Parenting with an Open Heart returns to East Vancouver!

Are looking to refine and enhance what you’ve been doing as a parent because you just “know” that you can and that both you and your child(ren) would benefit all the more from it?

Or are you a frustrated parent floating aimlessly in a sea of authoritarian how-tos that simply don’t work for you or your child(ren)?

Maybe you have even discovered your own parents in your words and actions and wondered how the heck that happened?!

Parenting with an Open Heart is returning to East Vancouver and is all about empowering the knowledge and wisdom that every human being comes with, passed down for millions of generations, but only recently doubted and suppressed.

(Read what other parents have thought about these seminars below)

Although these past 10,000 years have put many barriers between the civilized person’s intuitive knowledge and day-to-day life, thankfully our innate human heritage remains!

This seminar series is designed to help you reconnect with instinctive and heart-centred parenting…with its joy and success!  It will revolve around you and what you need and it’s designed for all parents, care-givers and parents-to-be, of any generation.  Sure, there’s lots of information to be gleaned, but we’ll work with your life and use our lives as examples so it will be as easy as possible to Parent with an Open Heart.

Our next sessions will focus on Authoritative Parenting and add a twist of trust.  It’s very different than Authoritarian Parenting and is one of many ways to break out of the Authoritarian/Permissive box that civilized parents often find ourselves in.

Alice Miller’s work will help us understand how we ended up in that little parenting box….

On March 10, 2013, we’ll start the session with a look and demonstration of at least 3 different ways to get around by bicycle.  We’ll have a tandem that anyone from 4 and up can ride, a front seat that I call the “best seat out of the house”, and a bike trailer for one.  And if you bring your bike, you can see if the bike seat or trailer will work with it.

Then we will focus on how we can have fun any moment we choose to, and how those behaviours we’ve learned to dread are really trying to help us discover more…about ourselves and our child(ren).

And all along the way, we’ll keep in mind what we and our children actually need.

In particular, we’ll create a toolbox of tips for compassionate parents to rely on when times get tough.

Other topics that invariably come up:

We’ll focus on the positives of all these, but we won’t ignore the problems of parenting with a closed heart.

Nonviolent communication is a technique that will be used during the course of this seminar; you need not know it or even want to learn it, but it will help you discover your feelings and needs and those of the rest of your family.  It is highly recommended!  And most importantly, it will help us keep the Parenting with an Open Heart seminar space a “No-fault Zone!”

The series continues through March on Saturday evenings.  These sessions will be held in a private residence at 2105 Parker (corner of Lakewood Drive; enter from Lakewood through a gate into the basement).

We’ll begin at 6:00pm for 2 hours.

You’ll receive Compassionate Communication hand-outs and for those that register for the whole set of 7 sessions, you’ll also receive an electronic version of Magical Parent, Magical Child (see below for package info).  Plus you’ll receive our excellent and inspiring bibliography and reading list.

Admission to the first session is by donation, and I don’t want anyone to use cost as a reason not to come.  Snacks and teas are provided.  My goal is simply to make life more wonderful for more people!    And yes, children are welcome and there are oodles of toys on site!

This time I’ll be offering package rates as well: 8 weeks of sessions for $150, which includes an electronic version of Magical Parent, Magical Child and have access to our full lending library.  Drop-in is $25 per session; for anyone who needs it, the scale can slide.

Pre-registration for Parenting with an Open Heart is advised and recommended.  Simply email me at bike at resist dot ca or call me at 604.216.6700 with your name and contact info.

Again, upcoming session dates in Vancouver are Saturday, February 2nd, and Saturday February 9th.  These will be held in a private residence at 2105 Parker (corner of Lakewood Drive; enter from Lakewood through a gate into the basement)…we’ll begin at 6:00pm for 2 hours.

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Another 2012 Cob Building Workshop!

From September 13th to 17th, I’ll be hosting another cob/natural building workshop on Lasqueti Island. The cost of this 3 day workshop is $300 which covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 3 days, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

I enjoyed how you let us experiment and fail and learn on the fly.” – Luke ’11

It was empowering!  I really feel like in a short week like I can get going on building my own cob house!” – Jodi ’11

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 6 cob workshops and finished four buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

The food was absolutely incredible!  I’ve never been to any event where the food was as healthy, abundant, delicious, frequent.” – Jodi ’11

I was surprised by how much variety there was as my preconditioned idea of a vegan diet was that it would be very plain without much zing.  However it was a treat each meal” – Luke ’11

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.

What will the focus be for this workshop?

