Sunday, September 30, 2012

Let's Talk About Policy Framework, Baby

Just a short blip for today, as we're going to work on a little packing for our upcoming worries, soon we won't be writing about politics as much, we'll be back to writing about...whatever it is we usually write about.

Paul Ryan Falls Apart When Asked How Romney Will Pay for Tax Cuts for the Rich (<-links to video, and transcript, etc.), but it's all about the framework, why can't that be enough?

Somehow Ryan can't grasp that a "framework" doesn't tell the people enough, a frame is empty. Not telling the public details, and waiting until they can work with exactly like keeping it behind closed doors and "hatching it in the backroom". Which is what he is trying to say they don't want to do.
"That’s exactly what I’m suggesting, having it in public before the election so voters can have that information before they make up their minds." ~ George Stephanopoulos to Paul Ryan on ABC's 'This Week', September 09, 2012
A framework is really easy to change, or manipulate, given they have no real plan to share, they can change and manipulate the framework; and then once you put the outside on the framework, you can fill it with anything you want.

"Look, I/we never outlined the facts, we gave you a framework, you trusted that we would turn the framework into something, even though we never said exactly what that would be, so you can't hold us responsible for taking the framework of this house, and turning it into a boat."


Meanwhile, people, do your research. Don't accept people who create loopholes so that if their feet end up stuck to the fire nobody can call them a "failure", like they are so apt to do to the current administration. (Also, remember, it's more than one man that runs this, or any, country.) If you don't stand for know the rest of the story - that also goes for those who don't actually stand for their own plan, by making them of empty framework "promises", so you'll fall for anything.

And watch the 2012 Presidential debate on Wednesday night.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Talking With A Teenager...

*may contain swear words*

Watched the news tonight with our teenage step-nephew and talked about politics.

Man, can kids fucking talk...

We were watching CNN, so he was "forced" to watch it with us. Granted, we know CNN might not be the greatest,  but it's better than local news, it's better than MSNBC, and it's fucking hand over fist 100% better than Fox.

We talked to him a bit about the important of this election, from our personal perspective. We also made sure to tell him everything we said carried a bias (we hope he knows what bias means, now that we think about it)...and then explained why we had a bias.

We said because his mother has a pre-existing medical conditions that is draining Angry Brother's (our brother, his step-dad) wallet, and doesn't have insurance for her...without getting into too much detail with readers...that the benefits of Affordable Healthcare are clear for those like her who have pre-existing conditions.

We also told him our "bias" lays in our own pre-existing conditions (severe back problems) and desire to have affordable healthcare in the future, and the fact that we are female means it's important to us that other women can retain their reproductive choices. (we are pro-choice, though abortion would never be a choice for us, but a talk about abortion has it's time and place, and this was not one of those times)

We told him that the things that are happening in the world, as we watched a report on Syria, are important, and foreign policy is important; but to us things that will effect Americans (like women, and the poor...we didn't mention gays to him) directly and immediately are what is most important to us.

We're not going to pretend how we feel about the election is the end-all to the issue, we can only explain why we support who we support.

Later he talked to us about a rumour on Facebook and in school that Bill Nye, a scientist and educator, best known as 'Bill Nye The Science Guy' on Disney/PBS in the late 90's, had died (good to know "death-hoaxes" are not limited to the ignorant on Twitter). We laughed, told him that Bill Nye hadn't died, and made sure to tell him, as we did when we talked to him about the upcoming election, that it's important to look at the facts and information, to look into things that seem questionable or that you question, and then figure it out based on that.

He may not be our child, but he is a child going into an uncertain future, and above all it's important that they are encouraged to be inquisitive, and not afraid to think about things...

...but DAMN, can kids fucking talk and be distracting. And we didn't pay enough attention to him as we should have...

Glad we're not going to have any.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From Lab To Field, And On Your Knees

We don't write about food safety, security, policy, or the environment too often, the last time we wrote seriously about it was a piece on High Fructose Corn Syrup (Fundamentally Unsafe: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) that I had imported from an older blog two years ago, way back before...well, a load of life changing stuff...

Despite food safety and security being the major factor in our most recent purchase (still need to put the ink on the paper though!) of a 40 acre homestead-farm where we plan to grow as much of our own food as we can, both plant and animal; there's just usually so much other stuff to write about, other stuff that inspires us on days when it's not our pain, or mental health, to be able to write about just one topic.

It's stories like Plowing Away The Prairie, At A Price that make us sad, upset, fearful for the future of the America, and the people who live in it; but it's not just those feelings, it's stories like Plowing Away The Praire that raise questions, draw intersecting lines, create a furrowed brow, and inspire today's blog entry. Questions like how do we feel about the federal government subsidizing crop insurance to farmers so they can be encouraged to grow GMO corn and/or soybeans in an environment that is not suited for in the first place, and making big payouts, like they will have to this year in the face of the horrible drought, and who is behind it; and with so much talk about government hand-ups and hand-outs, who gets to decide between the people who "deserve it" and the people who don't.

