Friday, 26 February 2010

Week of Wellness: Day 5

It's Friday, the last day of my retreat-style week. There is absolutely nothing on my agenda for this morning and this afternoon, and in fact the electricity is scheduled to go out for the entire afternoon, which will mesh nicely with my intention to start reading one of the four books I picked up from the library yesterday. I've got a bell on my computer set so that it chimes on the hour and quarter hours, and when it does I stop what I'm doing for a minute, breathe, and just appreciate that I am here at home, relaxing, while the sun pours in the windows.

Tomorrow the weekend proper begins, but it should be more laid back than usual this time because I'm caught up on some laundry and other chores. Then it's back to work on Monday, and I think I will be ready for it. It's been good to get some peace, to watch some of the silly habits of my mind, and just have some space and time to slow down. Hopefully I can carry some of that spaciousness back to work with me, at least for a little while.

Happy Friday everyone, and do enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Week of Wellness: Day 4

Thanks everyone for all your encouraging words yesterday! It's funny how minds will get into ruts they didn't even know they had! Today I'm taking the time to enjoy each moment. After a little bit of yoga, some tai chi exercises and meditation this morning, I'm doing a little baking and then this evening I'm meeting up with a friend from my high school days. And I don't have to worry about how late the visit goes, because I don't have to get up at any particular time tomorrow -- bliss!

I hope you all enjoy your day as well!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Week of Wellness: Day 3

My mind is playing tricks on me today. It's barely halfway through my week off, and already I'm worrying about how little time I have left. I'm stressing out about what I wanted to do that I haven't done, and I'm resenting having to drive into the city when I am comfy and cozy at home, even though my 'schedule' is far from busy. Silly, hey? I need to just decide what I'm doing and then do it. Ok. I guess I'll go do that.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Week of Wellness: Day 2

It passed, it passed! Unanimously even!

Hundreds of people came to Edmonton City Hall last night to show support for the municipal development plan that now includes amendments that ensures food security issues will be considered in any developments that would impact farmland.

Here is a summary of about 3 1/2 hours of meeting time by comprehensive local blogger, Mack Male. This picture is from his website as well, and I'm even in the picture (find the lady with the red hat, and then go left one person and down one person - I'm the one with the black coat and white hoody sticking out). There are more pictures at his website, and in one of them you can see I'm scribbling furiously in my little notebook. :) Counsillor Don Iveson posted his thoughts about the municipal development plan and his closing speech in support of it here.

It was an amazing experience! There were so many people there, of all ages - from babies to people probably in their '70s or maybe even '80s. What was so heartening was the range of all ages that were there - lots of school-aged kids, and many people in their 20's. Lots of young families, and multiple generations of families.

The GEA organizers had asked people to come for 6 pm, but all the presentations for and against the municipal development plan (MDP) had spoken in the afternoon session. But the GEA speakers all took the time to say their speeches again to the gathered crowd, before city councillors returned to resume the council session. The speeches were terrific, and were made by people including a three-generation potato farmer, and the 12 year old daughter of a new berry farmer, all of whom have farms on Class 1 farmland that was, until today, at risk of being paved over for new 'development.' The new berry farmer got a huge cheer when she revealed that she had turned down the offer of an "energy company" to buy her 9 acres of land last year.

One of the best lines of the night came from Monique Nutter, GEA organizer: "local food requires local land." That says it all, doesn't it? It's so obvious, yet so profound! She went on to say that this MDP recognizes that we have a "fundemental dependence on nature's bounty" and that in passing this document, the city has given a "gift to future generations."

After the speeches, we were encouraged to talk to someone there who we didn't yet know about why we came to the meeting. I spoke with a mother and daughter next to me who came because they saw the city's subdivisions encroaching on the natural and farming areas surrounding it, and worried about where we were going to be getting our food 20 years from now. The daughter talked about how depressing it was to talk with people of "older generations" and their focus on "development only." I was inspired talking to her, because I worry that the younger generation doesn't think about anyting other than video games or what new phone to buy: she proved me wrong, and I'm glad.

At about 7:15 pm council reconvened, and the nitty gritty debate continued. I was impressed overall with how committed the councillors seemed to be to crafting a document that incorporates environmental considerations into it, and which guides development towards sustainability on a number of levels, including more firm targets for in-fill development rather than urban sprawl, protecting the river valley from "resource extraction" - i.e., gravel pits, promoting public transportation, preserving wetland areas, and now, incorporating a food and agriculture strategy into all future 'development' considerations.

At about 8:30 pm one of the organizers said that we could leave if we wished, since council knew we were here and the presentations had been made. I stayed for another half hour or so, finally packing it in as the debate on various wording changes wore me down. I turns out I should have stayed another 20 minutes, because it looks like things sped up considerably after that and the MDP passed second reading unanimously! I found that out by searching twitter's #yegcc (Edmonton City Council) hashtag this morning.

It was a great experience! Democracy in action. Beautiful.

And now today I have a day at home, which I will enjoy immensely. I picked up a new book at the library yesterday, I will meditate, do some tai chi, do a few chores, make a healthy supper, and mostly just putter around. And that's beautiful too.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Week of Wellness: Day 1


Is there anything better than a week stretching out ahead, to be filled with good and relaxing things? I think not!

On today's 'agenda', so to speak, is to do some tai chi and meditation in the morning, look through my seed catalogue in the afternoon, and then head to Edmonton's City Hall for an evening city council meeting about food security and land use planning.

I'm actually skipping my tai chi class tonight in order to go to the meeting, but this is a one-time opportunity I don't want to miss. Organizers are hoping for as many as 750 people to come to this, the last of three city council meetings on the topic. At the last meeting in November, amendments were passed that set the stage for the protection of farmland in Edmonton. The next step is to have the entire municipal development plan passed, so that there is a "city wide food and agricultural strategy" to which future city development must adhere.

It seems silly, doesn't it, to have to debate this, rather than have it be self-evident. It should be a no-brainer to have arable land protected and spared from "development." The word "development" itself implies that the land is just empty and useless, sitting there doing nothing, lacking any buildings or roads or other such "improvments." Anyway, I will take some notes and blog about what happened at the meeting tomorrow! Hopefully I will have good news!

Picture courtesy Edmonton's City Farm

Monday, 15 February 2010

Something about February

There's just something about February that says Spring is on its way! Just the word "February" itself sounds much warmer and friendlier than January, wouldn't you say? Even though it has been cloudy outside much of the time and snowing now and then, I just feel better knowing it is February!

My Week of Wellness is now just a week away, and thanks to Claire at I Love Alberta Beets, I have already made significant headway into my budgeting goal, freeing up even more time for tea and reading - yay!

I'm considering adding one more thing to my list of wellness-related activities for the week: attending a public meeting at City Hall on Edmonton's food and agriculture strategy. After all, ensuring that our valueable farmland doesn't all get paved over for suburban development is a matter of wellness for everyone!