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Monday, February 17, 2020

Being Vegan in a Non- Vegan Family - Yes You Can Make It Work

I am the only vegan in my family, my husband is the complete opposite and potatoes in french fry form are the only vegetable he eats on a regular basis. My adult children and their partners eat a standard American diet, although one son is vegetarian. My grandchildren eat a standard American diet.

On Sundays we always come together as a family and my husband and I prepare a meal for everyone. I would love to be able to say that the meal is vegan but it is not the case. So compromise is the name of the game. Yesterday my husband made ribs for everyone, I made vegan side dishes, it worked well. My vegan side dishes were curried potatoes with basmati rice, chocolate chip-banana muffins, fresh pineapple, and vegan Waldorf salad. Everyone enjoyed the side dishes, the grandchildren ended up eating vegan because they don't like ribs. I always make a plate of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as an alternate choice for children who might not want the "grown up" food.

I made the curried potatoes, Waldorf salad and muffins using recipes from my Happy Healthy Vegan cook book.  The curried potatoes served with rice are a meal in my opinion. To make them dice potatoes, put them in a skillet with water, they don't have to be covered, let them cook until tender, then add fresh green beans, let cook until tender, add cut up tomatoes, by now the water should be almost boiled off. Season with curry powder, I used garam masala, and red pepper flakes. I added salt. Serve over basmati rice. Very tasty!

The Waldorf salad is lovely, the usual ingredients are in it, apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, raisins, cut up orange, use all of these or whatever you have on hand. Rather than using a mayo for the dressing take a quarter cup of orange juice and five or six dates and put in the blender, pour the pureed mixture over the fruit and stir. A very tasty, refreshing salad.

As a vegan it would be lovely if my entire family joined me, but everyone has to choose their own path in life. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pachinko

Last week while at our local library branch I noticed a book on the new fiction shelf called Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. The cover art initially caught my eye and I picked the book up and read the inside cover to get an idea of the story. Deciding that it might be something I would enjoy reading I checked the book out and I am glad I did. It is a family saga beginning in 1902 Korea and continuing through present day. I like the pace of the story, it doesn't linger, but is isn't rushed. It is interesting to me as it is set in a culture I am not familiar with yet the struggles the characters go through are familiar to all people. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Why Are So Few Alarmed By This?


I read this article,see here, in The Guardian yesterday, I found it alarming. And, I feel despair that no real action is being taken to reduce greenhouse emissions to slow down the global warming which has accelerated at an alarming pace since the 1950's see here.

Mainstream media have reacted with alarm, concern, apathy, depending on their political slant. And comments by readers on the news released yesterday make one despair. The evidence is blindingly obvious that human activity is drastically increasing the rate of warming. So what are we going to do about it?

No one wants to live without the conveniences of modern life, we enjoy good health, a stable food supply, good medical care, homes, freedom, and many more things that make life pleasant, comfortable, secure. But we have to come up with ways to still have these things but without the ongoing spewing of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, it is a time for extreme innovation, investment into green energies, and we as individuals need to support the innovation and help to make it the new normal. One thing for sure, we cannot continue as we are or we will face dire consequences. I am in my mid-fifties, in a selfish way I don't have much to lose I have already lived a full life, but what about my children and grandchildren, and future great-grandchildren. I am willing to make and embrace changes for their future. 

If the earth is in a warming trend we cannot stop that, but if human activity is skewing the warming trend to an extreme global warming, we can do something about that. This is an important clarification, as the often heard argument is that the climate has always changed it is just the way it is and we can't do anything about it. I don't disagree, science shows us that the climate has always changed, but not at the rapid pace it is changing now, it has never heated or cooled at the rate it is now. As Greta Thunberg says, "if your house is on fire you panic, you do something", why aren't we all pulling together and doing something?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Reading, Reading, Reading

I recently discovered Dorothy Sayers, and I absolutely love her writing style. I first came across her on YouTube and listened to a few audio books, beautifully read by Ian Carmichael. The audio books were very enjoyable, and a recent trip to the used book store with grandchildren gave me an opportunity to look for a few of Sayers' books, and luckily I found two. I just finished reading Clouds of Witness, it was excellent, I couldn't put it down. The plots are well thought out, the main character, Lord Peter Wimsey, is very entertaining. There is wry humor though out her stories and you find yourself rather amused as she tongue in cheek pokes fun at the formalities of the legal system.

Over the past week BBC 4 extra radio had a reading of Sweet Caress by William Boyd, I listened to an installment one day and really enjoyed it, I looked to see if our local library had a copy of the book, they did so I put it on hold. On Saturday I picked up my library book and having finished Clouds of Witness yesterday I began reading Sweet Caress last night. Well, I lucked out, the story was immediately engaging and I couldn't put it down, I took the book up to bed and fell asleep reading it. Are you ever woken up by the book you are reading as it slips out of your hands onto the floor. It is very enjoyable to find books that just simply hit my sweet spot.

