Sunday, January 22, 2012


A month ago, I was finally ready to say goodbye to cable. I was sick of how much I zoned out to it, when there are so many more interesting things to do. I was especially sick of how much it was Eldest's default. The instant he has a spare moment to feel even a second of boredom, he wants the tv. I was getting tired of constantly saying no, even after he'd already watched a couple hours.

So a month ago I was really ready. The Next Iron Chef and Work of Art were over, and I knew who won. All my usual dramas were on holiday hiatus. I knew it would sting a bit at first, but it was time. I'd been thinking about doing it for a year.

So I phoned the cable company and told them to disconnect us. Imagine my distress when I found out it would take another month before they would actually pull the plug. If I'd known that, I would have phoned a month earlier! Anyways, whatever, it would be cancelled eventually.

This morning, when Eldest turned the tv on, there was no signal. And the pvr that we owned didn't even work. Apparently there's some software in it that is now deactivated. So the last month of Wild Kratts and other shows for Eldest I've been stockpiling are for naught. Ah well. It stings but it will be ok.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

diving in

It's funny the things that can suddenly push you to make a decision you've been mulling over for a while. For us, on homeschooling, it was a pizza day sign-up form.

It came home from school on Wednesday and had to be sent back on the next day of school, Friday. I hadn't gotten a similar form completed and returned for the first part of the year, so my poor child had been having to bring his own lunch on pizza days and watch everyone else eat it while he ate leftovers or a sandwich. I didn't want to repeat my error.

When I first started considering homeschooling, I figured we'd keep him in school until the end of the year. He's on alternate days and home the other days, so I've been experimenting with homeschooling on his 'off' days. He's not exactly suffering or struggling, and I do like his teacher. She takes a more play-based approach and seems to appreciate his quirky aesthetic and sweet soul, and he hasn't been complaining about going to school the way he did last year.

Delaying was also a bit of a defence strategy, I think. Being an ENFP, I love generating ideas and starting projects, but not so much on following through or finishing. As a defence measure, I've become very wary about what I commit to, especially what I commit to in front of other people. I ponder and I think and mull and then I set it aside for a bit, then I ponder and think and mull. With homeschooling, I thought I needed to have all the answers figured out and everything planned and all the plan B's in place.

But then I started to feel myself losing fire and momentum. And it occurred to me that some of the best stuff I do in photography is when I have an idea and just jump in and shoot. I do lots of thinking and pondering and mulling too, then shoot some more and ponder some more and each phase of shooting and pondering moves my ideas forward.

Maybe homeschooling, especially the more child-led approach we're going to undertake, is like that too. And maybe we just need to dive in and see what unfolds. Maybe waiting until the end of the school year would only cause us to lose commitment.

So back to the pizza sheet. It came and the form was for the rest of the school year. And it sounds silly but those pizza slices add up. So I talked to my husband and then to Eldest and we all agreed that we'll start homeschooling in March, at which point we will have our own pizza days, complete with homemade dough.

I had planned to work through my thought process on homeschooling in this space, but instead I did it in conversation with my husband. What a concept! And I'm wary about sharing all the many reasons for homeschooling on the Internet (again, what a concept!). But I will say that the reasons reflect all aspects of our lives -- not just academic learning, but our values, our lifestyle, our family relationships.

Anyways, we're going to just dive in, in March. We won't know for sure if it's a good thing for us until we try.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

owl medicine

For the last several months, I've been noticing owls everywhere. In the beginning, it was always in stores - things to buy. I first bought the baby an adorable stuffed owl of all the right colours (brown, orange and turquoise) that has various sensory thingies. Then a couple of owl shirts (also with brown and turquoise) at Old Navy. I saw owls elsewhere in stores and figured it was just a trend. Wherever possible, I tried to resist.

I think it was in November that I went to visit a new person for my photo project. And owls were everywhere. She'd made a series of hanging owls that spelled out the word autumn. She had a more than 50-year-old owl cookie jar in the kitchen that was once a wedding gift for her grandparents. She had more owls on teensy shelves in the hallway. It was lovely. And these were not owls on things that a store was trying to sell.

I began to wonder if perhaps I should be paying more attention to these owls. If perhaps I was noticing them for reasons other than corporate marketing.

