My Novels

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Becoming Vegetarian

First, it's NOT easy. Usually, it's a long journey that starts with an odd feeling when eating meat, compounded by realizing that in some parts of the world people eat cats, dogs and horses...which, mostly likely, will create a gagging sensation in most Americans. Then it becomes an ethical issue: If I eat any animal with a brain/heart, doesn't that make me the same as those who eat dogs, cats and horses?

Or maybe you witnessed a particularly grizzly slaughter in the meat industry, on a small farm, or saw a movie depicting the cruelty we subject animals to. The reasons for becoming vegetarian/vegan are as varied as individuals.

For me, I lost my taste for meat when I turned 50. At that time, I was on a diet and realized that eating veggies was the simple, easy way of losing weight. When I would eat meat, especially with a lot of fat, it brought on an attack of acid I gradually almost cut out meat.

However, DH still loved his meat and I always prepared separate dishes at our meals. NOT easy to do. When we moved to the farm, I had less time to concentrate on food preparation and started eating a bit of meat again. (We had a horse farm, did not raise animals for food, but did have a large summer garden.)

Then DH had a heart attack, no doubt partly due to the high cholesterol consumption all his life.

I'll never forget the night he had the heart attack: We had just sat down to a meal of hamburger steaks, potato, salad. He looked pale, and wouldn't eat. I asked if something was wrong with the food, and then he said he thought he was experiencing the beginning of a heart attack.

I rushed him to the ER, where indeed, he was in the first stages of a heart attack. While on the ER table, and when the cardiologist arrived quickly, he began to have the heart attack and was given a life-saving clot-buster shot. That was the beginning of a long few weeks, but after 5 stints, and loads of (in my opinion) serious, life-destroying drugs/statins, etc. he came home and resumed his life.

That night, when I came home from the ER, I'll never forget my FURY as I raked all the fatty hamburger steaks into the garbage. It made me nauseous to look at it, smell it, and to some degree I still feel that way today, especially since DH died a year later.

Once a widow/alone, I didn't eat much meat...just occasional white chicken meat. But being in a confused state, I often bought can stuff -- convenience foods like can chicken, soups with meat, etc. That was bad, of course, due to the fat AND sodium. While working at the newspaper, pressed for time, I continued that habit.

But in the last six months I've gradually changed my eating habits to be healthier. And then...about a month ago, I decided I could no longer eat any kind of meat. Right now I'll still have an occasional egg, sometimes soy milk with my breakfast cereal. I eat a lot of salads, veggie patties, vegetables, and take supplements just in case.

The main thing though is that I have started actually COOKING again. And I'm having fun exploring the world of vegetarian cooking; it's amazing how much nutrition you can get without slaughtered animals on your plate. For example, beans and brown rice/cornbread are a complete protein! I like beans and rice, yum. I also learned how to make my own veggie patties from black beans, rice, etc.

Giving up the can stuff was the most difficult! Mainly due to the convenience. I haven't eaten fast foods since DH died; that was, no doubt, part of his heart problem: all those trans fats added to the cholesterol of meat fast foods. Before he died, we would only eat fast food, at most, once every couple of weeks (same for restaurants, most don't offer healthy food). He, however, ate lunch at fast food joints all his working life -- 30+ years!

Here's a few links for those who want to explore the world of becoming vegetarian:

TRY VEG: Great website what wide variety of information

Quick & Easy Veggie Recipe Group

Another veggie recipe group

I have two fig trees in my backyard. Figs ripen on these about a month apart, and one has been loaded down lately with ripe figs. I found an online recipe for freezing figs (with honey, touch of lemon juice) so I can save them to have with cereal during the coming year. My freezer bottom is covered with small individual bags of frozen figs! (Courtesy of the vegetarian food info resources).

I have been buying from the local farmer's market, and enjoying all kinds of veggies: squash, tomatoes, new red potatoes, local honey, etc. Next year I plan to advertise for bartering the large garden space in my backyard to anyone who will till/work/maintain a veggie garden in exchange for my small supply of fresh garden vegetables!

Otherwise, I'm still into my summer routine: walking the dogs late in the afternoon, biking, and just living life day to day. Is there any other way in these hard economic times? By the way, vegetarian eating/cooking WILL save you big bucks too. And who couldn't benefit from that?

One last thought: I was surprised to learn how many famous people (celebs, writers and brainy scientists) are/were vegetarians. For an interesting look at these folks, here's a link:

Famous Vegetarians

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


First the update on my latest problems: dishwasher installed, roof to be replaced in two weeks. No issue with the insurance company, they paid for the roof replacement in full. Woot!

