Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Letting Go.....

Today is only Wednesday, and it's the last day of 2014. I am freaking out a little bit, because so far, I am having kind of the worst week I've had in a really long time. Monday was my birthday, and there was a time in my life where I would have had an apartment full of friends, this year I spent it with my cats crying. It's like a really cliché movie from the early 2000's. I spotted Robin on my deck eating food, on Monday, so I opened the door, and he didn't just run from me, he hauled ass. Like all the way down the steps, and through the yard. None of the feral cats run from me. They keep their distance, but they know by now I won't hurt them. It has really dropped in temperature, and I am just so heartbroken. I assume he ran because he doesn't want to come back inside. As someone who deeply loves, and respects animals, I feel that I have to respect that Robin wants to be wild. But I just can't get over the strangeness of it all. At no point prior to his escape did he ever show any sign of wanting to be outside. Even in the beginning, when he was very scared of me, he still loved lounging on the bed, and the couch like a king. He seemed content from the start. My door will always be open to him if he has a change of heart, and I am always going to worry about him. There are some mean alley cats who come around to eat, and I hate thinking of Robin's sweet temperament slowly being turned by the streets. It's so horribly cold outside, it just feels like death. I remember the first episode of The Walking Dead, the city was just so deserted, and lifeless, and there was obviously a darkness. That's what winter here reminds me of. ( I no longer can watch The Walking Dead, as it got progressively more gory and graphic as the series went on. )  Anyway, thank you to anyone who sent positive vibes. At least I know that he's staying somewhat close, because he knows where the food is at, and I can't imagine that there is a lot of prey out there. I hope maybe the cold will make him remember his favorite cozy spot on the bed.
Be safe tonight!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gray, Grey, Slate

This is the time of year when a lot of people take stock of their lives, and vow to make changes. I know lots of go to the gym, stop smoking, eat healthy type of resolutions are made, and very quickly broken. And I know from my own personal experience how reverting back to old, unhealthy ways not only takes it's toll on you physically, but also mentally. And then it become an endless stream of numbing your anger at yourself in more negative ways.
I wanted to share something I've come to realize that has really helped me on my own journey. It doesn't have to be so black and white. If you TRULY want to stop, or start something, it might not be a smooth journey. You might have setbacks, and fall into your old ways, and that is normal. We are creatures of habit after all. When I really knew I was ready, and wanted to be done with my eating disorder, for the first year, I had a few binges, and instead of admitting defeat, and going backwards,(which I had done in the past) I woke up the next day, and continued to live my life as a recovered bulimic. It naturally worked it's way out, because I let it. I didn't want to be bulimic anymore, so I didn't use those temporary setbacks as an excuse to go back to my old ways.
Something a lot of people I've known do is get a membership at a gym, and go hard for a good month, and then one week comes where they are busy, and don't go, and then next thing you know one week turns into a year. Then the cycle continues the next New Year, I swear, gyms, and organic, healthy food companies must LOVE the month of January. Ha. But, you don't have to go everyday, for a whole hour. It's okay if you miss a week for whatever reason, just ease back into it. I also try to tell people how many amazing workouts are on YouTube, which means you can fit your workouts to your schedule. You could do half in the morning, half in the evening. But again, I feel the difference is when you really are ready for change, versus just saying it. You have to be ready to do the work, whatever change it is that you want to make.
If you really, really want to make improvements, just don't let anything stop you. If you fall, don't quit, just get up, hold your head up, and keep going. Habits are like old friends who have become toxic, but are still kind of fun. They are hard to give up, even when you are so ready. But something my journey has taught me is feeling good, and doing good can become a habit if you have the patience to let it become a habit. The way coffee and countless cigarettes used to get me going for the day, is now replaced by soothing green tea, blogging, and yoga. (And a little TMZ, I'm only human) And I feel so much happier. I can't believe that's how I used to nourish my body in the morning.
I feel like you have to give yourself three months at least to fully benefit from healthy changes. When I quit smoking cigarettes, it took at least three months before I could be around a smoker without wanting to steal their cig and smoke my way to chemical bliss.
What I'm really trying to say, as someone who has quit a lot of bad habits, and started a few good ones, is that it really can be done. And just don't let setbacks set you all the way back. Every person who has made changes has had setbacks, I don't care what anyone says. And there is no kind of love like self love. I kind of hate myself for saying that, it sounds so corny, but it is so true. And the body responds so well to kindness, and in turn everything works as it should.
Self love for 2015!!

Monday, December 29, 2014


I wanted to correct my little mistake. The recipe for the seitan that rocked my world came from Essential vegan via Twitter. I'm as dorky on twitter as I am on this blog, and so I sent a tweet to Fat Gay Vegan telling him how awesome his recipe was, and I had to be gently corrected. Totally embarrassing, but when you're a lifelong dork, you get used to it.
Have a day full of Seitan!! (The seitan/satan jokes just never get old with me.)

Seitan, I'll Never Quit You Again!

So Quinoa and Seitan are two foods I struggle hardcore with cooking. No matter how I prepare quinoa it is a soggy, unappetizing mess. Here's what really annoys me about this dickish little seed, one time I attempted to make a quinoa porridge, so that the sogginess would be fine. Well, that porridge was a dry, uncooked abomination that really I should never speak of again. And I have tried what I feel like is every recipe/suggestion out there. The quinoa that is in my cupboard now has been blended, and turned into quinoa flour, to be used in facial masks. Quinoa has tons of nutrients that are great for the skin, such as vitamin a , and lysine which is necessary for your skin to produce collagen.
Seitan is another food that seems so simple, and looks so easy and delicious, yet no matter who's recipe I follow, it's always a letdown. But I like seitan, when it's made by anyone else. It really frustrates me when I make batch after batch of too soft, too hard, not enough flavor, and so on and so forth. Well, I made one last attempt at seitan, to use up the wheat gluten flour that was lingering in the back of my fridge, and I made the best seitan I have ever had in my life yesterday, made by little ole ME!! I'm not sure if I'm allowed to write the recipe, but I think I can, as it was on Twitter, and it was posted in The Vegan Chat Room, and I believe the recipe is from The Fat Gay Vegan. I hope I'm not breaking any rules, or being obnoxious, but I have to spread the news of this seitan, for anyone else who has struggled, we have been saved!! I knew right away from the texture, and smell of the dough that I was close to success. The recipe is super simple, as is the prep and cook.
1cup vital wheat gluten
3 tbls. nutritional yeast
1/2 cup water
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 tbls. E. V. olive oil
juice of one lemon. (I forgot this ingredient. oops it was still amazing)
3 cloves of garlic ( I used 1 tbls. of garlic powder, which in my opinion worked fine)
Stir all ingredients until a dough is formed, and then knead gently for three minutes. The dough is perfect, not to squishy and wet, not too dry.
For the broth, the recipe calls for eight cups of veg broth, mixed with 1/4 C. soy sauce. I used eight cups of water, and a veg cube to make my "broth". Let the broth mixture come up to a boil, then lower it down to a simmer, break the dough into pieces whatever size you would like, and let simmer for thirty minutes, uncovered. Then, turn off heat, put a lid on the pot, and let the seitan sit in the broth for another fifteen minutes. Then you have perfect seitan, ready to be crisped up. I sliced up two of my pieces and sautéed them in some coconut oil, and man what a treat. It passed taste, and texture. I will never attempt another seitan recipe again. And these little seitan pieces are blank slates for whatever additional flavorings, sauces you want to add. They do need to be crisped up, as they come out of the broth a little soft, and dare I say brainy? They would be very scary to a skeptical non-vegan.
Today I'm going to marinate some of the pieces in a buffalo style sauce and make Seitan wings!
If you are like me, and feel like you just don't have what it takes to make seitan, please don't give up, try this recipe first!!
Still no sign of Robin. Tomorrow it will be a week since he ran for the hills. It's still pretty mild for winter in the snow belt, but temps are dropping. Where are you Robin???
If you also cannot cook quinoa, you can make quinoa flour in the blender, just like oat flour with oatmeal. It takes a little longer, but within a minute or so you will have quinoa flour, for gluten free baking, or anti aging face masks! Just mix quinoa flour with bananas (also GREAT for skin), or avocado, put some green or white tea bags on your eyes, and in ten or twenty minutes(depending on how much time you have) you will look like a fresh faced you!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Because I'm Healthy

The more I focus on health, and really trying to radiate from the inside out, the more I notice how unhealthy the people around me are. This country in general. I'm not even talking about the obesity rates, I'm talking about how it seems to be ingrained in us to go, go, go, take a pill, or get a shot if you're sick, but for the love of all, keep going. And everything is a chore. I was listening to various conversations this season about the holidays, and everyone was just bogged down by what needed to be done. And any kind of daytime talk/help show is full of tips to cut your stress. We are a drugged up, stressed out, sleep deprived country. And it seems like all we value is money, success, and how hard we work. You are lazy if you consider 40 hours a week full time work.
I learned through personal experience that  poor health equals no happiness. It's hard to feel happy about anything when you feel like shit. However, as I have learned when you're healthy, you bounce back quicker from life's little shake-ups. I feel like I am much better at handling, and working on solutions to things that make me unhappy now, versus back in all of my self destructive ways. I used to just get over whelmed, and just do more damage to myself, and my life. I see that pattern so clearly now, and I want to shout from the tallest building how great it feels to be an active participant in your own health. It's better than any drink, food, cigarette, or pill. And as someone who used to be so full of self hatred, it feels amazing to not be carrying around that burden. And I know from experience that certain toxic behaviors become almost like a hard, protective wall around you, keeping you protected from the harshness of life. It's like you don't really care that much about yourself, so you really have no empathy for anyone else. I notice that a lot in some of the super unhealthy people I know. They just have a hardness that I saw in my former self. I don't know anyone who really is healthy here. I know people who go to a gym, but they still smoke, and drink, and eat crap because somewhere along the way they came to the conclusion that a trip to the gym three times a week cancels out everything bad.
In addition to learning how alive racism really is, I have really learned how unhealthy some people choose to live. I don't think it's a coincidence that hatred, and toxicity are very prevalent in unhealthy people. There is also a strong will to continue this behavior, and pass it along to future generations. If a doctor has the audacity to suggest someone quit smoking, and perhaps move their body more, well that doctor gets an eye roll, and the honor of being considered nothing more than a quack. I've tried telling some of my co-workers that you can get used to feeling great very quickly, and just naturally want to continue feeling great, but I am met with rather hostile side eyes.
This is not what I was going to write about today. I was going to write about pantry staples. But I am just so sick of being teased, and side eyed when I talk about anything healthy, to the point that any progress I make is like a deep dark secret, and this blog is the only place I can safely talk about health, and happiness. Also, the temps have dropped a little and it was raining pretty hard when I woke up, so my mind is filled with Robin.
To sum up my babble a thon, I want this world to be a kinder place for everyone. And kindness comes from love, and love has to start with yourself. I don't mean to sound corny, but I truly believe that. I don't care how many side eyes any of us get, the truth is that we can heal ourselves, and we can love ourselves, and feel great. So I  have just now decided that 2015 is my year to be proud of feeling good. I will no longer feel ashamed of  doing all I can to maintain my health without the need of any pills or potions.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mushrooms really are Magic!!

