Tiny homes have long intrigued me ever since my best friend Wendy and I planned to buy a camper and make like gypsies. We were very young, with dreams of travelling adventures and far horizons. Even now I think about downsizing sometimes just for simplicity’s sake.
So, naturally, I was excited to stumble over all these little, wee houses. Apparently with the economic downturn they are becoming a bit of a rage. They are affordable, often portable, and very cost effective – though I wonder how they’d fare in a cold Canadian winter.
Anyway, thought I’d share some of these links. Enjoy!
IC Green (get it?) creates living space from shipping containers.
The Jetson Green blog features some posts on green prefab homes. Sustain.ca creates mini homes and travel trailers. Habode homes have a sleek style.
Teachers and parents alike will enjoy inkythink.com. It’s just getting rolling but Kimberli, the site owner and reviewer, has already written several children’s book reviews. I find her writing style intelligent, yet endearing.
If you’re wondering what to get that special child in your life, you can’t go wrong with a book. Take a little time and browse some of these!
It seems as though so much of my life has been brought to question lately. Enough that I’ve started evaluating every area of it for what is true and what is not – sometimes with surprising answers. So, what if? What if everything I’ve been believing is a lie?
It doesn’t matter about family history; it doesn’t matter about the future.
There is nothing after we die; we’re just worm food.
Blood is just blood; family ties are common and unimportant.
I am going to die young and poor and alone, having accomplished nothing of value with my life.
Watching TV and buying “stuff” are all that really matters.
I can’t help anyone; the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, with or without me.
I don’t need to be healthy; smoking and eating greasy foods is good for people.
Thank goodness I don’t REALLY believe those things and I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other for the time being. And eating fruits and veggies. And loving my family and its history. And eating out at Brewsters with my Honey.
I’ve been theorizing for a little while that animals are evolving intellectually (except for yappy little dogs, who have IQs of -3). Seriously, though. Doesn’t it seem that way to you? Or are we just more aware of some animals’ higher intelligence now, with the availability of the Internet?
Whatever it is, I’m always really amazed and tickled when I see something like this. This will blow you away.
Although winters in Canada are characteristically long, here in Calgary we have milder ones than most other areas besides the left coast. Still, it’s nice to see the first hints of spring appearing, even though we likely have several more weeks of cold.
This morning my heart was warmed by the sight of a flock of little sparrows playing and scavenging for food in the back yard. While it’s true sparrows don’t go anywhere in the winter, you rarely see them all flocked together like this in the dead of winter, so I was tickled.
I was talking to someone the other day about Internet relationships and how “safe” they are – or not. I think people were surprised to know that I have had a few such relationships that began online, the last of which has provided me with a dozen or so years of blissful couple-ness.
Relationships that begin online can work, and work well. In fact, when I look back on my past relationships, one in three serious ones that began online turned out successful and long term. On the other hand, zero percent of the loves I met in real life panned out. So there you go. Empirical evidence it ain’t, but I’m convinced.
I learned a few things as I went along and I’d like to pass along six rules for online dating. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has anything to add.
Take it slow. In those first, heady days when you’re finding out what you have in common and writing loooong letters to each other, it is easy to think this is it! But give yourself lots of time.
Read between the lines and trust your hunches. If you’re at all uncomfortable about something that was said (or not said) or done, pay attention. Try to discern what’s being left unsaid “between the lines.” Talk to someone you trust about your thoughts.
The next stage should be telephone conversations – not meeting. You can tell a lot more about a person after hearing them speak, but the first call or two won’t tell you much. You need to learn the patterns and tones of their speech to be able to figure out if they’re being honest or not.
Only after emailing and talking on the phone for a while should you meet. Make it a bright, public place that you go to, preferably bringing along someone you trust. If you can’t or don’t want to bring someone, work out a code with a friend so you can call them if you need help or need to escape.
If all the first steps work out well, congratulations! But before you decide to get serious enough to move in together or get married, be sure to spend LOTS of real-life time together first. That’s where one of my relationships went hopelessly wrong. We didn’t spend enough 3-D time together and it turned out he was not what I thought he was, in spite of my being careful with the first four rules. Besides, you just don’t know if they’re kind to kittens and children or mean to their moms until you hang with them for a few months. Maybe he thinks it’s funny to make rude noises at the dinner table. Maybe she eats like a pig or picks her nose.
Before you get married, do a background check. Call friends and old boy/girlfriends, if possible. Find out if she has a criminal record or if he is up to his eyeballs in debt. Truthfully, this rule is good advice for almost any relationship.
