kms.  I walked another 1 km and collapsed by the car.

This is how I know alcohol is poison.  Because it couldn’t be my will that is weak.

May 12th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Visiting 18 Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries today despite the first-hand knowledge of the impacts of alcohol on my body.  Food, wine, summer weather, and good company.  Who cares what tomorrow brings?

Maintenance May Day 12:
A day with Emile’s parents – a nice break for two extremely hard-working people (Family)
Baked a vegan chocolate cake that the who family could eat (vegan due to allergies) for my sister-in-law’s birthday on Sunday.  (Body/Connection)
Did not steal extra Bergamont Cupcakes at the final winery of the day despite an overwhelming desire of the delicious orange frosting and moist interior despite the host’s back being turned.  (Soul)


The Daily EO: May 11th, 2012

At 1 am Friday morning, my husband – and therefore me – awoke to his phone ringing.  He is on call 24/7 for IT issues at his company (for the next month anyways) and according to Murphy when problems are going to happen, they happen at night.  I too have had to carry a pager, and I often was paged in the night.  More frequently than I could believe, the caller was surprised to find that I had been sleeping when they paged me.  I am not sure why this would be – I always understood that night shift workers probably wouldn’t relish a call from me at 2 pm.

Often I was paged with a problem I could not solve from my bed linens.  “Susan, we can’t find the blah-blah capacitor for the production that was scheduled to start 3 hours ago.”  Well, let me look in my pj’s. . .  no, not here.   “Susan, we can’t find the key for storage room.”  Yes, really.  “Susan, the line is down, so we can’t run SMT (surface mount technology) for your product you needed”.  Um, do I need to know that NOW?  Do you want me to get my wrench and come into work and try to fix the machine?

And such was the call Emile received at 1 am.  The caller was gobsmacked to hear that he had been sleeping.  Granted she was new to the position – although not the human race as far as I know.   I am sure she intellectually understands that most people sleep at night.  But somehow, she missed it on this occasion.  Yes, Emile could likely solve her problem quickly and  in this case, he said “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”  (yes, IT people really do have to say that sometimes).  And it worked – although he then had to explain to her what her log-in passwords are and that SQL was a programming language and in no way had anything to do with Squirrel the Resort Software.   Yes, all of this on-call thing is part of his job, I get it, but the day shift/night shift relationships are funny to me nonetheless.  (when I am not crabby from lack of sleep anyways)

Is this punishment for us day timers because we got the “good” shifts? Do you just call us to play with us?  And laugh away with all of your sallow complexioned night shift friends?

 May 11th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The lack of empathy from night shift team members on sleep schedules of the day shift team members.

Maintenance May Day 11:
Gave $10 back to the teenaged girl at American Eagle Outfitters who dropped it at my feet.  I had put it in wallet as I thought I had dropped it, but when she started panicking with her friend and searching for her missing $10, I put things together.  (soul)  (part of me wanted to keep it when I saw the skimpy tank top she wanted to buy with it)
Ate Savory Lemon Verbana Scone, Basil Panini, Thai Lemongrass Spiced Pulled Pork Taco with Mango Salsa, Arugula Pesto Pasta, Pineapple Sage Marmalade, Lemon Thyme Citron Tart and Chinese Five Spice Pork Loin with Chive Salsa in Niagara perfectly paired with Niagara wines during the Wine & Herb Festival on-going in May.  (Body & Soul)

The Daily EO: May 10th, 2012

They say “love happens when you’re making other plans”.  I’ve always taken that to mean don’t be desperate in your search for things, instead focus on what you can control in your life and things will come to you.  Put it out there, and it comes back to you.  Karma.  Whatever you want to call it.  My mom calls it “full circle”.  She has always told me, everything comes back around again.  (this was less helpful in high school when a week felt like forever) Repeatedly find she is right.

I feel pretty good these days.  I don’t have a job yet, nor a firm plan yet, but I feel good about me.  It seems that all the energy that I have put into fitness, health, finance organization, friends, blogging, connections and everything else is coming back to me.  I like that – I need that energy coming back to me.  From where I was in January, it seems incredible that my outlook, buoyancy and feeling of well-being are turned around.  Yes, tomorrow may come with its downers and anxiety, but those days feel fewer, and I am better able to deal with them.

So, if life seems like “a winter’s day in deep and dark December”, hold on, push through, and do something for yourself and see if it doesn’t come full circle.

May 10th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   I feel good today.

Maintenance May Day 10:
Printed out my entire blog and mailed it to my grandmother.  We should not penalize those who do not have/use computers.  (family)
Personality Approved, Interview requested.  (career)