Monday, February 27, 2006


You gotta say that like a fog horn: Dow-ner. This is how I feel. I've contracted a little Monday blues.

Now, do a little skippity dance where the arms swing from side to side and your legs kick back. Sing, "I'm a downer, I'm a downer. I'm down!" Because this is what I do to make myself feel better. Try it. It helps.

I had a fantastic weekend with the girls. Which is why I'm down. Not really, of course, but I just crave it all the time, time with the family.

We went to Native Foods which is a famous vegan restaurant in the world of vegan restaurants. Astoundingly, even though it's in my own back yard, I had not gone before this weekend and now I'm KICKING myself for all the time lost eating at Native Foods. Just gonna have to make up for that. I especially love to see the girls get all excited about eating some vegan food. They were genuinely stoked. Every bite was a big celebration. "This is so good, I can't take it!" This is Mina's new favorite phrase. The I-can't-take-it part she now adds to everything. Which is so cute I can't take it. "I love you so much, I can't take it." And that'll just make your eyes roll to the back of your head. So, each bite was a "wow" and a "yum" and a "holy." Every bite.

Displayed at Native Foods were rows of pamphlets. Each began with the words: "The Truth About . . ." There were about twelve which told the gruesome truth about beef slaughter and poultry raising and fois gras making. The pamphlets presented stomach-churning pictures and nauseating descriptions. Maya in her infinite nosiness said cheerfully, "Oh, what are these?" I was going to stop her, but decided otherwise. She brought all twelve pamphlets to the table and the three of us examined them all. She made me explain the pictures and the words better because cruelty goes over so confusingly on children. Even Mina looked in horror. We all know she loves pork, but ironically -- or more like when indigenous cultures revere and holify their prey -- Mina's favorite animal, it turns out, is the pig. She looked at the pigs trapped in cages fit for a hamster and sincerely said, "I don't want to eat pigs." I said, "I can understand that. If you're ready, that's cool, Mina." She said she wanted to be vegan too, but I know the girl really loves the taste of meat and cheese, not all the time, but sometimes. I said, "Just do the best you can, little mama."

The pamphlets were bringing us down -- as truths often do -- so I rushed over and grabbed the Farm Sanctuary pamphlets. I said, "Look, there are places that save animals from slaughter and let them live nicely on a farm." We carefully considered the Adopt An Animal! page. We unanimously decided we'd like to adopt a pig. Maya said she'd contribute part of her allowance to help with the adoption fees because the pamphlets had brought her to tears, and after viewing them, her recent decision to become a vegetarian had just rooted itself more firmly into her being. I kissed Maya for the allowance offering and I kissed Mina because she said that the animals on the sanctuary were so cute she couldn't take it.

They've named our pig already though I'm not sure you're allowed to do that. But Violet if it's a girl. Hans if it's a boy. Violet they just came up with instantly. And Hans is the name of their favorite AfterSchoolCare counselor. He rocks, and I thought the names were perfect. We then got dessert and shared a slice of vegan cheesecake that was so eeffing delicious that Mina demanded that she have this as her birthday cake in a couple months. I was like, shit, no need to twist my arm. As the girls fought over the last bits of cake and as I thought of Husband and my dogs waiting for us to come home and chill together, I thought, Please don't let this day end. Please don't let this day end. Please . . .

And I’m down.


Husband said...

Really good one baby.
Yo, Native Foods needs to
be payin you for the bigups.!
Somebody needs too.
I love you so much
I can't take it.

ESB said...

dang, you are such a peach.

what happens to animals seriously keeps me up at night....i fnd the whole subject incredibly heartwrenching and disturbing. i'm practically a vegetarian, and have been for years, but wish we could have a wholly vegan, or at least vegetarian household. i have little spousal support, though. maybe when the kid gets older...

acumamakiki said...

I'm practically vegetarian and would never question again, if I were to see those phamplets. Maybe you should send them to me, seriously.
I love that the girls have named their pig ~ Violet was on my short list of names, husband vetoed.

madness rivera said...

Hi eeekat & acumamakiki - Y'know, I think most people don't really know all that goes on in factory farming. Maya looked at me like, How can this even happen, but like I said, I don't think most people know.

No need to wait for pamphlets! Here's a site that uncovers a lot. On the left you can go through the different industries. There is a photo gallery too, but be warned, it ain't pretty.

I don't ever take a stand of making people feel like shit for their choices. For real. But I do believe when one has a more full range of information, they can make decisions that fit their own life.

