“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”


Photo: Mitzgami/Instagram

Not this New York. This New York.


(Mother Nature Network) Upstate New York.

Yes, I moved to New York. To be closer to my mom, to have a support system I failed to find in DC, to pay off debt, to save, to live a more meaningful, joyful, peaceful life. I said I’d never move here. It speaks volumes of my desperation that I’m here. Not that Rochester’s a bad place. Not that my mom’s a bad person. She loves me, as much as she can love anyone when she doesn’t love herself. As with my sister and dad, she doesn’t love  me unconditionally. Why is this conditional love so common among family? Not condition, really, but a grudging love, an envious, angry, bitter, impatient, and competitive love. Is it a narcissistic, masochistic, passive-aggressive strain that’s passed down through generations, or a more recent construct?

Whatever the case, like Obi Wan Kenobi, she’s my only hope. OK, that’s a tad fatalistic. Still, ten days here and I had to cancel what was to be our first “Girls’ Night” at my new place tonight because I need a break. I want to be there for her as much as I need her help. I absorb people’s energy, however, and she oozes negativity from her pores. I understand. I know why she sees the bad in everything, but I won’t subject myself to it without end.

I can’t.











“I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien.”


I grow weary of the racist, uninformed rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants in the US. Have those that wish them thrown out asked themselves why they’re here? (Hint: research NAFTA.) Do they know the top five industries that hire undocumented immigrants are farming, fishing and forestry, building/ground cleaning and maintenance, construction, food preparation and serving, and transportation?

For example, illegal immigrants make up a third of US slaughterhouse workers. If you want them out so badly, why do you support the industries that hire them? More importantly, who’s going to build the Walmarts and Targets, clean their bathrooms, serve your fast food, drive you to the airport, and kill your bacon and eggs when they’re gone?

“Many undocumented immigrants in the US already contribute a great deal to the country’s economy, according to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). That report noted that in 2014 unauthorized immigrants had a labor force participation rate of 70% compared to 62.9% for the overall population.

BAML also cited research that refutes the notion that America’s roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants might be ‘taking’ jobs from US citizens.

[A] study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that immigrants are imperfect substitutes for native US workers due to different occupation choices and skills and immigration has a positive effect on the average wage of US-born workers overall, BAML noted.”


“I can’t tell you why.”


Fifteen years ago, I became a vegetarian. I couldn’t tell you why. It just occurred to me and I did it. Nine years later, it occurred to me to become a vegan. I couldn’t tell you why…then.

Now I know. My sister and I suffered physical and emotional abuse as children. I watched in terror as she bore brutal punches and kicks, ashamed that I was too scared to save her.

I know that the idea and decision to become a vegetarian, then a vegan, formed from witnessing violence against her and a growing abhorrence of all violence. I couldn’t save my sister, and I can’t save the world. I can, however, stop participating in and condoning violence perpetrated against all beings to the best of my ability.

The inner peace gained by becoming a vegan resulted from my living in closer accordance with my values, listening when something inside me said, “You need peace. Let’s find you some peace.” I’d never known it. Ever-increasing knowledge about the unconscionable suffering of so many threatens to destroy that peace, but I strive every day to hold fast to it. It’s far too precious to lose.

“Slip Slidin’ Away”


It is terrible, and I haven’t the “luxury” of being a fiction writer. I absorb reality at its worst (and best, but the worst sticks more), then scribble or tappity tap pages about it. I can’t help it. I didn’t choose to write about this frigging life. I must, or KABOOM! My head will explode.

Adopting a vegan lifestyle gifted me with inner peace and patience. Soppy, but true. Unfortunately, like many vegan newbies I started reading about animal agriculture. A lot. Joined the vegan community on Facebook and was inundated with articles, graphic videos, and photos highlighting the horrors. I handled it OK for a while. Was saddened by “angry vegans'” hate-filled rants towards all humans, daily crying jags, sleepless nights. Now I’m an angry vegan.

Knowledge is power but it’s painful, too. Growing pains. I can’t un-see or delete what I’ve seen, read, and heard. I understand more than ever how images and sounds haunt others day and night. How a peacenik can be poisoned by hate and anger and hopelessness. Slowly, like a nagging wife by her browbeatened husband. And I hate myself most of all for allowing others’ behavior to affect my own. I won’t live that way again. I didn’t survive all I have to succumb to such useless, negative, and fleeting (if I let it be) garbage.

I’m needed, dammit. I’m no good to the animals, Earth, and you as a hopeless, overwhelmed, hate-filled, non-blogging, angry vegan. And I’m no good to myself. I count, too.