If you're not familiar with GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) [Seed] you probably should be. Genetically modified organisms are laboratory engineered seeds and plants (so far the FDA has not approved animal GMOs) created by splicing genes from other organism to "improve" things like shelf-life and pest-resistance. In the United States over 85% of the corn and 91% of the soybeans (1) grown are from GMO seed, with ownership of the seed by one giant corporation called Monsanto, who owns the patents to it, and that so far in 2012 has contributed 71% of it's companies election funding to the Republicans (29% to Democrats).(1)
"These days Faulstich is telling his story in Washington, D.C. This year or next, Congress is expected to take up a new farm bill that could determine the fate of his way of life and, perhaps, the Midwestern prairie." 
"If we need more corn and it's a level playing field, that's the way it is," he said. "But if there are incentives to make this happen - that's a disaster in the making [says Faulstich]" Plowing Away The Prairie, At A Price
It's hard to say what Washington would do with a farm bill, it's hard to say if the average American even cares, or understands the under-working of the government in the first place. It all depends on who dominates the House and Senate, but you can bet that big campaign funding by the likes of Monsanto can grease some very greedy palms (2).

Reading Plowing Away The Prairie paints with words an accurate and unfortunate picture of the environmental effects of tearing up the prairie for profit; and makes it obvious there are those less concerned about the future of the earth, and the devastating toll already visible and measurable, that are created by ripping it up and plowing it all under, in lei of profit.
"The 10,000-year-old native prairie that once stretched from Saskatchewan to the Gulf of Mexico has become one of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth -- more so even than the world's tropical rain forests, ecologists say. In Minnesota and elsewhere, only about 1 percent of the original prairie now lies untouched, and every year across the Great Plains millions more acres of grasslands are turned into corn, soybeans and other crops." Plowing Away The Prairie, At A Price
But it's not just about the environment, or the greasing of the wheel to make the rats run on it until we all die of cancer (3), it's also about another big company owning our government and livelihoods. We're not even mentioning the health issues surrounding GMO foods, foods which have been on the market since 1994, when the "The Fish Tomato" FLAVR SAVR [CGN-89564-2](4) tomato made it's debut, whose plant genetics were "modified by incorporating a synthetic antifreeze gene modeled from one isolated from the winter flounder, Pseudopluronectus americanus".(5)

No, the first issue is the danger of a single company owning the rights to massive amounts of seed, and the potential for them to own it all one day by pushing natural "heirloom", or heritage, varieties out of the market with force, which they have already started doing; you need only look at how much GMO seed is used in agricultural crops. If a single company owns all the corn and soybeans they can literally have the people at their knees, which is what they have already done in poor countries around the world. Take India, for example, where a GMO-related suicide epidemic has been perpetuated over the last 16 years.(6)

The claims that Monsanto makes about the yield of their seed, which is one of the more desirable reasons for signing on with their product, is likely debatable, and depends on environmental factors, like the right kind of weather, just for a start. It's also debatable how good the Roundup Ready® weed and insect-resistant seed actually works in relation to pests, specifically when it has created an evolution of newer stronger pests that are the resistance. Roundup®, an herbicide used on crops dates back as far as 1974, and hasn't done enough to keep the insects and other pests from evolving. They just keep mutating and getting stronger.

Used over years herbicides and pesticide create, and have created, bigger and stronger pests as insects and bugs adapt themselves through natural modification, the way nature intended - but at a rate much higher because "nature" now demands it(7). Survival of the fittest insect. Take the development of the Superworm in the corn belt of the Midwest of The United States(8) for example, which means Monsanto will now have to create, and sell to the Roundup Ready® seed buyer (because they are not allowed to use anything else), newer stronger chemicals for defence of your crops. It hardly seems worth it.

To break it down and illustrate the problem/issue even further; using a GMO patented seed is like buying a modified seedless watermelon. You can eat the watermelon, like you harvest a crop. But without seeds you can't reproduce the watermelon.
Or lets put it a different way.
You want a baby (A Corn Plant). A cute cuddly squirmy thing to raise and make your minion, but you are infertile (No Seeds). So every time you want to make a baby, you have to outsource to an adoption company (Monsanto); and each baby you adopt is also sterile (No Seeds) - so they will also have to adopt (from Monsanto) to have babies of their own (More Corn Plants). And the cycle continues.
It might be a rudimentary example. Either way, you are the slave to provider, and you have no freedom of your own, and it's not how nature intended it.

Image Source
When it comes to corn and soybean seed, not to mention all the other countless crops they are now owning, like alfalfa, canola, cotton, sorgum, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat(9), with the future crops of rice, papaya, eggplant, squash, peppers, potatoes and wheat set to be commercialized in the next few years(10); and oh, yeah, they bought Seminis this year, the world's largest developer, grower and marketer of vegetable seeds, which has been met with outrage...and very little media coverage.(11)

Back to the crime scene then.

When buy from Monsanto you sign away your rights to reproduce your food and the food for everybody else, forcing you to buy seeds from them every year; if your plants get sick, you can only buy medicine from them; If they inspect your field and find you are in breech of the agreement they can file a lawsuit against you, and they can even file expensive lawsuits(12), like in the case of Monsanto Canada Inc v Schmeiser(13) if even the seed is blown on your property from neighbouring fields, because they want their cut.

