Friday, January 16, 2009

Distance Makes the heart whatever.

Yeah. I don't write blogs anymore. At least not personal blogs. I have a paid blogging gig now that takes up my blogging time. So have I been neglecting my own mind? Not really. Just haven't felt like putting it all out there in public. I've felt a little more reclusive - the girl hiding in the corner of a party hoping no one says hello.

Non fiction is one scary sucker. So, how have things been going? (it's like I'm interviewing myself - how neat) It's been going pretty well. I got an agent for my novel and am working on revisions. I'm getting my first piece of short fiction published in a respected lit mag. I'll be graduating in May. I'm teaching a bunch. Ploski still rocks. So life should be gleeful, right? It is. And it really isn't. See, my feet are still really bad. I had Shock Wave Therapy on my plantar fasciitis two months ago and I'm not feeling the benefits yet. And that really scares me. And when I say scares me, I don't mean, it freaks me out a little. I mean I'm terrified and try not to think about it. And when, every couple weeks, I do think about it I end up depressed/sulky/introverted. Like I'll never travel, never be able to have a kid, never be able to walk around a park without thinking about my physical affliction. I am handicapped. I can walk, but after a block or two, I need to sit down. When cooking or washing the dishes I have to kneel on a cushioned chair. I can't get out of bed in the morning without going through a heating and stretching regiment that takes about twenty minutes. I haven't walked barefoot in 1.5 years and frankly, I'm pretty effing fed up. All this amazing stuff has happened for me in the past few years, and all I really want is to be able to walk again. Okay, all I really want is for my novel to get published. Well, perhaps those two desires are equal.

Anyway, I hope that was a sufficient whine. It certainly didn't make me feel better, but it's out there now. And if/when I get better, I'll look back on this and be incredibly thankful to have fully functioning feet. And if not. Well. I don't know. I do know that I married an awesome, patient, wonderful guy who has been amazing through this entire thing. Cancer. Handicapped. And he hasn't run away. Hasn't even blinked. He vacuums and does the laundry - because I can't - it requires too much standing. So he does it. And I sit there like a lump. Well, I cook. But lets face it, he does more than I do around the house. Cleaning requires a lot of foot work. And my feet are broken.

I don't really have any words to sum up this post. So I'm not going to try. If this felt like reading a whole lot of self pity - then good for you - you're able to recognize self pity when it smacks you in the face. Now for me, I'm going to go heat my feet and stretch. Then maybe I'll give Plosk a hug. He deserves it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Opposing Opinions

This past weekend Plosk and I went to New Hampshire for his cousin's wedding. It was a major trek for us: 5 hours total from door to door. Usually if we travel 5 hours together to go some where, we end up in another country. Traveling within New England has been limited for us to CT and on a few occasions, MA. In the last two days we went through NY, MA, CT, VT and NH. The trip enhanced my love of MA and gave me a new found fascination with VT. Specifically Brattleboro. On Sunday morning we had lunch with a friend and explored a little of the quaint and beautiful town. I could see myself living there. Or in Northampton, MA. Either way, NY is good for us for now. But when we decide to have a child and are ready to move out of the congested NY area, MA and VT will definitely be on our list of places we want to go. NY is hard to compete with, but so is the natural beauty of a more rural area. NY, your days are numbered. It won't be next week, or even next year, but it's coming. We're leaving you.

NH was very pretty. But it didn't enchant me. Perhaps my "liberal" ways are a little too extreme for the location. Plosk and I found ourselves in many conversations over the weekend in which we held completely opposite opinions to those around us. From the 2nd ammendment to gay marriage to religion, the conversations moved around from political to religious seamlessly. Living in Westchester has put me in an interesting position. I rarely meet people who have differing views to my own. The vast majority of my friends are democrats, atheists and a good number are vegetarians or vegans. If we talk about any of the topics I mentioned above, it's a pretty short conversation because we agree with each other. If the topic comes up, it's probably to vent our frustration on a country that can be homophobic, god fearing and ready to take away a number of rights I find important on everything from privacy to reproductive rights.