So I made a sandwich last week that was so delicious that I was dancing and singing all around my apartment after eating it. It's funny how something so simple as a sandwich can really satisfy you. I love always having some kind of crusty bread on hand, so when salads get boring, put it on some bread, and bam a veggie delight, minus any shady, possibly cancerous ingredients.
But back to my happy sandwich. I bought a few Portobello mushrooms, marinated them in red wine vinegar, olive oil,(evoo in Rachel Ray speak) and salt, pepper, Italian seasonings. I let them marinate for a couple of hours, and then baked them for about twenty, or twenty five minutes. The temp was around the 350 mark. While they were roasting away, I made a little relish of chopped olives, and banana peppers. I toasted a baguette, smeared on some Just Mayo, put lots of my spicy relish, and then added the thinly sliced, delicious mushrooms. It was perfection. It was creamy, crunchy, meaty(?!) spicy, vinegary, and a little salty, in the good olivey kind of way. And it couldn't have been easier. I really recommend trying this combo.
If your local grocery has a bulk olive section, I recommend taking advantage of it. I get a little assortment of fancy olives and spend under two dollars. And since the olives haven't been sitting around in a can for who knows how long, they have much more flavor. And that means it doesn't take much to make an impact. My favorites are the big Kalamata olives, and the green olives with crushed red pepper. Yum.
I think mushrooms are a really good food to eat, especially in the winter, as they have lots of vitamin D, which most of us don't get enough of in the winter. I try to remember to eat mushrooms at least once a week. And they are so much tastier than yucky old cow juice.
Still no sign of Robin. But I am now hoping for a New Years miracle.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dance of the Coconut Sugar Plum Fairies

I hope everyone had a warm and wonderful holiday. And I hope tons of delicious vegan food was consumed by many.
I have to be honest, I have been sitting here for an hour trying to write this damn thing. I have three different things written down to blog about, it's just that truth be told, my heart is still very heavy over Robin running away. I'm very worried about him. What is he eating? Where is he sleeping? I don't know why he ran away that day. I go outside multiple times a day to feed the neighborhood strays, and he has never once shown any interest in being outside. I haven't given up all hope, but I am very sad, and worried.  And I don't have the energy to write about pantry staples right now, because I don't care. Pantry staples aren't keeping Robin safe. I have to save my phoniness for work. There is no way I can express my sadness or worry over an animal at work.
On a not completely unrelated note, I experimented with coconut sugar. I made vegan brownies, and used coconut sugar in place of white, as a way to I guess have my brownies, and eat them too. In case anyone is wondering, it was a success. I used coconut sugar in my tea, and it dissolved, and was sweet, and I noticed no difference in the brownies. I also added peppermint extract and they were like a brownie version of a thin mint cookie. Yum. The problem is that I ate too many brownies while looking outside and crying. And everyone knows cry eating is the same as mindless eating, which is dangerous. Anyway, I recommend coconut sugar as far as taste, but wow the price. The bag I bought was on sale for like $ 4.50, for a one pound bag. So, yes pricier than regular sugar, but worth it. Have you ever eaten too many sweets, and the next day you have a sugar hangover? No coconut sugar hangover. I didn't feel as dirty after eating these brownies either. Which is both a good and bad thing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Still Hoping for A Christmas Miracle.

Still no sign of Robin. I'm pretty devastated if I'm being totally honest. Whenever you read about feral cats, you don't often read of humans as a danger, or threat, however where I live,  I have heard more than one person talk about shooting unwanted neighborhood cats. Seriously, I live in a Wal-Mart commercial. This has kind of knocked the wind out of my sails, and I can't really think straight. To be sophisticated, I'm fraught with worry.
I hope tomorrow is filled with love, and cheer, and good feelings for everyone, holiday or not. And I hope tons of delicious vegan food is served, and non vegans realize that vegans eat delicious foods too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


This morning as I was coming in from feeding the outdoor kitties, for some reason little Robin decided to run outside. I have no idea why, he has never shown any interest in being outside. I tried to get him, and he ran off of my deck. I have weird sleeping habits, so it's very early, meaning I would get arrested for yelling too loud, and I saw him run into my neighbor's yard, and I went to get him, and he ran away. I an so devastated right now. It's oddly mild this week, in the forties and fifties, but I know that will soon change. Not to mention it's supposed to be really rainy this week. I hope he comes back, or at least comes to the deck when he's hungry, and I can grab him again. I can't stop crying, and of course I have to pull it together, as I have to be in with the public.  I thought he was happy, and he even seemed to like me a little. I keep looking at his spot on my couch, expecting to see his little face. Please send good vibes to Robin.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Beware of the Bully, or Bully, Beware?

I have great news, and bad/weird news. I'll start with the weird, and end on a high note! I just read a terrifying article in the Huffington Post about Coca Cola, the company. Apparently the sales of soda are slightly declining, so Coke has decided to get into the dairy game. They are going to be rolling out a brand new milk called Fairlife. (Not for the cows.) It is going to be heavily marketed as a "premium milk", boasting 50 percent more protein, which Americans seem to be truly obsessed over. The Atkins trend just switched to Paleo. Anyway, Coke also owns the Simply line of orange juices, and whatever other flavors, and makes a killing, so they figured why not go milk. I shudder to think of what they are doing in their little labs to make this milk so much more protein packed. I have no reason to believe that this won't be a hit. I can name twenty plus people off the top of my head who will be buying this, just because a) the label says it's more healthy, and that combined with b) the higher price means it must be true!
Okay, from one bully to the next, here is my good news! Unilever has decided to drop their ridiculous lawsuit against Just Mayo. I read one article that said Unilever's lawyers decided that a win was impossible. Another article I read states that Unilever didn't give a reason. When someone is so aggressive, then gives up so quietly, there are a lot of words in that silence. (Take note, Bill Cosby) Anyway, I say who cares why, I only care that someone handed them some common sense. And, in the end, I'm sure Unilever introduced tons of grateful people to the deliciousness that is Just Mayo, while showing what true dumbasses they are.
I also forgot to put Just Mayo on my splurge list. I feel so bad because Veganaise was keeping vegans slathered in the good stuff for so long, and it has even passed the taste test of many non-vegans, but in my humble opinion, I will always choose just mayo. It is so creamy, and spreadable, the first time I used it I had to double check the ingredients, I thought for sure I accidently grabbed a new brand of non vegan mayo. So, if you haven't yet tried it, I really recommend it for any of your mayo needs.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is it Worth It??

The problem with a lot of vegan convenience foods is the price. If you look at certain non-vegan frozen foods and such, you see a huge difference in price. And it is hugely frustrating when you fork over the extra money, and the product is a letdown. When possible, I like to allow myself a splurge item, and I have had a lot of hits and misses, so I thought I would mention a few splurges that are in my opinion totally worth the money.
Amy's roasted vegetable pizza. Simple, no vegan cheeses, just a delicious sauce, and roasted veg. It is, was, and always will be a fave.
Although I haven't had every single Gardein product on the market, I have had a lot of them, and every single one has been great. If I had to pick a favorite, I would be in big trouble. I feel like Gardein  could be served to a vegan skeptic, and pass the test. And I really appreciate companies like Gardein who are really making kick ass food, and that is only helping animals.
Earth balance has been making some really stellar treats. I was blown away by their chips, and the white cheddar mac and cheese is out of this world. Like if you haven't tried it, do so now.
Daiya gets my vote for best bang for your buck. The Swiss slices actually reminded me of Swiss cheese! And it lasts in the freezer for a really long time. I feel like Daiya melts the best, and has the least weird taste. Keep in mind that it is not the greatest raw, in my opinion.
Beanfields Chips are so amazing (Ranch, Ranch, Ranch), and are the perfect texture for dips. The chips are made from beans, and rice, and are vegan and gluten free.
Field roast sausages are amazing. They have a variety of flavors, and texture wise they are pretty stellar. They also make deli slices, hot dogs, a loaf type thing that is YUM, and a brand new vegan cheese. People seem to be in love with the cheese, so I can't wait to try it.
I can't not mention Tofurky. I don't care what anyone says, I love their roast, and I love their peppered deli slices. It should be noted that My cat does love Daiya, and also Tofurky. He is a little Obsessive when I have Tofurky in the house.
Beyond Meat is also a great company. The chicken strips were so tasty, and I have read nothing but glowing reviews from other vegans. And the people who make Beyond meat are very serious about cutting down meat consumption, so again, I can't help but support them.
For my sweet fix, I'm a fan of Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and Paul Newman's dark chocolate dark chocolate raspberry cups are soooo yum. Also, can't forget about Endangered Species, who now makes filled chocolate bars, and the blueberry vanilla is sooooo worth it!
I think it's best for everyone's health to eat real food, made from scratch, of course. But sometimes we need convenience, and sometimes it's just fun to eat a frozen pizza, or vegan fish tacos, or chips. And sometimes you just want a ranch chip!! So, since these types of foods are definitely on the pricier side, I thought it would help to hear about some tried and tested, and approved of vegan junk food.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cozy & Cheap

So as I mentioned the other day when I was under the weather, I started drinking a ton of orange juice. I decided to put the peels in a pot of water, added some cinnamon, and a chai tea bag. I brought it to a boil, then simmered for awhile, and it made my little apartment smell like orange spice tea by Celestial Seasonings. It was delightful, and my life has been lacking delight for awhile, so it was much needed. It is a great little way to make your house smell very festive and cozy, and you don't have to spend any extra money.
I also finally made my own coconut oil/sugar/lemon face scrub. I used about half a cup of unrefined coconut oil, the juice of one lemon, and about 3/4 cup of sugar. I think it would be better course sugar. The scrub I'm trying to replicate seemed to use much more course sugar. So what I'm saying is the scrub I made isn't ready to be sold at beauty supply stores, but for my first attempt, I'm super happy with the results.
Have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ginger& Spice Made Everything Nice.

