My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm in a fog



This reminds me we have window screens to replace,
but not because of naughty kitties.
Grasshoppers chewed holes in them last year!

This is just a quick post to prove, to myself as much as to anyone else, that I haven't fallen off the planet. I've been feeling so badly about abandoning my blog (and blogging community), but there's been little I could do about it. I'll write more about what's been going on with us when I have more time. For now, suffice to say that although I'm over that heinous flu, I'm not yet completely over the horrid, tubucular-sounding cough (or my poor, sore ribs!), and we're still spring cleaning, making repairs, home improvements and doing spring maintenance, along with sorting, culling and organizing EVERYTHING we own. We even rented a storage unit into which we've put a huge amount of stuff, all cleaned and priced, for a giant yard sale Robyn and I are having the weekend after BW and I get back from Oregon. So I needed to get it all ready ahead of time, and figured that while we were cleaning out all our drawers, closets, cupboards, storage rooms and the garage would be the perfect time! (I'm obviously insane). I must say, the culling part has been the most gratifying. It's dreadful, the amount of stuff you can accumulate when you live in the same place for 19 years, especially when you have too much room in which to store it!

Anyway, we've made great progress but still have plenty left to do. Especially outdoor projects, as we do every spring after our long winters when the weather finally turns nice. But the current view out our windows indicates that won't be for a little while yet. It's been snowing all afternoon and we've actually had blizzard conditions from time to time. It was only supposed to rain, so we were surprised to look out the windows and find ourselves in what appeared to be a snow globe that was being violently shaken!

We've had several foggy days this week, and I took some sunrise photos from our deck I wanted to share while I had a couple of minutes. The first one I took one morning last week, the other two I just took this morning...


See the moon in the upper right?


Shortly after I took this morning's photos, the fog came racing up the mountain and engulfed us. It toyed with us all day - socking us in, then lifting or flowing back down the mountain for a while before swallowing us up again - before getting down to serious business with this snowstorm.

(Here's our view the day after I published this post)

I've done other posts in the past about our fog and the incredible views it often gives us. One of my favorites is On Little Cat Feet, with more fog photos from our deck along with a few nice quotes about fog.

I'd be lying if I said I'd be able to resume my old blogging habits before mid-April, but at least I've been coming up with some fun blogging ideas while I'm dusting, scrubbing, painting, sorting and hauling! :-) I hope everyone is doing well and can't wait to catch up with your blogs (and/or your emails), along with poor neglected Mehitable!

Have a great week!
☀☀☀☀☀☀

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a loyal friend, a thoughtful sister, ways to help



Do not be daunted by the world's grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.
~The Talmud

I was in town all day today, so when I got home I got online to catch up on the news and happened to see this poignant news clip tucked away at the bottom of the latest, mostly grim headlines from Japan. Since I couldn't figure out how to embed the MSNBC clip, I found the original (and somewhat longer) news video from Japanese television on YouTube. But unless you understand Japanese, you'll want to watch the MSNBC clip to get the details of the story of a loyal friend who refused to leave the side of his injured companion, both victims of the earthquake and tsunami...



Update: Though CNN and other sites had reported that both dogs had been rescued, with the ailing dog under the care of a veterinarian and the other in the care of a shelter (good news I'd also originally passed along in this post), I finally had time to look for an update on the status of the two dogs and found this discouraging news from GlobalAnimal. No one has been able to confirm their rescue nor their whereabouts, some animal rescue organizations working in Japan have been unable to find them, and there is growing suspicion and concern that the man who claimed on his Facebook page to have rescued them (and has been raising money there too) may be a fraud. I wish I hadn't had to take down the happy news of their safety and replace it with this, but encourage you to stay tuned to the GlobalAnimal page for updates. (They do have some good Japan animal-rescue news to share, along with information about how to help in that effort, and a lot of other information and resources about helping animals around the the world).

Although good news from Japan is in tragically short supply, here's another story with as happy an ending as we could hope for in such a calamity. Akiko, a Japanese student from Minamisanriku (a village wiped out in the tsunami with more than half its population still missing) was attending the University of California at Riverside when the disaster struck her hometown. Frantic for news of her family, she was unable to reach or get any word of them until a friend in Japan told her that her house and her older sister were in a video on YouTube. Their house was the only one still standing in their neighborhood, and her sister had the incredible presence of mind to attract the attention of a TV news crew and hold up a sign to let her sister in America know that her family was safe. And in an amazingly short time, her message made it to Akiko in Riverside. If you didn't think the Internet was a powerful thing, or that the world really is a small and connected place, this story should convince you!

