Thursday, 30 July 2015

Canadian Pride From the Grave


I had to share something that has in mere moments, made my entire day.  The upcoming Federal election in Canada has been described as a big deal.  In my opinion, it's the biggest deal around.  And in these our days of trade deals and corporate deals, that's saying a lot.

I believe this election will decide our future as a country.  I believe that if Stephen Harper is stayed another term, we will surely not recognize her when he's done.  The proud Canadian and poet Shane Koyczan who wrote that amazing poem for our Olympics titled "We Are More", refused to recite that poem this past birthday.  You can read about that here along with his reasons for not reciting his words.

But we are no longer an experiment going right.  Our Wheat Board is owned by Saudis though the farmers offered to buy it.  The fish caught down East will no longer hold the guarantee of giving work to locals, now export looms over every fisherman's head.  In fact, almost every resource we have is being shipped away to be processed elsewhere.  Our home on Native land is shrinking from something of great wonderment to mere value in digits with a dollar sign in front. Lands bursting with growth potential are now mud pits of bitumen.  Hurry hurry suck it dry before someone else does!

What has made my day is yet another affirmation that I am not alone in these worries.  I know this, but that doesn't discount the effect it has on me when I see it.   For instance, a fellow proud Canadian has passed leaving us with a eulogy filled with words that stick.  Can you imagine giving those last sacred words to a cause this big?   Now that's pride; the epitome of selflessness.

"Don't weep for me, save our country and the CBC".

Rest in peace Mary Catherine Finn (nee McCormick).  Thank you for being an example of Canadianism that will not die with you.


You can read more about Mary in the beautifully written eulogy here.  Even in her dying words it seems she leaves us with this sense of duty as Canadians.  We cannot idly sit by and allow the rules of our country be decided without us.  WE have the power to make Canada an experiment going right again.

"In lieu of donations, Catherine would want you to do everything you can to drive Stephen Harper from office, right out of the country, and into the deep blue sea if possible.  Also, she would like you to fix the CBC".

Please vote responsibly  :)

Monday, 27 July 2015

Web of Life



The peeps they hang suspended,
Inside your poisonous grasp.

Sycophants and followers,
Unaware of your weakening silk.

Your web it was no doubt a part,
Of this cause we 're soon to win.

But it's simply another off-shoot,
From the one great web of life.

Debates rage on as to whom's this was,
Herer, Hari Krishna, Jesus Christ?

The sum of the web is far greater,
Than each individual part.

There is no room for narcissism,
For ego or for fight.

Personal freedom is within our reach,
Come ALL we must UNITE!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Prime Minister of Canada is the Shark

Source:  "Life on the Reef" ... National Geographic Channel





The Prime Minister of Canada is the shark,
and all We swim in his tide.

Some of us are Pilot by breed,
following, supporting, assisting.

Others are known as Remora,
it seems just catching a ride.

A posse, a gaggle, a group.
Call us whatever you will.

But our purpose to He is tenfold,
a truth I attempt to instill.

Pilot pushes forward,
progress is its cause.

While Remora delays this haste,
for decisions require pause.

Bravest, strongest, proudest,
these are adjectives used,

To describe what it takes to fill this role,
this role that is prone to abuse.

We the posse choose the King,
it is We who make the rules!

For what would he be without us,
But a mason without any tools.

If the Prime Minister of Canada is the shark,
then You and I are the Ocean.











Friday, 24 July 2015

Fun With Fungi in Colorado


This blogpost is more of a photography post featuring pics from my good friend Angie White from beautiful Colorado.

I'm not really up on my mushrooms~ edible, magic, or only edible once.  They intrigue me just the same and let's just give photo cred where credit is due:  Angie has the eye :)

If any foragers are reading this, I'd love to know what each of these Fungi are called.













Lead By Example Parliament ... Join the Paperless Revolution!


I recycle.  You recycle.  We all try to do our part. We all feel our carbon footprint like it's the boogeyman hiding under our beds.  My hunni is especially anal about the 3R's.  Considering the fact that the base components from almost all recyclables is slowly running dry~ the oil and the trees ~we all see the need to reduce what we use, reuse when we can, and of course recycle.

Unless you're in the position to represent the rest of us in one of the 336 ridings of our Country, then it seems that paper and trees and ink to colour them is growing out back of their yards.  I've actually only seen the West Block of the Canadian Parliament buildings, am I unaware?  Is the all-giving, never-ceasing tree of life growing out back and I just never knew?

A friend just brought this to my attention because she knows how much it bothers me.  It's convenient how we're able to set aside environmental protection measures when an election is nigh.  I was furious during our recent municipal election here in Kingston.  My hallways were littered with glossy placards with smiling faces and hopeful promises.  I was published in our local newspaper then regarding the absolute atrocity that was the traffic circle with it's busy collage of election signs.  If texting while at a stop light is distracting, how is reading election signs not?  My beef was more with the fact that several signs lay littered in the grassy patches along my street for weeks after the election was over.

