Friday, July 21, 2017

Dining Alone - Eight Years Later

On this very day, eight years ago, I wrote a blog about dining alone. It's one of the worst experiences I endured back then. It may seem odd, but it's always been the one thing I just don't like to do. Eight years later, I live in a house with two others, sometimes their grandkids and we've never all shared a meal together. I've changed how and what I eat over the past few years, but in the last eight years, since I wrote that blog, things have changed. In fact, with the exception of maybe ten meals, yes ten, I've eaten alone every meal for the past two years. My habits have changed so much so, that in the past eight months, I do not believe I've eaten at a table more than a dozen times. If there is one thing in my life that I'd change, it would be that. Funny when you think about what could change it. Maybe funny isn't the proper word.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

You Are Not Different

He wakes in the morning and pours his coffee, cuts his fruit, pets his cat.
She wakes in the morning, pours her coffee and cereal, pets her cat.
He wakes in the morning, takes his pills and then a shower.
She wakes in the morning, grabs her sneakers and heads off for a run.
He wakes in the morning, cries, then heads back to bed.
She wakes in the morning, cries and then heads out the door.
He wakes in the morning, feeds his children and they leave for the day.
She wakes in the morning, tip-toes about, leaves for the day and misses her children.
He wakes up in the morning, smokes a joint and grabs an apple.
She wakes up in the morning, contemplates her fate, then decides to face the day.
He wakes up in the morning, masturbates and realize it's the best part of his day.
She wakes up in the morning, wakes him for sex, the leaves, wondering why she's with him.
He wakes up in the morning, feeds his dog, then takes him for a walk.
She wakes up in the morning, calls her mother, they laugh and tell each other they love  one another.
He wakes up and kisses her gently
She wakes up and kisses him gently.
He wakes up and kisses him gently.
She wakes up and kisses her gently.
He wakes up and misses her or him, or them.
She wakes up and misses him or her, or them.

We all wake up and begin our days.
We all face challenges, big or small, sometimes confused by which is which.
We all have our views that may differ, but are still shared by millions, if not billions.
We will all get sick or hurt and eventually we all will die.
We all want to be special and to some we are and to some we aren't.
We all want to feel special to ourselves, but that doesn't come from saying it.

No, you are not different, you are a combination of many people you've admired, desired, loved, hated, learned from, taught, lived with, met, lost, found and sometimes simply noticed or been noticed by.
You are not different. No matter how hard you try.
But most importantly, try to remember...."they" aren't either.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

What Makes You Happy?

I would not say I'm happy, but I at least know what makes me happy. I often wonder if the problem with people today, their misery, their anger, even hate, stems from an inability to recognize what brings them joy.

Watch a child play and you realize it's the single item, the concentration, the connection to whatever the task is, that brings them joy. Add a television, background music or even a parent's interruption and they quickly lose interest, move on to the next thing and grow increasingly agitated, even upset. So why do we as adults, lose that ability? Why do we believe that stimulation, multiple stimulation will bring us joy, when we don't even understand what it is we want?

I have two landlords. They have a beautiful home, a large deck, a enormous backyard that more or less faces the north west and brings about some magical sunsets. Not a single time have they sat outside for the few minutes where nature brings on colors and images, no fireworks display could ever come close to. Not once have they gone out early, captured the shadows disappearing, accentuated by the chirping of birds and the feel of the warm morning sun on their backs. This brings them no joy? I can't understand how anyone can't be moved by these moments. A dear friend reminds me, almost daily, "You can't make people think as you do." They have now cluttered this space with a hot tub, new furniture awnings, gazebos, grills, canopies, gazebos and chairs, fire pits and other nonsense. All to distract ones attention and fulfill something nature doesn't do for them. It doesn't make me happy, but it's not my choice.