In separateness lies the world's great misery;
in compassion lies the world's true strength.
~The Buddha

And of course the internet is a powerful tool for reaching out to faraway places and finding ways to help all who are suffering in the aftermath of any tragedy. Here are some ways to help our human and non-human friends in Japan (and elsewhere, as sadly there is great need in many places)...

Charity Navigator, a valuable tool for charitable giving under normal circumstances, is particularly useful now. They've provided a list of charities helping in Japan so that you can see at a glance how they are rated, along with sharing helpful tips on making your contribution do the most good and how to avoid scams.

Food for Life Global is a less well-known aid organization that seldom makes these lists but is a personal favorite of ours, as they provide healthy, sustainable vegan food to the hungry, impoverished, and victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Best Friends Animal Society's website has information about and some links to several Japanese animal rescue organizations that you can donate to, along with World Vets (a sort of Doctors Without Borders for critters), who are preparing to ship supplies and assist animal victims in Japan.

And if you're unable to donate money, sweet Eva has thoughtfully posted a fantastic list of many easy and free ways to help Japan's victims on her wonderful blog, Four Leaf Clover. (Thanks, Eva!)

Render help and kindness, wherever it is needed,

to all life, great or small.

Suffering has no boundaries, neither should compassion.

~Holy Lance


❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖

In local news, my home improvement and spring cleaning/culling projects, which had been going so well and seeing such great progress, suffered a setback when a feverish flu bug finally bit me so hard I could no longer ignore it and so I spent all of yesterday in bed. I felt well enough today to run my weekly errands (plus keep my haircut and Josie's vet appointments, though I nixed my massage), but now have lost two days and went from feeling ahead of the game to feeling horribly behind. I've got another busy couple of weeks ahead and doubt I'll have time to post, but I'll try during breaks to catch up on replying to your wonderful comments and visiting everyone's blogs (I'm way behind on those, too!)

And since I won't have time to do a St. Patrick's Day post tomorrow, I'll just take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day, and share the link to Mitten Machen's delicious recipe for Tempeh Stuffed Cabbage, which is what we made for our St. Patrick's Day dinner last year and what we'd be enjoying again this year but for a current tempeh shortage and the fact I forgot to buy cabbage today. (Hey, I was still delirious with fever! Well, a little bit.) :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Pi tune for Pi Day



Today being 3.14, it's known in math circles (← geometry pun) as "Pi Day." Now, I don't run in math circles (I just run in circles while trying to do math, which is a horse of an entirely different color), but while continuing my spring cleaning this morning I caught a story on NPR's Morning Edition about this musician, John Michael Blake, who decided to celebrate Pi Day by setting ∏ to music.

I'd originally posted a video of Blake explaining and performing his "Pi Song" but almost immediately after the NPR story ran, someone named Lars Erickson filed a copyright claim so YouTube took it down. I'd managed to replace it with another that was still there, but it's gone now too. The discussion in the comments section on the NPR story page made it sound like Erickson's copyright claim is tenuous, and Blake has filed a counter claim with YouTube and hopes to get his videos restored. So while we wait for all that brouhaha to be resolved, here's another quite different but still fun song based on and all about Pi, explained and performed (a cappella) by Lucy Kaplansky and written by her late mathematician father, Irving Kaplansky...


John Michael Blake won the lawsuit and his Pi Song video is back!


And once you've listened to one or both of the Pi Songs, enjoy a piece of pi(e)! And have a happy Pi Day ~ the sort of day where your blessings multiply, nothing is divisive and everything totally adds up. (End of math puns.). :-)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I give you Lola, Queen of Schlumpy


So many of this week's events, both global and closer to home, have left me feeling saddened, dazed and schlumpy.

What's "schlumpy" you may ask? Well, in using it to describe how I feel, I'd define it as, "fretful, drained, dispirited, vexed, and listless." Easier to just say "I feel schlumpy."

But it can also be used to describe a physical posture or attitude, and used this way it has a much more positive - and adorable - meaning.

In a recent post, my friend Molly shared some photos of her dogs Emma and Rowan modeling some new (though disappointingly ill-fitting) slipper socks, meant to keep them from sliding, clicking and marring Molly's brand new laminate floors. (Happily, different slipper socks were a success!) In this photo on that post, Rowan is sitting ~ front paw dangling daintily - in a pose that's not unusual for her and that Molly said in one of her comments makes her look "so schlumpy and cute." I fell immediately in love with that word, asked Molly if I could "borrow it," and thought of all kinds of uses to which it could be put; the first one being a perfect way to describe Lola.