I propose an environmental tax on all partisan flyers, brochures, and MP newspapers. Of course, that's silly, it's not like it's the actual MP is paying for the paperwork or the postage to mail it.  You and I pay for paper and printing while Canada Post is mandated to send anything an MP wants to send out for free.  I've learned that it's all up to each individual member as well.  That's interesting.  Are there any guidelines or restrictions on that?  Or are those expense rules as vague as we're hearing they are in the Senate?  That's a slippery and expensive slope if you're an over-sharer like me, you're going to break the bank in both postage and printing costs.  Not to mention environmental concerns as not everyone has gotten the 3R bug yet.  I just received this from my local MP Ted Hsu.


I've met with Ted before as a not-so-young Young Liberal, and don't doubt that he'd agree it's a bit excessive.  I think that this is a problem rooted in archaic practices that haven't had the sustainability light shone on them.  The above flyer is a season catch up on local Liberal activities.  It's 11x17, substantial stock paper, in both official languages.  All of the above is over-the-top in my opinion, and simply one small example of the over-use of resources in a time of cut-backs to vital programs all over the country.  Also, if I don't speak or read french, why am I getting it?  Don't I tick a box stating I speak English during my elections?

I'm really confused to be honest.  If the banks are going paperless, and they're all about the money, perhaps parliament could take a hint?  I mean, at TD they're actually paying YOU to go paperless.  I know this because my hunni hasn't gotten with the "credit union revolution" and he's still with them. For eight months he was offered $5 to go paperless and last week they upped it to $10.  He says he's holdin' out for a pink $50!!

But my friend has a better example than this.  I mean, at least this is local and up until the signing of C-51, I was a card-carrying Liberal.  But what if I weren't a supporter of Ted?  Would I still get the flyers and the papers and all of the flashy reminders?  I'd surely hope to be able to opt out of that.  I mean, as it is, I'm starting to dislike the colour blue, would I have to see it often in my mailbox if Alicia Gordon had won in Kingston and the Islands?

My friend lives in the riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry which is represented by Conservative MP Guy Lauzon.  If there are guidelines, it seems Guy hasn't read them.  As an aside, would that really be a valid excuse? :)  We'll see when the Duffy trial finally finishes.  Check out her interaction with Guy as a concerned constituent here.  How about this for choking over-use of ink and stock paper and yes ... postage.




The Canadian Lumber Industry remains a profitable and integral part of our economy, and yet everywhere we're told to use less.  Why not follow that same sentiment in Parliament?  At the very least, do you think you could re-think your printing practices to reflect accurate readership?  Only print what you need!  I mean, unless the garbage people possess greater voting power than the rest of us, you're wasting time and our money.

I am a citizen who sees cutbacks but really isn't effected by any, yet I feel this urgency about money and time and resources that Parliament clearly does not.  Money doesn't grow on trees!  As elected members of Parliament, you need to feel this urgency too.  Is it too much to ask that you consider waste?  Is it too much for you to consider excess spending?

It's not too much to ask, but the sacred cow is difficult to slaughter.  Maybe she should get recycled instead. :)


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Cannabis Oil, Dosing, & Dogs


We pet owners are crazy.  I mean, most of us eat absolute nutritional garbage when compared to what we feed our pets.  Most of us choose the most nutritionally balanced, grain-free, hormone-free, additive-free, preservative-free kibble.  I'm raising my hand as one who has done that for years.  I think it's a parent thing, as I know many single parents who buy baby or child's food first, and make due with whatever is left. So though I've been writing and raving and telling everyone I can about the marvels of Cannabis oil, tinctures, and emulsions, it took my arthritic kitty to push me to actually make some cannabis olive oil.

You see, I had a pack of animals at one time.  It was like a revolving door for a while there.  I swear people dropped pets off nearby for a reason.  And then there were the ever fertile kitties who were just suckling last week, but were soon welping their own litter under the shed.  It was crazy, I had horses, dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, and lovebirds.  In fact, on that little trailer turned hobby farm under the hydro towers, every single mammal got pregnant but yours truly.

But death is a part of life, and after many years, my furry sister India, was all that was left of my pack.  As you can imagine, I would have ground up fresh liver if it would prolong her life.  She was 17 and getting feeble.  I knew that cannabinoids could help her mobility, pain, and likely stimulate her appetite.  Plus any kind of oil had calories and the fats her brain needed.  She'd always been a picky eater so I chose light tasting olive oil and with a double boiler, a thermometer and whatever scraps of buds and shake i could find, I made my girl some cannabis oil.

Long story short, though she fought me and my squirt of oil for a long time, she eventually gave in. Animals are incredibly in tune with their bodies.  It didn't take long for India to realize that this shit makes her feel good!

