Thursday, December 27, 2012

Footprints In Our Still Hearts

One week exactly before Christmas Eve, I knew there was something wrong but everything in me pleaded for the best. The nurse tried with three different devices to find his heartbeat. At one point we heard a faint beat and her eyebrows raised but I knew it was my own. I had heard his heartbeat several times now and that wasn't it. She took my pulse and timed it to the rhythm and her looked changed to one of deflation. I burst into tears. The doctors did a bed side ultrasound then took me into another room for another sonogram. As they gathered around the screen they pointed, nodded heads and tightened their lips. Then one turned to me and said "I'm sorry, your baby has died." They guided me with sympathetic eyes back to my room. And I threw up.
At 6:30pm I was induced and after fifteen long hours of labour, I delivered my son Declan stillborn. I have never in my life been that afraid and sad as I was in that moment. The nurses took him away to wash him and brought him to me all bundled in a warm blanket, but his skin was cold when I touched his face. He was really tiny; 207 grams. And he was beautiful. His features resembled that of my other two sons when they were babies. This made it all too real for me. I kissed his little head that had the smallest knitted white toque I've ever seen covering it and said sorry to him; sorry for failing him, sorry for his discomfort and sorry for his loss of being. I've been told over and over there is nothing I could have done to have prevented this from happening but I think you'd have to be a mom in my position to understand my apologies. I told him I love him, I said goodbye then Chris took him from me before handing him to the nurse. She left our room and brought back a tiny green box. In in she had photographs of him, a baby bracelet that said 'Declan' and a card with a heart on it where she had stamped his little footprints. Other than holding that memory box, we left the hospital with empty arms.
The days following are a blur. With what I just had to endure emotionally and physically, I now had to plan the burial for my son. I don't know how it all came together but it did. The reverend, the piper, the memory cards, choosing his grave site, registering his death, arranging for the hearse.. somehow we did it. The boys chose three little stuffed animals to put in his casket to represent our three babies who we lost through miscarriages over the years. We also got him a baby stocking, a Christmas ornament that says 'Love At First Sight' and a blanket the kids knit for him the day we told them we had lost him. I had him wrapped in a white knit blanket my Gran had made for Carter ten years ago; one that Callum had also used as a baby. I hope Declan feels the love that surrounds him.
On Friday December 21st, 2012 the day the world was supposed to end, we buried our son. As we drove to the cemetery we saw his hearse drive by. I was numbed by the sight. When we got there the graveyard was full of my most cherished friends and family, but I couldn't look any of them in the eye for if I did I would crumble. And I needed to be strong for this. I didn't want my last moments with my son above ground to be wasted in only sorrow. I still had more I needed to tell him and I could not afford the time it would cost to become distracted. I could not feel my legs through the entire service and my tears blurred everything around me but I knew I was surrounded by people who were there for us. I could feel the strength from their kind words and thoughts holding me up in my moment of weakness as I thought I hate the word today, no one should ever have to bury their child.
Leaving him in his little coffin on top of the plot where he would later be buried will forever bother me. It is an image I wake up to every night. A good mother does not leave her children unattended. Ever. I worry that he wasn't warm enough, I'm scared that he is scared.
I'm not sure where to go from here but I think once I am ready to accept my guilt, my grief, my loss, I will bundle it up and place it in the spot of stillness I have carved out in my heart for Declan. I will never be the same because of losing him. I plan to learn how to carry this with me in a way that it does not become an obstacle in my life going forward; for the sake of my little family. I feel my soul now holds new life lessons on karma, on love and on loss because of his existence. My baby boy has shown me that even the smallest feet can leave an imprint on this world. With that I will try to make the world a better place in his honour.
If love alone could have saved you my son you never would have died.
Rest In Peace Declan Christopher
December 17, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Declan Christopher, our Angel Baby ~December 17, 2012 - December 17, 2012

My Darling Child ~Sinead O'Connor

My darling child
My darling baby
My darling child
You gave life to me
My darling child
My darling baby
My darling child
You came and saved me
My darling child
My darling baby
My darling child
God gave you to me
Me little ninja
My little dancer
Me little streetfighter
Me little chancer
Me lovely boy
Me lovely babby
My pride and joy
Me little puppy
Me little wolf
Me little lamby
My favourite boy
My angel babby
Me little ninja
Me little dancer
Me little streetfighter
Me little chancer
Me love me boy
Me love me babby
My pride and joy
Me little puppy 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fingers Crossed

I've held back from putting it up on Facebook, I've kept it off Twitter but I'll post here. It's safe here, and I see there were a number of views on my page already this month but with nothing new shared by me.

