Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's! Go! Bowling! But only if the bowling alley has tofudogs.

So one of the fun things about being on the Vegan Etsy team is that you end up finding about all of these events that benefit animals. Unsurprisingly, many of them depend on outside contributions for greater success, and they frequently involve fun stuff like raffles and silent auctions. And, yes, that's usually where the team comes in. We donate... stuff! And then worthwhile organizations turn that stuff into cold hard cash, with which to help stray dogs and cats, feed the goats in their animal sanctuaries, et cetera.

This morning I sent off packages of donations for two such events. The first was for SASHA Farm, a sanctuary which will be having a fundraising event featuring a silent auction in I believe mid-April. I sent one of my odd little paperweights, and also a necklace that I made over the weekend. The necklace was beaded with red heart shaped Czech glass beads, and in the middle there's a turtle charm! I think it's way cute, but unfortunately I totally forgot to take a picture of it. (That's OK though; I'm gonna do another one for my shop so we can all revel in the cuteness.) I also didn't think to take a picture of the awesome gift boxes that I sent both items off in.. but oh well, so it goes. I hope they bring in a little something for SASHA.

The second was for Bowling for Animals! Best name ever. It's a fundraising project of SNAP - the Spay and Neuter Action Project in San Diego. And hey, my sister's in San Diego, and she's got at least one cat, so there ya go. Apparently this is their eleventh annual bowling event, so if you're in the area you should stop by - who doesn't love bowling? To them I sent six pairs of earrings, hot from the presses - that is, made in my studio over the weekend - and a journal, all to be used as raffle prizes. I hope the people enjoy. I have no idea how they're planning on breaking up the raffle prizes, so whether it will be helpful or detrimental to them for me to have put all the earrings on one pretty card and put that inside a pretty gift box, I don't know. Meh. Any way about it, I think/hope the items will prove useful, popular, whatever.

There's a certain kind of satisfaction that comes from taking a more active role in these kinds of events than just sending a check. Of course I'd encourage everyone to do that as well! And ideally I'd like to be even more hands-on, and taking part in events of this kind for animals in New York and in New Orleans. (Or tabling at events to promote food education, dream of dreams.) But it's all got to start somewhere. And really, I'm just excited that the team has given me this new avenue. So many of us are full of this feeling, I think, of "I wanna help!", but we have no idea what we can do with it. This kind of opportunity fits the bill perfectly, matching the people who want to help with the people who can take that help and make it really productive.

Alright, enough of that kind of musing. Here's the awesome Bowling for Animals logo pic for your enjoyment - it competes with the event title for Most Coolest Thing Ever.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Me and my triumphant (?) return - the whole food and juice plan.

(For those of you who weren't following along on my food blog, this might be slightly confusing. Suffice it to say that for February and part of March I was trying to revamp my eating habits. But a succession of obstacles led me to take a bit of a break to regroup and come up with a new plan. And now, I'm back! Or something. I'll be posting my weekly updates in both places, but my trials and tribulations will likely only get posted over there.)

As promised, I'm back. Not that I ever went away; I've been here and ranting at you. But I'm back to talk about my sugar/general food addiction, the fact that I've gained back a couple of the pounds that I managed to lose in February, and my new approach.

You may have some theories, based on the title of this post, as to what direction I'm heading in. Yes, that's right, I'm going on an all coconut ice cream and Newman's O's diet! Wait, no. Sorry, the sugar addict got hold of the keyboard for a minute. What I'm *actually* doing is shifting toward how I would like to be eating all the time forever, with one major difference at lunchtime because I do need to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 pounds.

It breaks down like so.

*I will concentrate on real, whole foods: fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains (the grains themselves here - brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, etc.), raw nuts, and legumes. Fresh, local, in season, and organic are of course always better, but I can do some frozen and canned because many things retain the vast majority of their nutritional value with these treatments - beans are a good example.

*I will eat limited amounts of tofu, miso, and seitan, whole grain products (like bread and pasta), potato foods (like perogi and gnocci - and of course potatoes themselves), processed foods (only those with ingredients I recognize), and less refined sugars such as turbinado sugar and agave nectar. My goal is to only have one meal a day that really features any of these foods.

