Today is different for me than most. A day to reflect on the inhumane treatment of animals and the continual sacrifices they must make to feed humans. I hope someday it stops.
And the centuries old disrespect and disregard of Americas Native people. It is one of our truly disgraceful periods in history.
Sure, I have plenty to be thankful about–but on this particular day, I would rather reflect on these two topics since they tie into this ‘holiday’. It has been a hard day for me for many years; today I am saying so.
May the future bring more comfort and peace to lives of those we take for granted.
Today was a day that I was particularly thankful to be a cat and not a turkey or pig or some other animal that humans in this country find especially edible on this day. Luckily my mom never feels that way about any animals so in our house they all would be safe. Of course I don’t necessarily agree with her in certain cases, like when those silly mice feel they can come barging into my space… Well, I may not really eat them but do some serious damage I’m afraid and mom gets pretty annoyed with me. She believes all creatures should be allowed to live in peace.
Maybe so, I know that I live that way along with my brother and sister. We are privileged I suppose and I am not sure why it happened that way. So I will be grateful and try to be better about being inhospitable to any furry visitors from now on…but I can’t promise. Maybe I can start a trend and humans will be kinder too?
I just watched the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’. Powerful and moving.
You know, in looking back at my life, most days I feel there isn’t much I’ve done right. Many wrong decisions, paths not taken (or the wrong one) and many people I hurt along the way.
But the best decision I ever made, back when I was 21, was to give up meat–then poultry and seafood. And now, for years, dairy too.
It was not easy back in those days being a vegetarian, not fashionable or cool. There was never anything on the menu and people were very intolerant of my continual pestering of wait staff or at family meals.
But it was important to me. My turning point came in college, after taking animal industry classes–it was then that I knew I could no longer be a participant in the animal industry. There were many reasons and I won’t bore you with them here.
Now today, my 21 year old instinct seems to have proven correct. And I’m glad that I followed my heart despite ridicule (which I still sometimes face) and the continued need to justify my choice. Now I can tell anyone to watch this documentary and they can see why I did it!
There isn’t a lot I have to be proud of, or much that I feel that I have contributed as a human being, but these staggering statistics make me glad and grateful that in this one choice at least, I can feel I picked the right path.
Some parts of moving here have been hard: moving away from family and friends, leaving my home, making the decision to retire from a career. But one thing that I am really loving is the mix of people here compared to where I used to live.
Where I came from before, it was much more homogeneous. It was a rarity to see someone ‘different’ or unique or speaking anything other than English. Here it is an every day occurrence to hear a span of languages or dialects.
Even where I work, we are all so different. There are many people of all different colors. It’s not always easy for me to understand everyone and how they speak, so I must be more diligent in my listening skills–never a bad thing for any of us.The accents are tricky so I try hard to understand what is being said to me. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I fail miserably.
We all look different too. Many with beautiful dark brown skin and hair worn in all sorts of fantastic styles. Some with more light brown skin and the stories of their home back in Puerto Rico or Cuba. Many of these co-workers were immigrants and tell me their stories and have such interesting opinions during this political time. It’s fascinating to hear their perspectives.
Many have heavy New York accents or speak outwardly about their strong Jewish or Christian faith. Some are teased a bit: like when they want their cup of ‘cawfee’, but it’s all in good fun. There is an acceptance of the openly gay and lesbian employees also, something that probably wouldn’t fly where I used to be. Everyone is just out…no hiding. It’s comfortable and cool.
They might kid me about being a vegan and the strange drinks I bring in, but it’s not unheard of like before. I mean after all, this is a city! Yeah, most of them drink alcohol (not at work), but they understand the good stuff too. People bring in ethnic dishes to share, bake for one another and generally share cultures.
It’s viva la difference! Pretty much no-one cares….at least to your face. What they say behind one’s back, well, that I do not know. But generally I do get a sense, at work anyway, that the skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations etc. really don’t get in the way of anyone’s opinion of each other. Maybe other stuff, but not those things.
This is quite a refreshing change. And for me personally, I completely love being immersed among so much color, culture and diversity!
As we near Thanksgiving I was ruminating on the President’s speech on immigration last night. I don’t like to get too political here on my blog, but I feel compelled to share a few thoughts.
First, I have to say (and which will possibly surprise or annoy some), Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. My feelings are based on a few reasons: it bothers me that we pick a ‘day’ to be thankful when it feels to me that so many of us don’t feel thankful much of the time (just listen to people around you); people overeat and stuff themselves on this day when so many in this country and others are starving and we continue to be so wasteful with food in this country–not to mention how unhealthy we are around food in this country; and finally the origins of this holiday seem profoundly hypocritical to me given the suffering of the Native Americans in this country today. These are my feelings, so I often spend it working, alone and/or fasting. Plus as one maitre de at a restaurant once said: Thanksgiving is a rather tragic holiday for a vegetarian. (Now I’m a vegan and gluten-free!! )
So here we are in 2014 with an immigration war raging again. It’s not the first time the politicians have fought this battle, and it’s far from over. But I thought about this war, and I thought about Thanksgiving. And I thought about those Pilgrims and the first steps they took on this land when they emigrated here. How they had hopes and dreams for a better life. How they had suffered dreadful seas and weather and lost friends, family and left the homes they knew. They did it because they had a glimmer that maybe they could have something new, forge new fields and build a new, freer government.
