An Experiment...

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about what I eat and, more specifically, the moral/ethical implications of my food-buying choices (both at stores and restaurants). This has lead me to care about two things that I hadn't thought about much in the past: buying locally-produced food, and reducing the animal cruelty that results from my food choices.

Over the past year or two, I've greatly increased our use of locally-produced food by joining a CSA, choosing local foods at the supermarket, preserving local foods in the summer to eat in the winter, and preferring restaurants that use locally-sourced food. There is still room for improvement in this area, but I feel good about about what we're doing.

I've been struggling, though, to figure out what to do about the animal cruelty that is rampant in our food supply chain. This is a difficult issue for me, because I really don't have a problem with killing animals for food, but I do have a very serious problem with torturing them while they are alive.
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This has resulted in me thinking a lot, but doing nothing. I hate it when I get that way, so I decided to do something to break the deadlock.

After talking to Kevin, we've decided that we will eat a vegetarian diet (at least at home) for the next month.
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This experiment has two goals: (1) it will substantially reduce the amount of money we spend on inhumanely-produced animal products over the next month, and (2) it will help us understand how difficult it would be to eliminate most animal products from our diets longer-term.

I don't think it is likely that we will decide to become vegetarians in the long term. I do hope, though, to establish a base-line vegetarian diet that works for us, so that we can make more considered choices about what animals products we add to that diet in the future.
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    hopeful hopeful

More About Food...

I am, for various reasons, considering the possibility of trying a vegan diet for a month, perhaps in late Feb and early March.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the inhumanity of the methods we use to produce our food, animal products in particular, and seriously considering making changes to my diet to withdraw my (financial) contribution to those methods. I'm currently thinking that a good way to do that might be to eat vegan for a while, and then mindfully add back animal products that I know have been humanely produced, in some cases by people I know.

I'm not 100% certain how/if that would work for me, which is why I am considering a one month trial. It might involve cooking different meals for me and the kids sometimes (of course I already do that in some cases), and I'm concerned about the impact it might have on the people who cook for me, although I might eventually make an exception for things that I didn't buy, either at the store or a restaurant.

This isn't something I am considering for religious reasons, or due to any sort of peer pressure. It's a case where I am struggling to figure out what I think is right, and also to figure out what I want to do about it.


Losing things...

I'm not having a good weekend...

I left my cell phone at meadmaker's and tigira's house yesterday. It has been confirmed that they have it, and I should get it back tomorrow.

Today started with a fraud protection call from one of my credit card companies. I tried to find my credit card and discovered that I couldn't find the small clutch purse that contains my credit cards, license, etc. I also couldn't find my car keys, which I know I brought home last night, because I used them to drive here.

Stuff from my larger purse was spewed across my kitchen floor when I came down after showering this morning, and I suspected that Zoe had done it. I later found my car keys in one of the many bags that Zoe carries around when she is pretending to be me, and that seemed like confirmation that Zoe had been into my things. I still haven't found my purse/wallet, though, and Zoe claims that she found my car keys on the floor.

There were three charges on one of my credit card today that neither Kevin nor I made... (at a Tedeschi, a CVS and a McDonald's). So, I'm not sure what is going on... I wonder if someone could have come into my house late last night, dumped my purse on the ground, and stolen my little clutch purse/wallet?

Hopefully it will turn up soon, so I can stop feeling paranoid, on top of everything else.
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    stressed stressed


I am feeling very frazzled today. I have lot going on, emotionally, logistically, professionally, personally... I think it is all just a little too much for me, right now.

In two days, I leave for Washington State, where I'll help Glenn & Beth finish packing and drive with them across the country to their new home in Carrolton, Georgia. I can't wait to see them, and I'm looking forward to the trip, but I have _so much to do_ before I leave!

This are very busy at work right now. I'm finishing up one project, another project is being more time-consuming than expected, and I'm already behind on the next project, the one I should have already started!

I've been having some tension in my personal life that I've trying to sort out over the past couple of weeks. As most of you probably know, tension in my personal life stresses me out a lot more than other types of tension.

I have a lot of laundry to do over the next two days, to prepare for my trip, and our washing machine picked _this moment_ to start leaking all over the floor. I guess I'll have to make time to go to a laundromat today or tomorrow. *sigh*

This morning, I need to make Roasted Root Vegetables for a Mabon feast this afternoon. I also wanted to make a double-batch of Turkey Tetrazzini for Kevin and the kids to eat while I'm gone. But, the power is out! *sigh*

I could really use a break right now...
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    stressed stressed

Nerd of Love

I read this in a recent Polyamory in the News article, and it made me smile:

A 1976 study by psychologist Jacquelyn Knapp found that polyamorous people do indeed have character traits in common. They tend to be individualistic, academic, nonconformist and stimulated by complexity. They like endless communication. They enjoy picking over every subject in dizzying detail. Polyamorous people are the nerds of love.

