Monday, December 28, 2009

An (almost) Vegan Christmas

Well, the big holiday is officially behind us. I went up to my Mum's this year (as I do every year). It was a small Christmas - just me, my mum, my brother and a friend of my brother's who had nowhere to go this year. We at the Williams' family welcome all misfit toys, and always have. We had one of my mum's friends over for Christmas dinner, too.

In an about change of pace, my mother didn't bother to make any Christmas cookies this year. In days of yore, she would make dozens upon dozens of them, giving them out for presents and putting them out for visitors and family alike. But not this year. Mom is on a diet, my brother has lost mad weight this year and I couldn't eat any of them due to the eggs and milk, so... she just didn't bother.

Not having the cookies there this year made it a lot easier to keep on the vegan path. Mom even made some really yummy bean dip for me for the veggie platter. It's really good and it was nice to have it. I brought my own food (chickpea cutlets and mushroom gravy) and felt pretty good about the whole thing.

The few things that made it not completely vegan came mostly from presents I received this year: some local alpaca yarn from my mom, hersey kisses in my stocking, and some local honey from my brother.

Mom had bought the yarn before I went vegan, and I will admit that it is nice yarn. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I was thinking about making some socks out of it and giving them to someone. I've never made socks before, so this should be interesting. The kisses went into a bowl for my brother to eat. And the honey.... well, I'm going to use it. I know it's not vegan. But it is from a local apiary and honey in this form (not processed to kingdom come) is good for you. I'll use it in my tea and baking and when it's gone it is gone.

The hershey kisses, however, should have been thrown away. Damn yummy non-vegan hersey kisses.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have a Window!

Car window, that is. The body shop was able to have one overnighted and it was installed this afternoon. So, no more holiday plans on hold. YAY! I took some pics of the damage, in case you were interested:


You can see all the safety glass everywhere. Thank god it was safety glass 'cause I was sitting on some at one point...


My ghetto patch job. Nothing says class like a garbage bag for a window.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Again.

Someone broke into my car while I was at work. I was only there for 4.5 hours. I was looking forward to four days with no responsibilities and lots of fun.

Now, I have safety glass all over the car from the smashed-in passenger side window. They didn't take anything (I leave nothing of value in the car; just junk). However, they did manage to leave a huge pain in my ass in that now I have to get the damn thing fixed. And tape a friggin' trash bag over it, completely my ghetto makeover. Have I mentioned it's like in the single digits outside with windchill? I am essentially carless until this gets fixed.

I just went through this back in September! Really!?!?! Again?!?!?

Whimper.

Random Thoughts of a Monday Morning

1. I am feeling much better today. I am very thankful that this cold is making its way out as quickly as it hit me. I've just got too much to do this week!

2. I have decided today is Christmas shopping day. It was going to be tomorrow since I wouldn't have to cut it short to go to work. But I figure I'm in the mood and have the energy to do it now, so I might as well not put it off anymore. I've got a super tight budget this year (basically taking $$ out of my savings account) so it should go quickly. Cash only, when it's gone, it's gone.

3. I have come to the conclusion that there are only 10 Christmas songs in existence. Everything else is just a remix of these various 10 songs.

4. To all you musicians out there releasing Christmas albums with "new twists on old classics": There are no more new twists. They were all used up 20 years ago. Please stop. Move on. One can only hear so many variations of Jingle Bell Rock in a single day.

5. My friend Alex is coming up to Vermont to spend the holidays. YAY!!!!! She moved to Florida a little over a year ago and it's been one heck of a ride since. I am glad she's back for a little bit, and I'm glad I have the time to see her.

6. Class is out for the next two weeks. And today is my last work day until Saturday. Wheee!!! I know I'm actually losing quite a bit of money by not working, but boy do I need a few days where I have nothing to do. I'll be able to reconnect with some actual real-life people! Imagine that!

7. Coffee is good. Lemme go get some more.

8. One of the christmas presents my brother ordered for me arrived on Friday. I was home when it arrived. I did my best not to look at the box, but it's pretty obvious what it is. I'm doing my best to pretend I don't know.

9. The sun is out (sort of). But I'm not fooled. It's frakking cold out.

10. Being vegan means no cookies this year, unless I make them myself. I don't feel like making any, so I guess I'm going cookie-less this Christmas. I'm kinda okay with this. Now I won't feel the need to gorge myself and feel uncomfortably full for days on end because of all the cookie goodness.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Greatful.

As I was standing there, wallowing in my own self-pity and wondering what I should wear to work and wishing I could go there in my pjs, I thought I should take a moment and think about the things I am grateful for in my life.

1. My Health. Yes, I am currently fighting off my second cold in as many months, but (knock on wood) I am healthy. There is nothing growing where is shouldn't, nothing falling off, and no gaping holes. I am lucky and I am grateful.

2. My Home. Sure, it's a rented apartment I share with my brother. But it's a nice space in a good location. Moreover, I have one. I have a place to come to after a long day and hide in if I need to. I am lucky and I am grateful.

3. My Friends and Family. Just because this is third on the list doesn't mean it's not first, if you get my meaning. My life is full of wonderful people and I am eternally grateful for each and every one of them. My life would be much the poorer without all of you. I am lucky and I am grateful.

4. An Ability to Choose My Life. I radically changed the direction of my life's pursuits this year. It took a lot of guts and chutzpah, but I am convinced it is the best thing I could ever have done. In many other cultures around the world, most people (let alone women) ever have the chance to choose what they get to do with their life. I am lucky and I am grateful.

5. My Bed. Okay, so this one is hokey. But I'm tired and I'm not feeling well and it's over there looking warm and cushy with all of its pillows and blankets. But, not everyone has a warm, cushy bed in a warm, cushy home to come back to every night. I am lucky and I am grateful.

