furkid friday: dogs and books (and books about dogs)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Today we have an extra-special furkid friday/Shout Out two-fer! (Dogs and books, books and dogs; throw in pizza and netflix, and that’s all you really need in life, amirite folks?) I even redesigned the old Colbert Report SHOUT OUT! graphic for the occasion!

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Animated gifs, they’re all the rage. Alas, I was lazy and in a hurry and only used four frames for this one, so it’s a bit choppy. But still, animated Stephen! Times two!

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The props go to Columbia University Press, which kindly sent me a copy of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film by Anat Pick, a senior lecturer in film and program leader for film and video: theory and practice at the University of East London. From the book’s back cover:

Exploring the “logic of flesh” and the use of the body to mark species identity, Anat Pick reimagines a poetics that begins with the vulnerability of bodies, not the omnipotence of thought. Pick proposes a “creaturely” approach based on the shared embodiedness of humans and animals and a postsecular perspective on human-animal relations. She turns to literature, film, and other cultural texts, challenging the familiar inventory of the human: consciousness, language, morality, and dignity. Elaborating on such themes as witnessing, commemoration, and collective memory, Pick identifies the animal within all humans, emphasizing the corporeal and its issues of power and freedom. Through her poetics of the creaturely, powerlessness is the point at which aesthetic and ethical thinking must begin.

This looks like an interesting read for those concerned with how portrayals of nonhumans in pop culture – literature, film, television – both reflect and inform societal attitudes and ethics towards our fellow sentient beings. (In other words, me!) If you’d like to learn more, check out the book’s listing on Columbia University Press.

I tried my best to snap a photo of Peedee and/or O-Ren with Creaturely Poetics – mock reading it, or some such other cutesy silliness – but neither was feeling very cooperative. (Too hot!)

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That’s okay, though; truth be told, I wasn’t trying that hard anyway. (TOO HOT! Seriously, have I mentioned how hot it’s been lately? We’re looking at a week of 90 degree weather with 70%+ humidity. Ick!)

(More below the fold…)

furkid friday: dejected rennie

Friday, May 13th, 2011

is dejected: “Popcorn, y u b so unreachable?”

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Ditto: mom, who’s similarly flailing at a new DSLR camera, which will vastly improve the quality of her food and furkid photos. Yeah, ’cause clearly it’s the camera – and only the camera – that’s to blame!

Epilogue: Don’t worry, mom to the rescue! Rennie’s frustrated nomz syndrome is no more.

furkid friday: bendy twisty rat terrier noses

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I’m forever amazed (and amused) at the degree to which the rat terriers – particularly Rennie and Peedee – are able to bend and twist their noses whilst sniffing a scent on the breeze. So flexible, it’s almost as if they’re made of rubber!

I mean holy Ceiling Cat, Rennie must have her nose cocked at a 15-20 degree angle here! You can practically see an invisible pair of fingers twisting it to the side.

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I didn’t manage to photograph an equally impressive example for Peedee yesterday, but this one gives you an idea:

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That little pink strip running down the middle of his nose? It should be perfectly vertical. His poo sensors must be kicking in, for it to be all off-kilter like that.

That is all.

Team Buttercup

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

2011-04-28 - O-Ren - 0011 [black and white and red]

When the love you feel is against the laws of those in control, then love is a political act.

– Mary Borsellino, “Your Heart is a Weapon the Size of Your Fist”

This essay appears in the Smart Pop anthology The Girl Who Was On Fire: Your favorite authors on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy (2011), and is titled after this piece of graffiti, which is stenciled on a wall in Palestine.

furkid friday: dog parts (rat terriers, in macro!)

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This week I spent a few (much-needed) lazy afternoons outside, alternately napping and chasing the dogs around the yard, camera in hand. I can’t remember why, but I thought it might be fun to take some “macro” shots of the dogs and all their adorable little body parts: eyes, noses, behinds, ears, legs, tummies.* (Lever 2000, holla!) Now I realize that this might make for an awfully cool art project – print and display my favorites in uniform sizes and frames, arranging them on a single wall to make one larger exhibit. I just need to find an available wall!

