Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beata libertà!

Well hello there!

My, my, it's been quite a while. How life just picks you up and sweeps you off your feet and away from vegan blogs! Well, here I am once again. Lots has happened since I last wrote, and I made sure to make mental notes along the way about blog-worthy events. Here goes nothing.

Prima:

ITALY MADE IT PAST THE QUARTER-FINALS IN THE EUROCUP! FORZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! It was ridiculously close, as the Netherlands totally kicked their asses and everyone else's asses in their group. But, alas, the Italians proved that they weren't World Cup contenders for nothing. YEAH HUH. That's right. Today they play against Spain, and if they don't win, they're out for real. So. One last FORZAAAAAAAAAAA AZZUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII and then I'm done and on to vegan news.

Seconda:

This is vegan news only because it involves yours truly: I wrote my POLI 214-Human Rights exam on Wednesday evening. Man, what a nightmare studying for it. It reminded me way too much of my provincial history exam in Secondary 4, where I started studying for the exam only the day before, realized that I didn't want to study, didn't care enough about the material to study, and wouldn't really learn anything more only the day before that would get me a better grade on the exam. So, in perfect correspondence with my dumbassed high school ways, I closed my textbook and trashed it the hour before the exam (i.e. threw it outside and jumped on it--I'm not even kidding, sadly; Ms. Environmentally-Aware cringes at the thought of leaving paper on the ground instead of in the recycling bin). If it weren't for my exceedingly high grades during the term preceding the exam, I would have failed the course: I ended up with a 63% (just 4 marks shy of my only [other than gym class--ha!] failing grade in high school). Anyway, fast-forward six years. I'd like to say I've matured and learned quite a bit in the ways of non-procrastination since high school. So I started studying for my POLI214 exam about five or six days before the exam. There was quite a bit of material to cover, so I was nervous about whether I'd remember all the technical terms or be able to define them in detail. I mean, there were only 10 chapters with an average of about 25 pages each, but it was heavy, legalese-laden text. Fast forward, once again, to Wednesday evening at 19:00. The exam BEGINS! (Dun, dun, duuuuuuuun.) I, along with most of the others, finished the exam after an hour. I've never had an exam like that before. I wouldn't call the exam easy; rather, it just did not ask as much of us as I thought it would have. I look forward to seeing my final grade in the course; so far, I have a 89% average. Yikes yikes yikes. OH OH OH! And!

Terza:

I checked my grades transcript today, and looky what I found:

Last Annual GPA: 4.04


4.04? Is that even possible? I've never seen that on my transcript before! Go figure. This last year has been the most emotionally difficult of my life, with my father being sick and passing away, with struggling to find a balance between keeping a normal life, going to school, taking care of my mum, sister, dog, and the rest of my family, and mourning, I managed to pull off the best academic year of my life. And, on top of all that, I managed to be involved in my program. Jeez. E' grazie a te, Papa, che ho avuto tanto successo quest'anno. E' grazie al tuo corraggio che mi hai conferito, alla tua forza.

Ok ok--Quarta:

A Vegan Dilemma (ooooooooh, scandal!)
So my doggie, the Brandy-Dog, was hurt for a while (I believe I explained her condition in a previous post--she's better now, though! Yay!). She was on pain medication for 2 weeks. To give her the pills (which she wouldn't swallow just like that), we had to wrap them in processed cheese slices, or in some sort of cold-cut. I guess it goes without saying that I was never the one to administer the pills to her. Well, one day, we ran out of food items with which to wrap her pills. As I was going to the grocery store with my vegan lover (ha ha, that sounds so cheesy [ha ha CHEESY! Zing!]. Bless you, Sir Nudo, for putting up with me) anyway, my mum asked if I could pick up some cheese for Ms. Dog. Now, as an ethical vegan, I will never touch, consume, or purchase meat products of any kind; it simply revolts me to handle dead flesh, not to mention how paranoid I am of getting sick from touching dead animal juices. Gross. So my mum knows very well that she can never ask me to buy her cold-cuts or something of the sort (nor do I allow her to put them in my reusable cloth shopping bags); I will, however, reluctantly buy other animal-derived products that don't involve my having to handle dead flesh, though of course, as an ethical vegan, I will not ingest these products, nor will I buy them for anyone other than my dear momma who needs a shopping break sometimes. (Strangely enough, I'll buy processed cheese, but buying milk grosses me out, simply because of an incident where the carton was leaky and I got some on my hands EW EW EW EW EW; and I won't buy eggs, lest they break and I get poor unborn chickadees on me.) Anyway... That was a lot of background info for a relatively simple story.

Back on track.