I woke up Tuesday morning with a bit of a sore throat, and I chalked it up to slurping my tea when it is too hot. On Wednesday morning, I felt like I was in the beginning stages of some kind of cootie. My throat still burned, and I felt weak, tired, and slightly feverish. I was very blessed to have the day off, so I went into full on defensive linebacker mode, and I am very pleased to report that I came out victorious, I woke up Thursday feeling almost myself, and today even better.
Here is what I did. First, I cleaned my apartment, because clean. Then I did 15 minutes of low impact cardio to get a little sweat going, followed by 10 minutes of power yoga. This was very hard to force myself to do, but I think it helped, a lot. I followed this up with an extra strong ginger detox bath. I usually use maybe one or two tablespoons of  powdered ginger, along with miracle sea salt, or Epsom salt. This time, I used at least 1/4 cup of powdered ginger, and a few shakes of baking soda. I made the water as hot as I could handle, and sat in it for almost a half hour. Man I was sweating, and my head was pounding. It was rough, but so worth it. After my bath, I realized that I still hadn't eaten anything, but I wasn't hungry at all, so I made a juice with ginger, five oranges, and two carrots. Delicious. I decided to really od on vitamins, so as soon as I drank my orange juice, I made a green juice with kale, ginger, cucumber, pear, and celery.
I knew I had to eventually eat something, so I made some chickpea noodle soup. I made my soup with onion, tons of garlic, Serrano pepper, celery, carrot, parsley, kale and chickpeas. Noodles added at the end. It was spicy, and very comforting and soothing. I felt like I had a sweet little grandmother taking care of me! I ate soup early, and went to sleep way earlier than usual.
On Thursday morning, I woke up feeling almost myself! I couldn't believe it. I had leftover chickpea noodle soup, more orange and green juice, and a super spicy, lemongrass tofu for dinner, and like I said today I feel almost all better. Knock on wood, I really think I kicked the ass of whatever was trying to invade my body. I cannot recommend ginger baths enough. I have been doing the ginger bath thang for almost a year now, and I feel it has improved my health greatly. And I know that this bath was an important part in my recovering so quickly. I also think that not having an appetite might have worked in my favor, as I worked up a sweat with cleaning, followed by working out, followed by steam bath. I feel like I sweated out a lot of crud, and then flooded myself with vitamins, in a very easy to digest sort of way. And then the spicy, veg heavy soup was the perfect thing to eat.
I've decided that miso, chili peppers, and tons of lemon water, and citrus juice will be on a regular rotation for the rest of winter. As I've mentioned I take public transportation, and work with the public, so there is zero chance that I won't be exposed to a plethora of different hybrids of cooties, so I will be having a very defensive winter.
I really recommend the ginger bath. It is so worth it, and the benefits are in the double digits. And I've learned that it's really soul soothing to take care of yourself, and love yourself. And in my opinion, a ginger bath beats Nyquil any day of the year. And thanks, Almost a Vegan for the tip about chili peppers. I truly believe that ginger, spice, and a healthy overdose of vitamins all worked together(the Avengers).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Lentil, The Humble Hero

I talk a lot about lentils being a life saver if you are broke, and need to eat, so I figured I would offer up some uses I've picked up for lentils. Lentils are one of my favorite legumes, because they are easy to find, and inexpensive whether buying from bulk bins or in a bag. There are of course red lentils, and also French lentils, which are more expensive, and harder to find. So when I talk about lentils, I am usually talking about plain old green, or brown lentils.
First I will start out with soup. A carrot, onion, and garlic are all you need with some lentils to make a basic, but delicious soup. And you can switch it up so many ways based on other veggies you have, and adding grains, or pasta, and different spices. This is where it comes in handy to buy spices in bulk, so you can afford to have a variety of flavors. I sometimes add a little curry, and garam masala, other times fennel seed, oregano, and crushed red pepper. I always add turmeric to my lentil soup, as turmeric is very good for you. Anyway, I have eaten more lentil soup in my life than I can even recall, no joke, and I'm not sick of it yet, because I always switch it around. And one cup of dry lentils, plus a little veg will make a lot of soup. A little tablespoon of tomato paste totally switches up the flavor too.
Lentil Joe's are another favorite. My all time favorite recipe that I have made so often I have it memorized is from Veganomicon. It is so flavorful, the addition of mustard is a must in my opinion. The recipe makes a lot, so if you have a lot of leftovers, you can make quesadilla's with or without nutritional yeast and vegan cheese, leftovers are great on a baked potato, with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, and hot sauce. I once had leftover brown rice, and leftover Joe, so I combined them, topped with a little daiya, and made a stick to your ribs casserole. And don't forget that a little beans on toast is always a good way to start your day.
Lentils also make the most excellent taco/burrito filling. Sautee cooked lentils with a little onion, garlic, and cumin, chili powder you have taco "meat". Also makes for great nachos, taco salads, and a little added to tofu for a little spicy tofu scrambled burrito!
Lentils are also good added to pasta sauce, and I have even added cooked lentils to mac and cheese to bulk it up a little.
One of my more recent uses for the little old lentil is probably, almost my favorite. It's a Lebanese Dish called Mujaddara . It is so simple, yet the flavors excited my taste buds so much the first time I tried it. It's basically a rice and lentil salad, topped with caramelized onions. It's the cumin, and cinnamon that make it stand out. It is delicious hot, warm, cold, anyway you eat it. I have no suggestions for ways to switch up the leftovers, cause I have never wanted to switch them up, it's that delicious. There is also an old hippie recipe for a brown rice, and lentil salad with green olives, and a delicious mustard dressing that I used to make often.
I myself have awful luck with homemade veggie burgers, but I know there are tons of lentil burger recipes floating around, along with lentil loafs galore.
Lentils are my go to food always. They have nourished me and saved my ass when I have been so broke I don't have change in my couch cushions. Even when I'm not totally broke, I ALWAYS have lentils in my pantry, and eat them several times a week, sometimes more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Met a few Sugar Free Plum Fairies......

So I have been off sugar for a few weeks now, and although I'm not planning on going sugar free for life,  I do think this little experiment has shown me that I don't want to be careless when it comes to sugar. And I don't feel good if I have sugar in the morning. I was on a Chai kick for awhile, and I do like my Chai sweet, so I wasn't feeling so hot for awhile. Different times in my life, when I have been a breakfast server, I've been curious about people who have tons of pancakes, or waffles, or pastries in the A.M. and then go to work. Different strokes right?
While shopping at Wegmens, I happened to notice So Delicious sugar free coconut milk ice cream. I saw chocolate and vanilla flavors. I decided to go against what felt natural to me and pick up a pint of chocolate.  I don't usually use my splurge on something sweet, but it's good to flip the script, as the kids say. Anyway, it has no stevia, which is the only way I would try it, because I have come to the conclusion that STEVIA IS THE WORST. I rate stevia up there with saccharin in terms of blech. This ice cream is sweetened with monk fruit extract, and Erythritol (according to Wikipedia, this is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fermented foods, and is approved throughout most of the world.) For me, the Erythritol is the only questionable ingredient, everything else seemed to come from nature, and not seem to misplaced. Taste wise, it was pretty tasty, and definitely ha a rich chocolate flavor, and that great creamy texture we've all come to expect in vegan ice cream. It had that somewhat fake sweet taste that seems to come with everything that isn't sweetened with sugar, maple syrup. or agave. But it was way better than anything sweetened with stevia, which I can taste from a mile away. Because it was a little less sweet, I actually think the chocolate flavor was more pronounced. I probably will stick with the regular So Delicious myself when I want a treat, but I'm glad I tried this,and I'm certainly glad this is available for people who are avoiding sugar for whatever reasons. It might be a nice option for upcoming holiday parties, because there is everything sugar coated, so it could be a way to have your ice cream and eat it too. According to their website, they have butter pecan, chocolate, mint chip, and vanilla, all no sugar added. I have only seen chocolate, and vanilla at my grocery, but I'm sure the other flavors are out there somewhere! And if  you, or anyone you know has issues with gluten, they have a gluten free cookie's & cream, and a gf cookie dough. Pretty cool with all the options.
Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Owner of a Lonely Heart

