Getting Back on the Vegan Track.

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Before I had headed to Ireland in May I had been a vegan for close to two years, in that time I’d slipped a couple times mostly with cheese, cheese is my religion..it’s a tough one. While in Ireland I made the executive decision to not be the douchebag that asks for a vegan menu, I always think in other countries, eating what they offer and what is available is best.

I did not eat a vegan diet beforehand because of the animals.. although I do care about everything involved in our horrible factory farming industry, but because of my compromised immune system. I feel better and get sick less with a plant based diet.

I haven’t returned to my pre Ireland diet, and I’ve gotta say, I feel pretty crappy. I have gained around 15 pounds, and am becoming pretty lathargic. I have decided to get back on track. Besides slipping back into an unhealthy spiral I started thinking of how very much I adore my dogs and how I can no longer ignore the cognitive dissonance of eating animals, lying to myself about all of this is unhealthy as well.

One thing I love more than anything is cooking, I’m good at it, and can transform any recipe into a vegan version..I once made a vegan “chicken” fried steak out of seitan and mushroom gravy made with almond milk..I can do this. I need to feel healthy again.

Today is day two of no animal products, I’ve been juicing to clear out my system again and already feel more clear headed. Veganism doesn’t work for everyone, but it certainly can solve a lot of health problems including immune system disorders, if I have the choice to feel better and don’t I’m not too bright.

I also understand the privilege I have in being one of the lucky people on this planet that is able to choose my diet.

I noticed as well that I’m more anxious and depressed when I don’t feed my body healthy foods, just read my blog…proof ha.

A rule of thumb that works well for me is to eat foods that the least amount of humans have touched, which pretty much eliminates anything processed. My mom grows an amazing garden every year so most of my food has only been touched by her. Win.

Today’s mantra: don’t look at the cheese.

Homemade Pho’

Social Media Blackout.

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I love this photo of my parents. I have been thinking so much about my dad lately, and really I always do. I miss him, 46 is too young to die..I am two years older than the age my father was when he died. Those who knew him and witnessed my childhood, know it was not ideal, today however I want to focus on the positive things I was taught.

My father was a pacifist, I spent the better part of my childhood on a hippy commune in Vacaville California. It was hard, we were poor, but I can’t remember a time where I felt more free. 

The lessons I remember from my parents the most we’re of peace, equality, lack of judgement, pacifism, love for all others, and treating people regardless of their background, color, religion, politics, etc. With dignity and respect. I try so hard to do this on a daily basis.

Recent events make this more difficult than ever. I can not seem to find any common ground with racists. I can’t, and I won’t. I came from a diverse family..Irish, Scottish, black, Japanese, Mormon, Catholics, Athiests, Republican, liberalism, Democrats, and yes, even racists. I am happy that I have distance myself from the racist factions in my family. Is this close minded? I think not. There is a huge difference between accepting say, someone who believes in buddah and someone who believes in Christ, and co-signing others who believe they are superior due to their color. Again.. I won’t and I can’t.

Political bullshit is killing me. Someone today said racism doesn’t exist because laws were passed against discrimination. I am beside myself. It isn’t about laws. It is about how others are treated in this society. I saw firsthand throughout my life the disparity between how my white family members were treated, and how poorly my black family members were treated. Even at 6 I understood the difference 

I try so hard not to be political..and yes, as a white middle class female I understand the entitlement and privilege that equates.

Peace is my only political stance. The world is a mess, what’s happening is disturbing. I, like many others believed that a ton of progress had been made, my head was clearly buried in the sand. It’s become clear that the divide is worse than ever. How do I balance being vocal and at the same time caring for myself emotionally and mentally? I am profoundly depressed at the state of my country.

My father is rolling in his grave..the saddest part of all is my releif that he’s dead so he doesn’t have to see this shit..I am certain his heart just couldn’t take it. 

I am so glad I was exposed to such diversity as I grew. I am so thankful that I was encouraged to think for myself, no opinion was pushed on me, I was free to make up my own mind, I was trusted to do what felt right and fair with my own heart and mind. I know the difference between right and wrong..I don’t need a law, a government, a religion, a political party, or a Constitution to clarify these things. 

