Friday, December 25, 2015

Making Merry in 2015...

Christmas Day, 2015.

Turns out Diesel really loves Christmas.

I slept too late to capture the Christmas morning sunrise, but I was
greeted with immense beauty regardless.
Holy bananas, that went fast. From Vegan MoFo to Christmastime. As I write, Christmas Day is winding down. We had the day off, and made the most of it, innkeeper-style; naps, eating, naps, playing with cats, napping, taking pictures of the animals, naps, looking at the ocean, and naps. Did I mention... naps?

This was probably the busiest month of December for me since moving here. On the few nights we did not have guests, I could be found in the kitchen till 4am pressing cookies, rolling dough, stamping cookies, coloring icing and well, you get the drift.

I made a copious amount of special order "beach" Christmas cookies....
plus a few extras to send to family and friends...
This month, our Big Pine Key Vegan Support Group Meetup had a vegan cookie exchange which was absolutely stellar. Our group is growing and I'm loving it. I started the group because I was feeling a little isolated, and hoped to meet more local vegans. The group is open to non-vegans, but it's mission is solely to promote veganism, help people transition to veganism, celebrate vegan food, support vegans in the challenges we face being vegan in a (so far) non-vegan world, and so forth. I really should have taken pictures..... we had so many cookies, and really there were no duplicates. They were all beautiful, delicious and made with so much love it was overwhelming. After we all had filled our plates, the rest were plated nicely and taken to the local Senior Center as a donation. Spreading the vegan love.

Last weekend myself and 2 friends headed into Key West to spread some jolly to those needing a lift. I stayed up till 3:40am the night before pressing out hundreds of spritz, vegan style, bagged them up and hit the streets. I also made 2 very large platters of Minimalist Baker's gingerbread apple cake in small bundt pans, stacked them high and donated them to the local soup kitchen. We then spent the better part of the day handing out tiny bags of cookies as we worked our way through the city. Sometimes we got some odd looks (see photo below), but honestly in a city like Key West we basically just blended in. We did, however, keep running into that chubby dude in the red suit. Last I saw, he was twirling around the dance floor at La-Te-Da during their 4pm tea party. 

My first "selfie."
Is it a selfie if I'm not the one taking the shot?
Julie on the left, Jen #2 on the right, and
me in the center.
That's how Christmas cheer rolls in the Keys.

Chubby dude in the red suit was everywhere.
Christmas magic, or too much vegan nog,
you be the judge.
I shipped a bunch of cookies out that people had ordered, and managed to scrape up a decent amount in donations from the sale of my mango biscotti that will go to the Grimal Grove to help them offset the code violation fines that were in existence before the current owners took the place over. Grimal Grove is having it's First Annual Chocolate Fest in a few weeks too.... I'll be there vending. Hope you can make it out and support the Grove.

Our current feline lineup.
Can you figure who is who?
Last night we set out our candles of remembrance as we do every year. There were candles lit for homeless animals, homeless people, animals suffering in misery through animal agriculture, and many other people and causes. We lit the last one for our Mother Earth. We set intentions for a world of peace.... a vegan world. After we did that, together we sat and watched the sky go from yellow, to orange to pink and red, then finally we watched the full moon.  Although there were scattered clouds, incredibly none of them covered the moon, at least as long as I was watching. It was so quiet and beautiful. It makes me feel very tiny, unimportant, and contemplative. I don't consider any of that a bad thing.... keeps ya humble, right?
A shot of some of the Panda with Cookie ornaments.
Sure you know Angel in the middle, and Peri on the top, but...
do you know who that is on the left??

Angel in full color, waiting for a wing rub.

All Diesel, all the time.
Turns out Diesel wants ALL the pizza slices and is willing to work hard to get them!

One of Santa's illusive reindeer passing through.
It was an ordeal, but I managed to surprise the other happy vegan
with paw print ornaments of all the furry family.

The other happy vegan helps Angel make her foot print ornament on Christmas Day 2015. 

Princes really got into opening her pizza slice!

We have an invisible cat, her name is Pink Moon.
She has anxiety issues. She lives mostly under the covers.
Here she is before opening her "pizza slice."
Yes, she's under the covers here.... the other happy vegan
opened up the covers, I took the picture, and then we left her
to her pizza slice, under the covers.

I was inside doing some chores while the other happy vegan had Princess outside (on a leash.... remind you of anyone???) and Santa went over. Yes, he really did.... in an airplane with a red light. I heard him calling "Santa! Santa! There's Santa!" and 5 seconds later he was in the house.... turns out Princess was scared of the low flying plane and clamored to come inside. Who can blame her, when you're expecting reindeer and a plane shows up?

Today I took advantage of my morning off and slept to a ridiculously late hour, and woke up to a breakfast of Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs (OMG SOOOO GOOD!) and Field Roast sausages with fruit. I drank coffee (yup, first time in many months), poured our great maple syrup over everything (no, not the coffee) and didn't have 1 single speck of guilt over any of it. After, we watched the kitties open their gifts, and then took Angel her gift. All the furry ones got "pizza slices" from Panda With Cookie, while Angel got 2 new giant toys of her own. If you don't know Panda With Cookie, you need to find her on Etsy. She makes many cute eco-felted vegan items, including custom animal ornaments. My gift to the other happy vegan was a full set of our animal family, along with a paw print ornament from each animal. Instead of an ornament from Angel, he got a jar full of stuff to make the ornament, and together we worked with Angel to capture her footprint. Her little ornament is in the oven right now. Her feet are pretty big, but I think it will come out perfectly.

Diesel made quick work of her pizza slice. She opened it, batted it a few times,
then became immersed with the paper it was wrapped in.
We get right back to work tomorrow, and it's going to be a long time before I have another day off. The new year is right around the corner, lots of people make resolutions but I don't, actually I consider that silly... UNLESS you make a resolution to go vegan. What I can say about that is why wait till the new year, how about going vegan now. Right this second. You can find the support you need at and through support groups too. If you don't have a support group in  your neighborhood, you can always just start one of your own, just like we did here. Of course, you can always write to me, we're on Facebook too, but you already knew that didn't you.

It would seem Christmas is magical for kittens....
We always light candles on Christmas Eve.
These are some of them.
Homeless people.
Homeless animals.
Animals suffering in animal agriculture.
People and animals who have crossed over.
Our Mother Earth.
And others......
The other happy vegan built me a tree. He really did.
He soaked a tree stump for a few days, drilled holes, then stuck some
Jamaican caper and pine branches. Strung some lights, and called it a day.
I was happy.
Luciana didn't work quite as hard to open her pizza slice, but once it was open,
she was quite enchanted with it.
Aggie worked really hard to get to her pizza slice!
Couldn't resist, had to put this picture in. As I was attempting to take a photo of Agatha Rain
opening her "pizza slice" from Panda With Cookie, Diesel came running to play, and
as you see.... leapt clear over Aggie!
Lemon LOVES his "pizza slice" from Panda With Cookie...
Princess LOVES her "pizza slice" from Panda With Cookie.....

So there it is. Another Christmas Day done and over. My wish for all of you is to live with compassionlive your life as an example to others, be proud of your compassionate choices, and help others go vegan and stay vegan. Every day we happy vegans feel the urgency more and more to spread the vegan messageBut you already knew that too, didn't you.