When BW and I were advertising our Valkyrie for sale about four years ago, we were contacted by an interested party in Iceland named Björn. In the end he didn't buy the Valk, but our email exchanges continued on anyway for quite some time and were great fun. Björn often shared beautiful photos of his local area, like this one he took of Iceland's stunning waterfalls, Gullfoss...

I encourage you to click on the above link I provided
to read the inspiring story of Sigríður Tómasdóttir,
especially if you need a reminder of the difference
that one determined and devoted person can make!

But my favorite photos Björn shared were of his precious yellow lab companion, Lola. Most of the photos showed Lola being beautiful, Lola being dignified and Lola being adorable (or, as in this photo of her watching "Mom" making dinner in the kitchen, all three simultaneously)...


But when it came to the "schlumpy and cute" Rowan-style of schlumpy (as opposed to my current form of grumpy schlumpy), Lola had it down to an art form. Lola personified schlumpy. Lola was a schlumpy goddess. Lola was, in fact, what schlumpy is all about!

And so I present to you Lola, Queen of Schlumpy!


Björn said in his email that accompanied this picture that Lola liked to watch television sitting on her blanket on the sofa and leaning back against the armrest, but that after a while she'd doze off and slide into the completely "schlumped" position on display here, sound asleep and snoring like a jet engine toward the ceiling! This photo never fails to make me laugh and remains one of my all-time favorite pictures ever.

Unfortunately, Björn and I eventually lost touch and after a computer crash and several ISP changes, I no longer have his email address and he no longer has mine, and I can't remember what town he lived in or his last name. So I don't know how Lola is faring these days, but I love to picture her like this, happily, peacefully, schlumpily being Lola, without a care in the world. And that image always brings me my own little bit of joy, no matter what else is going on.

Thanks, Lola and Björn, wherever you are! (And thanks, Molly, for introducing me to a great word!)


And to all our fellow beings who are suffering so in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, our heavy hearts go out to you and our love, thoughts and prayers are with you.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Randomness Rules! A hodgepodge post


Random hodgepodge indeed... in the following post may I present some scrumptious soup, vegan values (the $ kind), an appreciated award and some bodacious blogs!

But first, a brief (no, really!) update...

As of yesterday our pellet stove is fixed and income taxes filed (BW is a rock star), and as of today the new beadboard ceilings and trim are installed at last. So now I'm in the throes of bouncing between spring cleaning our kitchen (a chore that takes me several days because I'm obsessively thorough), and spackling, sanding, touch-up painting, and scrubbing the guest room walls and ceilings so we can move everything back into them this weekend.

But all work and no play makes Laloofah a dull (and very cranky) girl, I've had a crappy cold since Sunday morning, BW is having to work very late tonight (*scowl*), and stuff I want to blog about has been piling up alarmingly - all of which I'm using as an excuse to take a blogging break!

End of update, now onto the scrumptious soup!

You probably think, judging from my most recent recipe posts, that all we eat is soup and muffins around here. Though I'd be lying if I said I couldn't happily subsist on those for quite a while, we really have been eating other nummies but I've either blogged about them before, didn't bother to take photos, or did bother to take photos and they're in that growing to-be-blogged-about pile I mentioned. But we really do love soup and eat a lot of it during the winter (Sept 14 - July 10 in these parts). ;-)

So yesterday we tried a new recipe for African Kale and Yam Soup that I'd found last week on Happy Herbivore. It was easy to make, quick to cook, brilliantly healthy and fantastically flavorful! Colorfully pretty, too...

Our African Kale & Yam Soup from Happy Herbivore

We didn't deviate one bit from the original recipe, nor will we the next time(s) we make it... but there is one little bitty thing we'll do differently next time. BW's the one who added the curry while I was working in the basement, he didn't know which of our four curry blends to use, and he just happened to pick the hottest one. Since he loves hot spices, I'm not necessarily buying his "aw shucks, I didn't know it was the hottest one, it was an accident" schtick, even if he is a rock star! Anyway, you can make this soup as spicy-hot or mild as you want, depending on your curry. Next time we'll use a half-and-half mix of our mildest and our hottest, because the hottest - made by a local woman from India who roasts and grinds her own spices - has a lot of flavor along with the heat.


Today one of my favorite blogs, Vegan Backpacker, announced a new project they've launched called Vegan Cuts, a membership web site that will offer special deals on vegan food, clothing, body care, accessories, services and more by weekly email. Their goal is to sign up 1,000 members during the first month and start sending out the vegan dealios by late April. All you need to provide is your name, email address, state or province and gender. The person who refers the most new members during their registration period wins a special prize to be announced later! (It's probably going to be an all-expenses paid trip around the world,* so please click on the above link or below image and register today and if I win I'll take all of you with me!) :-)


*Yeah, I totally made that up. They are giving a prize, but I have no idea what it will be and have a .000000512% chance of winning. But wouldn't my idea be awesome?! And I would bring you all with me, honest! :-)


And finally, the sweet and delightful Andrea (even when she's allegedly crochety crotchety), who is always dishing up delicious goodies on her wonderful blog, surprised the hootenanny out of me on Friday by dishing up this lovely award there too!