Yesterday I read Facebook, Twitter and even some friend's blogs and I know, as I do myself, that we spend so much time wrapped up in what we do not like, that when it comes time for happiness, we simply choose what doesn't make us stressed, unhappy or even angry. Rarely, do we do what makes us happy. I do not mean content. I mean happy. I see people putting their pets in cages and I wander for an hour searching for my cat. I feel a moment of stress, but then the sun starts to set. The bird's tune changes and there is fire in the sky. As the colors fade and the night sky appears, I see the bushes rustle and the orange image appears, running frantically towards me and then past. A quick jump and then he wonder, "Why am I not being fed?" We close the door, he eats, curls up next to me and sleeps. Happy. Both of us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

But, You Didn't Ask

Without getting into the long, drawn out story of my circumstances over the last few years, I've come to the realization that having expectations of people is a useless endeavor. Why is it, that we as a society, need to be asked, told or prodded to do things that are expected. Why would someone offer a service, an amenity or just a gesture, if they needed to be prodded to carry through with it? Why advertise something, if it's not really part of the deal, written only to sweeten the pot, unless actually demanded? It's a mystery.

Even the casual restaurants now will offer specials on the menu or a website, but unless one asks in person, they're simply empty words. Free! That word is used so often, but fixed to an action that must be performed by the customer, unbeknownst them. Digital coupons. First we must download to an app, then a card, then asked "Do you wish to use it at this time?" Immediately made to feel as if you've unlocked some secret that was never expected to be uncovered.

For six months, I've remained silent about a promise. A promise, which I paid for. A promise that went unfulfilled, simply because I didn't demand it. Even now, I am told to remind them of this promise, as if the conversation in which I politely brought up this omission wasn't my demand. Why isn't this already done? When will it be done? Why am I made to feel as if my asking for what was promised is an inconvenience? I sit and stare at a reminder of this failure to fulfill, while being made to feel as if in some way, it is my fault.

It makes you wonder about promises like love, honor and cherish. To raise a child. To teach a class. To obey the law. To take an oath to honor the constitution. Everywhere we look, we're reminded that people are failing to simple follow through on a promise, a promise they made, legally binding in many cases. A promise they have ignored, not due to oversight, but simply because they figured nobody actually cared. As of the promise to fulfill a duty or contract isn't necessary, because that duty, that contract, is nothing more than pomp and circumstance.

This blog, story, rant, what have you, will lead you to believe, I've been wronged in a horrible way. Brokenhearted, due to broken promises. I assure you, it's not that severe. It's just been six months and I'd like to watch something on the television.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Few Quick Thoughts About Being Vegan

While I've been vegan for over a year now, I've yet to fully embrace preaching the importance of it, not only for my friends, but for their future and for the future of our environment. I'm not going to rant and rave, but simply comment on a few things I noticed over the last five days. Yesterday was 14 months vegan and my 20th vegetarian.


  1. I can no longer handle the smell of cooked eggs, a food I used to eat daily.
  2. I'm appreciating spices more and realizing protein without them was never appetizing.
  3. Encasing one part of an animal into another part of it is not a normal thing.
  4. Vegan nachos are simply nachos that don't stick together.
  5. Most cheeses sold in America, add nothing to the flavor of most meals.
  6. With the right spices, tofu and cauliflower makes a damn fine burger.
  7. Finding fat substitutes, for flavor, has been the single biggest challenge.
  8. Most booze is vegan.
  9. Ben & Jerry's non-dairy ice cream, Endangered Species chocolates and vegan cupcakes!
  10. Protein isn't the problem you'd think it is.
  11. Most people will make a joke, but then are shocked to find out how tasty your food is.
  12. Be careful with vegetarian restaurants. Don't assume they're vegan friendly.
  13. I find I add less salt to dishes, but be careful. Canned fruits and veggies are loaded.
  14. Some meals take literally seconds to make. 
  15. An apple is a lot of food. So is a whole cucumber.
And here are the three best reasons

Losing weight without trying
Animals in the wild tend to come closer to you
Pooping has never been easier, cleaner and more regular

You're welcome for that last bit of info 😉

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Vegan Nightmare

I've been a vegan for over a year. Vegetarian for about 20 months. I did not do it for dietary or health reasons, although those side effects have been a wonderful change. I did it purely for moral and ethical reasons. I finally realized, yes it took me 45+ years to realize, I am no more important than a bird, a cat, a cow or a fish. I am not more important than the spider weaving its web or the mosquito or wasp, who may not respect me as much as I them. It's my choice and I've not done much preaching. I've signed dozens of petitions and written letters, but most of my preaching is done one-on-one, in the hopes that parents will do better for their children, than they did for themselves. Rarely does it register. Indoctrination is powerful stuff.