Well India lived another two years getting squirts of oil every few days then every day.  She played with our dog Molly and she'd play with her own little tennis ball.  The poorly shot video below was filmed about four months before she passed.  You can see that she was medicated prior to the filming as her pupils were huge, and she's moving really well.  When I'd see her doing the robot-walk I'd give her a little squirt.  India played a brisk game of floor hockey with herself and a crumpled up piece of paper a mere week before she passed over.  Cannabinoids helped her agility and her sense of humour, and definitely prolonged her life.


This whole time we soon realized that our Boston Terrier Molly's fear of thunder and fireworks was getting worse.  We had been giving her an herbal tincture called Bach Rescue Remedy but eventually tried the kitty's cannabis olive oil.  Let's just say that dosing is crucial, and you should always lean more on the safe side as in less than you think.  I felt her pain as my first few times smoking weed weren't all that enjoyable to be honest.  There was no one to advise me, we were the blind leading the blind with the one girl's hippy mother's stash.  I have felt the anxiety, though only once and I handled it well.  So basically Molly was uncomfortable for the first few times until sedation took over.

Signs of over dosing in my experience is the inability to sit still.  They will sit and kind of wobble back and forth, not wanting to give in to sleep.  But eventually she did, right from the very first time. But tonight has confirmed for me that I not only have the dosing down, but Molly's cannabinoid receptors are accepting the medicine well.

First off, I keep the oil in a certain spot on the counter, and as soon as the thunder started tonight she went over there and stood licking her lips.  She must've been there for a few minutes before I noticed. Regardless of her fear level, she will lick this stuff up.   I dosed her, and about an hour later I saw her jumping at her ball all by herself.  She was feeling good!  Every single time I walked down the hallway, she took it as an invite to play.  Cannabis olive oil took away her vibrating, panting, nerve-wracked fear and made her want to play.


I've learned a lot from this experience.  This dog is my adopted child.  I guard her with my life.  So while experimenting with this medicine, I noticed something that I myself have noticed when ingesting this oil.  You may have heard about these things in some teas called "adaptogens".  These are substances, sometimes herbs that are said to stabilize the body on a cellular level.  Check out this Medicine Hunter site that explains these compounds well and offers some examples.  For me, I find that taking the oil makes my body and my brain do what I want them to do when I want them to do it.  For instance, I can sit and watch a movie while medicated on 2-3 gelatin caps full of this oil and not fall asleep ... until I go to bed.  It's better illustrated by my pooch and my handy camera.  The poorly shot video above of Mollyplaying fetch was taken about 75 minutes after she ingested about a teaspoon of cannabis olive oil with her dinner.  You can see that she is fit for the rodeo, and not impaired at all. Yet .... not 15 minutes later I snapped the shot below:


And now, about 2.5 hours after ingestion, she's waxing philosophical and trying to be the furry version of the couch activist :)


And ... about 3.5 hours after ingestion, Molly has the munchies :)



Dosing in medicine is crucial whether your medicine is natural or synthetic.  Cannabis oil is no different.  I urge you to experiment with this oil if you have a pet in pain.  Metacam is hell on the kidneys and ... well as I keep repeating ... cannabis has a zero death toll so it's ideal for long term use. And if the oil is already made up and you have an ache ... you should experiment with your proper dosing levels too.

RIP all my furry children  ... until we meet again :) and we WILL meet again.

The Measure of a Man


Guest piece by my friend Kenneth McGrath, continuing with more poignant poetry.


I found the moving, hollow place
Within my fragile soul
The missing piece of masculine
Whose measure was untold

Beneath the surface part of me
Behind the masks I wear
It carried whispers to my ear
That roared like silent stare

I asked the depths of what it was
Inform me - I am here
But nothing answered audibly
That answer was sincere

I lost the sadness of my youth
When questions led to truth
The missing-ness had missed the point
Of a wakeful dreamer's sleuth

Beneath the surface waters still
Behind the waves that crash
Like oceanic tapestries
The mystery depths did splash


This is but one of many many other poems by my friend Ken.  Check them out here!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Stage Set


A guest blog post by husband, father, brother, son, and friend Robert James Bouchard.


Life is perception, what i feel and see may differ than your feelings and your sight,

We are all living this life together so how can either of our views be wrong or right,

Communication is the key to unlock our inner thoughts to put us on the same page,

Our view of this page may be different but honesty and respect will set the stage,

For a gracious life for all to enjoy and be a part of,

All that is required of you , is to not fear love,

Change must happen to bring the basics of life to everyone for free,

You have more ingenuity inside you than that of a seasonal tree,

Life is but a dream where nothing can forever exist,

The toppling of Capitalism is futile to resist,

The ideas of the East shall blend with the West,

The belief in our one source will be put to the ultimate test,

Will we learn we are one race and only when united we'll stand,

Or do we allow ourselves to continually be divided across this land,

Insanity is living the same as before,

Expecting a new result to wash ashore.


