Friday, December 17, 2010

Here comes the sun.

For the past few days, it's been in the twenties in NYC, and it's been so cold in my apartment that I want to cry.

In the mornings, I sit at my work table to check my emails and my twitters and eat breakfast. And if it's sunny out, the sun comes through the window next to me. And it is warming - so much more warming than anything else I encounter all day long lately.

It's like that this morning. I know it is freezing outside - much less than freezing, actually. But the sun, so warm; I want to curl up in it like a cat. I do not, at all, want to walk away from it, to take off these warm clothes and put on something less comfortable and soft than pajamas, or - ohdeargod - to go out into the unforgiving cold.

And that is why I'm going to be late for work today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sustainable fish sticks? I think not.

Earlier this week I received a truly perplexing email. Rather than describe it to you, I think I really just need to give it to you whole:
Hi Melissa,

I would like to invite you to join a group of food writers, bloggers and chefs for a Food Revolution Roundtable next Tuesday, 12/14. With your passion for food and your influential talent for writing/blogging about food, you would be the perfect addition to this group!

The details are listed below. Please say yes!

An invitation to a Food Revolution Roundtable

Bird’s Eye, in partnership with their Ad Agency Chiat/Day, is hosting a 2-hour Food Revolution Roundtable in NYC on Tuesday, 12/14. They want explore the edges of the Food Revolution among people who are really passionate about food -- chefs and/or writers like you. Bird’s Eye wants to bring revolutionary thinking to their brand at every step, from sourcing to prep to recipes to packaging. The roundtable will be approximately 10-12 influential people (including you, we hope) and will be really energizing and fun… full of projective exercises and invigorating chat.

For your time, you will be paid $350.

Also, if you would like to recommend a friend or two who fits this description, and would enjoy participating, let us know!

WHERE: Wine Shop, NYC, NY
WHEN: Tuesday 12/14, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
WHAT: 2 hours of ideation, and yummy food!

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, please email me back, or call me at 555-555-5555.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best,
Sarah
I swear to you, I have only changed this to take out identifying details. "explore the edges of the Food Revolution", "ideation", and "yummy food" are all straight from the horse's mouth. When I first skimmed the email, I assumed that I'd just gotten stuck on some mailing list, and that it was a workshop that I'd have to pay through the nose to attend. Upon more thorough reading, I realized that they were actually offering to pay me. That's when I got really suspicious.

So I turned to tha internets. I know who Bird's Eye is - who doesn't? Frozen corn, right? Ah yes, but also major players in many frozen meats - particularly in the fish stick market, apparently. Who knew. What about Chiat\Day? A positively ENORMOUS advertising agency. We'll call that strike two - anyone know why I don't own a television?

And then, exactly what I'd been suspecting: I started finding articles like this one. Since July, Bird's Eye has been working on an initiative it is calling "Forever Food". Supposedly the company's effort to make its food production more "sustainable", this push is pretty much entirely focused on reducing energy usage during production. They're quite proud of figuring out how to use less energy while flash freezing their fish sticks, for instance.

Uh huh.

So, after a day or so of careful consideration, I sent the following reply:
Dear Sarah,

Your offer is both flattering and intriguing. However, I must decline for two reasons. The first is logistical: I work a 9 to 5 and am not available mid day on a Tuesday. The second, though, outweighs the first: I do not feel comfortable contributing to "ideation" with a company that sells a proliferation of animal products.

Honestly, it strikes me that this "Food Revolution Roundtable" is part of the company's ongoing effort to engage in greenwashing - via the so called "Forever Food" initiative. While cutting resource use is of course necessary for all, from my perspective the project is essentially wrong-minded. Personally I'm far more interested in supporting the small, independently owned vegan businesses already in existence than helping to create more fake "natural" brands or products. Encouraging "sustainable fish sticks" is simply not something I will do.

If Bird's Eye truly wants to bring "revolutionary thinking to their brand at every step", it should take this revolutionary step: Consider the number of animals it currently kills; the environmental destruction caused by raising (or "harvesting") those animals; the conditions of the workers who raise, harvest, and slaughter them; and the dozens of other ramifications easily avoided by simply not selling meat. And please note, fish and marine invertebrates are animals too.

Sincerely,
Melissa Bastian
I hope you're not wondering why I'm referring to "Forever Food" as greenwashing. But in case you are, I will briefly explain my problem(s) with it. First of all, there's the name. Forever Food? Really? We'll have food forever and ever because you're putting your damn fish sticks in a smaller box, and meanwhile still pillaging the oceans dry to produce overprocessed junk? Second, there is no such thing as good aquaculture. Even putting animal ethics aside, the environmental ramifications of even the best run captive fish operations are just obscene. Wild harvesting poses completely different problems that are just as awful. Third, why would we put animal ethics aside? And all of that is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Before sending my response and ever since, I've been plagued with the feeling that I'm passing up an opportunity to be heard. But I have a strong sense that Bird's Eye and Chiat\Day do not want to hear me. Or rather, they do want to hear me, but only just enough so that they can figure out how to defeat or defend against the arguments of me and those like me, and/or to exploit the lot of us. (By exploit, I of course mean more effectively market to.)

If they were interested in genuine change, they would be consulting with environmental engineers - not bloggers and chefs. They would be rethinking their factories and processes from the ground up - not asking me what I think about their packaging. They know damn well what they need to do to make genuine change. It's just that that's not what they're interested in. What they want is what all the big food companies want: to appeal to the growing market of people on the "edge of the food revolution" - or those who think they are. The pescatarians, the locavores, the "happy meat" people. Well they can go right ahead and try, but I sure as hell am not going to help them.

And so, while it is my nature to doubt myself, I do believe that I made the right decision by turning the offer down. (Incidentally, I make WAY less than $350 a day at my job! So it would have been a nice little monetary gain 'round x-mas time. But so it goes.)

Surprisingly, Sarah did write back:
Hi Melissa,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am sorry you won't be able to weigh in on the panel discussion this Tuesday. Believe it or not, I believe your arguments are points that the Bird's Eye folks would be interested to hear during this session. Feel free to send us any references of vegan bloggers or chefs you know who might be interested in participating in Tuesday's group.

Thank you,
Sarah
I'm sure they would be interested too, but for all the wrong reasons. And that's pretty much the point.