Tomorrow I'll have hit week 22 of my pregnancy. But everyday for the last few weeks have been a waiting game to see how much longer this pregnancy will last. I'm High Risk and the environment in which the baby is thriving is not good. The placenta isn't doing it's job to nourish him, there are signs of kidney failure and my amniotic fluid is too low. We've been given the option of terminating ..twice. And both times when we refused we were told to brace ourselves for what we could be facing in the weeks to come. The words "....possibility you will deliver still born, and if not, your baby will die shortly after birth...." came out very matter of fact from my doctor's mouth. I watched her lips move over every word and couldn't believe I had to hear that aloud. I knew it already in my head, I felt it in my heart, but for it to be spoken out loud was crushing to my soul.

There's a lot of guilt that surrounds me in relation to this pregnancy. When I first discovered I was expecting I was less than thrilled. I'm thirty-seven years old with children who will be 11 and almost 9 by the time my due date comes around. This was not in my plan and I was pretty vocal about that. It's how I truly felt in the moment and so this is why I believe Karma has come to teach me a lesson. The realization of "You Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone." I've always felt that I have so much good in my life because I put out an effort to do good in this world, and it comes back full circle to me. In this scenerio it did just that with a reaction which will sacrifice the health of my unborn child. I don't encounter negative reactions very often. And when I do I accept them, because I understand and believe in the process. Of course people's reactions are to tell me that there is nothing I could have done to cause or prevent this. But I think there is. And I blame myself entirely. So before I move forward in this post, stop feeling sorry for me; I don't deserve it. I'm writing because I see that some of my most read posts are the ones about my miscarriages and my children. And if what I have to write here connects to what anyone else out there is feeling then it's worth it for you to know you're not alone.

I was born to be a Mom. It was my childhood dream career. And although there's no University degree or College diploma that can give you the credentials you need in order to be a mother, I have a pretty good resume making me an excellent candidate for the job.

Here are my top five reasons why:

First I have experience; I have two boys who I couldn't be more proud of. Second, I'm reliable. I can be counted on. Third I'm compassionate. I raise my children with value of consideration for other beings and teach them that having a heart matters a lot. Fourth I'm understanding and forgiving. If they learn from their mistakes then they're living life on the right path. Fifth I'm strong. I can take care of myself as well as everyone else around me.

....but these past few weeks, I'm failing at it all.

Here are my top five reasons why:

First, my little boys see me cry everyday. There are no good days and bad days; they are all just days with good and bad moments throughout them. And those moments are unpredictable. Second, I can't plan do do very much because I'm so drained emotionally, physically and mentally from over thinking it all. Third, I'm starting to feel compassion burn out. I need to focus my passion for compassion on my baby and concentrate that energy on making him stronger, but I feel burned out; my inner light is dim. Fourth, although I'm understanding it all I'm not forgiving of it at all. Not one bit. I should get a pass on this for all the other good I've put out there,! I think so. Some would call me self righteous for thinking that but it's how I feel. I'm angry. I hate that my baby is suffering and there is nothing anyone can do for him. And that I am housing all that suffering internally. It's hard to forgive life for putting me in such a helpless situation. And fifth, I'm at my weakest. The feeling of waiting for the day where your baby's heart might stop beating, or that my water will break and I'll deliver him dead is unexplainable. There is no way to know what this feels like unless you've been here. I've never before had such a fear of the unknown. I find strength to put on a face to visit with a friend and to tell the family I'm ok ..but it takes a lot of energy to fake it. I need to be taken care of and don't know how to make that known. I've never been this fragile.

I'm failing miserably at everything that I think makes me so great at the mommy job, ....making it even more difficult to turn my Karma around and make it right. But I believe in the power of the universe. I need to get it together and change the expected outcome for me and my boy by thinking positively. In my good moments of the day I feel a surge of hope flow through me and I'm banking that right into the heart of my baby living inside me. And day after day, that will amount to big hopes.

I've never loved anything more in my life than this little life I've created; I think he feels that. I cannot lose him now. I'm surrounded by love which gives me hope. And in hope I'll find the strength to take care of us both. I can't expect anyone to do anything for us except to send good vibes our way. It's really all up to the Mommy in me to pull this off..

(Fingers crossed, please)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hold On my love, my new best friend, my new baby boy. Don't leave me.

