Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years. Ish. I have been sort of flirting with becoming a vegan for the past year or so, but just couldn't commit. About a month ago, I decided to just go for it and give it a whirl. Because I'm a nerd and completely obsessive compulsive, I also decided to read everything I could find about the proper way to be a vegan, the many health benefits, and (of course) the effects that eating meat/dairy have on animals and the environment. I have learned a lot of things since my vegan conversion, and since I'm sure your life's purpose hinges delicately on reading my thoughts, I would like to share them with you. Feel free to tell a friend.

1. There are only two ways for people to tell other people that they're a vegan. They are either profoundly apologetic (identifiable by a slight cringe and eye aversion when they say, carefully, "Oh, no thanks...I'm a...vegan" or ridiculously entitled. This one is probably more common, and generally accompanied with a condescending, pitying shrug while the person talking tallies up yet another person to whom they are intellectually and physically superior.

2. I am a terrible cook. Seriously. Now, to be fair, I bake delicious pasties and desserts, but when it comes to cooking meals, I am just not the best. I've tried multiple new dishes, and have found about two that are great. The rest I have managed to mess up. Tofu, really? Who actually cooks with that?

3. It's a good idea, if you're a vegan (who isn't out to convert the world to your way of thinking through instilling shame) to come up with lots of fun reasons that you have made this choice, because literally everyone you know will want to ask you why you've decided to avoid animal products. The truth is, they don't REALLY want to know, because telling them all the yucky truths will make them uncomfortable. Better to give fun reasons, like "I'm animals. All of them. When ingested, they would cause my stomach to spontaneously combust" or "Look, there's a war coming, and we all have to choose sides. The plants have built an army, and I'm putting my money on them. They've got strong roots," or "Well, I watched The Land Before Time a lot as a kid, and I really admire Littlefoot's character, especially when you consider what a scallywag that Sharptooth villain turned out to be."

4. Irony of all ironies, after posting that ode to bananas, it turns out I'm allergic to them. This also leads to something else that I have learned, which is that I am the absolute worst at noticing things. It was weeks of pain and sickness before I connected the fact that bananas were the culprit.

5. WholeFoods. Sure, I spent $45 on about six items, but I could have spent all day in there. I like a little bit of pretention with my shopping experience, thank you very much. I also like the fact that unlike at Giant (where I am now forced to do ALL of my grocery shopping) there are aisles upon aisles upon aisles of vegan deliciousness. And things are frequently labeled "vegan," which saves me work. I don't like work.

6. Some surprisingly non-vegan foods that I am currently mourning: candy corn, gummy candy (obviously my priorities are candy-related), Utz Specials pretzels, croutons, all varieties of Special K, my favorite Aurora granola, Jell-o Mousse.

7. They make a vegan food pyramid! It's a whole lot like the regular food pyramid, designed to make you hyperaware that you're doing a terrible job at feeding yourself. But just look at how fun and tropical it looks!


Sunday, May 15, 2011


We got a new puppy. His name is Duncan, and please take a moment and picture the cutest thing you've ever seen. Is it a fat little baby? A kitten in a basket? He's cuter than a lot. This blog, however, is not about him...not even about the fact that he's a freaking genius and learned to sit on command at 10 weeks old in about 10 minutes. Or the fact that he has green eyes and loves everyone. It is, instead, about the fact that when you get a new puppy, you get to wake up at stupid o'clock every morning to avoid spending the first 45 minutes of your day cleaning up a crate covered in poo. I'm not complaining! I knew that this is what happens...and it's a fun bonding time. Duncan and I have started watching the series My So-Called Life on Netflix every morning. And here, friends, is where my story begins.

If you've never seen this show, I can catch you up pretty quickly. Angela Chase, played by a really skinny Claire Danes, is a sophomore in high school, and full of teen angst. She has friends that her parents don't approve of, is in love with a derelict (but really hot) boy who likes to lean on lockers and sigh heavily, and narrates the show with adolescent philosophical commentary. That pretty much covers it. Oh, and since it was filmed in the 90's, she wears a lot of plaid shirts with everything. I mean, with EVERYTHING. Plaid shirts with overalls (I totally wore those in high school, by the way, and they were cool. I swear. Rachel in Friends wore them, so just TRY to dispute that), plaid shirts with flowered dresses, plaid shirts with tights. Plaid, plaid, plaid. Thanks, 1995.

I remember watching this show and being astonished on a weekly basis by how much Angela GOT me. I was totally in love with the Jordan Catalano of my high school! I also felt misunderstood and far too smart for everyone around me. I couldn't believe the trials she faced, I cried when Jordan stood her up, I felt an instant and perpetual dislike for her overbearing mother who just refused to understand anything. I didn't feel like I WAS Angela, but I got it. I loved that show! It, along with Beverly Hills 90210 and Friends, was a show I really tried not to miss, because I was really invested in her life. It spoke to me.

So naturally, when it was added to the Netflix instant queue, I was pumped. Added it immediately. And was completely thrown when the following things were my new thoughts:
* Angela, shut UP. Jesus Christ, you have a really nice life, stop flipping whining and be nicer to your parents.
* That poor mother. She is literally doing everything she can to cater to her moody, bitchy, ungrateful teenage daughter, and all the girl does in response is moan, run her fingers through her hair, and complain.
* Rayanne might be the most annoying high school friend I can imagine. What a drain.
* Jordan Catalano...still hot. Also kind of a dick. And dumb. Where is he going in life? Where is his ambition? I mean, if he can't even come meet her parents, how is he going to be supportive? What kind of presents would he get her for their anniversary (a lot of my opinions are formed based on material gifts, apparently.)
* None of her philosophies make any sense, and are completely formed in an egotistical, self-important, entitled frame of mind. Again, shut UP and maybe try having a conviction that goes beyond yourself. For a girl who has never faced any serious or legitimate tribulation, she sure does pity herself.

I'm going to stop there, because I already know what you're thinking. Don't feel bad, I thought it too. I'm old. I am literally closer in age to Angela's mother (who is 40) than Angela (who is 15.) When did that happen? And what did my poor parents think when I was telling them what an important show this was? To be fair, I never had issues with my parents like Angela did. My parents do, and always did, rock. But they must have been a little nervous. So that's what I've learned, friends. I'm kind of old. I just really hope Duncan never dyes his hair, makes questionable new friends, or starts going out at all hours of the night in the hopes of starting a relationship that is destined to disappoint him and ruin his self-esteem. I think we should start watching Full House.