Plowing Away The Prairie, At A Price, was really good a read overall, simple, yet absolutely inspiring some might say...if you're an American who cares about food prices, food security, health, safety, freedom. If you are concerned about a beautiful country whose fruited plains are going to be government subsidized GMO corn and soy beans, and something. Even if means writing about it and helping people find out about it.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
The point is, people aren't given the freedom of choice with their food; money and greed are destorying this country, and the 47% aren't the victims, we are all the victims. And it's killing us, it's killing the planet, it's another thing killing the hope. But by speaking up, you can help make changes, you can take responsibility for your life and environment...because, like one the authors from one of our favourite books says...
“That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.”
~ Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Sources and Citation:

Plowing Away The Prairie, At A Price, Josephine Marcotty, Star Tribune, September 23, 2012

Genetically Engineered Crops, The Center For Food Safety, 2012

(1) Influence of Lobbying PAC data for Monsanto Company Summary, Center for Responsive Politics, September 2012,

(2) Congress OKs GMOs, Monsanto Makes Sure You Can Grow Them at Home, Krista Simmons,, June 22, 2012

(3)  Is Monsanto Evil? TYT Networks, September 22, 2012, Video

(4) The Case of the FLAVR SAVR Tomato, G. Bruening, J.M. Lyons, California Agriculture 54(4):6-7. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v054n04p6. July-August 2000

(5) Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, James W Glosse, Information Systems For Biotechnology, 1991, PDF

(6) 'Bitter Seeds' Documentary Reveals Tragic Toll of GMOs in India, Claire Thompson, International Union of Conservation of Nature, August 16, 2012

(7) Approval of New Chemical-Resistant GMOs Likely to Prompt Pesticide Escalation, Jill Richardson, Center for Media and Democracy, August 28, 2012

(8) How Genetically Modified Corn Is Creating Super Worms, Aviva Shen, September 5, 2012

(9) Agricultural Seed Products, Monsanto, 2012

(10) GM Food Production Increasing, Rich Keller, AG Professional, September 12, 2012

(11) Occupy Monsanto Stops GMO Seed Distribution, Occupy Monsanto, The Sacramento Bee, September 12, 2012

(12) Small Farmers Fight Becomes Anti-Biotech Crusade, Paul Elias, Associated Press/USAToday, January 19, 2004

(13) Monsanto Canada Inc v Schmeiser, Wikipedia, and Canadian Federal Court

Friday, September 21, 2012

We Buy The Farm

Finally! Finally the property seller has met us with an offer we can accept.

A tennis game of volleying offers and counter offers back and forth, and in the end they suddenly dropped their end by 6x's the increment they had been dropping it by, to an amount $2000 less than the offer we gave them two months ago.

So far it all looks good, with a closing date in a month. Luckily we're still packed from the last move, so getting ready to move will be more of a mental preparation as we prepare for the possibility of days without electric, running water and heat as we start renovations. (we don't know if the well works, but it needs to be replaced. The electrical is terrible, a hazard, so it needs to be replaced and the house needs to be insulated so that when we get the gas tank for the heat we don't end up wasting it... among other big things that need to be done fast before snow flies).
We'll be having several inspections done in the next 10-15 days, just for peace of mind, to make sure the situation isn't any worse than we figure (not sure how it could be *knocks on wooden coffee table*). We can always back out based on an inspection, but why would we? We've been waiting for this property since mid-June.

A distressed house in the peaceful country on 40 acres that have been vacant for about 2 years just became our next home. This will be an adventure.

Holy fuck.

We just bought the farm.

(Pictures can be found here:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Us, on Facebook

And you thought sticking with us on Twitter was tough.

With an unlimited amount of character spaces to work with we sometimes go on diatribes on Facebook.

In addition we share beautiful images, and memes; keep up on art and photography; read and comment on the news; make strange jokes; share and talk with people who are our friends; go irate over food security; roll our eyes and take deep breaths over the staunch patriotism of people to the point of being blind to the anti-freedom spew they unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) unleash while metaphorically holding a bible in one hand, and the flag in the other; cute kittens (sometimes) and funny videos; take part foreign policy and political commentary and opinion; keep abreast of mental health policies. And so much more.

Admittedly in a non-election year we tend to be a little less...politically aggressive, but it's been instrumental in our further education and learning about how the government works, and it's interesting to see what other people think.

We also use Facebook as a way to both share our opinions publicly while addressing family members (and sometimes to other people), commenting on things they write/share; since we won't "like" or comment directly to their status/posts...yet. Mostly because doing so would draw the attention of extended family who would recognize our photo...who would be very confused, perhaps angry, perhaps intolerant, over things they read both on our Facebook page, and here on this blog, particularly family history of sensitive nature. It's a way to communicate with them, and also get our friends involved in range of discussions. (and because phones...ICK!)

So, if you thought sometimes we're mouthy irritating smartasses on could be worse. (maybe you don't "follow" us in either places, in which case LUCKY YOU!)

We'll be honest, this blog post is basically for keeping track of some of the things we want to use for later writing, as well as "phoning it in"...because we had some canning to do and errands to run today.

But here's a Facebook taste:

"If we'd been born in this age in the 60's we'd have been a giant people and peace loving hippie, with an extensive arrest record...instead we are this, here, and we do what we can, and we follow our passion, and we speak from our heart, because while the way we grew up shaped us, THE WAY WE GREW UP shaped us.

Our family was on public assistance in the 80's, WIC, a federally funded program, mom grew the garden, raised animals to eat, to take care of 3 growing worked a factory job to pay the rest of the bills. They barely scarped by. We wore hand-me-down clothing, even underwear, and our Christmas gifts were purchased from summer garage sales with "Santa" written on them. Brothers and us gave each other newspaper wrapped gift, our own toys, given to each other. We had very little, and we never asked for much, and it has helped us, to this day, not expect much.

So, damn right we will support our roots, and the people are still rooted there, who struggle, because even with very little bills, mom and dad couldn't afford to buy us new clothes, or new toys.
We were taught compassion, while getting none.
We were taught love, while getting very little.
We may not all (within us) agree, but one thing that is the thread in all of us, is that a good person is not defined by how much money they make, by who they love, by their belongings, and ability to have a house full of things. A good person is defined by love, loving good people for who they are, having compassion for people who struggle, and helping when they can.

