Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 4, 2009
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!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on December 6, 2008
My host is moving this site to a new server, probably sometime today, so I’m going to refrain from writing anything for a day or so. Catch you on the flip-flop!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on
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! ;)
Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 29, 2008
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!
What’s in our bread?
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!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 12, 2008
The title says it all – men beware. You can go read one of my other posts about urban homesteading or something. It’s from The Daily Blonde and I swear, it’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I just wish I could remember who I was recently telling about the dreaded belt. Women over 45 or so will definitely relate!
So… You’re menstruating
Posted by Dawn-Ann on October 17, 2008
I am reading a fascinating book called Realm of the Ring Lords, which looks at ancient legends to see if there may have been some basis in fact to them. It goes into a lot of cool things like dragon queens and ring lords and their possible foundations in ancient history. Anyway, there’s an interesting chapter on King Arthur which says he may have been a Scot. Here’s a brief quote:
[After going through various kings that others had attributed to be King Arthur, the author says], “What is certain is that, in the year 600, another royal Arthur fought at the subsequent Battle of Camelyn, west of Falkirk in Scotland – a battle which is detailed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots. This other Arthur was undoubtedly the famed king of the Grail stories. Not only was he proclaimed High King and Sovereign Commander of the Britons in 574, but he was the only recorded Arthur ever born as the son of a Pendragon. He was Prince Arthur of Dalriada, the son of King Aedan mac Gabran of Scots, and his mother was Ygerna d’Avallon whose own mother, Viviane del Acqs, was the recognized Lady of the Lake. Born in 559, he was the only royal Arthur with a son named Modred and a sister called Morgaine (referred to in Royal Irish Academy texts as ‘Muirgein, daughter of Aedan in Belach Gabrain’), just as related in the Grail legends. Arthur’s primary seat was at Carlisle – the City of the legion (Caer leon) – from where he controlled the military defence of the English-Scottish border country. Arthur mac Aedan is cited in St. Adamnan of Iona’s 7th-century Life of St. Columba; his kingly installation by the druid Merlin Emrys is recorded in the Chronicle of the Scots; his legacy is upheld by the Celtic Apostolic Church of Scotland, while famous conflicts (including the Battle of Badon Hill) with which he is traditionally associated are recorded in the Chronicles of Holyrood and of Melrose, the Irish Tigernach Annals and the Books of Leinster and Ballymote.”
Interesting. Who’d have thunk it?
Posted by Dawn-Ann on September 21, 2008
Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and zucchini - part of my fall harvest
Apparently, the whole three weeks we were in Scotland, not a drop of rain fell on our garden. As a result, it was in pretty sad shape when we returned – especially the poor tomatoes. Still, when I went out yesterday to start bringing it in, I was tickled with the results. I still have some carrots and zucchini out there, but the rest has been brought in. I wasn’t expecting a pail and a half of potatoes in such a little garden!
Posted by Dawn-Ann on September 14, 2008
Now here’s a nifty idea! If you don’t have ground area to spread your garden out on, why not build it UP? The Vertical Farm proposes just that. And for those of us who are “urban” farmers, I’m sure we could modify the idea to suit our back yards. I’m already scheming…