And more pictures of Ralphie: of all five dogs, the 13-year-old, one-eyed wiener dog proved hardest to catch on camera. Go figure.

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Ralphie butt, on the move!
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Not very macro, but here’s a decent look at Ralphie’s missing eye.
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Ralphie shoulder, complete with extra skin rolls!
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(More below the fold…)

furkid friday: rennie and her scrappy balls

Friday, April 1st, 2011

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furkid friday: an extra-special inaugural/birthday edition!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

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3/11/05 – A photo from O-Ren’s (then Angelica’s) Petfinder listing.
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New feature! Because everyone adores my furkids as much as I do, yes? Every Friday, a new picture (or series of) of the furkids. It’s like Jennie’s Wordless Wednesday, but on a Friday.

Seriously, though, this is mostly for my own benefit. I haven’t made a habit of writing about my furry friends during this blog’s (almost!) five-year run – navel gaze much? – and thus never realized how much I might enjoy it. And in the absence of more traditional, paper and print albums (which I stopped keeping years ago), these “fluffy fun” posts will, I imagine – someday! – become a cherished keepsake.

To pile on the sentimentality, today also just so happens to be O-Ren’s 7th birthday and the six-year anniversary of her adoption day! It’s a total coincidence, I swear; I’ve been thinking about reviving the old “Friday Random Cuteness” feature for a few months now, long before Rennie’s big day was on my radar. But since it is her day, this edition of furkid friday will be a special one, dedicated to my little lady. I love her something awful, and I’m sure you will too.
 

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2/14/11 – As a Valentine’s Day present to myself, I dressed the dogs in some pretty new outfits (Dollar Store, holla!) and snapped a few quick photos. With her pink sparkles, Rennie was my fairy princess!
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(More below the fold…)

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BONBONS! (Also: five very cold goggies.)

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

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Totally awesome sister that I am, I decided to make a batch of vegan peanut butter cups to send to my younger sis for Valentine’s Day. One batch turned into three, and once the kitchen was covered in melted chocolate and other gooey goodness, I thought I may as well keep going. Still in search of the perfect coconut-filled candy, I had a go at these vegan chocolate bonbons from about.com, and holy guacamole are they delectable!

Much, much yummier and easier to assemble (though still a bit sticky) than the Coconut Cream Patties and Almond Delights I made over the crifsmas holiday. I think the secret is in the coconut: in order to get a smoother, creamier filling, I ran the shredded coconut through a food processor for a few minutes to break it up into smaller pieces. Yum! It’s been less than a week, and the batch I made is almost gone…though I suspect that Shane has been sneaking candy here and there and blaming it on Lemmy.

And yes, I still have yet to take down my holiday decorations! (My book pile, does it look familiar?) Thanks for asking! What with the dreary winter weather we’ve been having ’round here, I need the extra sparkle of gold tinsel and red pom poms, lest I retire to bed until April.

Speaking of, it’s about zero degrees out right now, and our house and patio (not to mention cars, shrubbery, lawn furniture, and basically any stationary object of significant size) is covered in 2-3′ snow drifts. To make matters worse, the back patio is surrounded on three sides, thus creating a wind tunnel effect. I do believe that all the snow on the roof was blown onto the patio. Yuck.

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I don’t mind all that much – I’ve nowhere to go, and can wait the snow out for months, need be – but oh, the poor doggies! The snow drifts on the patio are up to their necks, twice over!

(More below the fold…)

It’s a pee party, y’all!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

At the risk of turning this into a fluffy cute doggie blog, I come bearing MORE PICTURES of my furkids. Brace yourselves, people.

The dogs have this crazy adorable habit, which I’m sure is rather common in multi-dog households: whenever they find a particularly desirable patch of grass or smelly object on which to urinate, they’ll form a “pee line” of two dogs or more (the most I’ve witnessed is four; ever the loner, Jayne rarely participates in these group activities). Each dog will mark over the scent of her predecessor, until everyone has had a turn. My favorite part is when the dog at the front of the line (usually Kaylee) returns to the end of the queue in order to mark over everyone else’s scents. What did I say? ADORABLE.