*I will, for the time being, completely eliminate deep-fried foods (sorry veg tempura!), refined sugars, and processed foods with ingredients I don't recognize or with overly long ingredient lists comprised of things other than vegetables or spices. You know what I'm talking about. So, no more Tofurkey deli meat and sausages, no more ground meat for my fake sloppy joes, and so on. It's mainly fake meat that's out the door, which is OK because I don't eat much of it anyway. Once I've got myself under control, in a couple of months maybe, these might move from "never" foods to "once every month or two" foods. Maybe. I have a real problem with self control, so I have to be careful. If I give the addict an inch, she takes a mile. (Four servings in a pint of ice cream? Are they serious???)

And the big lunch plan? Juice! That's right, Sam the juice cart man is gonna get a whole boatload of my business this month. My favorite juices are all vegetable with just a little fruit - Carrot orange celery is a good example. There are all veg juices that are great too, like carrot celery beet. I like to base things in carrot, since it's creamy and sweet while having very little actual sugar. And every now and then I like to throw in a bit of cleansing parsley or lemon. Really, it's fun coming up with juice combos. The only real downside is that, it being April, I'll more than likely be going out in the rain a few times to get my juice fix.

If you're thinking I'm going to starve to death just having juice for lunch, fear not. I have a plan, and it goes like so:

-whole grains (not a whole grain cereal, mind you) like oats or a muesli
-hot tea - I'm on a chai kick lately, real chai - black tea with all kinds of wonderful spices, yeah.

11am Snack
-likely yogurt or nuts, or possibly some fruit - around 150 to 200 calories

-24 ounces of wonderful fresh juice! It actually fills the stomach rather nicely.

5pm snack
-a little something to hold me until real dinner - again probably nuts or fruit

-whatever Jonathan or I whip up that match the above-stated parameters. Hopefully salads pretty often - I got some good stuff last night at the grocery.

In the proper framework, I think I can avoid being unbearably hungry. I've found that at work I can stave off hunger pains with tea - not that I'm skipping meals or anything, but when you get in the habit of eating too much, your stomach expects you to keep doing it and complains if you don't. I have good tea at work - loose leaf oolong. It's my afternoon ritual. Not only does it keep me from getting hungry, but it's also a nice stress reliever and gets me away from my damn computer for a minute.

My breakfast this morning? Bob's red mill oatmeal with cinnamon and agave nectar (just a smidge) and my trusty cup of chai.

My weight this morning? 176.8.

So, that's my story. Wish me luck. And as always, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'll have the filet mignon, with a side of penicillin, please.

I've been trying to do some research on allergic reactions to residual antibiotics in meat and dairy products. I know for a fact that it happens, but for some reason I can't find any real scientific studies on it. Or, maybe correct that - any that I don't have to pay over $30 to get. (Side rant - why does a certain segment of the scientific community keep its research on monetary lockdown? There are so, SO many papers I want to get that I'd have to pay an arm and a leg for. Aarg.)

Anyway, I'm having to collect the info in bits and pieces - as is the status quo when it comes to food industry practices. I'm planning to put together a full blown article on it for my next issue of Vegetable Vegetable Mineral. But I just wanted to share this little tidbit, and discuss it for a minute.

The following is a quote from a page of PBS's excellent Frontline series. Read, and be terrified with me:
The meat industry doesn't publicize its use of antibiotics, so accurate information on the amount of antibiotics given to food animals is hard to come by. Stuart B. Levy, M.D., who has studied the subject for years, estimates that there are 15-17 million pounds of antibiotics used sub-therapeutically in the United States each year. Antibiotics are given to animals for therapeutic reasons, but that use isn't as controversial because few argue that sick animals should not be treated.
This echoes a statement I've found all over: namely, that we don't actually have any idea of the actual quantity of antibiotics being given to livestock animals. Uh... does that strike anyone else as a problem? See, cuz I'm thinking that we have, like, regulatory agencies that are supposed to be tracking what's in our food supply. We've been knowing for at least eight years or so that this kind of administration of drugs to "food animals" is enabling the evolution of some really frighteningly resistant bacterial strains.

It's beyond question that nothing even approaching one out of even every thousand animals slaughtered for food is tested for such things - and when they are tested, it's done by the people selling them, not by a regulatory agency. Couldn't the factory farms at least be forced to keep records of the drugs they administer? (Because people, the small family farmer is not the issue here. That scale of farm doesn't need this kind of antibiotic dumping.) Of course such record wouldn't be accurate, but it would be a start... or something...

