Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fresh on the Heels of Why I Like No TV

There comes the Top 10 reasons I sometimes really friggin' miss cable!

10. Being able to come home after a long, tiring day at work and just plop yourself in front of a show and not think for a couple hours.

9. America's Next Top Model. It's the only "reality" show I like, although I often wonder what reality they are living in. Although I will say I've been increasingly unimpressed the past several seasons by not only the models but also their final fashion runway show.

8. PBS on a Sunday evening. I did love their Jane Austen BBC series. I actually missed it so much I rented the BBC version of Sense and Sensibility from the library recently. Sigh.

7. TNT. They rerun all the good shows you can't stop watching. I love a good back-to-back Charmed of a morning.

6. I miss randomly stumbling upon old movies I didn't know I wanted to watch until I stumbled upon them. Like Donovan's Reef. Talk about your old movie. But darn it, I do love it.

5. SyFy. Well, some of their stuff I can really not bother with it, but I do miss my weekly Ghost Hunters and Sanctuary.


4. The Food Network. Oh, Giada, Paula, Alton, and Ina. A few of my favorites. You all make such yummy stuff. Watching you cook was like sitting in the kitchen watching my Mom cook. I learned so much from all of you. Although, Paula, I hope you don't mind but I'm going to refrain from putting butter and lard into my stuff. Love you though!

3. The Deadliest Catch. As a vegetarian who is constantly aspiring to some level of vegan, I should be appalled by this show. I should be offended that they are depleting the ocean of massive amount of fish. But I can't help it.

2. Mythbusters. Boom. Excited girlish giggle. Let's do that again! BOOM. Squeals of delight from middle aged men. What else can we blow up??? BOOM!!!!!

AND the Number 1 reason I miss television....
1. Not being able to have long discussions about what everyone was watching the night before. Because I was watching a blank screen. Or episodes of Buffy from like 8 years ago.

Friday, August 27, 2010

TV-Free

...and here are the top 10 reasons I am glad I do not have cable/network television:

10. No more having to wade through 30+ home shopping channels.

9. No monthly bills of $130.

8. There aren't a myriad of awards shows that I need to avoid.

7. I don't have to wait four months for the new season to start.

6. I can avoid all the depressing and anxiety-inducing news shows that are always one-sided, regardless of the side.

5. No Maury Povich.

4. No Oprah.

3. No Dancing with the Stars who Think they can Dance to be the next American Idol because America's Got Talent, which all goes on in Big Brother's house to see who is the next Survivor on the Jersey Shore.

2. My movies never get interrupted by a presidential speech being broadcast on every channel, which says nothing except "I've got a plan, really I do! Things will get better, really they will! Whatever you do, DON'T PANIC!" Really, every Presidential address in the last 60 years? Right there.

and the number 1 reason I'm glad I don't have cable/network television anymore:

1. I will never have to stumble upon an old episode of Lawrence Welk on PBS ever again. God Bless 'im.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinking Back to the Great Cold of 2010

You mean I have to pick one?

I've been reading books by Andrew Weil, MD lately. Sure, his beard scares me a little and looks like it has a life of his own, but I love his stuff. Although, I had to laugh when I got to a paragraph that said if you get sick a lot your immune system is probably compromised.

You think?

Luckily, I am not currently ill. Considering that I had more colds between September 2009 and June 2010 than I've had in the last four years, I'm counting this as a good thing.

But, because I've been reading Dr. Weil, I've been doing some thinking about that last illness - the one the turned into bronchitis. I may have mentioned that I used to get it a lot as a kid. Every year, in fact. But it quite literally stopped after I graduated high school. Up until this year, I had not suffered bronchitis in approximately 18 years. I'd always chalked it up to "bad air" in the schools I was in. I always got it in winter, and winters in Vermont mean everything is closed up tight. No fresh air in the classrooms, all circulated air in buildings that were at least 30 years old, if not older.

So, why now? And, moreover, why was this the absolute worst bout of it I've ever had? I mean, seriously, I pulled a muscle coughing. I thought I'd broken a rib. It was never that bad. Annoying, embarrassing, and frustrating, yes, but never "it hurts to inhale deeply."

And the other odd thing about this whole fiasco - I know *exactly* when I got sick. I mean, I was out to eat with a friend before a show and while I was eating, I literally felt a sort of internal pop and the total realization that I'd just gotten sick. It was weird. Similarly, I knew exactly when I was getting over it. I was trying to go to sleep one night about three weeks after it got bad and I was having a coughing fit (of course). Then, after one particularly violent one, I felt another pop and knew instinctively that with that cough, the worst of it was over. I'd be getting better now.

