Clean Up Duty

To anyone with neat and tidy tendencies, these pictures probably don't look too different. I'm not a neat and tidy gal, though, and yesterday's picture of the sofa cover reminded me of just how "cleaned up" our lives on the internet seem to be. Even I, queen of pack rats, tidy up my photos before presenting them to the world.

As I read Sea + Prairie, I'm reminded of the pervasive neatness we see all around us on the internet. Tidy pockets of perfect lives, except this one profoundly honest woman who seeks and speaks truth. Eren reminds us that life is full of learning, truths and even some struggle, but that's okay, that's just how it is.

We've all got pretty pictures to share, but how many of us are brave enough to share the messes that go along with them?

Just in time for the weekend

I had a Friday Philosophizing post all typed up, just needing some images, but I'll post it next Friday. This one was a rough week, which means reflection is a much better choice for a Friday post.

A quote from Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, via Michelle Smith's blog:
She had fallen into the situation that characterizes a great many people of high accomplishment – so busy, so completely absorbed in their work, so resistant to any image of themselves except that of supreme accomplisher, that they unconsciously sacrifice self awareness, self-doubt, and the vivifying power of tranquil reflection.
 A series of events at the beginning of the week brought to light the many hats I wear (mother, wife, sister, friend, artist, full-time job holder, etc.) and how balance needs to be incorporated, so I can seamlessly move between roles. The week would down with another role, daughter, that needed attention. Daughter usually takes little energy and I was far from being prepared to step into that role, but when need calls, it doesn't stop yelling. Michelle's post came at a perfect time, exactly when I needed to stop and regather, reflect and recollect. Just in time for the weekend.

Also just in time for the weekend: a little bit of outdoorsiness on Modish. Come join me, won't ya?

In light of yesterday's twittering fury regarding the decision for one internet-famous family to trademark the term "urban homestead" and all variations thereof, let's discuss!

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of the topic and how it affects me, I guess I'm actually a suburban homesteader, so it doesn't really affect me as much. (No cease and desist letters at least!) But grabbing the name of a lifestyle seems to be rash, not well thought out, and generally kinda icky.

What do you think? Feeling unfairly stripped of something inherently connected with your lifestyle? Feel like they've worked hard for the title and rightly deserve the rights to it?

**and some favorite things to take you into the weekend**

I love Mooks. Especially these.
These images are probably part of a dye experiment, but I like to think of these dots as constellations or confetti.
And of course, come say hi over on Modish today. I'm really interested in today's topic, you might be, too!

Seeds and Food

"That's me in the corner, that's Adam behind
the spot. light. Losing veganism . . ."

Last weekend was one of gorgeous weather, creating a full-on itch for seed starting season. I've noticed my attitudes about food have slowly shifted as my gardening years go by. I doubt anyone has lasted through the years I've been rambling here, but if you have, you deserve an award. Also, maybe you've noticed a drastic change in eating habits. It's been a quiet change, casually worked into posts here and there. The more into gardening I've gotten, the further I've drifted from veganism.

It's funny that deeply philosophical discussions lasting hours and hours regarding the merit and life of a cow won't shift attitudes, but the simple purchase of a soy bean can. When you buy and start your own seeds you begin to understand the source of your food. You learn the difference in heirloom varieties and the "new and improved" versions, organic vs. non-organic, and what impact GMO can have on our plants. If the labels on a seed packet are important to you, you then create your own hierarchy for seed buying decision making.

The knowledge goes with you to the grocery store. Or at least it accompanied the vegan me, and slowly my attitude changed. Soy became a gamble: was it GMO soy? Why did my protein options contain so many ingredients? I was realizing just how far from sustainable my diet was and the slow shift picked up speed. As the big companies co-opted vegetarianism, making it easier to find soy dogs and vegan cheese, they were also making products to last longer on a shelf, optimizing profit and minimizing loss to spoilage. The ingredient lists were pumped full of preservatives. They were also using cheaper ingredients to entice the consumer to try their veggie options with less of an upfront cost investment.
Salt and Time

But you know what? I've been eating meat for the past year and a half, but I don't talk about it--I've been kind of embarrassed about it, like I lost a fight or maybe fell off the path of the moral high ground.

I still maintain a largely vegetarian diet, but one of straight forward vegetables, beans, eggs and low-processed foods. The meat I eat is straight from the farmer, one who celebrates the process, so when meat enters my body I feel compelled to honor it rather than hastily devour it.

After my own 10-year stint with veganism, a local cheese sampler brought me to my knees, one bite later I was no longer vegan, I was vegetarian. A few years later, with a little Mabel growing in my belly, I felt the undeniable urge to eat meat--one I resisted for 7 months but could resist no longer.

I told myself I would go back to meat-free living, but I haven't been able to talk myself into it yet.

The first couple times we had meat in our house I made C cook it. When I finally decided if I was going to eat meat I better be able to see it for what it was (not get completely grossed out by a slab of raw meat in front of me), I had to pause several times throughout the process and remember to honor the beautiful creature that was providing us with sustenance.

This guy is my post-vegan doppelganger.
After ten years as a vegan, Runkle decided that eating pork from the farm “down the road” was better than eating heavily processed monoculture-produced soy.

Phew! It's nice to know I'm not alone. But to clarify, I don't think everyone needs to eat meat to be healthy. I don't think the world should be vegetarian to stop global warming. As my oh-so-diplomatic pops says, "There are enough ways for everyone."

*   *   *
And for some Friday comedy:

You mess up my vignettes, I mess up your soul. Taxidermy chicken hilarity at its best.

*   *   *
Also wondering if anyone ever reads these super long posts?