While We Are Here, Lets Have Some Food


I remember when I was in middle school and took home economics class. I was taught the ins and outs of buying and consuming foods, how they are advertised, and a bunch of other things. They eventually did away with that class in my school, and I can’t figure out why. After all, I baked my first cake in that class. It was a double chocolate chili cake. It was really good and it showed me that baking wasn’t that scary. I wanted nothing more than to cook after that. It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to be vegetarian. I remember coming home and being told by both of my parents that it wasn’t do-able. I couldn’t for a few reasons, but mainly because how would I get all of the nutrients I needed, and it wasn’t cheap. How would they afford it? At this point, my home life was pretty rough as it was. My dad didn’t have a job, my mom was the only one working, and none of that helped my already difficult transition into young adult hood. My first reason for being vegetarian was for the animals. I had found a few articles online about what the animals in factories go through, and I couldn’t handle it. Secondly, I knew it was healthier, and here’s the funny thing. Nobody had ever told me it was healthier. If anything, I had been told that vegetarians are lacking in nutrients because they don’t eat meat and don’t drink milk. My efforts to become vegetarian were squashed, quickly. Before they even began.

So I sit here now, an adult, thinking back to all of this. I’ve seen video after video of the abuse that happens to animals, and I have always wanted it to end, and I’ve wished I could do my part to help it end, but before I moved to where I live now, I didn’t even have a way to help. I was throwing all of my money into bills, and the only places I could food shop in town were the pharmacy, dollar store and gas station. I didn’t have regular access to grocery stores. I had to do what I had to do, but I began noticing that I craved more and more natural food. I tried growing my own, but that didn’t go very well and I came out with a handful of sweet peppers, a lot of cilantro and mint, and three very small green tomatoes. I didn’t stop, I tried again this year, but I’m here with again, more mint, and one very tiny green tomato that I’m hoping will at least get big enough and red enough to give me seeds. I will try again in a year.

But the tension between my brain and my body is growing. I’ve been buying and eating almost nothing but veggies and fruit. When we have hamburgers, I find myself craving the crisp crunch of kale on top, with onion, pickles and dijon mustard. Take the patty off actually and throw on some olives, basil, spinach, cabbage, peppers and tomatoes. I’ll give you my patty if you promise I can have the rest. Each and every time, this is my wish. But I eat the damn patty, and I pay for it. My body doesn’t like the patty as much as my mouth seems to. My mind doesn’t like it either, my taste buds are lying to the rest of my body, and the rest of my body has become wise to these lies! So this morning I skipped breakfast. I have bacon here, and the plan was to have that bacon. I know that if I were vegetarian I would still have eggs, and probably yogurt/cheese too, and fish, but that’s the extent of my animal eating. Not because of anything except for how my body feels. I realize that those items are from animals, but I have to start somewhere and as of right now the only meat I’m eating (happily) is fish, eggs, and cheese/yogurt. I think I could leave it at that for now, and still be fine. I wouldn’t be alone either, there are a lot of vegetarians that eat those, but no red or white meat. I’m cool with that life.

So I’ve been adding things to my pinterest board that I have lovingly called Food 0.0. I know the whole board isn’t vegetarian, but I’m going to add those on. I know that part of my problem is not knowing what to eat. I’ve literally been surviving on grapes, fish and kale this week because I’m not sure what else to eat. Time to spice up life.

So here’s to beginning a new journey, and perfect timing too as we just welcomed a full moon into our skies. I’d call that synchronicity? Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but we will see. I’ll give myself a month to say goodbye to the meat that I already don’t want to eat, meaning if I have to eat a meal with meat because I’m stuck or out of food I can, but I really want to try this, all the way. I’m doing the searching now for recipes and ideas. So here goes, one full lunar cycle. I’ll check back and let you all know what I’ve found. I might even upload recipes that I find!

Wish me luck!

(P.S. You all should know that my cat is chasing her tail.)

I’ve Been a Busy Bee

I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a while. Well, to me it feels like a while. I had planned on writing a few posts a week and then I got a job. I started that job yesterday. I’m working at a local supermarket and for the most part I like it. I mean, it’s a retail job and those are hardly the most exciting or rewarding jobs around, but it’s a job none-the-less so I am grateful to have it. I was starting to think I might actually rot away without my own means to make a living. A few days before my fist day on the job I spent some time with family and did some digging around. See, I stumbled onto a post somewhere about the total number of bees that have been killed due to us spraying for the Zika virus. The number makes me cringe. Makes my heart skip a beat, and hesitate on the next beat. Our bees are literally the one animal that we need the most, and we just killed off quite a few of them. Do I decided I should stop procrastinating and just look it up. What does it take to own a bee hive in Indiana?