I don't usually self-identify as "poly", because I don't always relate to the ways that other people define the term, but I can relate to this. I am definitely one of the "nerds of love" and proud of it! :-)

To Do Today

Today should be a nice quiet day at home. Goals for the day include:

- Get the guest room ready for a visitor later this week. A good friend from the IETF is coming to town for a career fair and will be staying with us for a couple of days. I'm really looking forward to seeing him outside of the IETF context.

- Label all of my canned goods and put them away -- I currently have peach jam, peach chutney, three kinds of pickles and lots of salsa precariously piled in my kitchen.

- Put away all of my canning equipment and supplies (also precariously piled in the kitchen). I don't think I'll be doing any more canning until mid-October (when I'll do applesauce!), so there is no reason to keep my canning stuff out for that long.

- Make carrot soup for a potluck tonight. I have _all of the carrots in the world_ in my other 'fridge, and I am planning to use all of them to make carrot soup. I'll take some to the potluck, leave some here for Kevin and the kids, and freeze the rest for later.

- Bake a loaf of fresh bread for Kevin and the kids to have with their soup tonight while I'm out.

- Organize and put away Zoe's clothes, again. This is a never-ending battle (*sigh*), but if I do it now it should make it easier to get Zoe dressed and off to school during the next couple of weeks, at least.

In 10 days (on Tuesday, the 25th), I'll be heading to Washington to help Glenn and Beth finish packing, and then I'll drive with them across the country to Carrolton, Georgia. I'm really looking forward to seeing Glenn and Beth -- it will have been about 2 months, which is _much too long_. I'm also looking forward to all of us living in the same timezone, at least. Yay!

I'm hoping to get my house organized and get a bunch of good meals into the freezer before I go, to make things easier for Kevin while I'm gone.
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    cheerful cheerful

Wonderful Weekend!

I had a very busy and very enjoyable weekend featuring many of my favorite people and lots of great food.

The weekend started early, on Thursday, when Carolyn and I went out to Bistro 5 for their "Tomato Celebration" -- five courses, all featuring tomatoes in different forms. The food and the company were both wonderful!

On Friday, Kevin and I made Pasta with Basil Pesto for dinner. It was a good chance to use up the basil I'd accumulated from various places, and we ended up with enough pesto to use half of it for dinner and freeze the other half for later.

Saturday, Kevin and Rachel went off to Connecticut for a LARP, and Zoe and I ended up spending the day with meadmaker, tigira and their son, F. We went to the zoo, learned how to make mozzarella, and went to a party hosted by mutual friends. Zoe was well-behaved all day, and seemed to have as good a time as I did. Zoe and F must have had a good time together, because at the end of the day they asked if Zoe could sleep over at F's house. It wouldn't have worked that night, but we're arranging a sleepover for next weekend. Zoe was so tired when we got home that Kevin had to carry her up to bed.

Today, I made a nice brunch of Mushroom Omelets and Turkey Bacon for my family. Then, Kevin and I made and canned salsa, mostly using tomatoes and peppers from my garden. I also ran out to get school supplies for Owen and Rachel.

Tonight, I went out to dinner with Rehmi at the Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, where we had an excellent conversation, and multiple rounds of Laphroaig Foie Gras. Mmmmm.

All-in-all this was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time...
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    happy happy

A Day to Myself...

What would you do if you had a rare afternoon and evening to yourself?

I would, apparently:

- Do a little weeding in my garden.
- Harvest tomatoes and peppers.
- Chat with a couple of friends online.
- Listen to large tracts of my music collection.
- Order summer reading books for my kids.
- Make/can tomato sauce (with tomatoes from my garden & CSA).
- Work on getting the chemicals balanced in my hot tub.
- Make a nice dinner for me and my son.
- Thoroughly clean my kitchen.

It was a nice, quiet, low-key, domestic day. Just what I needed!
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    cheerful cheerful

Wildlife Identification

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?

These pictures were taken at Stonehenge, in the UK. We saw these birds all over Wiltshire County (where Stonehenge is located), and out by Glastonbury. They are mid-sized birds -- larger than a cardinal, but smaller than an American crow. They are too small to be ravens, and they lack the oily-looking feathers and raucous caw of an American crow. Their beak (which you can see in the second picture) is straight, sharp and black, so I don't think they could be blackbirds (which have an orange beak). Thoughts?

Could they be rooks? Or carrion crows? Is anyone familiar-enough with those species to recognize them?
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    curious curious