Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An open letter to residents in Waterloo Region

Dear friends,

Tonight, Kitchener council sits and listens to carefully spun stories of economic development, boatloads of money, jobs, tourism and more from a proposed casino in our area.

Let's hope our councillors listen to their level headed constituents  before they start getting wowed by the dollar signs being flashed before their eyes.

How much will a casino benefit our community?

We hear promises of millions of dollars per year. Where do these dollars come from? Our own citizens, losing. When we ENCOURAGE our people to lose in order for our city to gain, we can be sure that the fabric of our community is broken.

Gamblers are disproportionately more from low to medium income demographics than high ones. By encouraging people to lose, we are encouraging some of our poorest citizens to bet their hopes and dreams for a big payday... one that will be gained only by the OLG.

In the last 10 years, our own economic development fund has put over $100 million into the revitalization of our downtown core. Independent and big businesses are making their home in our core, starting to flourish and bringing PEOPLE back onto those downtown streets.

Encouraging our own citizens to travel outside our core, to the outskirts of our city, to lose their money at a casino will be in complete disregard to the work put in to make our downtown a viable, vibrant, exciting place to be.

Shall we enter the realm of the social and moral implications?

Just a few weeks ago, 250 leaders of different faiths came together in Toronto to say no to a casino. When was the last time you saw that many leaders of that many faiths agree on something?

The reason? Many of the people who seek help for gambling addiction, from the addicts themselves to their family members, turn to clergy for counsel because by the time their lives have been ripped apart, they can no longer afford private counselling for the matter. These clergy men and women? They see the worst of the worst of these cases every single day.

Lastly, let's think about our brand.

We have Blackberry. We have Desire2Learn. We have Google, EA Games, Christie Digital, Toyota and OpenText. We are home to 2 renowned universities, a college, a distinguished concert hall, the Perimeter Institute and CIGI. We are host to festivals that people travel from across the globe to attend.

All in all, Waterloo Region is a pretty kickin' place to live, work and play. Our "small town" is known across the globe and we didn't need a casino to get us there. Is preying on the ignorance of some of our citizens for a few dollars worth the loss of dignity and branding of our great community?

Stand up, residents of Waterloo Region and join me in saying no to a casino. If nothing else can sway you, consider this: Rob Ford, the man who hates bikes, hates gays, reads while driving and doesn't know the difference between Winnipeg and Windsor thinks that having a casino is his town is the best thing since sliced bead. If we can't rally together to be the opposite of everything he is, we probably can't do anything at all.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love is Love

While we lie in bed, discussing our day and plans with friends, N turns to me and says, "E has 2 dads. Why can't I have 2 dads? Or Mom, can I have 2 dads AND 2 moms? Because that would be super cool!"

And as I see blind acceptance and love for a friend whose family is different than our own, I have to wonder... If we are born with a magnificent love that accepts everyone, how do some eventually decide that what they felt before is no longer right? Why can my children see that love is love, regardless of who the love is between, and yet the adult sitting beside me on the bus cannot?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

If You Give a Moose a Cruller

Sometimes, a story comes across your desk that just gives you a bit of (strange) inspiration.

Photo Credit: CBC 
Sadly, this moose was sick and didn't survive. But hopefully my version of a kid's favourite story will live forever in our plaid flannel hearts.

If You Give a Moose a Cruller

Credit: Foodology

If you give a moose a cruller, he's probably going to ask for a double double.

Credit: BareNaked Nutrition

After that, he'll feel guilty and want to have a Body Break.

Then he'll hear the Hockey Night in Canada song and want to watch the game.

Credit: Red Mittens Canada

After seeing the ice, he'll feel a little cold and ask for his toque

Credit: Brady Brady 

And he'll ask you to read him his favourite Brady Brady book.

Credit: Jasper National Park

He'll start to get sleepy and ask if he can retreat to his igloo bedroom

Credit: Sally Cole, The Guardian

He'll get cozy under the blankets, look out the window and see a Newfie, playing the fiddle

Which will make him want to sing a song!
Of course, he knows all the actions to Skinamarinkidinkydink.

When he's done that, he'll probably be thirsty and ask for a double double

Credit: rainbowofcrazy on etsy

And chances are, if he asks for a double double, he's going to want a cruller to go with it.

Much love to Laura Numeroff for writing the original If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book as well as the subsequent If You Give a Moose a Muffin book which was the inspiration for my Canadian version.