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell.

Hold on
Hold on to yourself.
You know that only time can tell

What is it in me that refuses to believe
This isn't easier than the real thing.

My love
You know that you're my best friend.
You know that I'd do anything for you
And my love
Let nothing come between us
My love for you is strong and true.

Am I in heaven here or
Am I in Hell
At the crossroads I am standing.

So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow
And will see another day
And we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face.

Oh God,
If you're out there won't you hear me.
I know that we've never talked before

And oh God,
The man I love is leaving
Won't you take him when he comes to your door.

Am I in heaven here or
Am I in hell
At the crossroads I am standing.

So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow
And we'll see another day
And we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow
And we'll see another day
And we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paul Is Dead~George Harrison's Last Testament

I remember as a kid hearing rumours that the real Paul McCartney was dead. I remember trying to play the records backwards to hear the "I buried Paul" lyrics. But I never put too much thought into it since, until I watched this documentary last night... I can't stop thinking about it now. Could it be true? Could they really have pulled this off? Did this Beatles secret maybe lead to John Lennon's assassination? It's pretty crazy stuff but just crazy enough that they might have my buy in. You can view it on Netflix and probably find a clearer version of it elsewhere in the web but give it a watch and see what you think!

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament Of George Harrison from Osde on Vimeo.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eating Meat Is Fucking Up The Planet

This plus other great vegetarian wear and fun stuff can be had from Herbivore Clothing

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teach Your Children

Remember this one?! Love it. Such harmony among their voices; lifts up my spirit every time I hear it :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

....with a little help from my friends

I've titled a post not too long ago using the words of John Lennon, "I get by with a little help from my friends". Shortly after writing up my last post today I received this text from a friend and it gave me the lift I needed to get through my chaotic day. Every word in every sentence is glowing with care and I can't express how I appreciate them in words that could possibly top the words in this message. So instead I'm posting it and although there's no identity attached, this beautiful person who sent me these words knows who they are. And will see this as they read my blog everyday ;) Thanks friend for helping me get by today!

Dear Diary:

So, I've posted less and less it seems in recent months. I feel like a little bit of my passion was crushed for awhile after I had asked a friend if he'd ever read this blog. He admitted he had, and asked if it was "a blog or a diary"... As embarrassed as I was of his opinion I looked back at some of my posts only to realize that my style is sorta that. An honest layout of my thoughts shared online. To the world. And when someone such as myself does this, I expose myself in a way that paves way for critics, opposing views and even mocking. I had started a few posts since then but left them in draft form because they fell into that 'diary' kind of category which I was trying to steer away from. If he, a friend thinks that of my blog, what must others think?? So I stopped posting for awhile. At least posts that involved my inner thoughts and feelings.

Then this morning happened. I was upstairs getting ready and could hear my kids talking downstairs. My older son told the younger son to not tell anyone where they got their new bow & arrows from (the Dollar Store) because their friends will make fun of them and say they are stupid and the toys are fake.. My younger son responded by saying if his friend Ryan asks him and he doesn't tell him, he won't be friends with him anymore. ....I had to intervene. I gave them a talking to about not being ashamed of their things, their thoughts, their interests and being judged. We went over the implications of threatening and feeling threatened by friendships and how to handle those situations. And as I spoke those words it occurred to me that I don't always practice what I preach..

And thats how this post came to be! This friend of mine, who I love and respect made a comment that I didn't know how to react to. And so I stopped doing what I do, stopped doing what interests me, and that isn't right. I know he won't be the only one in the world who comes across this blog and mocks it; it's one of the reasons I don't allow comments on it! But from the odd email I get here and there or Twitter DM from the people who do connect with what I say, I say it's worth putting myself out there. I overthink most things and this blog offers me an outlet to get some of those thoughts out of my head and clear up some space in my mind. It's not a diary. It's a tool; for myself and for anyone else who can relate to what I think and say on certain matters. I'm not ashamed (although I thought I was for awhile) of this blog. I'm grateful for what it offers me. It's a part of who I am and I realize what I choose to expose will be judged both in positive and negative forms. I learned a little something in the lesson I gave to my kids this morning, ..and it turns out I can handle the feedback after all ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Angel ~Sarah McLachlan

Sometimes we need an angel in our life. These are some of my most favourite Sarah lyrics and although this song has been interpreted in so many ways; drug addiction, suicide etc I read it as simply as a journey of hope in freeing your mind. However you interpret this song, enjoy it even if just for the melody; it's beautiful.

