the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

We’ll never be Royals: living in Vancouver means lowering your expectations

I’m totally hooked on this song by 16 year old Lourde from New Zealand.

I think there should be a version of this song for Vancouver.

Our city was recently ranked the third most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  For years we held the top spot, overtaken by Melbourne in 2011.

liveable citites

Regardless of how “liveable” Vancouver is, I sometimes I feel like ours is the city version of the nouveau riche, a French term used to describe people who have recently become wealthy and spend their money in flashy, conspicuous way.  New York (old money) would look at Vancouver like a hillbilly cousin who just won the lottery.

For many people, living here is a financial struggle.  The gap between high and low income is becoming increasingly distinct.  Homeownership has become a fantasy for many (…not a goal…a fantasy).  Families are moving away from the city, which means school enrolments are down; the upswing in housing costs and real estate development may be good for city hall’s bottom line, but it’s not great for communities.

Young families are struggling to make ends meet here and the future does not look promising for the next generation.

Unless something changes, most of our children will not be homeowners in this city…many of them will decide not to live here because of expense and lack of job opportunities.   Nevertheless, many believe the sacrifices are worth it to live here.  Swim in the morning, ski in the afternoon…right?  I guess liveability is subjective.

What do you think??

What is co-housing? New Bowen Island development offers an alternative for families.

Co-housing isn’t a new concept.  Remeber back in the 60s when people lived in communes?  In Israel, kibbutz are still a popular way to live.  Community living used to be considered new-agey, cultish and for hippies.  However, I think those early adapters were quite futuristic and forward-thinking.  And, I actually believe there will be a very strong movement towards co-housing in the coming years.  With a number of generations today feeling the squeeze and pinch of housing prices, combined with a desire for greater community – it makes sense that people would find an innovative way to come together and live in a way that makes more sense.

I came across this video on my twitter feed.  It highlights a community being developed on Bowen Island called Belterra Cohousing.  I first watched it alone and then I viewed it with my 6 year old daughter.  At the end, I asked her what she thought.  She had a huge smile on her face and said she thought it was “really, really cool.”  When I asked her why she simply said, “less work…more play.”  Honestly, I thought the same thing.  Sounds pretty utopic, if you ask me.

The Belterra website states:

Cohousing communities are designed and developed by the people who will be living in them. They are by nature compact, energy efficient and socially cohesive. And the residents are cooperative, community oriented, respectful of nature and concerned with their own impact on the local and global communities. We manage ourselves and make decisions together for the good of the larger group. As future neighbours, we will respect our own and each other’s needs for autonomy as well as our desires for social interaction and interdependence.

Really, it just seems like people living the way we are meant to…together…in a community.  People, after all, need people.

What are your thoughts on co-housing and multi-generational living?  Do you live in a co-op or somewhere similar?  I’d love to know what your experience has been like.

Absurd Vancouver Property (August 29, 2013)

$1.7 million on East Pender.  No words.

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Vancouver…are you f*#king kidding me?!

Your kid is just as disgusting as mine – vaccinate, dammit. (Guest post from Emily Wight)

My son was barely five weeks old when we took him to a daytime holiday party. I spent most of the party on the couch with him asleep on my chest, the way I spent so many gatherings in those first months, so when Spouse brought the Cheetos over I got into them pretty hard. I was wrist deep in the bowl when a friend came over.

“Don’t eat those,” she said. “That one had the flu yesterday and his saliva is all over all the snack foods.” She gestured at the kid with his hand in his mouth. My kid spent the first week of his life in the Intermediate Nursery at BC Women’s. I was not impressed.

Children are disgusting and too many of their parents don’t have any sense.

That is what bothers me about the anti-vaccination movement. Little Kaedynne or Jaxxxon or whatever doesn’t know any better, yet adults, who choose not to vaccinate their germ balls, are sending them out among babies, sick kids, pregnant women, and the elderly, who should be able to conduct their daily affairs with the reasonable expectation that they won’t get measles or shingles or polio. Sixty women and newborns were exposed to measles at Abbotsford Regional Hospital just a couple of weeks ago, likely because someone brought their little disease vector to visit a neonate without even thinking about the potential consequences.