P.S. - If any of my vegan friends also received this offer and have chosen to go, I respect that - and I hope they hear you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Drumroll Please: The Full Thanksgiving Menu

This year, we didn't know exactly what we were serving until it came down to actually cooking yesterday morning. But the good news is that this turned out to be our best Thanksgiving yet! All told I believe we prepared I think 12 individual items, for a total of 9 dishes. I'm most proud of the fact that several of the best dishes were on-the-fly inventions out of my head. These are recipes that I now have to try to write down, lest the be lost forever! And trust me, these gems should *not* be lost. Rather, they should be cherished in perpetuity.

The menu, in whole, when we finally did sit down 'round 4:30 or so, looked like this:
  • Spinach Dip with Herbed Crosstini*
  • Field Roast cranberry and hazelnut roast
  • Roasted root vegetables with apples and chikn*
  • Roasted sliced potatoes with savory herbs*
  • Whipped potatoes with onions and corn
  • Green Bean Casserole (amazing as always - thank you Liz!)
  • Macaroni and Cheeze with quinoa pasta*
  • Classic bread stuffing with mushrooms and onions
  • Spiced sauteed apples
  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce with orange rind and warm spices*
  • Crimini Mushroom Brown Gravy
  • Chocolate Creme Pie with chocolate graham crust*
Those items marked with asterisks are the foodstuffs that sprung fully formed from my head, like Athena from the skull of Zeus. (Except, you know, that I still had to cook them and everything.)

Are there pictures, you ask? Yes! There are pictures! That are still sitting in my camera. Good things come to those who wait. Like pictures... and recipes. ;)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A-tisket, A-tasket, a Mexican restaurant that actually has good vegan food!

Just a word on Papacitos in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If you happen to pass by this "Mexican street food joint" on a Thursday or Saturday evening in the near future, there is just ever so small a chance that you will see me there - dining on an enormous plate of nachos (smothered in vegan Diaya cheese and sour cream and SoyRizo), and alternately getting up to sing Karaoke Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday songs. And who knows? Maybe a little Etta James... and the occasional 80's hit.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Treasured!

OK, wow, I suddenly got crazy popular. Well, maybe that's an overstatement. But I've been on Etsy for like two and a half years and have maybe been included in four treasuries. And now suddenly, today I'm in two! Check it out!

My "gravity" letterpress print is in this cool space-themed treasury by jewelry designer LewisCooper - it's called Somewhere on the Next Planet. And then my Raingirl painting was included in Chapter One - We Met in the Rain by CicaleTDesigns... another jewelry designer. Wacky.

What does it mean??? They like me! They really like me!!! Yeah, maybe. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

OMG ART

I'm just gonna say right here and now that I'm pretty sure I would risk getting arrested to see this. (As long as I really got to see it - spend some time there, take some pictures.) I would to to jail for a night for that. Yes, really. So... you know... if I call you up for bail...

I want to show you pictures, but I can find nothing in the public domain. You'll just have to check out the link.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Detox.

So a couple weeks ago I decided I needed to go through a(nother) cleanse - doing it for real this time, doing it right. I was not feeling well at all, and in fact felt somewhat poisoned.

I always say "I need to do a cleanse", but I don't feel like I've ever done it in a way that really suits my needs or my life. Which means that I've pretty much always immediately and spectacularly failed. This is in truth part of a larger problem of mine. I have spent years, and I mean years, doing research on nutrition and the food industry. But I seem to have some sort of disconnect with actually applying my collected knowledge to what I eat. Perhaps this is a vestige of the ability I had when I was younger: to recognize animals as individuals capable of suffering and yet continue to eat them, to know how wildly unhealthy our processed "foods" are but keep putting them into my sick body.

Clearly I made it far enough to become vegan, and sheesh did that take long enough. I still have difficulty with individual meals on a frequent basis, which has to do with my troubled relationship with food. (How could it not be troubled? Have you walked into a supermarket lately?) And somehow even though I know what nutrients the body needs, what alkalizes and what acidifies, what stagnates and what purifies, and so on, and so on, when it comes to "doing a cleanse" I allow myself to become befuddled.

So I've been searching los internets for guidance, and separating the wheat from the chaff is a big job. There is so much nonsense, so many fad diets. Oprah did this, Hollywood is doing that - oh just eat nothing but coconuts! And by the way, buy my miracle product!!!!!! Bla, bla, bla. In my heart of hearts I believe I know what to do. But to accomplish it I need to lay out a reasonable plan, pace it feasibly, and then actually do it.

Here's some of the useful advice I have found. I like to share!
How do you know if you need a detox?
You know you're suffering from toxic overload if you are experiencing fatigue, memory decline, difficulty focusing, allergies and infections, irritability, anxiety and depression, difficulty with weight gain and weight loss, muscle and joint pain or weakness, skin rashes and outbreaks, recurrent yeast and fungal infections, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and indigestion.

Your Detox Meals
These meals are designed to jump-start your body into becoming healthier.

• Breakfast: Eat oat bran cereal, brown rice, or any other whole grain cereal as long as it is unbleached and does not contain any added sugar or chemicals. Pair with unflavored soy milk.

• Lunch and Dinner: Eat any combination of beans, brown rice, oat bran, vegetables, and organic chicken, turkey, or soy-products. When you eat, notice how your food affects you. You should feel satisfied and energized. If you feel tired and sluggish, try eating smaller meals so that you don't overwhelm your digestion and interfere with the detoxification process.
The long list of symptoms in the first paragraph could of course be caused by any number of things, including an acute illness. If you do actually have something like a bacterial infection, a trip to the doc really is in order. But in any case doing some cleansing will never hurt. (I am not suggesting anything like the "master cleanse" - I don't think it's a good idea for anyone to try to live off of spicy lemonade for any period of time.)

From the "Detox Meals" paragraph, I must note that the idea of eating any animal products during a cleanse strikes me as pretty silly, even for someone who hasn't adopted a vegan lifestyle. If the goal is cleansing or "detoxifying", at the very least organic meats should be chosen. "Conventional" meat is toxic city. Also, there is a reason there is no dairy listed in the suggestions - dairy is inflammatory to many people who don't realize it, even in the absence of lactose intolerance.

