The Post on Veganism

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It is yet another stormy, rainy day of sitting on the couch waiting for my body to heal itself. After reading all morning, then delving half-heartedly into creating custom icons for my computer applications, building a new house on The Sims 4…..I decided now is as good a time as any to write the post on how going vegan affected my relationship. I normally don’t put marital conflicts out there for all to see since I believe we should maintain a united front to the rest of the world–we are, after all, our own best friends and partners in life. But, maybe this is not an uncommon thing for people who transition to vegan while in previously established relationships. Maybe this post can give some type of insight to someone else, or just reassure them that they aren’t the only one whose significant other went a little mental over suddenly being with a vegan.

I was actually surprised by the struggle that occurred because of a simple diet change on my part–I had already been vegetarian for several years, and it was the logical progression as I learned more about the dairy and egg industries. It didn’t even seem to be that much of a change for me, aside from ordering differently in restaurants and cutting out the egg pasta and cheese.

At first, my husband just didn’t take me seriously when I said I was no longer eating cheese, eggs, etc. He would cook giant pots of fettucine alfredo and make a point of serving me a huge bowl. An acquaintance would comment on my meals (it always happens) and when I would say “I’m vegan,” he’d cut in and insist “No, she’s vegetarian.”

Then, he started getting defensive when I would offer the boys a part of my meal at dinner time. If we were having, again, pasta with alfredo sauce, I would serve them a little scoop of my pasta with cauliflower “alfredo” sauce. Not a big deal, right? A little nudge to try new healthy things. He would scowl and pout and make rude comments under his breath that the food wasn’t good enough for me, or the kids didn’t need to eat that shit, etc. This, I ignored….I mean, honestly, a lot of men (and women) would probably be a little doubtful of cauliflower pasta sauce at first.

I should add at this point that I would never force my beliefs or opinions onto my children. I have never “made” them eat vegetarian or vegan meals. A lot of times, they do ask for vegan foods, but I don’t give them a guilt trip or refuse them if they ask for a ham sandwich or anything. I just make sure the option is there if they are interested. Which is why the next progression of marital discord completely threw me off guard…

I had found Daiya cheese and Earth Balance buttery spread….here, in Italy! Of course I bought some. Now I could make cheesy casseroles, have buttered toast…I was pretty excited when I brought the groceries home. My husband saw the Daiya and Earth Balance, along with two little cartons of almond and coconut milk, and something in him just snapped.

He started carrying on about how I was making the grocery bill so much more expensive, and that it was all a waste of money because I was the only one who would touch “that stuff.” Then he yelled at me for “forcing my beliefs on others” and “making the kids eat” vegan foods. I was also accused of just not wanting to eat with the family anymore, since I just cooked separate meals for myself. It was, altogether, a very hurtful and shockingly loud discourse that was really unwarranted.

Naturally, my rational mind–which would have been perfectly capable of calmly debunking and explaining these accusations away–was out for a soy chai latte. The irrational, hurt and offended part of me took over with a vengeance and I yelled right back. Never the best idea, since it’s always just like yelling at a brick wall.

That really wasn’t productive; in fact, it made things worse, and we didn’t speak for several days.

Eventually, I approached armed with reason and explained that our grocery bill was about $10 higher from the plant milks and “butter” (I only buy the Daiya on occasion, since I don’t cook many meals that need “cheese”). We are quite well off and $10 or even more is not going to break the bank. (I couldn’t help but add that if he were concerned about saving money on food, he might like to try not buying four gallons of cow’s milk, twice a week.) Vegan food options are not expensive–in fact, most of my diet is bulk grains and beans, and fresh produce. You literally cannot get any cheaper than that and be eating real food. The only time vegan food gets pricey is in the frozen section–pre-made meals. But isn’t that true of all foods? How much are those P.F. Changs’ chicken packets? I explained (needlessly, one would think) that I had never forced the kids to eat anything they didn’t want to eat (except their veggies before popsicles of course). And finally, I reminded him that I cook for the whole family–I just make a small separate entree for myself if I want something more than the “side dishes.”

He grumbled and said “whatever” a lot. It took a long time before he acknowledged that I was following a vegan diet. He still won’t try most of my veganized traditional dishes, and still insists that no one wants me to bring food to a BBQ. But he’s coming along.