So moving on, last night was wonderful. No one raised their voice. No discussion got heated. I did have someone ask me how I got my morals if I didn't have religion to guide me. I answered that the society I live in and the laws I abide by along with my parents and my own internal compass, all guide me. I said my ethics come from within, not without. I don't need religion to tell me something is right or wrong. Nor do I need the fear of hell or the hope of heaven to lead a good life.

The people I talked with were frustrated that purchasing guns was too difficult. And that extensive backround checks and waiting periods don't make things harder for criminals, but instead for law abiding citizens who treasure the second ammendment. They want the right to combat the government if the need arises. A citizen militia if you will. A teacher who was there thought that teachers should be allowed to have guns in school. I wondered how long it would be before a teacher gunned down a school instead of a student if teachers were allowed to carry a weapon in the classroom. I think classrooms should be a safe haven and teachers shouldn't carry a violent weapon. Just knowledge and compassion. I also didn't care if someone was mildly inconvenienced by a waiting period if it helped even a little bit to keep the guns out of the wrong hands.

The most confusing topic that came up all night happened as we were leaving. Someone asked one of the guests if she was coming with us to see fireworks. She was about 34.

She responded, "I don't know. Ask the boss." I looked at her confused and after motioning to her husband, she said to me, "He's the boss."

I asked, "What do you mean, the boss?"

She said, "He loves me as Jesus loved the church so he's the boss."

I looked at her shocked, as if she just told me that women don't have the right to vote, or shouldn't be in the work place. I said, "Gary and I are partners. There is no boss."

And she reponded, "We just have different beliefs."

So I inquired further about it in the car to Plosk's cousin and her new husband. He explained that it was a ranking system. In their Christian faith and their interpretation of the bible, the man is the head of the household and he makes all final decisions. He may ask for input from his wife but at the end of the day, he is responsible for his family before god, and because it's his reponsibility, the final decisions are his.

I responded that Plosk and I walk through life together and make decisions together. One of us may have to compromise on something we want for the good of the unit, but it isn't automatically me because I'm a woman. And any decision we make it going to be done through conversation and understanding between us both. There is no one decision maker. It's the two of us sorting out what we both want together. And how we can accomplish it together.

BIG differences of opinion, of beliefs, of the ways in which we choose to live. I could never imagine myself ranked lower in my own family than my partner. PARTNER. Not my boss, not my CEO. My husband. The man I chose to share my life with. That's another good word: share. As a woman, I felt their faith compromised the basic value of the woman as a human being of equal worth and ability. They don't see it that way. But I'm afraid that's not something I can fully understand, or want to understand. I maintain that religion in most forms aims to oppress it's own members. Usually the women. And that's not a club to which I ever want to belong. Even if I did believe in a higher being, I can't think of any church or institution to which I would ever want to belong. I'm not saying they all infringe on the rights of women or people (although I believe that most do). It's just not for me. Happily, I don't believe in a higher power. So I'm all set thank you.

I will say that the conversations I had over the weekend, as much as the opinions differed from my own, I felt lucky to have them. I met people who I only knew existed from newspaper articles. Yes I'm sheltered as a gal from Westchester. I know religious people of course, but none of my friends are republicans. I just don't get to hear the views straight from the horses mouth much. So it was an educational experience discussing topics I care deeply about with people who disagree in pretty much every way possible.

With that said, it was a great weekend with Plosk. A lovely wedding. A great brunch with Ken with some delicious veg sausage. And to end it all, the season finale of Doctor Who, who I can't get enough of.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Farm Sanctuary Gala 2008

Last night Plosk and I attended the Farm Sanctuary 2008 Gala. A black tie event hosted by Heather Mills and Melissa Rivers. Also in attendance were Russel Simmons, Kevin Nealon, Rory Freedman and oh so many more fantastic compassionate people. Held at Cipriani's down on Wall Street, the event was an incredible success.

