Do We Attract What We Are Afraid Of?

It’s no secret that I’ve had an interesting array of experiences with critters, but recently things have gotten a little crazy in the spider department. I’d like to know why they like to visit me so much, and not someone who might happen to love them! I’d also like to know why they have to be so ugly, if they were all as cute as lady bugs they could walk around on my wall anytime.

It started a couple weeks ago when I was just waking up, laying in my bed praying.  I said “Amen.” and then opened my eyes to see a spider repelling from the ceiling right above my face! I rolled out of the way with ninja lightening speed and gathered my nerve to look back.  It was a HUGE daddy long leg and it was just hanging in the air right above where my face would have been, as if it was disappointed it no longer had a face to land on.  I ran to get my husband so he could get rid of it and low and behold, it was still just hanging there when he got back.

After that incident we cleaned our bedroom top to bottom, got rid of any clutter, and filled in any cracks in the wall until I felt it was squeaky clean enough to get over the damage to my mental psyche enough to sleep in there again. When I say sleep, I mean with the sheets pretty much over my face, and definitely covering my ears!

We found a recipe for a home made spider deterrent.  Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water. Spray this along the base of all your walls. The smell is amazing for us, but putrid for spiders!

We found a recipe for a home made spider deterrent. Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water. Spray this along the base of all your walls. The smell is amazing for us, but putrid for spiders!

Now, just the other day when I grabbed a small pile of clothes that were freshly folded out of the laundry and sitting on my bed, I noticed something rising up off of them.  It was a spider!  A spider had been hanging out on top of my clothes and was trying to make a mission impossible exit back to the ceiling! Unfortunately for him, (oh I pray it was a him and not a female who may have laid eggs on my clothes) my ninja reflex skills squished him with a shirt. Unfortunately for me, I am now sleeping on the couch again.

The pillow says it all!

The pillow says it all!

Fruit Skewers

I was quite pleased with myself when I was able to make the teen girls at my son’s birthday party go, ‘Oh my gosh! Those are SO adorable!’  I’d like to give you the same power by sharing this really simple recipe for fruit skewers.

fruit skewers

I think these would also be great sticking out of a summer drink!

All you need is a watermelon, a large carton of raspberries, a large carton of blackberries, a melon baller and a package of wooden skewers.

Wash all of the fruit well and pat dry.  Cut your watermelon in half and make little balls using your melon baller.  This was my first time using one of those so I suspect you’d be able to do an even better job than me as mine were more like half moons…but they were still loved!

Pick up a wooden skewer and slide it through the fruit alternating between watermelon, blackberry, watermelon, raspberry, watermelon, blackberry.

That’s it!!! Keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

2014 Festival Tease: Crystal Shawanda, Hannah Georgas, and Arkells

Funny how so often when you are down in the dumps and needing that reminder that things are okay … that you are okay … you happen upon that song that ever so simply reminds you of just that! As I went to discover more music from the 2014 Festival lineup, that is exactly what I found!  Give it up for …

Crystal Shawanda

Thanks Crystal!  Beautiful Day  was exactly the song I needed after having a rather rough day and emotional week.  Very much looking forward to kicking back on the lawn to more of your music at Festival at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, BC this Saturday!

To all of the rest of you, hailing from Wikwemikong Native Reservation on Canada’s Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Crystal will be bringing a bit Nashville and a whole lot of country to the tantalizing mix of Canadian musicians to heat up the summer at Deer Lake this Saturday. And an honour it is, I must say, as in the past year Crystal not only graced Inauguration Day at the White House with a performance, but also won a Juno for Aboriginal Album of the Year.

Crystal will take to the Courtyard Stage at 2:50 pm.

… and the next artist of the day …

Hannah Georgas

I can’t help but smile fondly when I hear Hannah’s name, as I was first introduced to her music by one of Ahimsa‘s summer students years ago, Bronwyn Malloy.  Bronwyn is friends with Hannah and created this tribute video to Hannah’s song The Beat Stuff  with Alyzee Lakhani for some experimentation they were doing in character storytelling:

… and here is Hannah’s official video of The Beat Stuff …

Very much looking forward to Hannah taking to the Lake Stage at 3:20 pm, as despite to being a VanCity gal and enjoying her music for years, I have yet to see her live!