That day, I spent way longer visiting than I expected. I missed lunch entirely and had to race out to pick up Eldest at school, barely making it on time. She was a former early childhood educator and things we talked about got me thinking in new ways.

Later, I googled owl as totem. It was as I almost expected. Owls can see clearly in the dark and guide you back to your proper path if you've lost it. Owls can help you find balance, as they keep rodents (pests) in check. They are associated with death (and rebirth) and wisdom.

From the site:
"Yet even so, the Owl provides a vital function in keeping bird, rodent and insect populations in check; too many of any species is detrimental to the balance of all. So it is with other things in our own lives, for if we have too many possessions, too many projects, too much of anything, it limits and restricts our ability to move freely through the different areas of our lives and the result is stagnation which leads to the death of joy, happiness and abundance. Owl medicine then becomes crucial in helping us to clear out that which is no longer needed or wanted. What may seem like a death to us in the giving up of something may be for another the birth and manifestation of a dream. We are most likely to lose our way when we become enmeshed in the "shoulds" and "must haves" in life, most of which come not from our inner selves but from the opinions and beliefs of those around us. We can spend so much time listening to others about what we should want (and the commercials on the telly and radio are prime examples of this!) that we ignore what we really want. We find ourselves spiraling downwards into the darkness because we have become so busy thinking we must pursue this or hunt that, most of which provides very little, if any, real nourishment.

"Think for a moment what your life would be like if you were able to jettison anything that did not speak to you on a Soul level. What would remain? What then would you "hunt" because it provided for you on all levels? That is what Owl medicine teaches us to do. We find that as we begin to move through the process of what we truly want, clearing the old to make way for the new birth of the Self that is close at hand, we find that other obstacles, limitations, fears and anxieties also begin to "die" in our lives. They no longer have the hooks to remain attached to our energy fields and without our support, they must die."

Last weekend, I went back to photograph the woman. I'd been having a most shitty day before I arrived. My whole family was crabby (including me) and Eldest had had a godawful meltdown that included kicking me in the shin several times.

I felt immediate peace once I got in her door. There was lovely music, and dried goods in jars, and wood, and owls. It was good.


Monday, January 16, 2012

All are welcome

With my big internal shift, came a new awareness that I've completely lost touch with the natural world and its seasons. We do eat fairly seasonally, and we buy our seasonal produce at the farmers' market each Saturday. But we've really become divorced from how the seasons pass in a slightly wilder context.

Before Eldest was born - and even after he arrived until the end of my mat leave meant that he needed to go to bed earlier so he could wake up earlier for us all to get to our various, separate daytime locations - we went for walks regularly along the river after dinner. On weekends we walked to the farmers' market and then the library or the park for its playground. Even though these are particularly wild areas, we would hear the birds, and although we may not have consciously registered how the bird songs changed through the seasons, it was there. We walked through crunchy leaves in the fall and saw the acid green of new buds in spring sun. In the winter, we'd feel and hear all the different kinds of snow under our boots. We'd smell the leaf mould in fall and wet mud in the spring.

My husband and I even hiked the Bruce Trail on weekends for a while - and we enjoyed it. But somehow we've slipped away from all of that.

After we moved, all those things were far enough away that we could really only have walked to one of those places on each weekend day and it would have taken about a half a day to do it. The mall and a big, car-friendly plaza are within walking distance, but the entire way is along a very busy, four-lane street that is so loud, even conversation is difficult. Hearing birdsong is impossible. We do go outside, but it's not so integrated in our life anymore. We have to make a conscious effort.

I used to be into native plant gardening, but our new house (I still call it new even though we've lived in it for more than three years now) has so many gardens already in place, mostly with exotics, that I've completely lost interest. I haven't even been doing any maintenance because I'm so uninspired by it. (To be fair, I don't think I was ever a fan of garden maintenance work, it was really more about growing something where nothing was before, something that could provide food and shelter to birds and insects.)

And it's not just because we moved. I got into digital photography and blogging and twitter and all kinds of stuff that involves me plugging into a screen. We got a second computer, so that my husband and I can be plugged into separate screens at the same time, instead of having one plugged-in person and one potentially-antsy person pressuring the other to go outside with them. And the kids now go to bed right after dinner, which means that going for a nice family walk requires keeping them up late and risking horrible meltdowns.

