Skinny-Obsessed World – Is ‘Fat’ Really the Worst Thing We Can Be?

Paige, at ‘Mastering the Art of Life’ recently wrote a post called ‘My Life as a Number’. She talks frankly about women’s obsession with their weight and dress size, and how those two numbers, if they don’t fall within the criteria dictated by society, can overshadow all the other characteristics that truly describe a person. Paige ends her piece with a quote by J.K. Rowling from the J.K. Rowling Official Site.

In a post called ‘For Girls Only, Probably’  J.K. says in part:

“Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.”

The Media Awareness Network describes what is at stake for women in a post called Beauty and Body Image in the Media. The quest for an image that is unattainable for all but a few can have devastating effects. This post ends by saying:

Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention. This focus on beauty and desirability “effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate.”

On a recent vacation, I watched as a skinny 8 year old girl in a bikini bathing suit interacted with a group of pre-teen little boys by saying to them, “How do you like my new bathing suit?”  She proceeded to model it, but she was quickly abandoned by the boys who had no interest in her bathing suit, or her, apparently.

In reality, she just wanted to join in the game they were playing, and once she resumed normal child broadcasting, she was welcomed into the fray. But somehow, somewhere, she has already started to be programmed by the Beauty Industry, and I find that very unfortunate.

Colour Me Green – The Hues in my Garden

Green – such a common colour in my part of the world right now. I am surrounded by it. Even if I didn’t have a Green Thumb, my yard would still be a poster child for the Green Movement. Some of my neighbours who are Greenhorns when it comes to gardening, are Green with Envy when they see my yard. They think I must have a lot of Greenbacks to be able to afford so many plants! But I just tell them that every time I move on to Greener Pastures, I take some old plants with me, and sometimes my friends Give me the Green Light to harvest plants from their gardens.

Totally unrelated, yesterday I wasn’t feeling very well.  I was a little Green Around the Gills.  I can see why Kermit the Frog says It’s not easy being green. I’m taking a break from flower pictures to take Green Pictures. I’ve added some Green quotes, which may or may not relate to the photos in all cases…
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Don’t be envious if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It’s also harder to cut.
– Bits & Pieces, Feb 1994 –

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At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.
– George Burns –

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Make thy ball lie in green pastures, not in still waters. Arnie-3: par 72
– Author Unknown –

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If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.
– Bill Watterson –

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Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
– Doug Larson

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A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm.
Bill Vaughn –

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This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
– Douglas Adams –

Rim Up or Rim Down? A History of Dust in the Kitchen

It was always my belief that farmers developed strange theories of cause and effect because they spent too much time alone. A combination of incomplete information and a lack of critical review led to some odd conclusions. In the early days of farming, a reinforcing factor in all this was that horses seemed willing to accept almost any theory if it was accompanied by oats. It was a closed circle.
– Leonard G. Lee, Lee Valley Tools –

Rounding up dust bunnies is a dirty job – but our dirt woes today are small compared to the cleaning issues during the  Dust Bowl of the Dirty Thirties!

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My Grandmother, as did many other women during the Dirty Thirties, turned her drinking glasses ‘rim down’ in the cupboard. That ensured that the glasses were clean inside when it came time to use them. Water was scarce, so a clean glass meant this precious liquid wasn’t used to rinse out a glass before drinking out of it. A quick dusting of the outside of the glass was all it took to keep these vessels clean.

My mom turned the glasses rim down in her cupboard too, as do I. At least I did, until I did a critical review of this practice. I started thinking about how I could fit more of my every day drinking glasses on one shelf in the cupboard if I alternated them, rim up and rim down. Two generations of rim down history fought for supremacy in my mind before I decided to live on the edge and turn every other glass rim up. This works fine for the every day glasses that get used often enough not to get very dusty. But the good wine glasses don’t get used that often, so it is rim down for them – a compromise for a dusty house in a windy place.

rim up and rim down

Which brings me back to Leonard Lee’s observation – incomplete information and a critical review. I know my example about drinking glasses is a trivial one, but the process isn’t. I bet each and every one of us can think of at least one thing we do or one way we think because that is how we’ve always done it.

So, the next time your horse, or dog, or cat or goat is in complete agreement with you and your family thinks you are nuts, it might be a good time to think about my water glasses. Maybe you need to turn your thoughts ‘rim up’ and see if you get a better result…

How to Go Hunting for Computer Viruses

You have just received the “Novice Hacker Virus”. As we ain’t got no programming experience, this virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files from your hard drive and manually forward this virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thanks for your cooperation.
– Source – Internet –

Wednesday wasn’t a real good day. I woke too early, couldn’t get back to sleep, and finally got up to begin a task that isn’t all that much fun – troubleshooting a problem with the computer. In this case, several computers, because I didn’t know which one had possibly been compromised by a Virus. Yes, I was going on a Malware hunt.  Let there be no confusion about my intent here. I was going to be armed, and I was prepared to kill.