Glamorous Jo said...

Violet! Hans! I can't take it!
(and how do you advise someone think about being a veggie when they DON'T LIKE TO EAT THE VEGGIES??)

madness rivera said...

HA! GlamJo, well, I think a lot of people don't experiment enough or fix vegetables up how'd they'd really like. I've heard that the french eat a lot more veggies than americans because they aren't afraid to season them exactly as they please. And maybe a stick of butter isn't the answer, but a little earth balance spread with some seasoning MAY do the trick for you. Just don't boil them to death. I think finding a really good salad dressing is key too.

Green Whale said...

I love Native Foods too. I could eat their chili fries forever.

At the end of the weekend I have "Sunday night blues" -- husband came up with the name -- which is a mixture of sadness because I won't be able to spend time with him during the week (he works long days), and fear of writing. So I'm not a stranger to what you're going through.

But you write so well about it, with such attention and feeling.

I love the "I'm a downer" dance. I really do. I know it'll help. I'll write myself a reminder on a sticky note to dance this dance when I feel sad.

kiki said...

i'm sorry you're feelin' down but the little dance is so cute i can't take it.

Marigoldie said...

After being a stay at home writer for a few days, and having some pure vegan goodness with them babies, I don't blame you for being down.

When I first gave up meat, I read some pamphlets and animal right books, but I also read regular agriculture textbooks from the college library. They contained all the inpsiration I needed to quit.

acumamakiki said...

You told us of a salad dressing awhile back that you could drink didn't you? That was you right?

madness rivera said...

Yes! That was me. Madness' Drinkable Dressing. I put the recipe linked beneath "check it" in the left-hand margin.

It's a bit watery and Margoldie wisely adds silken tofu to thicken it up. Lately I've been sprinkling some organic "gum" from the health food store for the same reason. But I think it's good watery too, drinkable even.

SUEB0B said...

Pigs are my favorite non-domestic animals too. Ironically, the only kind of meat I miss (after 21 years of vegetarianism) is bacon, sausage and ham. But I am not going back.

I have vegetarian recipes over at plus links...

My favorite way to convert non-veg eaters is to roast vegetables...lots of veg, a little oil, a hot oven, veg in a single layer...stir every 15 minutes, eat when covered with brown spots. Dee-lish. Thing Green Beans. They are truly great this way.

madness rivera said...

Hi Sue - great comment. Thank you. I always forget to roast. Gotta roast more.

So, I looked into sponsoring a pig. And I think we'll sponsor a pig as one of their bday presents. Their bdays are almost exactly a month apart and they're coming up. When you sponsor, you get pictures and the story of your pig. Awesome. We can visit it too. But you can't name the pig. We'll secretly call it Violet/Hans.

andrea said...

oh wow, I don't think I need to see those pamphlets to know that I made the right move to stop eating meat.

and what a pivotal parenting moment, sister. letting the girls discover the truth on their own and you there to answer questions. that kind of thing ain't ever easy but look what came from it: violet and/or hans! I love it. and I applaud you.

and the "I can't take it" part? too much. TOO MUCH.

Rebel Girl said...

Yum - and now - a challenge - you, me, & green whale - we meet and eat at Native Foods BEFORE THE MONTH IS OUT (I mean March). Some late weekday afternoon???? What kind of hours do you keep?

Whaddya say?

And your drinkable dressing is doing me just fine - week 3, maybe 4, I think of raw food vegan diva by day (suspended on the weekend when I must bear with my in-laws and other special occasions) - and my usual vegetarian by night. It's a great regimen - even traveled to Mexico with it over Dead Presidents' day
weekend, it and the washed butterhead lettuce kept cool in the cooler.

Missed you last weekend mama!

madness rivera said...

Rebel Girl - hell yes. Just say when. Tell me what nights are good for you. Or a weekend afternoon?

Rebel Girl said...

Nights - any night but the sacred Thursday workshop night and the sacred Wednesday yoga night.

Weekend afternoons are fine - 'cept this weekend we are helping out with our local chidlren's center's chili cook-off fundraiser at Irvine Lake (set-up Saturday - supervise Sunday). I was tempted to sign up for a booth so I could make sure there was a veggie alternative - but I got too much going on. So - suffice to say, it isn't going to be a veggie-friendly event.

If it isn't one thing with me these days it's another *sigh*.

But maybe the next weekend? 11? 12?