* * *

For the longest time, traditional landscape photography (think Ansel Adams) has bored the pants off me. If I'm in a critique group and people start showing their photos of trees, I have absolutely nothing to offer. Inside I'm thinking BORING! and Wake me up when you get to some people, so I just don't say anything at all. But now, suddenly, I actually want to make pictures of trees.

I am not a fan of winter. It's much too cold and dark for my taste. (One of my most delicious sensory experiences is the first night of the summer when you can step outside in short sleeves and feel Warm Air on your arms. After dark.) But one thing I really like about winter is that after the leaves come off the trees, you get to see things that have been hidden for months. You get to see the bone structure of our world. Sometimes whole houses have been hidden, sometimes just windows you can now look into. Earlier this season I saw all these nests in the trees. At first I thought they were birds' nests, but I've since been told they're squirrels' nests.

Sometime recently, I saw a reference - maybe online, maybe in a book, I can't remember - to identifying trees by their silhouettes. As we drove to my parents' rural house for Christmas, I kept noticing all the differences between the various tree silhouettes, and I wanted to know what they meant. That's when it occurred to me that I could photograph the silhouettes. Maybe I could even use the photos to learn to identify them. I bet there's even an app for that, although I haven't looked for one yet.

* * *

On Friday, I drove out to meet someone who wants to participate in my photo project. She lives in a small town northwest of here, in Old Order Mennonite country. The drive was absolutely beautiful. It had snowed a bit early in the morning, so lots of the fields were dusted white. The trees that lined the road and ringed the fields were dark against the gray sky. Again and again, I saw trees I'd like to photograph. I vowed to stop and photograph them all on the way home.

At every house and barn I saw evidence of self-sufficiency and frugality: lines of laundry hanging to dry, hand-painted signs for rabbit meat, maple syrup, honey and potatoes. Many farmhouses had no lines connecting them to the old telephone poles that look like crucifixes.

(They made me think of a poem someone gave me for Christmas in high school. I still have the poem, but I can't lay my hands on it just now. It was typed out on a typewriter. I can't remember a word of it, but I remember the image of a line of telephone pole-crucifixes in winter. It was a stark poem, I think, certainly not a happy holiday ditty, and I felt privileged that she trusted me to share it.)

I passed a few lightweight black carriages pulled by a single horse, two or three people wearing black hats inside them. The first thing that welcomed me in the town was a cemetary, and a big sign that said ENTRANCE. I had enough time to wonder at a cemetary being an entrance before I saw its sibling: EXIT. Then a beautiful park next to a creek with a big playground and a yellow brick house with stained-glass windows and a sign out front that said BUY ME.

By this point I was feeling... I don't know, moved. Raw. Love. Lots of stuff. I felt like the universe was pointing me here, showing me other ways of living. I thought about how this photo project just keeps putting teachers and lessons in my life. I thought about how neat and weird it would be to follow this one impulse, right now, and just move to this town on a whim.

Just before I turned into my destination, I passed a Mennonite Church. Its sign said:

What does it mean to follow Jesus?
All are welcome

And I seriously wept.

It may be that the sign was intended to say that all are welcome to explore what it means to follow Jesus. But I read it as answering its own question. That IS what Jesus preached, I think: All are welcome.

What a wonderful openness to live by.

(Oh -- and just in case you're wondering, I didn't photograph those trees on the way home. Eldest was at a playdate and I stayed too long at the woman's house to justify any more time. I told myself I could do that on Saturday or Sunday or even Monday. And I didn't those days either. I'm realizing the light and the snow and everything was just perfect that day. Next time I want to photograph something I really must just do it.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the time I breached my own values

We are both a little shocked. Silent and and still and staring at the pile of vomit on the bare, stained old mattress with the stupid pink and blue floral pattern. Just the day before, when the doctor said he had asthma, I had already decided to get rid of the damn thing and all its stains and dust mites and who knows what else. The mattress used to belong to my grandpa. We got the bed too, but the frame had broken after a couple of years of our use, so Eldest was sleeping on the mattress and box spring on the floor. I'm sure the springs are broken; it creaks and dips suddenly when you struggle off it. My grandpa's been dead for years, longer than Eldest has been alive, so who knows how old the damn thing is.