I found this recipe, which I don't think I'll use but may substitute with green gumbo instead:
Detox Broth: Add as many of these ingredients as you can into a large pot of filtered water: collards, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, dandelion, Brussels sprouts, daikon radish,watercress, seaweed, shitake mushrooms, cilantro, garlic, leeks, fresh fennel, anise, fresh ginger, and turmeric. Boil until all ingredients are soft. You can make in a large batch and refrigerate for up to three days.
Depending on what school you're in on onions (I think they're just fine), I'd say caramelize one in two tablespoons of really good olive oil in your big pot before following the above directions, and you'll come out with much more pleasing results. Also, unless you are having blood pressure issues, a little bit of salt really isn't so terrible.

I have now formulated a plan, which will be fully revealed to you in future blog posts. I know, you can't wait.

You're kidding.

I had NO idea it had been so long since I'd posted here. Wowza.

Well, that sort of relates to what I want to tell you today. I know this will come as a shock but... I have too many blogs. I know, I know. Crazytalk! But it's true. Really.

Well, this here blog is sticking around. But it's going to have a lot more direct blogging happening on it, and therefore fewer transferred-over posts. You're OK with that, right? Good, I thought you would be. School starts this week, so I'm anticipating my world becoming a good bit more cerebral. It always happens when I get busy. Plus it'll be cold soon.

So OK then. Blogging. That thing I do sporadically and in too many (but now somewhat fewer) places. Here we go.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

EtsyCrazy.

Update: OK. I have now established four shops, but they're all empty except for one. They won't stay empty! It goes like this:

bright. - brightdesign.etsy.com - for the paper things: envelopes, journals, probably paperweights, not sure what else.

blank the plague. publications - blanktheplague.etsy.com - for the zines and possibly short stories and other writing. I've been using the name blank the plague. publications for a long time now. Yeah, like you don't know that.

Melissa Bastian - melissabastian.etsy.com - for the arts. Paintings definitely, also mixed media stuff, prints, maybe some photography. Haven't decided definitely whether I'll sell that yet. I am not nearly as skilled as several others even just on the Vegan Etsy Team, much less all of the amazing artists on Etsy, so it's intimidating. I'm about capturing images... anyway. We'll see.

Libellule! - libellulebybright.etsy.com - for the nonsense! My fun jewelery, pins, stickers, I might start making silly crocheted things, maybe some wedding destash, I don't even know what all else.

I know four shops seems excessive, but I feel a need to compartmentalize and I'm sort of all over the place right now. Fingers crossed that a) I get my act together and get these shops really going, and b) anyone buys anything from them! Wahoo.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And not just my underwear either.

Sometimes I wake up to find that everything in my life has suddenly jumped a foot to the left, unexpectedly, but I've been left in the same spot. I wander around, and everything looks the same, but off somehow, and I can get around well enough, but I keep banging my shins on the coffee tables because they're just not quite where I expect them to be. And really, when did that vase break? Why hasn't anyone swept up all those tiny shards of glass that cover the floor? Oh, right, that's my job. But the broom isn't where I left it; in fact, all the closets have been reorganized. Must have been while I was sleeping.

I was sleeping, and one morning I woke up and found that my whole life felt different. Again.

Apparently not everyone experiences major events this way, but I always have. I go into a special state of functioning during a crisis, and I'm really, really good at it. I'm fucking professional. And then then, once everything starts to settle down and get a little quiet, the feelings and thoughts begin to culminate. Little pieces that I've stored separately, each in its own container being so careful that they never ever touch - they pool. Like beads of mercury rolling together to become a puddle. And suddenly I find that I can't navigate my mind, that my life seems like someone else's, because I have no real idea of how I got to where I am. I remember the sequence of events, but only in the most mechanical of ways. It then takes days or weeks for me to readjust to what it has become, to re-fit myself into my skin.

Ahh, crisis management. One of the many skills developed early in life that has left me a functioning but very oddly functioning person.

* * *

P.S. - Three points if you get the reference in the title.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Well I'll be damned - an all office work email told me something potentially useful.

Check this out. It is one of those crazy email rumor-type things that according to Snopes actually has some validity, though it doesn't happen too often...
Microwaving Water!

A 26-year old man decided to have a cup of coffee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something that he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the timer for, but he wanted to bring the water to a boil. When the timer shut the oven off, he removed the cup from the oven. As he looked into the cup, he noted that the water was not boiling, but suddenly the water in the cup 'blew up' into his face. The cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand, but all the water had flown out into his face due to the buildup of energy. His whole face is blistered and he has 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face which may leave scarring.

He also may have lost partial sight in his left eye. While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him stated that this is a fairly common occurrence and water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven. If water is heated in this manner, something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc.., (nothing metal).


General Electric's Response when questioned:

Thanks for contacting us, I will be happy to assist you. The e-mail that you received is correct. Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach the boiling point. They can actually get superheated and not bubble at all. The superheated liquid will bubble up out of the cup when it is moved or when something like a spoon or tea bag is put into it.

To prevent this from happening and causing injury, do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup. After heating, let the cup stand in the microwave for thirty seconds! Before moving it or adding anything into it.


Here is what our local science teacher had to say on the matter:

Thanks for the microwave warning. I have seen this happen before. It is caused by a phenomenon known as super heating. It can occur anytime water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new, or when heating a small amount of water (less than half a cup).

What happens is that the water heats faster than the vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new then it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat has built up, the liquid does not boil, an d the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point.

What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken.

If you pass this on you could very well save someone from a lot of pain and suffering...


Got that people?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

RIP, W... RIP, V...

Yes, it's true. Yesterday was your last chance ever to ride the W train, or the V. And things they are a-changin' - beginning Monday, the M will be an orange train and start its upward swing through midtown and into Queens, and the Q will move past 57th street and all the way on up to Astoria. We've seen Q trains up here before of course, mostly when 7 train service is disturbed. But for keeps, now that's just something else entirely.

There is, of course, a certain justice in the Q train finally serving Queens.

These things happen. Train lines come and go, get renamed, get new routes. And I guess I've just been in New York long enough now that I'm seeing it happen with my own eyes, on my own lines. What's worse that the rerouting, though, is that service is being cut. What is that delusional claim they make? From zero passengers standing to 10 - 12? (I hope they mean per 20 square feet of car space, because that's how it already is during rush hour.) I fear for my evening commute. But only time will tell.