I rarely have a camera on hand when impromptu scenes such as these unfold (ditto: penis-sniffing), but the other night, the wintry weather was on my side. More often than not, the dogs do their biz right on the patio, rather than wander around in the snow. A popular pee spot is on the leg of a patio bench; also: right on the house and just outside the patio door. (The dogs, they know how to pick their spots. Not.) During their daily post-dinner bathroom break, I had my camera ready.

Ralphie was up first, followed by O-Ren and Kaylee (naturally, I forgot the flash in the first photo).

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Is it weird that I enjoy this so? Kaylee in particular impresses me, as she can mark just as high – if not higher than – the boys. Wonder Beyatch, represent!

criFSMas 2010: The Big Fat Saucy Vegan Food Post

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

2010-12-13 - Kitchen - 0002

So. We’ve harassed and humiliated the dog-kids. You’ve seen my shiny sparkly goodies. Twice! And yet, my holiday blogging would not be complete without a FOOD POST!

While x-mas is oftentimes an excuse to overindulge, this year I went overboard – owing in no small part to the fact that I handmade a number of gifts, including a couple tons (okay, I exaggerate, but not by much) of chocolate goodies.

But let’s begin at the ending, shall we? As in: criFSMas dinner!

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I did most of the cooking the day before – which was, for us, the 23rd – so that we could be as lazy as possible the day of. I prepared a deep-dish lasagna feast with tons of veggies (green and yellow zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic) and plenty of oozy, gooey cheese (in this case, cheddar and mozzarella Follow Your Heart). (Jump to the end of this post for the recipe!)

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I also breaded and froze some vegan mozzarella sticks – my first-ever batch – so they’d be nice and ready for their date with the deep fryer next day. Spoiler: they are terribly delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. (Recipe via Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!)

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(More below the fold…)

Merry criFSMas, y’all!

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The beauty of a made-up holiday? You can celebrate it any old damn time you want! Traditionally (as in, for the past four years), the husband and I have observed criFSMas on December 24th. Given that I spend much of Christmas Day proper on the phone with far-flung loved ones, it’s just more practical that way. My criFSMas lasagna and mozzarella sticks will wait for no one! (Don’t worry, plenty of food blogging forthcoming.)

For this year’s criFSMas cards, we decided to go with a “pasta and peace” theme. (We aim to put the PASTA back in PASTAfarian here at the Garbato-Brady house, yo! That, and my “domestic terrorist” idea didn’t quite pan out.) Because he’s had a rough year, Ralphie was the obvious choice of cover model. Not to mention, one eye? Totally fits with the pirate side of flying spaghetti monsterism. As per usual, I couldn’t resist creating “outtakes” for each of the dogs. They’re all just so freaking cute, you know? (Rhetorical question; you best say yes!)

 

2010 FSMas Card - Ralphie (shot his eye out)

The “official” 2010 Garbato-Brady criFSMas card.
– Ralphie –
Wishing you peace & pasta this holiday season!
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2010 FSMas Card Message Labels (single panel)

Because years spent on the internets have forever ruined my penmanship,
I design and print message labels to affix to the back of each card.
This year’s greeting reads:
Happy Holidays! With love (& lasagna),
The Garbato-Bradys:
Kelly, Shane, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee, Jayne, Ozzy & Ralphie
“you’ll shoot your eye out, kid,” the one-eyed cover dog
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Peedee

Outtakes!
– Peedee –
May your plate overflow with compassion & campanelle.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - O-Ren

– O-Ren –
May love & lasagna warm your belly on a cold winter’s night.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Kaylee

– Kaylee –
May your heart be filled with joy & gemelli, today and always.
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2010 FSMas Card Outtakes - Jayne

– Jayne –
May you find friendship & fusilli this criFSMas season!
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Whatever you celebrate, season’s greetings and wishes of peace from all of us to you and yours!