Oh, and um, did I forget to mention that there are many, many people in this world with deadly antibiotic allergies? Because what is also without question is that these drugs are still in the meat when it gets to the grocery. Umyeah.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and call this whole thing a problem.

Of course what I keep coming upon is articles about how without the antibiotics, herds would be "decimated" by infection. Sure they would. But only because they're being kept in deplorable conditions, way too close together, nowhere near the grassy hillside portrayed on the truck that will later ship their slabbed carcases to the grocery store on nice neat white styrofoam platters... People seem to have forgotten that this kind of antibiotic dosage has only been "necessary" for about fifty years.

We have awfully short memories.

I'm also finding the articles that talk about how discontinuing the antibiotic use would drive up the cost of meat. Funny how other things that are difficult to produce and completely unnecessary to have are also somewhat expensive, and yet no one questions why. Bottom line? Maybe meat should be a lot more expensive, and maybe we should be "producing" a lot less of it...

Yes, I am the frustration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tragedy Strikes: Goodbye Subway...

March 25, 2009, 9:38 am

M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services

Mack and HemmerdingerRuby Washington/The New York Times David S. Mack, vice chairman of the M.T.A. board, and H. Dale Hemmerdinger, the chairman, at Wednesday’s session.

Updated, 11:40 a.m. | The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Wednesday morning to enact a series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke.

The vote was broken largely into three parts: fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks. After hearing from the public and the board members, the board approved each by a vote of 12 to 1.

“This is your last chance or forever hold your peace,” H. Dale Hemmerdinger, the chairman of the board, said before the final vote.

The lone dissenting member in each vote was Norman I. Seabrook, president of the 9,500-member New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

Board members called the combination of fare increases and slashing bus, subway and commuter rail cuts a disaster but said they could no longer wait for lawmakers in Albany to rescue them.

The fare hikes on the subway and buses, including an increase in the base subway and bus fare to $2.50, from $2, will take effect on May 31.

Commuter rail fares will increase on June 1. Tolls on the authority’s bridges and tunnels will also go up, with the increase taking effect in mid-July.

The service cuts are far reaching. They include the elimination of 35 bus routes and two subway lines, the W and Z. Off-peak and weekend subway, bus and commuter rail service will also be cut back. The city comptroller’s office Web site allows you to search for the cuts by zip code.

The authority’s board had hoped for a different outcome.

Gov. David A. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have championed a financial rescue plan for the authority that would have prevented the service cuts and allowed a much smaller fare increase.

That plan [pdf], put forth by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman, would have funneled new revenues to the authority by creating a new tax on payrolls and tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges. But several Democrats in the State Senate opposed the bridge tolls and blocked the rescue package.

“It’s truly sad that a few individuals can hold all these brave individuals hostage,” Mr. Hemmerdinger said when the meeting started.

Officials in Albany have said they still hold out hope that a compromise can be reached in the coming weeks. But the authority said it had to go through with the Wednesday vote to give itself time to plan and implement the fare and service changes.

If lawmakers do eventually pass a rescue package, authority officials say they may be able to stop the changes before they take effect.

Before the vote, the board heard from a parade of M.T.A. employees, transit advocates and city officials who criticized the fare hikes and service cutbacks that would affect a system that covers two-thirds of all mass transit riders in the United States. A number complained about how the cuts would disproportionately affect the middle class, who were already struggling in the city’s economic downtown.

Norman Siegel, a onetime candidate for the city’s public advocate and longtime civil liberties lawyer, tried to portray the board as out of touch, asking the board, “I am curious how many of you use the trains or buses regularly?”

When only some raised their hands, he said, “I hope that one day everyone here raises their hand.” He added, “You clearly don’t represent the diversity of the city or the state.”

David I. Weprin, the city councilman who is chairman of the Council’s finance committee, said that fare hikes should be the absolute last option. “They are neither new nor innovative,” he said. Instead, he urged for pursuing more aggressive advertising strategies and appealing to Washington.

Others used the opportunity to vent against Wall Street and the broader financial crisis, as much of the M.T.A.s’ financial burden comes from debt payments on money borrowed for capital improvements through Wall Street companies.

