Wednesday, December 31, 2014

To The Curb!

2014 that is.... kicking it to the curb in just a few hours. No looking back, like it or not, another year done, with a bright shiny new year barreling through.

My year in review isn't worth reviewing really. I won't bore you with a long jazzy post. Things here were pretty good, the animals are pretty healthy (more to come on that in a few days), and our family grew by 1 this year with the arrival of Princess Glitter FancyPants back in March. I think of all things that happened this year, that was probably in the top 2 of life changing events. It's not just because of her circumstances (someone threw her away, just threw her away like garbage out here on Long Beach), but more because of how her arrival has stirred in me the "no holds barred" feeling I have more than ever when it comes to advocating for animals. We open our home to people, that's our business sure it is, but animals come before even ourselves here.

Princess Glitter FancyPants is not a throwaway. No animal is a throwaway. Every animal is precious, every animal feels pain, joy, grief, and love. When I look at Princess I see in her everything that is wrong with humanity, in general in our callous nature, our disregard for others, and our casual outlook on animals being nothing. But, when I look at Princess I see in her everything that is right with humanity by considering that she has now has a home that probably is among the best for her in the Universe....she has love, shelter, medical care and joy in her life. She has created so much love within others as they follow her on line, and so much unity in so many people as well.

It's the give and take I have such trouble with in the world, that push/pull. Why push, why pull. How about just living with compassion, no more push/pull. No more arguing, no more violence, no more stupid bacon jokes, no more ego.

I have no idea what the upcoming year has in store for me or anyone else. Regardless, I have hope. I have hope for a good year, a hope for a compassionate future for the world, and finally a hope that all animals will get the justice and life they truly deserve in this world.

Happy Vegan New Year.

Princess, before she was Princess.
Photographed when I found her, before she rescued me.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, if that's your thing

I haven't been around the blog much lately, apologies for that. The business went back into our busy season, I launched my vegan baking on line and you know just life in general.

Today is Christmas Day, although as I write the day is almost over. This is not a holiday I celebrate any more, although in the past I certainly did, and at various times in my life I embraced this day wholeheartedly.

Things change.

Last night I spent a while setting up my circle and altar for a little ceremony I like to do every Christmas Eve. This is a time of year when I have suffered great loss. When you lose someone you love around any holiday, it seems to amplify that loss. The passage of time doesn't do much to ease any losses for me. I've taken to doing a remembrance ceremony on the Eve of Christmas because it's a night that used to be filled with fun and laughter. I have great memories, and I want to honor those memories. So now I spend my day gathering herbs, rocks, flags, incense, crystals, candles and other objects, along with a list of names. Last night I set up on the enclosed porch because the forecast was not good. Indeed we got heavy rains last night.

Peri parked himself in the middle of things last night.
He is a masterpiece.
I did my best not to end up in a constant pity party of sadness this season. Three times we went into town (Key West and Marathon) with our best holiday spirit put forward and did random acts of kindness of various degrees. The first effort didn't go so well, we were both disheartened, but thank goodness we got back on the effort and took 2 more cracks at that... well worth the effort. The cure for any personal sadness I tend to have is to do something nice for others.

Mission accomplished.

On the food front, I baked thousands of cookies this season. My website went live a couple weeks before Christmas, and it's still a work in progress. I did it myself, things didn't go as planned with the host I planned to design the site, so for now it will do. I did a holiday fair as well, and that went great, but not as planned either. My display was designed for outside, but it was too warm. I was moved inside, which meant my positivity buoy display didn't get set up, and unfortunately my entire display case bit the dust when my table collapsed during set up. Yes I was upset, but no use crying over spilled soy milk. I was lucky I hadn't yet filled the case with my products, so I'll take that as the silver lining. No plans to do any more off site vendor events for a while, I learned my lesson. I did, however, sell lots of products, and raised a decent amount of money for charities with my art. I got back into my art, just a little bit. You might remember that I collect buoys and other trash off the beach during my beach cleaning seasons and recycle what I can into art. The buoys are a scourge on the planet. They are Styrofoam, which never really goes away. It just breaks apart into small pieces which means even more animals can eat that crap, suffer and die. To take them off the beach is a relief, although I cannot tell you how many pieces of foam I pick up on any given day ranging from larger chunks to the teensiest tiniest pieces you can imagine.

