Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bad Day? Vegan Venting

I'm having a bad day. I don't know why. It's a beautiful warm, sunny day and I should be smiling more, but I'm just having one of those days. And whenever I have one of those days, inevitably the quirky customers make their way here.

This shop I work in is a little independent small business, and I do enjoy helping it stay afloat and grow (we're moving into a larger space in November). And it's true we are the only store like this around so there is some curiosity about what does a vegan shop sell, and I'm happy to give customers a tour, and answer their questions about the products. In fact, I love talking about the products because I use or wear so many of them, and am passionate about living vegan.

That said, I have some rules I'd like to post on the store wall, but since I can't because it would be rude, I think I'll post them here.

  • Please don't make excuses as to why you eat meat, saying you just want to look around to see what a vegan eats.  I'm happy to have you browse in the shop vegan or not.
  • No meat stories of how much you love your bacon, your chicken or whatever animal and the part of its flesh it is you eat, and that's why you can't be vegan. 
  • Please do not tell me that your doctor told you that you can't be vegan because it's not healthy. 
  • I'm the wrong person to ask, "but does it taste like meat?" I don't know what that means and I don't have the answer for that because I haven't eaten animal flesh since 1984. 
  • Please don't tell me that I look healthy, as if surprised by that.
  • Don't tell me that you're veg, but you eat chicken and fish...oh yes, and turkey on the holidays. I get it. FYI, that's not veg!!!!

I'm not sure if people are feeling uncomfortable or guilty or what when they say these absurd things. I'm trying to imagine myself going into a deli and saying to the staff, "I'm vegan, but I just want to see what a carnivore eats," or with much surprise in my voice "You're a carnivore? You look healthy." Can you imagine saying that to someone, as in a complete stranger you've never met?

Actually it's kind of funny to try and reverse these. It's making my day better already.

I just had to vent a little to help get me through this day. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OMG! Lynda Barry is going to be at Van City's Writers & Readers Festival!

OMG! It's the same weekend I'm going to Portland to run the Columbia Gorge half marathon!

She's speaking on the Friday (the day we leave), so I might be able to cram that in before we leave. Ha! I'll have to be one organized whoville that week. I still have to ask for the full day off of work. (Right now I just have a half day off, but I think I need the full day to get ready to go away.)

The festival is also offering a workshop on the Sunday. It's a three hour workshop with Lynda Barry. What an opportunity to have some fun, get creative, and learn. Ah well...maybe another time, or maybe I'll take her workbook with me (Do You Wish You Could Write), and do my own workshop (6-7 hours in the car gives me lots of time).

That reminds me, I have this great picture of my sis on the beach that I took while we were in N.B. on vacation. She has her hair tied back, is laughing, and is wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses. I can't post the picture because I don't post pictures where you can identify people (personal choice), but for the record she reminds me of a Lynda Barry character. It might be the mirrored sunglass that gives her that eyes-with-no-pupils look that Barry's main characters have since they all wear glasses. Sis looks a little bit like Maybonne. My sis can probably relate to Maybonne, and many of us do, which is what is so appealing about Barry's characters. Maybe I'll use the photo as a jumping off point.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My first pair of knit socks of the season!

Vegan knitting can be a challenge sometimes, but like everything vegan, once you figure out where to find what you need and what to look for a whole new exciting world opens up. And just like grocery shopping, when I yarn shop I'm a label reader.

This yarn is a beautiful blend of bamboo, soy, and elastic from Crystal Palace. I found it in a small yarn shop in Van City that doesn't have a lot of non-wool options, but as soon as I felt the softness of this yarn, I knew I had to make something with it.

It's a bit difficult to see the spiral pattern I used since the yarn itself is multi-coloured, but that's okay you get the idea.

While at the store one day, I was chit-chatting with a customer and discovered that she is not only a vegan knitter, but spins and hand-dyes her own vegan yarn. She has some beautiful yarn that you can see on her Quo Vadis Handspun Yarn etsy page here. I'm dying (pun intended) to order something, but...I'll have to save my pennies for a bit.

I've already started a second pair of socks just doing a simple cable pattern with a yarn that is a warm acrylic that should make a cozy pair of socks for the winter.

I'm just going to keep knitting my stash while I'm in the knitting mood. I don't know where these projects will end up, but maybe it'll be a gift for you. Who knows? 

Ikea Hacker

red jane sent this great Ikea hacker for cat boxes link to me. It's a fun site. There are all kinds of ideas on what you can do with Ikea furniture, but I really love the cat box ideas. I'm already trying to think up my own solution that would suit our place.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Run Vegan Run!

What's the best way to get over pneumonia? Why, run a half marathon of course! Just kidding.

With my Achilles issues, and then my illness, my running season started to look bleak. I had to cancel my plans to run the Bellingham Half and the Rubber Ducky Half in Burnaby. I was pretty bummed. It looked like my running season would go without any race run. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I've run at least one event every year since I started running because it's one of my favourite things to do.

At the start of 2010, I was dreaming of running the Portland Marathon, but as the season wore on and the kilometres did not accumulate as I had hoped, I realized that once again I would have to put that dream on hold. Then, in the middle of my illness when I was feeling pretty low, db came to me with info about the Columbia Gorge race. It's just outside of Portland in Hood River, Oregon (a city I've been longing to go to since it's a vegan haven), and seems to be one of the most beautiful race locations along the Columbia river.
I became hopeful again. Of course it would all depend on how I felt running after having been sick.

I ran on Tuesday for the first time since getting sick and felt okay. I went further than I thought I would. It's still a bit difficult to take a deep breath, but I felt okay running with a couple of walk breaks.

Today I ran again, and felt even stronger. I kept thinking about the race to keep motivated. 