Elliot G. Sander, executive director of the M.T.A., acknowledged the cost of the spending binge earlier in the decade, describing the capital improvements made from 2000 to 2004 as being put “on a credit card.”

• • •

Live Blogging Updates: Before the vote, City Room filed blog updates from this morning’s meeting, below:

11:15 a.m. | Members of Metropolitan Transportation Authority board have been discussing the fare hikes in advance of the final vote.

So far, the wide-ranging discussion from the public and the board members has referenced A.I.G.’s $169 million in bonuses, Bernard L. Madoff and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

10:30 a.m. | The Metropolitan Transportation Authority hearing on the fare hikes has been under way since 9:30 a.m. A vote is expected. “It’s a true crisis that cannot be solved by ourselves without causing great pain to the riding public,” Mr. Hemmerdinger said at the beginning of the meeting.

At the microphone, some used the opportunity to vent about the broader financial crisis. John Ferretti, a conductor on the No. 1 line who helps publish The Revolutionary Transit Worker bulletin, noted that the M.T.A. was burdened by debt that had been incurred with the encouragement of Wall Street companies.

He said the increases “would take money out of the pockets of workers to save the funds of parasitic financiers and bankers.”

9:34 a.m. | The board of the M.T.A. is meeting to vote to enact a stiff series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke. The meeting, which started at 9:30 a.m., can be watched online. We will post details from the discussion and, eventually, the vote.

Board members have called the combination of fare increases and slashing bus, subway and commuter rail cuts a disaster but said they could no longer wait for lawmakers in Albany, who are in legislative stalemate, to rescue them.

As this blog has noted previously, here is what some of the proposed fares and tolls would look like under the plan:

  • New York City Transit: The base subway and bus fare in New York City would rise to $2.50, from $2. The monthly MetroCard would rise to $103, from $81. The pay-per-ride MetroCard bonus would remain at 15 percent.
  • Commuter rail: Fares on most lines would go up from 20 percent to nearly 30 percent. For example, on the Long Island Rail Road, a person who commutes from Hicksville to Pennsylvania Station will pay $267 for a monthly ticket, up from $211. A person who commutes from Ronkonkoma would pay $352, up from $278. On the Metro North Railroad, a person commuting from White Plains would pay $243 for a monthly ticket, up from $191.
  • Bridges and tunnels: Existing one-way E-ZPass tolls on the authority’s major bridges and tunnels, like the Robert Kennedy Bridge and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, would rise to $5.26, from $4.15. One-way cash tolls on those crossings would rise to $6.50, from $5.
  • Access-a-Ride: Fares on the authority’s door-to-door Access-a-Ride service will remain equal to the base subway and bus fare. The authority had previously proposed raising Access-a-Ride fares to double the base fare.
  • Other fares: Some of the steepest increases will occur on the transportation authority’s Long Island bus line, which operates primarily in Nassau County. There the fare will increase to $3.50, from $2.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blue spoon, red spoon.

I have two sets of what you'd maybe call "Asian-style" soup bowls. They are very round and fairly small, but not as small as the bowls in which miso soup is usually served at a Japanese restaurant. They fit nicely in the palms of the hand, and each has a little circled rim of a foot. The bowls came with the soup spoons - you know the ones - wide and flat with a short handle, that will stand up on their own of you set them down on a table. If memory serves - and I believe it does - they also came with chopsticks. Those, however, are long gone to parts unknown. I have had these bowls for many years. One set is red. One set is blue.

The red set is for breakfast. Each and every morning, I eat my cereal from a red bowl, with a red spoon. My habit is, when I am finished with my breakfast, to immediately wash my bowl and spoon, so that each morning a red set is waiting there for me in the drying rack. (Rare is the morning when we've actually put something away - dishes are something we're kind of bad at.)

This morning when I went to prepare my breakfast, I found my Queens Museum mug for chai-making (another ceremony not discussed here) in place, and proceeded on that front without incident. But when I reached for my bowl, I found that its accompanying spoon had gone missing.

The mystery did not take long to unfurl; last night Jonathan made a lovely Thai soup, which he served to us in larger bowls of a similar style that we bought in Chinatown a few years ago; rather than solid coloring they are covered in "Chinese" patterning. These, too, have matching spoons. But for some reason he opted to use the small bowl spoons for our dinner - his blue, mine red. I did not notice at the time; I did not feel well.