Yeah, I know.

All of this leads me to believe that this was more than just a shitty bout of bronchitis. That I was quite literally trying to get rid of something. One of my classmates actually pointed that out, and told me to take advantage of it. Which is easier said than done when you're hoarking up a lung, but good advice nonetheless. But what was I trying to expel? My old self? My continued resentment with my last position, despite the fact I'd left it seven months previously? Attachments I no longer needed? It's hard to say. I've been working on the latter a lot these past few months, and now that I think about it, I had made a commitment to "let go of the attachments which no longer serve me" maybe a month before I got sick.

Herm.

Unless I get a sudden "pop" of insight at this point, I may never know. But for all the pain, exhaustion, and misery I had with this illness, I am glad I let it run its course naturally. For the most part. I think I needed the violence of it to get rid of whatever I was holding on to, because it was so deeply entrenched in me it wasn't going to get out otherwise.

That being said, using bronchitis as a way to deal with your emotional/ psychological issues is NOT recommended.

Nope.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Microwave Free: The Dawn of Day Three

Well, actually I think it's closer to two and a half, since I used the thing the morning I put it in my closet, but whatever.

Yesterday, I rearranged my living/dining/kitchen area yet again. This time, I could fully realize my original vision of the space, now that the microwave is "gone." You see the only outlet on the wall I originally planned to have the stinker on is controlled by a light switch. So, pointless to have it there. Couldn't have it on the counter because then there would be no counter. So, it's been a balancing act trying to find a place to put it. But now... it's in the closet! I can put everything back to where I originally wanted it! And I have.

AND I LOVE IT.

If I could put a little puffy red heart around love without expending inordinate amounts of time on it right now I would. The whole space is much more open and inviting. And the best is, if someone came over to stay there is now room for a blow-up mattress on the floor. Or I could set up my massage table if need be. I'd have to move a couple things in order to give a massage, but there is room for it.

I haven't really missed the microwave, either. Warming up water for tea and oatmeal is a little interesting. As in, I should get a tea pot. Right now, I'm pouring a cup of water into a sauce pan and heating it to boil. On the up side, one of my burners is wired wrong and on "low" will boil water in about 90 seconds. So, you can't really cook on it, but useful for quick hot water.

I'm already looking for other things to get rid of. I want to replace my huge 12-cup coffee maker (old, well-used and constantly surprising me by actually working) with a one- or two-cupper. I really don't drink that much coffee in the morning - usually just a cup. Two if it's a lazy/bad morning. I don't need this monster taking up precious counter space.

I think at some point I should look into this sudden desire to get rid of stuff, but I'm just going with it for now. I think it runs in the family maternally. Every once in a while (and I'm thinking specifically of my Mom and one of my cousins) we start deciding we either don't like what we have or get rid of things without actually thinking it through. This is usually in regards to couches, though. In both cases, they started a mass decluttering which included all manner of sitting vehicles and then for a year + after all visitors were required to sit on the floor. Hell, my mother STILL does not have a couch. It's been nine years and if she has more than one visitor there's no place to put them. Although, she's finally talking seating arrangements so I have hope.

However, I have no couch nor room for one so I am left to get rid of appliances.

We all have our little quirks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Irradiation Commencing.

Ever since I moved into my apartment, I've been in a love/hate relationship with my microwave. It is convenient, allows me to warm things up spur of the moment, and brings me my nightly bag of popcorn. But it also takes up a LOT of room in this tiny space, the wiring isn't really set up for that kind of wattage, and it is old, with the paint coming off the roof. On the inside. Not good.

So, after giving it much thought (and running out of popcorn last night), I have decided to go one week without using the microwave. If I can do that without going crazy, I am going to get rid of it altogether.

Have I mentioned I think I've developed an addiction to microwave popcorn?

Anyway. Not only is the microwave unplugged, it is also currently in the closet. Which means if I really want to use it, I'm going to have to make an effort. Which I am not known for doing. I'm already really liking the extra counter space, and that alone may be the winning reason.

I've already looked into what I'll be doing with it once I get rid of it. It's not in good enough shape to donate, although it still works just fine. The local solid waste district has drop-off points for appliances such as this, since they can't go into the landfill. It will cost me $5, but that's not a big deal. If I procrastinate until October, they'll have a free drop off day. So, I can get rid of it without feeling guilty that I'm either irradiating some poor schmuck or ruining the environment because I didn't know what else to do with it.

