10 December 2006

When I was in college I used to write poetry sometimes, like any lunatic english major. I usually began a poem when something momentous or annoying happened, or when I had an epiphany of some kind. The other day I found a bunch of crap I wrote in a file, and actually found a few things I liked. Here's a poem that I wrote when I realized the jerk I was dating at the time was a jerk. His name was Michael Riedell and I think he is now a high school teacher which I find rather frightening.

I like to think that I learned something from every relationship that I've had. In part because of my time with him (besides learning what total assholes humans can be) I actually did learn many things about myself including becoming aware of some of my own vulnerabilities. I don't regret many things I've done in my life; I do regret wasting precious time on him. At least I got a poem out of it.


when he hears the word marrriage
more than three times
in as many days, he begins
to itch in places he didn't know existed
he starts to eye the windows
of travel agencies
he wonders about the limits
on his visa and mastercard

the itch gradually subsides
until he gets to waremart
where he slowly becomes aware
he is shopping with a woman at his side
the aisles of the store contract around him
eggs become orange juice
milk flows into wine
he takes refuge in a magazine
she continues to shop
not unaware of his proximity to the floor
as food fills the cart
the need to move
the urge to scratch
become central
outside, he feels relief
until he sees a woman
selling chocolate roses for valentine's day
he looks at her, then at the woman by his side
no, he says to himself
but the woman he loves hears him
he sees her mouth move
but does not hear the words
he glides the cart with some effort
toward the car

at home, the air is still and heavy
he opens all the windows
gulps the mobile air
and wonders where to scratch
the woman who was beside him
who is beside him
puts her hand on his neck
he feels her warm lips
and looks at her
he sees himself
alone on a mountain top
in the wind
the woman says
I could spend my life with you
and shuts the door
he watches her through the open window
and does not move

15 November 2006

I have not posted for a very long time. So what? No one reads this thing, anyway, except me. But here I am, writing away, thinking about cheese.

Lately I have become obsessed with art. For example, I have been spending lots of time on the website Etsy, which is a fantastic place to look at all kinds of art and crafty kind of shit. I look mostly at the art. I'm currently totally obsessed with an artist named Luca Tripaldi. I love his stuff. I gotta tell you--it is insane. Here is one that I wished I owned, titled Howell (bottom image). I do now own a print of Mr. President (top image) and it is quite possibly my favorite piece of art ever. It is now away from my greedy little brain while it is being framed. I miss having it around.

29 May 2006

I really need someone to tell me why so many "soy" dairy products actually have milk ingredients in them. Since I have been vegan, I have noticed that many, many products such as soy cheese, soy cream cheese, soy whatever, actually have casein (a milk derived protein) as an ingredient. I have become a good label reader out of sheer necessity just for this reason. I just don't understand it--so many products are not actually vegan that should be. Why do these products exist? Maybe they are helpful for lactose intolerant people, or for those concerned about cholesterol. But I have to say it really irks me that so many soy dairy items contain casein. What this whole thing makes me realize is that I need to just give up the idea of vegan dairy products. The one vegan cheese I did find is not bad, but it's way expensive and is just not that cheesy. I can live without it! Ha! Anyway, this is just a minor rant to get it out of my system. By the way, Tofutti soy cream cheese (which is vegan) is fucking awesome. I can't tell it's not real.

16 April 2006

Okay--so I have been vegan for two weeks now, and I love it. I really do. I feel incredible, and I have been eating in a more healthful fashion than ever before. Anyway, I have only had one moment of wanting to eat something not vegan, and that was at a cocktail party where there were these amazing chocolate desserts that were in all likelihood made with dairy. So I satisfied myself by forcing my friend Craig to describe the deliciousness of the chocolate mousse he was eating.

That said, the thing I have noticed about being vegan is NOT how difficult it is to avoid animal products (it isn't that hard at all) or how much one feels deprived (I don't feel deprived one bit) or how difficult it is to eat in restaurants (it is remarkably easy given the cooperation of helpful staff). What I have noticed is that almost all the people who have learned of my veganism respond with a comment about their own eating. Only one person has asked a question. Every other person has said "I could never live without cheese," or "I could never give up ice cream" as if my decision to forgo dairy products somehow comments upon their eating choices. Which of course in some ways it does; yet to me veganism is about so much more than what I don't eat. It is about what I do. I see it as a positive, active mode, rather than a mode of not doing or not eating. It is about making choices that affirm my ethical ideas about animals. Anyway, I find it fascinating that most people immediately defend or rationalize their own eating choices. There have been a few notable exceptions. One of my neighbors said "Good for you!" and proceeded to ask me questions about veganism. My sister also said very enthusiastic things and I appreciate her very much.