We’ll be finishing a guest house/garden shed that started with very short cob walls on a stone foundation.  10′ logs are used to cantilever the sleeping space over the garden shed and we’ll cob up to a metal roof that will collect rain water.  The floor is pine, and the roof will be sloped to make the guest house seem like a loft over the garden shed.  The 96 sq ft. structure will be done by the end of the month!

We’ll also be plastering with a lovely natural plaster: a cob bench, greenhouse walls, outside and inside.  You’ll find the ratio of materials that work best for applying and lasting, which can be used on any type of construction.

On site, there will be the beginnings of a stone foundation to help you understand an efficient way of creating your own.  Our time is too short to work on it, but the concepts will be on display so you can absorb it all while you learn to mix fast cob and plaster naturally.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Thursday, September 13th (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic dinner that evening) and Monday, September 17th (a farewell breakfast will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Friday to Sunday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure.

The pace is casual but determined; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

To receive an application form, please email Dave: bike at resist dot ca or write a comment below with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of natural building and cob soon!

2012 Cob Building Workshops!

From August 18th to 23rd and August 25th to 30th, I’ll be hosting two independent cob/natural building workshops on Lasqueti Island. The cost of each workshop is $400 which covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 4 days, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

I enjoyed how you let us experiment and fail and learn on the fly.” – Luke ’11

It was empowering!  I really feel like in a short week like I can get going on building my own cob house!” – Jodi ’11

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 6 cob workshops and finished four buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

The food was absolutely incredible!  I’ve never been to any event where the food was as healthy, abundant, delicious, frequent.” – Jodi ’11

I was surprised by how much variety there was as my preconditioned idea of a vegan diet was that it would be very plain without much zing.  However it was a treat each meal” – Luke ’11

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.

What will the focus be for this workshop?

We’ll be creating a guest house/garden shed that starts with very short cob walls on a stone foundation.  We’ll add 10′ logs to cantilever the sleeping space over the garden shed and cob up to a metal roof that will collect rain water.  The floor will be pine, and the roof will be sloped to make the guest house seem like a loft over the garden shed.  The 96 sq ft. structure will be done in less than a month!

We’ll also be plastering with a lovely natural plaster: a cob bench, greenhouse walls, outside and inside.  You’ll find the ratio of materials that work best for applying and lasting, which can be used on any type of construction.

On site, there will be the beginnings of a stone foundation to help you understand an efficient way of creating your own.  Our time is too short to work on it, but the concepts will be on display so you can absorb it all while you learn to mix fast cob and plaster naturally.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Saturdays, August 18th or August 25th (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic dinner that evening) and Thursday, August 23rd or August 30th (a farewell breakfast will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Sunday to Wednesday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure.

The pace is casual but determined; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

To receive an application form, please email Dave: bike at resist dot ca or write a comment below with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of natural building and cob soon!

Learn to build – naturally – with Cob!

Please click here for the latest workshop offerings

Want to learn how to build your own house with human-power!?

Want to build with cheap, reusable, natural materials that are earthquake proof, fire proof, pest proof, and proven to last for centuries?

Look what community can build!Cob is the term for an earthen building technique that mixes sand, clay and straw and is sculpted on a wall. No forms or other wooden structures are needed to build with cob.

From June 29 to July 4th, I’ll be hosting a cob workshop on Lasqueti Island. The cost of $600 covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic, vegan/vegetarian, delicious meals per day), on-site camping with running water, and expert instruction by Steve Lay. Barters or trades to reduce the workshop fee are welcomed.

Each evening, we’ll also have a discussion with hands-on activities. Topics will include sustainable and ecologically-sensitive transportation for individuals as well as builders (we’ll have a night of bike repairing) and how to build a roof with cedar shakes (we’ll learn how to make shakes, too).

Travel days are Saturday, June 28th (with a welcoming, organic and vegan dinner included) and Saturday or Sunday, July 5 or 6th (a farewell breakfast on the 5th is also included).

Everyday (Sunday to Friday), we start with an organic, wholesome breakfast, followed by an hour of interactive instructionals, then 3 hours of hands-on learning with a yummy snack break.

After a hot organic, vegan lunch, we have 3 more hours of hands-on learning and building, followed by a break to swim and/or wash up for dinner.

The host site provides examples of:

  • how to live off the electricity grid,
  • how to live well without internal combustion engines,
  • how to harvest and use rainwater, and
  • how to make it easy to harvest hu-manure.

