I moved my blog08.30.07 (3:03 pm) 
Blogger works better for me since I can post on the go:
Vegan for good!02.25.07 (6:43 pm) 
I love being vegan. I eat so much more interesting food than I ever did as an omnivore, and definitely more healthy food. The best part is that I feel light, as if a burden has been lifted. I don't have the constant inner struggle with the guilt of knowing living beings were being killed and tortured merely for my pleasure. I wrote a poem almost two years ago that I think illustrates it nicely...
California Dairy Cows
Black and white
milk machines bred for
my dining pleasure. Standing
foot deep in mud and
urine. Udders swollen with
food for stolen calves you will
never see again.
For my mint-chocolate-chip, you
will never graze green pastures. For
sour cream on a baked potato, you
sleep in shit. Buttering my toast
is cruel and unusual
I don't have that guilt anymore and it feels wonderful. Franz Kafka is said to have summed it up very well while looking at fish in an aquarium...
"Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more."
So I'm going vegan10.22.06 (9:23 pm) 
I originally went vegetarian (lacto-ovo) about 9 years ago. Then I started occasionally eating fish, so you could say I was a pescatarian I guess. Then, after several very stressful events in my life, I went back to the Standard American Diet (SAD) like an alchoholic goes back to the bottle. I was depressed and I didn't care about my health, the environment, or the animals. That lasted 5 years. During that time my blood pressure and cholesterol went up, I developed migraines, and I gradually began to notice seemingly random hives on an almost daily basis. Eventually the migraines began to be so frequent that they were affecting my life severely. I began visiting doctors trying to find the cause. Of course none of them could tell me what caused them, they just wanted to put me on medications to treat them. All of which had side-effects that were almost as bad as the migraines. None of them had a clue about what was causing the hives, which had gotten very bad. Finally, a chiropractor/kinesiologist (I was desperate) had me keep a food/symptom log and told me after reviewing a month's worth of entries that I should avoid dairy & soy. So I quit eating both, which means that most pre-packaged foods are out of my diet now since they put some form of one or the other (or both) in just about everything. Within a few weeks I noticed that the migraines were much less frequent, and when I did get them, much less severe. The hives however, remained. They would come up anywhere there was strong pressure on my skin. If I wore pants with a tight waist, I'd get hives under the waistband. If I sat on a hard surface for very long, I'd get hives on my butt. If I carried a heavy basket through the grocery store, I'd get hives on the palm of my hand. I scraped my side on a cabinet once while cleaning and I had a square foot of hives all down my side. Once after a full day of walking around in shoes with a high arch (birkenstocks), the soles of my feet were so swollen, hot and itchy that I had to soak them in ice water. The allergist called them "pressure hives" and said they didn't really know what caused them, or if they would ever go away. Of course he prescribed drugs for me anyways. I never filled the prescriptions. Gradually I made the connection that my migraines and hives had begun sometime after I began eating the SAD again. So I gradually began cleaning up my diet. As an assignment for a writing class, I chose to write about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. I knew that once I started the research for it, I'd be able to get motivated enough to get back to eating healthy. I read lots of books, but the one that really did it for me was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It took me another year to completely eliminate animal products from my diet, but I'm finally there after many false starts and setbacks. I'm finally there, and have been for over a month now. And the hives are gone. I know this time I'll stay on the vegan path, for my health, and because I've finally rediscovered the reason I went vegetarian the first time. I don't want to take part in the violence of eating animals or animal products. I've had to put three very good furry friends down over the last year. Friends I'd known for many years. And each time it was just as heart-wrenching as losing a human friend. And what difference is there between those animals who were my friends, and the animals on my plate, or any animals who suffered and died for my pleasure or convenience? So I'm working on becoming vegan. I say becoming because I know I have a lot to learn, and a lot of things left to eliminate from my life, before I'll really consider myself vegan. But I'm going to get there.
My third annual post06.16.06 (2:13 am) 
Apparantly I'm only capable of posting on a yearly basis. It's strange how the two things I love to do the most - photography & writing - are the two things I seem to avoid doing. Probably because I can't realy devote myself to either so I don't want to do them half-assed. That's a seriously lame excuse. Anyways - here's one of my favorite pics.
