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Archive for the ‘musings and relfections’ Category

I think this is fantastic – check it out:

On the sunny but chilly first day of spring, Obama joined about 25 fifth-graders from Bancroft Elementary on the South Lawn at three picnic tables set with baskets of apples and thermoses of hot cider. The children, who also work in a garden at school, were given shovels, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to help prepare the garden, where as many as 55 fruits and vegetables will be grown year round for use in the White House kitchen. The students will be invited back to the White House to plant seedlings, then again to harvest and learn how to cook with the fresh produce.

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burts-beeAn interesting article on trusted organic brands and who really owns them. I’ll certianly think a bit harder during my next shop…

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pigsJust read this about pathogens in pork and how the use common of antibiotics in the food chain is becoming problematic. It really scares me and makes me now want to take all pork out of our diet. We don’t eat a lot to begin with but all of this is so scary – and that it’s all starting to get cross-contaminated is even more frightening. When will the US and other countries stop these practices by agribusiness that is industrializing, and thereby, ruining our food supply. I don’t give my kids antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary because I believe they are being overused and am fearful of them becoming resistant to it, in fact my second has never been on them, but how can I protect them from being exposed by food (here’s an article on the increase of resistant staph infections in children).  I’m becoming more and more consumed by thoughts of what Nicholas Kristof writes below and I’m still searching for alternatives. Obama recently vowed to make food safety improvement a priority – I sure hope so…

We don’t add antibiotics to baby food and Cocoa Puffs so that children get fewer ear infections. That’s because we understand that the overuse of antibiotics is already creating “superbugs” resistant to medication.

Yet we continue to allow agribusiness companies to add antibiotics to animal feed so that piglets stay healthy and don’t get ear infections. Seventy percent of all antibiotics in the United States go to healthy livestock, according to a careful study by the Union of Concerned Scientists — and that’s one reason we’re seeing the rise of pathogens that defy antibiotics.

These dangerous pathogens are now even in our food supply. Five out of 90 samples of retail pork in Louisiana tested positive for MRSA — an antibiotic-resistant staph infection — according to a peer-reviewed study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology last year. And a recent study of retail meats in the Washington, D.C., area found MRSA in one pork sample, out of 300, according to Jianghong Meng, the University of Maryland scholar who conducted the study.

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valentines_day_mmMy husband is sick so I took the kids this afternoon to the club so he could get some sleep. During dinner I asked F and T to be my valentine’s and they both said yes. F asked me all about valentine’s day, true love, and our courtship leading up to her and t’s birth. She then informed me that when she grow’s up she wants to be a rugby-playing-princess-arial-doctor and I told her that was awesome and she would be the coolest person I ever met. Wishing you all a great valentine’s day….

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veggiesWith the title of this I’m sure most people will think of the awful melamine scare with china milk supply.  However my food dilemma here started the day we landed, nearly a year ago. Before we left new york we had a great routine of buying as much from the local’s farmers market as possible and the rest from the supermarket, where I would check labels and buy things with the smallest carbon footprint, in terms of both where it was produced and whether it was organic. I felt like I was feeding the family fairly nutritiously, affordably, sustainably and responsibly. Well I fear all that has gone to the wayside.

I find my carbon imprint is huge here due to the fact that nearly all of my dairy is from abroad, as are a lot of the meat and fish. I’ve started getting the organic box from The Organic Farm so I feel better about that but I’m still a bit too nervous about the pollution to get fish from the wet market, and I’m still very conscious of hormone and antibiotic free meat. The organic box only contains vegetables so I still have to decide between conventional fruit, where I worry about pesticide levels, versus paying a lot for organic. We’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian but my 19-month old literally subsists on – in this order – cheese, bread, milk, meat and fish.  I have to hide all fruits and vegetables in various ways to get T to eat them – which makes it all the more stressful. Thankfully my 3yo is much better.

On top of all of this is the cost. It’s crippling us. I can’t keep up financially. I am so conflicted on so many levels. And while I’m focusing on the specific food related issues I face here in Hong Kong, overall I am so frustrated by the growing industrial food complex and the mass-production of food. For example the rampant salmonella scares in the US, the latest from peanuts. I do try to live by Michael Pollan’s credo of “if your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it it shouldn’t be on your plate” but it’s not always easy or affordable. Don’t get me wrong I’m not some crazy food nazi – when we’re out of the house most anything goes (including McDonald’s when necessary) but within the confines of the home I do try to make it as healthy and sustainable as possible.  So what do you do? What are your concerns about the state of the food industry? Any recommendations for Hong Kong?

For some interesting articles on the topic try:

opinion on melamine in all foods

michael pollan

– meat and emmissions

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I’ve been looking forward to F’s first holiday concert for a long time. I always envisioned chaos, hilarity, adorableness, tears (from adults and children). Maybe the scene in Partenthood is etched in my head. Her school’s 2008 Holiday concert did not disappoint.

I arrived with T about 30 minutes before the concert began, and frankly, about an hour and a half too soon. When it all began at 9:30 AM, T was running around yelling “MaMa” and trying to rush the stage. Attention was turning to her and not the kids, so I took her outside. She ran up and down stairs, dismantled a wicker basket, and walked in on a woman breast feeding. At one point, she walked into a corridor, which is where F’s class was waiting to go on. One of F’s teachers said that she better not see us or she might cry. I thought, hmm, that’s strange. Haven’t had a crying report for a while. E was with her all morning because she is a class parent, and was helping out her class and apparently when she left the group F cried a bit. So that’s why her teacher was afraid of F seeing us.

F did see us on the way to the stage at around 11 A.M. and flashed a huge smile and waved excitedly. She was pumped for the performance and pumped that the family was there to give a shout out. Slowly, her class trickled on stage. Teachers had to physically push (gently) some kids toward the center. One boy immediately started crying. Teachers and parents tried to help but he was inconsolable. His mom finally emerged from the crowd.

I really wondered if F would sing. When you ask her to sing Chinese songs she won’t. The only way you hear it is when she’s singing under her breath. She is easily embarrassed, shy, and has no problem standing her ground if she doesn’t want to participate in something.

On Friday, if I may say so myself, F was awesome. She belted out every song, to the point where you would occasionally hear her voice over the din. They sang “Feliz Navidad,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Ding Dong Ding” plus a Chinese song I didn’t recognize.

It was amazing. She waved to us several times, one of them I captured on film. I loved that the boy on the far left, who is short, had his arm around his classmate most of the time (who is quite a bit taller). Also, at one point, it looks as if her classmates are supposed to jump. But the only ones doing this are the “big kids” in the back.

F was one of the few kids who remembered to blow kisses to the audience after their gig. She nailed it.

I have to say, I was very, very impressed with the program. It didn’t sound great, but it was a diverse body of songs and there was minimal distractions, except for a few tears here and there. The teachers and organizers deserved a long weekend (and some strong drinks afterwards) for their coordination.

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img_8545Since moving to Honkey Town in February ’08 we’ve been keeping a fairly consistent blog for family and friends back home. In the course of doing so we’ve realized that there is information, musings, and general reflections from our experiences that we think would be interesting to share publicly. So from here onward we’re unveling our public face for a wider audience. Below are posts we’ve altered for our new public life and we’ll add content as we go. Welcome and we hope you (if there are any you’s out there) enjoy!

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