The workshop buildings will provide opportunities to learn:

  • Cob makes it easy and cheappassive solar heating design,
  • how to install windows and doors,
  • how to wire your earthen building for solar electricity,
  • how to build a cedar shake roof,
  • how to sculpt earthen materials, and
  • how to design beauty and function right into the walls of earthen buildings.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe place for anyone, including children, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure

Beautiful for humans, beautiful for the planetThis workshop is family-friendly but space is limited. Reserve your spot soon by emailing bike@resist.ca.

You, too, can experience the magic of building with cob in community! See you there!

Vancouver City Staff prioritize North Van car commuters over local residents who walk and bus…again!

Imagine yourself trying to catch a bus to work, to an appointment or to school. You can see the bus a block away. You run toward the intersection but you can’t cross safely. You have to wait for 3 different lights to change. By the time you get to the stop, well, the bus is long gone. If you’re lucky, you wait another 15 minutes; if not, 30 minutes or more!

This is the reality for many commuters living around Dundas and Nanaimo. The #4 and the #7 bus routes join together and stop near this corner on Dundas to take residents downtown and beyond. But bus riders as well as pedestrians have to cross 3 busy and very wide roads to get to this bus stop safely because the north crosswalk across Nanaimo remains closed. And despite an excellent opportunity to improve this, the City of Vancouver Transportation Staff continue to hinder East Van residents from taking transit.

About 10 days ago, the traffic light pattern at the intersection of Dundas and Nanaimo was changed. The City of Vancouver Transportation Staff who made this change were well aware of the problems faced by residents in the area trying to take transit. Here is their response to a request to reopen this crosswalk (note: bold has been added for emphasis):

“The change does make a north crosswalk fairly easy to open though. We may do so in the future if it can be accommodated without causing too much congestion. The north crosswalk would operate during the westbound green. But the westbound green must be kept short for this change to work, and pedestrians require a long time to cross. I am hoping that we can make the change, see if it has the desired effect (reduce the use of Dundas east of Nanaimo), and then consider opening the north crosswalk.”

Although this change greatly improves motorists’ safety, it was motivated by a group called SlowDownDundas.org which is trying to stop through traffic on Dundas between Nanaimo and Renfrew. Similar to the situation that previously occurred east of Victoria on Venables, suburban commuter traffic is making local residents’ lives louder, stinkier, and very dangerous because there are no physical limitations to their speed.

Meanwhile, pedestrians have not been able to safely cross Nanaimo at the north side of this intersection for years.

The significance of this missed opportunity for change is that it flies in the face of what we in the City have clearly prioritized.

First of all, our 1997 Transportation Plan clearly places pedestrians first, followed by cyclists, then transit users (remember this one), then goods and services (some of the freeway traffic) and finally, but lastly, private motorists (the vast majority of this freeway traffic).

On top of this, the City has had an active program to eliminate the kind of situations that occur at Nanaimo and Dundas. It was designed to removed the “No Crossing” signs that only pedestrians have to endure. And despite being reminded of this information, yet another opportunity was lost when this change was implemented.

So not only are our highest priority transportation users (walkers) completely ignored, so are our third highest (bus riders).

Perhaps it is because the majority of our City’s Staff commute to City Hall from the suburbs that the will of Vancouver residents continues to be ignored and car users are prioritized over pedestrians and bus riders.

If you’d like to let our City’s Transportation Staff know what you think about this (and other) transportation situation(s), call the Traffic Management Branch at 604-873-7910 or email:

mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca
tom.timm@vancouver.ca
peter.judd@vancouver.ca
ian.adam@vancouver.ca
jerry.dobrovolny@vancouver.ca
dave.coburn@vancouver.ca
scott.edwards@vancouver.ca
engineering@vancouver.ca

Another terrOrist atTacK thWarted…

Vancouver’s “Finest” have done the unthinking again.

On a bright, Thursday evening, Constable Chalmers was driving around the Eastside looking for trouble with his trusty computer-toting sidekick, when suddenly it appeared to appear in the guise of a masked man gingerly walking across Victoria Drive right behind their unmarked, pollution-spewing vehicle.

Wasting no time for thought, they quickly backed-up against the flow of traffic and turned down the brightly sunlit, wide alleyway in search of this potential threat to all of humanity.

Within seconds, the police car had not only caught up to this pedestrian, they pulled up right beside him since he had politely moved aside.  But wait!  The masked man was now…unmasked (the trusty sidekick would soon identify this trick as more suspicious than if the mask was left on…remember that folks).  In no time, Constable Chalmers was accosting this man with all the charm the VPD are famous for by grunting:  “what are you doing?”