Since my own disgusting kid started daycare last year, he’s had roughly 8,000 colds. Spouse and I each have autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes) because we suck at life, so we get even sicker than he does. As a result, we stay home a lot. Two good friends had babies this past year; I didn’t get to see them until the snot ran dry at home, and one of them was two months old by the time we were well enough to visit; no one wants to expose a new baby to surprise germs whose origins are uncertain.

It can take 10 to 12 days after being exposed to measles before you develop any symptoms. If some kid wasn’t vaccinated but sat beside someone sick on the bus or got coughed on by some other kid at school or at the park or at the mall, he could be harbouring the disease right now.

Does that sound like irrational paranoia? How about the paranoia that vaccines are all a Big Pharma conspiracy? It’s a bit the same except, in my extreme, some non-vaccinated kid gives a leukemia patient the measles. The truth is that the cost of the vaccine pales in comparison to the cost of the disease; there is far more to be made treating the illness than preventing it.

We’ve given too much currency to anti-vax rhetoric; once Andrew Wakefield was exposed as a fraud and was stripped of his credentials we should have moved on. But we entertain the idea that everything is debatable, that every topic is an issue with two sides, and that there must be a counter-argument, even when there isn’t one.

t’s like one side is saying, “you have to wash your hands before dinner” and the other side is all “eff you, you’re not my dad.”

And how did Jenny McCarthy come to be the leader of this insane movement? Why do we dismiss so many women’s ideas, especially pretty women’s ideas, but take up arms against science for this woman’s? Despite any evidence to support her claims – and, in fact, in spite of an avalanche of evidence to refute them – this woman has earned our attention, and, by extension, a degree of legitimacy.

McCarthy is dangerous, but she’s telling people what they want to hear. Our comfort means more to us than facts, which are often cold and unfriendly. I don’t know why anyone would take advice from someone who on the one hand thinks that vaccines contain neurotoxins that poison children (they don’t) but on the other hand is excited about shooting neurotoxins into her own face.

I don’t know why anyone would take health advice from anyone who isn’t a medical professional.

We live in a society where you can believe any silly thing you want to, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone then you can carry on as you like. But this not-vaccinating thing isn’t harmless. Babies die. Sick kids get sicker. Pregnant women miscarry.

Do whatever you want! Don’t believe in science if it scares you! In general, I don’t care what anyone else does, as long as they’re not putting anyone in danger. The minute you do put someone else at risk though, you are liable. Morally, definitely, and hopefully one day financially as well.

Vaccines aren’t a choice, or a conspiracy. They are medicines designed to protect public health and to prevent individuals from getting sick and/or dying from preventable diseases. Herd immunity is all of our responsibility.

Polio still exists; it’s just an airplane-ride away. We have a vaccine that can prevent some very deadly forms of cancer, but parents are refusing to give it to their daughters (whole other rant for a different post, perhaps). Rampant misinformation and fear-mongering is everywhere, from grammatically incorrect Facebook rants to the pages of our newspapers to our daytime television shows.

In order to protect my and my family’s health, I want disclosure when someone doesn’t vaccinate their kid so I can decide whether or not I want my kid to interact with him. I want to assess the risk myself.  As someone with a lethargic and misguided immune system, I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to other peoples’ sicknesses and my own health. I tend to err on the side of bitchcakes when it comes to my kid’s.

These outbreaks aren’t accidental; they are caused by negligence. Whether or not to vaccinate your children is not a debate; it’s an issue of right versus wrong.

Emily Wight PhotoEmily Wight is a writer, editor and web communications specialist. She writes about food at Well fed, flat broke, and is THAT Mom on UrbanMoms.ca. She occasionally rants over at Regressive Parenting. She has a toddler and a cat and her apartment has not been clean in two years.