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance,
For a break that would make it okay.

There's always some reason
To feel not good enough,
And it's hard, at the end of the day.

I need some distraction,
Oh, beautiful release.
Memories seep from my veins.

Let me be empty,
Oh, and weightless,
And maybe I'll find some peace tonight.

In the arms of the angel,
Fly away from here,
From this dark, cold hotel room,
And the endlessness that you fear.
You are pulled from the wreckage,
Of your silent reverie.
You're in the arms of the angel,
May you find some comfort here.

So tired of the straight line,
And everywhere you turn,
There's vultures and thieves at your back.

The storm keeps on twisting.
Keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack.

It don't make no difference,
Escape one last time.
It's easier to believe in this sweet madness,
Oh, this glorious sadness,
That brings me to my knees.

You're in the arms of the angel,
May you find some comfort here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thankful For Me

Each year around this time I write up a quick post for all the things I am Thankful for in my life even though almost everything I write which revolves around my family or friends is written with my heart bursting with love and gratitude for them. All of that still stands true however..
I've come to some realizations lately and see myself differently these days. I've given myself a harsh evaluation and have decided to rid my heart and my head of the chaos that lives within. I think sometimes I over care about people and take on responsibilities that no one ever expected me to in the first place. Sometimes I blame the Mommy in me for my over helpfulness but really I've always been this annoying. And its draining. Not just to me but to the people around me I'm sure. So, I'm letting go. Letting go of the chaos so I have more space in my head and my heart to enjoy the love that does come full circle for me, the good energies that are sent my way that I often acknowledge but don't fully absorb because there is too much going on. I plan to care less about the people and things who don't make that much of an impact on my life and it's not a negative process. It's just the opposite really. I'm thankful that I have the wisdom and intuition to recognize when my life is unbalanced and I'm thankful for the strength I have within to be able to make it change. Without conceited intent I'm thankful for me and I know so many others in my life are as well, making me thankful for them; ..and see? That is how the love comes full circle. And soon I'll have the space to absorb it all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Play Is The Work Of Childhood

In college we learned about the various way children learn and there were philosophies and research to support each one but I've always believed children learning through play to be the most natural.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Peace In The Mind And The Heart

“The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That's where you need to go.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Karma And Love

“When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It's safe. Let go.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Ewww Ladies, Don't Let Yourselves Get There..

“I was suffering the easily foreseeable consequences. Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon you a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never dared to admit you wanted-an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement. Soon you start craving that intense attention, with a hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is witheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy, and depleted (not to mention resentful of the dealer who encouraged this addiction in the first place but now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore-- despite the fact that you know he has it hidden somewhere, goddamn it, because he used to give it to you for free). Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbors just to have 'that thing' even one more time. Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has now become repulsed by you. He looks at you like you're someone he's never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is,you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You're a pathetic mess,unrecognizable even to your own eyes. So that's it. You have now reached infatuation's final destination-- the complete and merciless devaluation of self." - pg 20-21”
― Elizabeth Gilbert


“If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Lost In The Woods

“When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Intimacy-The Mysterious Magnet

“One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn't there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient's body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

To Lose Balance..

“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia


“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master...”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Distance Yourself

These words are the truth that is sometimes too difficult to absorb because we think we want things to be a certain way in our lives without realizing that certain ways may sometimes be toxic for us.

Free Your Mind And Think

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Recently I learned some unexpected news. It's not 'bad' news but it is the life changing, what-the-hell-happens-now sort of news and I shared it with my Girlfriends last week at our Girls Night Out over our first glass of wine. And the conversation continued about it until many more glasses of wine were consumed and the restaurant was ready to close ..and we had to leave.
I've been friends with these girls since childhood; I was eleven when we all met. They know me well; too well sometimes!
It was obvious to them this news was upsetting for me to share and since then everyday at least one of them have been in touch in one form or another to ensure I'm ok. They've all reached out with offers on what they can do to help and have given me reason to believe everything is going to be ok. I absolutely love these ladies. I have other friends outside of this closely knit group who have been equally as supportive individually and I can feel the love flowing in, making my news a little lighter to handle. I get by with a little help from my friends. And I'm very fortunate to have these people in my life.
Fab Five: Neeru, Jill, Cheri, Me, Laura

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Days Away

This is a really beautiful video about moms made by moms.

Created by UnMarketing

Monday, September 17, 2012

"The reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. It makes the world seem not huge and empty but full of possibility." ~ Susan Orlean

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fish Oil Does NOT Prevent Heart Attacks!