And even more love to Steve Bentley, Stephen Vaz, Robb Farago, Dana B, Wes Prankard, Amanda Stratton, Beck and Craig Smith for sharing their ideas of the quintessential "Canadian" doughnut. Find these great people on twitter!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

uncomfortable as hell

I don't know if it's stalking but I do know one thing, it's uncomfortable as hell.

It started with some completely innocent text messaging....

                                        Hope you have a great day, you do so much good, you deserve it!
                                                    I received a great job offer!
             Will you be at _______ this week? I have good news!

Then it got uncomfortable...

               I'm shopping with a friend, what kind of pants should she buy?           
I've been invited to a transvestite-themed wedding, should I dress as a woman?       Can you help me pick out women's clothes?     Can I borrow some of your clothes? Shopping with a girlfriend, what kind of shoes do women wear?
                   Do I need to wear a bra?
   Friend bought shoes, if they don't fit, she's giving them to you.

You won an award at my work, they gave me a gift certificate for you.

Answer one and 10 more will instantly come through. Ignore, and the hurt/hate gameplay starts.

I asked for it to stop. I demanded it stop.

I googled you and saw this.
                      How is your relationship going?
                                                Can I have a picture of you?

I stopped going to places this person frequents. I cringe every time a text message rings through on my phone. The "award" I won? I never applied for anything and it never materialized after I asked for an official record of it from the company. The "friend" who's giving me her stuff? Never met her. What woman asks one she's never met, through a guy, for fashion advice?

This isn't healthy.

The person is old enough to realize this isn't appropriate behaviour.

And yet, I'm not sure it's bad enough to do anything official about. I'm hesitant to start the landslide that could seriously change the course of this person's life. But it's not okay. It bothers me and my husband. Makes me worry about my kids. And most of all, it keeps me from some pretty important places that I love because I don't want to fuel the fire.

Is he a creeper? Dangerous? Stalker? I don't know. But I do know that it's as uncomfortable as hell.

**Update (April 30): After more texting, more incidents and one night where he spent the night across the street from my house in his car, we called the police.

He works at a grocery store a stone's throw from my house. I can't go there anymore for fear I'll run into him.

I stopped going to church because this is where I met this person. 

***Update (July 14): Even after a warning from the police, he created a twitter account and started messaging me. BLOCK. I still get texts. They're "harmless", I'm told. "How are you, how's your day, how are your kids, why haven't you been at church?"

****Update (August 21): I received my last text on the day I last updated this post. I still don't shop at that grocery store unless my husband is with me. I don't go to church anymore (although he is not the only reason for that). My phone automatically blocks texts from any unknown number. If someone wants to text me, they have to email me with their number first so I can add it as a contact. I'm just still always on edge, whenever I see a strange car hanging around, when I lose sight of my kids for a few minutes... This sucks. It'll get better, right?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

they tell me it's not polite to sniff other people

I've been a faithful Soapnuts user for 4 years now. If you've never heard of Soapnuts, they're a small fruit that grows on trees in India and Nepal which are dried. You place a few half seeds into a small cloth bag, throw it in your washer and because of the natural saponins found in their shells, they clean your clothes, chemical free. When you get really adventurous, they can even be made into a natural foaming handwash, general household cleaner and bugspray.

I fell in love with Soapnuts after my son's eczema started going crazy. I removed all chemicals from our home and the Soapnuts fell right in line with our new eco-friendly focus.

Since a 1 kg bag does 300 loads of laundry, lasts a year and costs only $30, I've saved a TON of money on laundry detergent.

But.... well, basically... my husband is a jerk, earth hater....  and decided that since he's never been as gung-ho about the go green thing as I've been, he doesn't need to follow the rules anymore. And he went out and bought a bag of Tide Pods to do his own laundry in.


Soak your skin in chemicals. See if I care.

(Oh wait, I actually DO care.)

So he did some laundry, brought it to me to fold and I made a BIG mistake.

I sniffed it.

And I liked it. 

♫ i sniffed a girl and i liked it ♬ My head. It's not always a pretty place to be.

So now, I'm basically just sniffing him or his laundry all the time. This would be fine, if I was a dog. But I'm not. And apparently, it's not socially acceptable to go around sniffing people.

So tonight I'm turning my test kitchen into a scratch and sniff kitchen to see if I can replicate something lovely out of essential oils to add to my own laundry.

I'm not ready to switch teams yet but I am determined to make my eco-friendly laundry smell just a wee bit prettier. Because people don't like it when you sniff them at the bus stop.