Racism is wrong. Discrimination in any form is wrong. Superiority of any people is wrong. I don’t need a debate on this.

I need a break. I need a vacation from social medias constant negativity. As far as I can tell the divide and conquer the powers that be love so much are right on schedule, and will continue to be as long as everyone’s need to be right outweighs taking a good hard look at oneself and speaking out against Injustice. Maybe I am wrong but I think people know the difference between right and wrong, but lack bravery to speak out..I know I fall into this group too often. I am encouraging myself and others to not let hurtful hate filled people into your life. I am trying to figure out how to stand.

Family.

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It has been a particularly difficult month. I am overwhelmed, but realize life isn’t going to be a County Fair all the time. Besides my husband getting sick, and the possibility of crippling debt, I feel very alone. 

I am fortunate in the fact that my husband’s family have been a great support throughout my life, their friendship keeps me going most of the time.

I have a family that is fragmented, distant, and seems unconcerned. Unless it’s good news my family doesn’t want to discuss it.

I have yet to receive even a phone call checking in to see how we are. In all fairness though, I rarely received phone calls from anyone in my family with the exception of my mother, who I care for because of her mental and physical disabilities.

My grandmother’s death was essentially the end of my family. I know deep down they care for me, I have received monetary support at times, but I think I just come from a family that is unable, maybe incapable of being emotionally present, and I understand this considering the history of our lives. It hurts though. I am alone navigating through life with no advice or support from the people I admire the most.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about family. I know, for example that people who come from a close knit family tend to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthier. I also understand that my continued attempts to create relationships in my family when there is no interest is unhealthy. My personal search for validation and love has nothing to do with them, it is my own needs I am trying to fulfill. Continuing a pattern of desperation and rejection is not only hurting me, but puts pressure on the people I love.

I need a new pattern. I need a new definition of family. Throughout the last month or so I have received support and concern from the most unexpected places. A virtual stranger showed up to purchase paintings in order to contribute to our medical bills, friends brought me food so I had less to worry about, I have received many messages online of concern and support from roller derby friends, car club members, and people whom I only interact with online, my closest friend spent hours helping me understand the inside and outside of creating a resume. I am humbled. I am grateful.

What exactly is family? Well, it’s the people who show up when shits rough. It is the people who love you even when you’re unlovable. It’s the others that participate in your life for no reason or reward other than love. I am not angry at my family, I love them, my expectations are the problem. 

I need to love my family for who they are, and accept what they are willing to give. I need to draw close the people who want to be in my life instead of demanding it from people who lack the ability to participate. I need to quit blaming myself and squash the self talk that continually berates me for not being good enough. 

Things are looking up. My husband is healing, we are working with the hospital on financial matters, we are selling off things we don’t need to widdle debt down, and we are learning to lean on people who love us. It’s a small blip in a blessed life, and reminding Ourselves that others have problems that far outweigh ours is a good place to sit in humility. 

In the meantime I am learning to breathe, I am learning to redefine family, I am learning… continually learning.

The Awful Way We Treat Ourselves.

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Yesterday while searching for old school records I opened The Trunk. The Trunk is a large riding container I have stuffed full of things starting in grade school. It is full of journals, notes all the way from grade school through yesterday, concert tickets, cards, old art, and the kitchen sink.

While looking through an old journal I came across the above entry. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It is disturbing to me. I don’t remember writing it, my guess from the other entries is that it was written in my first year of High School.  I had to of been around 13 or 14 years old, around 1982 or so.

I analyze everything, I over think everything. I can’t shake how horrific my view of myself was, and in all actuality I can’t shake the fact that that view lingers at times. I have been feeding myself this line of bullshit for approximately 34 years.

How does this happen? How does a beautiful young girl get these messages so wrong?

This journal entry proves that this isn’t a new phenomenon, girls have been berating and tearing themselves to shreds for a very long time. The body positivity movement is certainly a response to this kind of self hatred.

So, is it society that has influenced this view of self? Is it parents who’s seemingly innocent jabs send young girls into this tailspin? Is it our peers picking each other to pieces? Advertising? Misogyny? What the hell causes this?

