Week Unknown – Vegan Lasagna – Theme 37: Rows and Rows of…

And here it is, January 11, 2015, with so many weeks going by between vlogs that I have decided not to get hung up on my huge absence from this project but rather to just participate when time allows and enjoy it when I’m here!

As this huge pan of vegan lasagna (recipe obtained from the Engine 2 website and inspired by the documentary we watched last year at this time) was staring at me after I placed the last tomato, I thought “Wait a minute!  There’s a theme in here somewhere.”  The camera came out and here we have rows and rows of…plum tomatoes!!!

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Trying to maintain a vegan lifestyle is going pretty darn well for the most part.  If I had to put a percentage of success on this past year, I’d say 95%.  We’ve had some baked goods that later on upon reflection I know must have had egg in them.  And we splurged for a doughnut one day.  However, 18 pounds lighter (and I didn’t really need to lose any weight) and feeling so much better, the small amount of extra work it takes to be vegan is worth it.

For my foodies, you can find the recipe HERE in my other blog!

Happy New Year all!!!!

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Week 10 – Birds on a Wire – Theme 36: Right Place at the Right Time

As I’m happily driving home, Thai food take-out in hand (or on seat in this case), I am coming to the stoplight and see literally hundreds of birds sitting, perfectly spaced from one another, on all of the wires above.  I was so thankful to have a red light so that I could manage to take some sort of photo of this.  It was fascinating and made me just giddy seeing them all.  It really made my night!

Bird Line Oct 2014

Week 9 – Bustling Baristas – Theme 44: Someone Working

It’s only fitting that today, on National Coffee Day, that I coincidentally decided to do this post.  How fitting!

Coffee isn’t just about coffee…it really isn’t.  It’s about community, diversity, relaxation, pleasure and unity.  How in the world can all of those things fit within the scope of a simple coffee bean solution?  It doesn’t seem like coffee could ever be that epic.  And yet the experience of going to a place where java lovers gather can be all of that and more.

People Working 27 Sept 2014

My lovely wife and I have had some serious conversations at our favorite Starbucks over a cup of Reserve coffee brewed in their epic Clover machine (reverse French press).   We’ve met some really interesting people and now see some of those people every time we go there.  It’s our utopian mothership that draws community together to relax and unwind in a world that is far too busy most of the time.  It’s about diversity as the older gentlemen sipping his black coffee interacts with the young teenagers lounging on one of the comfy couches with their pumpkin spiced lattes.  The hard-working baristas are never too busy to answer a question and customer service is their number one goal.  That’s refreshing when at some places the staff will barely say two words as they ring up your…whatever.  So, the next time you are having a hankering for a cup of Joe, go inside instead of the drive-thru and sit for a stay.  See if someone won’t catch your interest and strike up a conversation.  If coffee can be a source of unity, then there is hope after all.

Week 8 – Awaiting Gigi – Theme 40: Simplicity

Oh, the life of a cat.  Particularly, a life of a spoiled kitty living in our house.  Who wouldn’t love to have all day to sleep at leisure and stalk critters (window-shopping style!) and get snuggles whenever desired?  It’s simplicity at it’s finest.

And then there’s Gabbie.  Her simple life nowadays has taken a new twist.  At sundown, this smart little furry one descends the spiral staircase and waits.  Yes, she’ll just sit there and wait.  Wait for whom you may ask?  Why Gigi the gecko, of course.  Don’t ask me how she (assuming she even is a she) was nicknamed Gigi.  That’s how these things go.  Gigi torments Gabbie every night while waiting for her prey.

Gigi 20 Sept 2014

Gabbie knows that she can’t actually get to Gigi, but she’ll jump at the window over and over again to keep trying.  Lately, this is the highlight and sole purpose of each and every day.

Gabbie and Gigi

If only life were that simple…

Week 7 – Love Changes Everything – Theme 12: Fences and/or Rails

Every Tuesday night on my way home from our Key Chorale rehearsal, I drive past this person’s home.  On their fence, in beautiful, illuminated green script are three simple words.

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Love Changes Everything.  And every Tuesday when I near this person’s fence, I smile and my heart is warmed when I slow down to take the very special message in.  Panache Desai tells us that “…Love has always existed.  Love existed before there was an earth.  Before there were galaxies. Before anything we know as life came into being.  Love is the ocean in which we swim.  It is the air we breathe.  It permeates every particle, every molecule, every single aspect of our experience.  If we cannot trace love back to its beginnings, then surely we know that love never ends.”

Thank you, unknown lover of positivity, for making every Tuesday night’s drive one that makes me smile and always reminds me to love.

Week 6 – Stair Shenanigans – Theme 30: One Step at a Time

Ah Wolfie.  My handsome, 16-year old, poly-dactyl, Hemingway kitty!  He’s such a loving goofball.  So, when you have a spiral staircase, cats just love to play on it.  And, even better than that?  They love to play with YOU on it!  You start walking downstairs and if Wolfie is in range, he rushes the landing up top to start the play session…

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He’s so easy to engage!  Go down a few more steps and peek back…he can’t resist!

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A few more steps and he’s descending in an attempt to spy on you.

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But then hides…well, almost successfully….ha!

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Ah, here we go…that’s better.  Shh…don’t tell him that we can still see him.

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What would life be like without this character?  My baby boy…my furry baby boy!

Week 5 – Deck Critters – Theme 39: Shot Through Glass

Just like most people, my day starts off with the same ritual-like activities that can almost be done with eyes closed.  Having my work day start in the afternoon and go into the night, I am thankful for a morning without alarm clocks and rushing around.  There’s a stillness and peacefulness outside when I go to retrieve the morning paper and it’s almost as if the universe says to me “Here’s another day to start afresh.  Stay in the moment–be here now!”  Okay, so not every morning is quite that esoteric and lofty, but I do try to stay in the present so that I don’t go tumbling down the spiral staircase!

My favorite morning routine item is feeding the birds and squirrels on our deck upstairs.  They are very tame and it enriches my soul to interact with nature’s little gifts daily. After putting the seed and peanuts out on the railing, one only needs to turn their back and the flock starts to congregate.  This morning there were nine!  Yes, nine doves in a row!

9 doves in a row Aug 2014

That’s about the most I’ve ever seen peacefully sitting, eating and getting along.  They say that doves are supposed to represent peace but if you have ever really watched them interact in a large group you know that they are anything but that. We’ve seen them run each other off the railing and raise their wings up in a stance against other doves and squirrels. 

There are a few squirrels who are really comfy on our deck.  This one cracked me up lounging and doing who-knows-what with his bushy backside.

Squirrel on railing hanging Aug 2014

And just when it seems that all of the critters are gone for the morning, in flies a gorgeous cardinal taking a hop around the deck.  On the lower right, Wolfie, my beloved feline, is thinking of course that I’m taking a photo of him!

Cardinal through window Aug 2014

And so my day begins…a fun, always slightly different, interaction with nature.  It reminds me that all creatures, great and small, are precious gifts in my life.