I’ll leave you with this Christmas Manger / Vegan Silent Night video from Bea Elliott. While I’m not exactly a religious person (in the understatement of the year), I find it a bittersweet description of the conflicting feelings I – and many vegans, no doubt – oftentimes experience around the holiday season.

Peace to all; and to all, a good life.

domestic terraist doggehs selebrate crifsmas wit toefoo nog (like duh!)

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

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domestic terraist bear is one of teh kewl girls.
Left to right: Kaylee, Jayne, O-Ren and the pirate-polar-vegan-terrorist criFSMas bear.
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Initially, I’d planned on doing a sort of “domestic terrorist” theme for this year’s holiday (read: criFSMas) cards, using the “domestic terrorist” apron from Green is the New Red as the centerpiece. (Product description: “‘Domestic.’ Terrorist. Get it? There’s nothing funny about the FBI labeling environmental and animal advocates the ‘number one domestic terrorism threat.’ But with the Feds attempting to infiltrate vegan potlucks, why not accessorize? […] Happy ‘terrorizing’! But be careful in the kitchen. Did you know tofu makes you gay?” Vegan chefs are scary, yo! Also: my dog-kids consume a fair amount of tofu. Additionally, they are super-psyched about today’s repeal of DADT. Draw your own conclusions, mkay.)

While my idea was solid, its execution was not: the apron proved way too large for the dogs (which was to be expected, even though it looks super-tiny – not to mention satiny – on the model), so at first I tried putting it on our pirate polar bear.

I think you’ll agree that she looks super-snazzy in it

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but she’s also, well, kind of a big girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you; she’s vegan and totes in shape. But it proved next to impossible to fit both her and a dog in the camera frame. And so I re-staged the set, hanging the apron from the tree and surrounding it with fake fruits and veggies and a vase filled with pasta-related kitchen utensils.

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(Ignore the white fur on the black apron. Living with four white dogs and a mostly-white cat, it cannot be helped.)

Better, but once I went back and examined the photos on my computer monitor, I realized that the paddles looked really odd and stupid. Tremendously so. Plus, there was still a lot of floor and wall showing. Dislike.

So on day #2 of shooting, I ditched the setup and instead opted for a sea of book piles, coupled with a vase filled with angel hair pasta, and complemented with a sparkly “peace” ornament and baby flying spaghetti monster. The new theme? Peace and pasta.

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That taste? Perfection!

Not wanting the domestic terrorist photos to go to waste, I decided to make a series of (VEGAN!) lol dogs out of them. And so I give you: domestic terraist doggehs! (And one kitteh, who barely sat still long enough for me to take three pictures of him. His caption is most fitting.)

lol ozzy - is a terror allrite

title: lol ozzy – is a terror allright
caption: “domestic terraist kitteh” is a redundancy
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lol ralphie - thot u said petdown

title: lol ralphie – thot u said petdown
caption: domestic terraist doggeh will take that patdown now, mkay
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lol peedee - go boom

title: lol peedee – go boom
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be a walkin’ thyme bomb
(idea shameless borrowed from a blog of the same name)
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lol rennie - be happy 2 show u her mitts

title: lol rennie – be happy 2 show u her mitts
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be hostin a v-gun potluck next week
(u bring teh loaded taters kay?)
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lol kaylee - kills wit spiceness

title: lol kaylee – kills wit spiceness
caption: domestic terraist doggeh is about 2 es’splode ur taste budz
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lol jayne - is be busted

title: lol jayne – is be busted
caption: domestic terraist doggeh pleads deh lish
(hint: if you don’t get it, sound it out loud!)
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In many ways, I think I like this series better than the “real” card I ended up with (and the outtakes I made for each dog; yes, I’ve been a busy bee). But hey, there’s always next year. Well, not really. I’ve already got plans for 2011, and they involve Kaylee, Jayne and Joss Fucking Whedon. (One hint: SPACE PIRATES!) 2012, perhaps. I’m sure the theme will still be relevant then, unfortunately.

your annual criFSMas update

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Even though I rarely blog here anymore – V for Vegan is my main space now – I’d planned on posting a few more FSMas tutorials in the days leading up to December 25th. Alas, exhaustion and burnout from veganmofo iv, coupled with the foolhardy decision to make many of my gifts by hand this year, have pretty much blown that plan out of the water. (Oh, the boiling, pasta-filled water. FSMas NOM!)

