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Once Upon A Time, I Was A Vegetarian

Hot dogs, mac and cheese, pb&j sandwiches and a total avoidance of the colour green on my plate. Those were my staples growing up. I was a picky kid to say the least. My parents would demand I not leave the dinner table until my veggies were gone. Luckily for me, I’ve never been short on stubborn flare and yes, I was THAT child; the one wrapping broccoli in paper towel and feeding the dog one pea at a time.

Fast forward almost a decade and I found a new cause for stubborn antics. It happened unceremoniously. On a trip home from my summer job before my first year of university. I sat at the dinner table with my family, a juicy steak fresh off the barbecue on the plate before me. Unenthusiastically, for no obvious reason, I cut a piece and put it in my mouth. Chewing slowly, something just clicked. I gently placed my knife back on the place mat and realized I wasn’t going to finish that steak.

For years I avoided meat. People would constantly ask me why, as though this choice were an insult to our evolution. I never understood the point in pressing for a reason…maybe it was the simplest conversation starter, or perhaps we just inherently seek cause or reason for choices – we seek validity through those around us. I stopped eating meat because I just did. I can list tons of reasons to back up why if I wanted. All I’d really have to do it point you in the direction of the shocking documentary, Earthlings, and it would all become a mute point. Sure, I disagreed with most farming techniques we use for our meat, and I feared what I was putting into my body due to my knowledge of the steroids and questionable diets my food had been raised on, and of course I love animals. I’d known all the facts before I put down that knife, but I hadn’t considered them in relation to my own eating habits. I became a vegetarian because I looked at the meat before me, and just didn’t want to eat it.

When I looked again years later, and I did want to, I did. There weren’t hoops to jump through or personal battles waged. I’m conscious about what I put into my body and like to consider most food choices I make to be, for the most part, smart. That said, I don’t turn my nose up to desserts all the time and I enjoy my cheat days to their fullest. One of the best lessons to learn in life is to enjoy yourself. To be true to who you are and follow the path that makes you happiest. You can let yourself explore all options and never feel criticized, judged or questioned. Never forget that you’re living for you.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.


Quiche It Up

I love eggs. Vegans, you guys both impress and worry me. Oh and cheese. Cheese is great also…it doesn’t worry me. But does further question the sanity of the vegans. Anyways, moving on. I’ve been quite lazy in the kitchen this past week or so. My sole accomplishment, (aside from finally figuring out poached eggs over an induction oven), was a delicious quiche Continue reading Quiche It Up

Pursuing Writing. For Serious

Committing myself to writing each day has been super trying. My brain has been very strictly kept tracing along a scientific dotted line for years and now I expect and demand creativity on a daily basis. That’s actually just cruel of me. Yet, here I am. Still writing.

This isn’t something I believed myself capable of. I’ve never thought my writing strong or sure enough to carry me. A gamble as big as I’ve taken is almost laughable with that track record. When I was a kid I danced through career potentials and landed firmly on Zoologist for the greater portion of my youth. It actually wasn’t until applying for university that I ‘responsibly’ sought more job rich studies. Hence, Environmental Resource Management. Funnily enough, I was bored out of my mind in this program and found much more comfort and stimuli in my minor in Biology and even greater joy in any Zoology course I could get my brain on.

Labs, dissections, proposals, research assignments, endless papers with formal citations and theoretical and scientific jargon got me through school.

Years of work in zoos, aquariums, animal rehabilitation centres and emergency veterinary clinics followed. I’ve bottle fed tigers, cleaned up after way too many species, led enrichment programs, rescued orphaned and injured wildlife and everything elseĀ linked directly to an animal related profession.

And now, I write. I write in the personal, in the abstract and with as few professional referencesĀ as I can manage. From the blog posts I make, to the articles I submit to help finance this life of mine right now, and straight back to this book I’ve been working on, it’s all me playing by my own rules. I’m flying by the seam of my pants here. This is me taking a chance on something I’ve come to be passionate about. Sure, my confidence likes to waver, and yes, I read much better work on a regular basis from anyone but me, but this is where I’m going right now. I’d like to imagine that this writing commitment is similar to practicing an instrument. You play and play until you improve. The songs become more sure in themselves under your fingers and the masterpieces slide inch by inch closer into your reach. I’m hoping, by sitting here each day, and clicking away on this lap top, my words, sentences, thoughts and ideas are getting firmer. My personality starting to maybe slither between lines and my witticism not only audible in my own head all the time. I want my writing to just keep getting better. I want to grow and stretch in this new endeavour and find the footing I’ve been stumbling for. Maybe it’s coming. Maybe I’m onto something here. Maybe if I just keep writing…

Stuffed Zucchini And More

Last night I went a little crazy and relived my veggie heavy days. (Aka, when I was a vegetarian). I had this beautiful zucchini sitting in the fridge and had been wondering what to make with it for the past couple days. Fresh from my parent’s garden and accompanied by ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley, I was feeling the summer garden love a whole lot.

