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All In Hand

GorRoss the Ravenous

Miss Vicky Thu Apr 12, 2007

Friends of ours, whose daughter is a few weeks older than Gordon, announced early on that their baby had a Monster name, a combination of the first syllable of her first name and the last syllable of her middle name. MarMon, they call her, whenever her monster baby personality emerges.Sweet Potato

Gordon has a monster personality, too. GorRoss the Ravenous, we call him.

He's had an.... enthusiastic approach to eating for quite some time now.

Now that he is six months and eating solids, GorRoss makes an appearance pretty much every day.

We started solids a couple of weeks ago when I was sick and having some trouble feeding him.

First Solids

At first, he wasn't too sure what to do with this stuff.

Then he wasn't too sure how he felt about it.


He downed the small amount we gave him, though, and has been eating more and more every day.

Different stuff, too. Bananas are a big hit. Avocado.


Sweet potato, carrots, peas, pears and applesauce. Tried green beans, but he wasn't thrilled about those.

I'm amazed at what this kid can put away. We picked up these plastic cubes you can use to freeze portions of homemade baby food. I loaded them up with pureed carrots and defrosted a few for dinner earlier this week.


He downed three cubes' worth and was still looking for more. Time to bring out the applesauce, I figured, and GorRoss happily lapped up spoon after spoon.


When he tried to grab a fistful himself, I figured the meal was over.

At this rate, we're going to need a second fridge when he turns 14.

Guest Blog: 100 K Breakfast

Miss Vicky Wed Apr 11, 2007

So I put out the call for a guest blogger to report on the 100K Breakfast held at the Table a couple of weeks ago.... and guess who responded! Here's a report from our MP, Paul Dewar:

When I sent out an open invite to join me for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning in April I never thought that I’d have to turn anyone away shortly after the doors opened at the Table Vegetarian restaurant. But that’s exactly what happened.

What brought people out was the chance to enjoy a breakfast consisting of locally produced food from within a 100 kilometre radius of Ottawa Centre. (I do confess to having coffee available that, of course, was not locally grown; however, it was fair trade and roasted 90 kilometres away in Renfrew. I figured that arriving for a breakfast that didn’t include java would not go over well with the early risers!)

Also on hand was author Thomas Pawlick whose new book The End of Food is “full of very scary facts on how modern industrial farming techniques have reduced the available nutrients. For instance, since 1950 supermarket potatoes in Canada no longer contain Vitamin A, their iron quotient has been reduced by 57% along with their Vitamin C. Meanwhile, tomatoes have lost 61.5% of their calcium, 35.5% of their iron and 50% of their Vitamin A while gaining 200% more sodium! His book shows how it's not enough simply to eat a salad, consumers need to think carefully about who grew the ingredients in it and how and where. And that's not even getting into what's put into our livestock."

Other speakers included Moe Garahan from Just Food, a non profit, community based organization working on urban and rural food issues in an effort to make Ottawa “food secure”. This occurs when everyone in the community has physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and cultural food preferences. As well, foods are produced as locally as possible, and their production and distribution are environmentally, socially and economically just.

What can you eat on an early April morning that is locally grown and produced? We enjoyed herbal teas from Judy’s Organic Herbs, juice and apple cider from Hall’s Apple Market in Brockville, pancakes made of flour locally milled at Watson’s Mill (Manotick), maple syrup from Proulx Sugar Bush in Cumberland, eggs from Rainbow Foods (Bekings, in Oxford Station) and tempeh sausages from Soyarie in Gatineau.

So, what can great locally produced foods can we eat in the fall? Well, if you join me at my next 100K breakfast in September you’ll find out. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime you can refer to the current “Ottawa Buy Local Food Guide” online at www.justfood.ca where you will also find locations to pick up the newest edition coming out this June.

Why eat locally? Besides having great tasting and fresh produce that is filled with vitamins instead of chemical preservatives, you are also helping to support local farmers by buying their goods. Farmers only receive about 10 cents of every dollar from the sale of their produce in supermarkets. Buying your produce directly from them means a better deal for the farmer and better quality for you!

- Paul Dewar, Ottawa Centre MP

Survey says.....

Miss Vicky Wed Apr 11, 2007

from Creative Neighbourhoods:

Calling all ''Hintonburgers', 'Mechanicsvillagers', and 'West Wellingtonians' !