But seeing as I’ve already taken and uploaded a number of photos, it’d be a shame not to at least throw up a photo essay. So here’s a sampling of this year’s decorations. You can view the entire set on Flickr, along with those from years past. The dogs’ annual criFSMas humiliation is forthcoming – they deserve their own post, dontchathink?

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The “pirate altar” in our front window features a mix of relevant books, framed flying spaghetti monster photos, pirate accessories, pasta decor, gold tinsel and doubloons, and sparkly flying spaghetti monsters.
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A closer look at book collection #1, which consists of vegan/vegetarian/Italian cookbooks (including Cathe Olson’s Lick It!, which I snagged in a veganmofo contest) and – of course – a copy of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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(More below the fold…)

Decadent Delight Muffins for a One-eyed Wiener Dog (Also: A Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole for His Humans)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

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A freshly baked (quarter-) batch of Molly’s Decadent Delight Muffins sits on a small plate, behind which lurks two identical, plush reddish-brown wiener dogs. Only, the dog on the right is missing one eye (his right one, even!), along with the tip of his nose. One of the first three adopted dog-kids – Ralphie, Peedee or O-Ren – chewed them off years ago. Do we have a psychic in the pack, perchance?
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Friday night, I made a batch of Decadent Delight Muffins (recipe via Molly @ It’s a Vegan Dog’s Life – the meeter of at least 75% of my dog treat recipe needs!) for the dog-kids. I wanted to pamper them a little bit, since we had an especially rough week. But first treats, then kvetching!

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Perched on the back of the couch, Rennie stares into the kitchen, entranced by the unbaked muffins sitting on the countertop.
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Packed with flax seeds, shredded carrots, natural peanut butter and freshly made (somewhat fortuitously, as I just so happened to be brewing the final batch of the season) applesauce, these muffins are both healthy and delicious. (And vegan!) I much prefer baking my own dog treats over buying commercial brands because I know exactly what goes into each batch. Plus, they’re really very easy to make and store well in the freezer, if need be. (With five dogs, treats are eaten up pretty quickly round these parts!) Of course, the dogs also enjoy licking the spoons and bowls. And what better way to a dog’s heart than through her stomach? Five paws up!

Okay, so enough of the muffins. Let’s move on to the one-eyed wiener dog, shall we?

To Ralphie

Ralphie mosaic!
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Ralphie.

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chili sin carne, para los perros

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

This is a much, much milder version of Shane’s (award-winning!) Sweet and Spicy Chili. For the dogs, that is. (Yes, I feed my dog-kids a vegan diet. No, I’m not sacrificing their health and well-being at the alter of my own selfish ethics. For new visitors: you can find additional details and a disclaimer of sorts here.)

This recipe makes about 20 cups of food, or enough to feed 5 hungry little doggies for a week or so. If you’re not a borderline animal hoarder like moi (joking!), probably you’ll want to cut this recipe in halfsies.

chili sin carne, para los perros

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Ingredients

olive oil
3 Boca Burgers (optional)
OR 1 16 oz brick of firm tofu (optional)

water
1 16 oz can of diced, unsalted tomatoes
1 6 oz can of low salt tomato paste
2 cups of sundried tomatoes

24 ounces dried beans OR 6 16 oz cans of cooked, low sodium beans (chef’s choice!)
(I used 8 ounces each of dried pinto, black and red beans.)

3 cups texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup diced green peppers

brown sugar to taste (I used 4 tablespoons)
dried mustard to taste (me: 1/2 teaspoon)
paprika to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
chili powder to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
cumin to taste (me: 1 teaspoon)
black pepper to taste (me: 1/4 teaspoon)
lime juice to taste (me: 1 tablespoon)
flour to taste
water and/or low sodium tomato juice to taste

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The Season of the Vegan: VeganMoFo, Halloweegan & Birthday Kisses

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
  • If you’re vegan and on the internets, then probably you already know all about the awesomeness that is VeganMoFo. But a reminder never hurts now, does it?