This piece is one of many poignant poems written by James and published in his book
"Awaken My Angels" and you can watch a video with his prose put to music here on youtube.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Taking Back Our Bodies

A guest blog post about Feminine Hygiene Products by angel, goddess, mother, wife, sister, and my good friend Tarah Milsap

Acronym of the day:

RUMPS -- Re-Usable Menstrual Products

Types of RUMPS available:

Cloth sanitary napkins in various sizes, shapes, colours, and fabrics.
Cloth tampons in various forms such as knit or crocheted.
Sea Sponge tampons.
Menstrual Cups in various sizes, shapes, and materials.




For many years, the norm has been to purchase and use chemical-laden feminine hygiene products and then throw them away.  This has created many problems for a few aspects of the planet.  There's an ecological problem, all of these sanitary products go into landfills where their synthetic design prohibits breakdown as well as leeching chemicals into the ground.  There's the economic problem. Let's say I spent $20 a month on tampons and pads, depending if I was postpartum or not.  So I have been menstruating for about 17 years.  That would bring me to around $4080 already spent on toss away products!!!  If a woman tends to menstruate for 30+ years.  That's close to $10,000 I will have spent!!!   WHAT THE HELL!!?

However, my main focus is what I have learned that is MEDICALLY wrong with these items.  What these items can do to our most delicate areas as women.  There's a few reasons why disposable menstrual products are terrible ideas for the human female body.

Perhaps the most terrible reason is the use of chlorine bleach to make the materials uniformly white.  Personally, I don't think I would care if my items were unevenly coloured, it isn't like they will be seen anyway!  Not only does this seem like an entirely wasteful process, it also sets we females up for terrible problems internally.  The bleach can leave behind a by-product called dioxin.  This chemical is a known carcinogen.  Why are we exposing such a delicate place and organ to such a thing?

Another well-known reason (at least about tampons) is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This condition occurs when a tampon is left inside for too long and bacteria grows.  It is common in younger women as their bodies haven't had time to build up antibodies to this rare but potentially fatal condition. Disposable items contain fibers that are entirely too absorbent.  Yes, women are advised to use a tampon with the lowest reasonable absorption to help lower the risk of TSS but every manufacturer tends to have a different absorbency level for each type (lights, regular, super etc) as there is no industry standard to adhere to.  The materials used also tend to leave the vagina feeling dry and irritated.  The use of natural cotton tampons help reduce the fibers left behind but still reduces the natural moisture level of the vagina.  Disposable pads can contribute to rashes, infections, and burning.

On a personal note, before I realized what could be contributing to it, my menstrual cramps were horrendous.  I'm talking curled up in the fetal position, move-and-I-will-barf cramps.  Debilitating.  I also had 20 to 23 day cycles, 10 to 12 days of which were menstruating.  I probably went through about $20 a month in hygiene products.  Now however, after I decided to make the switch to R.U.M.P.S. , my periods are 5 to 7 days and although my flow is still heavy (thanks to the Diva menstrual cup I know how much fluid I lose per month) I don't have to worry about running out of supplies!  My cramps are still painful but not to the point of making me vomit.  Big improvement and I attribute it entirely to not inserting chemicals into my body.  It is not scientifically proven that using reusable feminine products reduces cramps and flow, however I do know many women that would attest to this being true for them.  For me as well, rashes, irritations and things like bladder infections that always occurred for me during my period have disappeared!

WHO CAN USE RUMPS?

Anyone who menstruates can use RUMPS.  Pre-teen, teen or adult, virgin or not.
Anyone who experiences bladder incontinence of any level.
Anyone who experiences excess moisture.

WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF?

Reusable menstrual products have a few different materials depending on which type of reusable you choose.  Cups are typically made from either food or medical grade silicone, or a material called TPE (thermoplastic elastomers).   Medical grade silicone is generally recommended over food grade as it lasts longer and is actually designed for use within the body.  Menstrual cups also have a range of sizes and firmness.  Knit and crocheted tampons are made from a natural fiber wool/yarn.  It is not recommended to use acrylic yarn.  Cloth pads and tampons are made with a variety of textile materials ranging from cotton to polyester.  Cores that make up the absorbent layers range from ever absorbent Zorb to Hemp.  Zorb is a specially designed fabric with incredible absorbency.  It consists of tangled cellulose fibers from bamboo/cotton/viscose/poly micro fiber.

It really depends on how organic you want your pads to be.  Sea sponge tampons are naturally sourced and I feel unbleached versions would be healthier.  However, Sea sponge tampons have a shorter life as they naturally disintegrate through use.  Cloth pads are a very popular choice among RUMP users.  Perhaps it is the cute fabrics, or the incredible diversity in sizes, materials, widths, and absorbency available.  Or perhaps it's having comfortable items that don't even fell like you are wearing a pad or liner!

I love that there are so many WAHM (work at home moms) turned entrepreneurs that take the time to create comfortable personalized cloth pads for each customer.  No two makers are exactly alike, and I love putting money back into the economy and NOT into the pockets of companies like Playtex and Always.

WHERE CAN YOU GET THEM TOO?