I'm usually able to shake off my toxic co-workers energy after a day or so of detoxing and recovery. However, this past Friday night I had a run in with a bartender that has just really upset me, and I'm having a hard time shaking the bad feeling. I know that since I have no support system at all, not one person, including family who would care, or understand my feelings, I have a harder time bouncing back. I like balance, and symmetry, and my life is extremely unbalanced right now, and I think if I make it out of here with my sanity I will be very lucky. It is so suffocating to be so isolated, and to not really be able to be your true self, because you have to protect yourself from side- eyes and judgment. If I were a pedophile, murderer, or your garden variety sociopath, I could understand this feeling. But I'm a fucking vegan, who has the audacity to believe in equal rights. Oh the shame of it all. Isolation is a really terrible thing. I have lived through a lot, and have lived through a lot of cruelty, but isolation is something that I thought I had experienced, but I now realize the difference between loneliness, and isolation. Sometimes I wonder if I'm insane, and I'm just imagining that I have ever had real, deeply connected friendships and relationships. Maybe I have never talked to anyone in my whole life who is not also texting/checking their phone, and maybe no one has ever cared about anything I have to say.
Anyway, before I delve too deeply into darkness, back to my very rude co worker. It was mentioned, not by me that I am a vegan. So this person started questioning what I eat very aggressively, and had the most snotty, mean girl look on her face. I started by saying that there is a lot of food vegans can eat, and she just would not accept my answer. She was laughing like a mad woman and mentioning salads, and potatoes, and just thought she was effing hilarious. Considering that people have accused vegans of living off of salads and potatoes since veganism started, I felt she lacked in originality to say the least. She was being so insulting to me, and it was more the look on her face, that I had to walk away, because I know all to well that there is no winning with those kind of people, and I was already dealing with enough at work. I understand not liking things/people that are different, but to be so unkind is just beyond me. And I would like to add to the story just so everyone really understands, this woman is a grandmother. This is not some teenager who just doesn't know any better. I believe that certain people never grow out of their high school roles. This woman married her high school sweetheart, they got married, and she probably has the same circle of friends. There is a lot of that in this city, and I do think it keeps people frozen in time in a way. Anyway, I just felt so alone, because I have always had at least one, usually more allies at any job I've had. Not a single person there had my back, and I knew better than to express any type of feelings, as I would just either be side eyed, laughed at, or told that I just took her the wrong way. Sometimes I long for my drinking days, I feel that it gave me a certain aggression that made dealing with certain things and people easier. No friends, and no chemical buffers makes things harder. And I am way too old to be feeling like the ugly duckling of high school. Been there, done that, and I'm sad that there are people who have never wanted to grow. And fear makes for some weird people. And some xenophobic, racist people who like to hunt, and watch football.
This certainly wasn't the first time I've been teased, and it won't be the last. And, as far as teasing goes, it wasn't even very original. It was more the look in her eyes while she was doing it. It was cold, and malicious, and it hurt my feelings, and I feel like getting paid $3.50 an hour, to serve the sloppiest of slop food to a bunch of messy, unappreciative assholes is torture enough, I shouldn't have to deal with judgmental grandmothers when there is no reason for judgment. Especially when everyone's favorite stereotype is the "judgmental vegan".  I'm sorry for the rant, but I really do feel a little better. I know at least one person, probably more, will read this and understand how I feel, and that is calming to me. I may be isolated in this armpit of a city, but there's a whole world out there.

Monday, December 15, 2014

You Don't Have to be Rich to Rule my World

I forgot a few more ways I've learned to have some princely things on a paupers budget. I fell in love with Kombucha many years ago, but it was a love/hate relationship due to the price. So, after many years of being scared to make my own, I finally braved it, and let me tell you it is so easy I can't believe it. Now I can have buch every day, where when I was buying it I could have one, or two if I was super flush a week. When you make your own you can flavor it any way you want. I can brew a gallon of kombucha for less than one bottle you buy already made. And it takes so little time, I can't believe I waited so long to become a buch brewer!
Now that winter is almost here, I have been drinking a lot more citrus juices, as oranges and grapefruits are starting to fill the produce aisles, at some amazing prices. Two weeks ago I got a bag of Texas red grapefruit for $.99! Oh, and it was eight pounds!! It made the best juice ever! Friday I got ten navel oranges for two dollars, so those combined with the cheap organic carrots I always have in my fridge will make some delicious, inexpensive juice this week. And of course as I've mentioned before, you can make fresh juice in a blender with a little water, your fruits and veg, and strain it with cheesecloth, or a mesh/wire strainer. I have an Oster blender by the way, so you don't even need a super blender. I used to drool over images of green juice, and lament the fact that I couldn't afford a juicer, and I also remember a hundred years ago when I had a Jack Lalane juicer, it was a real pain in the arse to clean. So thank you to whoever I picked up the blender trick from. It's made me a lot less resentful. (haha)
Since I am no longer buying shampoo, conditioner, and lotions on a regular basis, it freed up a little wiggle room, which means that I can have splurges every now and then, like vegan ice cream, or whatever treat I'm craving. Sometimes I splurge on veggie burgers, as I struggle with home made. But being able to try some treat, or trendy little thing helps me feel normal, and not so on the under poverty side of life, if anyone can understand.
What I'm ultimately trying to say to people is don't be discouraged if you are on a top ramen food budget. You don't have to eat every damn thing organic, the food police won't come for you, you won't die, and all I know is any conventional fruit or veg is better than mcfood. And while of course we all wish we could have the best kitchen appliances, and utensils, it isn't everyone's reality, and it's okay. You don't have to go without everything. I used to sometimes get so overwhelmed by my lack of disposable income, I just wouldn't even try. If only I knew then what I know now.
And as a final random tip that I'm quite sure is a well known fact, but here goes anyway. If you need a blender, check thrift stores, especially in well to do neighborhoods. It's amazing how much brand new stuff wealthy people buy and never use, and then just donate it. People are so weird. Also, don't be scared of blenders that are old, or shall I say "vintage" I feel that just like cars, a lot of times appliances from back in the day are made from much stronger stock, and are much better quality. Also every thrift store I've been to has an amazing selection of pots and pans, and plates and silverware.
What I  have come to conclude is that life would be easier if I had/earned more money, or if organic foods weren't so expensive, but also life doesn't have to be toxic and bleak if you have less money. And being creative is good for the soul, and lacking funds definitely forces you to get creative. And, as I pointed out yesterday, living the more D.I.Y style of life is very naturally earth kind.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Being Kind means Saving Money

I thought since I do so much griping about organic shaming, and the cost of certain organic food, I would take a moment to talk about some ways I've learned to deal with this problem. First, non- toxic, organic cleaning products are way more expensive than their toxic counterparts. I won't use those toxic cleaners, so I learned to make my own cleaners out of vinegar, baking soda and Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap. I sprinkle baking soda on my carpet to deodorize, and I feel like my apartment is fresh, clean, and odor free. And I know that my kitties aren't breathing in all that fake flower scent and gagging. I also use baking soda to wash my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. And no, my hair doesn't smell like vinegar, I promise. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer, (raw,unrefined) and sometimes a little in my hair if it feels dry.(very rarely) I usually buy Spectrum's brand of oil, and I believe the jar is $7.49, or 99, or somewhere around there, and it lasts forever! And my skin has never felt better, even in the brutal winter, same thing with my hair, it's never felt healthier.
As far as food, I cannot recommend bulk bins enough. Especially for spices, you will gag at the cost differences. I think bottled spices are one of the biggest rip offs in history. I spent like .75 cents once on crushed red pepper, and it filled up my whole empty jar, which had cost over four dollars. Also, bulk bins are great for dried fruits, seeds and nuts, nutritional yeast, and even various flours, and oats. And of course the all important rice, and beans. And bulk bins afford you the luxury of trying a small amount of something, which for me anyway is important, cause I can't always afford to experiment. And at the Co-op in my town, all of the bulk bin items are organic, and often cheaper than non organic at a regular grocery. Sometimes the more mainstream groceries really mark up any type of trendy, specialty foods that I almost think they are playing a joke. I go to the Co-op maybe once a month to stock up on bulk bin items, and I save so much money and I get such a better variety than at conventional stores.
As far as produce, I try to go by the dirty dozen, and so if I can't afford say organic strawberries, I don't eat strawberries that week. I find that organic carrots, kale, romaine, and spinach are reasonable, and not much more expensive than non-organic. I've also noticed that some stores such as Wegmen's sometimes offers certain organic items at the same price as non organic, like for instance they often have organic pineapple for $2.99 which is the same as non-organic. Aldi's also has started offering more organic, and they have amazing deals, especially on organic frozen berries, they are cheaper than conventional at other stores.
For me, since I need variety in my diet, I like salty, spicy flavors, and I feel like I can achieve that just with bulk bins. I can afford spices that normally I wouldn't be able to. I think that one of the keys to eating like a prince on a pauper's budget is being able to get creative in the kitchen, and finding excellent vegan cookbooks at the library is a big huge help also.
When I buy non organic produce, I use vinegar to wash off the funk. There are of course organic fruit and vegetable washes they sell, but the price is ridic, in my opinion. Vinegar is actually the best thing to use to remove pesticides, from everything I've read, so I feel pretty confident.
Buying from bulk bins and reusing old jars for you're spices, grains, etc., and making you're own 'poo, and cleaning supplies is also naturally being kind to mama earth. My recycling has gone down, and I didn't even have to try.
And the most important thing I've learned when you are super broke is lentils are your best friend. One bag of lentils, a carrot, onion, and some garlic will keep you full for a week. I am saying this from more experience than I care to admit to.
These suggestions are based on my current situation of no farmer's market, no Trader Joe's (so, so, so SAD) and limited availability of specialty vegan items. I have learned these things through frustration, and lots of comparing, and keeping track of who is cheapest, which kind of becomes an obsession when you one of the "poors".