Share your vision for the future of our Neighbourhoods and Mainstreet via the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative's online surveys!

In partnership with local community members, the City of Ottawa is undertaking a Neighbourhood Planning Initiative in the neighbourhoods of Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, and Wellington West.

This initiative will shape the future development of buildings, public spaces, water and sewer, transportation, human services, and more for the entire neighbourhood.

Now is the opportunity for citizens to provide input to help design the new main street - including lighting, sidewalks, bike paths, landmarks and 'street furniture'!

A 25-member Community Task Force (CTF) of community representatives has been struck to serve as key advisors to the project. The CTF wants to hear from people who live and work in Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, West Wellington, and along Wellington St. West.

Beginning April 9th, 2007, the CTF will be conducting a series of weekly online surveys for six consecutive weeks. Each survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Click here to go to the survey site, and remember, at the end of each survey, sign up to participate in a 'lucky draw' for prizes from local businesses!

Composting by 2008?

Miss Vicky Tue Apr 10, 2007

City Council will consider a motion tomorrow to go ahead with organics collection in Ottawa. It's a long, long time coming. The "pilot has been up and running successfully for 6 years (6 years! For a pilot!) while council has dithered and delayed, delayed and dithered. This despite the fact that pretty much every major Canadian city, not to mention plenty of small towns, have implemented organics collection (also known as the Green Bin) successfully.... and the fact that we in Ottawa are far from our waste diversion targets and rapidly using up our landfill space. Some councillors have consistently expressed concerns that residents won't use the program, that it's a waste of money, that it's "yucky". What, are people in Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Perth, Guelph and elsewhere that much smarter than us? We're too delicate? Give me a break.

Let's hope this council has more of a spine than the last one. My only fear is that they will balk at the cost of implementing the program. Sure, it will cost some money, but we'll save in the long term - on greenhouse gas emissions, on landfill space, and eventually the cost of a new landfill. A low-interest loan and an 8.25 million dollar grant from the FCM have been approved to implement the program. Not only that, the compost will be sold and eventually returned to the earth.

I'm a backyard composter, and my garbage output is fairly small already. But there are plenty of things I can't put in my own compost that I'll be able to put in a green bin. Meat scraps, bones, pet waste, soiled tissues.... if I had a cat, kitty litter could go in. Basically, combined with recycling the only thing that would be going into my garbage would be that that damned unrecyclable packaging. I can't wait.

So if you read this tonight, please fire off a letter to your councillor urging them to support the program. It's about time!

Money well spent

Miss Vicky Tue Apr 10, 2007

As I type this, two guys are in our backyard, wearing strange Ghostbuster-like getups. No, it's not a Hazmat crew. Well, kind of....


They're the fine folk from Poopermaster, a local company that saves dog owners from what is the worst part of spring. As one of the residents of Miss Vicky's Finishing School is a 120lb German Shepherd named Winston, you can imagine what her yard looks like once the snow melts.

The jet-pack like devices they're wearing are, I'm assuming, a form of leafblower set on reverse and attached to bags they use to dispose of, well, you know.

Is it weird that I'm very happy about this?


MS Super Cities Walk Time.

The Webgeek Mon Apr 9, 2007

The Hintonburg Hoofers
So it's time once again for the MS super cities walk. The event is on April 29th. Feel free to join our team, The Hintonburg Hoofers, or sponsor The Webgeek, who not only lost his mother and an aunt to this horrible disease, but has another aunt who continues to live with it. We'll be posting more about this as the event draws nearer.

Facebook is addictive

Miss Vicky Sun Apr 8, 2007

that is all.

Child Care support needed

Miss Vicky Sat Apr 7, 2007

Miss Vicky received the following call for support this week:

City Council failed to provide a 2% inflationary increase for community child care programs in the 2007 City budget.

Child care centres are struggling to make ends meet on budgets that have not seen inflationary increases for over 12 years. It is very difficult to continue to deliver high quality programs to children and families on budgets that do not cover the actual cost of the service.

We hope that you can help us let Council know that it is not acceptable to ignore the need for a cost of living increase for our child care programs.

You can help us send a message to Council that it is not acceptable or fair to ignore the need for a 2% cost of living increase for our child care programs by emailing or calling your Councillor and the Mayor

I have to say I'm quite disappointed at council's differential treatment of child care - and a bit shocked that they have been singled out from other community-based services.