Yes, there are people who abuse the system, just like anything there are people who abuse. They abuse children, gun rights, freedom, they abuse religion, and people...that doesn't mean it is the status quo.

You can damn bet we will expand on this tomorrow, in another blog post...where we will still stand up, proudly, for the political party that more accurately portrays the beliefs we have. Because if it wasn't for people like us, before us, "Lord" know's where we would be today."

(NOTE: written September 6th, we have yet to expand on it, but...when we went to sleep in the winter we wore a hat and snow suit to stay warm. Glasses of water next to our bed froze in the middle of the night because of high heat costs and wood stove heating in an old house, as did the shampoo in the bathroom.
We were at the bottom of what would not be called the 47%. We are proud of our "poor roots", they were part of what made us who we are. Dad worked hard to give us what he could.
Fucking never...but we'd still never expect other people to live the way we did, nor would be expect them to

"The way America has been taught to be consumers, it could never sustain an economy of primarily "Made-in-America" prices at this point. If you think otherwise, you don't understand consumer culture, nor do you understand what the impact of narrow competition, and lack of free-trade, has on prices of products. Economics. Free-trade, competition, and low-prices were the life-blood of the foundation of Capitalism.
In the end the average low-paid Americans cannot afford to buy it's countries own poorly made products."

"It's not "our generation: that is the problem, it's the inability to be loving and accepting - it's the self-righteousness and wide-spread ignorance of people.
"Our generation" has brought acceptance and tolerance, tries to promote it, wants it to exist.

It's the older generation, unable to deal with the younger generation's ability to accept people who are different...that is the problem.
the struggle between the two, right now, that is the problem.
You can see it in the political campaigns, as well as everywhere else.

And as much as "The Good Old Days" may hold a lot of tug to our heart, as an independent woman who understands the progress that has been made for equal rights to many different types of people...minorities, women, gays, etc...the good old days...were really just the old days.

No disrespect."


Oh, and this wicked picture:


"The world is fucking mad.

It doesn't come down to men loving men, woman loving woman, females making reproductive choices, equality and freedom as the source of madness.

The destruction of the world is greed, power, and those with it trying to make the people without do their bidding to further line their pocket, while propping up thier platform with so-called "Christian values".

"My" having pr
emarital sex with men, having been sexually in love with another woman, supporting women who don't want to become a "drain on society" by making responsible reproductive choices, supporting people who have had life kick them in the ass at the hands of the rich, and caring about the less fortunate...or, as you might say "my loose morals", are NOT what are making the world a mad place.

It's money, and power.

Really really think about it."


"Over on Google+ people are all in huff because How Dare They Use Beef Bones to Make Gelatin For Gummies?!
Over here we're all...yeah, don't you learn about what you put in your mouth. What did you think gummie bears were made of, fucking magic?

Also, gelatin NATURAL. Idiots all up in arms.

"...learning is fun...

"We're a 1956 Republican,
as it's known today,
a 2012 Democrat (wit some Liberal/Green leanings)"


"So, the chair of the house budget committee for Republican VP, hey?
Because he's done such a great job helping managing the money the last two years, he should be VP and have more responsibility.

What the Fuck, people.
What. The. Fuck.

The Republicans must be counting on people not understanding anything about how the government actually works.

There will be further fleeceing of the herd, and the sheep will stand around bleeting in astonishment, naked and shivering;
While others claim to foresee the end of times with the taste of self-fulfilling prophecy tumbling from their mouths, and others barely restrain, through pallid lips, crimson tongue behind clenched teeth, of foretold warnings."

Oh, and these tasty toes:

So, see...we have some hardcore awesome tolerant friends, and some really loving family members on Facebook...

Go ahead, roll your eyes...we don't care, because it only makes you look crazy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Panic At The Disco: Anxiety

Until today it had been awhile since I remember us having an anxiety, or panic, attack.
It's worse when it's provoked by something unidentifiable.

Blood rushing in our ears, heart feels like it's racing, can barely breath, feeling panicky. Like we we're running. But we were just standing/sitting in one place.
And all we were doing was opening the refrigerator.

Obviously we can pinpoint some potential causes.

Having to move in a few weeks, with nowhere to move to (yet); being on the cusp of investing our life savings into a fixer-up property in the country (hopefully); recent significantly increased pain and trouble sleeping; we expected to be out of The Mother's house by now. We've been here nearly a year (give or take four months in England, and over one month on a roadtrip in the USA) and we're starting to feel unwelcome; then there's the world in general...(it's a madhouse)

I wasn't thinking about any of those things at the time though. (Maybe one of us was?) Just opening the fridge, looking for a snack.

I have very little understanding of general anxiety, even though we were diagnosed with the social anxiety form way back so far in the past it's amazing we're still breathing, (our social anxiety attacks feel different than the general panic/anxiety attack from today) and I have never really understood the sources (other than being in public places on the "wrong" day) of the various bouts of anxiety we experience (though we can identify which of us suffers the worst. Catherine (me) is the worst with social anxiety). But there I was...holding my chest, gripping the handle of the fridge...telling James breathlessly that I feel like I'm having a heart-attack or something.

So I sat down on the sofa. Posted about it to friends on Facebook where we got great advice from some kind people there, breathing, hugging ourselves, laying down. In the end we just slowly breathed, and stopped focusing on the feeling and it disappeared...but for those 15-20 minutes I wanted to lay on the floor and cry helplessly.