So.... wish me luck!

PS: If you see me huddled in the corner shaking and muttering "where's my popcorn?" just back away slowly and check on me in a week...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Poetry Corner

Hey all! Up for some sub-par poetry written by yours truly? No? Well, too bad.

Warning: this crap is mine and any attempt to use it for your classwork will result in a horrible grade. Which is what you get when you steal bad poetry. Just sayin'.

Mute
I am not blind
Nor am I deaf
I see the emptiness
and hear the silence
It echos across the distance


(untitled)
Perhaps
I would be happier
or at least more content
If I stopped filling the silence
With ever more elaborate
What-ifs


(untitled)
Whining cicadas
Yoga in the kitchen
distant airplane
passing cars
listlessness
The newness of it all
wearing off
Rice: a cheap, easy meal
Grapes: a fruit fly's home
Is any of this supposed to mean anything?


Today, Now, This Minute
I am not me
because of you
I am me
because of me
You do not define me
I do not grow
or flourish
because of you
I am me
for me
And I don't need you
to justify
one molecule
of me


(untitled)
Friday night
The neighborhood dogs
howl a mourning song
while I do the dishes.

Yeah, I don't like
doing the dishes, either.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why Hate?

In the most recent issue of the Shambhala Sun, they had an article from the Dalai Lama entitled “The Challenge of Other Religions”. It discusses the challenges inherent in maintaining faith in your religion while accepting (or not) the religion/s of others, and is based on a longer piece entitled "Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together".

While many of today’s most popular religions fall into the category of “one truth, one religion,” our society demands that we uphold the “many truths, many religions” perspective. Obviously, there is a bit of a dichotomy there. How can you believe in the validity of all religions while still maintaining that, really, yours is the one true one?

Some people try, bless ‘em, They will say “You can believe X, that is your right, but I believe Y is the True Path.” It’s kind of like saying, you can argue your point but in my mind you’ll always be wrong. But you know, at least they are trying.

What I do not understand, and have never been able to understand, is how some people are so willing to hate another based solely on religion (or race, or gender, or sexuality, or any of the myriad of things people hate). I mean, even if you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that your religion is the “correct” one, does that mean you should hate all those that don’t believe as you? That you should take away their basic rights? That you should torture, maim, rape, and kill them?

On some level, such hate means that you aren’t actually seeing another human being when you look at them, doesn’t it? How can one human look at another, see a fellow human, and conspire to do such awful things? Simply because, for whatever reason, you are not the same. You look/act/believe differently.

I believe that most religions – in the end – have the same message: Be good, do good. Which, if you think about it, flies in the face of religious hate. If you are supposed to “love thy neighbor” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, then does it not follow that this applies to all of your fellow neighbors, regardless of what they believe?

I dunno. I guess that I just wish we could all look past this stuff and see each other for who we all are – poor schmucks trying to make it through another day, looking for something to make it all worthwhile.




PS: According to South Park, Mormonism is the “correct” religion. The line for conversion starts over there. ;-) 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good morning.

I'm waiting for the caffeine to kick in. It's going to take a little while longer this morning as I'm drinking tea instead of coffee. I was just too lazy to make the coffee this morning. How sad is that?

For the last couple nights I've been having problems falling asleep, staying asleep, and have been having weird dreams when I do sleep. So I've been waking up completely unrefreshed and most certainly not ready for the day. The night before last I was plagued with dreams about being held captive, which I found rather odd and interesting because I am not feeling trapped regarding my current life choices. Last night I don't remember quite as much but I have a sneaky suspicion most were revolving about medieval weirdness as I'm currently reading a book by Mercedes Lackey entitled Gwenhyfar: The White Spirit. Damn those Welsh words are killer to type. What's with all the random y's, h's, and f's, anyway?

So anyway, my goal today is to go to the Farmer's Market. Yay! Looking forward to this. Just trying to work up the energy to get there now. I think I've only been once so far this year, maybe twice. It's harder when you're on such a strict budget. Because, unlike all these magical farmer's markets I keep hearing about, ours is definitely NOT cheaper than going to the grocery store. It's fun and cool and you get to buy direct from the farmers and it is freshfreshfresh, but it ain't cheap. When you're living on $30 a week for groceries, going there and getting a head of lettuce, four tomatoes, a head of broccoli and maybe a loaf of bread isn't going to get you very far. But this has been a stellar tip week for me, so I can afford to splurge.