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Carolyn Bechard

RRHOV ButtonCarolyn Bechard is a stay at home mom in her 20’s who is kept busy raising two boys under the age of two. Though she sometimes feels as though she could go insane, there is no job title she’d rather have than mother and housewife!
She has a passion for travel, writing and special education. Though she once dreamed of singing, dancing and acting as a Broadway stage, she now settles for sitting in the audience. She is a social butterfly who is at her best when surrounded by family and friends.

Carolyn is the voice behind momentsinmommyland.com, her blog where she writes about the daily joys and struggles of motherhood. Through her blog she hopes to identify with other mothers who are experiencing similar situations, and to build a community that can support each other and laugh together.

She also runs a business out of her home called Fleetwood Cloth Diapers.

What characteristics define the Vancouver Housewife?

Outdoorsy, athletic, fashionable (in a casual Lululemon sort of way) and friendly.

Are you a good representation of a Vancouver Housewife? Why?

Yes and no. I have a real appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us in this city and I love to be out enjoying it. I think I’m a fairly friendly and approachable person, but I am not athletic or super fashionable. I do however love me some Lululemon!

Do you feel that living in Vancouver in some way defines who you are? Please explain.

Yes! I am incredibly proud to be a born and raised Vancouverite. I’ve traveled a lot and have seen many other scenic and interesting places. But I have yet to find somewhere that can match our natural beauty. There is nowhere else I’d rather live and I tend to boast it a little.

Carolyn BechardHave you ever had cosmetic surgery, Botox, Restalyne injections, etc.? If so, please provide details. If you haven’t had any of the above procedures performed, would you consider it?

No I’ve never had anything done and I don’t plan to. Though I must admit, sitting here with my postpartum (by 2 months) body, a tummy tuck sounds tempting!

Other than your children (if applicable), what is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?

I was trained and worked in special education before I had kids and chose to be a stay at home mom. Some days were really hard and I was constantly challenged to think of different strategies to best help my students succeed. My best days ever were when one of my students accomplished a goal they had been working towards. Like participating in a group project with their peers or using a hand dryer in the washroom. Simple things that would be easy for others can be a huge milestone for a student with Autism or Down Syndrome. It’s wonderful to be a part of that and I honestly feel like helping those kids was what I was meant to do at that point in my life.

Has the desire for affluence/power/money been a motivator in the choices you’ve made for your life?

Not really. As a one income family we are very conscious how we spend our money and believe in living within our means. If we can’t afford it outright, we don’t buy it. The only way in which money could be considered a motivator for us would be in that we have enough to provide for our family’s needs.

Tell us about your stuff. What do you like to buy, collect, etc.?

Do experiences count? We have never really been into buying ‘things’ and instead have used extra money to take family vacations. Hawaii and Disneyland are our favorites!

Do you have “staff” in your home? (E.g. nanny, driver, chef, etc.)

Nope. But I’d sure love to hire Rachael Ray to come cook all our family meals!

Do you belong to any clubs, teams, groups or social organizations?

We attend a small church and so we are involved in many activities through that. I also host a mommas playgroup/coffee time every week in our home. Other than that, I belong to a few Disney and Mom Blogger groups online.

Finish this sentence: “My life’s motto is ….”

“I am not skilled to understand what God has willed what God has planned. I only know at his right hand stands one who is my Savior.”

***

c1e9ef29db45640b9d10dd83c49889f2As a thank you for participating, Carolyn will receive a special gift from Pure Vibe – Vancouver’s premier whole body vibration fitness studio! Imagine a 10 minute work out that gives you the benefits of exercising for one hour!! Visit www.purevibe.ca for more information.

Free, healthy snacks for your school…and giveaway from Sunrise Soya Foods

Want to receive a FREE supply of creamy and delicious pudding tubes for you and your school? Apply to be a part of Sunrise’s Super Squeezies School Donation sunrise4Program!  Sunrise Soya Foods is looking for schools who demonstrate their principle of putting ‘goodness first.’  Whether it’s through healthy cafeteria programs, annual sports meets and tournaments, or even wellness-related fundraising events, they want to hear from you!