Friday, December 12, 2014

Smug is Never in Vogue

I watched a YouTube video this morning and in the video a vegan couple were talking about Usher(the singer) who apparently has been vegan for the past two years, and has recently changed diets, and cited expense as one of the reasons to go back to the dark, meatier side of life. I couldn't watch the whole video, because clearly Usher worrying about the expense of food is ridiculous, but that was all I agreed with. These people were going on and on and on about Farmer's Markets, and they were showing pictures of the beautiful, organic fruits that were amazing deals. And I felt like they were very smug, and that is a huge pet peeve of mine. They then went on to point out that you can live very cheaply on brown rice and bananas. And both of those facts are true, but here is where I have a problem, first of all, not everyone has the luxury of farmer's markets. Like not just maybe that it's a little out of the way, I'm talking there are cities where none exist period. And if brown rice and bananas were my only option to stay vegan, then yes I would live on those two things, but since I'm not being forced to make Sophie's Choice, I like a lot of people desire variety in my diet. I understand wanting to speak out, especially when people give up veganism, and turn around and insult it. I get wanting to defend the diet, but I feel we need to get over being smug. And to completely pooh pooh the idea that a vegan diet is expensive is not helping our cause, because no one like being lied to, and the vegan diet can be expensive, organic produce at a grocery store most of the time is much more expensive, vegan specialty items, or treats are more expensive than their non vegan counter treats, and anyone who tries to tell me different, well I guess I envy the utopia you live in. There are ways around all of this of course, and as I have learned with enough cooking practice, you can turn a bag of lentils into multiple things, so you don't feel so deprived of variety. It is the spice of life after all. I feel upset because if someone is curious about the vegan lifestyle, and looks at stuff in the grocery, notices the expense, and then watches some videos of vegans suggesting that it is not expensive to be a vegan, I could see where it could be confusing, and some vegans could be seen as a little Fox News like. And the Organic shaming is very prevalent in the vegan community. I don't read any non vegan or vegetarian blogs, so I wonder if the organic shaming is happening in the Omni world as well.
No body likes to feel judged, and I think only smug people like other smug people, so I think as vegans we need to get a grip, be kinder, and understand that not everyone has lovely little organic farmers at their disposal, and we have to stop denying that their are a lot of vegan foods that are as far as I'm concerned almost only for the one percenters out there. It's funny, I accepted a long time ago that there are certain things in life I may never get to experience due to my pay grade, but it's weird that there are foods out there that I will probably never buy or taste due to my financial lot in life.
But I want people to know that veganism can be tasty and done on the budget of a pauper, and while if you love bananas and rice, go for it, but you can also have a variety, and you won't die, or get your vegan card snatched if not every thing you eat is organic.
As a vegan, I want animals to live, and not be used and abused. That will forever be my number one intent for life. And I want anyone who is contemplating veganism to know that yes, there are hurdles and bumps in the road, but it can be done, and there is nothing more rewarding, and with a little creativity you can live a food porn filled life, and there are people that understand the frustration of food costs, and availability, and there is a support system, not a shaming smug system.
And should Usher see the error of his ways, and come back to the kind side, we want him to feel welcome. I don't want veganism to be the judgy aunt who sits in the corner side eyeing everyone, dying to say "I told you so".

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Put Your Happiness in an Ironman Suit

Like anyone else, I have been through my share of "stuff" in life, and because of that, I don't wake up every single day full of sunshine and rainbows. I actively work every single day to feel good, and do good, and I work very hard to try to be a positive person. Some days I am wildly successful, and other days I am the biggest failure ever. But, the more I commit to a healthy lifestyle, the good days are easier to come by. Because of how hard I work on being positive, the more resentful I feel of people who make it their life's mission to destroy those who dare to smile. I think people who are negative/toxic think that if anyone is happy, than either they are a nit-wit, or just have it so flipping easy in life that of course they're happy. I don't expect everyone to be the same, or handle life's difficulties the same, but what I do expect is mutual respect. I used to drown my sorrows in all kinds of different, unhealthy ways, so I fully understand that mentality, but don't be irritated with me, or make fun of me because I now make different choices, and I choose to deal with my feelings. When I was a more toxic person, I always enjoyed being around people with a sunnier attitude than mine, I found it refreshing, especially when you know that the sunny attitude is a choice that we make, and not always an easy one. And I certainly never wished for anyone to feel as miserable as I did. As a matter of fact, I did a lot of my drinking and crying alone, just because who wants to watch someone's tears in their beer's?
The people that I have to deal with are happy for someone if they buy a new car and are happy, or buy a new house, clothing, so on and so forth, but if you stop smoking, drinking, decide to dedicate your life to helping others, decide to be happy in any non- medicated, organic way, well they will aggressively work on knocking you down.  I do not talk about anything that makes me feel good, or sad for that matter to anyone where I live. I don't take food with me to work, because I have been made fun of too many times, and I have been dragged down to many times, and at a point you get exhausted from pulling yourself up.
I know I'm certainly not the only one to have to deal with happiness vampires. It's sad that trying to be healthy and happy, and believe in something good, especially in a rather dark world we live in, can be seen as a bad thing, and something that needs to be stolen, and trampled out. It's another attitude, like racism that seems to be passed down from one generation to another.
I don't know what the answer is, because it's so ingrained I don't even think a lot of the people realize how negative they are. They would probably deny any kind of negative influence on the world, so it's a tough one to fix I fear. The only thing really that you can do is nurture and protect your happiness. It sucks, because most of us when something makes us happy, we radiate, and want to spread this knowledge to the world, but it's just not always safe. Just because other people choose to be unhealthy and negative, doesn't mean that they know more than you know, it doesn't make them wiser, or tougher. I find the truly miserable people to be some of the most ignorant, because they already have it all figured out, and they never learn, or listen, unless it's more negative speak. It seems illogical to say that choosing positivity can be lonely, but in my case it has proven to be true. But the fact that I like myself more than I ever have is enough for me to keep pursuing inner health and happiness. Plus, while I am certainly not the most vain person, I am human, and if you really look at these negative Nellie types, they look sallow, wrinkly, and just kind of blah. But if you look at people who are kind to themselves, others, animals, and the planet, well they just have a radiance that is beautiful from the inside out, and that's what I strive for. So protect your happiness and health, and let it flourish where it's appreciated.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

People Need to Move and Experience Stuff.

As I've been processing the recent injustices in Ferguson, and Staten Island, I have been watching a lot of various interviews on Democracy Now, and the other day I saw an interview with a retired New York City detective named Graham Weatherspoon . It was a wonderful interview, I like interviews like this, because this guy knows firsthand, he isn't guessing, or pontificating in anyway. And I found it interesting that he himself had suffered police brutality himself at a very young  age, which was one of the deciding factors that led him to the force, to change things, make them better.
As racism was being discussed, he said one sentence that sums up the problem. He said, racism is a cancer in this country, and no one wants to talk about it, or heal it. And he couldn't be more right. After being surrounded by so many people who are just openly, out and proud racists, it is a cancer, and each generation is spreading it to the new one. I remember I used to work with this girl who was only maybe 21 or 22, and she talked like a life long racist, someone who has had years to hone their craft. And cancerous is a really good way to describe this city I live in. It has a toxic vibe to it. If I had to use one word to describe this city it would be death. Anyway, I also remember a long time ago reading a quote that said something like "we as humans are not meant to live in only one place, we are meant to move, and experience different ways." That wasn't the exact quote, of course, but it went along those lines, and it stuck in my head, because I have noticed that I have met hardly anyone who has ever lived anywhere else but here. It is the strangest thing, I can't imagine living here my whole life. Even if I liked it, BORING. I am so bored I could literally rip my skin off. There is nothing not boring about this city. And the hilarious thing is that it isn't a sweet little quaint village where everyone is kind and loving to their neighbor, that kind of boring I could handle, no there are more shootings here than I ever heard about in Seattle, and the people are the opposite of kind. And don't get me started on the drunk driving topic. Anyway, back to racism, I think that in the case of most of the people where I live it is pure, unadulterated ignorance. I doubt very few of these people have even had many experiences with anyone other than other angry, resentful white people, so this hatred has been taught to them, and they have never bothered to check it out and form their own opinions.
The ignorance is what needs to be changed. I mean, I saw a study on The Young Turks I believe, (obsessed) and only like 58% of white people who were polled thought the Staten Island lack of indictment was wrong, and the numbers were way lower for the Michael Brown case. I mean that kind of says it all right there. We have a lot of work to do, and I have no idea how to go about it. It is about to be 2015, and people are still using the n word, and as I've learned, a lot of it is out and proud, I'm white, I can say whatever I want.
I feel very strongly about wanting this to be a kind world for everyone, and right now it isn't. And as a vegan, it feels very daunting to get humans to be kind to animals, when we are so cruel to each other. I used to live in my little liberal bubble, and think that racism was all but non-existent, and I was so wrong, and I want other people who may not understand that this attitude is real. Like Fox news isn't just an annoying thing that we watch Jon Stewart skewer, there are people who ride and die with Fox News.
If you are curious and have a few minutes, check out the interview on Democracy Now! with Graham Weatherspoon  you won't be disappointed, you will be enlightened.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Love Your Strong Healthy Self!!!

Something that will probably irk me a little bit until the day I die is people who eat whatever crap they want, drink, and don't exercise, yet somehow remain thin. It used to really drive me nutty when I was sicker, but even now I still get a little twitch every now and then. Especially when people let me know that my body type doesn't fit their image of what a vegan looks like. But something that I'm starting to realize is that a lot of people who are naturally thin take that for granted, and since they don't need to lose any pounds, they don't feel like they need to exercise at all.
I have a co-worker who is very tall and naturally thin, and she has long legs like a model. And this lady eats meat, and dairy, and deep fried, drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, and scoffs at the thought of ever working out. She is one of the sole reasons that I quit talking about working out at work, because she's very snide and discouraging. She's the best listener if you need to bitch, whine, complain, but talk about anything healthy and wow, I mean the walls come out to play. Anyway, in the past 6 months or so, she has had a myriad of health issues. She had to have some kind of minor surgery a few months ago, and recently has been told she needs to have her gallbladder removed like yesterday. And she continues to eat heavy greasy food, and DRINK! Which are two things the doctor told her vehemently not to do. All of this is fine, it's her body, but what frustrates me is that she clearly has a lot going on internally, which is making her feel like crap externally, and then she's getting tanked and not sleeping enough which I know from experience makes you pretty damn toxic. And it's frustrating because as I see all these people who are so negligent of their health spewing off their health problems, saying well that's what happens as we age. And it doesn't have to be. There are so many seniors who are running marathons, and power lifting, and doing all kinds of amazing, wonderful things, and aging gracefully and healthily.
I'm saying all of this to encourage anyone who might be dealing with body image issues. What has been super helpful to me is looking at my body for what it is right now, which is healthy, and not breaking down. I am strong, and I swear every day I feel stronger, and that has become more important. I feel like I am way sexier now than I have ever been, because I am giving a shit about what goes in my body, and I am caring for it and myself. I don't feel this confident all the time, especially when I'm surrounded by and feeling invisible by people, esp. at work, but the important thing is that eventually I come back to this place, and I hope I can encourage other people to feel good about themselves, and be proud of healthy choices you make, even if other people try to drag you down.
I believe the professional term for what I've been going on about is "skinny fat" and it's a thing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Get Her to the Kitchen