And it is a cut - not just a freeze. Because 12 years of no cost of living increases mean child care programs can't keep up with rising costs of hydro, space rental, wages, food and supplies. This translates into diminshed quality of service and less access for those families who need child care the most.

Here's what happened at Council:

City Council was asked to approve the following Community and Protective Services Committee recommendation that was passed on March 1, 2007:

"That Council approve $900K from capital WIP (works in progress) closures for a 2% increase in purchase of service contract daily per diem rates for child care agencies providing subsidized licensed day care.

However, prior to the item being heard, the Mayor ruled (against the advice of the City Solicitor) that a three quarters majority vote of Council was required in order for this item to be considered. Several members of Council objected to this decison and challenged the Mayor, forcing a vote to decide if the Mayor's decison should be upheld.

The wording of the challenge was: "Shall the Chair be sustained?"

Yeas - Brooks, Chiarelli, Monette, Desroches, Jellett, Legendre, Leadman, McRae, Qadri, Harder, El-Chantiry, Bloess, Thompson, Hunter, O'Brien. 15

Nays - Bedard, Bellemare, Hume, Holmes, Feltmate, Wilkinson, Cullen, Deans, Doucet. 9

As a result, the Mayor was successful in requiring a three quarter positive vote of Council in order to have this item discussed at Council.

The three quarter vote to "Suspend the Rules of Council" in order to discuss the 2% increase was called and the result was:

*Yeas*- Bedard, Bellemare, Hume, Holmes, Feltmate, Wilkinson, Legendre, Leadman, McRae, Qadri, Harder, Cullen, Deans, Doucet 14

Nays - Brooks, Chiarelli, Monette, Desroches, Jellett, El-Chantiry, Bloess, Thompson, Hunter, O'Brien 10

So, the Mayor's intervention in forcing the three quarter majority vote (which is not normal rules of order, by the way) prevented the 2% increase from becoming a reality. Actually, it prevented the 2% increase from even being discussed. I am told that a majority of councillors support the increase, and this is represented in the 14 councillors supporting the second motion. But look at the councillors that decided to play both sides of the fence by sustaining the Mayor's ridiculous ruling, thus enabling him to get away with killing any chance of getting the increased passed by playing with the rules of procedure.

Many of us tried to put our concillor on the spot at her budget meeting in the ward. She wouldn't commit to being an advocate for child care. She just kept repeating that there was "consensus" on the issue at council.

Consensus, indeed.


Ken Gray's gonna catch it

Miss Vicky Fri Apr 6, 2007

Let the letters fly. Citizen columnist Ken Gray's ode to Westboro extols the virtues of the area as a model neighbourhood - "an oasis of planning sanity in a city that is increasingly a car-oriented community of environmentally and socially unsound suburbs". It's hard to disagree. I love the cozy streets in Westboro, the shops on Richmond, the access to the greenspace along the Parkway and Westboro beach, the convenience of the Churchill transitway stop... Problem is, in his enthusiasm for Ottawa's west end, Gray decided to annex nearby neighbourhoods and expand Westboro's boundaries to include some of the best features of other Kitchissippi communities. West Wellington becomes "Epicurean Row", the Parkdale Market becomes Westboro's "anchor".

Watch out, Ken. People in these parts get a mite testy about neighbourhood definitions. Ask any Hintonburg or West Wellington store owner that decides to advertise their business as a Westboro destination. They are almost guaranteed a visit and a long lecture from historically-informed residents. Purists will insist that Hintonburg stretches all the way to Island Park, as per the original settlement boundaries. The current neighbourhood, however, is bordered by the O-train tracks on the East and Holland on the West. West Wellington, thanks to increased community association activity, is just starting to assert its own identity as a distinct neighbourhood and shopping destination. And while there are some kick-butt restaurants on the strip, most of the folks that live there see Wellington Street West as a destination for day-to-day staples - a walk-to-shop mainstreet, not an "Epicurean Row".

Hintonburg and West Wellington residents are proud of where they live. Many of us chose these neighbourhoods on purpose, because of the great mainstreet, the short walk to the Parkdale Market, the easy access to greenspace, bike and walking paths, and the quirky diversity of residents and businesses. So please understand our frustration when our distinct identity is glossed over by the encroaching gentrification represented by an association with Westboro.

