Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Royal Reflection

On July 21, 1981, I was the 12 year old girl tucked away in the Tennessee mountains who crept up at 5:30 AM to watch a Royal Wedding on her only television channel.  On September 6, 1997, I was the 28 year old woman in Louisville, Kentucky who crept up (trying not to wake the babies) to watch a Royal Funeral while clutching a box of tissues. And this morning, I can't help but feel joyous for Prince William as his engagement to Kate Middleton is announced.

It was inevitable that I would adore and idolize Princess Diana. My mother had insured my fascination with all things royal through the stories and fairy tales she patiently read to me as a child. Consequently, after watching Princess Diana's wedding, I was starstruck, and through the years I collected many, many magazines, photos, and books in  my attempt to be closer to this beautiful family. I was so happy when she gave birth to her sons, and cheered with each milestone they achieved! William's first steps, Harry's first day of school, the sporting events,  the holidays... all were right there on the pages of People Magazine for me to enjoy.

 Princess Diana's death only made me feel even more love for her boys. Both of my parents have passed on, and my heart just absolutely broke for them. Watching them grow up under extreme scrutiny, I  have been so proud of them, knowing in my heart that in spite of their smiles, a twinge of sadness and temperance exists that only mourning can create.

 So, as I journey further into this Windsor Fairy Tale, I am very happy for Prince William and Kate Middleton. I can't wait to  set my alarm, rise, and witness another Royal Wedding.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nocturnal Chatter

Wow. This must be a new record. I'm up at 3am this morning. Well, 3am was 4am last week, so now that I remember that, I don't feel quite as bad.

 If only my mind wouldn't start spinning as soon as I reach consciousness. I think every single thing I'm worried about crowded around me the instant I rolled over! Now I'm up, sipping tea, and trying not to envy everyone else who is still warm and snug in their beds.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Donna Livingston and the Deathly Hallows

Well, it's come down to it. Only one week until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I! I've been intending to re-read this book for a long while now- never mind that I've read it two times before. I've read the other six books at least 5-7 times each, but this last book... well, it is the last... and my heart broke a little more each time I read it. I could only stand it twice.

But this morning I picked up the beloved book that has been winking at me from my bedside table for 2 months. Faster than you can touch a portkey, I was transported to Malfoy Manor and stood staring up at the suspended figure of Charity Burbage, slowly revolving above the table of Death Eaters. I couldn't tear myself away until all of The Seven Potters made it back to the Burrow, and the news of the Fallen Warrior had been sadly delivered.

I must confess, it was a wrench to put the book down, as a bit of my Harry Potter mania was newly revived with each page I turned;  It was like visiting with old, very dear friends! Those little wizards and witches will never know how much they mean to me. I mean, I love them. Seriously love them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegan Travesty

I made the decision to be Vegan after much thought, but it is only in the living do we learn and grow. I really enjoy eating this way. It does feel good to have 0% cholesterol in your diet and no grease! I have learned so much, though, and re-evaluated everything. I'm still thinking about what to do, but here is where I am at in thought at the moment.

It was my extreme dislike of (and fear of) this country's mass food production methods (animal cruelty and slaughter) that spurred me to become a Vegetarian, and my extreme fear of heart disease which inspired me to go even further into that lifestyle and give up dairy products and be Vegan. In so doing, I am having to find and define my personal comfort zones, for me and for my family.

My first inkling of "Vegan" doubt arose from my intense studying of the subject of Veganism and from perusing millions of recipes. I noticed that within that circle of thought, one was expected to think a certain way. It was only when I found myself beginning to think this way, too, that I realized that it clashed completely with my vision of myself.

I love to cook. I collect British cookbooks and absolutely love the idea of old-fashioned, comforting meals, full of roasted meats, creamy soups, fresh salads, crusty breads, and cheeses. One of my goals as a wife and mother has been to create that kind of atmosphere in my home for my family. Feeding people and animals is one of my greatest joys in life!

After 6 weeks of a Vegan lifestyle, the contradictions within my mind were beginning to be painfully clear.  On more than one occasion, I saw meat referred to as “tortured animal corpses pumped full of antibiotics.” Milk became "blood and pus-filled secretions." And eggs are nothing more than "chicken periods."

It was the milk reference that threw me. As a mother, I breastfed 3 children for 3+ years and have produced thousands of gallons of perfect, sweet milk for my babies. Try as I might, I CAN'T think of milk this way.

Another aspect which I find disconcerting is the extreme irony in the whole Vegan principle. On one hand, the idea is to eat more healthy foods and avoid extremely processed foods in general. Eating no dairy for 6 weeks, I found myself missing sour cream and cream cheese, so I scoured the stores, traveled many miles, and paid many dollars to get my hands on some milk-free sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. One day, as I was slathering some soybean "sour cream" on my baked potato, I realized that I probably could not find a MORE processed food than what I was about to put into my mouth. That "sour cream" is so far from it's original source (soybean), that is was as if someone needed a magic wand to transform it! In this moment, I began to see that it probably would be much better for me to just eat some real sour cream, made from milk, and closer to the original food source. I certainly don't feel comfortable feeding these dairy substitutes to my girls!

As a result, I have tried to add cheese and some cream back into my diet in the last 2 weeks. I must admit, my stomach has not been very cooperative with that decision, as I am lactose intolerant, but I am trying nonetheless. I am leaning toward not eating dairy, but if I make that decision again, I won't feel comfortable calling myself a Vegan because somehow that implies so much, and I have found that I just can't agree with some of the extreme principles associated with Veganism. Just simply not eating meat or dairy should be enough.

All in all, I am very happy to be proactively taking the steps to prevent heart disease, as I have been living in fear of it for a while now. And the knowledge gained through this experience only encourages me to do my small part in creating a more gentle world.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Mourning

Grief is my dark company. A screaming, silent companion. Most times my stealthy companion walks with me unnoticed. Then at certain moments I am forcibly seized and mangled in wrenching aches. 

My heart and mind struggle to realize the morbidity of my reality. So many loved souls have passed beyond the veil, and left me standing in tears. Father, Brother, Mother, Step-Father, Best Friend... all gone as I desperately grasp the air behind them. 

My world is yet filled with still more loved souls, and I must be brave. My grief is an unknown facet of me. I walk with my screaming, silent companion, and find dark company therein.