I certainly don’t want to discount the fact that males have these experiences as well, I do however believe females are extremely prone to this kind of self ridicule.

I am ashamed to say that thinking back over raising two beautiful daughters, that I may not have been as careful with my words as I should have been. I now remember times I offhandedly commented on my daughter’s weight, or stated “maybe we should see a dermatologist about your skin”, I know that I’ve mentioned how skinny one of my daughters is to her. I feel as if I have failed them. I am no psychologist but clearly my seamingly offhand comments had more to do with my self talk and insecurities than them.

It’s never too late to be a better mother, I am glad I found this, I am glad I can now apologize for words that may have caused them to think they are anything but perfection in my eyes.

I am sad. I am determined to talk to that young beautiful girl who wrote these things, I want to tell her that she is beautiful. I want to tell her that how she looks is a miniscule part of the whole of who she is. I want to heal the part of her that ever considered she was anything less than amazing. 

Until Death..

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We had a scary couple weeks. My husband got sick. Really sick. Vomiting, nausea, weight loss, lethargic, and then he turned yellow.. like a damn banana. We went from instacare, to emergency and were terrified. His liver wasn’t working…we didn’t say it out loud but we were waiting for the “C” word. He had all the signs and symptoms of liver cancer.

My heart was breaking. I was terrified. I kept thinking “I’m going to be a widow”. This is what til death feels like. 

After a million tests he was diagnosed with hepatitis A. Which is the first thing we asked them to test for, and we’re ignored.

I am raising holy hell with the hospital. 

Needless to say I haven’t had time to write. He is on the mend, thankfully but this has changed our lives. One of us will die, it’s inevitable. How do we live our lives knowing this?

We’ve realized that nothing is important. No possession, not our home, nothing.

Which is good, because our hospital bills may break us. It doesn’t matter, we’ll sell our house if we have to, and actually we were planning that anyway. No one needs a mortgage this large, nor a home this big. This house is wonderful, I love it. At this point life insurance and health insurance has to be the priority, and like a lot of others affording a home and all the bills that come with it make those two things restrictive. Being self employed pushes health care costs to around $450.00 a month. Who can afford that? 

In the USA these are the hard Choices we must make, food and shelter or health insurance, and before everyone gets on their high horse and says I just need to prioritize and quit buying avacado toast, I say no. How much avacado toast adds up to $450.00 a month? I don’t like that particular food item anyhow.

My big splurge? Fresh squeezed apple juice. Sue me.

Anyhoo I’m grateful for friends who’ve been so kind and supportive. People have pitched in by purchasing paintings, bringing food over, and most of all just listening. We’ll figure it out, I can now see that there’s a lot of people one medical emergency from being homeless, we are fortunate we’ll be ok. 

I’m not even going to get on the fact that the bumbling aholes in Washington give no shits about the health of their citizens.

I will gladly pay more taxes to live in a country where we take care of one another when in need.

That’s all I have for today, hopefully I’m back to writing regularly.

Blessings and Struggles.

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  I always knew I would be a mother from a very young age. You see I was raised by my grandmother, my own mother was simply too young to care for me properly, I think I’ve touched on that a tad in another post. I was lucky that my grandmother had a willingness to take me on, I never went without even though we didn’t have much. My grandmother lacked the ability to show affection, she was a hard woman who I think had a very cruel upbringing. She was never physically abusive, she was, however verbally hurtful at times, and because she never shared her life, I am left still wondering who she was.

She didn’t value girls, but was close to her son’s, their sons, and my son. I believe she felt girls were less than. She treated my mother, myself, and my daughter’s with distain and coldness. I was taught that education was not important, and that the best I would ever do was to marry and have children, me being a wife and mother was her ultimate goal for me, and because I wanted to please her I followed suit.

I am in no way saying that I regret my marriage or children, I’m simply stating that no other future crossed my mind because of her expectations and insistence that I wasn’t intelligent enough to persue a higher education.

So, I got married young, I had three children, all a year and half apart, and did everything in my power to be the opposite of my mother and grandmother.