RUMPS and the health of my delicate system has been my passion for a while now.  Research is easy when you're interested in the topic.  I would like to give credit back to the many small companies and the women who started them.

One of our faves is a Canadian company from Winnipeg Manitoba named "Tree Hugger Cloth Pads" .  Their product is so great, the Dragon's Den peeps declined saying they were already on the right track.  And the best part about them is they plant a tree for every pad sold.  Being the change is awesome to see :)

Working our way across western Canada, another favourite from Saskatchewan is called "Homestead Emporium".  This company has you all covered.  They put the O in Organic and even sell hand made underwear, nursing pads, and other reusable cloths.  Check out their facebook page.  The website is extensive so have fun, poke around, and learn how to be a part of lowering all of our carbon footprints :)



Equally impressive are the reusables from a more local home-based business in Cambridge, Ontario called "Handmade by Alycia", this is her Etsy store.  She also has a facebook page you can check out. By the sounds of things, Alycia will custom make almost any reusable you could need.  She's working on new products as we speak :)





Last but not least, I'd like to introduce "Harp Diapers" from beautiful British Colombia. This is their Etsy store and their facebook page is here.  You think you know what cloth diapers are in 2015?  It's quite impressive.  No safety pins required!  Once again, like the others, INGENIOUS.  Harp will custom make your items in whatever fabric your heart desires.  Check her out too :)


Still others include:

"Looper's Luffs" from Newfoundland, see her facebook page here.

"Princess Flow" from Manitoba, see their facebook page and Etsy store .

"Modern Wednesday" from Alberta, see their facebook page and website.

"Empire Lush" also from Saskatchewan, see their very informative facebook page.


"Pretty Eco Intimates" from PEI, see their facebook page and website.


Let me know in the comments if you'd ever consider using RUMPS.  If you already do, share your experience with us.  Many voices can change even our environmental problems ... one disposable at a time :)









Thursday, 16 July 2015

Willie Nelson as a Way of Life


Some of my favourite books are the ones from which I learn.  I’ve learned from fiction and non-fiction, autobiographies too.  Learning equals evolving, in theory at least, so with more reading comes a better understanding of the world around us.   To say in my thirty plus years of reading, I have evolved is an understatement.  I used to know so little about so few things.  I remember hearing about Willie Nelson evading taxes and judged him without any idea of what the real story was.  I’m sure though that Willie would forgive me my harshness, as one of the many things that I learned from his autobiography “It’s A Long Story” is that Willie is all about forgiveness.


With wit and the rawest of honesty, this book at times reads like a candid confessional.  Willie puts it all out there, as though he has something to prove.  But you soon learn that throughout Willie’s life, nothing he did was to prove anything other than music can heal the world.  You learn that his odd sense of musical timing was a pattern in his life, where he was on no time schedule.  What will be will be.  He loves Jesus and his faith is something that doesn’t have to be renewed with sermons or rosaries, it’s simply a part of his genetic makeup living inside his blood and in his every cell.  Willie is a good Christian.  He reminds me of my Daddy in that way. 


I’ve seen interviews recent and past and his whole demeanor, his wording, the colloquialism of his storytelling is reminiscent of how people in my own small town spoke when I was a child.  Is “small town” a universal way of being as though with its own behavioral dialect?  What do I mean?  I mean if you were to drive through most small towns and wave at people like you know them, they’ll wave back.  They’ll likely be talking about it for a week, but small townism is like a literal neighborhood watch program.  What city slickers might call nosiness, small towners simply consider to be watching out for your fellow citizen.  At least I hope most small towns are still like this everywhere.  Is Abbott, Texas still like this Willie?


Stress is killing us all they say; take this or that to deter it.  But you wouldn’t really know that if you talked to Willie.  Oh sure, he was moving here or touring there, always on the go.  He had some romantic issues, some legal issues, and some income issues too.  But he was never stressed about it because he was doing what he loved.  Reading about his all night jam sessions with his fellow “pickers” reminded me of Bob Marley who was much the same way.  Like a truly amicable and beneficial addiction, this playing music thing was also a part of Bob’s genetic makeup.  They played, picked, and jammed because they couldn’t not do it.  Playing music together and the camaraderie that it wove is for many its own way of self- expression.   For Willie and his friends it was like a group therapy session where the therapist is the music.


Willie Nelson’s life up until now is one to emulate.  As colourful and unconventional as it was and is, there are lessons in his way of thinking that changed me.  In Yoda-ish fashion, Willie shows us that there is no try there is only do.  And that the try IS the do, for what really is success?  Willie would say living, loving, and picking.  He redefines faith for me.  He doesn’t write about praying very much, perhaps because praying would infer doubt or impatience.  He’s just always known that it’ll all be just fine in its own time.  He speaks with so much love when he speaks about his family, and yet he will tell you that for him family and friend are of the same meaning.  We are all his family he says.