One of the side effects of being in a funk is that you fall into ruts, and I was in a cooking rut for sure, just kind of making the same few things over and over. Thankfully my local library came to the rescue and I have a couple of new to me vegan cookbooks, Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero, and Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have made one recipe from each book, and I have a million bookmarks in each book! Old grocery lists cut into strips make great bookmarks esp. if you have library books, and don't want to damage the pages. Anyway, Friday I made Harira on pg.38 of Isa Does it, which is a Moroccan noodle soup served to break Ramadan fasting. This soup had lentils, and chickpeas in a delicious broth with tomatoes, and spices such as cinnamon, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Isa's recipe also called for eggplant to add a certain meaty texture to the soup, I had no eggplant, so I subbed in a hand full of red lentils, and they seemed to work fine. Isa had mentioned that the eggplant kind of softens and melts into the soup, and I love that red lentils also do that. Anyway, this soup was so flavorful, and had just the right amount of spice. It is hearty, but not heavy, and I have learned that cinnamon can really add a certain something  to savory dishes. It's like it lingers in the background, and you can't tell it's cinnamon, but you know it's there. Cinnamon sticks are a key ingredient in making delicious Pho broth, trust me, I've made it without, and it just isn't the same at all. I made the soup for breakfast on Friday, and it was simmering away while I worked out, and man my apartment smelled so great, it was kind of distracting me from Jillian Michaels!
Last night for dinner, I made Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad from Salad Samurai. This delicious salad had buffalo tofu chunks, and a very creamy cashew based ranch dressing. What made this salad so warm and satisfying is the tofu. It's funny how adding something warm to a cold salad kind of changes the way it feels going down. This salad was romaine lettuce, with celery, and carrots, and the recipe called for shredded cabbage witch I left out because I forgot cabbage at the grocery. I forgot how satisfying sliced celery is in a salad. There were lots of tastes and textures going on, and the creamy ranch went so well with the spicy tofu, and the softish tofu was nice with the crunch of the vegetables. And Terry's version of ranch dressing has Dijon mustard in it and wow I am a fan. It is by far one of my favorite vegan ranch dressings. I'm very glad to have leftover ranch dressing!!
Both of these books have beautiful pictures, that make you want to dive in, and the recipes seem to be not involving a lot of swanky, hard to find ingredients. I appreciate people who understand that not everyone has a generous food budget. And neither book is organic shaming, another thing I very much appreciate. Both of these are cookbooks I would own, which is saying a lot, because I'm a lethal combo of frugal and poor! Both books give lots of substitutions, and explain in easy to understand measurements, and directions. If you already have these books, I told you nothing new, if you don't, I say ask Santa for one, or both, and if you know anyone who is contemplating veganism, either one of these beautiful books would help the cause tremendously, because good food is good food!!
I wish I had some beautiful pictures to show you, I am working on that, I promise. I have a plan of action, which is in the beginning phases(waiting for a call about a class) so I haven't given up on my dream of actually knowing what I'm doing!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cloudy With A Chance....

I am really having a hard time feeling better. I mean emotionally. The fact of the matter is that I am feeling incredibly trapped. I feel overwhelmed at all of the money I will need to move myself, and my feline army. Truth be told, it feels impossible. Giving them away is not an option, and I keep trying to find a way to make this city okay in my head, find a way to feel like I can live here for the long haul, but that seems to be impossible as well. I feel so invisible. Not a person that I know cares about anything that I have to say.
Between the recent major injustices going on, and all the greed of the Christmas season, and my funk, I was feeling like I should just quit blogging. I don't think anyone wants to read about doom and gloom, and sometimes I struggle to not be mopey. This is the first time really in my adult life that I am 100% dedicated to being healthy, and it's just a weird feeling to not have a single person to give any encouragement, or to help with motivation, as I am human and sometimes I want to go back to toxic island, and having support is so helpful. So far, I've been able to be my own support, and I'm feeling weak. Last night my co worker wanted to drink after work, and I was tempted, and came very close. Not even because I wanted to drink, or hang out Da club where I work, but I honestly just wanted to say eff it, I'm going back to my old ways, because this whole inner happiness thing is a bunch of malarkey, I've been selling  snake oil to myself. Other people can be healthy and glowing, but I need to be toxic and sallow. I've never felt particularly important, but I have also never felt so unimportant. I have to seek out people, and blogs and YouTube channels to assure myself that I have not totally lost it, and there are like minded people out there, and I am allowed to have the feelings and opinions that I do. It's pretty embarrassing to admit that.
I've decided that I'm not going to stop blogging just yet, because sometimes the fact that I have kept this up, even though I have no idea what I'm really doing makes me feel proud, and I need to hold on so tightly to anything that is positive right now. Plus, it feels good to vent, and share, since I just don't have that option in my life right now.
Today, I don't have to work, so I can detox from all of that, and this week I start cooking recipes from Salad Samurai, and Isa Does it. Today I will be making the Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad from Salad Samurai. Yum.
Today I am grateful for the strength to stay on the path to health and happiness, and I'm grateful for these annoying little fur babies who are both holding me back, but also keeping me sane, and no matter how lonely I get, I know I matter to them.(seriously, I sound like a crazy person) And I am so grateful that out of the terrible injustices in Ferguson, and Staten Island has come an amazing power of solidarity with people demanding change, and people of all races are standing together, and the momentum seems to only be building. That restores a little of my faith in humanity.

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Grocery Cart Survey

I have of course gone on about the extreme racism and xenophobia I notice any time I have the audacity to be in public in this quaint city/town I live in, but when I first moved here, and hadn't yet interacted with many people, I noticed kind of an unhealthy pallor to a lot of people, and definitely a more unpleasant energy in general. I remember knowing almost immediately that something had gone awry in my life. If anyone watched Lost(one of my absolute hands down favorite shows ever!!) and remembers when they came home from the island, and everyone thought Jack was insane, because he kept saying they made a mistake leaving the island? Well. I was Jack pretty much right away. Unfortunately, my first impression was correct, there's just an unhappiness that is so palpable, it almost can suffocate you. And I'm including people who have "the American Dream", married, kids, money, a house, all the bells and whistles. And it doesn't even seem to be keeping up with the Jones's, it's more of just a lack of any kind of inner peace or happiness. That's why I type away like a freak in a dark corner about any thing positive, because it's shameful to strive for happiness outside of booze, church, or shopping. I should be embarrassed for being so selfish to want to be healthy and happy, besides, they make pills for all that shit. I kind of feel like I'm in a demented high school, where no one ever leaves, and all of the cool kids are taking horrible care of themselves, and Pure unhappiness is the ultimate goal.
I say all of this to say that I have been doing a very unscientific study, but I think I am on to something. I have been glancing in people's shopping baskets and carts for awhile now, and it is truly shocking to me how little fresh produce I see in people's carts! I'm not even really coming so much from a vegan perspective, because from everything that I know, and everything you see EVER, everyone needs fruit and veg. I'm actually impressed that the grocery stores even have produce sections. And I look at the alleged food that is served at my job, and it's so brown! The only color is if someone has lettuce on their burger. Even our salads are smothered in fries, cheese, and meat. I feel that I sound like the produce police, and for that I'm sorry, but I truly believe that when  you don't give your body the proper nutrients it was made to need, and you maybe just take a multi-vitamin, and an anti-depressant, your not fueling your body, and I feel it results in not feeling well, and when you don't feel well, it's hard to be happy. I know that a lot of depression, and general sour pussedness  naturally disappeared in myself when I simply started feeding it, and even more so when I increased my fruit and veg intake. Like I said, my "study" is very unscientific, but I am basing my Lack of Nutrition = Nasty People study on many observations of the food shopping, and eating habits, and conversations with people. You would not believe the number of people I've talked to who have never even eaten an avocado!! I mean, not even guacamole I've asked, and the answer is no. It's so strange. And on a strange side note, I have never met so many people who loathe water, and refuse to drink water. But they pound the hell out of some coffee and booze, yikes!
I have deprived my body of all nutrition, and I have abused both alcohol, and nicotine, and I know I was so sick, and I didn't even know it. The toxicity flowing through your body feels normal, and you don't even really realize you're so unhealthy. Although I'm not where I want to be on the happiness spectrum, I am so grateful that I caught myself, and I am moving towards, not away from health and happiness.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Emotional Rescue

For as long as I can remember, no matter what is going on in my life, I have always been able to find comfort in animals, and books. I love reading, and can't think of a time in my life when I didn't love reading. Getting lost in someone else's words and worlds is just a great treat. I remember when I was very young I would read everything I could possibly find about animals, and follow my mom's friends around prattling off all of these facts. So, feeling as down as I have for the past while, it's no surprise that I found a copy of Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Salad Samurai, by Terry Hope Romero!! Excuse my lack of class, but I almost shit myself when I saw these both on the shelf of the library where I live!! And I needed a lift, both in and out of the kitchen. I love to cook, and I love to create in the kitchen, but I have been in such a rut lately, kind of just phoning it in. I glanced through both yesterday, but today after work I am going to look through both, and making a list for the grocery. I can already tell I will need to renew both books, because they look amazing. I saw a couple of pictures and recipes for different types of Kale salad in Salad Samurai that look like I want to eat these salads every day! And the library had a new to me book by one of my favorite fiction authors, and they have a book I read about on another blog, called Bad Feminist on reserve for me, and I don't know what shocked me more, the fact that the library had it, or the fact that it was checked out! So, once again, books have come to my aid, in seeking some kind of calm.
Hopefully, tomorrow I will have less doom, and more talk of awesome face scrubs!!