"Fish oil does nothing" is what I heard them say as I turned on the radio this morning. (I never believed it did!!) Read here Omega 3 pushers!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Summer Days, Drifting Away

We've all seen the Back To School commercials where the parents are overjoyed to be sending their kids back to the classroom, we've all heard people thank god they're going back soon and we've all heard someone somewhere at sometime tell us how they go about celebrating once the kids are back in school. I don't get it.
Time off with my kids is spent living. Really living. We try to do something fun everyday and not everything has a huge price associated with it. Picnics are a big thing for my kids, skipping stones at the beach, swimming, summer festivals, camping; that kind of stuff. Why would I ever want those sort of days to be over? I work part time so not everyday was full of time and freedom but we definitely made the most of the summer. To celebrate the fact that they're stuck back in a stuffy classroom, surrounded by expectation, social demands upon them, absorbing an overload of information all day everyday makes me sad for them in comparison to what we've just spent the summer doing ...Living. And learning as we go; it seems far more natural that way.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Burlington + Ribfest Shame On You

So once again it's time for the shameful annual RibFest Weekend in my hometown of Burlington Ontario. I drove past the site yesterday and before we were even close to Spencer Smith Park, the smell of murder hit me and I could feel myself well up. Tens of thousands of pigs are slaughtered for such an event and it saddens me that the place I grew up not only sponsors such a horrific scene but that they continue to support a slaughterhouse in the community. I go to as many Pig Save events as I can, I take my children to Fearmans to demonstrate the cruel truths behind what really happens to these animals but I cannot bring myself to represent at RibFest because it upsets me so much. I cannot pysically handle the smell and it's guaranteed I will throw up; not so pleasant for my fellow activists. One of these years I'll manage to be a part of it but hopefully it is shut down before that opportunity ever arises. Below is a fabulous article that was recently seen in in the Toronto Star with regards to Quality Meat Packers; similar to Fearmans (formally Maple Leaf) in Burlington. Finally people (meat eating humans) are starting to come to some realizations. It's worth the read. 

Walkom: Slaughtering pigs, a never-ending horror

Published in Toronto Star on Wednesday July 25, 2012
GABRIELA PANELA/AFP/GETTY IMAGESToronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom asks: Do humans have the moral right to truck and slaughter pigs just so they can eat bacon for breakfast instead of cereal?
By Thomas WalkomNational Affairs Columnist
 This is an old story. It is also a cruel story, which means it will continue.
The specific story is about pigs. The broader story is about humans and how, when it comes right down to it, we don’t care a lot.
Every day, along Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto, a parade of tractor-trailer trucks passes by carrying pigs to slaughter.
These particular trucks have become relatively famous in the world of the Internet. That’s because, at certain times of day, traffic moves slowly enough to let anyone standing on the sidewalk see — and videotape — what goes on inside.
What goes on inside isn’t pretty. The latest video, apparently taken on July 17 and posted on the website of an animal rights group called Toronto Pig Save, shows animals jostling against one another in a mash of their own vomit and excrement (contrary to popular mythology, pigs — if left to their own devices — try to keep themselves fastidiously clean.)
The temperature in Toronto had hit 36 degrees centigrade that day and pig transport trailers aren’t air-conditioned.
So let’s just say it wasn’t a comfortable trip. In fact, under Canada’s rarely enforced animal welfare laws — which require animals to be transported humanely — it may well have been an illegal trip.
But it was a typical trip and, I suppose that’s the point. We care about dogs locked in parked cars during sweltering heat waves. Those stories, when they happen, are front-page news.
We don’t care much about the pigs being trundled day in and day out through unbearable heat along Lake Shore.
Toronto Pig Save focuses on Quality Meat Packers, the abattoir to which the Lake Shore Blvd. animals were headed. It’s the second-largest hog slaughtering plant in Ontario.
Is Quality Meat worse than any other slaughterhouse? There’s no evidence I know of that it is. Indeed, as an economic enterprise, it is a Canadian success story. A family-owned business that has been operating in Toronto since 1923, it now exports pork products around the world.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is so impressed that it awarded Quality a $3-million loan in April to help it kill and process pigs more efficiently.
But economics is one thing and morality another. The question raised by the Lake Shore hog trailers is a moral one: Do humans have the moral right to truck and slaughter pigs just so they can eat bacon for breakfast instead of cereal?
I reckon most Canadians would answer yes to this — although I also think you’d get a different response, in this country at least, if the word “pigs” was replaced by “dogs.”
Pigs are notoriously smart animals. They also have an unsettling habit of looking you directly in the eye — as if to say: “I know what you have in mind for me and I’m disappointed by your lack of character.”
If more people looked pigs directly in the eye, there would be more vegetarians. But they don’t and there are not.
As a result, the tumbrels keep rolling along Lake Shore, transporting the condemned to their place of execution. Nothing much changes.
My colleague Catherine Porter wrote about the pig transports in May. I write about it this month. Maybe someone else will write next month.
If people wanted to end hog misery, they easily could — simply by not eating pork. But they do not.
As I type this, someone down the street is barbecuing ribs. They don’t smell as good as they once did.
Thomas Walkom’s column appears Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (it's saltier than some of the commercial brands)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet but the milk just tastes better with the saltiness)
  • 1 pinch of love, the deepest kind you've got