I'm thinking berries!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: Mad Cowboy

MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat
Click the cover or the link
to the right to order the book.
Mad Cowboy was published back in 1998, long before I even considered going vegetarian. Back in those heady days of the late 90's, I was just beginning my career and was deep into my first "real" job ever. I was overweight, depressed, devoid of any real friends and not even remotely considering vegetarianism or really even making a stab at changing my life in any way whatsoever, although I loved to dramatically exclaim in my journals how miserable I was.

And then my family members started dying off in droves and it forced me to re-evaluate virtually everything in my life. Which is when I (sort of) got it together, lost the weight, made some friends and became vegetarian.

I've kinda made some kind of pact with myself at some point along the way (without ever realizing it) to continually try to better myself, hence all the posts on introspective navel gazing and where I am on the vegetarian/vegan spectrum.

So, when I find a book like Mad Cowboy, I glom on to it. I'm really late to the fan club here, as most vegheads read it years ago when it first came out. But for those of you new to Vegland, I would consider it a must-read. It's relatively short (189 pages of text) and an easy read - I read it in one day. If you've read a lot of vegan books before, much of the information won't necessarily be new. But if you're just starting out, it's a great introduction to the health and environmental reasons for going vegetarian and/or vegan. It doesn't pull any punches - right on the first page he starts throwing information at you. But it's good information.

It's an engaging book and I particularly liked reading about Mr. Lyman's own experiences. He started off as a feedlot operator in Montana, using all the most innovative technologies to improve "production." As he learned more, not only about the effects his own business was having on the land that was so important to him, but also what his "products" were doing to the health of himself and people in general, he turned vegetarian and then vegan. It's the plain truth of what really goes on in order to get meat to the dinner table, and the effect that these practices are having on the environment and arteries nationwide.

It doesn't go into the depth that The China Study does (see my review of this book here) and most of the statistics are over a decade old at this point, but the overall message of the book remains salient. Modern agricultural factory farms are killing our nation and our selves.

The last paragraph in the book has stuck with me, and is a call for everyone to start being more aware of the price we pay to have meat on the table:

"...have we done all that we could for the generations to come? Are there more trees now than there were when we were born? Is the air fresher? Is the water cleaner? Is there more good, rich farmland? Are there more birds in the sky, more fish in the sea? Are there more animals in the wild? Are people leading longer, healthier lives? Is there less hunger? Is there less disease and suffering? Is the world a more peaceful place? 
     When you can't take it with you, all that really matters is what you leave behind."

What we're leaving behind is a mess. This book is a call-to-arms to one and all to take responsibility for our actions and to starting cleaning it up before it's too late.

If you are just starting out on the vegetarian path, or have been on it for ages and just like a quick read on the subject, I would highly recommend Mad Cowboy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Bout of Randomosity

1. Last night at work one of my clients - after the massage - told that that I sound like a yoga teacher when I need to communicate while giving the massage. Not only did I think that was hilarious, I was also very flattered. Unless, of course, she doesn't like the sound of yoga teachers, in which case it was a veiled diss. But I'm going with compliment.

Now take a deep breath in.... and let it all go...

2. This past week at work (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my weekend), 3/4 of my massages were deep tissue. My hands are KILLING me.

3. It is seriously foggy out right now. It's just kinda hanging there. I'm thinking of going out for my walk in it. How mysterious and fantastic.

4. I'm going to re-arrange my living/kitchen/dining room today. The format I currently have it in is close to what I originally envisioned, but not quite working. I think I've figured a way to make it more user friendly. Which is no small feat considering how tiny it is. But as it's only 8:00am, I need to wait a few hours before I start shoving furniture across the floor. The adjustments I made in the bedroom are working nicely. I like the space much better now. Mostly because I, um, have space now.

5. I have this weird thing on my shoulder. I should say I've had it for as long as I can remember. But now it's starting to do weird stuff. Not sure what at the moment, so I'm just keeping an eye on it so see if it'll get better on it's own. Considering I've had it for 20 or so years, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. And also, I have no health insurance.

6. I need to sign up for some kind of health insurance.

7. Yesterday at the library I found Mad Cowboy. This has been on my list of "must-reads" and I'm excited to tuck into it. Once I get my little dining/living/kitchen area reconfigured, I'll sit down with a cup of tea and lay into it.