And a bit of good news: Think I've found an ideal part-time job working from home. More on this soon, but it basically is a web researching/writing/editing job I can do at home via the internet/email, etc. In other words, NO personal contact with people. Woot!

It's extremely hot and humid here, and the drought has returned. Despite brief, furious thunderstorms, there's still not enough rainfall to make up for the last few years' loss. When it rains hard, the creek a half-block away runs wildly, then within a day the water is standing and murky again. Not a good sign.

I've been taking the dogs to a different park nearby, where it's wooded, cooler in the late afternoons. I ride the bike near 8:00 sometimes, but it is very difficult in this sweltering heat.

Still thinking of buying an electric golf cart to get around the city. There's an ordinance against driving them on the street, but one cop told a person just to put one of those triangular orange signs on the back that says: "Farm Vehicle." LOL!! The ordinance MUST be changed, and surely it will when citizens object to it due to high gas prices.

I'll end with this thought-provoking piece I found on the 'net the other day:


by John Gray

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Always pours when it rains!

Just when you think life is good, peaceful...the sh*t hits the fan!

Not that this post has anything to do with illness/death (yet) but just a random mix of breakdowns and repairs fouling up the works. Such as having to buy/install a new dishwasher for the renters. Then learning the roof is leaking, and learning a new roof will be needed. Fortunately, insurance will cover the roof (except for deductible) on the rental house; it was storm damaged from wind/hail. Still, I almost dread hearing the phone ring since stuff like this seems to come in waves.

The way things are heading with the rental house, I'm going in a financial hole this year. BUT, if there's an upside to it -- upkeep is tax deductible on rental property! Too bad it's not that way for my own house where I live: I've had issues here since the first of the year. Central heat/air unit repaired, all electrical outlets replaced (after nearly having a house fire!), and the commode in my bathroom is probably going to have to be replaced soon.

I should cry: "WOE IS ME."

However, as long as I'm not sick and can afford good medical insurance, I hate to complain. And at least I have savings to cover these problems. Still, at times, I think home ownership sucks!

I do have a plan, though whether oft-made plans go astray...I can't say, since it's been my experience that DOES happen often. Anyway, when I turn 60 I will start getting DH's social security, in addition to the pension and that will more than double my monthly income. At that point, I plan to sell BOTH houses and find a condo which includes maintenance in the price! IF I live to 60, that is.

With the economy in the toilet, gas still rising and no end in sight to the growing problems (which most Americans choose to ignore, though that gas price does BITE!) I don't see any quick fixes to accomplish better times. I'm not sure what kind of life we'll all be living in 3-5 years from now, but I have to say it looks grim (at least for those who care to study some of the predictions).

As for health, I've had either a mild summer cold or severe sinus problems the last few days. I think it's a summer cold, though I'm feeling much better today. A couple days I didn't want to get out of the bed in the morning, felt sleepy all the time -- rare for me! I probably need to have a checkup with my GP, but unless I get worse, probably won't. And if I keep improving, I see no reason to run to the doctor.

I'm outta here for today.

Me & Rambo

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Not that we've had any lately, but this is a random thought I'd not recorded a couple months ago.

One night I couldn't sleep, was tossing and turning, when I heard distant thunder. I got out of bed, walked to my windows and watched the approaching was, quite simply, delicious anticipation.

Yes, I live in a small town but this area has large, spacious lawns, it's quiet at night, and one can still see a vast day or night sky above the backyard trees.

The storm hit, and I stood there watching the rain fall off the roof; it looked like silver diamonds reflected in the dim, yellow streetlight. I immediately thought of writing a beautiful poem, of sharing this wonder and discovery -- the beauty of a dangerous, violent storm.

But I didn't, because, in some sense I've decided (by this age) that frankly, few people care about poetry and even fewer understand it or learn from it. Basically what I've decided about writing in general. Of course, the PR writers keep warping people -- but who cares about deep, insightful literature, poetry or beautiful prose these days?

Being alone is NOT a bad thing; it's something I yearned for all my life. Even though I loved my husband and we had a good life together, and I miss him now, I'd never marry again or share my home with anyone. And no, pets are NOT people; they are a species of their own. Remarkably they demand little more than food, affection and -- attention, though dogs want more attention than cats.

If you think of yourself as a loner, I have a suggestion for you: How much time have you really, honestly ever spent ALONE? As in: alone in a house, in the wilderness, anywhere. And I don't mean alone in your room where there's others somewhere in your house. I could include contact via the realm of the 'net, but I won't.

Writers know this aloneness, the sheer scope of solitude and it's not the enemy.