… following Hannah on the Lake Stage at 4:25 pm …


A bit of nostalgia, simply because the Arkells take me back to old haunts like Jackson Square!  And what kind of Canadian gal would I be if I didn’t start the summer off with visions of dancing naked around a fire!?!  Can picture the giant bonfire right now in the back fields of someones’ Ontario farm!


Emme  xoxo

PS Stay tuned for more #CBCMusicFest teases as the week goes on, click here for an earlier tease, and for what to expect of the day read on with: Festival Ignites this Summer at Deer Lake Park

Feisty Fireworks

When I was a child, my parents would always have big parties for the May long weekend, which concluded with a fireworks show put on by my dad and his friend on our front lawn.  It has been at least 20 years since we’ve done that, so on the occasion of my dad’s 70th birthday, my siblings and I decided to surprise him at the end of his party.

We totally set the scene.  We very quickly and with ninja-like finesse moved everyone’s cars and set up lawn chairs in the grass. Our set up got stalled for a few minutes when we opened the box of fireworks and had our minds blown by the size of them!  Some of the names had us muttering ‘What are we doing?!’ … quickly followed by ‘This is going to be epic!’

Not a very long fuse on this one!  Hence the name I think!

Not a very long fuse on this one! Hence the name I think!

We brought everyone outside, with them still not knowing what was going on, and had the kids do a little dancing around to trick my dad into thinking this was going to be something different.  We then brought out the buckets filled with sand and two huge firework rolls sticking out of them ready to go.  My brother surprised us all and blasted a soundtrack he had recorded for the event.

We had never lit fireworks ourselves before, but we remember our dad packed them in sand, so we figured it must look something like this.

We had never lit fireworks ourselves before, but we remember our dad packed them in sand, so we figured it must look something like this.

My dad’s jaw was wide with amazement and we very proudly lit the first fuse, me holding the flashlight, and RAN! Oh man, that fuse was sparkling and moving so fast that I panicked, screamed like a little girl and dropped the flashlight – but kept running like the thing was going to blow, all the while unintentionally kicking the flashlight with every step! I’m proud to say that my sister had my kids on Skype, who couldn’t travel with me, and they saw the whole thing. Yep … I’m going to enjoy getting teased for that one!

Needless to say the fireworks went off beautifully and were massively impressive. I came to enjoy the thrill of even lighting the fuse myself!

Needless to say the fireworks went off beautifully and were massively impressive. I came to enjoy the thrill of even lighting the fuse myself!

We ended up drawing a little crowd, so our audience got bigger just in time for the grand finale.  My brother changed the music to a swelling instrumental he had planned for this moment.  He lit the final fuse and BAM! The first flaming ball (as they were described on the packaging) went high in the sky.  BAM! The second flaming ball went in a rainbow arc.  I heard my brother yell, “It’s tilting! It’s tilting!”  BAM! The next one went completely sideways just missing my cousin’s car. BAM! The next one hit the ground and bounced up onto her car. This was not just one firework, this was a grand finale firework tube with 30 flaming balls set to go off inside!

Everyone was hollering and ducking.  My brother ran up and pulled the tube straight only for it to fling itself the other way instead.  In the process he had to hurdle it as he almost ended up with his own flaming you-know-what’s.  Now the fireworks were blasting straight into the bush and bouncing off the street.  My brother then ripped the tube out of the sand bucket and proceeded to try and butt it out on the street like a cigarette.  Luckily he found a puddle and got the thing to go out.  At that very moment everyone burst out with laughter and I really and truly had to lock my legs so I wouldn’t pee my pants!  I haven’t laughed that hard in years!  Oh, and yes … my kids were still on Skype!

Thought you might like to see the aftermath of the Grave Digger. Looks like something made for war!

Thought you might like to see the aftermath of the Grave Digger. Looks like something made for war!

Home fireworks have come a long way since we were kids.  My dad’s face lit up, just like ours used to when he put on the show for us, making this hands-down, the best birthday present.  Of course, the other take-away from this experience is to always pack the dirt down firmly around your fireworks so they don’t go sideways!


One Hundred Years Since the First World War

Remember Belgium

The British were brought into the war when the German offensive included the full occupation of neutral Belgium, photo credit to Ben Sutherland.