It's rather surprising we don't get those more often (maybe we do and I am not aware), but we have always had textbook perfect-to-low blood pressure and heart rate (what heart), which probably, maybe, helps somehow in the end.

Just another day. What's for dinner.

~ Catherine, F, et al

Monday, September 17, 2012

225 Years Later...Get To Know Your Fathers

Happy Birthday to the Constitution of the United States.

Two hundred and twenty-five years later, and you can't look at the United States, particularly in it's current political climate, from within, without seeing a clear division. A country formed to be United splits itself apart, many times over words written Two hundred and twenty-five years ago. (Let's not draw the clear paralleles to the Bible and religion. We digress)

Stand by the constitution, and the rights it gives it's citizens, as we do, but remember in addition to not being widely accepted during it's time, it has also been amended (changed/added to) twenty-seven times to meet the needs of the times (most recently 40 years ago). Remember it was a document about organization and guidance of a country, not about controlling and abusing the rights of it's people.

No matter the side, there are several articles and amendments that have been subject to...heated debate. But we're not here to talk about those, or even the words of the constitution, per se.

No, today seems like a good day for some words from the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, on this day, the 225th birthday of our seemingly corruptible and exploited papers of freedom. Who were those men that birthed those important documents, and what were their thoughts...

John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Among them are lawyers, political thinkers, wrtiers, plantation owners (slave owners), and then there was Benjamin Franklin...musician, scientist, satirist, inventor (who seems out of place with the political company he kept).

Here are some of our favourite quotes from the founding fathers. The words they say/write help us better frame the purpose of the founding documents of the country we call home, as well as the men behind the ink.

"[...] the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion" (The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816 - Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796

And now, words from our Fathers...

George Washington:
Plantation owner, Office of Armed Forces, First President of the United States. 

"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world."
-- George Washington, Farewell Address to the People of the United States 

‎"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause; and I was not without hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy of the present age would have put an effectual stop to contentions of this kind."
-- George Washington, Letter to Sir Edward Newenham (22 June 1792) 

"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
-- George Washington, address to Congress (8 January, 1790)

"If they are good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa or Europe; they may be Mahometans, Jews, Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists..."
-- George Washington, to Tench Tighman (March 24, 1784) 

"To give opinions unsupported by reasons might appear dogmatical."
-- George Washington, to Alexander Spotswood (November 22, 1798)

John Adams:
Lawyer, First Vice-President and Second President of the United States

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
-- John Adams, Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials, Dec. 4, 1770

"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."
-- John Adams, letter to J. H. Tiffany, Mar. 31, 1819

"Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant."
-- John Adams, Thoughts on Government

‎"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."
-- John Adams, letter to Jonathan Jackson, Oct. 2, 1789 

Thomas Jefferson:
Plantation owner, Lawyer, Congressman, Third President of the United States

"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive t
o their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."
-- Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320.

"[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779)

"I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Dowse, April 19, 1803

"[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779) 

James Madison: 
Plantation owner, Leader of the House of Representative Secretary of State, Fourth President of the United States. An author of The Federalist Papers (

"Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that being a natural and unalienable right. To guard a man's house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man's conscience, which is more sacred than his castle, or to withhold from it that debt of protection for which the public faith is pledged by the very nature and original conditions of the social pact."
-- James Madison, The National Gazette (29 March 1792)

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
-- James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments § 7 (1785)

"Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."
-- James Madison, Letter to Edward Livingston (1822-07-10)

Alexander Hamilton:
Writer, Lawyer, Economist, Soldier. First U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Principal author of The Federalist Papers (

'"Ah, this is the constitution," he said. "Now, mark my words. So long as we are a young and virtuous people, this instument will bind us together in mutual interests, mutual welfare, and mutual happiness. But when we become old and corrupt, it will bind no longer.”'
-- Alexander Hamilton, 

"Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.
-- Alexander Hamilton, Elliot's Debates, volume 2, p. 364

**this dude was all about industry, manufacturing (obviously, because he was in charge of the money) and seemed to be pro-reasonable national deb ; but as the principle author of The Federalist Papers, so many quotes are attributed to that document.**

John Jay:
Lawyer, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States, Author of The Federalist Papers (

"Real christians will abstain from violating the rights of other, and therefore will not provoke war."
-- John Jay, Letter to John Murray (12 October 1816)

** There are very few words by John Jay, perhaps the most important things he contributed in writing was contained in The Federalist Paper. He is definitely the least commonly known founding father. **

Benjamin Franklin:
Scientist, Author, Musician Politician

"I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others."
-- Benjamin Franklin, Speech to the Constitutional Convention (September 17, 1787)

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you."
-- Benjamin Franklin
The Federalist Papers

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were the authors of The Federalist Papers, the tool of indoctrination of the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, which was opposed to the Bill of Rights (one of the three main parts of the Constitution).

The opposition was most notably stated by the author of Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton, who feared once the document, that eventually became The Bill of Rights was written down, it would later be mis-interpreted as a list of rights that people had, but seen as being limited to only those rights, and would then be used to restrict freedom through false-interpretation and self-interest.

The important things to remember is, these words we hold so dear in the United States, at the end of the day, we're still written by fallible man, and are equally perverted by them for personal gain and self interest, and even at the time of penning was still opposed by the public. It should not be used as a tool of control. It should be used as it was meant to, a guide for the growth and development of a prospering country. It should be revered, but it should not be held above the heads of "men", by "men".

As it was then, shall it be always, until we can learn to be tolerance of differences, while respecting the changing of times and people, and by educating ourselves on history to work towards a peaceful future.