If you’re a student, parent or teacher, and you think that your school is setting a great example for encouraging healthy eating and lifestyle choices, apply to be a part of this new and exciting program. Sunrise could reward you with a FREE supply of their delicious dairy-free pudding tubes, Super Squeezies, winner of the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix Award for “Best Dessert”!

How to participate

As part of their commitment to community engagement and promoting ‘goodness first,’ Sunrise is donating supplies of Super Squeezies Omega-3 DHA Pudding Tubes to preschool, elementary, intermediate and secondary schools and school districts that demonstrate a commitment to promoting well-rounded healthy living.

Donations can be for consumption at a variety of events, programs and activities taking place at a school or other community location, including but not limited to:

  • Hot lunches
  • Healthy cafeteria programs
  • Sport tournaments & events (e.g. Terry Fox Runs)
  • Wellness related fundraising initiatives (e.g. fitness challenges/competitions)
  • School district sport or healthy lifestyle events

More information on how your school can apply here.

sunrise2A gift for you and a chance to WIN!

We recently tried out Super Squeezies.  They were a big hit with my kids.  And really, why wouldn’t they be?  What kid doesn’t LOVE chocolate pudding.  And…I’m not gonna lie…I kept a few for myself!  Tip: they taste great frozen!!  I can see these being a huge hit in lunchboxes this fall!

You can try them, too. Download a coupon here.

Sunrise Soya Foods also has an amazing prize pack for one lucky winner.  It includes:

  • Cineplex movie passes x2
  • Super Squeezies insulated lunch bag
  • FREE Super Squeezies coupons x 4
  • Super Squeezies lip balm x4
  • Sunrise Peach Mango flavoured lip balm x 4
  • Vancouver Chefs Take On Tofu Cookbook
  • Sunrise reuseable gel packs x2

To enter, leave a comment on this post.  For added entries, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post.  Opinions expressed are my own.

Momcabulary Monday: PPPP (Primary Post-Partum Poop)

[prī-ˌmer-ē] [pōs(t)-pär-təm] [püp]

occupied

There are certain things that nobody tells you about when you’re pregnant.  The PPPP is one of them.  First you put your nether regions through the ringer, popping the baby out.   Shortly afterwards, you’ll realize that, although you’ve successfully passed another human, the very thought of pushing out a number two is paralyzing.  On top of all this, you may have acquired some likely uncomfortable hemorrhoids, which will (sorry to say) become worse before they get better because of the strain around the PPPP.  When you do eventually go, it will feel like you are literally sh*tting glass…no joke.  Maybe ignorance is bliss, after all…sorry to any first time pregos out there!

There go I but for the grace of God: how you can help a local mom who is battling cancer

Cancer.

The word hits me like a kick in the stomach lately.  So many people I know have been affected by it. Some have become ill themselves, others are nursing their parents or children, too many have died.  In particular, I have heard a frightening amount of stories about young moms stolen away from their children and partners.  In each case their perpetrator the same…

It’s not fair.  It sucks.

It could be me next.  It might be you.

aimee_alexaMeet Aimee

Aimee Taylor, 33, works in communications at the Child and Family Research Institute; she’s currently on leave after recently having her first child. Baby Alexa was born full-term and healthy a little over five months ago.  Since then, recovery has not been a smooth road; Aimee discovered in late June that the symptoms she had been experiencing, easily explained by recovery from a difficult labour followed by a C-section, were actually symptoms of cancer.

She was admitted to VGH with severe stomach pain, where doctors found a tumour, and the cancer had spread. She underwent surgery to remove the tumour, and then had a PET scan to determine what the next steps would be. The scan determined that the cancer had not spread anywhere other than the liver; she will undergo chemo, followed by surgery to remove what they can from her liver. The challenging news is that it is a stage IV cancer – the most advanced kind, which means this will be a difficult fight. However, Aimee is a tough lady with much to fight for.