While I was in hospital, they said I’d need to eat before I was allowed to leave. He immediately told the nurses he would need to go get food for me that I could eat.

He makes vegan pancakes on weekends–first just for me, but now he makes the entire batch vegan for everyone.

He got up and left a restaurant in Barcelona because he didn’t see anything on the menu that would be a “good” meal for me (I didn’t want to make a fuss, but really he had a point).

I doubt he will ever become a vegan himself, but at least he is becoming more accepting and understanding of the lifestyle. It has taken months, but I have my husband back.

Maybe some people would wonder why, with the strain it caused my relationship, wouldn’t I just say fuck it and go back to vegetarianism or even eating meat. It certainly would have diffused the situation, but at what cost? For me, I cannot go back. I cannot pretend that I don’t know what I know…I can’t un-see the footage I watched. And I couldn’t live with myself if I knowingly perpetuated the problem.

So yeah, I could have just backed off and said, “Wait, never mind guys, I changed my mind. Y’all don’t like this, so I’m not going to stand up for what’s right.”

But then what kind of person would I be? What kind of example would that be setting for my kids?

Healing, healing

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I sure wish this would hurry up and be over soon.

Today was the first day I have gotten out of the bed without help.

Last night I had my first real meal since Tuesday.

This is going Way. Too. Slow.

I have had so much time to think and write and do a whole lot of nothing, and I’m still out of commission for the next week at least. Last night, I became inexplicably obsessed with pretty scrapbooking things and spent an hour browsing through craft sites and picking out paper and pens and all kinds of cute crafty things…….which….I’d have to order and they wouldn’t even arrive until next month. So that fell through pretty quickly.

Today I felt really gung-ho about painting and spending all this spare time creating a masterpiece. But…….I can’t lift my easel and my supplies are mostly under the bed. I can’t bend down to get them. Then the kids went insane and I realized it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

Tonight I have been writing. It was difficult to get into my setting and characters with a combat movie blaring, so I put in my earbuds to play some distracting music…..began with Lindsey Stirling and progressed to awesome electrified versions of traditional Celtic reels. Not really sure how tonight’s bit of writing will look later when the drugs and musically-induced high wear off, but I think it will mesh quite well……also tapped out a few poems reminiscent of music festivals back home because I can’t listen to traditional Celtic music without wishing I was back in the mountains, dancing barefoot in front of a string band on a rickety stage.

The Aftermath

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That fleeting moment of clarity in the mornings when the nighttime dose of medications has worn off and the morning dose has not yet set in….is actually over.

I missed the window to write a fully coherent post in favor of reading the news while I could still focus.

Lists are easy.

Good things about two days post-op:

  • Survived operation.
  • Pain is, for the most part, manageable with pills.
  • Am able to sit supported and read/write.
  • Am terrified to use bathroom so is turning out to be quite effective diet.
  • Made it downstairs alone and got myself a glass of water. Also re-positioned self on couch alone.
  • Going to attempt a shower today.

Things that still need to improve two days post-op:

  • Cannot get up off couch or into/out of bed without help.
  • Cannot lift anything heavier than a cup of tea.
  • Husband must go to shop for best friend’s birthday gift alone.
  • Cannot do more than 3-4 laps around the house before needing to rest.
  • Terrified to remove dressing, though today I am allowed to do so.
  • Bored as hell with Internet and Hulu (how does that even happen?)
  • I keep needing to cough, which hurts so. fucking. bad.

Terrible Timing

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Naturally, the weekend before I’m to have surgery, I get sick.

I knew I was in for it when I woke up to my husband coughing right in my face on Thursday morning. Cue the obsessive chewing of vitamin C tablets, gulping down “supercharged” smoothies, and desperately trying not to breathe the same air as my husband–and boys, who immediately began coughing and sneezing as well.

Saturday morning it hit full force. Sore throat, coughing, sneezing, sniffles. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to have any sort of respiratory illness if I’m going under general anesthesia…..but beyond that, if I’m still coughing and sneezing AFTER the surgery, it’s going to hurt like hell!!!

So now we’re into desperate measures. My plan was to go fully raw, eat massive amounts of veggies and greens and drink gallons of water a day, maybe go sit in the sauna for a while….flush it out. My husband’s advice was to eat super spicy soup (he made it vegan just for me….when I get around to writing about how going vegan affected my marriage, you guys will see why that’s so significant!) and drink “as much rum as you possibly can.”