Earlier in March the First World War claimed two more lives in Belgium, when untouched explosives were uncovered at a building site in Ypres. In a month it will have been one hundred years since some Austrian archduke was assassinated, precipitating the greatest threat to western imperialism and civilization in human history – the Great War. Unlike every November 11th, July 28th is a different kind of remembrance, one where we should contemplate the world that was irrevocably created from the First World War, and all the aspirations and shortcomings for peace since.

We live in a world that failed to transcend war, as was so hopefully lobbied for by peace advocates after the “Great War for Civilization” in the idea of an international league for world peace. Humankind, at the height of globalization – when nearly the entire planet was under the command of a few colonial empires – missed its best chance at a permanent, enforced, peace. Instead we went on to fight yet another catastrophic war which could have – even worse than miss an opportunity – forever encase global politics in the totalitarian control of fascism and the draining fight against it. We avoided that world by the luck and total determination of the Allies of the Second World War, but by then the liberal moment had passed. The alternative liberal-capitalist solution to generalized modern warfare was now discredited, with much of the planet now embracing the communist version of history; that the convulsions of capitalism and imperial power politics guaranteed cyclical warfare and destitution, and that only post-capitalist societies, in fraternal arms, could save the world from destruction.

There was a period of history, brief but absolutely essential to remember, when across the political spectrum most believed world peace was possible, and the primary political differences between people were the means by which such peace would be achieved. An illustrative example was the opposition in the United States Senate to joining Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations. Roosevelt, Taft, and many members of the Senate, whom were Wilson’s opposition, were positively and vocally in favour of a league of countries to prevent future wars. During the First World War, the League to Enforce Peace, a civilian pro-league organization, advocated for an international body of judges, appointed by the world’s countries, to write, codify and adjudicate international law. This vision was entirely unlike the eventual League of Nations – which was a body of diplomats negotiating disputes – and though this was only one factor, we should remember that the ideological clash between different ideas of internationalism was the salient impetus for opposition to Wilson’s league, not pure realism (a term and conceptual framework which only gained prominence in the 1940s) about liberal institutionalism.

Woodrow Wilson

I enjoy this photograph (credit to Carl Clifford) of what appears to be an incomplete portrait of Woodrow Wilson – because it feels appropriate that complex legacies should be shrouded or incomplete, rather than painted in a dazzlingly realist style.

This was an historical moment when serious people in politics believed war should be outlawed in all its forms – that no aggression could ever be perpetrated, even with international agreement (just read the introduction online to Salmon Levinson 1921 book, Outlawry of War). To some adherents of this belief, despite having the same objective of world peace, creating the League of Nations (or one could suppose the United Nations today) was not the right course of action because it was an alliance – and alliances could sanction some wars as legal. There was once a time when most popular sentiment was internationalist, and many people believed world peace could be achieved in their lifetime.

The remainder of the twentieth century would only be saved from another final conflict by an arms race so terrifying even the most belligerent men among the leadership of the United States and the Soviet Union couldn’t commit to the costs – in other words, it took humanity the viscerally upfront possibility of actual (and imminent) annihilation to bring about a semblance of peace in the modern era. No rapid escalation of small squabbles into intercontinental war; only the insane could possibly argue for fighting out the differences; thank the bomb.

In 2014, there are still nuclear weapons wielding states, multiple of which are in competition for parts of the planet, whether the Korean peninsula, the contested Kashmir region of South Asia, the sacred soil of Islam, the lands of the Jews, or Crimea. The borders of weaker states are still up to the power politics of larger countries and the permanent members of the United Nations; this article comes out as Crimea’s status is the subject of economic warfare between the west and Russia.

Palace of Nations

Inside the Palace of Nations, in Geneva, which still functions as a diplomatic hall for the United Nations today, photo credit to David Holt.

We should therefore all take a moment’s resignation, and come to respect the fragility of the world’s relative peace – it’s the product of a similar imperial competition the eighteenth century Great Powers were unabashedly engaging each other in for the benefit of “civilization.” We don’t live in a world where global peace is an achievable goal, but a world which only accepted the sheer horror of conflict between the Great Powers as a sufficient reason to minimize war. It is this less than satisfactory truth that July 28th means to me – the other remembrance day.