They were met by strangers when they set down. Those immigrants who put their feet on this land, not their land, but the land of other caretakers who had lived here for centuries and followed the way of earth. They came in droves after and pushed the natives back. Killed the animals and brought theirs. Cut down the trees and planted their crops. Brought disease and alcohol. More immigrants came from other lands and this nation of ours grew and grew. Cities flew up. Pollution filled the skies. Cars filled the streets. The natives were placed on small tracks of lands and were told this was all they had now.
And now generations of those immigrants call themselves Americans. We, the descendants of those immigrants, call this country great. New immigrants want to come because it is a great nation with opportunity, money, jobs, education. Other immigrants, just like those first ones want to come here because they have the same hopes and dreams to make a better life for themselves and their children. They climb fences, swim rivers, deal with police, get shot…anything to come to our wonderful country and to get away from terrorism, drug dealers, and murderers.
So on Thanksgiving, when people sit around their tables to give thanks–remember your ancestors. Remember where we all came from and why we are here and free. Think about why others might want to be also. Remember we’re not perfect either. We took when we came. Maybe we need to pay it forward now by doing right to some new immigrants because it may certainly be too late to make up for what we’ve done to the Native people who were already here.
After a very long time of a myriad of what could be simple or strange symptoms, today I decided to do my usual googling, and may be onto something. I’ve decided that my perpetual feeling of being freezing, my extreme fatigue (after a decent 7 hours sleep), my unusually brittle and weirdly shaped nails, headache, joint pain and lots of other things may be attributed to an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Now, I’m not sure why this might be the case, except I did read that this is not uncommon for a women reaching menopause to experience–and these symptoms do seem to have appeared in this time of life. And it’s time to stop brushing it off to the fact that I swim in a cold pool (because I’m always utterly freezing even if I didn’t swim) and I’m so fatigued that I could simply lay down and sleep most the time.
Because I’m me, I push my way through things anyway, but it’s time to take charge. I’m tired of feeling this way! And me being me, will try to do something simple things first before I run to a doctor.
Interestingly enough I am already doing some of the things like not eating gluten. And I exercise regularly. But one thing I do that is apparently bad is that I eat lots of soy! Who knew? So this will be a challenge because the readings said I should be eating high protein. It’s time to stop being lazy and get my protein (as a vegan) in better ways.
It also recommended certain vitamins such as iodine and selenium, and a few others. A good quality multi-vitamin had many of those stated, so I grabbed one tonight. There were also some strange herbal ones that I ordered. Hey, why not?
The foods I should be staying away from: like broccoli, cauliflower and the veggies in that family are ones I don’t particularly care for anyway. I personally feel that our bodies already know what is good and not good for us. And the ones I should be eating: like avocados and asparagus, I love!
So I will make a concerted effort to change a few things and see if I feel better. If not, then it’s off to my PCP and have my levels checked. But hopefully I can turn this around naturally. I’d much rather do that than stuff pills.
As some of you who follow my blog know, I’ve been attending my local UU church a little more regularly. Today was our ‘harvest supper’. UU’s would never call it a ‘Thanksgiving’ dinner, because that would be labeling it something traditional and potentially politically incorrect for some. That doesn’t particularly bother me. What does bother me, is the Thanksgiving holiday itself.
It happens to be one of my least favorite holidays. I’ll probably offend people here, but this holiday has gotten under my skin for many, many years. To me it is the epitome of so many things that are wrong with American society.
A holiday that promotes gluttony and over-eating in a country that is already ripe with over-eaters is crazy in my mind. Food, food, food presented in excess and eating until you’re going to bust just really, personally, turns me off. Especially when you keep in mind the millions (billions?) of starving people in the world today. I used to fast on this day just to make a point. Giving out free turkey in a soup kitchen, now that’s a good thing.
And then we look at what this holiday is celebrating: the pilgrims and the “Indians” coming together for a meal and sharing food. Don’t even get me started on the state of affairs of the Native American people now in the this country! How the white man has devastated the land that was theirs and took most of it. Now we have currently left them in poverty, poorly educated with many of them turning to alcohol. Their whole way of life was robbed, yet we celebrate this day! Do you think they are thankful?
I hear so many people talking of the stress of it too: going to their families and trying to blend. For me, years ago being a vegetarian trying to fit into my in-laws was like a nightmare. This is NOT a vegetarian friendly holiday. Now being a vegan AND gluten free…well, forget about it! Thank goodness I’m divorced. Usually I just sit at home, work a shift or go out to eat. As a maitre de once said: Oh, Thanksgiving is a tragic holiday for a vegetarian! Too true!
And as far as being thankful: why save it up for one day? I try to be every day. Yes, I understand sitting around a table with friends and family and have a mass of thankfulness, but it seems very contrived. Just another Hallmark moment.
Or maybe I’m just a Scrooge of Thanksgiving? Maybe some ghostly turkey will visit me tonight and scare me half to death. And instead of Tiny Tim’s crutch there will be empty beer bottles to make me feel guilty. And scenes from Thanksgiving to come flashing before me…. and yet, and yet…. Nah, I still think I’d rather stay home and read a book.