I’ve combined the two approaches (never mind that the soup is obviously not raw) for a drunken, veggie-stuffed weekend of binge-watching Hulu and evidently–and accidentally–buying a subscription to Amazon Prime. (We thought that the Prime mistake was actually going to be a good thing until we realized that all of the Instant Video shows and movies are unavailable to us…..)

I think it’s going to work? I’m not stuffy-nosed any more, though still coughing and sneezing some. Guess I’ll continue slurping rum through a straw while cramming lettuce wraps into my face. Can’t be a bad thing, right???

At some point, I’ve also got to get rid of my gel nails. To be perfectly frank and shallow, this really makes me sad. I’ve got color-changing polish (blue when cold, white when warm) and I really just love it. A lot. It’s like I’m Elsa. Or not, but sometimes in the in-between temps when I’m not outside but not warmed up to indoor climate, it does have that signature Frozen blue. I bought the necessary tools to remove them yesterday, but I’m putting it off like nobody’s business. Tomorrow, tomorrow….

In the meantime, I’m finding that rum-writing is slightly more volatile than wine-writing. My current heroine is discovering a wild, fuck-all side that I hadn’t entirely planned for her, but I think it might actually fit in well. Adding layers….like an onion. Onions are like ogres, you know.

I’m going to let this slide right into a stream-of-drunken-consciousness for your entertainment and the exercise of my fingers. Gods, do you think I’d actually be able to finish a novel when given time off work and being unable to do anything but lie around waiting for the pain to stop? How dark would a story produced under those conditions be….It’ll either be that, or I’ll waste(?) the entire sick leave time playing zombie games online with West Coast friends who I never get to game with on a normal schedule. Or, I’ll recreate my whole neighborhood on the Sims 4. ALL OF THESE THINGS SOUND WONDERFUL. Aside from the constant pain aspect. Will I get drugs? I hope so. And I hope not. I guess I’ll need them, but hopefully not for long. Will we just sit around and get high for days, playing Playstation and watching dumb videos? I’m so late to the party but I just finished Season 1 of American Horror Story last night and I was so inexplicably satisfied by the ending. Was anyone else? How hard is it gonna be to go into the next season and forget all pre-determined characters…we’ve taken the day off before beginning Season 2 to try to clear out our perceptions of the actors as their Season 1 characters, but I think it’ll still be hard to jump right in. I’m so gonna do it, though. Tonight.

Shit. Is it family Skype night? It is….oh hell.

Early Valentine!

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So my husband comes in from the gym this morning and says,

“Hey, since you’ll probably be in the hospital or, like, dead or something for Valentine’s, I got you a gift today.”

Wow………..thanks, dude. I mean, really? Like I haven’t been freaked out enough?! Such a sweetheart.

But he did get me a gift…….a new computer! Which I’ve spent most of the evening trying to figure out, since it’s a much newer software version of my old 15-pound, burn-a-hole-through-your-jeans, dinosaur.

So now, I’ve popped open a bottle of Nero d’Avola and I’m settling in to do some serious fiction wine-writing. Woooohoooo! I’ve had a plot rambling around in my head for a couple of weeks now, but hadn’t really bothered to drag out the dinosaur from its hiding place under the desk. I am looking forward to getting it all out tonight!

If the kids will stop arguing. That would be nice….

If

she’s back?

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Wow… um, hi.

I seriously just happened to log in for the first time in forever, and it’s my WordPress anniversary! Aaaaawwwww….

Life got in the way of writing. I hate when that happens! Especially when I end up at work frantically scribbling notes for a plot line on a legal pad, filling up the pages and then all the margins, and then realizing people are starting to stare. Or, just…especially when I’m at work.