It seems that few will mourn the loss of the V train - except for me, that is. I liked that train, mainly for its *not* being the E train, which is always packed to the gills with people in too much of a hurry to realize that, uh, they could just take the V, which was always half empty. Which was of course why I always liked the V train so much. Will the rerouted M be the same? I'm sure I'll have occasion to find out.

The WFP has struggled valiantly to at least get the MTA to back off of eliminating student metro cards. (Come on folks - are you gonna push them down and take their lunch money too?) And it looks like they're making some headway on that front. But it doesn't seem that any amount of pleading (or demonstrating, or petitioning...) could save these lines, a number of bus slashes, and the service cuts that are now under way.

Thanks much Bloomie, our independently (extraordinarily) wealthy third term mayor! Just a little food for thought: you know this town completely falls apart without usable public service, right? Kay. Just makin' sure.

And yeah, I am so totally getting the t-shirt.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

four years and then some.

I wrote this poem almost exactly a year ago. I don't really ever write poetry, but sometimes one just infects my brain and demands to be spit onto paper. This one was like that. And today it seems particularly relevant. So here you go.

Forget me not
When you grow tired of me;
When dappled cheery sunlight falls to shadow,
And I am mixed instead among the ferns and stones.
Forget me not
When I grow weak and weary,
When bones groan more plaintively
Than Grandmother's rocking chair.
Forget me not
When my blue wedding dress has turned a
Faded yellow-gray,
When words stop pouring for pain of pointing pen.
Because "till death do us"
Means till the sweet, or bitter,
End.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Is it ever that simple?

Well, OK. I have seven kidney stones. And instead of just having them blowed up and getting on with my life, I had to go get all scary ill and spend a bunch of time in the hospital. Come on, this is me we're talking about here. Like I could just do something normal and easy? So of course I'm going to tell you all about it, but because I like to pretend I'm a writer and/or because I like to try to pull something productive out of the ridiculous situations that get created in my life, I'm going to do so in a series of installments entitled: Dear The Hospital, This Is Not a Love Song. You'll love it, I promise.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kidney Stones!

Spent all day yesterday in the most gutwrenching, agonizing pain I have ever experienced. And kids, I have been in some pain. When the nurses at the ER finally heard about the 6mm stone obstructing my left ureter, they actually couldn't believe how well I was taking it.

Yes, it's true: I've found a new and different way to be completely and utterly miserable. It seems that my organs have been quietly making pointy little rocks behind my back! And now the little rocks want to move around, which is not so quiet. Pure, pure evil, but not at all quiet.

I'm supposed to go do some crazy thing next week to blow up the little stone with the big pain, and then hopefully this will all be over...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How much fun is my place of work?

Here is a collection of the emails we've received in the past three business days.

One:
"New Policy: all special occasions, birthday cakes, showers etc. must be celebrated during the lunch hour, 12:30 to 1:30."
Two:
"The firm recently expanded its internet capability at a significant expense in order to accommodate the sending and receiving of firm emails and their attachments as well as the use of the internet for firm business.

Recently, however, we have experienced unacceptable slow downs due to non-business uses of our bandwidth, including movies and various forms of streaming video and audio.

We will shortly restrict these non-business activities to a minimum."
Three:
"It has come to my attention that some of you are wearing jeans (or slacks that look like jeans or knit sweat type pants) and wearing sneakers during the work day.

Please adhere to our NO JEANS AND NO SNEAKER policy."
Are you filled with warm fuzzies or what? Personally, I'm waiting for the "no personal items on the desk" and/or "no brightly colored items of clothing may be worn" email, just to round out the set. Or maybe they'll just throw my lunch out from the shared staff kitchen... AGAIN.

Ahh, office life. It's a blast.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bee is for Breedlove. (What?)

So it seems that when you get married, there are a few questions that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD simply must ask. There are two in particular that no one can resist.

1) Are you having kids? This is sometimes phrased as, "When are you having kids?" As if reproduction is not only something that everyone wants to do but is also something everyone is able to do. Trust me when I tell you that you don't want to get me started on this one. Jonathan and I have a variety of ways to rebuff this inquiry, more or less gently depending on the inquirer.

2) Are you changing your name? This one's just for me of course, and is significantly more fun - particularly because the answer is yes! In this instance I am doing the "normal" thing and taking my new husband's name. In my creative pursuits I will continue with my chosen nom de plume, but how was I ever going to turn down Breedlove? Please. Best name ever. Half of why I married him. (Kidding. It's only a quarter.)

Names... have always been an issue for me. For a long time I didn't even really identify with my first name. I went through a stint in middle school where I dabbled in having people call me by my middle name, Michelle. Apparently I look more like a Michelle anyway - people have accidentally called me Michelle my whole life, not even knowing the validity of the misnomer. Then in high school there was my brief obsession with the name Zoe, Greek for life. Why? Who knows. Everybody knows all cool names start with Z, I guess.

At some point in my late teens the world decided I would be called Mel, and though I never particularly liked it I embraced it. I wore it like armor: a name for the personality that walked around out there in the world for me while I hid inside of my head. It came with a bonus, in that many people assumed my name was Melanie. A cloak of anonymity, even as I dyed my hair pink and purple and walked the streets in giant boots and wifebeaters.

In the past couple of years, though, something new has happened. I've stopped being a persona and began to just be a person, and as such I no longer need that false name. Slowly but surely, even to me, I became Melissa. Which, though quite common among women my age, is actually a pretty interesting name. Mel means honey, and Melissa means little honey bee. I have a thing with bees these days; they're a fairly good symbol for my life, now that I've started to get over the phoenix thing.

Bees are the symbol of fertility and sexuality.
Its honeycomb, a hexagon, is the symbol of the heart and
represents the sweetness of life found within our own hearts.
It is also the symbol of the sun and all its energies.

The bee reminds us to extract the honey of life and to make our
lives fertile (productive) while the sun shines.
No matter how great the dream is, there is the promise of fulfillment
if we pursue our dreams.

If a Bee has shown up in your life, examine your own productivity.
Are you doing all you can to make your life more productive?
Are you busy enough?
Are you making time to savor the honey of life and not becoming
a workaholic?