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Cream butter or margarine with brown sugar and white sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in peanut butter, baking soda, and salt. Make sure it is well blended. Add flour, chocolate chips and love.
  3. Drop teaspoons of cookie dough then flatten with fork slightly on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until just showing a hint of brown on edges. Don't overcook. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 -10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. My father-in-law makes these for us and although this is pretty much the recipe he gave me to use (minus the love ingredient, I added that in but I'm pretty sure he secretly uses it too) I just can't seem to make them quite like he does.

Friday, August 17, 2012

NOT Everyone Loves Marineland

When our kids were really little, my husband bought passes for Marineland every year for three years. I never felt right about being there but it was a compromise. Chris has never challenged me on raising our boys on a vegetarian diet, he has no issues when I give them markers and bristol board to create signs for the protests and demonstrations I take them to and my carnivore husband eats tofu for dinner on a regular basis. Studying sea life is a passion of his; he uses his saltwater tanks for educational purposes and teaches our children all the fascinating things there are to know about the under water world. This doesn't mean I agree with it, but it does mean I know that every marriage has compromises to make and this is one of them. He knows and appreciates this. Marineland was his thing. I'd take the kids on my own while I did home daycare but we'd go just for the rides, have a picnic and call it a day. I could never bring myself to taking the children to the viewing tanks, or to visit the sickly deer living in an unnatural habitat, or to gawk at the sad looking bears living in concrete caves. It was heartbreaking and I knew I was contributing to this torment. After the second year of having passes, my husband noticed one of the baby Orcas who had been born the previous year was missing. He asked one of the female trainers who shrugged her shoulders and simply said "It died" The following year another Orca was missing, the mother. My husband circled the tanks, walked around the other viewing areas but she was no where to be found. When he asked, he was told that she had died. In 2004, Marineland had five Orcas. Today it has one. Sad. And so wrong.
The other day a story broke out on the torture that goes on at that place. Some former Marineland trainers have finally come forward and disclosed the reality of the facility. Read the article published in the Toronto Star and see why this place should be shut down. Not everyone loves Marineland.

This isn't the only facility in Canada that needs to go. As of March 2012, 38 dolphins have died at the Vancouver Aquarium; 9 Orcas, 7 Narwhals, 9 Belugas and 13Pacific White Sided Dolphins all lost their lives due to pro captivity in this money making business. Nottare

s50 years, the Vancouver Aquarium didn't have any successful breeding program. Three orca babies, four beluga babies and two Pacific white-sided dolphin babies have died. As of March 2012 at least 9 orcas, 7 narwhals, 9 Belugas, 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Lifetime Of Misery For A Few Minutes Of Entertainment

The truck the elephants live in all year long, chained to the inside.
The circus is no fun for elephants or any of the animals who are tortured into learning the tricks they perform in order to provide humans with a few short minutes of entertainment. More is posted on but one article states bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. They don't perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't.

For animals in circuses, there is no such thing as "positive reinforcement"—only varying degrees of punishment and deprivation. To force them to perform these meaningless and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools of the trade.