Procrastination Queen05.01.05 (8:43 pm) 
So it's been almost a year since my last post. This is pretty typical for me. I'm not good at following through on things. But here I am posting again. Of course I'm mainly trying to avoid writing the thing I need to be writing - my final project. I'm a fantastic procrastinator. I will be working on this stupid thing right up until 5:30 next Monday when it's due - I'd bet on it.
The thing I don't understand is that I truly love to write. But I put it off and avoid it until I have to write into the wee hours of the morning just to get the bare minimum done. I will probably never understand why I avoid doing the one thing I can totally lose myself in, the one thing I am truly passionate about. But coming back to this blog is a start.
And now I'm back to my homework.
reunion06.11.04 (8:42 am) 
This weekend is my family reunion for my mother’s father’s (to be referred to as Grandaddy from here forward) family. I’ve had changing feelings over the years towards the reunion. As a child I enjoyed it. We’d drive to Mason where Aunt Lillian lives in this great old stone house with a huge back yard full of pecan and fruit trees. The yard is covered in the most luscious Saint Augustine grass you’ve ever had the pleasure to wiggle your toes through. I love that feeling on a hot summer day, so cool and soothing. It always takes me back to Aunt Lillian’s. She’s actually my great aunt, and lives in what used to be my great grandparent’s house. In my earliest memories of Mason my great grandfather was still alive, but bedridden. His hospital bed was set up in an enclosed porch on the back of the house. I guess they put him there so he could see outside and feel the breezes when the windows were open. By the time I knew him, he probably didn’t know where he was. I don’t think I ever even heard his voice. He died when I was still very young. Aunt Lillian stayed in the house after that, and still lives there today.
Now you’ve probably never been to Mason, so I’ll tell you it’s not a very exciting place for a teenager. And once I got to that it’s-not-cool-to-spend-time-with-your-family phase I started putting up a fight about going to the reunion. I thought I hated going and wanted to make it as unpleasant as possible for my mother if I had to go. Of course most years once I got there it wasn’t so bad, but I’d never admit it. I remember one year when my cousin and I were in our black-leather-and-studs phase. Our mothers couldn’t leave until the weekend and school was out. Grandaddy was already retired and was headed to Mason for the reunion early to stay for a couple of weeks and offered to take us with him. Of course our mothers took him up on that offer quickly, before he came to his senses. They were so eager to get rid of us that they didn’t think to supervise our packing. We spent the entire week before the reunion dressed in our metal finery. Now heavy metal hadn’t really caught on in Mason yet, so the locals weren’t real sure what to make of two teenage girls running around wearing spiked belts and wristbands. And of course, to the horror of our mothers who drove straight in that morning, we showed up with Grandaddy to the reunion in full metal gear.
As a young adult I stopped going to the reunions because no one could make me go anymore and I was ‘too busy’. I didn’t think it was important to go mingle with a bunch of people that I didn’t really know. Grandaddy comes from a large west Texas farm family of 13 children. I only saw most of these people at the reunion. I didn’t know them. Most of them didn’t know me either, and were old enough to forget from one year to the next.
“Now whose girl are you?”
“Oh you’re Harvey’s grandchild! I remember when you were just this high. My you’ve gotten big!”
And so on. My entire identity consisted of who’s child or grandchild I was. Each year was the same. Drive forever. Arrive. Hug a bunch of people I don’t know. Eat barbecue. Endure the eternity until Mom was ready to go. Drive forever again. You can understand my reluctance to go.
I skipped the reunion for several years. I don’t really remember when I started going again, or why. Maybe I started going back for Mom or Grandaddy. Maybe I grew up and realized it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I woke up one day and realized that family did mean something to me. The first year I went back was a shock. All these people I remembered – strong, weather-beaten folk – were so old, and fragile. That’s when I realized that they weren’t always going to be there, that one year soon someone wouldn’t make it and would never be there again.
I’ve made it to the reunion almost every year since then and the hugs are more heartfelt each year. The family announcements seem to have as many deaths as births these days, as one by one my great aunts and uncles pass away. The old folks remember them each year by telling stories that always seem to begin “Remember that time…”. I dread the year that the announcements include my own grandfather – as I know one year they will.
Over the years the reunion has moved closer to home as the family spread out across the country and easy access to an airport became a deciding factor of location. For the last 8 – 10 years or so it’s been in Granbury. It’s an easier drive now, just a day trip, but I almost wish it was still in Mason. I don’t get much chance to go there anymore, and I think I could use a little time under the pecan trees, wiggling my toes in the grass.