The Bee is the symbol of accomplishing the impossible.
Aerodynamically, its body is too large for its wings and should not be able
to fly. Although now we understand how it does fly (high rate of wing
movement), the Bee remains a symbol of accomplishing anything you put your
mind to.
So there you go. To pursue, and sometimes accomplish, the impossible; to stay busy, almost too busy; to appreciate what is sweet in life (what I call the little things) - for better or worse, it's sort of me in a nutshell.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wrong. (But it's alright.)

It is wrong of me to have kept y'all waiting for so long - after all, the wedding was a week ago. Trouble is, honestly, I haven't really wanted to talk about it.

See... for a person of my given neuroses, it is a very dangerous thing to spend two years focusing on the potential events of one day. It is essentially impossible for something not to go wrong, and it is then equally as impossible for my crazed little mind not to fixate upon what was not perfect. This kind of tendency is one of the many, many reasons for my weekly psychotherapy sessions.

You've all been hearing about the laundry list of near catastrophes that has accrued in these many months of preparation. The week leading up to the wedding, and the wedding day, was sort of that in great concentration. I seem to have this incredible luck in life - things that never ever happen just, well, happen. To me. But before you go thinking I'm doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself, let me throw in that my luck goes both ways: I get the bad, but I also get the good.

I already spent too many days of my honeymoon obsessing over what went wrong, and especially because some of it isn't fully resolved yet I'm not even going to get into that crap. Instead I'm going to present you with the laundry list of what was simply wonderful. These are the things I want to remember, and the things that matter anyway.

The rehearsal dinner. It was amazing. Several of my friends were able to be there, three month old darling Mackenzie stole the show, the vegan entree was divine, Jonathan's parents loved the restaurant we'd chosen, the room they put us in was perfect, the service was flawless, the weather was awesome, the view of City Park from the balcony was stunning... it really couldn't have gone better.
The rain. Yes, it rained on our wedding day. All afternoon and all evening. It's good luck, right? And at times I got to have a polka dotted wedding dress. ;)
The shoes. I positively loved the shoes I ended up wearing. I will be happy with that choice forever.
My hair. Man, do I have some gorgeous hair, if I do say so myself. I grew it for a long time so that it would be at such a length for the wedding, and I felt that it looked lovely. We put these amazing white ranunculus clips in it that were just right. Fear not, pictures forthcoming, eventually. I was so happy with it that day that I've decided not to chop it all off... for the time being at least.
My bouquet. As I've already declared, the flowers were the single thing that I only had to do once, for which I will be eternally indebted to Fleur Rouge. My bouquet is so beautiful, I want to look at it every day for the rest of my life. And I just might.
Our limo and its driver. The limo was so gorgeous! A 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud - a car to die for. And the driver, George. In so many ways he made everything OK. He brought us champagne after the ceremony, held an umbrella over our photographer as we took pictures around the park, drove us around when we didn't feel like going home, and provided a source of cheerful respite throughout the evening. We love you George.
Our friends. So many of our friends joined us from distant locales, and though many could not do so we know that they wanted to be with us and were sending us their love.
The food. It looked great, it was delicious, contrary to what everyone claims I had plenty of time to eat it, and everyone at the party said it was marvelous. Any skepticism of the all vegan reception was quickly put to rest - after all, it's hard to cast dispersions with your mouth full of Mushrooms Rockefeller.
The cupcakes and the cakes. They were gorgeous! They were delicious! I will FOREVER be grateful and indebted to KC and her fab shop, KC's Babycakes on the Northshore, for making that aspect of our wedding happen. Everyone raved, and all 50 of the gift boxes we'd assembled went home with happy, cupcake loving partygoers.
Him. Jonathan. My husband. He approached the "altar" with the most beautiful grin; he delivered his vows with his voice clear and calm and steady and strong (even as I cried and choked through mine); and on our wedding night he made me feel like the most beautiful, most loved woman to ever walk the earth. Plus he looked totally hot in his suit.

So there you have it - some highlights of happiness from the big day. There was more - like the jewelery that I made for myself that I'm now in love with. I'll probably have a few final posts of the details to make here once I sort out some things with the photographs... but let's not get into that, shall we? ;)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Eight.

OK. We're eight days out. And yes, there was the party at work, which was lovely. Last Saturday I'm pretty sure I was relaxed and happy - I hardly even remember what I did. (Oh right, we got our taxes done {I owe $2k} and then went out to dinner. Thank you date book!)

Sunday I had a VERY successful and productive shopping day with my maid-of-witness Monica. We went to mega-Macy's and got undergarment thingies - weird but apparently necessary. And then we went to Moo Shoes where I got two GORGEOUS new pairs of shoes, both brown. Go figure. My rehearsal dinner dress is brown, see.

And then, on Monday, the panic returned.

I woke up pretty anxious. And by lunchtime it had swollen to I-have-to-go-out-to-lunch proportions. I in fact ended up at Le Pain Quotidian, because they always have vegan pastry, and it's a pastry kind of week, and they always have vegan soup and soup sounded nice too. By Tuesday I was a full blown wreck; I got exactly zilch accomplished at work all day. I'm sure things would have been much better if I'd stopped thinking about the wedding and focused on work instead, but the nature of panic is to perpetuate itself, not to look for solutions.

It may have hit its peak Tuesday night - I couldn't sleep at all. There was wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of clothes... OK, not quite rending of clothes, but damn close. Poor Jonathan. I can't say it was really tapering on Wednesday. In fact I couldn't actually leave the house Wednesday morning. If I'd tried to go get on the subway I would have had an actual panic attack. So I gave myself the morning off. I did actually put the time to some use, and then I went to work and got some work done. And then I went to therapy.

So finally, by Thursday, it got a little better. I did work, I took myself out to lunch, I did some more work, I got some things done in the evening, and I don't think I cried once all day. I only ate half a pint of ice cream, and I ate three real meals.

Today, I'm actually... kinda excited! There's a bit of a damper being put on it by the crazy amounts of pain that I'm in - I really shouldn't be at work, in fact. But it's my last day before I'm out for two weeks, so I figure I'll just suck it up. Swallow a couple of pills and hope that they help, keep the wrist brace on for whatever the hell is going on with my right side, and do what I can.

I'm getting married in eight days! That Jonathan guy? I like him! A lot! You should see him playing with the bunny rabbit. Cutest thing you ever saw. He's going to be my husband. I'm going to be his wife. We get to have a party about it. I get to wear a pretty dress. Now: pray that it doesn't rain. ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why blogs are living in my head.

