Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Previous Life as a Poodle

My sister and her partner were here recently for a visit. I asked her to send me this photo, (that’s her in the striped shirt). Perhaps it’s because I’m a middle aged suburban mom leading a pretty quiet life that I felt like doing a little name dropping. Look who she’s with! Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear. They were filming an episode in the CN tower in Toronto and needed a few extra people to hoot and clap as they ambushed an unsuspecting bad dresser. I’m not a huge tv watcher, more of a channel flicker, but I’ve stopped on What Not to Wear a few times, simply because the hosts are funny and so watchable .

I approach fashion the same way I change the clock in my car during daylight savings time - do nothing and eventually I’ll be current again. Luckily, I never got stuck back in the early 80’s. Here’s me back then, I looked like I got my “fur-do” done at the PetSmart grooming center. Yep, I’m certain I would have won Best in Show (to my feeble defense, permed mullets were all the rage).

I can’t take fashion seriously but I do like the historical aspects of it. Check out this short film from the 1930’s (possibly 40’s) in which fashion designers predict what we’d be wearing in the year 2000. Why the light up, bridal halo didn’t catch on is anybody’s guess.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Day Without Oil

I decided I need to get back to my values and do my part to live a greener life. I thought I’d do an experiment: Live one day without oil, gas or any product made from petroleum.



I get up and take off all my clothes. Since even my cotton shirts have plastic buttons or polyester stitching I’m left with nothing to wear. But then I remember the skein of local llama wool I bought at our town’s craft fair 2 years ago. I had intended to take up knitting and make a hat, but I just got too busy. Unfortunately, I’m cheap and it was expensive so I only bought a little, enough to knot up some burlesque style pasties, but then I get a better idea. I go into my backyard, rip off some cedar branches from my hedges and use the wool to tie up a basic sun dress. Fabulous, I’m dressed.


I need a source of naturally flowing water. There’s a big park with a good sized stream about 13 blocks from my house. I walk barefoot through my subdivision, feeling a little itchy from the cedar branches but proud of my self sufficiency. As I wave to my neighbours, I’m too inspired and committed to my goal to realize I have just made my kids friendless.

When I get to the park, I walk through the woods, give a friendly smile to the local teens smoking odd smelling, homemade cigarettes and find a nice creek side spot to live by for the day. The water looks oily and tastes tinny, but that’s okay, I’m just not used to living the natural life. My thoughts turn to food. I studied the SAS Survival Handbook to prepare myself for this day. Are those bilberries I wonder? Hmmm, better be safe. I spot some mushrooms. I know I need to be absolutely sure about fungi. I study the mushrooms and am certain they** are the ones my old college roommate once brought home and said were amazing. I just take a little as I need to conserve my food.

My energy will soon dwindle if I don’t find some protein. Grubs and maggots are underneath the leaf cover and I know they’re a great source of energy, but then I remember...the bunnies. Just outside this forest lies a big open field lined with blackberries bushes. There are bunnies everywhere. Here people discreetly release their pet rabbits they don’t want anymore. What incredible luck, not only are there several rabbits, but mindlessly munching on the grass sits Snowflake. He used to belong to a family on my street before they brought him here. I wonder if rabbits have the capacity to remember people who were good to them. We took care of Snowflake when the family went to Mexico. Perhaps he’ll recognize my voice and I can lure him over. No such luck, apparently Snowflake has gone feral, he ignores me and hops away. But that’s okay, I have a strict catch and release policy in my home for even the smallest insect. I simply don’t have the heart to kill anything.

An hour or so passes and I’m aware of some surprising changes taking place. I feel good, real good. The fresh air, being one with nature, I’m sure it’s making me euphoric. Colors are brighter and the air smells so clean my nose tingles. I’m so happy to be here I can't stop giggling. And then I it possible? Yes, it’s true...Snowflake has come back and he’s... he’s SMILING at me! His fur is so white it glows, vibrates even...
Okay, this plan could only end in one of two ways, I get hospitalized for hypothermia and a hallucinogenic mushroom overdose or temporarily institutionalized for my radical, self endangering behavior. Living without oil? JUST ISN'T POSSIBLE.

I think I'll just keep on increasing the 3 'R's: reduce, reuse and recycle. One product I did discover that I think is great is the paper that was used for the above illustration - Strathmore's bristol stock manufactured by wind power, not fossil fuels.

I wanted to finish this post with a picture of the real, 'Snowflake'. He really does exist at that park, so I went looking for him today. I couldn't find him and realized how ridiculously befitting it was I was searching for the elusive white rabbit to conclude this post, so I stopped and snapped a pic of his buddy.

** now that I've actually posted a link to magic mushrooms, I feel compelled to add, (JUST IN CASE someone gets a crazy idea) 'shrooms can kill! forage wisely AT the grocery store or farmers market.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Excuses, excuses

The above graffiti art is by Banksy and at the moment I'm that rat. I've been neglecting this blog. Ignore my claims of hypochondria in my last post for the moment, because I was held up with a bacterial infection for a few weeks (really, truly). Thanks to some antibiotics and herbal tea, I'm much better. Unfortunately, I've seemed to have destroyed my voice to the point that I can sing this song perfectly. That's a shame, because my voice (not my singing), along with my right baby toe, was a favorite part of me.

A nice day came along last week and I forced myself out for a walk along some country roads. This tiny new subdivision has sprouted up beside a commercial chicken farm. I'm sure these homes are well over half a million dollars. It's like a giant dog called Suburbia peed out some white picket fences and claimed it's territory.

I was keeping my eye out for June Cleaver or her spawn, but it was eerily quiet there. Around the corner I came across a great house with a gallery business and the owner was kind enough to let me snap some photos of her moss dogs and tree art.

I'll leave with a little more of Banksy, because I do like so much of what he does. I'm finding myself more and more attracted to found art and street art these days. Maybe I'm just getting older and looking outward. I'm fascinated with the environments that surround us and the statements we can make about them and with them.