Over Christmas I re-read a favorite Agatha Christie, N or M, a nice quick read with enjoyable characters. The book is not spoiled by knowing, who did it, in some ways it changes it up because you are more aware of the slyness of the perpetrator(s). And another re-read was Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym, I absolutely love her books, and own a copy of all but maybe one, I even have a copy of her cookbook written by Barbara and her sister, and a biography. Pym has been described as the Jane Austen of the 20th century, and I would agree, her stories are really a comedy of manners, they describe ordinary people navigating life within the social norms of their class. The stories are amusing and like a stream they burble along, but beneath the surface a lot is going on. The only sad story she wrote, and it is sad, dealing with the loneliness of old age, is Quartet in Autumn, but that said it is still a really good read.

I really don't care to purchase books, as most are available at the library and many are good for one read only, but a few I know I will read over and over. I enjoy Agatha Christie, and have read and re-read a number of her books, the same with Barbara Pym, and I can now add Dorothy Sayers to the list.

What are you currently reading?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The World We Live In

The events of the past week seem to have kicked off the new year,  the new decade, with an ominous feeling of pending doom. A general is assassinated and escalating threats of violence have continued unabated and rather than making the world safer, we are now all on high alert, and I am quite concerned about where all of this is leading.

We are all impacted by the decisions and choices of a few. At the most basic level we will all pay more for gasoline, but that seems the least of anyone's worries. Are we heading for WWIII? Will there be an uptick in terrorist attacks around the world. The rhetoric is meant to scare, and rightly so, if even a fraction of it is acted upon all of us will be affected. Is there no hope of humankind ever working together instead of against each other.

Meanwhile as grown men keep drawing lines in the sand and continue a war of words and intimidation, people around the world are starving, suffering from natural and man made disasters, lack basic essentials, and very few world leaders seem concerned at all.

I believe that most of humankind simply want to live their lives in peace, in a stable community, with access to education and medical care, and the hope of a good future for their children and grand children. But the power hungry egotists that are in control make this dream nearly impossible for most in the world.

The human impact on climate change must be addressed, we are soiling our own nest and don't even care. Certainly the politicians don't care, they are power hungry, world leaders don't care, they too are power hungry. Instead warmongering is the focus, how will a war make the world a better place? Why should the sons and daughters of the poor be slaughtered due to the decisions of the elite. I sometimes despair because as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a grandmother, what can I do? I simply pray that my children and grandchildren will have a rosy future to look forward to, but it is hard to imagine exactly what that future will look like.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year

Well here we are, January 1, 2020! Why is there something renewing about a new year, perhaps it is the thoughts of what might happen, what things we may do, may change, a time to start fresh. I don't know, but today I feel ready to conquer world!

I don't have any specific resolutions this year, other than to live my life each day, enjoying the small things, and simply being, nothing earth shattering. Just taking one day at a time and making the most of it.

I was up early on this first day of the year, four am. I came downstairs, made some coffee, did about half an hour of crochet, a few crosswords online while I ate my oatmeal, read a chapter of Less Than Angels, by Barbara Pym (one of my favorite authors), wrote this post and am now going to bundle up and go for a good brisk walk. Later this morning I will go to Mass, then come home to cook a New Years Day dinner for the family. I enjoy cooking and will make a stuffed pork loin, potatoes croquette, cabbage au gratin and gravy, the dessert will be banana pudding. For myself I will have a lovely vegan bowl of goodness, lentils and tomatoes, with steamed veggies. 

And tomorrow, well it will have it's own enjoyable moments and I will make sure I try to enjoy them all.


Happy New Year!



Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books Read In 2019

Fiction

Bear Town - Fredrik Backman
The Aloe - Katherine Mansfield
A Glass of Blessings - Barbara Pym
Death and the Dancing Footman - Ngaio Marsh
An Unavoidable Delay and other short stories - Diana Athill
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
The Lilac Bus - Maeve Binchy
God Bless You Dr. Kervorkian - Kurt Vonnegut
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy
Thornyhold - Mary Stewart
On Beauty - Zadie Smith
Possessing The Secret Of Joy -Alice Walker
Jane and Prudence - Barbara Pym
I Saw A Man - Owen Sheer
No Harm Done - Ruth Rendell
Farewell To Fairacre - Miss Read
The Punishment She Deserves - Elizabeth George
Well Schooled in Murder - Elizabeth George
Educated - Tara Westover
Incredibull Stella - Marika Hamilton
Miss Marple The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair At Styles - Agatha Christie
A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie
N or M - Agatha Christie
Less Than Angels - Barbara Pym




Non-Fiction

The World Peace Diet - Dr. Will Tuttle


Short Stories

Cambric Tea - Marjorie Bowen
Death on the Air - Ngaio Marsh

Poetry

Feminine Gospels - Carol Ann Duffy


Auto-Biographies/Biographies

Innocence - Roald Dahl (auto-biography) (plus 4 short stories)

Religious/Spiritual Growth

Word On Fire - Proclaiming the Power of Christ - Bishop Robert Barron
The Seven Storey Mountain - Thomas Merton


How To

Yoga Body and Mind Handbook - Jasmine Tarkeshi
The Sivananda Companion to Yoga -  The Sivananda Yoga Center