Elephants are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sharp hooks, sometimes until bloody. The trainers break the spirit of elephants when they're vulnerable babies who should still be with their mothers. Unsuspecting parents planning a family trip to the circus don't know about the violent training sessions with ropes, bullhooks, and electric shock prods that elephants endure. 
This year over seventy of us gathered in protest of the Shine Circus in Hamilton Ontario. There was some resistance from the misinformed who would yell out that we're ruining the fun for the children but for the most part we got very positive feedback. Some people left at intermission, saying they had never realized before what the animals suffer and the life they are forced to live. One father who left mid way brought his teenage daughters over to speak to us asking for more literature as our information had opened their eyes. A friend of mine didn't even get settled in her seat before deciding to leave with her four children because one of them asked what a bullhook is. Another woman I know posted on my Facebook page before the event even happened that my advocacy makes a difference because she has chosen to not use her tickets after all. All of this matters. My family has been at this five years in a row now; lets hope Hamilton simply bans the use of animals for entertainment purposes and the Circus will not be back in town again. But if it is, we'll be there. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peace For Pigs

Fearmans Slaughterhouse, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
As a kid/teenager I would avoid this area of my hometown; the corner of Appleby Line and Harvester Road in Burlington. But in recent years I began to frequent it. I'll never be able to tolerate the smell in the air of the tortured pigs put to death in murderous ways each day in this part of the city. Being there however to remind the people who pass by puts thought in the mind of the community about the horror that goes on behind the walls of Fearmans (formally Maple Leaf Pork) Slaughterhouse. This daily tragedy takes the lives of up to 45,000 pigs weekly at this location alone and cannot be ignored. Among the largest pig slaughterhouses in Ontario are Quality Meat Packers and Fearman’s Pork. Both these facilities use carbon dioxide gas chambers to “stun” the pigs before they are hung upside down on one leg and bled with “hollow knives” and sent to the scalding tank to remove their hair. Though the pigs are supposed to be unconscious at the bleeding and scalding tank steps, this is not always the case! Once the pigs start blinking around 1.5 minutes after being stunned they are fully conscious, thus some of them may be going through this horrific process fully conscious. Resources such as Toronto Pig Save will give you all the information you need to know about these shameful businesses and organizations such as PETA will send you the literature you need to distribute and educate during a demo of your own. If you want to join in the next protest we hold you can contact me via Twitter @jennjam and I'll send you the information. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Own Made Up In A Panic About A Picnic Creamy Eggless Potato Salad

I'm so excited to see my girlfriends today. The five of us have been besties since childhood and today we're meeting up with all of our children and husbands for a picnic in the park. Among us all we have vegetarians, an egg allergy, a nut allergy and they're all skinny minis who are calorie conscious sooooooo, when I offered to make the salads up for this lunch I had to become a little creative. I've made a green salad with strawberries and blueberries (no walnuts for this occasion) a bean medley salad and I've just tackled a made up on the spot eggless potato salad that actually turned out pretty amazing! I may just scoop a little dish out on the side before I go to keep for myself for tomorrow ;) Hoping they all like it too; I got up at 7am out of potato salad worry to make it!
Approx 20 fingerling potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 quarter each of red, yellow, orange and green bell pepper cut small or one whole of any of those colours
3 stalks of celery cut small
2 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup Veganaise
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Dill Relish
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard (Gulden's) or any prepared mustard will work
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Dressing: Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and let chill in the fridge until the potatoes are cool and ready.
Vegetables: Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until they soften (but not mushy)
Drain in a colander and while they are still hot, add the chopped peppers on top to let the steam soften them a little while the potatoes cool.
Once cool, transfer the vegetables to a serving dish, toss with celery, green onion and dressing. Let it chill in the fridge approximately 1 hour before serving to let the flavours blend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taco Salad

Baby Romaine + Avacado + Monterey Jack Cheese + Salsa + Tortilla Strips + Ranch Dressing equals my pretty Taco Salad

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Love My Not So High Places Life