I am getting married in 9 days! I am living in a state of perpetual panic. Here are things that I will write posts about if I ever compose myself enough to do so:

-criticism and praise of "Gumbo Tales" by Sarah Rhoan
-my weekend of four legumes in four days
-changes I noticed in New Orleans - those that make sense and those that don't...
-how a quiet little gray bunny rabbit can change your life
-the nature of panic
-what a cold, clear morning in New York City truly means
-my name: why I keep what I keep; why I'm letting go what doesn't feel like mine
-the various medical tests and medication changes I'm currently avoiding because I have too many other things to think about right now

There are probably others

The words are living in my head. At this point they're bombarding the inside of my skull, trying to smash themselves right through. But there are still thank you cards to make, there's still packing to do, oh my stars and garters where does the time go.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hope springs eternal, in the form of cupcakes.

I know this has been keeping you up nights. But I want you to know that you can rest easy now. It's going to be alright.

Remember all those issues I was having with trying to get someone to bake me a vegan wedding cake? I had practically resolved myself to baking my own when I got an email from a vegan-network-friend of mine who lives on the Northshore. One of her friends opened up a bakery in Mandeville a few months ago, she wrote, and baked vegan cupcakes pretty regularly.

To which I said, YES PLEASE THANK YOU.

My parents are not so into the idea of a cupcake tower for the wedding, but they'll suck it up. I admit, I did have my heart set on a "real" cake for a while, but a delicious, gorgeous, vegan presentation is what it comes down to.

And after my meeting with KC of KC's Babycakes, I am absolutely convinced that it's exactly what I'll have. She came highly recommended from a trusted source, which is always good. But you just never know, particularly with vegan baked goods I think, until you sit down and sink your teeth in. This is precisely what I did last Monday. KC spent two full hours with me, and as those of you who know me are well aware, that is a LONG time to spend with me when I'm really excited about something. I sampled six (count them, six) different flavors of her vegan cupcakes. Somehow, each was more extraordinary than the last. You want to hear about them, don't you?

Cookies n cream: a crazy moist rich chocolate cupcake with just a hint of almond, topped with an intensely sweet vanilla buttercream speckled with crumbled oreo-style cookies, crowned with a whole cookie nestled in the middle for good measure. This is an excellent showcase for just how good a simple (but extremely well-baked) chocolate cupcake can be.

Coconut and Coffee: a subtly flavored caramel brown coconut cupcake, slathered in rich coffee buttercream then rimmed with a ring of toasted coconut shavings. Gourmet, doubtless; this cupcake is somehow simultaneously exotic and extravagant while also being comforting and homey. It may be KC's favorite of her vegan creations; me, I am having a very difficult time choosing a favorite.

Vanilla Chocolate Swirl: a basic made fancy, two moist and delicious cakes marbled in the cup and topped with a generous helping of vanilla buttercream, finished with miniature chocolate chips. It's hard to describe how decadent this cakelet is as it sounds so simple, so you'll just have to believe me.

Lemon Macadamia: a lightly lemon cupcake punctuated with chunks of real macadamia nuts, topped with a pungent, bright frosting made with real fresh lemon juice, and finally rimmed with colored sugar for a look that is both sophisticated and fun. (This one happens to be modeling the cupcake wrapper I've chosen - "Aloha" from Paper Orchid. Many thanks to KC for cluing me in on this new cupcake trend!)

Banana Split: here's where we really start getting crazy! A cupcake with a banana bread like consistency - because it's made with real banana, making it ultra dense and moist with true banana flavor - but sweeter and with mini chocolate chips in it. Then topped in a lush twirl of delicately banana flavored buttercream frosting. The cupcakes I tasted were sprinkled with pecans and then topped with a cherry, which was a great finish. However, to be more friendly to my nut-allergic guest(s), for the wedding they'll be drizzled in chocolate ganache before being cherried. Too divine!

Wedding Cake: a flavor that I *believe* was developed just for me! In case you don't know, in New Orleans there is a flavor actually known as "wedding cake flavor" - you can order it at any good snowball stand. It's generally a creamy almond flavor, and it's been a tradition at Nola nuptials since anyone can remember. This cupcake did not disappoint. A perfectly dense, moist, rich, creamy lightly almond and vanilla white cupcake, topped with wonderfully rich almond buttercream, and finished with the most darling candy pearls you'd ever wish to see. Simple and elegant, this is the flavor that really made the set for me. We'll also have a 6" cake atop the tower that will be baked from this batter. I really couldn't be more pleased with how this one came out.

I'll stop killing you with cupcake descriptions now - except to say that we actually haven't decided between doing the cookies n cream described above, or a classic red velvet. I didn't get to sample KC's red velvet, but based on what I've seen and tasted, I have zero doubt that it is exquisite. And I can't help thinking of some kind of chocolate-and-strawberry concoction... Maybe a small groom's cake? What can I say? Life is full of so many difficult decisions.

Some day soon I'll tell you what happens when you take a dozen of the fabulous cupcakes described above over to the only vegetarian restaurant in town (Cafe Bamboo), have a couple of Abitas, and start getting generous. But that, loves, is a story for another day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Sickling.

It makes me angry and sad and frustrated that I had to come into the office today. Getting here was excruciating, a trial for the body and the soul. Now, just sitting here my pain is at a 4 or a 5, and god forbid I try to do anything crazy like walk - it just spikes right up to a 7 or 8. The weather, I think, is at least partly to blame: it's very cold and very damp, with a precipitation combination of rain and fat wet snowdrops. Enough snow has accumulated on the ground that it's like walking on a slushie just spilled, making my already unsure steps that much more wobbly. It hurt like hell to do so, what with the very inflamed tendon in my left foot, but how was I to go out in this without putting on boots?

The answer that comes raging to the forefront of my mind is, of course, "Well, your back is killing you, and your sciatica has been getting progressively worse for several days in a row, and it's inflaming your foot so much that it's somewhat difficult for you to walk... why would you even consider going out in this?!" It seems simple enough. If I'm not in good enough shape to go to work, I shouldn't. If only it worked that way.

See, the real trouble is that I have the audacity to think that I get to be like other people and go off and have a wedding. I really do have some nerve don't I? The wedding is eating up 10 of my days for the year, plus three more for the weekend I just took to make preparations (and see my neurologist). That's 13 down. I've already missed two days this year because I had headaches so bad that getting on the subway was absolutely out of the question - that's 15. So even with the fairly generous number of vacation/sick days afforded me by this employer, I only have 7 days left to last me the next 10 months. Not even one day per. This is bad math.