Bonus today! I actually have two recipes that I felt ended up going together beautifully last night. There was my stuffed zucchini, which played the part of appetizer/side dish (in lieu of crispy bruschetta or garlic bread), and my main dish was a simple yet fresh and tasty pasta.

I’ll skip the part where I talk and rumble a whole bunch and jump right into my recipes here.


Stuffed Zucchini

Continue reading Stuffed Zucchini And More

The Benefits of Raging, And The Art Of Being Pissed

Having a temper is discouraged in our society. We lean towards terms like ‘easy going’ and ‘laid back,’ giving a nonchalant attitude towards the rare anything that could anger us. A temper is confused for cruelty or meanness. I’m definitely guilty of taking pride in my ability to excuse the irksome and I constantly try to overlook others poor behaviour when my irritation is already being cheaply ignored. The description of ‘easy going’ is very much me in many ways, but there are exceptions.

I’m a clean person. So being surrounded by chaos or disorganization pushes me to a new level cleanliness that could only be described as Molly Maid perfection. That can hardly be called easy going! An easy going person would just shrug and toss a pair of dirty socks into the mess, assuming it’ll have its time to be reckoned with; a gift for future-me to deal with. But I’m not easy going about the condition in which I live. People have many facets and each of us have a thing that can and will get under our skin. How we respond to it says a lot about us, but generally, those that react in anger are judged and resented for their inability to mask it. That’s really what it is to deny a temper, isn’t it? It’s a deception, a carefully controlled and masked emotion to protect our reputation as a calm and laid back person. Out of fear or embarrassment we neglect the fury that could be asking us to just be pissed and then condone the ‘strength’ it took to control that urge.

There are tempers that swoop out of control and hurt those around them with carelessness and vulgarity. And I can’t encourage those. What I want, is controlled rage. Responsible but honest anger that doesn’t need to be lessened for the sake of keeping face. Letting yourself feel is a struggle familiar with many people. Too often we try to limit our emotions, whether it be the stubborn cling to not fall in love or the tongue biting clench of true, hit something hard, anger.

One of my biggest accomplishments over the past few years was learning to be angry; learning to hate. Not a petty hate born out of ignorance or annoyance, but genuine, nearly blinding, hate. I learned and seethed in an acceptance of being genuinely mad and let myself be pissed. It wasn’t like I’d never been mad before, but it had always stemmed from my personal transgressions or jealousies. This new emotion I allowed myself was raw and was a reaction to someone who had wronged me. Playing the role of humble martyr, belittling the anger I was deserved and being too understanding were routes I’d always been all too familiar with. Letting go of the cautions of feeling all that was there, I finally let rage seep out, And it was amazing. I spoke with shocking power and emotion that wasn’t in complete juxtaposition to my normal calm demeanour and realized the lies I had been telling myself all along. I wasn’t ok with this person. I wasn’t willing to accept or forgive anytime soon. This was inexcusable of them and I had all the reason in the world to be pissed. Pissed at how cruel they had been. Pissed at their words, actions and hurtful assumptions. Pissed at how they had disappointed me. Pissed at myself for allowing it to have gotten as far as it had out of my own hesitation to being angry in the first place.

The weight that fell from my shoulders along with the honesty of my emotion left my breathing easier, and more surprisingly, smiling. Behind the hot tears that burned the back of my eyes and the solid lump in my throat was a pride only slightly bigger than the rage simmering below it. My words had been mean. My intentions had been to hurt. Every inch of me wanting him to feel how angry I was, how much he had disappointed me. The fight I brought out of the both of us was unexpected but hugely necessary. We needed to be angry. I needed to be angry. He needed to know that this was unacceptable and I was finally strong enough to react truthfully.

Being pissed can be sloppy and reckless. Ugliness can be so easily stumbled into when the red mist descends, but the trick is to remain in control. Say the words that you need to, but don’t forget why you say them. Be honest with yourself. What you feel is not wrong, is not weakness of character. What you’re feeling is important. There’s never cause to snap unwarranted, or throw a fist through a wall. But stealing the heat of an emotion is dangerous in its own ways. You won’t steal the heat of the anger away, you’ll only store it, like hot embers, lying beneath a cool bed of soil.

Commit to yourself, to all of yourself. To the emotions that demand your honesty, and the power to be true.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.