But first I had to get dressed. I pondered what to wear for this distasteful job, and finally decided on the baggy look. Comfort first is my motto. And since I had exactly four delicious muffins to potentially eat, but I couldn’t predict how many muffins this job would take, I chose some baggy sweatpants. No point wearing something that wouldn’t expand to accommodate muffins.

I had no doubt I would be successful eventually, so I chose a T-shirt that expressed that. In fact, this T-shirt accurately depicts the full range of emotions that occurred during the day. From left to right:
– the ceremonial morning greeting of all in attendance (in this case the computer and whatever lurked in it);
– the eager pursuit of the prey;
– the mid-day panic when all the muffins were gone;
– and the expression of triumph when the task was completed.

By late afternoon (after multiple scans by multiple products on multiple computers) I was fairly confident that none of our computers had been infected by anything, and that the Norton Malware Software had not been breached. So I began the search for an answer as to why The Car Guy’s Yahoo Mail account had sent out invitations (to most of his contacts) to use Viagra or some such similar product. I eventually decided that because his contact list is stored on the Yahoo server, his account must have been hacked either through an external computer he had used, or perhaps from within Yahoo itself (if claims that this can happen are true.)

I know The Car Guy was upset that his contact list had been high jacked, but I felt that it was a bit ironic that the spam message that was sent out was a better match to the target audience than say Breast Implants or Gucci Handbags…

Antelope Street Photography – Our Group

There are Four Generations of photographers in our family and that translates into a broad spectrum of experience and interest. Our family uses digital cameras almost exclusively, but we still have one member who shoots black and white film, and does her own developing and printing.

The busiest season for photographs is summer time and our common meeting ground is The Cabin on Antelope Street – which is why I named our group of shutterbugs the Antelope Street Photography. This was a purely selfish action on my part. All but a few of the photos in this blog are mine, but on the rare occasion when I borrow a photo from one of the family members, I just use the ©Antelope Street Photography label rather than identifying an individual photographer. (Our family sends digital images to one another regularly… isn’t sharing why we all take pictures!?!)

I’d like to introduce you to a few of the other photographers.

old houseThe Car Guy takes a lot of pictures of Cars, but he and his dad are also enthusiastic about old buildings.

Calgary skylineMacDad has been taking pictures for about 65 years. Early in his career he worked in a photo finishing shop. He has a lot of slides that he took of places in and around our province, and he often uses these when he puts together photo displays on behalf of the Pioneer Group. This is a photo of downtown Calgary on a winter day.

Eldest Daughter lives at the coast, so her photos are often of things she sees at the seashore. This photo was taken on Vancouver Island.

Middle Daughter is our film photographer, and she has a dark room in the basement of the Red House. She is a people person, and her favourite models are children. This one captures the Wild Child in a stationary position, a rare event.

If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event…what kind of film would you use?
– Author Unknown –

close up candy color

Youngest Daughter often takes pictures of things most of us wouldn’t think about photographing! This plate of candy is one lovely example.

The Car Guy’s Sister is a wonderful photographer and she is passing along her skills to her youngest son. She is my  inspiration when it comes to looking at flowers in close up mode!

The fourth generation of photographers are my grand children, and maybe by the end of the summer I’ll have a few of their photos to show you life through the eyes of children!

This last image is mine – some nice clouds that I don’t have a story for. I’m not sure what animal the cloud looks like, but whatever it was it was poised to swoop down on us all with rain or hail and gusty winds!

The quickest way to make money at photography is to sell your camera.
– Author Unknown –

I Should Have Bought a Cake

anniversary2I started this blog 91 weeks ago. For the first 62 weeks, I told nobody about my Blog. It was a place I retreated to when I felt like writing something down. It was my secret journal. I guess I didn’t really have all that much to say, because I only wrote 79 posts! But a few strangers wandered in now and then to say Hi, and slowly my little blog started to become more public.

My New Years Resolution for 2011 was to announce my Blog to Family and Friends. So in late December 2010 I invited the gang to stop by for a visit. Most of them did and some became regular readers, while some of them stop by now and then. But strangers keep visiting, and I keep visiting their blogs and truth be told, I now have some blog friends who know more about what I am doing than some of my non-blogging friends do!

If I really wanted to celebrate this milestone in a big, fat way, I would go to Costco and buy one of my favourite cakes. One is a Carrot Cake and the other is a Tuxedo Cake. Both are very good… except the carrot cake is the best… but I really don’t need all those calories, so there won’t be any cake.

Costco cake

Thank you to all of you who visit my blog! Blogging is a community, and I am very glad I joined it!

I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.
– Michael Arrington –

Oriental Poppies – Some Shouting in the Garden

Not content to fade to muted tones of green after the riot of colour provided by The Tulips, my garden has moved into the stage I call “Shouting”. This phase is led by the Oriental PoppyPapaver oriental – a perennial plant that puts out deep orange blooms that are about 5 inches across! Quiet and subtle – NOT! Held high above their hairy green leaves, these blooms will last only a few days. Once finished, the poppy plant leaves will wither and die, rebounding in the early fall with another flush of green, and perhaps even a bloom or two.