So I stare at that pile of vomit, and I just want to take that awful mattress out to the curb right now. Eventually, I take Eldest to the bathroom, and he rinses his mouth with water and I go to my husband who has the not-sleeping baby, and I start to cry. I cry that Eldest is still in that bathroom by himself while I cry out here. I don't want him to see me crying because it might scare him and I do because then he'll know this really matters to me. I cry that I tried to wrestle an inhaler onto my panicking child, wrestled until he had a coughing fit and vomited. I cry, because of all the people in the world, I should have known better. I cry, because I had a moment when I thought this just isn't going to work; I should just give up and talk to the doctor about alternatives or sedatives since he's not having asthma attacks or wheezing. Then I thought, like a thug, No. I should pin him down. I cry because as I struggled to pin him down (for his own good), and he writhed and kicked and screamed, I felt anger. I cry because I feel ashamed, and it's not something I've felt, as a parent, for a very very long time.

This morning he said his shoulders hurt. No, I lie. What he actually said was that I hurt his shoulders.

I go back to the bathroom when I'm still crying, and he registers my tears. We hug, he rinses his mouth, I apologize and explain and apologize some more. He comes to the door of my bedroom while I change my shirt, a small smile playing on his lips.

I wonder if it's a victory smile now that we've given up on the inhaler. But no.

"I'm just thinking about how much I liked the taste of your turkey chili tonight. But not so much when it came back up."


Monday, January 9, 2012

Me? Homeschool?

It all started just before Christmas when I was googling dairy and soy intolerance in babies. Somehow I landed on the Analytical Armadillo. And while I was exploring older posts there, I read one about homeschooling. It's pretty compelling, especially the bit that points out that if you think about all the herding that has to take place at school, the kids really only get a couple of hours of real instruction. And then I read this Fraser Institute report on homeschooling that says that in all measures - academically, socially, emotionally, behaviourally - homeschooled children perform at least as well as and often better than their institutionally-schooled counterparts.

So I'm considering homeschooling. For real. This is kind of a shock to me. I've always been intrigued by the idea, and reading Nan's reports of exploring the educational content in Star Trek, among other learning she's embarked on with her kids especially piqued my interest. But I was convinced I wasn't patient enough or earth-mother enough or crafty enough or [insert any descriptor here that you think might describe the cliched homeschooler] to do it. I also didn't think I would want to spend 6 or 7 hours a day actively teaching my kid at a desk.

But my mind is opening. First, it doesn't have to be many hours at all of formal instruction, if any. My kid learns from the conversations we have and things we do just going to the grocery store and the post office. Not to mention the learning he does on his own through play and pursuing his own passions. Second, I've had many niggling concerns about his experience at school. He's not struggling particularly and he hasn't complained this year, but there are many ways in which the school really doesn't model our values (I'll share more on that later).

In June 2010 (before my child was in school), I actually photographed two families who "unschool" their kids. One was more radical than the other, and although I totally understood and even agreed with their reasons for unschooling, it seemed so radical, such a hugely dangerous experiment. Now that my son is in school, it suddenly doesn't seem so radical or dangerous at all. School clearly brings its own set of dangers (as both my husband and I experienced personally during our earlier lives). And parenting is always a big experiment.

On Saturday, I found a copy of The Unschooling Handbook at my local used bookstore. That night, as I was reading it, something fell out of the chapter entitled "How can you tell they're learning?" It was a pressed stalk of lavender, known for its calming qualities. When I brought it to my nose, it smelled delicious. It feels like a gift.

Monday, January 2, 2012

a second post!

I've always admired hippie-type people. My eldest's first childcare situation was in the home of someone I'd describe as a hippie-type person. She was wonderful - fed him great food, was endlessly patient and kind and warm, exposed him to lots of musical instruments and crafts, encouraged lots of outside time. When she decided to go back to school, she and I both cried on his last day, and she gave us a sort of quilted hanging thing with his name on it that she'd sewn. In my mind, she was crafty. I always felt like a bit of a fraud around her and her friends, like I wasn't really hippie enough to hang around them.

I'm only just realizing how utterly stupid that was.

One of my struggles with whether it's right for me to quit my job and stay home with my kids is that I don't see myself as having the qualities of a good stay-at-home mom. I'm not crafty or patient. I can't really sew. I hate cleaning, mostly. I wouldn't mind a much tidier home, but I always have a million other things I do instead. I'm a reasonable cook, and I enjoy doing it when I'm not under time constraints, but that's pretty much it for my domestic skills.