And the Injustice Train Keeps Running

Well, I was only going to speak of sunshine and unicorns today, but I saw yet another shocking injustice that has knocked the wind out of me. I'm sure everyone has heard of Eric Garner, who was stopped by police on the suspicion of selling loose cigarettes(loose cigs, what a horrible danger to society!). and had the audacity to be a little lippy, and ended up in a chokehold by one officer, and held down by numerous others. There were easily 6 or 7 cops, over one unarmed man who may or may not have been selling loose cigarettes, but we will never know because he's dead. The video of his murder is all over the internet, as various by standers caught it. He was ay one point clearly saying he couldn't breathe, and you could hear the struggle for breath in his voice. The cops will not be facing a trial. At this point, it seems pointless to arm police with body cameras, because they can do what they want, regardless.  Eric Garner clearly had no weapon, and he was simply telling the cop that he had not been selling loose cigs, and that he was tired of being harassed, and he wasn't cussing, he wasn't being aggressive in a physical way. This is not okay that cops are getting this aggressive. I don't think we are supposed to fear police, and I certainly think we should have the right to say hey, I'm not selling loose cigarettes. And there was no reason for the chokehold to begin with, as the cops easily outnumbered him. It's always that way, they can never do anything on their own. And when I hear people on Fox News gloating over the Darren Wilson, and calling for Michael Brown's stepfather to be prosecuted for something he said when his emotions had taken over, and now this news, last week I was super pissed, this week I'm sad. When I'm out and about, and I see the holiday lights, and hear the music, it feels crass. Fox news goes on about morals, and faith, and it definitely has a Christian spin to it, and yet they are so judgmental. I wonder how any of them would react if this were their child, family, community. And as people are analyzing theses situations, I keep hearing there are good cops, and I know a good cop, and so on and so forth. And logically I know this has to be true, but where are they? I would be really pissed if I were a "good" cop right now. Where has compassion and kindness gone? I truly don't know. I feel like the generation before me, and my generation have massively failed, because this sort of thing shouldn't still be happening, it's like we've stopped evolving as humans, but hey, look how far we've come with technology!
Anyway, if you haven't seen the Eric Garner video, and are interested, I watched it on Secular TV on YouTube, it's pretty brutal to watch. I don't think anyone should ever die over allegedly selling loose cigs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

No Sugar Plums Dancing for Me

I'm going to interrupt the all the doom that has taken over to talk about something that is making me feel great!! Last Wednesday I cut sugar out of my diet, and I am amazed at how quickly I noticed a difference in how I felt. Like I'm talking the same day I felt better. I don't think that I necessarily had a problem with sugar, but I noticed once it started getting cold, I was drinking more chai tea, and adding a little sugar to each cup. Although I do have agave in my cupboard, sugar is so much cheaper so I was using it every day. And at night I would usually have something sweet before bed. I felt like for about the past month or two I was a little sluggish, and I felt like I had put on a few pounds that I had so proudly dropped. Anyway, I have heard great success stories of people giving up sugar, so I thought why not, it's not going to hurt me. First of all, it has been way easier than I thought it would be, I haven't really had any crazy cravings, or headaches or anything. I feel lighter, both in my head and body. It's pretty amazing, and again, the results were instant. I really love that, it makes it so much easier to stick with it when you feel so much better. Because isn't that why any of us get hooked on anything? To feel better, more alert, etc.
I think I'm going to avoid sugar altogether for 30 days, and see how I feel then, and how hardcore I want to be in the future. I have heard of people who say sugar is way too sweet after not having it. And I know that Freelee the banana girl says that part of the benefit of eating a high carb/high fruit diet is that you get so much natural sugar, that you really don't crave sweets. I agree with that, but I am not eating nearly as much fruit now that it's almost winter, as I did in the summer. Anyway, I try not to be to militant with myself, so when this 30 days is up, we will see if sugar can be in my life in moderation, or if it needs to be sent to toxic island.
I have some brown sugar that I am going to make into a skin scrub with lemon and coconut oil. I'm going to be tinkering with measurements today or tomorrow, so when I have it perfected, I will post the recipe. I have a scrub with those ingredients that I treated myself to awhile ago, and it was expensive!! But, so worth it, it is like heaven for your skin. Man, my skin glows all day when i use this scrub, and it is made with coconut oil, brown sugar, and lemon juice, that's it! So I am on a mission to copy this scrub!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I've Come a Long Way Baby.......

For years after kicking bulimia out of my life, I went in the opposite direction, and pretty much didn't really worry about my body at all. I had started drinking more, and I love beer, and not light beer either, and at the time I was vegetarian, so lots of beer and cheese pizza nights were had, and although for the most part I kept up my yoga practice, and walked most places, it wasn't enough to combat what I lovingly call my Hand-Crafted beer weight. After so many years of obsessing over my appearance, I just pretty much quit thinking about it at all. Any time I did start to feel bad, I just had a beer, and shoved that thought away. I had friends, a job, and boyfriends here and there, so as far as I was concerned it wasn't like I was some kind of ogre or anything. I now see that I just traded in one way to abuse myself for another. Kind of like when an alcoholic who never smoked, picks up the habit when they stop drinking. For me, when I see going vegan as the catalyst for my current self love journey. When I went vegan, I was still smoking cigarettes, and drinking, although I had slowed down considerably. I didn't have a huge light bulb moment physically, when I went vegan, but I know it sounds hokey, but I don't know how else to explain it I felt like my heart softened, and I felt more vulnerable in a way. I started really trying to talk to people about my veganism, and I wanted to spread kindness so much!! It took awhile for me to make the connection, but I came to the conclusion that I need to be kind to myself, as well as others!
I've had quite a few people say rude things to me about not being the typical thin vegan, and I don't have any friends, and I can't remember the last time I've been on a date. The old me would be in a frenzied state by now, needing something to cope. I like to see how far I've come, because it truly is shocking. It does hurt my feelings when people comment on my weight, and honestly it does challenge me. I have sometimes caught myself starting to eat in a frenzied way if I'm thinking about something that bothered me, or sometimes I feel like saying eff it, if you can't beat em, join em, and having some drinks, but I now catch myself. I want to feel good, and I feel good when I am being healthy, and my body is kind to me in return. I don't know if  I will ever get to where I want to be, and I don't know if I will ever achieve "the bod", and will I ever make a human friend again. I honestly don't know, but at least I'm working for myself, not against myself. Feeling good in your own skin isn't a privilege just for other people, it's for everyone, including me. And believe it or not, having "the bod" is less and less important, I'm way more interested in making this world a better place, and saving animals whatever way I can. It makes me think of that saying floating around the webz, "progress, not perfection".

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Battle with Bulimia

As a small child I feel that I was right in the middle, weight-wise. I wasn't thin, but I wasn't overweight either. I don't recall my weight ever being an issue, I had friends, and wasn't teased, life was good. Then, my family moved when I was starting 3rd grade, and things kinda went downhill fast. I had a long lane I had to walk down to catch the bus for school, and the kids on the bus named me water buffalo, and would chant those words the whole time I would be coming down the lane. And no matter how much I begged, my mom wouldn't drive me to school, and the bus driver just seemed to not notice or care what was going on. Anyway, the water buffalo year, as I call it kind of set the stage for an eating disorder. During the summer between 6th and 7th grade, I went away to camp, dropped a few pounds naturally, grew a few inches, and I came home a new girl. Nice and slim, the water buffalo was gone! But the problem was I got hooked on being thin, and wanted to be more thin. My childhood wasn't always the happiest, and I certainly didn't receive a ton of praise as a child, so losing the weight generated some praise, and positive attention, so of course I wanted more. I first followed a very strict diet of a slice of dry toast, with maybe half of a grapefruit. Lunch would be a half cup of cottage cheese, with like two saltines. Dinner was trickier, as I had to sit with the family, but as anyone who has had an eating disorder knows, pushing and rearranging can make it look like you ate more than you did. Having a dog helped also.(King Tut R.I.P) My diet kept getting more and more restricted, and I was working out more and more, and really lost a lot more weight. When I was around 14, after struggling for about a year, I was forced to go to a doctor, wwho informed me that if I didn't start eating, he would put me in the hospital, and feed me with a tube. At this point, desperate to stay thin, I discovered bulimia. It was my answer to everything. I was able to fool everyone, and I did put on a few pounds, so it was actually believable that I was magically "cured". Bulimia became my everything. It was my best friend, it was a way I could gorge on all these foods I would never allow myself, and not gain weight, and it quickly became how I dealt with stress, and bad feelings. I had bulimia through the rest of my teens. When I reached my twenties, that was really when it took almost total control of my mind and body. I was never thin enough, and definitely not pretty enough. It really didn't matter how many people told me I was pretty, or thin, in my mind I was still a water buffalo. Bulimia was also like solitary confinement in many ways. It's not exactly a pleasant problem to have, certainly not something you stand around the water cooler talking about. And there were days that I would easily binge and purge 15 or more times in one day! I mean, it had me in it's grip all the way. I went to therapists here and there, was put on various anti-depressants, and even at one point went to a clinic for eating disorders. Nothing really worked. Part of the problem for me is that I have a hard time listening to someone telling me how I feel, how I should feel, and how much better my life will be without this eating disorder, who has a college degree, maybe even specializes in eating disorders, but yet never had one. That kind of stuff I've always had a problem with. Those years while I had friends, and relationships, I was living this secret dark life of self loathing, and self harm.
In many ways, when I moved to Seattle, I was desperate for help. I was hoping that I was going to be so flipping happy in Seattle, that the bulimia would just go away. So naïve right? Bless my heart. Needless to say, the bulimia didn't go away all the way, but I did start having binges less and less often. I should stop the story here to say that with my bulimia, I went above and beyond just the standard purging, I also used laxatives, laxative tea, syrup of ipecac, and when I was desperate for anything to help me stop, I would take diet pills, hoping those would curb the binges.(They don't) When I look back on those days, honestly a lot of it I've blacked out, probably for my own sanity, but my main thought is I have never in my life hated anyone as much as I hated myself, and I could NEVER imagine being that cruel to anyone. I'm not only talking the act of bingeing an purging, I'm also talking about the cruel things I said to myself, I showed myself no mercy, no love.
I always knew my eating disorder was the root of almost all of my problems, and one day I was really ready to close that chapter, and I came to the conclusion that I had tried everything, clinics, pills, books, therapy, praying, everything, and no one could help me, and I decided I was going to close this chapter once and for all, for me. The first year that I gave up my bulimia of course had some setbacks, and I had a few lapses here and there, and I distinctly remember my last purge, I remember that it wasn't as easy as it used to be, and there with my head in the toilet, I felt like wow, I'm getting there! It's been so long since I have had a spell, I can't even remember when my last spell was. Not a day goes by where at least once I am so amazed at how great it is to calmly eat a normal amount of delicious food, and it's okay. It's even okay if sometimes you eat more than you think you should. You don't have to get rid of it. It's truly amazing, and I don't think I will ever lose my wonderment at eating normally, and enjoying it. And especially as I have been on the quest of self love, I just love learning more and more about natural health and healing. And I need to be so kind to my poor body, it's been abused pretty badly.
I certainly don't have a perfect bod by society's standards, but after writing all of this and really thinking about it, I think my body is pretty perfect because I am still here, and strong, and I want to be kind and heal myself.
For me, bulimia took over my life, and caused so much mayhem, and pain, and at times made me into a person that I am not. I to this day don't think anyone in my life fully understands how big of a presence, and how destructive it truly was.
I hope that my story can maybe give someone hope. Maybe if you are struggling, or you know someone who is. Ten years ago, if you would have told me that I would reach a point in my life that I wouldn't binge and purge I would have never in a million years believed it. But it's like giving up anything, it has to be when your brain wants to stop something. And vegan food is so freaking delicious, I don't want to waste it like that.
Like mental health, eating disorders need to be discussed more, and taken more seriously, because I truly wouldn't wish that kind of self hatred on anyone. And quite frankly, for as long as I've been alive, I've heard people discussing eating disorders, and fashion, and the media, and Hollywood all cause these. While I definitely agree, we also need to look at taunting in schools, and now online also. The words fat and ugly are used far to often to put women and girls down. We can change all of this if we really tried. If just one month, people wouldn't buy any magazine with a stick figure on the cover, oh they would listen. They can only sell us what we are willing to buy. And eating disorders for men have been slowly increasing over the years, so it's not getting any better, and I want to make it better.
Have a kind day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Snuffy was my Friend