Happy Birthday, Constitution. May civil dissent over your text some day, maybe 225 more years from now, be a thing of history.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cooking With Frank: Green Tomato Chutney

That's right, back out's another food-cooking related entry.

We've been in a lot of pain the last couple of days. Despite the pain the work must go on, the garden doesn't stop needing attention just because we hurt. Yesterday we added 13 more quarts of canned stewed tomatoes to our long list of summer accomplishments, while resting our elbows on the sink to ease the back pain, as we peeled the skins off of them. The day before we made a 1/2 gallon of sauce, but too achy to  can it, we decided we'd just eat a whole lotta things with tomato sauce this week.

It's a good thing we have a passion for tomatoes.

Today we took to the green tomatoes that The Mother left for us to "do something with" and made another batch of Green Tomato Chutney. The first time was an experiment, we had little clue what to expect or do with it, but this past week we spread some on home-made bread and added a slice of Provolone cheese...and magic was created.

Deciding it's something we can really take advantage of from both a nutrient perspective, and a food conservation perspective; as we prepare for a lean year working on a renovation, investing much of our money in that; we set about making another batch for canning today.

But why green tomatoes after all the red ones we've been elbow deep in through the summer.

Each year as Fall harvest edges closer, and frost threatens what remains in the garden, there are always tomatoes on the vine that won't have time to ripen, also, during the growing season plants get weighed down with too many of the fruits, in general, so it's a good way to prune them back, and also doesn't waste anything.

Traditionally green tomatoes have been used for mincemeat, a preserve made with green tomatoes, apples, raisins, spices (like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc.), sugar....some have ginger, or cranberries, or other dried fruits, which is then simmered down to a nice jammy consistency. It's very good with plain, unsweetened yogurt, or in pies and pastries, on ice cream..and if you want a yummy, gooey spoon of something sweet and full of vitamins, just to get a sweet fix. It works for that too.

Mincemeat goes back to the 11th century. It's a food that went out of style at least by the 1960's in the United States - but you can probably find it on the rare grocery store shelf in certain areas of the United States (and likely several in Europe). We remember both our Grandmother's making it at some point, probably even The Mother made it.
Mincemeat is a great "depression time" or "poor" food, because it promotes not wasting food, and taking advantage of what you have. For example if you have an apple tree with tart apples that are a little too tart to eat, or you can't eat them fast enough...and/or you have dried fruits that are too dry to be very palatable kicking around, you can make a mincemeat, and you won't have to throw out food.

But wait, we're making Green Tomato Chutney, which is a term used for a mixture of spices, fruits/vegetables cooked down together (it originates from the Middle East and Southern Asia) into a jam-like consistency, and is usually a great condiments for meats, cheeses, crackers, sandwiches...whatever your creative mind can think of.

This recipe is OUR recipe, created this summer, so we'll go ahead and throw 'Frank' at the front of it.

*Warning* this recipe is spicy. Omit jalapeños and decrease chili flakes to make it milder.

Frank's Green Tomato Chutney
8 cups (2 litres) green tomatoes, chopped
4 cups (1 litre) yellow onions, chopped
2 jalapeños, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt, or 1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, extra virgin (good quality)

Sauté onions with oil in large heavy sauce pan, add salt and garlic and continue to sauté until onions are translucent. Add the jalapeños and cook for about 2 minutes then add green tomatoes and the following ingredients:

1 1/2 (350 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) ground ginger
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mustard seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) chili flakes
pinch of allspice
1 cup (250 ml) vinegar

Simmer all ingredients until thick. Can for later use using the hot water bath method (makes about 5-6 pints). If storing un-canned in refrigerator for "immediate" use, use within a week to a week and a half.

Process Gallery:

Green tomato                 |              Chopped onions

Jalapeños (the ones from the garden cross pollinated somehow
with the green peppers, so they became larger than average.
We only fell for their trick twice, eating them raw, before we figured
out what had happened)

With all the spices added.

Left: Before simmer           |           Right: After simmer

This recipe is great as a sandwich spread, or in quesadillas, or with corn chips. Also good in rice with chicken.

More of our food entries from the last two years, with food porn..if you're into that kind of thing. (some contain recipes)

Food & Cooking

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Pain Entry

Feels like the body is being crushed by gravity.

So much pain.

Even the head feels like it's being squished and is bulging at the temples.

We've got nothing clever to visit our archive page, if you feel like it:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Revisiting A 9/11 Blog Post

We'll take the day off, for no particular reason other than we can. We drove nearly 12 hours yesterday, getting home at 12:30am, so we're just looking to decompress today.

If you want to read what we wrote last year, in honour of 9/11:
Doing Freedom Right, Our 9/11 Post

Try not to spread intolerance and hate, and have a thankful day. Remember every day, by making a change.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Dream, Step, and Leap

Tomorrow is a big day. This coming week is a big week. Big changes are on the horizon for us.

A final offer on our dream property, Weeping Willow, is to be made. We're close to moving out time, and so despite the recent drop in price being less than we had hoped, it is somewhat manageable. Hopefully the bank who owns it takes into account that we have been the only one making an offer on it.

Tomorrow we drive the over five hours to look at the property one last time (the third time seeing the inside of the house...about the fourth/fifth being on the land), this time with a new agent - after not being happy with the last agent we worked with on the offers for this property - and then sit down and write up the offer.

It's nerve-racking. It's a lot of money, and a giant step. A giant step to be making with someone else too. Despite having owned a home (which we sold this past spring) before...this is a whole new adventure. A fixer-upper house on 40 acres (or 20, depending on if we have to go with our second property choice) in the country. James, also a former home-owner, is excited to have projects. With the condition of the house, we'll have projects for months, years. It's going to be great.