Not much, turns out. You have to have the proper set up and someone has to come and inspect your hive for parasites and illness. That’s about it. And if you have shit neighbors, you might have to disguise the hive, which I plan to do anyway. I was actually in contact with the only apiary inspector in the whole state. She’s very very nice and has told me to contact her with anything I might need, at all. On top of that, there is a local bee club in my county that meets once a month, even during the winter. I plan to go next month and meet all of the people who are locally a part of the bee obsessed population. While researching things I needed and rules and regulations, I came upon a list of people who sell local honey. I ended up buying 40oz of the good ol’ raw honey. My desire to house a hive of my own was only tripled when I saw the nearly 20 hives that sat off in the distance on the families land that I bought the honey from. I’ve fallen into a hive of my own it seems. That same guy actually makes the bee hives that I will be needing! I’m ready, mentally. Knowledgeably, and physically, not so much. But I have all winter to prepare. I’m here though, and that’s half of the battle.

So I’ve been busy trying to learn all that I can about this topic. I’m desperate for spring and it’s not even technically fall yet. This happened last year after I grew my first tomatoes too. I grew tomatoes this year as well, but I’ve wanted the bees far longer than I’ve wanted the tomatoes. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be wearing my bee suit for long (or not, I’ve heard that you don’t actually need one. Morgan Freeman doesn’t wear one.) and I’ll be preaching about bee safety and love.

So rest assured, I’ll be continuing with this blog as well. And it might include some things about bees. Maybe my next post will be about the beloved honey bee? Only time will tell.

Sundown

At the end of the day when it’s time to rest, we get one of the most beautiful shows. Things were quite different when I lived in NY. The mountains and trees would block my view and the clouds acted in a different manner. I am enjoying the sunsets here. 

Writing Space

I recently read a blog post that talked about writing space. I’d never really put much thought into where I did my writing until that post. I guess I just choose what feels most comfortable to me at the time that I choose to write, and tonight it seems I’ve chosen to sit next to a 44′ picture window while it thunderstorms out. If any of you have ever seen a thunderstorm from the mid-west part of America, you’ll know what vibes are around right now. For those who don’t know about the thunderstorms in the mid-west, you need to know that it’s constant lightning. I don’t mind thunder, I actually enjoy it. So what did I do when I heart the first roll of thunder? I opened up my document program and began typing, almost as if that was the only time that I could write. I suppose, I’ve found the best writing space for me.

Of course, I can’t have my thunderstorms all the time (though, according to family, there have been more thunderstorms here than there usually are on average). Where do I choose to write then, when the thunder just isn’t on my side? Well, the couch is usually the first spot, nestled next to one or two of the cats with a latte or a cup of tea. I like it to be quiet when I write, but sometimes I actually put on Mozart or dubstep, depending on my mood. And I always listen to it with headphones, for some reason the noise that comes from my speakers just irritates me when I’m writing. And I don’t always use my laptop for writing, sometimes I need to put pen to paper, and boy do I have quite the collection of pens. Two for each mood I suppose. Got the fine tips, the medium tips, free ink, gel pens, and felt tip pens, all with different grippies and weights, each one is a pleasant color and shape. My notebooks are thick, non spiral, college ruled. Some of them don’t even have lined paper, which I usually use when writing with my fountain pens. I have a lap desk, one of those little cushion things that you rest on your lap and it allows you to have a hard surface to write on.

When do I write the best though? Believe it or not, it’s not when I’m next to a violent thunderstorm or while I’m sipping the Earl Grey, it’s actually when I’m out and about. Back in NY I used to have to wait at the local grocery store before my shift at work. I had to wait because my boyfriend worked a few hours before me and my job was too far away to be able to walk to. I had invested in a Thinkpad, which I swore would be used to further my writing (and so far it has)  and I purchased a nice laptop bag for it. I began to settle into a routine. My boyfriend drops me off at the grocery store, I wander around looking for something to quench my thirst (usually a pomegranate drink), I buy a slice of pizza or pack of sushi then I proceed to sit at an empty booth in the cafe and set up my laptop. This was during the busiest part of the day, when people are transitioning between their lunch breaks and the rest of their shift, or just getting off of their shift and stopping in for lunch. Sometimes I would even see people conduct small meetings at one of the round tables. I guess it’s convenient, there’s plenty of food and drinks, and you can sit there for as long as you like and just keep refilling your soda cup. For some reason, this is where I did my best writing.

