Saturday, August 15, 2009

One Week, Two Towers

I got home today from a long, exhausting week.
Starting backward - At 4 AM this morning I woke up in Toronto. At 7 AM we were pulling away from the gate. I had upgraded to Economy Plus and even scored a bulkhead. Things were going good, until a frazzled mother of 3 children settled in behind me. She put her youngest little one behind me in a special seat that gave the tiny devil the 5 extra inches his legs needed to kick my chair. Clearly he wasn't happy about the arrangement, as he wailed and kicked on several occasions. I do believe he slept for about an hour - I took advantage of the silence. However he did awaken, poop himself (I'm guessing that was where the poop smell came from) and mom took him to the bathroom for a clean-up, giving me an extra 5 minutes of snoozing before the next round of kicking and wailing.
Having recently finished A Year Of Living Biblically, and thinking of how the author won a battle with his wee-one in a mature & biblical way. I did jerk around during one of his fits and caught eye contact with his mother. She knew what was going on and was doing her best to keep the kid under control. I could just tell that saying something would only frustrate her without getting us any closer to a more settled child. So I let it be thinking, "I'm sure I once kicked the crap out of chair when I was that small. Life comes full circle."
Eventually I opened the window just to see Yosemite go by - we flew just North of Half-Dome and I looked down to think, "I'm going to be there in 3 days!"

Friday was a good day. I didn't quite get in a work-out as planned. Having had my first full night sleep in 2 days, I traded the tread mill for for an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Work had piled up since my long trip to Toronto, and I wanted to get to the most urgent before spending the morning on a critical team building exercise on Lake Ontario. I won't bore you loyal reader with the details of the meeting.

Friday afternoon I took a lovely walk from my Westin Harbour Castle across the downtown to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Lovely walk through the downtown to the University of Toronto where the ROM sits. I did check online and found that they had some discount program for Friday night, so there was a line out front. I enjoyed standing in it. I got handed a flyer by some passerby about the exhibition which happened to be on display - The Dead Sea Scrolls.

I thought we were done with the hubbub about the Dead Sea Scrolls. And I was right. What I didn't realize was that some Palestinian group believes they are the rightful property of Palestine and must be returned. In fact there were maybe 10 protesters. The flier they handed me stated that the scrolls had been in the East Jerusalem museum until their "unrightful theft" by Israel. What did I think? These scrolls have been safe & touring since their "theft". The scrolls are a bit of history - and unrivaled and precious gift. Why would we let that be in the care of a unstable government? Islamic extremists blew up statues of the Buddha, what would we put these treasures in their hands? I'm for holding on to the treasures securely in the west until the trouble in the middle east simmers down.

The scroll exhibit was fantastic. It took a call with Marc later in the evening to recall why they were so important... the text of the bible hasn't always been fixed. There were edits and different versions along the way. Next to it, I also got to see the Egyptian Book of the Dead, mummies and a lovely collection of Hellenistic Pottery. However, the end of the museum visit had to be the best - eating at their top floor restaurant. I dined on lamb with eggplant puree, something like hummus with tabbouleh. Stunning combination and I reflected that those who amassed the dead sea scrolls probably didn't dine this finely back 2000 years ago.

More later. We've got dinner to cook.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Green Monsters

Two interesting articles (Thanks Mark Morford!)

First, my feeling that the Federal Organic Label was BS has been vindicated. Strange how I just knew that the "organics" at Safeway weren't right and I've even had some questions about Trader Joe's when it comes down to it. Evidently, the Federal Regulators have been swayed by the Food Industry and foods labeled USDA Organic have synthetic stuff in them. Ick!

Like the Hebrew Kosher labels, I need an Organic Label I can trust. I do trust Whole Foods, yet I would like to have a holy of holy Organic Label created & issued by an organization that I trust who clearly defines what it calls Organic; clearly stating what is pesticide free, what is free range and such.

The USDA - eh? Their concerns: "The market's expansion is fueling tension over whether the federal program should be governed by a strict interpretation of "organic" or broadened to include more products by allowing trace elements of non-organic substances" Yikes.

Next - While I'm not going to feed these things to my worms, here's a list of 75 things you can compost. Who knew? And I'm not sure I want the contents of my vacuum bag added to the worms who will produce compost that I'll put on my organic garden. Yeah, but I do have 2 compost piles - the organic & the not-so-organic. The not-so-organic will get used in the garden on things that don't go into the food chain, while the strictly organic will get infused into the veggie patch.

So go forth and be green!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Finding Time

I used my East Coast Lunch Break to walk the dogs today. The last time they had gotten out for a stretch of the paw was Saturday. I feel terrible. They hang out all day with us. They look at us with those longing eyes. How can I be so neglectful?

However with the summer heat, the dog walking window has shrunk. By 10 AM the temperatures pass 80 degrees, which I enjoy. However, their fur coats do limit their enjoyment of the sun. So the walk has to happen first thing or at the end of the day.

The end of the day poses problems. Sunday we were crashing from a long, fun friend filled weekend. Yesterday I didn't come home until 10, as I got invited to dinner with Ilyse and friends. We did have a lovely time, enjoying chatting & curry in the Richmond District. However, the four-of-paw were left out of the good times.

The last week has been a non-stop run of friends & fun. Thursday we briefly saw Aaron. We saw Greg while loading my furniture into the U-Haul. Saturday Shawn celebrated her birthday with friends & family. Sunday Jen & baby joined us for amazing pancakes. I got in a chat with Gail before old friends Kairi visited with her daughter & husband. Yesterday I had time with Liz -shopping for a B-day gift for Hil's, then dinner with Ilyse, Matt & friends. Fun and exhausting. And I know there are so many others I didn't get to have time with, and are on the horizon. I think making time for friends would be a lovely full time job - not sure how I'd pay the mortgage, eat and fuel the mini - but fun!

Today may be quieter.