Sunday, August 31, 2014

Schedule for Vegan MoFo 2014!

The Vegan Month of Food begins tomorrow! Hooray! 

I had a lot of fun with the two themed weeks I did last year (Nostalgia Week and Parks and Recreation), so this year, each week will have its own theme. (Maybe one year, far into the future, I can finally commit to a single monthly theme. Bahaha! We'll see about that!)

Vegan MoFo 2014

Sept 1-6 (Monday-Saturday): Intro/cookbook week

Sept 7-13: Dollar store vegan

Sept 14-20: Health food store vegan

Sept 21-27: The Veganlist

Sept 28-30 (Sunday-Tuesday): Random/wrap-up posts

Along with introductions, the first week will consist of me actually using one of my cookbooks! *gasp* I know; it's shocking! Those of you who know me/have read my blog, know that this will be a rare occurrence, me actually using cookbook recipes. I'd even made it one of my goals for 2014, to cook more from my cookbooks. Needless to say, I haven't done very well on that front, so this week will result in me trying several new cookbook recipes from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia C. Simpson. I'm excited!

The second week was inspired by the news of vegan mayonnaise Just Mayo starting to be sold at Dollar Tree. I'm hoping to give that a try and explore what additional vegan options are available at dollar stores. 

And then, in the third week, I'll focus on vegan finds at health food stores, comparing and contrasting with options at the dollar store and grocery store.

I'm super excited about my plans for the fourth week: The Veganlist, inspired by my new favorite TV show, The Blacklist. (I'm a very squeamish person, and this is a very violent, bloody, and twisted show. I often have to cover my eyes during the worst parts. But in spite of all that, I absolutely LOVE The Blacklist. I'm fascinated by the characters of Raymond "Red" Reddington and Elizabeth Keen. I love the suspense, and the combination of the overarching narrative and the weekly "blacklisters." I enjoy being surprised and piecing together clues to character histories. And I love Mr. Kaplan. But, I'm rambling...) I can hardly wait for the premier of the second season on September 22, and I thought, what better way to celebrate it than by veganizing the food of The Blacklist? Some of the planned menu items include Tom's “world-famous pancakes, gluten-free,” Meera's avgolemono (“What? I cook.”), and Janice's stroganoff, on which Red, unfortunately, had to “take a rain check.”

Finally, the fifth “week” (three days) will consist of some random food posts and my wrap-up of Vegan MoFo 2014.

I'm so excited for the festivities to finally begin!

Fellow Vegan MoFo bloggers, have you planned out your theme(s), or are you going to wing it? Either way, I'm sure it'll be awesome! See you all tomorrow!

Peace. :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

This is going to be a really tough post to write...

My last post was on Valentine's Day, so I clearly failed at my posting-once-a-week goal for 2014. Ah well, I gave it a good run at least... Once I lost the momentum of posting, I just couldn't get motivated to post again... Because if I missed a week, I'd feel like I needed to make up that missed post by posting twice, and so on. I started marking down every week I missed, thinking it might motivate me... It didn't (the exact opposite, actually; it only served to discourage me further). So, I stopped posting.
And now, I'm back. I'm back because, once again, the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) has rolled around. It's in September again this year. I still need to sign up, though. I've been procrastinating, mulling over possible themes. The deadline for signing up is August 27. There's still time. Two days. Three if you count tonight. I'll get around to it.

But I think the real reason I've been procrastinating is because I no longer have my dear friend Mystery with me. She died on June 17. I've been avoiding writing this post, too worried about how sad it would make me to write this, to make it more and more real, to tell even more people that she died. But with Vegan MoFo around the corner, I can't keep dragging my feet, so here goes, and please forgive the rambling nature of this post.

As mentioned here, Mystery had been to the vet for blood tests, and she'd been doing well on her special prescription food for kidney health. But then, around the beginning of June, we noticed her getting a bit more wobbly. She'd lost weight. The vet thought she might have low potassium, but after a blood test, we found out her potassium was actually too high. Our attempts to get her to eat more and flush the excess potassium from her system weren't enough, and ultimately, her kidneys failed her. (According to the vet's estimate, she was 15 years old.)

In those last few days, I searched for a sign to take her in to the vet one final time, to have her put to sleep, but she never gave me one. 

(Unlike Mr. Boogie, who – I'm realizing I'm really bad at writing about death if this is the first time I've mentioned here that he died – gave a clear sign that he was ready. I knew he'd been having frequent seizures, but on a random visit home to see my parents on November 11, in addition to observing a couple seizures, I also saw him struggle to eat, only to have that effort cause another seizure. I accompanied my mom when she brought Mr. Boogie to the vet to be put to sleep. He'd always cried and cried when going to the vet, but this time he was completely calm being placed in his carrier, and quiet all the way there and inside the vet's office. I knew he was ready, that the right decision had been made. He was around 20-22 years old.)

Up until the very end, Mystery was moving around, with a little help sometimes, to each of her favorite comfy spots, as if she wanted to enjoy them all at least once more: The loveseat, where she'd cuddle up with her little pink bear; our bed; the nest Zach made her in the bookshelf; the cat bed in the closet; the blanket on the floor in the sunshine; and sitting at the door to the balcony, so she could see outside.

Mid-morning on June 17, I sensed something was amiss. Mystery had been laying in the sunshine like usual, but she'd started breathing more heavily. So I settled down beside her and held out my right hand (she rested her paw in my palm), and my left hand underneath her head. And I stayed there with her while she fought, cheering her on for each breath she managed and finding myself in shock and disbelief when she eventually stopped breathing.

I don't write this out to be morbid. I write it out to be honest. Death is tough. Death of a senior animal is really tough. Death of a senior animal you adopted and loved but only got to spend a year and four months with is really, really tough. 

But even with all that considered, I'm so glad to have had this beautiful little lady in my life. And even though it was for such a short time, I don't have any regrets about adopting her. She was an adorable combination of a needy baby and a crotchety old lady. She was stubborn and independent and loving and strong. She was determined and soft. She was a mystery, our Mystery, her past so unknown, her present with us so especially sweet, and a future without her so incomprehensible.

Honoring the memories of both Mr. Boogie and Mystery, I would just like to say that senior animals are amazing. They deserve our respect, our protection, and our love. When you next look to adopt, please consider adopting senior animals; they have so much love to give and are great cuddle buddies. Visit Petfinder to see the animals available for adoption in your area. And if you can't adopt, support your local rescue organizations and no-kill shelters: Volunteer, donate, and share posts of adoptable animals.