February 4, 2002

Life is what you make it...



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

Seldom am I moved to words by that which I read, but...

Recently another Autumn Leaves member wrote a review of McDonalds. I enjoyed the review, but I see McDonalds in a very different light indeed.

My view on it is very selfish; McDonalds are the ONLY food service that provides safe food for those with serious allergies. They know what is in their food and they tell you what is in their food. At McDonalds, there are no surprises, there is no guesswork, and there are no mistakes.

When I travel, the ONLY place I can safely eat is McDonalds. Travel without the ubiquitous McDonalds would be almost impossible. No matter what the culture or the language; I know what I am eating. All other restaurants are establishments of terror for me, as I could die instantly by ingestion. My family could sue those other restaurants, but that would be cold comfort for me in the grave.

A good example was a conference I attended years ago in Miami. It was the first conference I had attended in the downtown of a large American city via air travel and so was unprepared for what I would encounter.

The hotel complex had a food court with many fine restaurants, but no McDonalds. My colleagues ate and enjoyed themselves. I made inquiries all day long, with no success in finding safe food. Hungry and far away from home, I found myself forced to leave the hotel complex in search of something to eat, anything to eat.

This search let me into the streets. These were not friendly streets. Several close friends accompanied me on my quest, which otherwise would have been terrifying. I was very hungry so we kept going. I eventually found a McDonalds and ate my fill. I then found a small convenience store and purchased whatever safe foods I could find, chocolate bars, chips, Pop Tarts, and cheese, to take back to my hotel room. Those supplies lasted me the rest of the trip. The presence of a McDonalds at the hotel would have been a blessing in my eyes.

I now stock my suitcases with fruit, cheese and crackers whenever I travel, good for the short term but lengthy trips can be a nightmare. Perhaps I should learn how to make pemmican.

The world of food is becoming more unsafe by the year, as the use of chemicals spreads. In my recent trip to the hospital, I was offered prepackaged food that usually contains the chemicals that will destroy me. My records clearly state my sensitivities and I wear a medic alert necklace. Since I was rather ill, I did not choose to pursue the matter with the nutritionist. Luckily I was conscious and aware enough to monitor what passed my lips and so came to no harm. I am not optimistic about my chances of survival were I unable to watch out for myself.

My allergies are "acquired", with an adult onset. It could happen to anyone and may happen to people more and more as the food industry increases its use of chemicals to enhance their products. How many of us wander through life with Epi Pen in hand, hoping to survive our environment?

My experience leads me to look deeper into the world of food. I ask who grows it, who harvests it, who processes it, who sells it, and what is done to it along the way. It seems to me that the "McDonalds phenomena" is a symptom of much deeper issues. Over the last century humans moved from primarily rural populations providing their own sustenance, to urban populations dependent on world economic forces for their sustenance. As consumers, we are far removed from the machinations that shape the food industry. I am merely grateful that McDonalds exhibits the degree of accountability that it does.

The politics of food can make strange bedfellows. Whatever else McDonalds is, they are a safe haven in my life and one of the only two places I can eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. They are the only international source of safe food on my list.

That Attila cooks is one of the greatest boons of my life. That Attila is a good cook is good fortune beyond my wildest dreams. We are what we eat.

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Worldly Distractions

Purple Tulips in the sun.
Shadow and Light

On the Screen
Lord of the Rings
A child at heart, I loved it!

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Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

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