I once fantasized about learning to make furniture and stained glass, but I quickly stomped on that. "I'm not handy. I can't work with my hands." When I see arts and crafts that I admire, and I think about incorporating some of the techniques into my artwork, I think, "But I'm not crafty. I don't have the patience for that kind of thing."

In my day job, I write and edit. I always feel annoyed when people say, "You have such a talent. I can't write for shit." (They haven't seen the crap I wrote when I was 15 and 16.) I've always maintained that all good writers start out writing crap. The only thing that separates good writers from bad writers is the drive to get better. And writers only get better by writing and reading. I've discovered it's the same with photography. Everyone starts out making crap pictures. You only get better by making more pictures and looking at more pictures and thinking about pictures. And every time you try to learn a new tool or technique, your pictures start sucking again. So why, in all this time, have I not figured out that this principle probably applies to everything?!?

Early in Radical Homemakers, she mentions mending your clothes instead of buying more. Immediately, I thought, "But I'm not crafty. I can't sew."

Later, people in the book talk about how important attitude is in reclaiming domestic skills. That it's not about what you know, but what you're willing to learn. There is no reason you can't learn something new. There's no reason I can't learn to sew or make crafts or whatever else needs to be done or that I want to do. It will feel like shit to suck at something again, but that will eventually lessen I'm sure.

This makes me wonder if perhaps there isn't some innate, you either have it or you don't, hippie-type trait after all. Maybe we're all just living our lives, doing things we've learned to do well and not so much on the other things.

We spent a few days at my parents' house over Christmas. And it suddenly struck me where a lot of this negative self-talk came from. My mom. I remember her saying, specifically, "I'm not crafty," many times over my life. Like when she taught me to knit and pulled out the baby blanket she was still working on -- for a child who was, by then, 16. I don't want to get into mother-blaming; we're all flawed and trying really hard. But I don't want to listen to that voice anymore. If I want to do something, I'm just going to give it a try and let myself suck at something.

The grout is falling out of our shower. For a long time, I wondered what kind of contractor to hire. It wasn't a whole tiling job, just digging out the grout and regrouting. Who would do such a small job? Well, last week I decided I would. I'm not going to lie, digging out the old grout was tedious. But every time I got impatient or thought about how boring the job was, I also thought that if work like this will allow me to quit salaried employment, it was well worth a few hours of tedious work. I didn't quite finish the job myself. After I dug out enough grout, I was about to mix up the new grout and discovered huge warnings all over the box. I got paranoid about breastfeeding and possibly ingesting the stuff, so I got my husband to do it. Anyways, the job is done, mostly if rather messily, and we can shower again, and we didn't drop a couple hundred dollars to have it done. If/when we decide to sell, that's one less job we'll have to do.

Today, I made chicken stock with the carcass of last night's roast chicken (which won nice reviews around the table). I almost chickened out (ha), because I wasn't sure what kind of soup to make with it since we didn't have any chicken meat left after lunch today, but I took a stab. And I gotta, I'm pretty won over by making my own stock. So now I have a freezer bag of vegetable scraps started in my freezer. When it's full and I want to smell a simmering pot of stock, I will make vegetable stock. This is heady stuff, this whole learning new things stuff.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

first post

It feels a bit premature to go starting a whole new blog when I haven't even made any life changes yet, but I feel an internal shift has happened and I want to capture some of it. And if I do follow through with the external changes, it would be nice to have a place to write about that.

It's a simple enough path, one that's many before and after and alongside me will choose, nothing special really. I want to end my salaried employment and hang out with my kids and make photographs and cook and eat real food and generally slow everything down. I've been thinking about this for a long time - seriously, for two years; less seriously forever? But fears held me back. In late 2007, I caught up with a high school friend who, to me, seemed to be living the dream: living on a farm with three kids and horses and making time to follow her passion for writing. I had a moment of envy. Then a sharp thought: My husband was earning enough now that there was no reason I couldn't do that myself. And I was overwhelmed with fear. That was it, I thought. I would always be too afraid to leave the salaried workforce.

Around the same time, I got a promotion and a new manager at work, a real firecracker. It was the first time I'd worked for someone who was better at my job than I was, and I was learning like mad. I discovered I WAS ambitious: in the sense that I enjoyed my job and wanted to get better at it and earn the respect of others for being good at it (NOT in the sense of wanting to climb a corporate ladder). I wanted to continue working.