My children are amazing. They all work hard, graduated, and are the best humans I’ve ever met. We had our struggles, I had no example to draw from in being a parent to three small children, I was truly winging it. I put my son’s diapers on backwards for 3 months, fed him rotten formula because I didn’t know it needed refrigeration, thank God we finally got the hang of breast feeding, he probably would of starved.

I immersed myself into being a mom and wife, I was terrible at both those first few years, I felt inept, unable to cope and found solice in drugs. I am so thankful that my husband saw I was sliding into addiction and threatened to walk with the kids, I found the strength to get clean.

My kids are now grown, I am a grandmother at 47, they are out in the world fighting the good fight, and winning. I am so proud of them. I wonder at times if they are amazing because or in spite of me. I did my best. I love them, I am affectionate, I talk to them, I am glad that I found a way of being physically and emotionally present for them.

I never saw myself as the mommy type. I am rebellious, outspoken, a feminist to my core, and have always had a great deal of trouble with compromise. I managed to raise a sensitive sweet man, and strong opinionated women. I did good. I’m glad I choose a family. 

Now though I’m alone, my house is empty the majority of the time, and because I was never taught to work, or educate myself my job prospects are slim. I paint, it suits me. 

I have what I think is called empty nesters syndrome, I have so many choices that I’m frozen. School? Job? Travel? Once again I’m winging it. 

The possibilities are endless and scary.

My daughter’s eyes:

When the World is a Let down.

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The world feels toxic to me right now. I have always been somewhat of an empath, I think this may be a contributor to my social anxiety. I read people well, I see their faces, I feel their discontent. It is so much less painful to be disconnected.

The political climate isn’t helpful right now. I truly believe that social separation, different political parties, and pitting people against each other is the number one goal of government. If society was a United front against our system our system would change.

Watching Everyone bicker and argue really gets to me. I am disappointed in humanity right now.

It isn’t only politics that pain me, but judgement. People just aren’t nice. We tear each other apart over appearance, beliefs, religion, lack of religion, life choices, causes, beliefs, values, strengths, weaknesses, what generation we came from, and ten thousand other things. It is painful to watch.

I’m not sure if this is a new thing or not but now being vulnerable is supposedly the worst thing ever. Everyone is a “snowflake” a “whiner”, one generation says the other wants everything given to them, the other are the ones who fucked everything up. If you’re liberal you lack morals, if you’re conservative you are repressed. I am both.

I’m finding it nearly impossible to associate with society in general. It is a lonely feeling.

One thing is certain, humans are cruel to one another. It seems to me that everyone’s need to be right has become more valuable than happiness, peace, togetherness. Maybe I’m just a 60s holdover. I see the powers that be winning, and regular people losing over an inability to find common ground. I may be foolish in thinking that humans had this ability in the first place.

I love living, I have a blessed life, however I understand to some extent why some people choose to opt out of this carnival. I in no way encourage this, I know that tomorrow is always brighter, understanding the inclination is a far cry from wanting to give up.

I am trying to focus on menial tasks, getting my home in order, avoiding news outlets, television, and unfollowing toxic hate filled people. How do I know these people? What makes them so miserable?

I’m also working on checking myself when I become angry, when I catch myself making judgements about others based on my own ego. Ego is poison. It’s a work in progress not perfection. It’s so important to me to be kind and accepting, something I think may simply not be natural for our species. When I look at our history of violence I am convinced this is true.

I’m having a down week. I am too sensitive. Feeling things deeply isn’t a liability, it’s my strength. I think I’ll feel better when I embrace this fact.

Tomorrow will be brighter.

Girl Stuff.

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*Disclaimer* if you’re uncomfortable hearing about bodies and normal functioning of said bodies, you’d do better to go away now.

I am 48 years old and navigating perimenopause, it’s been three years of hell. My body isn’t my body right now. I am unbelievably frustrated.

Two years ago I didn’t stop bleeding for 4 months, I of course saw several doctors about this. I had all kinds of tests, a scope of my lady bits, an utrasound, blood tests etc. Besides a few non cancerous cysts in my uterus, everything looked tip top. I was finally given pills to stop the bleeding. I had become so anemic that lifting my arms was a chore. 