I consider myself to be a writer in the making.  Willie and I are alike in this way, except he’s more than made it.  Has anyone else written as many songs as Willie Nelson has?  And highly successful ones at that!  There’s a genuineness in all of his words that tells me they were chosen because they fit the feel of the song, rather than chosen because of their hopeful success.  So many of his albums were predicted to be flops but that didn’t stop Willie.  His artistic expression and the freedom to pair it with any genre he fancied could not be hindered by mere capitalism.  Perhaps his label’s reasons for being in the music industry were financial, but Willie’s were not.  And they’re still not though he likely spends half of the year touring.  And everywhere he goes, he’s giving voice to the voiceless, his music like a megaphone.   


I could go on and on comparing Willie to other great humans.  But I would be entirely remiss if I neglected to mention Willie’s love for the Cannabis plant.  So in closing I’ll make one more comparison with Willie, and one that I think he’ll appreciate.  Willie Nelson is like the flowers of the Cannabis plant in all of its various forms.  They’re both medicinal don’t ya know?  They both give us comfort when we’re down and both easily ease our pain.  Willie oozes loving compassion like a sticky bouquet of buds.  To me, his life can be described to look like the curing process for Cannabis Sativa or Indica.  The sticky resins in the flowers contain sugars and terpenes that ripen over time and convert into nothing short of magic.  Willie is like this, simply getting better with age.  Willie like Cannabis is the great uniter, because as anyone knows if you want to make a friend you offer them your doob and crank up some Willie Nelson tunes.

Peace, Pot, and Prosperity to you Willie and all of your family too :)





Sunday, 12 July 2015

Canadian Parliamentary Games



Rona Ambrose is Canada's Health Minister.  Impressive title isn't it?  One would think that an equally impressive CV and education would go along with that too.  But it doesn't.  In fact, Rona has worn more hats in the eleven years she's served under emperor Harper, than most British royalty!  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of Vancouver, a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta.

Lets see, she's worn hats belonging to all kinds of departments!  Rona has been:

Minister of the Environment
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Minister of Western Economic Diversification
Minister of Labour
Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada
Minister for Status of Women

Now that's what I call a "Jack of all trades".  Unfortunately for Canadians, Ambrose is a master of none.  She does though have the "stone-face" mastered.  Perhaps with the thanks to botulism not skill.

What is this sillyness we have in Parliament where we allow people into positions of authority and influence without proper education?  A health minister should hold some degree in healthcare.  A minister of environment should hold a degree in environmental science.  A minister in economic diversification should hold a degree in economics.  A minister of labour should hold a degree in employment laws among other things, and a minister in public works and government services should hold a degree higher than Arts!  And finally, a minister for the status of women should not change her views once she joins a certain political party.

Rona was involved in many action groups working to end violence against women before dawning any of the above hats, and ironically most of the non-profit women's groups have distanced themselves from Rona based on her staunch anti-abortion stance.  And yet, in 2005 Rona made headlines for saying that "working women want to make their own choices, we don't need old white guys telling us what to do."  Unless they're talking about our uteri Rona?

Oh but she's adaptable.  I guess that's what Parliament requires nowadays?  If you can read a script, keep your nose clean, and swallow all of your integrity you're hired!  Heck that beats any chance of higher employment around these parts.  To push paper at Queen's U I'd have to hold a university degree.  To assist shoppers at Home Depot, I have to go through a five interview process!  The real world sucks when it comes to job searching.  No wonder Rona does what the master tells her to, no thought required. Seriously, you ask her opinion, and she has to check her notes to see which words she CAN use and which words she CAN'T!!

Climate Change: never
Terrorism:  daily

I love my country fiercely and the last time I visited Ottawa and stood on the grounds of our Parliament, I felt a connected desire to protect her.  It was early summer last year and they were playing a projection on the great stone face of the building.  A single tear escaped from my eyes and traveled down my cheek as I watched with pride. This is greatness, this country of ours.  And we have uneducated dumbasses running the show.

Our members of parliament have a role to fill.  That role being to represent the opinions, beliefs, and desires of their riding and we the people.  Their influence has never been more important as stated in this article , "Some argue, and I also agree, that MP's have a new class of fiduciary duty to their citizens and constituents to act ethically, and within the scope of reason." Their role is not to simply regurgitate what the master of the day tells them to.  Each riding is unique, as each great province is unique.  There is a beauty and a certain comfort in knowing that my perspective is being represented in the big house where rules and laws are decided.

This upcoming Federal election is going to be huge.  Honestly, you and I are living in a crucially decisive time right now.  The outcome of our collective vote in October could leave our country crumbling further around us, or rebuilding what we know is still alive.  We are more than exporting toxic substances so someone else can process them.  We are more than dollar signs above murky polluted waters.  We are more than our GDP.

As Shane Koyczan says in his incredible poem 'We Are More' ....

"we are an idea in the process of being realized", that idea is FREEDOM.

Let's make a concerted effort to prove to himself and his minions that we are more and we demand more of our government.  If many hands make light work, then many votes can make us more again.


