Disembodied Baby Limbs or My Time On Amazon

Baby hands. And baby feet. That you can mount on your wall. Because I don’t know why.

I’ll wander through Amazon now and again, and it always reminds me of how odd the world really is and how little we acknowledge it. In this case I was looking for a Father’s Day gift for David in the jewelry section when this wonderful bit of wall tackle popped up.

I get wanting a physical reminder of how small your child was, because you can never get those tiny fingers back once they grow up. I understand inkstamp handprints and bronzed baby shoes and all of that. But making a cast of them from almost the elbow down (remember, a baby’s arm isn’t all that long) and then mounting that cast on the wall so that it looks like you have a ghost baby emerging from the espresso stained wood fixture?

I mean, first of all, how do you even get a baby to stay still long enough to make a cast? Making a cast takes like 20 minutes and a lot of patience, something which babies are not world famous for.

Anyway, here is the link in case you have a need for that sort of thing. And hey, if you do end up buying and making floating baby hands, drop me a line and let me know. I’ll make sure to never come to your house.

All aboard the bandwagon!

Vis a vis my last post, I have gone vegan for a little while. For bikini reasons, not ethical reasons. We all know I’m not ethical.

In restructuring my diet I’ve been seeking out recipes for some of my favorite foods (burritos, biscuits, tuna casserole) that can be made vegan with substitutions or dropping ingredients altogether and substituting spices. And I’ve run across a lot of what I can only call cheating.

This is really common in things that are labelled “gluten free”. Either it was always gluten free, and the company just realized they could charge more and capitalize on a trend. Or they took something that does have gluten in it normally, and gave a half effort at doing it different, so anyone who really has celiacs will get sick from their “gluten free” products.

It’s also really common in vegan foods apparently. Specifically, I’d like to point out this recipe for Vegan Bread. I found that on Pinterest with the caption, “So glad I won’t have to buy the expensive vegan bread at the store anymore!”

I make bread, as a sort-of-hobby, and the only ingredients truly required for bread are flour, water, yeast, sugar, and salt. My favorite recipe ever, Amish White Bread, only has those ingredients, plus a little oil to make it less crumbly. The $1 loaves of generic bread that I buy down at the grocery store are also vegan, I just checked. Bread is a vegan food unless you specifically buy some fancy kind like eggwash. No one ever had to buy the expensive vegan brand, I don’t even know why that brand exists. Oh wait, yes I do. To make money off of the people who just went vegan and still don’t know the territory. There’s vegan oatmeal and vegan peanut butter and vegan soup, and all of those are vegan in their original form. Oatmeal is oats boiled in water, peanut butter is peanuts crushed with oil, soup is just boiling whatever you can find in your fridge in a pot of water and salt.

And I know what you’re saying, “what about the popular brands that include whey or glycerin?” Read the label, there are a whole lot of brands that don’t, and the generics almost always don’t. Buying a $5 can of soup is just silly when you don’t actually have to.

The other thing I noticed about that bread recipe I linked to up there: it includes a few unusual ingredients. I realize that while vegan I will have to rethink what I stock in my pantry, but I think it’s fair to say that most vegan recipes are an overcomplicated mess.

I looked up lunches earlier, and stumbled on this article that’s supposed to be about easy sack lunches. As a non vegan I would throw a nut bar, applesauce, and ham sandwich in my bag and go, so I was expecting now that I’m a vegan to be throwing a nut bar, applesauce, and hummus sandwich in my bag. Apparently I need to step up my game, because that is weak sauce compared to the Soba Noodles recipe featured in the article. Who the hell just keeps agave syrup lying around the house, and when will I ever use that again? Or this recipe from the article for Cauliflower Rice. I’m sorry, what was wrong with rice? What is so unvegan about rice that I need to have a complicated substitute?

Vegan recipes and vegan prepared foods seem to be a lot of expensive, often namebrand ingredients as a substitute for something that never needed substituting. Yeah, I could use quinoa instead of rice, and ground buckwheat instead of flour? But why do I need to? Why does every salad include sunchoke and durian, when I can just throw some spinach in a bowl with some italian dressing and have an easy, familiar lunch?

I dunno. I guess I get touchy about food. Mama likes to eat, but I’m not exactly made of money, nor do I feel like putting out unnecessary effort.

Vegan Schmegan

I realized earlier that my friend group has changed drastically enough that pretty much no one outside of my family was there for my vegan/vegetarian phase. Which is a funny thing to realize because that “phase” lasted like ten years.

I’m not going to get into the moral reasoning or why I transitioned in either direction, but I will say that it shaped my tastes pretty heavily, and even though I have no problem eating meat nowadays I still don’t eat much of it unless I’m with my husband. We went to the in-laws’ the other day and there was steak on the table that had been carefully marinated for several days, an absolute treat, and I just ate a huge salad soaked in vinegar and oil. Didn’t touch the meat, not interested.

Since Samson was born I’ve made several half-hearted attempts at dieting. I’ve got about 13 pounds sticking around from the pregnancy, and I know that after my next one I’ll have another 13 at least. And I don’t want to just jump a dress size every time I have a baby, plus the couple pounds people naturally gain every year or so. I know that pregnancies are healthier when your starting weight is lower, so it would be a favor to myself to get back to where I was last summer. But dieting is stupid and punishing and in my opinion drives people a little nutso. There’s just something about giving humans a numbers system like calories, we get weird about it and try to game the system. At one point I talked myself down from the recommended 1400 calories to 700 because I kept being like, “If I eat one less snack than yesterday, I’ll lose weight that much faster!” By the time I realized what I was doing, I was eating less than a two year old should. Then I stopped doing that and bought a cake.