Since becoming vegan, I've actually helped animals and bugs out. I've saved mice birds, even a cat or two who were stuck. I've noticed animals come closer to me now, although I full admit this may be a matter of perception and it may just be my interest in them. I feel sick when I see dead animals on the side of the road and driving by farms gives me an uncomfortable vibe. I spend more time speaking to my cat than most humans and while some may laugh, it helps. I worry about him, but I also realize, in keeping with my views, I must allow him to live free from as many human constraints as possible. I also must realize his predatory ways are instinctual and many times, a form of admiration for my love and care for him. 

Yesterday however; on a day when American consume more animal products than most, I had the vegan nightmare. I killed an animal while driving. While I realize there is nothing I could have done and in my current state, recovering from a hip replacement, slamming on the breaks may have actually caused me great suffering, I hurt. It's hard to understand, because while it's not my fault, that makes it tougher. Like sneaking in the house as a teenager, the less noise we try to make, the more we cause. I feel almost as if that is what happened. I'm so aware of my surroundings now, I thought it impossible, but there he was. A little chipmunk who darted out from the bushes, right into my tire. The instant I knew, my day was ruined, and it was. I do not care if it seems silly to others, but that ended the enjoyment of my day, and obviously the fact I'm writing now, it's still not done. I tried to enjoy my time, but I couldn't. Maybe the reason isn't the chipmunk, but knowing how much of my life I spent doing the same, by choice. Maybe that's why it hurts.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Where I Live

One of the bad things about having a blog is the realization that this slow, monotonous life, very often reveals little to us. Change is something most of us don't want, despite our declarations of love for adventure and new beginnings. When we look back, at times the painful reality of having this blog, we realize that change rarely occurs from us seeking it. Change simply happens to us, very rarely in an instant, but gradually sneaking up on us over time. Usually, we are not even aware it has happened.

I've written about my move, my loathing of fireworks, my fear for our country, my worries for those I'd love to help and my wishes, desires and everything in between. Having this blog, has made me realize those wishes don't often change and my lack of desire may be the culprit. All that being said, the true void in my life is a sense of home. I've written about how I never felt of my town of Eastchester as home. When I finally did move out on my own, I was never home. I didn't like opening the door to my apartment and in over a decade, I never really had a guest. The move three years ago was not a good one and has continued to leave me feeling as if I'm lost, living some nomadic life, minus the movement. I feel trapped when my landlords are home and the little freedom I get from being outside, walking barefoot in the grass as my cat stalks my footsteps, is quickly erased by the sounds of microwaves, cell phones and a loud TV. How can someone who desires so little, be left wanting?

Yesterday, I went for a ride. I purposely tried to get lost and I wasn't sure why, until I woke this morning. I wanted to get lost, so that when I found my way, happening upon a familiar sight, I'd have that feeling. That feeling of relief, of being home. As I wandered down roads, with small farms, plows, cows and silos a plenty, I breathed in the air. I was happy being lost. I could have been content to stay there for a while, maybe forever. I made a turn, down an unfamiliar road, returned the wave of two men sitting on beach chairs drinking a late morning beer. I made a right and then a left and suddenly I was in familiar territory. As I approached where I live, I made the turn onto the quiet road, into this mini community of nearly identical homes, their droll grey tones matching the feeling within me. I pulled into my space, turned off the car and sat. No relief. No peace. No home. Just the place where I live.