Our favourite find from the garden
this summer. A Kohlrabi.
We've been dreaming all summer about this property, ever since we saw it and put an offer on it (which got rejected, ultimately) the past June. Our dream is either coming to an end, or now going to soar.

It's time though, James and us have been living in The Mother's house since last October (minus the four months we spent in England at the beginning of this year), we're sure she and The Stepdad are just as relieved as we are that it's coming to a close.

It's been good (sort of) though, spending the summer in her house. She's taught us bits about gardening, which pests to look out for, rotating certain plant plots each year, and more; and tending her garden has given us many ideas about how to streamline our own. She has also helped us become more comfortable with canning, knowledge we will need one we grow our own giant garden next summer, at our own home.

While we have a few more batches of things to can, our time here has not been wasted.

The spoils of our summer:
Canned yesterday
From left to right hot salsa, green tomato mincemeat
and green tomato chutney.
  • 4 - 1/2 pints of beet relish
  • 3 - 1/2 pints mango chutney
  • 4 - 1/2 pints green tomato chutney
  • 2 pints green tomato chutney
  • 9 pints green tomato mincemeat
  • 4 pints banana peppers
  • 6 pints pickled beans
  • 7 pints mixed pickled vegetables
  • 21 pints pickled beets
  • 17 quarts whole/puréed tomatoes
  • 21 quarts stewed tomatoes
  • 2 pint stewed tomatoes
  • 14 quarts stewed tomato chili mix (hot peppers, peppers, onion, garlic, tomato & cumin)
  • 4 pints stewed tomato chili mix (hot peppers, peppers, onion, garlic, tomato & cumin)
  • 14 quarts pasta sauce (with basil)
  • 17 pints pasta sauce (with basil)
  • 5 pints tomato sauce
  • 6 -1/2 pints tomato sauce 
  • 2 quarts salsa
  • 12 pints salsa
  • 3 quarts hot salsa
  • 11 pints hot salsa

Next year there will be canning even more...if we can get our own garden to grow.

We're excited, and scared...but we are also realistically confident...hopefully?

Holy fuck. We're moving to the country to be "farmers".
A small gallery of our creations:
Mixed pickled vegetables
Salsa with roasted pasilla bajio peppers
Beets cut into the shapes of cats (a gift for Baby Brother)
Beets in carious cuts, including hearts
(which was a gift for The Father)
Pickled Beans

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On A Platform Of Understanding

We obviously had to watch some of the DNC (Democratic National Convention) this week, figuring it would only be fair after watching some of the RNC (Republican National Convention) last week - an entire evening of it, plus part of the next.

The only reason we were planning on not watching it is that we know the Democratic platform. We research and read about their platform all the time. We understand and agree with their platform. We had faith, and still do, that the claims they make will be based on, at least, well rounded facts and data...comparably anyway, when juxtaposed with the "content" of the Republican National Convention last week. We have faith that the Democratic platform involves real people helping real people, involves a more united philosophy, a free America. An America where the American Dream can be a real tangible thing.

And we'd be more familiar with the Republican platform...if they had a clear one that didn't primarily involve gutting the working people of the United States from both pocketbook and personal rights. If their platform didn't make our heart ache and our head pound...if it didn't conjure up images of donning a black veil for the death of the America we know.

We really wanted to watch the Democratic National Convention to see if they dropped as many outrageous "bombs" filled with lies that scattered shrapnel of wild-eyed hate, one way, or another, as the previous weeks political party convention had.

For all intent and purpose, the first night of the DNC was a yawner, for anyone who gets off on wild accusations and froths at the mouth with hatred for what they do not understand...well, there would be not wet panties or raging hard-ons. There wasn't hate-speech, or attacking, no wild accusations to incite rage.

Honestly we flipped the channel right before the speech made by Michelle Obama, which, from what we understand, was amazing. We were sure it was going to be touching, just as Ann Romney's appeared to be, and like we said, we know the platform. We know Mrs. Obama supports pro-choice, supports equal wages for women, supports love between any consenting adults. She supports women. She supports America.

The second night (Wednesday night) we didn't switch over once to the convention, but after Bill Clinton did his speech, we wish had. Twitter was all a flutter over him, even some of our most conservative Republican followers seemed enamoured. And when we flipped over to Facebook and The Father (our dad), our Right Wing Christian Republican father (hi, dad!) had written: "Ah ya, they don't call him slick Willie for nothin !" (not that he meant it in a positive way, however) on his Facebook page...well...there was no question about it, we were going to have to watch it.

So, we caught some highlights on CNN. And holy shit. We got the link this morning so we could watch it end to end (and supply it to you). It was everything a political speech should be.

Bill Clinton can talk, eloquent, witty, unaided by a Teleprompter, from his heart, and with honesty...not just because he believes what he is saying, but because what he is saying is true, and based on well-rounded data, research and facts.

In case you missed it...
(please let us know if this video gets removed from YouTube, or does not show up)

But what about the FACT checking? Just because we support the platform doesn't mean we are blind to folly. We wanted to make sure the people we support are keeping it on the up-and-up.