As I mentioned, we're not very good at getting dishes done here. So the red bowl and spoon set that I had eaten from and washed yesterday morning was the only pair (of the four in the set) not languishing in an overtopping sink. And so, this morning for my breakfast, my choices were to either wash another red spoon, or to eat out of a red bowl with a blue spoon. I opted for a blue spoon.

It was a mistake. For reasons beyond my comprehension I find it physically repulsive, even nauseating, to mix the colors of the bowls and spoons.

How serious an emotional disturbance do you think that indicates?

Perhaps it's just because I'm so affected by color?

This morning, after washing my red bowl and blue spoon, I washed a red one too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Totally unfair.

OK, so I totally dropped a bomb last weekend and have not yet given you a follow-up. Completely unfair, yes? Sorry 'bout that. Life has been hectic at work and at home - thus both the need for a follow-up and the lack of one. But what better time than a Sunday morning? None, says I.

So here goes.

Last Saturday I briefly mentioned that Jonathan might be moving out. For a while now we've been a little... messy. When wedding plans unfurl, I think it's inevitable that the situation will get a bit wonky. It's gone back and forth from just fine to unbearable, and last week I just hit some sort of critical mass. I could see clearly that we were stuck in a cycle, and I feel strongly that it takes a major change to break that kind of thing. What I came up with was separate dwellings.

Well, it wasn't a fun conversation that he and I had - that Friday the 13th. But it was a good one, a productive one. We listened to each other. And in the end, he acquiesced.

But, as they tend to do, things changed. The following morning we were both swallowed by sadness at the idea of being apart. Our reactions were fairly characteristic. For him, it took the form of refusing to get out of bed. For me, it caused a frenzy of activity - I was determined to find another way to affect major change, without putting so much space between us.

And what we eventually came to may or may not work, but we're giving it a shot. It is this: we're moving, together, into a much larger space. We'll have a room, and then he'll have a room for a work space and I'll have a room for a studio. (Translation: we're looking for a three-bedroom.) There will also of course be a living room, and a real separate kitchen - this is a must. In fairytale land, we may also be able to find a place with two bathrooms. This move will hopefully enable the following:

1) We'll be in a space that feels like "ours", not like him living in my apartment as he feels now.
2) Within said space, we'll each have our own spaces, and therefore some privacy.
3) I'll still have a dedicated place for creating, but it won't be 20 minutes' travel from where I live so hopefully I'll use it more than I do my current studio.
4) For the same cumulative amount of money that we now spend for us to have an apartment and me to have a studio, we can both have our own work spaces - this helps him by giving him "a room of his own", as it were, and me by dividing that extra cost which has thus far been all on me. I also won't have to look at/listen to his damn computers all the time anymore.

Will it work? Umm... I dunno. Maybe. We still really like each other, and get along quite well on a day-to-day basis. We want this to work - both of us really do - so that's pretty crucial. It's not as if one of us is dragging the other along. I'm not sure if we're going to get married, or if so when. We'll not be having a wedding if we do; I'm not even sure that we'll have any kind of ceremony that people will be invited to. (Unless you, dear reader, happen to have a big beautiful house at which we can have it.)

But what I've discerned is that it's not marriage per se that I need from him. What I've been needing is some sign of greater commitment, some willingness to allow the relationship to move forward. I feel that moving into a place that's ours, with both of our names on the lease, is that. I guess it's a step that I felt we'd already taken, but when I look at it I know that's not true. We side-stepped it by having him move in here. That happened for reasons both practical and emotional (on my part). At any rate, this feels like progress.

Uugh. Life is to convoluted sometimes.

Today we're looking at as few as one and as many as four apartments, depending on how sleazy the brokers are and what pans out. We're looking mostly here in Astoria - moving is very difficult for me, and staying in familiar territory will soften the blow a bit.

Wish us luck? Or perhaps my old appeal: keep your fingers crossed for us.

* * *

Afterward: It is now 9:50am. Our first appointment of the day is at 11am; we have to leave in less than an hour, and Jonathan is still in bed. Why? Because despite the fact that he knew we had this appointment, and that he knew our trains aren't running right this weekend and he'd have to take an alternate route home, he decided it'd be a great idea to go to a 10pm showing of The Watchmen last night, and then stay out to have a few drinks after that, not arriving home until after 3am.

