Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Veggin Out!

I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian in my late teens and early twenties. If I admit it to myself, I probably did it to get attention. I didn't really have a strong feeling about killing animals other than I wouldn't hunt myself and the whole "environment thing" wasn't that big a movement 15 or so years ago. Anyway, by about age 22 I was again eating meat. I had men taking me to eat in fancy restaurants and they didn't want to see me order the pasta primavera every time. In any case, it didn't stick. Now I'm 35 and I know a lot more about the environment. I've voted for bills that require more humane treatment of animals and I try to purchase animal products that are organic or "free range". But that isn't cutting it anymore.

You know when it really hit me? I was driving up the 5 freeway with my hubby last week on our way to a fabulous "retreat" with friends. I can't remember where we were exactly, but it was somewhere north of Bakersfield -- anyway, we were driving and I suddenly saw a huge number of cows. Thousands of them standing in dirt. There were overhangs where they could go to keep cool, but not a speck of grass to be seen (so much for California's Happy Cows). We drove for what seemed like almost a mile and on my side of the car the cows just went on and on. In the distance I spied a bunch of outbuildings. The slaughterhouse I guessed. I don't know why, but that really got to me. Not just the eating an animal thing, I mean there are countless animals that are born only so that they can be food for other animals. But we are making more of these animals. And we are killing the environment as we do it.

After a weekend with friends and so much drinking, smoking, maryjane and guilty indulgences in paparazzi magazines, I felt I needed some good, wholesome food. Our meals for the past 3 nights have been vegetarian. And to my surprise, the kids liked everything and everything was easy to prepare and cost next to nothing.

I'm not saying that I'm going vegetarian because I don't want to eat my hat, but I'm going to make a big effort to try and stay away from meat. I have to go lacto-ovo, though, because my body can't stay away from eggs and cheese. But even if my family of four gives up meat, that will do something for the environment.

If you have any yummy recipes that are vegetarian and not too out there (I have two youngins) send them my way.
So far the kids love the pita pizza with goat cheese, artichokes and local tomatoes. We also love butternut squash and black bean stew and pretty much any kind of quiche.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Procrastination, tie dye and Annie

I've been feeling so overwhelmed this summer. Overwhelmed with work and kids and projects that have overtaken our dining room table.
This afternoon I had a realization that it doesn't have to be like this. Yes, I still have kids and I still have a job (thank god!), but I don't have to take on all this extra junk.

A few weeks ago I came up with what I thought was a pretty good idea for something I could work on at night and hopefully bring some extra cash into the Crouse Haus. The only catch, however, is that the idea requires someone with crafty talents. I am seriously lacking in the crafty talent area, but I thought I could fake it.
I was talking to my mom about the project yesterday and I told her my concerns. Then she
told me about a documentary of Woody Allen she watched the other night. In it he said something to the effect of either you have it or you don't. This could be applied to many things like writing skills, acting, painting, comedy, music, etc....
I think it was sort of her way of telling me that I may not have "it". Not that I might not have "it" in some other area of my life, but this particular project might not be for me. Some other people might say, "well, gee, your mom is a bit harsh." But her telling me this little tidbit about Woody Allen might have actually set me free. It might save me from dumping money into a venture that will go no where. And this venture might actually just be an excuse for me to stop doing what I really want to do. The book I've been working on stalled, so I think "finding" this project was a way for me to avoid it. I know it won't come easy, but writing this book is something I know I can do, unlike decoupage.

Speaking of the crafty arts, the kids and I were in the backyard today doing tie dye. We've done one the past few summers. So, I went out and bought the kit from Joann's and we made a big mess. The kids had fun and now my fingers are totally stained because the gloves they include in the kit don't work for shit. I'm going to search online for some way to remove the dye from my fingers.

After work and tie dying was finished, I sat down to watch Annie with the kids. Now, this is probably the film I have watched the most times in my life (Breakfast Club comes in second and Friday, thanks to my husband, comes in 3rd). I saw the film opening weekend with my late grandmother at Grauman's Chinese theater -- then, my childhood friend, Jennifer, and I proceeded to watch it on video like 40 times. We LOVED the movie and the songs, but I don't ever remember getting choked up one time. Cut to tonight -- I watched it with my two children for the first time (they loved it!) and I got choked up more than once. When Daddy Warbucks is singing that little "Maybe" part, I was about to start sobbing. I don't think it was the fact that I was watching it with my own children and I was feeling sentimental... it was the grownup in me imagining what it must feel like watching a child you love walk out the door possibly forever. Damn! Anyway, I'm so stoked that my kids didn't think the movie too lame. You never know nowadays because there is so much crap offered to kids -- everything is non-stop action.

Today was good. Have a wonderful night!