At the top of our morning our searches kept coming back to, and referencing, this article:

Fact check: Bill Clinton at the DNC
By Lori Robertson, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson and Robert Farley,
USA Today, September 6, 2012

but if you want a quick video, you have read this far, and it's not over yet...then this brief (but not as in-depth) video from (we couldn't get the link to embed properly, so here is the link: No False Claims in Clinton's DNC Speech (Bloomberg TV, September 6, 2012)

Of course you'll be able to find much more information, articles....and a whole lot of other opinion pieces, as the day progresses (For those "Google search challenged", you might want to try search words like "Bill Clinton" "DNC Speech" and "Fact Check"). Content full of information and specualtion about how facts may have been skewed, or how he mis-stepped in some places, how some of his claimed were a little exaggerated, just those same articles will be guilty of the same thing; and the opposition will come out with their guns blazing...but there's not much of a target for them; and it will make some of the more ignorant ones wild with rage and spew unfounded, angry, and hateful. Poor frustrated them.

It's sad to think of the people who will choose to vote this year based on personal agenda, like not being able to accept the idea of two consenting adults in love, of the same gender, being married - as if somehow it effects them on a daily basis; people who think the reproductive rights of a woman they don't know is their responsibility - even though it has nothing to do with them personally; wanting to "Keep America American" (funny enough the same slogan of the KKK in the 1920's), all the while destroying it - stripping people of their person freedom, making it harder to crawl from beneath poverty by reducing PELL grants for higher education, cutting nutrition programs in schools, reducing and wanting to eliminate fail-safes that so many American people depended on in the last recession, supporting big business by giving it more rights than people, keeping the American Dream just that, a dream.

These are parts of the Republican platform. All while doing things like registering their yachts in the Cayman Islands (to avoid taxes), cutting taxes for their rich friends, and hiding thier money in offshore accounts to avoid their responsibilities (taxes) as Americans - completely out of touch with what being American means.

That is not our America.

So, despite the possibility of both political party nominations being no better than the other, we are still going to vote, we are going to vote with the side that feels like it cares about the inalienable rights of the America people. The people who understand what it means to be a responsible compassionate American, and who understands that it doesn't mean forcing a personal, religious, agenda on people.

In the end, we feel even better about our vote than we did before. So much better that we're planning on donating, for the first time in our 15 years of adult voting ability, to a political party. Not just for us, for all the people our donation, our vote, stands for; women, children, the elderly, the poor and middle class, immigrants. For the people that make this country what it is. Our American family.

This year we're donating to the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign

Because we value truth, and we value freedom.
We value human rights and we value progress.
We value our future. We value America.
And we believe in America.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Acceptance and Social Media

Acceptance goes a long way.

A couple hundred of our followers have been following us for what we figure in nearly two years now (coming up in October, though our activity/interaction didn't become plethoras until months into the "game", our early days were fortuitous and work-related, until the end of December)

Two years later, our core followers (read: most important) have been reading our rants, "seeing" us on bad day, and good days....political, sexual, angry, disturbed...all of us. They saw us heartbroken, meet the man we love for the first time in our life, take our first trip to England, and so much more. Just like the people who have been reading our blog for over two years now.

They know things about us, they have access to thoughts, feelings, ideas...darkness and sadness, that nobody has ever had. They are still there.

We won't lie, when people we recognize, who have followed us for nearly a year, happen to unfollow us (either by purpose, or Twitter mis-design) we feel slightly dejected. friends in life (ours, who are ever fleeting), there is, NOW, always a new person, someone willing to accept every part of us, each of us, who we are.

How can people think that Twitter means nothing.

We've had friends, in the flesh, who have forsaken us, sold us out, abandoned us, for less...for far less that the things we share on any of the social media platforms we frequent; for far less than who we are.

Drop-jawing amazed at friendships, even in mostly digital form - to date we have met over 20 people originating from Twitter, many who we would consider friends, and share private things with, even things we don't write means something to us. We are not so calloused to understand and appreciate that.

To our friends. May your lives be blessed, as you bless ours.

~ Ivy, Frank, and et al.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Imagination Rant

You stand up for what you believe in, and we'll stand up for what we believe in.

We understand. You think we're wrong.

We don't think you are wrong.

We think you are scared.

You are scared of things that you do not understand. You are scared of things you don't see. You are scared of the unknown. You are scared of being wrong.

We simply choose to use facts, documented facts, concrete and tangible proof, rational thought and discourse, to help us stand tall, proud, and not scared. We embrace the unknown.
Not scared.
But frustrated.

Maybe a little scared.

A little scared of sheep, woolly sheep with blinders who have been told stories of wolves by their shepherd, forgetting they are there, in sheep clothing, in the flock. Hiding beneath the shepherds cloth.



Those who don't think for themselves, rather are content thinking how someone says they should.

And a little scared...of how easily hate and intolerance comes to you.

But then. It's all just a matter of your imagination, and ours.

You stand up for what you believe in, and we'll stand up for what we believe in.

We understand. You think we're wrong.

We don't think you are wrong.

We think you are scared...of knowing.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Feeling awkward and anti-social.

Overwhelmed with general whelm...and in a float.

It's September now. We have about a month, to a month and a half, to find a new place to live.

Not fast enough, too fast.

Time for random curling up into a ball.

Time for fall.

~ et al

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Random "Fun" Facts

Little known fact about DID/MPD, and we agree it makes no sense, but among our alters is a varied alcohol tolerance. And just like the tolerance, if there is switching while drinking, sobering up can be equally as varied, and can come quick, sometimes unexpectedly, and over and over.
Some nights it's an impossible amount of alcohol just to achieve the desired...feeling.
Other nights, nary two drinks.

It's irritating.

Maybe that's just one of those "fun facts".

You don't need to tell us we shouldn't be drinking anyway. *shrugs*