These "relationships", they are constant work, no?

Yeah, it might still work. If I don't kill him.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I heart you... with leather?

So, I used to be a myspace addict. I have four (4) myspace profiles, and for a time there I was on all four, all day long, checking obsessively. Did I get any messages? Any comments? Any friend requests!? It was a temporary incarnation of what seems to be a permanent condition.

See, there's always something that I'm checking obsessively. Lately it's bead shopping. Immediately before that it was cross stitch shopping, and before that seeing how many views each of my Etsy items had gotten, and whether or not any of them had been "hearted". The Etsy thing, really, is a fairly constant check, one that doesn't go away. A few times a week at least I need to see who just "hearts" my whole shop in general.

I engaged in such a check this morning, and found that I had three new hearters. For joy! It makes a girl feel loved, or at least appreciated for her craft. When I get these hearts, I generally go check out the profile, or shop if there is one, of the person leaving it. This morning's selection... held some surprises.

The first was just a user, not a seller. As is typical, there wasn't much of a profile. Cool, she digs me, moving on. The second was a fellow Vegan Etsy team member with a very cute shop - always fun to find each other. Awesome. And then I came to the third. It was immediately obvious how she'd found me - her location is also listed as Long Island City. And I thought, is there another team member within spitting distance of my studio? Because really, how cool would that be?

Well, taking a look at her shop it became evident very quickly that this person was NOT a member of any vegan group. Leather items were featured prominently throughout the shop, most of which took the shape of animal bookmarks. Refusing to give up hope entirely, I clicked on the monkey - because maybe, just maybe, it was fake leather?

Ummyeah, no such luck. Not did it only boast of being crafted from genuine natural-tanned leather, but the listing also stated that these were "Bookmarks for the Animal-lovers of the world!" And what really cracked me up - she made a point of clarifying that vegetable based dyes had been used.

My gut reaction was to click the link at the bottom of the page to "contact the seller about this item", and write the following:
Why would animal lovers want to purchase the DEAD FLESH OF ANIMALS? Please un-heart me immediately.
Now, fortunately I quickly thought better of this. Because while it's true that the adoration of a leather peddler baffles me, and while she probably just did it to put one more link to her shop out there, I nevertheless don't want to come off as that girl. You know, the self-righteous vegan jerk. If I do contact her, I want to state my case a bit more eloquently.

And state my case I may because this does irk me. Her shop is cute on the surface I guess, but I don't want to be associated with someone who so proudly sells leather. OK, so her uncle in Japan is the "master leather craftsman" making the stuff. Does that make it any less the parts of dead animals? No. I also doubt that he's the person killing the cows and stripping them of their skin either.

And while her association with me is vague, it now exists, and as far as I can tell there's nothing I can directly do about it. The only way to eradicate it is to ask her to undo it. (I do know for a fact that she can; I have un-hearted people - bead sellers, for instance, upon realizing that they carried a large selection of bone that I'd somehow missed upon the first visit to their shop, etc.)

But if I ask, will she? What will be the long term ramifications of that?

The fact is that plenty of people have hearted me that are definitely not vegan. Many are my friends. Many are shops that are not vegan-run. But none are people who abhor or disrespect the vegan lifestyle or ethic (to my knowledge), and none of the shops feature non-vegetarian wares. Because when it comes down to it, why would people who sell non-vegetarian items want to be associated with a proudly all-vegan shop? It's a bit nonsensical.

Basically I'm just not sure how to handle this situation. How to keep my associations within my ethical boundaries, yet avoid coming off like a total bitch? I'm taking suggestions, so if you've got any please offer them up.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's the first day of spring...

and it's snowing. Not flurries either. Really truly snowing. At least it's not sticking yet.

And I hold fast to my theory: the weather is broken.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I haven't told you anything in forever.

Craziness is happening in the world, and specifically in my world, and I am utterly failing in my duty to keep you appraised of the situation. Of course, craziness can be like that.

First, I'm now officially published. Like, you know, by someone other than myself. The book is called "You Don't Know what You've Got: Tales of Loss & Dispossession". It's an anthology put out by Gryphonwood press. My name's on the cover! Where can you get it? Uhh, Amazon, believe it or not. I kind of don't believe it, but there it is. Now, do I suggest you run out and buy it? Well... it won't be the worst ten bucks you ever spent. There are a couple of mediocre stores in it and one that is really, really terrible, I feel obligated to warn you. But there are at least three or four that are amazing! Like really, like woah. And, you know, mine's in there. So... let your heart be your guide. But if you get it, let me know!