Please vote Red, Orange, or Green  :)

Cannadaptability



I've written before about how much I admire the art or science of alchemy.  Creating.  It's an admirable thing no matter what the end result is.  But when the end result puts a smile on your face, then even the act of creating this thing, can be a part of the thrill.  If the product of your alchemic process--whatever that may be-- alters your thoughts from negative or apathetic to positive and happy, then all the more reason to try it.

There's this really popular book out there written a long time ago that states that we all have the power to heal.  In each of us, it says, is the power to heal not only what ails you, but what ails others as well.  We have the power it preaches.  Well who knew it would be the potheads who took those words to heart eh?  The potheads know what the medical marijuana patients know.  This plant is medicine.  Now ... how do we get those minuscule molecules of medicine out of that plant and into your body safely and effectively?  That my dear ... is the question.

Nowadays, there are more ways to create medicinal cannabis concentrate than ever before, and not all of them without danger.  When I hear of an explosion in a home, I pray it wasn't in the alchemic process, but sometimes it is.  Solvents are explosive.  Care must be taken.  Some say laws need to be made.  In fact, Colorado voted in April to make it a felony to use explosive gases to make hash oil at home.

Yet these potheads ... they be productive and they be adaptable.  I rarely use the word "pothead" because it has a certain image attached to it.  That image is all too often false.  I mean, what is a pothead?  If it's someone who ingests this plant all day every day, then that could represent a huge portion of the work force out there.  That's right, the next double double you get may have been made by someone with cannabinoids coursing through their veins, taking away their pain and stiffness, allowing them to earn a living.  And when their work day is over, they're home trying to come up with more safe ways to make their medicine more pure and more effective.  If solvent is frowned upon, what else could we use, they ponder between puffs.

One such alchemist has come up with a brilliant way to produce concentrate without a solvent and by the sounds of things, it's really catching on.  They call it the Rosin technique and aside from your Cannabis bud, the process only requires two things:  a flat iron for hair straightening, and some parchment paper (not to be confused with wax paper).  People in the hair business know that ceramic is best because it allows a high but even heat. For this process, it's nice to be able to regulate the heat to between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, as THC burns off at 315 degrees.  Like a vaporizer or an electronic dab rig with a heat dial, higher heat will likely leave you with resin that is higher in the other cannabinoids, with less THC.  It's difficult to know until you consume it I guess.  As you can see from the pics in this article it quite literally liquefies and then squeezes the resins right out of the bud.

So the couch activist gave it a whirl ... and ya ... it friggin works!  I used .47g of mid grade og kush and got a substantial sized caramel coloured dab.  I wasn't able to accurately measure the heat on my old iron but I pressed it down hard for about seven seconds.  The vapor coming up was identical to vapourized cannabis, so I may have been too hot.  My photography is severely lacking and I didn't remember to weigh it before trying it.  But wow it was nice.




Of course I have questions .. I always have questions.  Does this process of heat and pressure extract the same quantity of cannabinoids that a solvent extracts?  I can't wait til they make at-home concentrate testing devices.  They could call it the "iTest" :)  But if it does extract comparable amounts, it's a fairly substantial cost reduction vs using a Honey-Bee extractor and expensive butane. And the safety issue is as they say ... priceless.

I'm a totally "waste-not/want-not" kind of person so I not only want to know about the end-product of the process, but I also want to know if the bud is useful after it's been pressed and heated.  I will say, it has a slightly popcorn-y scent to it.  I wonder if any cannabinoids remain?  I wonder if you could now grind it up and wash it with a solvent and get even more compounds out?  The beauty is, if I have these queries, then I know others do too.  And well ... those potheads ... we be productive.  I'm sure someone is testing and dabbing and sampling even as we speak.  I'll keep you posted :)



Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Couch Activist Visits Kingston Artfest


I made my way down to the Kingston Artfest again today and am really glad I did.  In a world that seems to revolve around sports, it's so refreshing to see so much effort and substantial planning that went into this festival.  As I wandered around the almost 150 different exhibitors I just admired and waited for the ones that lured me in with their uniqueness and their beauty ... not to mention the talent involved.

I decided to blog about my 7 favourite exhibitors, in no specific order.  Here goes .... and pardon my poor photography :)

Artist:  Derriere les Bois~ Behind the Woods Custom Woodworking

My fave piece:

Why?:  This piece is huge, like the world.  For me, the colours represent the multitude of cultures. To be honest, I've been slow to admire the geography of the world.  It's a bit of an inside joke in my family that Di doesn't know where anything is on the map, and that she read a horse book all the way through Geography classes.




Check them out here at their site behindthewoods.ca & here on Facebook & here on Instagram


Artist:  Wynne Parkin

My fave piece:

Why?:  The blue in this is just brilliant, and the brush-strokes give the illusion that the lake is very big.  I'm familiar with large lakes.  Also for me, the tree trunks and rocks remind me of Inuit art which pulls at my Canadian Pride.