There is nothing like sharing a meal with hundreds of like minded people. Being in a room with others who devote significant portions of their lives to help make the world kinder and safer, makes you feel like you're a part of a real community. You also feel appreciated for what you do. At least I did. So many times in daily life people scoff at good deeds, or question why you would choose not to do something simply based on ethics. It seems that trying to cause the least amount of harm around you, is a quality to make fun of. But not in a room full of Farm Sanctuary supporters. There, you are thanked and praised for your hard work and for helping a movement larger than just one person, larger than one farm animal. It's about 10 billion farm animals in this country who are tortured and die each year, all to sit on a plate. Why don't I eat meat? Because no one has to die for me to live. I eat tasty healthy foods. Why do I run Or teach humane education in the city? Or help high school kids campaign for animal rights? Why do any of it? Because it's a cause worth devoting my time to. It's a cause that is linked to social justice issues, environmental protection, and health. It's about violence not being tolerated, and teaching others that those who can't defend themselves shouldn't be killed just because we can. Just because it's easy or tasty. A life is worth more than a human's fleeting pleasure.

How far must human beings advance before we can look at animals as sentient beings we can coexist with? No one needs to eat an animal to live and live well. Yet, it's still done. Events like last night feel like being refueled. I've been given a dose of activists super happy drug. They make you feel proud to make a positive difference in the world, instead of living in the day to day selfishness that consume so many lives.

Plosk wants to visit Farm Sanctuary. I get chills even thinking about it. The man I married gets it. Understands the suffering and wants to help. It makes me immeasurably proud to be with him. And I can't wait to go to Farm Sanctuary together, maybe with another friend or two, and meet first hand, the animals we help to save.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


There seems to be a disconnect in our culture when it comes to talking about death. I've been experiencing this disconnect more fully this past week. My grandmother passed away. My last grandparent. At the age of 92, she died in her sleep some time between 12 am and 1 am on April 22, 2008.

When I got the phone call, my father said simply, "Nan passed away last night." Immediately, I began to cry. My dad, unsure of what to say or how to comfort me repeated words he had heard. One of the things my father said was this: "If there is a place people go, I'm sure Nan is with her family now." I held back my tears completely aghast and responded by saying, "Are you kidding me? Dad, you, an atheist, just said to your atheist daughter, that you're sure she's in the afterlife." He immediately became sheepish and said, "I know."

The fact is, he didn't know what to say so he relied on the stock answer to death - an answer he doesn't even believe in. That the person is still in some way living on in the afterlife. Our culture can't seem to find death comforting, unless it's padded with some idea of heaven. For me, dying and decomposing, and feeding the world that has fed us our entire lives, is comforting. The fact that my Nan is no longer suffering like she had been the past 2+ years is comforting. The idea of heaven, to me, just simplifies death too much. It puts a band aid on it so the loss seems less some how.

I'll be reading at her funeral. I had written a poem last November about her suffering. It's very personal. Too personal. Too much about death to speak about at her funeral- a funeral which should be about her life. About how much she means to the family, how much she means to me. So instead of the poem, which is too glum, too wrapped up in the language of suffering, I'll be writing something new. Prose. About the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. About my memories of her. I'm the youngest in her family, and I've known her the least amount of time than anyone. I wish I had more time.

I'm convinced that we as people are uncomfortable with loss. We don't have the vocabulary for it. "I'm so sorry" just doesn't seem like enough. So we avoid talking about it all together. Or we cloud the reality with visions of harps and eternal happiness. When all that really needs to be said, is a kind word, or even wordless, a hug. Just to let the person know, that although they have lost someone important, there are still people here in the tangible world that love them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Whine Whine