What I really and truly wish is that they would let me take unpaid days, but for some reason that is out of the question. I would understand it being a problem if I just wanted to take one vacation after another, but I have some fairly exceptional circumstances here.

Or do I? After all, who am I to deserve time off in the days leading up to my wedding? Who am I to think I can just blow a week on the frivolity of a honeymoon? I know full well that I'm sickly. I should be more practical. I should be keeping those days so that I can call out when I'm ill. After all, it's not as if I'm human. I'm just the sick thing they stuck in the basement when I became too much trouble upstairs.

And I wonder: how much longer can I live like this?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just sayin' that my office needs, to close, aright?

... WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 AM EST THURSDAY...

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 AM EST THURSDAY.

SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP LATER TONIGHT. THE SNOW MAY BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES ON WEDNESDAY... BEFORE SLOWLY TAPERING OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 13 INCHES ARE EXPECTED. AT THIS TIME THE HIGHER AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN AREA AND LONG ISLAND.

AS THE STORM INTENSIFIES... EAST TO NORTHEAST WINDS WILL BECOME STRONG AND GUSTY DURING THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY... AND THESE WINDS CONTINUE WEDNESDAY NIGHT. GUSTS OF 35 TO 45 MPH ARE POSSIBLE... ESPECIALLY ACROSS COASTAL SECTIONS. THIS WILL CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW... WITH NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES ALONG WITH POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL... KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD... AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Gotta love the NWS with its all caps style and grace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going once, going twice, going three times... SOLD to the compassionate landowner instead of the slaughterhouse!! (If we'll give a hand, that is...)

Animal lovers everywhere, here is a story you won't want to miss.

Jodi of the amazing VET shop This Is It! Creations made a terrible discovery over the weekend: that these three bulls who graze on her property were to be sold for slaughter in short order. Being a person of high ideals, naturally Jodi immediately started looking for an answer - that is, a way to keep these three gorgeous animals from such a brutal and unnecessary death. The solution? Buy them! But cows don't come cheap; their freedom can indeed be purchased, but it will come to the tune of about $3600. Not only that, but the payment must be made by the end of next week!


And so, friends, we ask for your help. Chip in to save Pooka Cow, Spotty Friend, and Less Spotty Friend!



Several VET member shops including 3 AM Art Productions, Veganosaurus, Holistically Heather, and Cards and Jewelry by Michele as well as Etsy for Animals' Lola Lynn are donating portions of sales through the zero hour, and Jodi's own shop will be putting 100% of all sales from today, Wednesday February 3, towards saving the boys. So get shopping already!

Just a few dollars from each of us can make a big difference. These lives matter! Help Jodi to help her friends. What's their alternative to a terrifying slaughterhouse? Says Jodi:
"We've been asked where the cows will go if we do raise enough money to save them - they will stay here, at least for the short term. We have 11 acres of land, a barn, and a stream. We are planning to create a line of products where all of the profits will go toward their care (hay, vet bills, fence mending, etc.) If we can find a loving family with enough land to adopt them, we are definitely open to that as well."
Country idyll or the abattoir - three lives are on the line. So, wanna buy a journal? :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

The best bake sale ever.

This will just be a brief post, to be followed by a much more substantial one later in the week (with pics!).

Yesterday was the NYC Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti. The main organizers were the Vegan Etsy Team's Lisa of Panda with Cookie and our good friend Dayna of the awesome blog Seitan Said Dance; I played a distant third fiddle and MANY others contributed very significant help, like the amazing Janice who designed our flier.

Well, to put it lightly the event was a raging success! A completely astounding number of wonderful people baked a ridiculously delightful array (and quantity) of baked goodies. People came out en masse to volunteer, buy, eat, purchase raffle tickets, donate, and generally support the cause.

Thanks to this outpouring of awesomeness, we were able to raise approximately $4600 in a single day, every penny of which will be sent directly to Doctors Without Borders to help fund their current work in Haiti.

To everyone who was involved in this and all of the other Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti that have been happening and continue to happen all over the world - collecting over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR HAITI to date!! - thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Apparently the vegan community is good in a crisis.

**First posted on New York in Green**

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I made a post on this blog! Well, happy belated New Year. And now to the news: we've already had a really horrible natural disaster for the year 2010.

Well that's just great. Crap!

Being a person who had my own city destroyed in a semi-natural very-disaster not so many years ago, I have to say that sitting here watching this happen is really, really anxiety provoking. I have absolutely zero connection to Haiti, other than the facts that it's also populated by humans and cool animals and is on the planet earth. Nevertheless, the mere thought of the magnitude of human suffering that is happening there right now makes me start to freak out and cry a little bit. So honestly I'm trying not to think about it, and but by the grace of dog there go I, to have the happy privilege of not being one of the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are directly affected by this earthquake.

What's giving me some consolation, though, is that it seems the whole world has jumped to action. Everywhere I look, everyone is trying to send help to Haiti or to groups that are helping Haiti. And by help I mean money, because let's face it - when a whole slew of people are in need of medical care and a significant portion of your infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, what you need is money and plenty of it.

Even my stupid FaceBook games are getting in on the action! (And so help me, they had better be on the level about it.) Zynga's top three games as well as FishVille (and maybe others?) have all instituted features that promote donating to their Hatian fund, and their blog also has links for direct donations to the nonprofit they're partnering with, the World Food Programme. They're claiming that 100% of profits are being donated!

So... why am I writing about this on the vegan blog? Because! The response that the vegan community has had to this egregious event is quite astounding. We're all having bake sales!

OK. Now, on its face that sounds really stupid. But hear me out. When done right, a good bake sale can bring in some dough. (Ha ha! Pun enjoyed but not intended.) And believe me when I tell you we're doing it right. You get some vegans together who are really into baking, and the delicacies that come forth are out of this world. And then there's the matter of quantity. So check it: so far, that I know of, there are 14 vegan bake sales already organized across the U.S.! And counting! Of course Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen fame has been a major catalyst in making this bake sale thing happen and for this, Isa, NYiG applauds you.