Our poor planet.

Some of my positivity buoys.
Buoys wash in as litter.
They're horrible. They're made of foam.
They break down into smaller pieces.
Animals eat them, get sick, suffer & die.
I retrieve them as I find them, clean them, and paint them
with positive sayings.
Then I sell them and give the money to animal charities.
I baked a lot this season, and there certainly is a learning curve in testing my limits. Typically if there's something I want, I get it by working for it, there are simply no limits to what I am capable of, basically I'm not doing brain surgery so I don't accept defeat. The baking tested my limits in more ways than one. It was a marathon not a sprint. I have no idea what the future will hold longer term for that part of my life, but at least for now I have a much better understanding of what I am capable of. I learned yes, I do have limits.

I speak with Pop relatively regularly. It's hard to talk on the phone with him, he has some difficulty hearing on the phone, but we get by. He is happy to be with family and so well cared for. He does, however, miss the Keys terribly. He tells me almost every time we speak that when he looks out the window from his new digs (it overlooks a courtyard) that what he sees is his fountain, Key deer, the ibis, and the Bight. One day he called the other happy vegan and asked him to blast the air horn on his golf cart. The other happy vegan was actually at his house at that moment, so he ran out to the cart, held up the phone and blasted a super long air horn "hello you rascal" on Pop's cart. Pop loved that so much.

We miss him.

I feel that 2015 will be a year of more change. Every year more and more things change, and I have to adapt. Change is not my thing, instead I'm a creature of habit. Oddly enough, I absolutely am at my best under pressure, but that's not to say I enjoy being under pressure. Just as I can say I am quite capable of adapting to circumstances, I don't particularly enjoy having to constantly shift gears and adapt.

It is what it is though.

The other happy vegan shot some video of the cats with their toys this morning. Unfortunately he's notorious for shooting videos for me, and not uploading them. Such is the case with the cats and their toys. You'll have to settle for a photo......

That's Lemon in the front, Luciana in the middle, and way back there
that's Princess Glitter FancyPants.

Peri, Agatha Rain and Pink Moon were busy destroying their toys
in a different spot.

Angel got a giant new toy. She hates new things, but she'll get used to it...
Then she'll have fun with it.

Today I took things pretty easy. I made ravioli with arribiata sauce. I used the recipes out of Chloe's Italian Kitchen. Truth be told the dough recipe from the Vegg is the BEST pasta dough I've had, and I prefer working with that recipe. I am out of Vegg right now, so I went with Chloe's. Her cookbooks are really good, I think they're wonderful for people crossing over as new vegans. They typically require no special skill sets and no special ingredients. So, we had the ravioli, and I made her tiramisu. That was tasty as well, and the biggest bonus is the time to prepare is about 30 minutes compared to my own recipe which takes 3 days (yes THREE DAYS) to prepare from start to finish. I ate dough, sugar, and drank caffeine today, but all those leftovers go out the door to others tomorrow, this was a 1 day thing for both of us here.

I managed to keep a fairly routine workout schedule during the December madness, consider that a Christmas miracle perhaps. It's about prioritizing what really matters, and there's no putting off anymore that health and fitness comes first, thank goodness I've had a few decades of putting health and fitness first. The other happy vegan has come over to the health and fitness side of things over the last few months, and just as it was when he finally went vegan, this too has brought much more harmony into our lives. He is much more appreciative of my cooking efforts now, and I am much more thankful I no longer have to dodge the junk food in the pantry or freezer anymore. Being vegan is great, but be careful not to go down the slippery slope of a junk food vegan. 

It's also the time of year when I take stock of my accomplishments, my failures, and reformulate the next "to do" list for my life. I'm not alone in being contemplative at this time of year, I realize that. So, for those of you who ARE thinking "what comes next" how about this.... take it vegan. Yup, take it vegan!

Ok, this post isn't as prophetic as maybe some of my others, but the job is done, and I've filled the page for you. The month of December was fast and furious in my world, and this blog post is me at the end of my rope, without a knot at the end.

See you next time. Eventually!

Merry Merry if that's your thing.