Second, the fibromyalgia zine (aka The Plague Project) is now available on my Etsy page. Has been for a while really. Sorry 'bout that. Don't know if any of you are just chomping at the bit to get your hands on a copy, but if you are, there ya go.

Third, just today - just this morning in fact! - I released a new zine. It's about the food industry. It's not a vegan zine either, though there is a lot of vegan information in there. I'm doing it now because Tuesday is my third veganniversary. Woo! It's called Vegetable Vegetable Mineral, and it too is in my Etsy store.

And now we move into the not so great news category. Fourth: Jonathan's probably moving out. We're trying not to break up. But something has to change, something big, and this is the closest we can get to a redo. It's backing up to where he started letting me force decisions on him. Or something. It may mean the end of us, but if it does it's because it was coming anyway. I don't know. It's all pretty upsetting... duh. To go from engaged backwards to just dating... it's not an easy thing. It's not as if we're going to see other people or anything though. We'll see how it turns out. Ho hum. Better to figure it out now than after we're married, right? Life, it is the complication.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm like, special and stuff.

I was chosen as Vegan Etsy's team member of the week. I'm not trying to brag. I'm just excited. See, I got to do an "interview" that's up on the team blog, and my mini etsy app will be up on the blog all week. Hee. I'm like, blushing and stuff.

You can see the team blog here.

And if you're reading this post kinda late in the game, you can see my interview post here.

And there you have it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Because at heart, he's just a puppy.

My friend and fellow Vegan Etsy team member Nicole is working to get an awesome dog out of trouble - and this box will let you help her help him! Zack is a pit bull, a breed of dog that is unfairly treated because of the ways in which stupid people tend to force them to behave. In Ontario, the animals are flat out illegal, which is why Nicole is working with a rescue organization to get Zack out of the province and to a place where he has a chance at adoption at a better life. Funds will go directly toward vetting costs that will make this move possible.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Food, Inc.

If I hadn't recently figured out that Marion Nestle, my semi-hero, keeps a blog about the goings on in the food industry, I wouldn't have heard about this. I am now extremely excited and full of anticipation for a documentary called Food, Inc. According to Nestle it's everything it should be, and I'm inclined to trust her opinion.

And it's not just her opinion I'm going on - according to the website the movie includes interviews of several of my favorite people, including Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. Schlosser is an awesome speaker; in his interview in the extras on the DVD of Supersize Me he succinctly addresses so many of the food industry issues that confound me.

The website in and of itself is a great resource to have stumbled upon; it's stuffed full of information and links to old favorites like The Meatrix, and to new things that I've never even heard of. Ah, my food education, it never ceases.

Go ahead, watch the trailer. Just be prepared - because oh, my, god.

I CANNOT WAIT for this to be in an actual theater, or otherwise available. If you hear anything, lemme know; I'll do likewise.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Of COURSE I started a blog about it.

So, over the weekend I finally decided I should start cross stitching again like I've been wanting to. I've thought about it from time to time for years now, and seeing my friend Tamara (of the soon to be infamous Brooklyn Craft) doing it really lit a fire under my ass. So this weekend, I did it!

Aaannddd... I started a blog about it. Well duh. I mean, you've met me, right? It's what I do. I do stuff, I blog about it. So here 'tis:, otherwise known as crosseyed.

I will NOT be posting posts from there here. No, if you care about cross stitch, you'll just have to take a visit over there. I know, I know, it's a tough world.

In other news, there's a fuckload of snow outside but my office didn't close. I came in(eventually), but there's no one here. So I'm half working, half dicking around... as the good lord intended snow days to be.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Because my grandma did it.

Really. I don't remember if she taught me how or if my mom did, but I do know that my sister and I each spent hours and hours doing cross stitching as children. Grandma was an expert at it, as she was with so many other fine and delicate crafts. We each still have the most amazing Christmas stockings that she made for us, and the fronts of them are cross stitched. Anyway, now you can learn how too! By watching the awesomest video ever.

Once I get good, I'll show ya. :)