Over the last maybe 5 months, my eyes have felt tired, sore, and give me headaches. I’ll steer clear of computers, tvs and books for a few days to try and give them time to rest and they start to feel better. I wear my pseudo glasses when reading or writing and they help in bits but if I have a few heavy days of staring at my computer, the pain comes back and I’m left with one big headache.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I could go outside and walk around. I could easily find things to do with myself that don’t include looking at a screen or page if my feet were fully healed. But alas, that’s not the case. I’m still lame and in the last week my feet have gotten a little worse. They just need some rest and they’ll continue to get better again. A trip to lord and taylor with my mom set them back – idly walking around or standing around is probably the worst thing I can do for them. And yes, this is the same foot injury I had last June. And no it hasn’t gone away fully yet. It’s much better. If you just looked at me walking on the street, you wouldn’t know it. I don’t limp anymore but I still can’t jog and am limited to boring bike riding at the gym. Complain complain complain. Yes, I started writing this post with the intention of complaining. Poor me. Bah.

Good stuff. Good stuff. Let’s see. My book is coming along wonderfully at this point. I’m working daily, ironing out wrinkles and hopefully will have it ready to send to agents this summer. Plosk is ultra busy with plays during his final semester in grad school and I’m writing a good deal of the time so our schedules are working out pretty flawlessly. We’re both really busy and loving what we do. And then we get to spend nice time together. I couldn’t really ask for me.

Now, if my head would just stop hurting so I could relax, life would be a little easier. It’s hard to read 200 pages of some one else’s novel for class when your eyes feel bulgy and give you pain in your forehead. But that’s what must be done, as well as work, which frankly also focuses on a lot of computer time. Yes, three paragraphs of whining and one of good stuff. No my life isn’t 75% bad like the ratio of this post suggests, but my mood is kind of low so that’s what’s going to come to come out. Better stop here so the ratio doesn’t drop down to 80/20.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It just keeps getting better

Today I'm home with a headache. I've been working so much and everything I do is computer based- whether it's email, AWT, swanky veg, my novel or writing papers, I'm on my computer. Not that I mind. I love all of those things, but doing them so much has taken a toll on my eyes. They are stressed and in turn make my head hurt. Granted I'm still home working today, and on my computer, but with a headache it's at least better to do it at home in bed with your pajamas still on.

About two weeks ago, I finished the first draft of my novel. Yes. Really. It was the best feeling I've ever had with writing. To have a finished piece to work with instead of trying to figure out the rest of the story is fantastic. This in no way means it is completely done, but it's now much easier to work with. And this next semester I'll be able to hone and perfect before sending it out to agents. The next part of the process. But as one of my teachers said, writing the letters 'the end' is an amazing accomplishment and feeling. That's all I'm going to say about that, although there is more in my head about it. In fact, I have trouble thinking about anything else.

This Saturday, I turn 26. I'm getting older, and past the mid point of the twenties. I'm thrilled. I was telling a girl I had just met on Sunday night, that it just keeps getting better. When you first graduate college your life has no path, and is huge before you. Basically you're standing in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight, trying to decide which way to go. You know where you'd like to get to (perhaps some place sunny and bright) but you see no path that will lead you there. So instead you just start walking(or swimming if you're not jesus), because the alternative would be to keep standing in the middle of no where. Once you start walking, bad things can happen along the way, cancer, a job you hate, or any number of things. But don't turn back. Just keep pushing through. Because soon enough, you'll find that great things happen in small bits until one day you find that you love your life and can't even figure out how you got here. Perseverance. It gets you through the crap so you can enjoy the good, the great. And right now, I'm surrounded by great. My job, my husband, my book, my home, my family. So, 26, welcome. I look forward to getting to know you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gary, Brian and I were having a conversation about websites and what idea would be interesting to try and start. I had been thinking of a site for a while although I hadn't voiced it out loud. But I wanted to start a vegan fashion website that shows people where to find compassionate high fashion items. Gary said,"That's a great idea." And then all of the sudden, that provided the motivation I needed. Something that for a few months had been stewing in my mind finally got the attention it deserved and a few weeks later, here I am. I've started So, check it out. I post everyday...certainly more than I've posted here of late. Send it to all your veg friends.