I’m also not really looking for a “lifestyle change”. I hate it when people say “you shouldn’t diet, you should seek to change your lifestyle permanently.” Or when people say, “I’m a skinny person trapped in a fat person’s body.” And I hate this image that gets passed around tumblr and pinterest and wherever else.

Let’s be real here. I’m trying to lose some weight, but I will most likely find it again. You go through different stages in your life, and while it’s good to be healthy, there’s nothing wrong with trying to slim down for summer and then fattening up again once it’s winter (better known as cookie season). There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Huh, this dress doesn’t fit. Well, I have a week till the party.” And then going on a cleanse real quick. If you’re an athlete, that’s awesome, but I’m not and I see no reason I should have to eat and exercise like one for the rest of my natural born life. We will all get fat, old, and wrinkled. Accept it and eat the cake.

So, knowing that I am too insane in the membrane to count calories and knowing that I just don’t care enough to be super fit, how do I intend to shift my body mass? By going back to old habits.

Like I said, my tastes were heavily shaped by my earlier vegetarianism, I can slip back into it easy peasy. I (eventually) figured out how to get all my nutrition and vitamins, so I’ll still be healthy. And the food groups you cut out by going vegan just so happen to be the most calorically dense food groups. A cube of cheese is the same calorically as an entire apple, and I don’t know about you, but right now I eat way more than a single cube of cheese a day.

I started this morning, and I’m already doing better than I have the past week. It’s hard to say, “Oh, I know I’m hungry, but I’m not allowed to eat anymore.” It’s much easier to say, “Oh, I can’t eat that because it’s got milk and stuff, but I can totally eat as many rasberries as I want.”

Incidentally, raspberry boxes (y’know that normally cost $6 for a handful and a half) are only $1.50 right now. That may or may not be contributing to my choices.

Oh blog, I have been neglecting you…

And during the time I’ve been neglecting you, what adventures I have had!

I played with the cat.

I took a needle to my ears.

I played with the cat.

I made a bunch of stuff from scratch including calzones the size of my head.

I played with the cat.

And then I made a video where I talk about makeup and tattoos.

To be clear, I’m not starting any regular thing. I just got bored and when I get bored I stop doing whatever I’m supposed to be doing (this blog) and do something I have no business doing (editing videos). However, this serves as an excellent opportunity for nepotism and shameless plugs, because although I seem to have a very specific fear of looking directly at the camera, my brother Haydn is considerably less awkward and considerably more awesome.

Fair warning, there is some swearing, but he’s a 20 year old guy so, y’know, managing expectations. Wear some headphones or something.

Spiders are fucking stupid.

This is not a subject that will ever be broached again because it makes me itchy just thinking about it, but I feel like I made some personal progress as a human being today and I want to share.

So I’m sitting in the bathroom scooping cat litter because Phantom has a functioning digestive system that I am now solely responsible for when I notice a spider crawling across the floor in front of me. It’s an ugly thing, exactly the kind they choose for horror movies to creep across the windowpane during a suspenseful shot, and its making its way for the water heater closet. Spiders move surprisingly fast, you always expect them to creep but I don’t think I’ve seen a spider actually creep in my whole life. They skitter, very quickly, and ulllllgh, is it gross.

So anyway, he’s moving towards the closet and instead of screaming like I usually do I freeze and just watch him and I guess at this point he notices me and he stops and freezes. Not out of fear though. He freezes and watches me, waiting for me to stop looking at him. I’m pretty sure from this encounter that the spider community thinks that humans are like t-rexes and our vision is based on movement. After a certain point I announce out loud, “I can see you, you know.”

He sticks to his plan, and remains as motionless as he can. Maybe he thinks I’ll mistake him for a tiny statue of a spider, that I keep those sorts of things around my house? So I speak again.

“I saw you the whole time, you idiot.”

Now, spiders don’t understand English, and I don’t understand spider. This is a bridge of communication that will never be built. But while looking at this little idiot and his absolute dedication to his tactic I felt an immense amount of pity. So much so that I rolled my eyes, skirted around him out of the room, and went to go get my new in-house pest control. 85% of the reason to own a cat is so they’ll eat the animals you don’t like in your house. As I was leaving the bathroom I saw the spider start moving again as soon as I had left his field of vision, cocky and self assured that his genius had saved him once again. I got the cat, dropped him in the bathroom by the spider, and let nature take its course.

I’ve never much been swayed by that “they’re as afraid of you as you are of them” crap, but it is incredibly reassuring to know that spiders are not on this earth because of their cunning. I’m really quite amazed they’ve survived this long.

Phantom!

That last post was depressing. Let’s move on, shall we? I got a cat! A white cat, three years old, who was being rehomed. The thing about cats is that they don’t really understand names how we do or how dogs do. They recognize when you’re talking to them based on tone, and some come when called by name, but according to cat behaviourists (which is apparently a job, and my new life ambition) they don’t tie their name with their identity. While I have many nicknames I still understand myself at a base level to be Cyra. A cat, on the other hand, will just understand itself to be “Me” due to their solitary nature in a wild environment. They are, in a literal sense, self centered. All that gobbledygook means that I will be changing his name, and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about possibilities. I liked Chalk or Cotton, but neither really fit his personality, I liked Darjeeling for white tea, but couldn’t come up with any nicknames, I like Bernard and my husband liked Albert, but each of us hated the other person’s chosen name. Eventually in line for a movie I made a joke about calling him Ghost, my husband made a joke about calling him Danny Phantom, we had a moment of nostalgia over old cartoons, and the name was decided. Danny Phantom it is. He’s still only here on a trial basis, since at his old home he lived with his sister since birth and we’re all still not sure if he’ll adapt to being the only cat in the household, but if he does well by the end of the week he’ll be here to stay from now on. Without further ado, picture spam!

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