There I was, just reading along about her Thai cooking class, drooling over her Thai food photos, studying the recipe she shared for vegan Tom Kah (it's a soup, so you know I was on high alert), and wondering where in Cowpie, Wyoming I was going to find stalks of lemongrass when I got to the part where she bestowed this award on eight relatively recently discovered blogs, one of which was this humble jumble known as Mehitable Days! That was such a fun surprise! (Thank you again, Andrea!)

My responsibilities in accepting this award are as follows:

Graciously thank and link back to the giver (✔✔✔)

Borrow a sparkly Vera Wang gown and fetch my tiara from storage for the awards ceremony (oops, wait - I'm having a hairy bad day. I mean a bad hair day! Hang on, let me finish my grooming... Ah, now I'm ready! Umm, wait, I forgot my Prozac. Okay, now I'm all set!) ()

Share seven things about myself (wait, again?) ()

Pass the award on to 15 recently discovered blogs ( - sorta)

So here are seven more bits o' personal trivia (in case that first photo wasn't TMI, lol!)...


1) I have a terrible time giving directions to someone, even when I know exactly how to get to where they're going (it would be so much easier for me to have them just scootch over so I can drive them there!), and I have no sense of direction in a town. So of course I married an AF navigator, who is always telling me to "turn east" or "head north." Like this means anything to me! Why can't he say, "turn left" or "go straight" like any normal person? (Despite my spazoid ways in civilization, somehow I've always been able to find my way in the woods, even without landmarks, signs or trails! Mystifying.)

2) My first companion animal was an invisible fox who lived under my bed the year I turned three.


3) I once stayed in an earthship B&B outside of Taos, NM. Very cool!! It was 10 years ago and they only had 2 guest rooms (they've added on since), and they happily and deliciously accommodated us with vegan breakfasts and snacks. Someday I hope to get to stay in a yurt, a houseboat, and a castle (my tastes in lodging are eclectic!)

4) I sat on "Tonto's" lap when I was five. Jay Silverheels was the guest of honor that year at the Rocky Boy Powwow my grandparents in Montana took me to every summer. A big Lone Ranger fan, I was the only non-Native American and the last kid standing in line that night to meet him. When he asked me where I lived and I squeaked out a timid, "New Jersey," he said, "New Jersey!" and hoisted me up on his lap to continue our conversation, none of which I remember. I was too much in awe (or maybe I was too busy wondering why New Jersey was such a big deal to Tonto!) :-)


5) I have no cell phone or dishwasher, don't watch TV (we have no cable nor satellite and just use our set to watch DVDs), and with very few exceptions, I always hang my laundry up to dry, indoors and out.

6) Unlike many women, I don't like shoes. I detest having to shop for them, and don't like wearing them. I have a pair of hiking boots and a pair of sneakers ~ the rest of my footwear consists of slippers and various colorful and often sparkly flip flops.

7) When my mother's obstetrician (who she swears looked just like Merv Griffin, which she found unnerving since she had a crush on ol' Merv) informed her she was pregnant, he predicted I'd be a girl and that I'd be born on Jan 3rd at 3:00 AM. I was born Jan 3rd at 2:58 AM and have tried to be at least a couple minutes early to everything ever since. :-)


I didn't think I'd be able to come up with 15 recently discovered blogs, but I did, by cheating. I've followed Vegan Elder for several months, but as a lurker. We only recently started exchanging comments from time to time, and it's been most enjoyable. Happy Herbivore and Zen Habits are blogs I used to follow quite a while ago, but decided one day I was following far more blogs than I could possibly keep up with and pared my list way down. Now I don't sweat it (too much) if I can't keep up with all the blogs I follow and so have recently added them back to my blogroll along with several new delightful finds...
















And an extra One Lovely Blog Award goes to:
a lovely blog I'd just learned of in the past 48 hours.
How's that for "recently discovered?" :-)

It was such fun just discovering that I'd been given this award when I visited Andrea's latest post that I'm going to follow her example and just let these recipients discover it for themselves! Trouble is, a few of these bloggers don't know me or my blog since I haven't left them any comments yet, so they'll really be surprised if they stumble upon this list randomly, won't they? Randomness rules! ;-)

I thought this award was suitable for framing so I put a border around mine, but here's the border-free version...


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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"