The now dangerously unmasked man looked at him and blankly replied, ” what does it look like?”

Constable Chalmers quickly realized that he was at risk of being taken for just another human being (albeit, one with a well-fitting blue outfit, complete with iPod-capable earphone and chest-enhancers), so he sped up in order to skid to a halt (how much do their tires and gasoline cost us?), almost half-blocking this man’s path.

Although he neglected to answer the question “are you being a nice person?”, Constable Chalmers did not miss his target as he jumped out of his car, grabbed the unmasked man’s jacket, and threw him around.  “What’s your name?” was then yelled in the terrorist’s face.  “Am I under arrest?” retorted the terrorist.  Being the well-trained professional that he is, Constable Chalmers changed tact almost instantly with a slightly louder, “What’s your name!”

After another “am I under arrest,” his trusty sidekick was quick to intervene: “Shut your mouth!  Blah (nod), blah (nod), blah (nod)…you are under investigation” (note: if you haven’t heard of this term before it is because this is a very technical term that is used in only the most delicate and dangerous of situations, since the violation of tax-paying citizen’s Charter and other basic legal rights are the primary focus for members of the Vancouver Police Department).

After extracting the terrorist’s name and birth date, an answer of “I don’t need to tell you that” in response to “where do you live?” received another threat, this time of being charged with obstruction.  Strangely enough, the trusty sidekick went back to the computer and just asked for a middle name (umm…that would be “trouble” with a capital T).

Meanwhile, Constable Chalmers described the dangers of having masked men walking around his neighbourhood (would that be in a suburb, by chance?) and was predicting 911 to call at any moment with alerts of “balaclava-clad” terrorists in the neighbourhood.  Do you think he and his colleagues would act this way with a person wearing a burqa?

In perfect harmony, his trusty sidekick chimed in with a whining chorus of “do you know how dangerous this job is?”, all the while completely ignoring the feedback that was calmly given by the unmasked man.  You know, stuff like “you might try asking questions in a respectful manner” or “if you say you are paid to enforce the laws, why did you assault me?” and “have you ever taken an anger management course?”

Obviously asking if his shoe size was bigger than his IQ was not verbalized (or you wouldn’t be reading this yet:).

So yet another terrorist attack was averted by these professional (hit-)men who put their blood-pressure at risk to enforce their laws, all at our cost.

P.S. Here is the link to the VPD’s website where it is actually states “Our Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Accountability, Respect.”

P.P.S. If you’d like to send their leader Jamie Graham (who, according to their website, lectures on “safe blowing techniques”) any questions or comments that you might have (e.g., their approach to ordinary citizens [who pay their salaries, etc.] seems to create more crime than it prevents), you can do so by emailing vpd_chief@city.vancouver.bc.ca.  Other organizations that will probably show more interest are:

* BC Civil Liberties Association:                                   info@bccla.org
* PIVOT Legal Society:                                                     info@pivotlegal.org
* Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner:  info@opcc.bc.ca

P.P.S.S. Custom-made mask orders (complete with filters for particulates and VOCs from motorized vehicles) can be made by me via email.

Afterword

Although many folks may have catered to these thugs’ need to have power over their prey (and thus prevented this assault or worse), I also know that the fact that I’m a white male with enough education and experience to be able to speak clearly and calmly in times of crisis kept these cops from further escalating this needless encounter to something even more serious.

So in the spirit of helping these cops (and most of the others) understand their claim that they are here to “Serve and Protect” (why do I get the impression they watch too much TV?), here’s a training scenario that is free of charge to any cop shop in the world…

Cop: “Good evening, sir.  We were just passing by and noticed [/fill in the scenario here; in this case…/] that you had something covering your nose and mouth back there.  I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t ask you why you had that on your face, although I see that you don’t have it on your face now.

Ornery jerk: “What, is it a crime to wear clothes now?  Why are you asking me this?”

Cop: “No, of course it is not against the law to wear any type of clothing, but when someone conceals their face, it makes us suspicious that they may be trying to hide themselves or about to commit a crime.”

Ornery jerk: “Am I hiding anything right now?  You can see my entire face, what’s the problem?”

Cop: “You are right, you aren’t hiding any part of your face from us.  But I still don’t understand why you were wearing the mask back there.”

Ornery jerk: “Have you ever walked near a car with its engine on?  Try it and see if you can smell roses or something slightly more toxic.”

Cop: “Oh!  You were protecting yourself from the toxic exhaust of the cars that were passing you by.  Now I understand.  I’m sorry to have taken your time.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Oh, we can dream, can’t we?