So Matthew, my vegan lover, and I headed to the nearest supermarket--on foot! Success in convincing him to join me on a rainy escapade to food-land!--in search of various vegan items and dog cheese for the Missus. I approached the processed-cheese section and grabbed the no-name brand package of grossness, for it was the cheapest. Matt stopped me and brought up something I hadn't really thought of. He asked why, as an ethical vegan, I would want to feed my dog certain things that I myself would never willingly consume. It was very good point indeed, and my response was that my vegan cheese was too expensive to buy for my dog, given how often she eats cheese; how six or eight slices of vegan cheese costs about five dollars (who the HELL decided that it should cost almost one dollar per slice?!) while about 24 slices (I think?) of regular processed cheese costs probably just over two dollars (well, crap is usually free, so I guess this makes sense...); and how she has eaten, and continues to eat, animal products as part of her regular meals, so what difference would it make to feed her vegan cheese? Granted, if I ever own another dog (of course I will!), I will try to make him or her vegan (though apparently it's impossible to make cats vegan, as they are inherently carnivores); though Brandy is an oldie, and she's lived this long on animal yuckies, so... I kinda wanna keep her.

ANYWAY! There are a whole bunch of philosophical issues with my argument, of that I am certain, though I thought it important to consider what my boyfriend brought to my attention. So, after 9.4 seconds of debate, we skipped (ha ha, Matt skipping?) on over to the veggie-cheese section, and, lo and behold, there were only vegetarian cheeses and no vegan cheeses in sight. After all that--those precious 9.4 seconds, gone forever!--we went back to the dairy cheese; after all, what was the point in doing a half-assed job of staying true to my convictions? (Note to self: Write to IGA to get them to stock vegan cheeses.)

Quinta:

Brandy the Dog does indeed like all the vegan offerings I... offer... her. It's true. This dog loves veggie sausages and Tofurky slices and spanakopita filling (ha!).

Sesta:

You're learning Italian today!

Settima:

I've done looooooots of baking since I last wrote. I made vegan banana bread for my uncle's birthday; 30 maple cupcakes for my other uncle's birthday; a semi-elaborate vegan brunch for Momma and Matthew, consisting of herb-roasted potatoes, scrambled tofu, and banana pancakes. I have also been commissioned to, once again, bake some vegan spanakopita for my darling cousin Amanda's birthday celebration on July 7. And, as today is my cousin Tina's birthday (she's 17!), I will bake her some cupcakes, though I have not yet decided which I will make. Oh, how I love thee, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!

Ottava:

I'm currently reading a book on Vipassana meditation (almost done! I blogged about just a little while ago). I'm looking forward to putting what I've read into practice. I have also picked up my Your First 100 Words in Hindi book. Ha ha! This should be fun. It's a difficult script to understand, but it should be an exciting challenge.

Nona:

I've been wearing the same clothes (and, thus, the same style) since high school. Now, I graduated from high school in 2003; that doesn't mean, however, that all my clothes are from that exact year. No, I have clothes that I still wear that date from 2000 or 2001. That's a good thing, for it means that
  1. I take good care of my clothes,
  2. I haven't gained weight (in fact, I've lost since high school), and
  3. I'm not needlessly spending money and consuming items I don't in fact need.
Nevertheless, I've changed a little bit (or quite a bit... How should I know? I can't see myself from the outside) since high school, and my style (or lack thereof... most likely the latter) has changed accordingly. There have been days in the last few months where, upon looking at myself in the mirror, I have found that my clothing does not match how I feel inside; it doesn't mirror who I see myself to be. Clothing is inherently superficial, but I feel that, as life have taken such a drastic turn in the last six months, it was about time that I went out and treated myself not to a careless shopping spree but, rather, to a little revamping of my exterior coverings. I am a very difficult shopper, however, as I do not like to purchase items that were made outside of Canada, unless they are certified sweatshop-free or fair trade. The only places that guarantee me ethical clothing are American Apparel (how I love thee) and Le Château (yes, indeed, most of their clothing is made in Canada. Thank goodness!). So I'll cut a long story short: $269.00 later, I have three dresses, two pairs of shorts, one fancy shirt, and one pair of dress pants. Go me! It feels nice to have new clothes, especially since they are all sweatshop-free and cruelty-free. And I do believe in the philosophy that, for every new item of clothing that you buy, get rid of one item of old clothing (i.e., donate it to a charity). So...

Done and done.

Alla prossima!



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Viva Granola

Ok, I totally found this too good to be true when I saw that "someone" named Viva Granola wanted to add me on Facebook. Well, it turns out that Viva Granola is a ethical, vegan boutique. I am SO PYSCHE to shop from them. I'm not even kidding. I like supporting Pangea (a vegan site based in the states) but if Viva Granola, a Canadian vegan company, can supply me with all my staple goodies and vegan jerky, I'm so there.

Thank you :-) And do visit!

http://vivagranola.com/


Also, I will be back soon to write up a full post. ;-) I'm just going a little crazy studying for an exam.

Ci vediamo fra poco!

Vegan in Suburbia