I'll be participating in the bake sale here in NYC - it's going on all day long at Moo Shoes on Sunday, January 31st. Yeah, I'm making cupcakes. You know it. We're donating the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders - those docs do pretty amazing work, and amazing doctors are definitely needed over there right now. I'll also be stopping by this month's Vegan Drinks on Thursday the 28th, which will be featuring its own mini vegan bake sale for Haiti! Like that event needed to get any awesomer. They will be supporting Sodopreca, a group of veterinarians heading across the border from DR to help out.

[Geography Lesson] Hispaniola = the island on which are the countries of Dominican Republic and Haiti.[/Geography Lesson]

But guess what? Bake sales aren't it! There's also the amazing Josh Hooten and his partner Michelle of Herbivore Clothing Company: they teamed up with Ink Brigade to create this fab t-shirt. Naturally proceeds are going straight to the epicenter. I've already ordered mine... you're waiting for what, exactly?

Below you will find a list of all the vegan action happening for Haiti thus far, lifted directly from Animal Rights & AntiOppression (thanks, you're totally awesome!). When something this drastic happens, it's crucial that we all realize it could happen to any of us. Really. And please, please, PLEASE remember that this is not going to be over in a week or a month or even a year. These people are going to be suffering and rebuilding for a long, long time. Just because it's not the top news story, that doesn't mean it's done with. Keep these people in your hearts and minds (and prayers, if you're so inclined), and do whatever it is you can do to help... with or without chocolate chips. :)

California
1/23 (Sat) Sacramento
Sugar Plum Vegan Cafe
2315 K Street
11:00 – 3:00 pm
Benefits Food for Life Global
1/23 (Sat) Sacramento
R5 Records
2500 16th Street
10:00 – 3:00 pm
Benefits the American Red Cross
1/23 (Sat) San Francisco
Patricia’s Green
Hayes St. at Octavia
11:00 – 4:00 pm
1/31 (Sun) Los Angeles
Locali
5825 Franklin Ave
11:00-4:00 pm
Benefits Doctors without Borders

Minnesota
1/30 (Sat) Minneapolis
Ethique Nouveau
317 West 48th St
12:00-5:00 pm

Nebrasaka
1/24 (Sun) Omaha
McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe
302 S. 38th St
12:00-2:00 pm
Benefits Mercy Corps

New York
1/28 (Th) New York City
Angels and Kings
500 East 11th St.
7:00-9:00 pm
Benefits Sodoprec (Dominican veterinarians, site in Spanish)
1/31 (Sun) New York City
MooShoes
78 Orchard St.
11:30 – 6:00 pm
Benefits Doctors without Borders

Ohio
1/23 (Sat) Akron
Vegiterranean
21 Furnace St.
11:00-5:00 pm
Benefits Doctors without Borders

Oregon
1/31 (Sun) Portland
People’s Coop
3029 Southeast 21st Ave.
2:00-5:00 pm
Benefits Mercy Corps

Washington
1/31 (Sun) Seattle
Neptune Coffee
8415 Greenwood Ave North
2:00-5:00 pm
Benefits Partners in Health
Facebook invite page here.

Washington D.C.
DC Vegans
1/24 (Sun) DC
Takoma Park Farmer’s Market
Carroll Ave & Laurel Ave
10:00-2:00 pmFacebook Event Page
Benefits Mercy Corps

Friday, January 1, 2010

So what the hell is going on with this wedding?

Well I'll tell you. Not much. The truth of it is you haven't really been hearing from me because I've had little to no energy to put into the wedding in the past few months - my crap health and ridiculous job have been taking pretty much all I've got, and you throw the holidays on top of that and, well... there you go, two months of no blogging.

So let me think. What haven't you heard about? Well I think I need to fill you in on the dress saga. I believe you know that I ordered the dress. Great! Hooray! There was that silly freakout when I discovered it was going to arrive in October instead of December and I was all, but I'm not ready for it yet! Well, thank god I opened the box instead of letting it sit around, because when I did open it I found a perfectly lovely dress... with a three inch pen mark on the skirt. Mmm hmm.

OK. So the dress went back. And a couple of weeks later I got it back, supposedly "fixed." What did I find? ZOMG, complete nightmare. To "fix" the dress, they had cut out a panel from the front of the skirt, leaving the skirt with two new seams running down the front that weren't there before. But the big issue was the box pleats.

One of the main features of the dress is a row of inverted box pleats running beneath the sewn in waist band. They're quite prominent. These had to be taken out and sewn back in to replace the panel of fabric. Well, they were sewn back in badly. And I mean BADLY. Each one was a different size, measurable in half inches! The one on the right was nearly a full inch narrower than the one on the left, and the whole series was totally off center. Now, had this been some secondhand dress off of Ebay, that'd be one thing. It wasn't. Feel me?

OK. So needless to say, that dress too went back. So there I was, pretty much exactly four months out from the wedding, with no dress. This is ungood. Many dressmakers won't even take an order with less than four months' lead time. So - and you're going to think I'm crazy - I reordered the dress from the same company, in a different color so that it would be impossible for any part of the original dress to be used in the new one. I did so on the guarantee that it would be personally inspected by the sales woman I'd been corresponding with.

The dress shipped out on December 30; it's scheduled to arrive on January 7. Let's just say that if it arrives effed up, I may fly to California just to bitch slap somebody.

Hmm. Other stuff. The shoes I ordered in October finally arrived. I wasn't thrilled with the fabric, but so it goes. Well, I wore them around the house for an hour and the fabric has already begun to separate from the sole and shred. So much for handmade quality. I haven't contacted the Etsy seller I got them from yet because, lord help me, I haven't got the strength.

Invitations will be going out sometime in the next two weeks... though before that can happen I still need to figure out how to get return addresses on the envelopes.

I'm still just so thankful to the woman who made my flower stuff - that remains the ONE THING that I haven't had to do at least twice! Fleur Rouge, I will love you for ever and ever. Now everyone put your collective energies together and pray for me that nothing bad happens to them when I ship them down to NO! I will be in a slight panic from the moment they leave my possession until my mom calls me to say she received an un-crushed box.

So that's all for now folks. Soon I hope to talk with my caterer about using some recipes I have to, say, bake us a vegan wedding cake and/or cupcakes, and maybe some more exciting menu options... I'll let you know how that goes.

Hearts.