Diary of a Mad Woman


See these spiral-bound journals? Five of them 300 pages each? Full. I’ve written 1500+ pages in five years. That’s at least five books (or one Infinite Jest-length tome). I don’t dare read them. I know what I’ll find. Despair, hate, sadness, loneliness, and anger, peppered with lyrics, quotes, entreaties, pleas, and promises to let go, move on, forgive, forget, live, love, and write–to write being the most important. For me, writing is a means of letting go, moving one, forgiveness, forgetting, living, and loving myself, then all others. I can’t imagine telling someone that their 1500+ pages don’t count because they’re not published! Why do we treat ourselves so badly?

I beat myself up everyday. Call myself a fat, lazy fuck. Procrastinator. Horrid word. The world’s population could line up and, one by one, call me a cunt and spit in my face. I’d laugh at them. Call or treat me like worthless waste of space, however, and “Hello, psych ward.” The worst bit is that I care what you think of me. Everyday I must re-learn not giving a shit what you think of me, or what I think you think of me. It’s exhausting to care so much about the wrong things.

I won’t rehash the reasons behind my lifelong war to like and love myself. I’m sick of writing about them, reliving them, and allowing them power over me. Sovereignty. I came across that word yesterday while re-reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s How to Relax. How easily I’ve gifted my sovereignty to others. No wonder I feel out of control, panicky, and overwhelmed. Teetering on madness. I risk losing the hard-earned patience and inner peace I gained such a short time ago. It scares me and I won’t stand for it.

Today, I, a writer of many books, write in my journal and here. For nobody else but me.








Animals are too good for this world.

So I’m holding an immunity-boosting yoga pose and a scene from this film disturbs my peace. Again. I shake my head as my eyes pool with tears. Again. It’s seared into my consciousness. A poor animal’s mouth is bound, then a man inserts an electrocution devise into her anus. Her cries of pain are stifles as she dies for her fur. I see and hear her so clearly. It’s devastating.

Please rethink buying leather, wool, or fur. Please consider watching this film. It’s less than an hour in length. Thank you.



They shoot vegans, don’t they?


This vegan can’t catch a break. Doomed to a life without a mate because I WON’T EVER DATE another non-vegan. Doomed, because solo women are missing out on something, right? Besides sex and compromise. In general, solo, childless women are looked on as selfish non-breeders with impossibly high standards.

I recall the DC matchmaker who balked at my desire to date vegans only. I was admonished for “limiting” my already small pool of prospective partners. Why must they be vegan? For the same reason non-smokers, Christians, and non-smoking Christians want to date other non-smokers, Christians, or non-smoking Christians–I want to share my mind, body, and life with someone who shares my values.

Being a divorced woman of a certain age with Rheumatoid Arthritis, dentures, and gray hair (yes, I’m letting my natural silver mane grow long and wild) isn’t enough of a disadvantage? She didn’t say it but I knew she was thinking it. Why be so picky? Veganism’s kinda, you know, extreme. You’re never going to find a VEGAN man in DC. It’s almost impossible to find a man in this town, period!

No, I don’t think veganism’s extreme, unless you think striving to cause the least amount of suffering in the world by eating peaceful food is extreme. As Christian-y as this country is, you’d think we’d all be vegans. Am I alone in experiencing the word, “peace,” being tossed around like confetti when I attended church? Or finding it incongruous that I sat down at tables laden with dead animals as I bowed my head during prayers of thanksgiving and peace? I’ve watched animals being slaughtered. Lined up for slaughter. Their fear and struggle to escape is tangible. Their cries haunt me. There is nothing peaceful about it.

I know what peace is since becoming a vegan. I didn’t know it as an earnest, baptized Presbyterian of over twenty years. Now I’m agnostic. I don’t think there’s a God. If I believed one existed, I wouldn’t worship it. Why would I worship someone who allowed such suffering in and of this world? And if I wouldn’t worship the “Creator,” why would I share my life, or fridge, with a mortal who supported said suffering?

But because veganism isn’t mainstream, because it’s “restrictive,” “elitist,” “unhealthy,” unsanctioned and disavowed by church, state, BigBanks (as if there’s any other kind), BigAg, BigPharma, doctors (most of whom receive gifts from BigPharma; check out yours at https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/), hospitals, and schools, I’m supposed to date meat-eaters, even though their value systems and mine don’t mesh on this most basic and precious level.


So I’m writing again. And I’ll practice my audition piece. Learn Spanish. Move closer to my tribe. Pay off debt. Travel. Grow food. Grow. Share it. Share it all.