    Vegan MoFo IV logo banner

    VeganMoFo is a month-long celebration of all things vegan food-related, in intertubes carnival form. Throughout the month of November, vegan bloggers the world over pledge to post about the joys of vegan food once a day, with the goal of generating at least 20 posts for the month (weekends are optional!). Topics run the gamut, from original recipes to theme days and photo essays to contests and giveaways. Last year, over 500 bloggers participated, yours truly included. (You can browse an archive of my VeganMoFo contributions here.)

    If you’re interested in being a MoFoer – in blog or in spirit – check out VeganMoFo Headquarters International, where a team of MoFoers will be recapping all the hot, sticky, NOMy vegan action in real time. You can also follow them on Twitter (@veganmofo), where you should totally share your own #veganmofo links – tagged according, natch. For the Flickerites among us, there’s even a VeganMoFo group; join and share, mkay?

    The sign-up deadline to be included in the RSS feed / “official” list of participants is 11/2, but you can jump in at any time! (Sign-up sheet here.)

    Last year, there was a push to garner media coverage for the event; I don’t know whether something similar is planned for 2010, but you should definitely keep an eye on the PPK forums for more. If necessary, last year’s sample press release can easily be reworked for VeganMoFo IV.

  • lol ozzy - cannibalizin

  • Not being a PPK regular, I initially thought that, as in years past, VeganMoFo IV was scheduled for October. But, not so much. Luckily, October is home to its own brand of awesomeness: Halloween!

    Wing-It Vegan is leading the Halloween festivities with a month of Halloweegan treats. (Halloween + vegan = Halloweegan, silly!) Spider Cupcakes, Vampire Cookies and Veggieloaf Coffins, oh my! You can browse an index of her Halloween-themed recipes here; she’s helpfully included links to other vegan creations ’round the interwebs, too. And if you’re on Flickr, join her newly-birthed Halloweegan group so you can get in on the fun.

  • Similarly, the good folks at VegWeb.com have assembled a dedicated Halloween page. Hit ’em up for Halloween-themed recipes, costume and party ideas, leads on yummy vegan Halloween candy and more.
  • Last Thursday was Kaylee and Jayne’s adoption day (four years) and observed birthdays (twelve and six years, respectively). I meant to at least mention it on the 30th, but happily we were too busy celebrating! At nine days past due, you’d think I’d just accept that the moment has passed, and maybe it’s silly, but…I feel a little remiss if I don’t at least give the kids an on-blog shout-out. Guilty, even. I know, I know, I’m such a mom.

    Anyhow, Shane and I drove the girls to nearby Smithville Lake, where we took a leisurely stroll along the water (2.11 miles in 53 minutes!). Kaylee is a naturally slow walker (she doesn’t walk so much as meander); whereas Jayne, possibly owing to abandonment issues, won’t walk more than five feet in front of you without stopping and/or retreating back, presumably to confirm that you haven’t ditched her while she wasn’t looking. It’s rather sad, actually. But it was a beautiful, shiny day and I think we all were happy to get out of the house.

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    2010-09-30 - Walking Kaylee & Jayne - 0011

    (More below the fold…)

  • a brief programming note

    Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

    Update, 9/23/10: …and I’m back – in body, if not spirit. Kaylee is back to her pushy, gluttonous old self, though while I was away, little O-Ren was bitten by a baby snake. She’s okay now, but she sure gave Shane a good scare (and he, me).

    Anyhow, it may still be a bit before I resume regular blogging; I’ve got a ton of work to catch up on, a website to finish, and a yard in need of some major help (still, mad props to the Mr. for all the (to-me) paralyzing tasks he tackled during my absence!). If looking at other people’s vacation photos is your thing (sicko!), mine should be up on Flickr and Facebook within the week. I’m also posting new (albeit moderate and noncontroversial) content on the PPP blog, so if you’re missing me, that’s where I’ll be.