I wasn't looking for another Westboro when I moved to Hintonburg, that's for sure. And I am proud of the hard work of many in this community to re-brand the area by campaigning for an arts district and promoting a vision of Hintonburg that extends beyond crack houses, bike gangs and prostitution sweeps. Unfortunately, the Citizen's editorial policy seems to alter our neighbourhood's boundaries with the focus of the story. Crime, drugs and prostitution and any negative associations belong to troubled Hintonburg. New art galleries, funky bistros, our fabulous farmer's market and the new cornerstone of our community - the GCTC - apparently belong to Westboro.

Hintonburg is a great neighbourhood precicely because of its different facets, its gritty urban identity. Many of us worry that increased development will render the area unaffordable, especially for artists and other folk that make this neighbourhood such a diverse, funky community.

Kitchissippi is full of unique and fabulous neighbourhoods, Ken. How about giving them a little credit?

Of Sleep and Guilt

Miss Vicky Wed Apr 4, 2007

As I type this, Gordie is in his playpen/bassinet, napping fitfully.
He has been tired since about 9, but refused to nap. We have been engaged in a battle of wills since then. We tried the crib first, and he seemed happy enough in there for a while - mesmerized by the shooting star mobile hanging above. It didn't last long, though, and no amount of singing, shushing and face-stroking would get him down to sleep. We moved downstairs (where he does most of his napping anyway), snuggled for a while, and then I put him in the playpen, covered him with his fuzzy polar bear blanket and hoped for the best. It didn't take long for the crying to start. This was one pissed-off baby. I waited for a little bit to see if he would drop off, but nope. So I bent over the crib, gave him some reassuring caresses, sang a few rounds of the Smallman family nonsense lullaby, waited for him to calm down, and quietly withdrew.

Again with the crying. I can tell it's a pissed off cry. And that he's pretty darned tired. His eyes are closed, and no tears accompany the wailing. Kind of a "screw you, Mom. Sure I'm tired - I may even be asleep already - but I'm damned if I'm going down without a fight". I decide to give it a little longer this time before I move in.

Winston, I have discovered, absolutely hates the "cry it out" strategy. Well, none of us are really thrilled with it, or any variation of it, but Winston gets very confused. This time, he went over to the bassinet, sniffed, whined, looked at me, sniffed again. As the cries increased in volume, he got more agitated, came over and nosed me, went back to the bassinet, sniffed, looked at me as if to say "What's your problem? This small thing's not happy. Aren't you going to do anything about it?" and lay down beside it, facing outwards in his protective stance. He was right. Gordie was not happy. And after a few minutes I caved, tried to comfort him in the bassinet and eventually picked him up and held him until he settled down and finally went to sleep. I had to do this one more time before he finally succumbed and began napping in earnest.

So. An hour and a half of frustration for everyone so Gordon could get what will likely be about an hour of much-needed sleep. Sigh.

The first question most people ask new parents is "how are you sleeping"? I don't know about others, but I usually answer something like "not too badly" or "it could be worse" or something inocuous like that. Anything more specific and you are treated to long stories about someone else's kid sleeping though the night from 3 weeks or getting up every hour and so on and so on. And there are so many different approaches to sleep and accompanying styles of parenting. I know that what works for one kid may not work for this one. We're just trying to find our own sleep groove.

It could be worse, really. Gordie gets up a couple times in the night to feed but gets back to sleep quickly afterwards. We have experimented with weaning him off the night feeds but I'm not quite sure he's ready for it. Or maybe I'm not ready for it.... hard to say. I do know we have to do something about this nap situation. As much as I absolutely adore the sensation of a warm, cuddly bundle in my arms slowly dropping into slumber, I just don't want to be rocking, bouncing or cuddling to sleep all the time.

The hardest thing about the sleep struggles - even harder than dealing with a crabby, overtired baby - is the guilt. Am I a bad mother that my child does not sleep blissfully for 9 hours in a row each night? Or that we're not co-sleeping? Or that the Webgeek and I can't handle crying it out? That our dog pesters us to respond when we do let Gordie cry? That I have not memorized every sleep how-to publication by heart and applied the strategies faithfully? That I want to be free from the 3am nursing session (more more accurately, from at least one of the 1, 3 and 5am sessions)? That I want Gordon to learn how to sleep without the aid of the "baby dance" or the movement of the stroller?


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