Really, I am.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

*Cough* Hack* Wheeze*

I am sick. Again. This one came on quickly and without any kind of warning. I felt kinda off for most of the day yesterday, but by the time I got home I felt pretty crappy. There is no mistaking that today I am unwell. My sinuses are clogged, I think I blew an eardrum out with that last sneeze and my dreams were weird all night long.

Actually, in my dreams I spent an additional three hours studying for my muscles test today. So, y'know, not so bad.

Of course, right now I am exhausted and all I want to do is stay in bed with my blankets and pillows and tea and book. So of course today is my 12.5 hour day. Straight to work after school, there until 9:30.

Tomorrow I am not getting out of bed.

What I can't believe is that I've gotten sick twice in as many months. The last time I had a cold was like three years ago. I've been pushing myself too hard and to do too much. I know that. My eating habits also haven't been as good as they should be. I think I'm going to use my holiday break to get myself back on the right track. Because if I have to spend the next four months getting sick four times I'm taking y'all with me.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Actual Telephone Conversations Had Today

Phone Conversation #1
Me: Hello, this is (salon). How can I help you today?

Customer: Yes, I bought a gift certificate there the other day. I was sitting here wrapping them when I noticed the expiration date was 12/25. I can't give this to my daughter! She won't be able to use it.

Me: Well, that sounds like it was a mistake. Considering the date, I'm sure it'll be okay if she uses it anyway...

Customer: But what should I do? She won't be around to use it and the date is the 25th and you're CLOSED on the 25th...

Me: Is there a year on that expiration date?

Customer: Yes, 2010. What am I going to do?!?

Me: Well, she's got a year to use it, so you'll be fine.

Customer: But the date is December 25th! She won't be able to use it before she goes back to school!

Me: Ma'am. The expiration date is 2010. We're in 2009. She'll have plenty of time to use it.

(pause)

Customer: Ooooooooooh! Boy do I feel stupid!


Conversation #2
Me: Good evening, this is (salon). How can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I bought a candle there the other day and when I got home and opened the box I noticed there wasn't a plastic lid on the candle. Some of your other candles had lids on them and I wasn't sure what to do.

Me: Well, you should be fine. The candles in boxes generally don't have plastic lids; just the refills.

Customer: So I don't need it to place under the candle? (nb: the candles are encased in glass)

Me: Um, no. You don't need to put anything under the candle... (thinking to myself: because putting plastic under something burning is such a good idea)

Customer: (happily) Okay, thanks!

Observation: Fire

The 3rd Chakra is called Manipura, and its location is the solar plexus, which corresponds to the pancreas if we're talking about the endocrine system. Its color is yellow, its stone either topaz or amber, and its planets are Mars and the Sun (yes, I know the Sun isn't a planet, work with me here).

It rules power, will, energy, fire, metabolism, control, humor, authority, aggression, and the stomach, liver, spleen, small intestines, pancreas and gall bladder.

A healthy 3rd chakra appears as ease, warmth, laughter, joy, humor, pleasure, harmony, and graceful/purposeful action. An unhealthy 3rd chakra shows itself as a fear of rejection, issues in one's physical appearance, a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, and a tendency to blame others.

One of last week's assignments for class was to "observe the world the the lens of fire." I couldn't do it. I couldn't look at the world through fire. You see, Fire frightens me.

Astrological signs can be broken down into four categories: Earth (of which I am), Air and Water (of which most of my friends are) and Fire. I think I only have one or two friends who are Fires. While I know Fire brings many admirable qualities to the table (laughter, and passion among them), those are not what I fear. You see, when you live your life as someone who plays her cards close to the vest, being in the presence of someone who lives out loud can be overwhelming and and frightening.

Self-esteem and body issues are no stranger to me; I've been struggling with them all of my life. So, I suppose it is not real surprise that my struggle with these aspects of Manipura allowed me to be susceptible to someone who was pretty much the personification of every negative aspect of the 3rd Chakra. While he was never abusive towards me during our brief relationship, I know from one of his previous girlfriends (now one of my besties) that I got off lucky. He was manipulative, perpetually angry, had control issues... hell, he even had digestive troubles. I came out on the other end of that warped relationship the better for having been through it, but I was definitely burned in the process.

I have a tarot card deck that I designed myself (I think I've mentioned it here before). It's much smaller than a normal deck, but it does pretty good, considering. I included elemental cards in it, and they usually signify a person. Whenever Fire pops up, it terrifies me because I am sent right back to the thought of him. I have to stop and remind myself that Fire has many good qualities, and there ARE good people out there who are Fires.

Fire can mean many different things, and unfortunately right now, my default setting for Fire is discomfort bordering on fear. I realize this is not healthy and that by fearing it I am depriving myself of many of its positive aspects. I am just coming to terms with the fact that confidence in who you are and what you bring to the world is not a bad thing.

My journey within the 3rd chakra has only just begun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Because it's been too long...

So, I was just futzing around with the picture at the top of my blog and realized that it's been a while since I updated you on my life.

Um.

Yeah.

So, anyway...

It snowed here today. Only 2.5 inches or so where I live, but I think outlying areas got more snow. However, it was the thing that (finally!) put me in a quasi-holiday spirit. Which is ironic because really I want to do on Christmas day is spend it in bed with a book. Or a boy. But since the boy has yet to materialize outside my imagination I'll settle for a book. A good book. That has no anatomy involved unless it's a Nora Roberts book and the anatomy is the fun sort.

But as that won't exactly be kosher, I'll probably go up to my Mum's either after work on the 24th (if I'm working - the mall's closing early that day so it's iffy) or Christmas morning. I have no idea what I'm getting anyone. No wait, that's not true. I'm giving everyone hugs for Christmas... it's all I can afford. But luckily, there's enough to go around!

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...