See more at www.wynnes.ca


Artist:  J.G. Fine Woodworking

My fave piece(s):

Why?:  Let's face it, wood is one of Mother Nature's most beautiful mediums.  The grain in these pieces is so unique that I simply could not choose a favourite.




See more at their Etsy Store

Artist:  Cindy Johnson

My fave piece(s):  Solid Bronze Pendants imprinted with leaves.

Why?:  Once again, Mother Nature's handiwork immortalized in solid Bronze is simply perfect. On my walk home after the show, I saw so many leaves on simple every day weeds that would make beautiful pendants.



Check out much more at www.cindyj.ca and here on facebook

Artist:  Reenie Marx

Fave piece:

Why?:  As I walked by this exhibit the horse pulled me in.  I knew I had to choose it's creator.
Many of her other pieces were equally amazing.


See more at www.reeniemarx.com

Artist:  Iron Oak Designs by Cole Talbot

Why?:  The creator of this amazing work is only 23.  The rustic look of the metal work is timeless. Please check out his website.  This piece is also quite large and made me think of the 'tree of life'.



See more at www.ironoakdesigns.ca

Artist:  Dawning ... Jamie Dawn Hanson

Why?:  I love these necklaces!!  Inside the balls is a puff of wind-born dandelion seeds.  She has similar pendants on her website with small peacock feathers inside.




See more at www.dawningjewelry.com and here on facebook and here on Instagram


So these are my favourite things from the Kingston Artfest.  I'd like to thank the artists for allowing me to take photos of their masterpieces and present them here.  The show will finish up on Saturday July 4th so get down there if you can!

I'd love to know what some of YOUR favourites were :)


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Nurse Jackie & the Mongoose


So the series Nurse Jackie is over, and though Jackie's actions in this last scene shocked me, I learned today how they very aptly illustrate a natural occurrence in even the animal world.  We've been led to believe that addicts will re-use because they cannot resist and want to feel good.  Or because the chemical hook is set so deeply, nothing can heal it.  I recently read "Chasing the Scream" by Johann Hari and with it, some other writings he's done on the subject.  My view is completely different now. The reasons for addiction are quantum ... too many to list and ever-evolving with each and every one of us.

The desire to get out of your head by way of intoxicant is common.  Stress increases use.  And their 'drug' ... never let's the user down.  Many use to forget how they feel.  They use to feel numb.

Jackie needed to feel numb.

In helping to come to this alternate understanding of addicts, a professor named Ronald K. Siegel wondered if this was common in nature.  So he planted a hallucinogenic plant called Silver Morning Glory in an enclosure with a bunch of Mongooses. They all tried the plant, felt intoxicated and never touched it again.  Months later a storm occurred that took the life of one of them.  When its mate found its dead body, it went directly to the hallucinogenic plant and ate until it lost consciousness.

Within mere hours, Jackie took three major blows to the ego and the psyche.  Dr. O'Hara knows everything, Eddie confessed to everything, and Zoey has had enough of everything to do with Jackie.

Stability crumbling.
Familiarity crushed.
Nothing is as it should be.
Must get numb.

Jackie did what the Mongoose did and consumed what she knew would let her check out and be numb.

Nurse Jackie Peyton is a fictional character in a tv series.  But her story is replayed over and over all over the world.  Trauma and abuse seem more common nowadays.  Our brains seem less able to cope with the stresses of day to day.  But even in the simplest of environments, stress and fear will push a mammal to consume that which will alter their mind and perception.  Another phenomenon I learned of through Johann Hari's writing is that the mongoose is not alone.  Consuming something for the sole purpose of it's effects, is actually quite common and routine for a lot of animals. Immediately upon reading this I remembered the birds that used to eat these red berries on the tree out front.  They would gorge themselves and then fall to the ground like big, fat, drunk babies.  This was a routine thing until all of those berries were gone.

Professor Ronald K. Siegel  writes in his book Intoxication that it was noticed in Vietnam that the water buffalo would shy away from the Opium fields until the bombs of the war began to fall.  At once, herds of them pulled a "Nurse Jackie"and went right for that which they knew would alter them, and inhaled.

What strikes me suddenly is that this could be a sign that all mammals instinctively know and understand that the body and the mind are separate.  Otherwise, wouldn't the buffalo have been hiding in fear?  Instead, they went for what they somehow knew would dull their perception, making it fuzzy, and numbing the fear they felt as bombs crashed around them.

Of course this ability is a double edged sword like so many other phenomenons about life and our brains.  Being able to check out mentally when the physical becomes too much would surely be a God-send.  Unless you're the one driving the bus. Or keeping the patients in the emergency room alive.  And yet, I saw every episode and I can only remember one instance where Jackie made a nursing error while high.  Zoey was there to save her.  Looking back, Zoey was always there to save Jackie, adore Jackie, applaud Jackie, and emulate Jackie.

When Zoey took that away it was effectively the punch that broke through to that instinct we all have .... to check out.