I have been reading lots about being vegan, and the best book I've read so far is Vegan Freak, which is the most helpful and amazing guide to being a vegan in a non-vegan world. I love this book--it has answered so many questions for me, and the chapter about dealing with other people is the best. I have to work on being a non-critical, non-judgmental, non-preachy vegan. That is my goal. I have to say that I am very glad I've made this change, and I don't know why I didn't do it a long time ago.

By the way, my original plan was to make March my "transition" month from vegetarianism to veganism. This endeavor began with the lovely fantasy that I would gradually phase out any foods with dairy and egg products and replace them with vegan stuff. Well, certain aspects were executed in a fabulously ideal way--but what I found myself doing in my usual overconsumptive fashion was gorging myself with dairy and cheese for the last week of March. I ate pizza twice, ice cream about three or four times, and pasta with LOTS of parmesan at least five times. So much for gradual phasing out. The idea was a hopeful one, but I was a pure failure at making it happen. But now I'm vegan and I'm very, very happy about it.

21 March 2006

Last night I was stupidly watching some jerk on CBN (that's Christian Broadcasting Network) talk about celibacy and chastity for women. Of course, this asshole was male, and he was wearing a bunch of really annoying rings, including a wedding ring, which he kept neurotically twisting as he spoke. But the thing that was truly intriguing about what he was saying was that his views about celibacy and chastity until marriage were very apparently appropriating the language of feminism in order to bolster his ideology.

He was very specifically promoting the idea that women and men should wait to have sex (meaning heterosexual intercourse) until marriage. He also believes that any form of birth control is against God's will, or something, since it interrupts the very godly purpose of hetero intercourse which is of course to procreate. So--his idea is that each and every act of intercourse should have the intention to create life--in other words, sex for pleasure or intimacy is wrong and bad. No surprise. Yet, the very fashion in which this jerk was promoting this oppressive ideology is by using the language of liberation, power and female strength.

He kept saying things like "Chastity provides a way for young women to be in control of their lives" and "If girls realize that not having sex because a guy wants you to will make you more powerful . . ." and so on. His basic policy is that women should not have sex just because some guy wants to have it. Duh!!! Feminism has for years, decades even, been promoting the idea that women and men should be able to determine when and how they engage in sex. Of course a woman should not have sex just because some dude wants her to. What intrigues me so much about this nonsense is how he twists the idea of self-determination and self-respect so that it only includes chastity and virginity. There is no room whatsoever for true and real female agency that may or may not include sexual pleasure. His view is that sex is only for breeding. But by making it sound like he has young women's interests at heart he is wildly misusing the language of female empowerment to advance a very repressive agenda. And please--birth control is wrong because it interrupts God's plan? Birth control was one of the most important inventions in the history of the world, as far as I am concerned, since it made it possible for heterosexual women to have sex and experience sexual pleasure without the constant fear of pregnancy. Of course, this ring-twisting asshole knows this, and thus his repressive, woman-hating, heteronormative agenda. This guy made me so mad I wanted to immediately find out who he was and send him an email, but 24 was coming on and I had to get my Jack Bauer fix.

18 March 2006

I have been vegetarian for a really long time. Lately, and actually for several years, I have been thinking about the next step. Yes--I mean veganism. It is the logical progression from vegetarianism. Just as the logical step of letting go of my attachment to my long hair was shaving my head, the next step in extending my philosophy about animals is to become vegan.

I had a moment of epiphany a year or so ago when I was eating in this amazing japanese restaurant called Kyoto with my sister and her husband. They live in Humboldt County in Northern California, a place that is accustomed to vegetarianism, and the server asked me if I was vegetarian or vegan. I answered that I was an "aspiring" vegan. At the time, I hadn't really thought that much about it. But later that evening I realized that I had no excuse to continue to consume dairy products and eggs.

So this month of March 2006 is my transition month from vegetarianism to veganism. I will no longer consume animal products of any kind. I will no longer purchase shoes made from leather. I will no longer eat ice cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, sour cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese or yogurt. No more butter. Yikes.