Last night we booked our hotel just outside of Hood River, since everything in Hood River seemed to be fully booked. We could stay in Portland, but it's at least an hour or more of a drive from the start line. We found another hotel only about a half hour from Hood River and booked that. db said even if I end up not running, we can at least go to Portland. It's also a big grape growing region for Washington and Oregon, so I'm sure we could find something to do as in visit a vineyard or two.

I'll run though. I haven't felt this motivated in a long time. Even if my time sucks and I have to walk the big hills, I'm going to finish this race. It is a hilly race too. Look at the elevation profile.

The steepest grade is only 5%, but it's a hilly route and looks demanding. I like the downhill to the finish though, that's always nice.

So, it's game on! I'm going for it. I haven't run a half marathon distance in a while...well, since my last half marathon last year, but I've consistently run more than 10 k throughout the year so I think the distance running memory is there. It also really helps to have lots of experience, so I know that I can at least be mentally tough when I need to (as in getting over those hills).

I can't wait!

Friday, September 10, 2010

back to the vacation photos

Okay, now that I'm feeling better I can get back to posting more vacation photos.

The second day of our trip it was a bit cloudier, and at times it seemed foggy. There's lots of places to walk with the new and old logging roads giving access to all kinds of areas. My brother knows the area so well that he knows all the best routes to the brooks.
My brother's dog, Little Joe, is a bit older now and he likes to travel in the backpack when we go for longer walks.

This looks a lot like fireweed that we have on the west coast. 
Another beaver lodge at this brook not far from the camp. 
Love the frogs. 

What's everyone looking at? Well, except for Little Joe whose nose you can just see poking out from under the blanket. The mist was heavy at times so we covered him up.
db took this photo of my brother. It looks like a good horror film shot. 
Little salamander on the road.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Thanks everyone for your well wishes.

db and I went to the hospital Saturday afternoon because all of the clinics around here close early on Saturdays, but it turned out to be for the best. While I was there I had a chest x-ray that revealed I had pneumonia. I know it's not good to hear a doctor tell you that, but I was actually relieved because at least I knew what I had, and could be treated for it.

So I'm on antibiotics for a week and they do seem to be helping as each day I have a little more energy, and am coughing less. One downside is that a side effect of the drug is headaches, and I'm getting one daily at around the same time that stays with me until I fall asleep at night. Not fun, but at least I'm getting better.

I hope to post more vacation pictures soon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

watching the clock

I'm at work and counting the remaining hours until I can put my head back down on a pillow. I've been to fluville this past week, and it wasn't pretty.

It started Friday when I was feeling light-headed, but thought I just needed more food or water or something.

Saturday I had some routine bloodwork done so I had been fasting, so when I was light-headed again, I thought it was due to this. However, as the day progressed so did my symptoms, and it became clear to me that I had a fever (chills were setting in). I couldn't finish my lunch (never happens), and I could barely walk by the time I finished work. I had to take a cab home because db didn't have the company car.

Once at home I crashed, and the next three days are a bit of a blurr of fever, chills, a constant unforgiving headache, and, my personal favourite, nausea. I had no appetite. I've been hyper sensitive to smells, and occasionally light. All I could eat was a bit of fresh fruit and drink some water, but I was even having a hard time drinking water because of the nausea.

db was taking great care of me (of course), and the cats thoroughly enjoyed having the sofabed open in the living room (especially Gigi).

Finally (day 3) I asked db to call 811, which is the health advice line where they put you in touch with a nurse. I was concerned about taking Advil. He spoke to the nurse, and she suggested I switch from Ibuprofen to Extra Strength Tylenol since the Ib might be upsetting my stomach. She also said to see a doctor if I wasn't improving.

Guess what? After the X.S. Tylenol and more suffering overnight, I decided to go to see my doctor. This was yesterday. Miraculously my fever had come down by the morning, but I was still very nauseous and my headache was worse than any migraine I've ever had.  db came home from work to take me to the doctor who prescribed some awfully strong stuff that under any other circumstances I would have said a definite no to. She also suggested gravol for the nausea.

With the prescription filled, we headed home. The whole trip to and from the doctor really shook me up. Not surprising (okay, you're getting all of the details now) when I got home and back into my pjs, I threw up. There wasn't much to throw up. It was pathetic really. db got a new tablet into me -- after I forced a peach down because it has to be taken with food -- and stayed with me until I was settled. He went back to work, and I slept until the nausea rose again. I haven't thrown up in years, and I've forgotten how *pleasant* it truly is.

I reluctantly took a gravol, which isn't vegan by the way and that really pissed me off because I felt at the mercy of the medicine available to me in a fix, and then things got really surreal. I forgot how gravol makes me completely off balance. The least sudden movement and I was thrown off balance.

Last night I was able to eat some rice with a drop of Bragg's on top. I ate maybe a cup, and then more blueberries later. My nausea was fading with the headache. I went to bed with some hope, but worried about work. There was no one to cover me, and if I don't show up the store doesn't open up.

I gave myself lots of time to get ready for work. My hair was a little insane, and I was shocked when I saw myself in the mirror. I think it was turning into dreads. db came home to drive me to work, or else I probably would not have gone. Public transit is fine when you're healthy and can read, but otherwise no thanks. 

So here I am watching the clock until I can close the store. I'm okay. I had a fever again overnight, but none this morning. I am still light-headed and weak (probably because I've only eat about a cup and half of fruit, two pieces of toast, and some rice over the last three days. I did make a smoothie this morning (sans Vega -- I can't stomach it yet), but only drank half. My appetite needs to build again. I don't have a strong desire for any foods, but I keep trying.

Here's to tomorrow.