Aimee is described by her friends as kind and funny and creative. She is a talented writer and storyteller. And she is a devoted partner, mother, and friend.  Like most moms, she puts her family first; her primary concern in all this lays with Evani (her partner) and Alexa.  How, she worries, will this affect them?

How you can help:

Donate money

Aimee would never ask for it, but she needs our help. Her partner is now on leave with her, so funds are tight; Aimee’s brother has set up a fundraiser here:

//funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf

Donate breast milk

Aimee is no longer able to breastfeed her daughter Alexa. To donate breast milk, email margo@margossecrets.com

Donate your Save On Points

To donate Save-On Points that they can use toward gift cards for groceries (they live right next to a Save-On store), call 1-800-242-9229 and ask to put the points toward card number 480 0343 4081 (the second line of numbers is AC #X6VXNU)

Provide meals or other donations

If you’d like to give meals or baby items, email emily.wight@gmail.com to coordinate or you can sign up here.

Any help is appreciated.

From one mom to another, Aimee, I’m sending love and healing energy your way!  Here’s hoping the kindness of strangers can bring you some comfort and peace during this time so that you can concentrate on the fight ahead and getting well.

What to do in Vancouver this weekend…

PicMonkey Collage

Well, this is it, folks!  We’re getting into the last week of summer.  Two more weekends and we’ll all be back to our regularly scheduled programming.  For now, though, savour the last few rays of sunshine, enjoy a margarita (or four if you’re like me!) and check out some of the amazing stuff happening around town!

Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival:  Aug 22-25, 2013 on Granville Island.  The 26th annual event features sea shanties, kids’ and family boat-building, artisans, ropework, a Viking ship, and opportunities to visit the boat-builders and view boats on the docks.

Cates Park Concert: August 24, 2013 4-7 PM in North Vancouver. This Saturday will be the last of this free outdoor concert series, held each summer in picturesque Cates Park, North Vancouver. This concert series showcases local bands, featuring talented young artists performing on the outdoor stage. Each features 3 local bands, and the final concert will showcase 9 singer/songwriters. So catch one performance, or bring your blanket and lawn chair and catch them all.

4th Annual White Rock Princess Party:  Saturday, August 24th, 2013 12:30 pm to 3:00 PM.  This is the 4th Annual Princess Party for little girls aged 2 – 10.  Last year they had 185 little souls attend and raised $11,787 for their charity, the White Rock Fire Department charity Association.

Celebrate! Stanley Park: August 24-25 festival to highlight park’s 125th anniversary. The festival will highlight the park’s ecology, First Nations history, and its value as a modern urban park enjoyed by over eight million visitors annually.

Pink Salmon Festival – August 25th, from noon to 5 PM in Vanier Park across from the Maritime Museum. Celebrate the return of the Pink salmon and learn about their value as a sustainable food choice. Enjoy plenty of family friendly activities including educational salmon booths, face painting, touch tanks, music, performance art and a salmon barbeque by donation prepared by executive chefs.

Got a local event you’d like me to profile? Email me!

Absurd Vancouver Property (August 22nd): Vancouver’s cheapest house

The cheapest house in Vancouver is just under $670,000!!

When you consider that about 5 years ago, you could buy a house around Main Street for that, it seems crazy.  Jeez, even when houses in the Main Street area were going for $6-700K, people thought it was nuts.

Here it is folks…the least expensive house in the city:

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Located just off Rupert Street, in East Vancouver, the house sits on a smaller 33 x 99 ft. lot. The realtor describes the “features” as 2 bedrooms up & fully finished self contained 2 bedrooms down, inlay hardwood floors, new roof, enclosed sundeck for extra storage and has lane access. Located just steps to bus and schools.

I don’t know…guess it’s a good starter for someone.  I still think it’s f*%king insane.

Vancouver…are you f*%ing kidding me?

 

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