[Warning: bitchfest ahead]

So last year, this job sounded awesome! And it seemed awesome! I threw myself into it whole-heartedly. The following month after my last post, I actually had two days off the entire month. The. Entire. Month. I was (mostly) okay with this, because I was able to keep the business operational during a seriously weird time, and I believed that it would get better. Instead, I ended up with no formal training, no compensation for the 100+ hours of overtime I pretty much had to put in, and another position to take over temporarily (still totally winging it in my own position). Then I found myself constantly picking up my supervisor’s slack and trying to cover her mistakes and incredible disorganization. Then I learned that my supervisor’s supervisor had to “defend” BOTH our evaluations to the big boss, because my performance is overshadowed by her under-performance. The cherry on top was when I requested, and was granted, six days of leave for the Solstice and my son’s birthday…then was told I couldn’t take leave after all. Then my supervisor AND HER (OUR) SUPERVISOR went on leave simultaneously and I was left to run the facilities myself! My leave was cancelled so they could take their own! So when they both returned I gave them notice that I’ll only be working through March. And now I’m persona non grata. My supervisor has become very catty and vindictive…just constantly throwing out little digs at me. I’m so. fucking. done. But I need to stay in the position for at least a full year.

[bitchfest done]

In other news, I’ve got to have surgery and I’m scared shitless. I’m supposed to call tomorrow to make an appointment for a consult but I’m sort of not wanting to call! [mini bitchfest-supe is super irritated that I have the nerve to actually need an operation when I’m leaving the job soon anyway. goddamn it, body. where are your priorities???] I will end up calling, of course. It has to be done. I’m just so pissed at the timing–I’ve been hitting the weights hard and I’ve made so much progress, and now I’ll be laid up for a while! I’m currently trying to cut like crazy so hopefully I won’t slip backwards too far.

Did I mention I’m scared shitless?

You know it’s the playoffs when….

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-You’re frequently running on 3-4 hours of sleep due to the time difference and your refusal to just catch the highlights on the morning after.

-You’re on a constant “we won!!!” high regardless of how shitty the day is actually going.

-You completely ignore the dress code at work in favor of your lucky Tuukka shirt….every single game day, and most non-game days, just because you’re too excited to wear normal clothes and it might jinx something.

-You were actually slightly late for work when the game went into overtime.

-Your every tweet includes a Bruins hashtag.

-You randomly and frequently scream stats at unsuspecting friends and coworkers.

-You have to leave the party early to go watch the game.

-You drop everything when you run into a fellow fan for a high-pitched, over-excited recap of the entire postseason and sometimes regular season as well.

-You are so wired for Game 5 that you have to make a WordPress list post to vent some of the giddiness and avoid screeching and flapping around the house like some bizarre fangirl-bird-type-thing while waiting for the game to start.

“I had a baby once,” said my toddler.

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We were having lunch yesterday when a family with a tiny, adorable newborn came in. We immediately started ooh-ing and aah-ing over the baby, and eventually I asked our three-year-old if we needed to get another baby for our house.

He shrugged and said, “No, not weally. We don’t need a baby, they just go WAH WAH.”

Understandable.

Then he said….. “I had a baby once,” in the most casual, nonchalant tone.

Come again?

Another shrug, “I had a baby one time.”

My husband asked what the baby’s name was, and got another shrug and an “I dunno.”

Husband: “Well what happened to your baby? Where did it go?”

Toddler (with yet another shrug): “Eh, somebody just stole it. Can I have my cookie now?”

O.o

Buona Pasqua

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After two weeks of working 10-16 hour days in preparation for opening a big new facility (woot!!), I’ve finally begun doing fun Easter things with the kids. And doing last minute bunny shopping…..on about four hours of sleep. Which is how I came to be wandering zombie-like around the Auchan, carrying a gigantic chocolate chicken under one arm and a bottle of wine in the other, wearing running tights and a fluorescent pink headband. In my defense, I had worked till midnight and was back at it by 6am the next morning, got off at 4:00 after leading fitness classes and scrambling to keep things running smoothly during a big opening party. I came embarrassingly close to nodding off while waiting for the woman ahead of me to ring up at least twenty giant kinder eggs. And I did completely forget I was wearing a pink camo headband, at least until I ran into someone I know, who asked why I was in battle dress. Ha, ha…

So today, the day before Easter, we have made Jello eggs (fail, did not use cooking spray), went to a huge community egg hunt, let the boys ride a donkey and look at all sorts of farm animals, hid eggs again at home, dyed three dozen boiled eggs, made butterscotch nests, baked bunny cupcakes, and now the boys are taking turns hiding eggs for each other inside the house. I feel like we’ve crammed a week of activities into one day, but they are happy which is all that matters! Now if I can just stay awake long enough to drag the giant chocolate chicken out of the car trunk…