I'm sure everyone has watched Sesame Street at some point in their life, and if you're like me, it brings up the warm and fuzzies. One of the biggest let downs about adulthood is that life really isn't like that. If Mr. Snuffleupagus  really came ambling down the street, obviously it would not bode well for Snuffy. I want to always wish for that world. All that harmony and equality really made for some happy life on Sesame Street. It seemed like no one really needed any toxic behavior as a shield from the harshness of the world. No bars on this street! And in my head, everyone on Sesame Street was a vegan, because duh, how could they love and be friends with Big Bird, but eat little birds. It just makes no sense to me.
That's the world we desperately need. I've realized that last week was a dark week for this country, in my opinion, and I fell prey to very sadness, and anger, which is of course normal, because I never in a million years want to be desensitized to injustice, and hate ever. Anyway, between the Ferguson decision, black Friday mayhem and gluttony, and my own feelings of isolation, man I sunk down quick. As I woke up this morning, I realizes that by being in that dark, negative place I am adding to the problem, because my energy is as toxic as anyone else's. And one thing I've learned is that it is super easy to get stuck in that headspace, and just wallow, and wallow. It's a horrible, helpless, and hopeless black hole.
Today, I detox, and come up with a plan. I don't know what the answer is, but I truly know that hate is not the answer. There is a disconnect somewhere, and I want to fix it, or at least help fix it. I can't stand all of the suffering that is going on every second of the day, and I just want to do what I can to encourage kindness, because at the end of the day, we could all stand to watch some Sesame Street.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Isolation Bad, Animals Good.

Well, I woke up this morning to the super cheerful pictures of all different kinds of people rolling around on the floor, kicking each others asses over discounted whatever at Wal-Mart. (It's always Wal-Mart) This went down on Thanksliving, I repeat Thanksliving!!! I wonder why when all of these religious groups go on and on about "family, Christian values, they never address this stuff. It sure doesn't really sing of family values to me to quickly scarf down some food, and then go throw down at our local Wal-Mart.
When I lived in Seattle, I found it easier to chuckle at the Black Friday insanity. It wasn't that no one in Seattle was insane, it was just that at least in my experience, they were more the minority, so it was like this weird sub species of humans that actually get physical over stuff at a store. Sadly, I don't get that same humor from it now because of two main things, the first being I kind of live in a Wal-Mart kind of town, so it's the norm, and the second is I am all isolated in my feelings. I don't know anyone that I can have a good laugh with. I will probably hear at least two Thanksgiving shopping stories today, if I'm lucky, only two.
Tuesday, the day I woke up to the news about Ferguson, I thank the universe had the day off from work, however I had some errands to run, and I did not run them, because I take public transportation, and I couldn't handle the comments I knew I would hear. That makes me so sad, because a non-racist should not be the minority like, EVER.
I'm saying all of this to say that I am beyond lonely. I am completely isolated in a way that I've never experienced. I love being alone, and loneliness is something that I have almost grown fond of, plus in most ways I prefer the company of animals over people. But isolation is really hardcore, and is a feeling I would never wish on anyone. Even back in the day when I was being bullied, I had a few friends that I could commiserate with. I have always made friends easily, and sometimes having too many friends can be taxing on my introverted nature, but damn having only long distance friends and no local people who are somewhat on the same page as me is sometimes I fear really messing with me. Sometimes I ask myself if I suck as a person now that I don't drink, maybe I'm super boring, I don't know. I feel like while maybe not as feisty, I am a much better person not drinking a million beers a day. I don't know, and truthfully I don't even care anymore, because after living in this city for long enough, I think it is a compliment that I am on the outside. And it's propbably a compliment that no one thinks I'm cool enough to hang with. See, being isolated makes you revert back to being a teenager I swear it's made me question myself in ways that I haven't since I was a teenager!
Anyway, it is kind of embarrassing to admit to how isolated I really feel. It's like this dark secret that only I know, and it really is hard some days to shake the empty feelings, and it's hard trying to keep your feelings to yourself, I am an expresser. I have many feelings, and I like to set them free. Sometimes I fear that I will  go "postal" on someone, and end up in jail, or psych.
It's so sad that now, to feel some comfort with like minded people, I have to go online! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but how else can I say it, I only have imaginary friends!! Cat friends, and imaginary friends, that is what my life has come to. Thanks for the memories, Pa.
In all seriousness, I just can't deny the cold hard truth, that isolation is no joke, and it isn't a surprise that isolation is a form of punishment. And the fact that I still feel sane for the most part, is a true testament to the power of animal love. These crazy cats literally keep me warm at night
Wow, I am so sorry this was way babblier, and longer than I intended! I hope everyone has a bright and cheerful day, full of like minded people and no ass kicking at Wal-Mart!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


To everyone who observes Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful, warm day filled with love. The world needs all the love it can get right now. I myself don't really observe Thanksgiving for various reasons, but I plan on having a productive day, and definitely taking time out to be thankful for what I have, including, all of my sleeping kitties. I'm also thankful for everyone, who for whatever reason is abstaining from turkey this year. I can't even stand hearing people talk about Thanksgiving to be honest. While people eat meat at Christmas as well, at least for the most part people are talking about what gifts they give/receive, where as Thanksgiving, I hear very little talk of thanks, and instead it focuses on food, and then food. 'Merica.
I'm in a very dark place, as I truly feel what happened in Ferguson to be a very dark mark on this country. I feel like all hope for any good has been zapped. I find it hard to even understand that in 2014 almost 15 that this happened, and I can hardly stand that I live in a world where parents fear for their sons simply because of skin color. As I even type this it feels ridiculous, and what happened with the lack of indictment feels like a movie. I'm waiting for George Clooney, Or Matthew Mcconaughey, (as lawyers) to come and make the indictment happen, but also stick around to make sure Darren Wilson goes to prison for a LONG time. But, alas that is not going to happen, and quite frankly in a month this will barely be spoken about. Until the next time. It just feels like we are barbarians, and I have no other way to think of hateful people.
I'm sorry to anyone who reads this that I've been such a downer, but I don't see any other way to feel about this news, and living in such a racist community, I unfortunately can't tell myself Ferguson is an isolated thing, that happens only in very small out of the way towns. I also do not know one single person who I can talk to about how I feel, and what can be done etc. I think the professionals call this processing, anyway unfortunately I only know people who are more on the Darren Wilson side of things, so I guess I'm processing by blogging.
Have a wonderful, loving day, and spread the love, it is so needed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Need a Think Tank

I'm still feeling very saddened by yesterday's news of the lack of justice that was served in Ferguson. I watched some footage from Democracy Now, who are stationed in Ferguson, and are really telling the true story of what's going on, as opposed to the sensationalized, one sided, and in some cases(Fox News) very racist versions. It's a lot of hurt, and broken spirits and people. Obviously there is anger too, but I mostly noticed the pain and hurt. Living in such a racist town, I truly mean this, evil is winning. I first noticed it with the George Zimmerman trial, I almost died when all of my co-workers were talking about the trial, and defending George Zimmerman. I seriously almost shit, and then I realized how deep and evil racism was. I don't like hunters, however if someone shot an unarmed hunter for no logical reason, I would not defend that person, nor would I celebrate if his/her murderer was not held accountable. So now, we have George Zimmerman take two, only this time disguised as a cop, and once again, no justice. These smug, racist people are fucking WINNING.
I saw a very moving speech Killer Mike gave at the end of one of his shows last night, and he was crying and speaking of his twenty and twelve year old sons, and how he is terrified for them and their safety, all because of the color of their skin. What kind of fucking world is this where skin color has ever mattered, let alone in 2014, almost 15. We can all think we have come so far, with all of our rules, and laws, and progress, not to mention, how smart are we because smartphones, interwebz, and SELFIES, but how smart are we? Because these racist people are hving children, and raising them in the same manner. And another scary thing about racism that I've learned is that there is the obvious, overt in your face racism, and then there is the sweet, little church lady racism. These are the people who the thought of using the n word makes them clutch their pearls, but at the same time they like their world to be a very light world, and anything darker or "different" can just stay over there. They agree with racism, they just prefer a kinder, fuzzier version. And another thing I have noticed is how many people who gleefully spew hatred towards really anyone who isn't white, consider themselves to be Christian, and have the audacity to judge others, and truly believe that they hold the moral high ground. This city I live in has more churches, bars, and racists than I have ever seen anywhere, and I was raised in Ohio, and lived in several smaller cities in my day!
The answer is obviously a shift in thinking, because we can make racism as politically incorrect as we want, and we can publically shame celebrities who get busted, but in the end it doesn't matter, because people still think white skin is better, and until that type of thinking stops, this is our world we have not only created, but we allow to keep flourishing.