There you have it! Reasonable, yet progressive. Maybe someday you’ll be able to say you have shared a dozen or so years of blissful couple-ness with someone you met online!
I should be adding to my Adventures page more often. I’ve gone to L.A. and Scotland, but just haven’t written about them yet. Oh, and how could I forget Isaac’s and my road trip across Canada and the U.S.? Anyway, if you haven’t had a look at what I have written yet, please do. Follow this link to get there. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be inspired! ;)
Have you ever putzed around the ‘Net and looked at eerie pictures of “real” ghosts and orbs and the like? Some of them are pretty freaky, but I am always suspicious. It is just too easy these days to fake or Photoshop a picture. Some folks are really clever about making a photo look like something it’s not, but even amateurs and accidents can account for some weird ones.
Following are a few I found on my own harddrive!
Caught in low light, just as Odessa was about to blow out her candles.
My son Isaac created this "ghost" with a moving sheet in low light causing the blur.
So-called "orbs" are often caused by dust or ice crystals catching the light of a camera's flash, creating eerie looking little balls of light. They'll often occur in dry, dusty halls, such as where this Medieval Feast was held.
Isaac created this "ghost" by spraying an aerosol spray in front of the camera.
I have had a loaf of bread sitting on my counter for a week now. My husband and I have been eating it in fits and starts – a piece of toast to go with my oatmeal one morning, a couple of slices of French toast another. Each time I used it, the bread seemed fresh and soft. Even this morning when I finally threw it out it was still un-moldy and Wonder-squeezable and it seemed a shame to waste, but my goodness… It was a week old!
I don’t know about you, but I am highly suspicious of bread that doesn’t go bad. In the REAL world, it should go stale and dry after a few days, possibly even sprouting the blue fuzzies. I should be able to take that stale bread, dry it on the counter, and then use it for stuffing or more French toast. What the heck is IN our bread nowadays that makes it last so long? I decided to check.
In my research I found others who said things like, “I don’t want to eat the bread because it can’t be good to have lasted that long.” Someone suggested that this person check the ingredients – a fine idea! I dug out another loaf of the same bread I’d just thrown out, bought at the same time and frozen. It had the usual ingredients, flour and milk and the like, but it had a few things that had me scratching my head; items such as sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate and L-cysteine hydrochloride. I decided to find out what they were.
Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate is used as an emulsifier, plasticizer, or surface-action agent (plasticizer?). It is used in many things, including bread and meat batters (meat batters?). It is prepared from lactic acids and fatty acids. Sounds fairly harmless, actually. The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations allow for the use of use of sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate at levels from 0.05 to 2 percent. I got the impression from my research that it is a relatively new ingredient that has no real data backing it yet. Even the doom and gloom websites that said to avoid it couldn’t say why. As near as I could tell, it is a form of lactic acid which can sometimes cause headaches, intestinal upset and skin disorders in sensitive people. Folks who are lactose intolerant should avoid it, too. Iffy stuff, but I doubt that’s what is making the shelf life of my bread unnaturally long.
L-cysteine hydrochloride is an amino acid. From what I can tell, it is actually good for you and some people take it as a dietary supplement. The only possible negative effect I could find was that it could possibly cause chelation (removal) of minerals. It is used as an “improving agent” in bread, whatever that means.
Neither of these things seemed particularly dangerous to eat in small quantities and neither could explain why my loaf of bread had lasted so long. One source suggested maybe I just didn’t have any mold spores floating around my home, but I know I do. Other things go moldy. And what about the fresh, soft texture? What has prevented the bread from drying out and going stale? Even the taste was still fresh-ish (though admittedly not the perfection of hot-out-of-the-oven goodness).
So then I got thinking about some things I’d heard about irradiated wheat flour. Could that be it? According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website, wheat and wheat flour, among other things, are approved for irradiation in Canada. The ingredients list does not have to mention an irradiated ingredient to the consumer unless it comprises more than 10% of the finished product. I suspect flour comprises more than ten percent of a loaf of bread and my ingredients list didn’t mention it, so we should be okay on that score. Besides, would irradiation of the flour cause the bread to remain mold-free? I doubt it.
As an aside, the jury is still out for me as to whether irradiated food is harmful to eat. Some sources state that vitamins are killed in the process and turned into carcinogens, which kind of makes sense, knowing a little about how gamma radiation works, but that’s the subject of another post.
In the end, I haven’t answered my question about why my bread doesn’t go bad, but I will say one thing. I do feel a little bit better about the ingredients!