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Speaking of shouting, I saw this quote somewhere, and it seemed an appropriate one to pass on to all gardeners who are mothers:

I will not have a temper tantrum,
Nor stomp across the floor.
I will not pout, scream or shout,
Or kick against the door.
I will not throw my food around, Nor pick upon another.
I will always try to be real good,
Because I am the mother!

Guests and Family – My Labour Pool

Eldest Daughter (The Cooker), Son-in-law (The Fisherman), and two Grandchildren (Lego Kid and Wild Child) will be arriving soon for a month of Summer Holiday. Everyone is gearing up for this event. A master list of activities is at the third draft stage, with three families still to provide input. Canada could launch a takeover of the USA with less planning!

When visiting family first walks in the door of the Red House, they are treated like Guests. They are invited to use the hand towels in the Half Bath:

But after the first beverage has been poured, and the first meal has been served, all Guests at The Red House are expected to morph into family, whether they are blood relatives or not!  In other words, they can pitch in and act like they live here – which I make very clear with the signage at the front door:

The Cooker will have no problem with taking over some of the meal preparation. She is a far better cook than I am, and for the most part would rather eat what she cooks than what I cook, I believe. I explain the discrepancy between her skills and mine by reminding her that I am of British Isles stock, while she has inherited that plus Slavic and Nordic genes. Genetically then, she must have got her cooking skills from her father’s side of the family.

The Red House is a perfect place to host guests. Three guest bedrooms, two guest baths – lots of room to gather or be apart. But it won’t be long before everyone heads out to The Cabin on Antelope Street, and that is where they will stay for most of the month. The cabin – one guest bedroom, only one bathroom, a couple of holiday trailers. The little kitchen will never close once six to twelve people settle in for the summer!

In mid August the cabin will suddenly be quiet. No children will whoop and holler as they hunt each other down with nerf guns. (This game has a hiding component, and a rock whose purpose I don’t understand…) The bicycle rack will silently hold all the faithful two wheelers that have traveled back and forth between our Cabin and The Car Guy’s Sister’s Cabin. The freezer door will close and stay that way, all the icy Freezies gone except the blue ones:

There is no known navy-blue food. If there is navy-blue food in the refrigerator, it signifies death.
– Erma Bombeck –

But that is a month away. Today I can only ask for a month of good weather and hope a boatload of mosquito spray is enough!

Tulips – The Best Year Ever

Bulb: potential flower buried in Autumn, never to be seen again.
– Henry Beard –

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I’ve never had any trouble growing Tulips. I normally buy about six bulbs of any one color, and within a few years I divide them and there will be about 60 of them!
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A garden is never so good as it will be next year.
– Thomas Cooper –

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I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial  border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error.
– Sara Stein, My Weeds –

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I suppose that for most people one of the darker joys of gardening
is that once you’ve got started it’s not at all hard to find someone who knows a little bit less than you.
– Allen Lacy –

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Most people don’t see the sun, soil, bugs, seeds, plants, moon, water, clouds, and wind the way gardeners do.
– Jamie Jobb –

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I should like to enjoy this summer flower by flower,
as if it were to be the last one for me.
– Andre Gide –

Iceland Poppies – Orange Art

Summer in our part of the world is compressed into a few short months of floral photograph opportunities. If I am absent from my yard for more than a few days, some of my flowers will have bloomed and moved on to the all important job of setting seed. But I can always count on the Iceland PoppiesPapaver nudicaule – to be show stoppers all summer long.

I’ve asked a few orange ones to pose for me, so that I can demonstrate to you what versatile little flowers they are with a little help from the photographer!

This bunch posed against some iris leaves, and were backlit by an obliging shaft of sun. Some themes add a nice outside border to the photo when it is uploaded, but not all themes do that.

I imported the picture into  a program like Photoshop Elements, GIMP, or FastStone Image Viewer where I cropped it to get rid of the bits I didn’t need, and adjusted the lighting. Then I saved it.

Next I opened the saved picture in FastStone Image Viewer where I reduced the size, added borders and my Copyright. That gave me a photo I could put into my blog.

Of course, there are lots of other things that can be done to a photo with a programs like Photoshop Elements. This is the same photo rendered as Pastel Art.

This is the photo again made to look like a Watercolor.

And here it is in Black and White. But wait, there is more!

Here is the black and white background with the orange poppies. Didn’t I tell you these were versatile flowers?

Now, I have to give full credit to the Poppies, because they truly are the stars in this photograph. Then I have to thank The Car Guy for letting me use his Canon EOS 20D Camera. I set it on full automatic mode and just click away! As for manipulating the photos, well I am a rank amateur compared to real photographers using professional programs. I use GIMP and FastStone Image Viewer (both freeware that gladly accept donations)!