    Later, gators.

    —————–

    Starting tomorrow and through September 20th, I’ll be on vacation and offline. Presumably, anyhow; I’ll be visiting my family in New York, and until I arrive, I’ve no idea what my internet/computer access and schedule will look like. I think it’s one of those situations where either I’ll be super-busy and hardly around at all, or extremely bored and using the extra time to tackle a backlog of work. Either way, expect spotty comment moderation, slow or no replies to email, and a near-total lack of blog posts during this time.

    On the bright side –

    [because, let’s face it, I need something shiny to look forward to as I sit here, teetering on the edge of an abyss that is a stress-filled two weeks spent at my childhood home, with neither Shane nor the dog-kids to act as a buffer between me and my lovable and supportive-yet-impossibly frustrating family / reluctant panic attack]

    – I’ll be back in time for the fourth annual Vegan MoFo! Which, come to find out, is scheduled for November instead of October this year, but hey, that’s even better! ’twill give me a little extra time to prepare.

    2010-09-04 - Autumnal Sun Pursuit - 0006

    Also, please send some good vibes Kaylee’s way, mkay? (Not that I believe in that stuff, mind you, but it’s the thought that counts!) She’s been nauseous and gassy and feeling like ass since Saturday. So far, we’ve paid two veterinarians $550 to assure us that she’s basically okay, but I still worry, especially since I’m leaving tomorrow. I keep joking to Shane that he’d better not break any of the dogs while I’m gone, or else I’ll never leave the house ever again…but actually I’m more serious than not.

    2010-09-04 - Autumnal Sun Pursuit - 0005

    These photos, by the by, are of the Great Autumnal Sun Pursuit, the 2010 kickoff of which was Saturday. Every fall, I schlep the dog beds around the house, following the sun’s rays as the day progresses. All five of the dogs like to chase the sun, but Kaylee and O-Ren are the most tenacious contestants. My little baby had better feel better soon, lest she let Mr. Golden Sun outrun her. Cue: sad marshmallow.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PEEDEE!

    Monday, August 30th, 2010

    My little monster turns eight years young today!

    2010-04-11 - Peedee - 0003

    4/11/10 – Peedee, chillaxin’ under the bench swing with a Big Gulp-sized bowl of water. Such intelligent eyes, no?
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    It’s hard to believe that he’s been with us for nearly eight years – all but for the first seven months of his life – but the calendar does not lie. (Nor do the wrinkles slowly lining my face, apparently.) I can still remember the day we brought him home – not like it was yesterday, but close enough. Shane and I had visited a Saturday adoption day held at a local Petco. Our goal: to find a similarly aged – though more active – friend for Ralphie the dachshund. At the time, he was fat and lazy and rather sloth-like –

    2001-12-31 - CuteRalphie-t19

    Chubby Ralphie, circa December 2001. He does not want your pity, nor does he appreciate your judgmental stare.
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    – more of a failing on our part than his. (Too many treats + too little exercise? You do the math!) Anyhow, we hoped to remedy that by bringing a more active dog into the household. We went to visit a four-year-old Lhasa Apso girl, but wound up with a seven-month-old rat terrier! The Lhasa Apso – whose name escapes me – seemed even lazier than the Ralphster; not exactly what we were hoping for. Upon noticing us, a volunteer quickly steered us toward Peedee’s cage. Before I had a chance to protest, she’d plopped this little pup-like ball of energy onto my lap. Two licks and I was in love – even though an hyper-energetic, not-yet-housetrained puppy was most definitely not what we were looking for. But love can’t easily be reasoned with (seriously, give it a try!). Within minutes – seconds – we’d decided that Peedee was coming home with us.

    (More below the fold…)

    more randomness: food, needs, food needs, dairy/rape, dennis kucinich & dogs

    Sunday, August 15th, 2010
  • After a nearly six month hiatus, I have a new post up at Animal Rights & AntiOppression! In an interview with humane educator Zoe Weil, we look at the connections between our treatment of nonhuman animals, the earth, and one another, and explore humane education as the bridge between seemingly disparate social justice movements – and the solution to our many (many!) human-made ills.

