Tuesday, October 27, 2009

at last, my love has come along..

My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
At last, the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last

Today marked the anniversary of my second blissful year of marriage to my best friend and love of my life. Ironically, when I woke up this morning, it was gray and pouring rain, just like it was two years ago. I was running ahead of schedule (how many brides can say that?), had collected everything I needed the night before so that I wouldn't have to rush in the morning. All I had to do was shove Angst into his box (kitty carrier) and stumble through the rain to my car with him and all the other stuff I was taking. Oh, and don't forget the umbrella! I finally get out to my car and the remote entry wasn't working. Prepared to hit the killswitch on my car alarm the minute I pop open the door manually, I turn the key in the lock. No alarm. When I turn the key in the ignition...nothing. So about an hour later, after much swearing and pouting, Angst and I and all my stuff have been reloaded into Mister's truck and we're on our way to the beauty salon. At noon on the dot, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and it was a beautiful sunny day, the wet spots on the road the only indication it had rained at all. Everything went beautifully until about two hours before the ceremony, when my husband's taxi breaks down and they have to get another one and they're still 45 minutes away from the church. Miraculously (obviously), he got there on time and commenced to making me the happiest woman on earth. And he still does, every day.

In any case, there isn't a whole lot of romance you can affect on a Tuesday evening after you've both just worked a full day and it's 8:30 pm. So Mister greeted me at the door with kisses and smiles and while I was putting down my bag and taking off my jacket, he disappeared into the bedroom and came out with gorgeous long-stemmed red roses. They smell so good (and so edible, to Angst) and roses are my favorites (I know, it's cliche, whatever) and red is my favorite color. I'm such a lucky little wife. After more smiles and kisses, I got to work on dinner. We both have off from work this Friday, so we're going to have a date and celebrate for real then. Tonight, we had Chickpea Stew with Fried Polenta and this time I didn't overpulvarize the stew/sauce:
Also, we had some fun accompaniments, resulting a gorgeous (and delicious) still life:
When I was at Whole Foods on Sunday, since I was just picking up olives for the sake of eating them and not because I needed a specific kind of olive for a specific recipe, I decided to get a few of all the different kinds we've never had before. It started with these amazingly emerald green olives, then some very plump purple olives, and I know we've had them before, but these other green olives are just so good, and I'll grab some mezze mix Greek olives while I'm here... So we sampled them with dinner. It's a shame I can't remember any names...the emerald green ones were very oily and mild in flavor, which was in total contrast to the plump purple ones that were SO flavorful and bitter that I forgot for a moment that Balsamic vinegar is not made from olives.

Regarding the newest challenge of ethical decision making: I appreciate the feedback I got on my last post, specifically pointing me towards www.savethesheep.com, another PETA project. I really like it when people not only share with me their own opinions on matters like this but also provide resources that (I assume) helped them to make up their minds. I took quite a while to plod through that website and other links provided, and as always, found PETA's photojournalism to be shocking and in generally poor taste. I understand the point is to show the absolute brutal truth in the cruelty experienced in probably the vast majority of industry-related animal farming, but there is a very good reason people look at PETA fanatics the way they do: it seems like a cult. The tactics are very much the same - evoke a very strong reaction to something in order to win people to your point of view. And it works - after all, exposure to PETA propaganda and videos were what caused my first go-around with veganism in 2003.

The information on savethesheep.com and various other sites it linked to was somewhat helpful, at least in clearing up a few things regarding the treatment of wool-producing sheep and wool-harvesting procedures. I learned a few new and horrific vocabulary words, like mulesing (I'm not going into it on a full stomach - you can look it up if you're interested). However, there is a vital piece of the puzzle missing for me still. PETA has taken the time and extraordinary effort to put together a list of "cruelty-free" brands and vendors of various vegan things (leather alternatives, things of that nature) and at several points they praise the wonderful synthetic materials used in goods made at "value" stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc, as well as Victoria's Secret and other "high-end" retailers. The piece that's missing is people.

I have mentioned before that my primary reason for becoming a vegetarian was actually related to how the meat industry exploits and harms people, though I do find the mistreatment of the animals in question abhorrent as well. But what really helped me make my mind up was knowing how many more people we could share our food with if we just stopped feeding it all to the cows we breed and raise just to kill and use to overfeed our grossly overweight nation. Believe it or not (though, if you're reading this, you probably believe), there actually is enough food in the world to feed all the people of the world, but instead, we're feeding it to livestock that won't live much longer anyway. So when PETA pushes for the purchase of synthetic materials sold in the stores on their special "cruelty-free" list, it makes me wonder if PETA has forgotten that Humans, like Bees, are also animals and also should not be mistreated or exploited for other people's gain. If you took that list apart, you would probably find more of those shops purchase goods made in sweatshops than you'd be comfortable with. I don't care if I sound like a fundamentalist, God-made-man-to-rule-over-the-earth-and-everything-in-it ignoramus - I still think it's important to prevent cruelty to people who are treated about as well as these factory-farmed animals, and if that means wearing wool from a sheep rather than a cotton shirt stitched in the 11th hour of labor by a 12-year-old, well then I guess I'm just not a PETA spokesperson.

Nevertheless, I welcome more of your thoughts on how to be
1. warm
2. ethical/compassionate
3. stylish - I am NOT wearing polar-fleece or any of that other fuzzy crap and puffy coats should not exist outside of the juniors department of {insert store name here}.

So please, if you have insight for me, leave me a comment!


  1. Well, I'm not totally on board with PETA either but if you're looking for a compilation of the horrible things being done to animals in a particular industry, you can count on them having put it together for you... They have a very specific aim so I don't know if you can blame them for not taking on social issues simultaneously. If you have thought about it and decided that non-sweatshop is more important to you than vegan, then I think you should not feel bad about just making the choice that is best for you. Good luck!

    (I'm sure you've already seen this - the only wool-looking vegan coats I have ever seen - http://vautecouture.com/ - holy crap they are expensive.)

  2. hthr - thanks for the follow-up. Vaute Couture was actually what I was referring to - they have very nice looking coats, but I don't know that I'm willing to fork over $500 for a coat without seeing it or trying it on.

    It's true that PETA is a great place for bare-bones facts about the industries they stand against. It is also true that they have a focus - non-human animals - and it's better to have a focus than try to take on every bit of corruption. I'm not giving up yet - thank you for your help!