I also started volunteering at a drop-in centre, and was constantly aware of (and trying to hide) my affluence. Somehow my mind took all these things and spat out a conclusion: Clearly the smart thing to do was to buy a bigger house, one that required two incomes, since clearly I would always be too chickenshit to stop earning mine. This was before all the financial shit hit the 2008 fan, and I was still buying the idea that real estate was always a good investment. I thought that the only way to make up for my affluent life was at least to be smart about and make a good investment, instead of frittering my money away on STUFF. So in August 2008, we took possession of a bigger house in a bland suburban neighbourhood. The regrets set in pretty quickly, for a variety of reasons. The house wasn't as nice as we'd thought and walking downtown or even to our favourite park wasn't as doable as we'd thought either.

Within a year, I started thinking about quitting my job. My firecracker manager was one of those super women who was a crazy hard worker and also a really engaged mother (though her children were adults). I admired her so much I tried really hard to keep up, but soon I was a big anger ball. At work, at home, I didn't discriminate. Before I started my mat leave last May, I had managed for the previous six months to enforce better boundaries around my work/life balance, but it's really exhausting to swim against the current like that.

With the financial crises that have hit since 2008, I've also discovered that real estate is not a great investment. For one thing, if you want to cash it in, you have to move your home. For another, property values aren't constant. And for a third, you have to maintain it and keep up with the Joneses if you want to make money on 'your investment.'

Anyways, for the last two years I've been contemplating major life changes and trying to find clarity about what to do. Most of my adult life has relied on making decisions based on fear (also known as risk assessments), and I want to try making decisions based on its opposite: love. My latest thinking is that I may never be certain about what to do, and at some point I'm just going to have to take a chance and dive in. Nothing is permanent, and no single decision is really going to ruin our lives. We are more resilient than that.

But over the last few months, every time I think I've decided to just give it a shot so I don't spend my life wondering what might have been, I have a panic attack within 24 hours. The problem with not making decisions based on fear is that life gets kind of scary. At least for this anxiety-prone person. A few weeks ago, my husband's employer got bought by something or other. He believes his job may be in jeopardy. It almost made me decide to give up and just go back to work when my mat leave is over. But then I came upon Radical Homemakers in the library. And it's come at just the right time.

Maybe the idea of a full-time job as security is just an illusion. Maybe learning how to do things yourself instead of depending on money to buy or hire them offers more security than the money from a full-time job. Maybe being able to produce your own food offers more security. Maybe getting off the more more more faster faster faster train offers more security and better health.

Maybe everything we think we know, all the conventional 'wisdom' and common sense, has come from advertisers and corporate marketing over the last four generations of people. Maybe the notion of financial independence (i.e., borrowing from large financial institutions to buy a house instead of saving up or borrowing from family) really just serves financial institutions. Maybe the idea of real estate as a good investment has just been fed to us by financial institutions so they can make more money.

It's been a week or so since I started reading Radical Homemakers and once again, I feel fairly certain of the path I want to take. I'm not exactly sure how we'll make it work, but we have some time to figure that out. It's been a week and I'm still waiting for a panic attack. This is exciting stuff.

* * *

Since I started this post, I've put a whole chicken in the oven. This was the first time I've ever handled a whole chicken, and it made me feel squidgy. But also kind of grown-up, like the first time I used up a 5-kg bag of flour. I've always eaten chicken, but until last year, I've never actually cooked it. I always felt like it was a dangerous thing to have in my kitchen, and somehow safer from a restaurant. But maybe THAT idea is also the product of marketing and advertising. That manufactured food is safer and more reliable than home-grown, home-cooked food. It also makes those manufacturers a lot richer, now doesn't it?

I'm not usually one for New Year's resolutions, but this year, my desire and readiness for change happen to coincide with the start of the year. This year, I want to make, grow, repair and barter for more and buy/hire less. Developing the skills and community required to do this will put me in a better position for if/when I make the big official change.

I love that I am starting the New Year with something I've never done before. Fingers crossed none of us gets sick, so I can develop a bit more confidence with chicken. Tomorrow, my son has convinced me to take another strange food producing fear: yeasted breads. Tomorrow, we will attempt making cinnamon buns. I think.