Today my cycles are erratic, no telling when it will show up, and inevitably it’s at times I’m in a movie theater, on a trip, or in the middle of nowhere. I can’t leave my house at these times because I literally need a bathroom every twenty minutes. I am still very anemic during this period(pun intended ha). I am unable to function, I can barely move.

My doc says this is normal. You know what is not normal? My sex life because of this circus.

I thought it might be valuable to share that if you’re dealing with this as well, you’re not alone. I have been lucky that I’ve always had mood swings…so no one sees a difference in that regard. Having no energy during these times is really the hardest thing to deal with, I’m not a lazy person, and all I can do is lay around and read. It is as if I have cement feet and I’m continually light headed. I chow down on iron pills like tic tacs.

I am so thankful I’m a woman, I am grateful for my cycles through my life. I was able to conceive children and have a family…not everyone is as lucky, fertility problems must be awful if you’re wanting a family. This, however is a pain in the ass and I can’t wait til this shit show is over.

I am not myself. The body I know so well and have grown to love is so different I don’t recognize it. I can’t lose weight at times, and at others I can’t gain.. something I’ve always had control of. Blea.

I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but for now I feel weak and out of sorts. Thank God I’m not having hot flashes yet, it’s like 106° in Utah right now.

Hard Choices.

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Last night I cried, and as I lay here writing I clicked this pic of my house. I love my house. I really love my house. It is an older house, built in 1911 in downtown Salt Lake. I have lived here for 20 years. My children grew up here, I’ve fallen in love with my husband one thousand times behind these walls. I’ve lost family and pets over the years, my home has given me safety and comfort. We’ve fought and made love in these rooms. 

We have gone over and over our financial situation. We pay our bills, we pay our mortgage. We are in no danger of loosing our home, however, we have very little left after our responsibilities are taken care of. I recently borrowed money to fix our roof, it’s a big house, repairs are never ending and expensive. 

We have so much we want to do and see, which just isn’t feasible if we stay here. We need to downsize, we both know this. The Thought of selling sends me into a depressive tailspin. 

We want to travel.  We’re fairly certain that with the housing market in Salt Lake as it is, we’d walk away with the ability to purchase a smaller home out right. Seems like a no brainier right? Easier said than done. We’re enbedded like ticks. My art studio is huge and amazing. My husband has a 900 sq. Foot shop out back. We’re unlikely to have this in a cheaper house. 

I am so torn. I don’t have to decide any time soon, the house is need of a lot of work to get the most money out of it, I have time. In the meantime I’m shattered knowing it’s really the only option if we’re to explore this world more. Priorities suck.

Spring Cleaning (A Little Late) Tips.

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It isn’t as bad as the photo above but spring cleaning, cleaning at all in fact is not my forte. As the better half continues to roof our house, I have made it my goal to get rid of anything I don’t need and deep clean my house.

I am not a great house keeper. I’m not quite a hoarder but my home is surface clean only. I figured that I’d focused on heavy duty blogs a bit, let’s lighten it up.

Things you will need:

1. A large container of gasoline.

2. Matches.

3. Good insurance.

What I’ve actually done is systematically gone through every room before I even started and pulled every item I don’t use, don’t need, and is just adding clutter. I ended up with 6 or 7 boxes to transport to the thrift store.

I started by pulling all furniture to the middle of the room and cleaning baseboards, walls, and windows, before my general cleaning.

Once I got to the kitchen I just basically stood in the middle of the room and cried. Removing everything from all cupboards, refrigerator, and shelving sucked. I cleaned the inside and outside of everything before putting everything back.

I don’t actually have any easy tips, I guess the only advice I have is if you’ve not used it in a year, discard it. Buy less, so this doesn’t happen again. Live with less. My plan for the next year. 

My kitchen is done, I have wayyyyy less. I am working on cleaning out my resentments, pains, and self loathing, cleaning my space seems like the next step.

It looks amazing and I’ve noticed a huge weight off my shoulders.

Anyhoo that’s all I got for today.