Sunday, November 9, 2008

taking a break from the politic ... and getting back to the personal. after all, CHANGE happens from the bottom up!!

watching obama's acceptance speech in louisville ....

I wanted to thank Soule Mama for inspiring my post this (rare) cloudy, chilly, perfect-for-staying-in-a-warm-place-knitting-and-blogging afternoon in kentucky. I only wish she hadn't closed her comments section ... but I completely understand. After many months of buildup and anticipation, I feel I want to hear almost nothing about politics until inauguration day. It's just ... too much after such a terrific climax of events ... and history-making. I, too, have felt a little guilty about recently posting politics to my blog, but hey it's our american right ... and i do believe the outcome of this monumental election is PIVOTAL to the way in which we are all trying to live here. I feel like Obama will help us along, and won't be consumed by "big Washington." Still, just like Amanda ... i'm ready to settle back into my own life for a bit while Obama gets some quick training for the Oval Office. He'll be fine. I'm not worried about him a bit. He's got a steady hand, a quick mind, and a GREAT BIG heart. I love him so very much ... and i don't think that's strange to say at all.

but, alas, moving on ... what's been going on around here? Well, lots of cooking, baking, and knitting, for one thing. And NO homework... yeah, I need to get on that, especially now that my application for the master's degree portion of my training has been accepted and I am awaiting a huge loan check in the mail that will be the answer very much to my short-term bill-paying woes. And that will allow me to travel and have a few family gifts picked out for christmas in new england this year. I haven't seen much of friends, but i think everyone's kind of "nesting" and looking inward. that's ok; it was a very social summer, and now it's time to take stock of where life is, where we want it to go, and how, of course, we can get there.

I'm finding, as I approach my second anniversary of becoming a vegetarian, that this must have been the change that really, truly sparked all of my half-asleep yearnings for nonviolence and peace and a more awake consciousness for all people. Ever since I originally stopped eating meat altogether -- ONLY for reasons of food safety -- my views have expanded outward in these beautiful curves.

Now there are numerous reasons I don't eat meat. And I'm acting on some of them with others in mind: I want to help educate a largely ignorant (in many cases through no fault of their own, but because of a brainwashing, nontransparent industrial system aided by terrible marketing tactics) populace about the great necessity to eat close to the earth, seasonally, and from scratch. To be careful and choosy about where they buy their food. To learn how to grow at least some of it themselves. I also want to work to make GOOD food a possibility for ALL people, especially those in low-income areas where fast food restaurants and shoddy supermarkets run rampant. Why does my local supermarket chain here have a "buy this bag to feed the hungry" program for the holiday giving season, but the bag is full of overprocessed junk? It kind of defeats the purpose of truly giving, in my opinion. How about donating a bag of organic food to a local shelter, or family? Or buying a CSA membership for someone in need? EVERYONE deserves this right. Just because you're poor doesn't mean you should just eat anything. We must change even that, really looking at what we give. Let's improve health, not just sustain and prolong life. So ... these things have been on my mind, and I've grown a great passion for them. I read more books, and articles. I attend meetings of like-minded food reform and social justice groups. I try to learn about good farming practices by working at and volunteering for local farms. Now, in truth I've just taken baby steps toward most of these. But just last night, I had the organizer of Earthsave Louisville tell me I could be a real leader in this field. Which got me thinking ... maybe when I do get my pH.D in some type of sociology/anthropology research field (I've been mulling this over for a long while now, despite my yearnings to become a literature professor), I can specialize in some kind of good food for all kind of thing.

We'll see .... isn't it amazing what just changing the way you eat can do to your entire worldview? I think so ... in just a few short years, I went from being completely clueless (and could care less) about recycling. I was a party girl in search of the next place to have drinks, the next boy to mess around with, how fast I could spend my money on new clothes and makeup and hair treatments and perfume .... to this simple life, where my top priorities are few, but great: cooking and baking, reading, knitting, getting enough sleep, dressing comfortably in beautiful secondhand and handmade clothing. shopping mainly local and fair trade (here's one of my favorite shops), and eating the same. Not loading my body up with fancy smelling cosmetics and soaps in pretty bottles. Now I use simple things: apple cider vinegar, baking soda, sage oil, simple moisturizer with SPF. (i do still wear mascara, guilty pleasure!!) Burt's Bees for my lips.

I still run into problems here and there with impulse purchases (though I've virtually stopped all $4 coffee drinks, and my impulse purchases are generally useful things, like a $5 picnic basket just calling my name at goodwill). But the urge to go out and spend on the weekend gets less all the time. I used to feel like I had to fill up my weekends with this, that and the other thing to pass time ... gee let's look around Target and see what I might "need" to buy. Learning how to knit, and getting involved with free events with groups I believe in around my local community, have become bigger priorities. More money stays in the bank that way, but I also don't feel like a slave to the buybuybuy mentality. I try and get all of my necessary errands done all in one fell swoop, on one day. I ask myself whether I really need to go to such and such place on a random weekday afternoon. And usually, the answer is no. Opting out of the brainwashed American mentality is a difficult process that doesn't happen overnight. But, dear readers, it is possible. It is. Keep at it, and you'll succeed and find a lifestyle that's right for you.

Here are some things I'm thinking of doing for this holiday season:

donating to the nielsons (some of you know they are the parents of beautiful young children, and were recently involved in a very horrible plane crash). here is the address if you'd like to help:

Christian & Stephanie Nielson Rehab Fund
P.O. Box 8850 Mesa, AZ 85214

donating to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital located in Memphis, TN. They take all children, regardless of their ability to pay.

knitting a scarf and donating it somewhere

buying a bag of healthy, organic food and donating it to someone in need to put together a care package for our brave soliders overseas

baking some bread or cookies or something similar (cake, pie) and donating it to the police, or maybe local firemen ... or someone similar who helps keep us safe without ever asking our thanks

these are just some ideas ... and certainly enough for me. we can all give of ourselves, and it's also important to remember to do this in some small way, year round ... remember that there are likely tens of thousands of people in this great big world, many in its forgotten, dark corners, who'd give anything to be in our place, a place we sometimes are wont to complain about. don't. give back. we are so very fortunate.

I'll leave you with some recent pictures of foods, finds, and fun. It's a happy, restorative, nurturing, giving time of year. Let's do all of it, and above all be peaceful and happy with the time that we are given.

I love and am inspired by all of your blogs, which tell the story of your own very precious lives. Thank you again and again.

Peace and love and pumpkin bread (which I'm making this afternoon),

Karen <3

halloween ... sarah palin (yes, me haha) and papa smurf. i loved this guy's costume!

yesterday's farmer's market ... which continues till Dec. 20!!! picked up some gorgeous leafy greens, and tons of apples.

i'm such a foodie ...

my GREAT goodwill find. I used it last night to transport my goods to the monthly Earthsave Louisville vegetarian potluck.


  1. That food looks sooooo good. Congrats on 2nd vegetarian anniversay (I celebrated 4 years at the end of Oct).


  2. Oh I love that button, I'd wear it all day long.
    I love that food, my goodness it looks yummy!
    And finally I love that Obama won, love it love it love it.

    Boy that is a whole lot of love on this Saturday morning!