At the time that I began doing this, I was just finishing up a round of NaNoWriMo and was jumping into the editing portion of it. I was always in the zone during this time and I would over shoot my word count, or re write a portion of the NaNo and create so much flow that I then had to either edit, delete or create new chapters to make it all fit. It wasn’t the food or the pomegranate drinks that kept me in the game, it was the hustle and bustle. Something about the environment, about being around people who were focused, kept me focused that much more. And maybe a little was my anxiety too, I didn’t want to be bothered by anybody that might want to talk, so I would put on the headphones and create my own space at that booth. The vague smell of smoked chicken and ribs, coffee and pizza dough helped to comfort me as well. I happen to like food, especially pizza, smoked meat and coffee. Being surrounded by my comfort foods helped quite a bit, and I bet if there was a candle to make my house smell like those  three, I might buy just one to see if it was worth it. I can’t keep my house smelling like that all the time, it’s expensive to smoke meat all the time. So the post I saw today got me thinking. What do other people do to create their own writing space? Do you have a special place you like to go, or sit? Or a special snack to fuel your brain as it hatches ideas? Perhaps a certain candle you light? I’d love to hear about your writing  ‘ritual’.

 

 

Lets talk about cats

My past few posts were slightly heavy. So lets talk about cats. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t always loved cats. I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t understand them. I have always had pet rats, and I love love love love rats. The apartment I was living in would most likely never allow me to have rats however (though I did sneak two in for three years.) My therapist recommended that I get a therapy animal. I really like big dogs, but don’t have the room in an apartment. The next best option was a rat, but getting my landlord to be okay with this would be hell. Also, older rats usually require vet care, and because they are exotic pets, the cost of the vet visits will put you in debt. So I rescued a cat.

Why did I need a therapy animal? Well, I’ve a long history of depression and a serious amount of anxiety. I needed something to take care of that wouldn’t create more stress but instead I ended up with a cat that takes care of me.

Meet Cleo.

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That’s her default. She’s gotta follow me into the bathroom and give me this look. Notice, the faucet is on a slow drip because I have to turn it on while I’m in there so she can get a drink of water. Spoiled, right?

I didn’t think that a cat would actually be able to help me with my depression or anxiety but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it might have been a partial cure all along. Having moved into my dad’s house, I now have three cats to help me deal with my anxiety and depression.

Meet Frisco (black and white) and Jack Jack (orange and white)

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I came to love these boys just as much as I love my Cleo, and I have found that it’s actually pretty hard to be depressed with three fuzz butts running around and demanding love at every moment. Frisco is always asking for reassurance, but he’s also the funniest of the three. Notice how he sleeps.

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And he’s always up to cuddle.

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But Cleo and Jack have their moments too.

 

Maybe you can see how they might help, but I’ll give you some examples.

In the morning, when I’m depressed, Cleo wakes me up. She will not let me sleep past 8am and her method of waking me is far from stressful. She will begin purring, usually kneading my belly or butt and when I ignore that she starts rubbing her face on my face, purring all the way. If I proceed to ignore, she drools. On my face. I really can’t be mad though. When all else fails, she flops herself down onto my face and lays there, purring, trying to suffocate me with love. This is a great help to me actually, I tend to sleep all day if I can. I love my bed, but it’s not because it’s warm and cozy, it’s because that’s where nothing will bother me. I’m just me, and that’s all. Nothing else to worry about. Just my pillow. People think I’m sleeping, I won’t be bothered. And dreams are a great escape from what is actually bothering me. I love to sleep. (And having PCOS I actually have the lack of energy needed to sleep my life away. One perk of PCOS?)

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The cats are also pretty amazing at sensing anxiety. I’ve cried, at least one comes running. I’m ready to put my fist through a wall, they come running. I’m about to have a panic attack because I have to spend my last dollar and they all come running to cuddle with my self. And not just that, they help my boyfriend with his anxiety too, and Jack Jack has taken quite the liking to him.

Do I recommend a therapy animal if you have any form of anxiety or depression? Yes. Do I recommend a cat? Yes.

 

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Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened – Anatole France

Thanks for tuning in so I can show you my cats (that’s the main point of this post).