8. Still struggling with the vegan/non-vegan thing. Well, not so much struggling with as still trying to come up with something that's going to work with where I am in my life right now. Back to eating cheese at the moment (doing my best to at least keep it to local cheese) and some yogurt. Greek yogurt is amazing by the way. I wish they could come up with a Soy Greek Yogurt. Oh, what heaven that would be.

9. Trying to lose weight again. Not a lot, but I've reached my upper limits of acceptability and am now trying to find my way back down the ladder. I'm looking to lose around six pounds. I lost a whopping .5 this past week (oh golly gee! Let's pace ourselves here!), so at least it's going in the right direction. I'm counting calories this time around instead of using Weight Watchers, mainly because calorie counts are easily accessible online free of charge. I can afford free. Free is good.

10. Also at the library yesterday, I rented three movies: Austin Powers: They Spy Who Shagged Me, Brokeback Mountain, and Farewell my Concubine. I haven't seen the last two so it'll be something new to watch. I think I'm the only person in the free world who hasn't seen Brokeback Mountain, and I'm getting sick of feeling left out. I wanna be part of the crowd, too! Granted I'm so many years late that there's almost no point, but whatever. I can always hop on this bandwagon, any day of the week:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lookie here!

See, this is what happens when I get bored. I start moving things around, redecorating.

Let's see how long it stays like this before I start tweaking again. At this point, I'm just hoping the Google Analytics code moved over and I'm not going to have to re-imbed it. The last time I changed layouts, it took me an inordinately long time to realize that I needed to put the code back in.

Whoops.

No one ever said I was a genius at this computer stuff.

Anyway, enjoy the new wall art!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Living, Learning, Letting Go.

Sometimes the answer you get isn't the answer you want, but rather the one you need to hear.

That's about as clear as mud, isn't it?

Dealing with a minor disappointment. Well, maybe/maybe not minor, but we'll call it minor. It's all good in the long run, and frankly I'm glad to have the "answer" now rather than six months from now.

All is well, all will be well.

My foolish heart
Why do you weep?
You throw yourself away again
Now you cry yourself to sleep
Cry yourself to sleep
My foolish heart
When will you learn?
You are the eyes of the world
and there's nowhere else to turn
Nowhere else to turn
But you're going down
But you're going down
But you're going down
My foolish heart

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Randomness on a Sunday Evening

1. I just finished rearranging my bedroom. I used to do this ALL the time when I was in my teens/early 20's. No piece of furniture stayed in one place for longer than a month. Usually I can make it six months now. Anyway, the configuration I'd had it originally in was what I ended up with when I moved in. It wasn't working for me as there was virtually no room to move. So I moved the bed sideways and the desk next to the door. Two simple little moves and I suddenly have "room" to rehearse my dances.

2. Maybe I should start rehearsing some of my dances. Now that I have all this room (read: 4'x5' - I just measured it), I could choreograph a dance. I might even be able to stretch my arms out when I do it. Crazy!

3. I've added more hours at work. My goal is to be up to full time by the end of October. I'm averaging three to four massages a day at five days a week. I've been doing four and this is the first week I'm attempting five days running. I went to bed early last night. I'm happy to say I seem to be keeping up with the work. I was very nervous that I wouldn't be physically able to keep up. Next step, adding in an additional hour to each of my work days so I'm averaging 4 to 5 massages a day. Hope my wrists can take it!

4. I'm tired. I think it's another early night tonight.

5. I'm almost to the point of applying for National Certification. Because Vermont is wonky, I don't need to be licensed in this state in order to practice. Most places require at least proof I've had training, and most of the higher end spas require National Certification. Since where I'm working now only needed a copy of my insurance and my certification, I was all set. But the money is in those high-end spas in Stowe. So... the application is filled out. I've even taken it out of the booklet. Now all I need to do is make a few photocopies, write out a check, request the school send my transcripts, and wait for the bureaucracy to kick in. My goal in this is to be taking the test by the end of the year.

6. Have I mentioned that the thought of being tested on all that anatomy and physiology is making me procrastinate to the point that I'm going to have to cram back in everything I've forgotten? And knowing this, I'm still willing to put it off?

7. Don't try to understand my ways of thinking. You'll just get a headache.

8. I have popsicles. They're good. The other night, I had a cherry popsicle. Last night I had grape. Who knows what tonight will bring?

9. Another grape. They're my favorite.

10. Don't have to work until 4:30 tomorrow. Planning on sleeping in. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Better Kate Than Never

As you've probably noticed (all six of you), over the last few months my contribution to this blog has dwindled significantly. In trying...