Like many days, I spent the morning cleaning my house. Today I tackled the kids bathroom; bleached the toilet (yes ..bleach, I know, I know..) scrubbed the tub, disinfected the sinks, mopped the floor and changed the shower curtain. It's quite a chore for a little space but as I was working away I realized that I really like what I'm doing. I have a sense of pride in my accomplishment when I clean my home; the place where I eat, sleep, hang out and raise my family in.
I used to work full time. I loved my job and for that time in my life it was a good fit. I'd sometimes feel mentally drained at the end of the day and would want to do nothing more than lay on the couch and watch TV. And that was okay because I could. No one else really depended on me then. I gave it my all during the day; put out all the energy I had in me to be sure the work I did reflected a job well done and in the awesome cycle of energy I would gain back from that what I needed to put into another day. And so on and so on ..until I became a Mom. I had my son in the daycare centre in my place of employment; very convenient some might assume! But I hated it. I hated the rushed mornings where he would have to hoover his toaster waffle down in the commute, I hated leaving him with other people, strangers, who would get to witness him take his first steps, I hated having to feed him dinner at my desk because I had to work later hours than what the daycare was open, I hated that I was so mentally and physically drained by the end of the day that I had no desire to do anything else with my son once we got home ....I hated it all. But it didn't last long. In a matter of months I was expecting again, gave birth to my second son and never returned to work again. Instead I set up shop in my home and for six wonderful years I ran a home based child care centre and never ever missed what I once had. A few years into doing daycare in my friend from my previous place of employment called me with an offer I couldn't refuse. She had a very part time position in which she wanted me to take for five hours per week on the weekend. It was perfect for me then and since the children have all grown up and my childcare business phased itself out I've taken on more hours. I couldn't be happier.
I've been offered positions in the last few years, one of which was with the head office and would have required me to travel, which was not an option at all for this homebody. Recently another one has come my way and I've felt sick about it since it was put out there. As I cleaned my boy's bathroom I thought about my friends in high places; how my teacher friends, lawyer friends, police friends, real estate friends and top business exec friends manage their work/life balance and realized the things that occupy my life are not a part of theirs. They have people to clean their homes, a nanny to watch their children and cook their meals (and who they also take on vacations with them) They have gardeners to tend to their lawns so that they can spend their weekends at the cottage in the summer and someone to shovel the snow and hang their Christmas lights so they can be away at the condo skiing in the winter. Some have their kids in private schools and others take vacations a few times per year. (and some do both) If I could bring home a decent salary, which I believe this position would pay, we could have a few of those extra luxuries as well, ..but I don't want them. I like it here where I am. I don't mind cleaning my own mess up and scrubbing my bathrooms. I like cooking a homemade meal for my family. I don't travel much because I don't care to. Shovelling snow counts as my workout some winter mornings. I like my not high places life. I feel so much anxiety around being away from my home life any more than I already am. When will I find time to do the grocery shopping let alone plan a menu for the week?! Who will balance the bank book and get the bills paid? What if something goes technically wrong at work one day where I have to stay late and miss out on one of my kids activities? Who will get them to Baseball, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis etc etc?! When will I have time shop for the perfect gift when they are invited to the birthday parties of classmates, or for the family or for Christmas? How do I squeeze in time to take them for haircuts every month, when do I go get my nails done, when do I plan our little camping getaways or water park weekends, when do you go for bike rides and ice cream, when do I do date night with my husband or go out with friends without feeling I'm sacrificing family time, what about dentist and doctor appointments and what about volunteering on school trips?! When that time is consumed with working more hours, how do I manage it all? Because for me to take on a full time, mentally draining job such as the one on my plate right now it would have to enhance my life, not take away from it. Soon enough my kids will be old enough to stay home by themselves, make plans on their own and I'll be needed less. But I like that they need me right now.
And as I stood on the steps of my bathtub hanging the new shower curtain I looked around at the sparkly sight of my hard work and realized nothing I'll ever be offered from any employer will ever compare to the sense of accomplishments I feel from being a housewife/good mommy. Yes, I have friends in high places, but for now I love my not so high places life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Just Any Ordinary Corn On The Cob

When I was a teenager we had students from Mexico stay with us one summer. They knew ahead of time they'd have to adapt to a vegetarian diet and as it turned out they liked most of the dishes we made; corn on the cob was one of their faves for a side veg. The first time we served it to them we put out salt, pepper and butter, ..but they asked for mayonnaise and cayenne pepper! That opened our eyes to just how versatile cob corn can be and because of them I've tried other ways to top it since then. Regardless if you boil, steam or grill it these 'butters' all taste uniquely awesome!

Cheesey Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened; 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese; 1 clove garlic, minced; and 1 tbsp minced fresh basil.

Curried Olive Oil with Butter:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tbsp butter, softened; 1 tbsp minced fresh coriander; 1 tsp curry paste; and 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

Mustard Butter:
1/4 cup butter, softened; 1 tbsp Dijon mustard; and 3/4 tsp parsley

Smoky Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup light mayonnaise; 2 tsp barbecue sauce; and 1 tsp chopped chipotle pepper

Lemon Pepper Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup mayonnaise; 1 tsp each grated lemon rind and lemon juice; and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Mediterranean Olive Oil: 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 4 tsp minced sun-dried tomatoes; 1/2 tsp dried thyme; and pinch each salt and pepper.

About Me

My photo
Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)