    Check it: “The World Becomes What You Teach”: An Interview With Humane Educator Zoe Weil

  • Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (psych101 students, represent!), Ellyn Satter developed a corresponding hierarchy of food needs, arguing that one cannot “choose” to consume healthy products unless one’s more basic needs – such as having enough food to eat, having acceptable food, and having reliable, ongoing access to food – are already met.

    Satter's Hierarchy of Food Needs

    Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs:
    Bottom to top, the six needs are as follows: Enough food; Acceptable food; Reliable, ongoing access to food; Good-tasting food; Novel food; and Instrumental food.

    The choice to consume vegan food (vs. the necessity of consuming vegan food) seems to rest at the apex of Satter’s hierarchy, and as such, can only be made “when all underlying needs are consistently satisfied”: “The person functioning at the apex of Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs reliably gets enough to eat of rewarding food and has food acceptance skills that are good enough to allow him or her to eat a variety of food. That person is thus in a position to consider choosing food for instrumental reasons: to achieve a desired physical, cognitive, or spiritual outcome. This description is analogous to Maslow’s concept of self actualization.”
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    While this hierarchy is primarily being discussed in relation to our consumption (or lack thereof) of nutritious, healthy food, i.e.:

    The graphic suggests that getting enough food to eat is the most important thing to people. Having food be acceptable (e.g., not rotten, something you are not allergic to) comes second. Once those two things are in place, people hope for reliable access to food and only then do they begin to worry about taste. If people have enough, acceptable, reliable, good-tasting food, then they seek out novel food experiences and begin to make choices as to what to eat for instrumental purposes (e.g., number of calories, nutritional balance).

    As Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist writes, sometimes when a person chooses to eat nutritionally deficient or fattening foods, it is not because they are “stupid, ignorant, lazy, or just a bad, bad person who loves bad, bad food.” Sometimes, it’s “because other needs come first.” (Source: Sociological Images)

    it’s equally applicable to veganism and vegan foods: obstacles such as hunger, poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to food, etc., severely constrict people’s ability to choose a vegan diet, on multiple levels (e.g., individual, community, population). As long as we’re serious about creating a vegan world, we must address these human inequities as well. (That, and it’s the right thing to do.)

    Check out the Food Empowerment Project for more.

  • (More below the fold…)

    Bittersweet Mother’s Day Kisses & Vegan Birthday Wishes

    Sunday, May 9th, 2010

    2007-08-30 - Peedee's 5th Birthday - 0033

    This Mother’s Day, I think of Kaylee. Kaylee, the dear, sweet, mild-mannered, infinitely lovable old(er) lady we adopted three and a half years ago. Kaylee, my baby girl. One of three. Seven, if you consider those loved and lost.

    This morning, as I cuddled Kaylee in bed, silently wishing her a happy Mother’s Day, I thought of her – and her own babies. In her Life Before Us, Kaylee was not spayed. Nor was she fed, housed, vetted, or otherwise cared for. Her body – large, mushy, misshapen – tells the tale of babies birthed, nursed, and…what? Oftentimes – and especially on days like these – I reflect upon this question. Where are Kaylee’s babies now?

    2010-03-25 - Kaylee - 0006

    What do they look like? Short, stocky, white and mushy like her, or…more like their father, wherever he may be? Do their butts wiggle like hers, in anticipation of a meal, a treat, or even just a bowl to lick? Do they experience the same insatiable hunger as their mother, whether for physical or emotional nourishment? Are their barks, so infrequently voiced, characterized by the same pained (at times bordering on hysterical), wookie-like roar of their mother? Perhaps, dog willing, their life circumstances have not fostered within them the same fears that drive their mother.

    Have the humans they encountered on their life’s path shown them the kindness and compassion that Kaylee has known from us – or have Kaylee’s babies only seen the cruelty and neglect that marked her own Life Before Us?

    (More below the fold…)