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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Gift From the Heart

Today I'm going to talk about my new hobby - knitting! It began as part of my physiotherapy for my hand. Because of repetitive damage from factory work, and the terrible result of an operation I had to try to correct it, I have permanent damage to my right hand. I have problems with pinching and gripping, among other things, and so one of the things I've been doing to strengthen these motions is light knitting. It' slow going. I often can only manage a few rows a night, and my hand aches something fierce, but for small projects like toques or mittens it's not too bad. I was making a hat for my husband when it occurred to me that his mother's birthday was coming up, so I decided to knit her some mittens.

Now my mother-in-law and I haven't always had the best of relationships. Things often deteriorate into not speaking whenever we try to discuss our differences, but this year my New Year's resolution is to hold out the olive branch. With her birthday approaching, I thought to myself, 'wouldn't it be great if I could show her I care about her by making something heartfelt for her birthday - and save myself the fifty bucks or so I would have spent wandering around the mall looking for an impersonal item to purchase for her in the process?

I know she enjoys going for long winter walks with her friend, and that's why I hit on the idea of the mittens. To make them really warm, I decided I would first knit them and then line them with fabric, and to make them really special I decided to use a piece of one of my children's most-used baby blankets. I figured that way, when she's out walking, she'll feel the softness of that fabric and absorb the feeling of nostalgia that comes from touching clothing worn by someone you love very much.
She was pretty quiet when she opened them, but I could tell she was pleased just the same. My hope is that while she's out walking, the softness of that fabric might just make her think about the fact that our differences aren't really so great, as I had time to reflect during the long process of knitting them. And if not, since I already had the wool and material I used to make her mittens, it's still another fifty bucks I'm recording in the savings department.

Sandwiches Update
On Feb. 6th I last updated this column, and so I have two weeks' lunch savings to record as well as the fifty dollars I saved by hand making my mother-in-law's gift (not to mention the carbon emissions I saved by neglecting to purchase a commercially made item.)

Feb. 6th Total:                  207.67
Feb. 13th Lunch Savings    19.81
Feb. 20th Lunch Savings    26.44
Birthday Gift                       50.00
New Total                        303 .92

As you can see, I've cut more than $300 bucks from our expenses so far this year.  A little Self Sufficiency goes a long way!

The Self-Sufficiency Objection
If you are not interested in the Government's Proposed Medical Marihuana Amendments, please feel free to skip.  If you are interested, please copy this text and paste it into an email addressed to

Dear Sir or Madam:
I object to your proposed amendments for the following reasons:

1. From a climate perspective, you're proposing to transform what is essentially a cottage industry (in which the people that actually use the product grow it in their own backyards) and turn it into a commercial venture, with all the resource burning that entails: construction of facilities, packaging materials, transport truck freighting of supplies, etc.  If growing it inside homes is such a concern, why not just make that part illegal and let them grow it outdoors?

2. From a socioeconomic perspective, you propose taking one hundred and sixty six million dollars from one of society's most disadvantaged people (those with chronic pain and illness) and giving it to commercial businesses, an increase in cost to them from the current $1.80 to the projected $8.80 over the next few years, yet another expample of a government body putting business interest over that of citizens. 

3. From a civil libertarian perspective, you're going to open up a substance that has acknowledged medical benefit to commercial businesses to profit from but you won't allow the average citizen to grow it in their own backyard for personal use?

4. You open up a public comment period and do the absolute minimum to inform people that it's open, and then you publish a document so crammed full of legal jargon that the task of reading through it is onerous enough that all but the most determined will be deterred from even finishing it?  (another attempt to exclude the noneducated underclass from the discussion or a known tactic for steamrolling your own agendas through?)

5. And finally, you contend that the risk of hazards associated with indoor growing and the threat of the substance making it's way to the illicit market are your justifications for the above?  If the government just removed the sanction on outdoor marijuana growing for personal use the rest of the problems you articulate disappear.  The street value drops, thereby reducing the profitability of indoor grow ops to the point that they no longer are worth the risk.  The cost of administering the MMPR is eliminated and the climate is spared the carbon emitting transport truck traffic of building and operating yet another unneccessary commercial industry.

My objection to your proposed amendments is this: stop putting commercial interests ahead of the climate.  Growing plants for personal use in one's backyard is by far the lesser of two evils if the alternative is one more wasteful, resource-burning industry created in the name of profit for business.

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