OB

OB
Cliffs at Ocean Beach

Friday, August 31, 2012

Celebrating kind people

I am sure you're heard the saying "Practice Random Acts of Kindness". I know it goes on from there but can't remember the rest of it.

I love this saying!

Recently on Twitter (one of my all time favorite social media outlets) I saw a post from one of the folks I follow that said this: Truth: There are kind people out there...let's celebrate them!

What a sweet, refreshing thought.

My first though in writing this post was to make a list of unkind things I am tired of seeing or experiencing. Then I reconsidered, thinking that this post will be all about celebrating kind people.

Like the people who see my truck blinker and allow me to merge into traffic and/or switch lanes.

The donors who thank me for fundraising.

Our neighbors who constantly tell us how lucky THEY feel to have US as neighbors.

Those in our world who forgive and give others a second chance.

Those who always give the benefit of the doubt to people hey love.

People at the gym who tell me I look great.

My husband, who teaches kids 12 - 18 how to play the violin, viola, cello and bass.

The drivers on I-70 who stopped in an effort to reunite two bear cubs who had gotten separated from their mother trying to cross the interstate.

Those who are loving even when it is not easy.

Those who don't say anything rather than saying something they might regret.

I could go on and on. I'm sure that each of you could create your own list. How even more awesome of a world would we live in if every day each of us practiced a random act of kindness (or two!)?

To all of our readers and supporters out there who have inundated Mike and I with kindness, thank you!

And thank you for reading! My email address is vegandude@msn.com






Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tarascos

Unbelievable!

Two friends of mine were meeting me for lunch and I asked them to pick a place. They know I am vegan and told me to meet them at Tarascos.

I love Mexican food. I also have realized that it is tough to find delicious Mexican food that is vegan. Not any more!

First, Tarascos is not a veg or vegan restaurant, they serve meat. If that is the only kind of restaurant you go to this is not for you. For anyone else, read on!

The owner greeted us and told me about the vegetarian menu, the jugos naturales, and that because everything is made to order making the veg items vegan is simple. AND, the vegetarian menu is bordered by names of famous vegetarians. How cool.

I started with Nopales Asados (grilled cactus!) with a hot salsa that I wanted more and more of. The to Sopa Tarasca which is a traditional Michoacan bean soup. If you'd like it vegan simply ask for it without sour cream and cheese (crema y queso). It is delish. I honestly cannot remember all of the health benefits around this soup even though Noe told me, and I have to say that while eating it I felt healthier!

A spinach salad topped with grated apple was next. It was also delish but I wanted to keep going into the entrees. I totally was not disappointed and indeed mildly surprised as Noe, the owner, dropped off plates of vegan enchiladas topped off with different salsas. he explained to me that the one plate with three different salsas was based on nutrition and each salsa covered different nutrients! Seriously!

The Enchiladas Plazeras and the Enchiladas Espinacas were delish, and easily made vegan.

Have you ever had jalapeno peppers stuffed with peanut butter? I hadn't. Loved them! A little spice with a little sweetness.

Do you love mole? No worries as they have a couple of vegan versions including a yellow mole.

Dessert? Yes! The only vegan option is a sweet tamale, which I had with Cafe Olla, a sweetened coffee. Oh my!

If you have read my prior restaurant reviews you know that the two things most important to me in regards to my review are amazing vegan food and friendly service. Both times I have been to Tarascos the service has been wonderful. I was lucky to catch the owner my first time, and each time I very much enjoyed the friendliness of all of the employees.

I love to eat. I love Mexican food. If you are ready to try amazing Mexican food, I highly recommend lunch or dinner at Tarascos!

Tarascos is located at 470 South Federal Boulevard, just a couple block south of Alameda on the east side of the street. They are open every day of the week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What we do to animals

I have been vegan for sixteen years and an animal lover my entire life. Growing up, we always had one dog and usually a handful of rabbits or guinea pigs. The day I (a sophomore in high school) buried my guinea pig Rusty in the backyard was one of the most heart-wrenching days in my life at the time.

I became vegan for animal reasons. As in I do not want to harm animals. The bigger picture is that I want to do as little harm to any living being as long as I am on this earth. From mice to whales to humans.

Now at 46 (well 46 1/2 as you know from a couple of blog posts ago!) I am even more stoked to be vegan for the health benefits. But back in the day, the only reason I became vegan was because I did not want to be part of the cruelty that inevitably happens for any animal to become my meal. This is still the driving force for my veganism.

I am still blown away when I catch news of the horrific things we as a human race do to animals, whether it is to celebrate a Saint, promote a religion, support a long term cultural deal, entertainment of any kind, or simply because we can.

A few minutes on my Facebook page or reading news blasts from around the country reminds me that not everyone believes about animals as I do.

Many times I just shake my head. How can anyone do anything like that to another living being. It's worse when one is clear that their action is creating great pain to that animal. Of course I realize that this is the reason for some people to cruelly torture an animal. Others simply pay another human being to inflict the cruelty and they don't partake until the former living being is presented all pretty at a restaurant or all wrapped in shiny plastic at the grocery store.

If there was a poll done I would bet that over 90% of people in the US believe that cruelty to animals is wrong.

Yet the cruelty continues. In all parts of our country, in communities big and small, gay and straight, rich and poor. The only thing that will stop the cruelty is us.

Going vegan is the best way. Knowing that we are all on our own path there are other ways to start. Vegetarianism, speaking out against cruelty in entertainment, promoting spay and neuter in your community, and the list could go on and on.

Yet for me, being vegan is the key to a life that simply does not accept the incredibly horrible way our society treats animals.

Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Building bridges

Whew! What a week this has been.

Summer is coming to an end which I know because my teacher husband went back to the classroom this week, with students returning this coming week. The dogs are already missing having him around all day. At my day job I am counting down the 1/2 day Fridays we have left, only two more! This is one of my favorite benefits at my job, being able to leave every Friday during the summer at noon.

Meanwhile, I have just realized that my blog posting has taken a hit and I have suddenly reverted to just one post a week. My goal has been to write two posts a week, and I will do my best to get back to that. While thinking this morning of this blog, I decided that I want to bring up a topic that comes to mind on a daily basis.

Bridge building.

As in building bridges between communities, between individuals, between those who might disagree on one point and those who might be in disagreement over several points. This whole blog is all about bridge building and supporting those out there doing the building!

This weeks example is an activist friend who wants to support one community's fundraiser but because the fundraiser is a cookout with a very small choice for vegans she has concerns about attending. In this social media world the discussion has become negative on Facebook. After asking for my thoughts when she received a not-so-nice (and personally attacking/judgement) note from someone who disagreed with her, I responded with this:

I am so sorry to hear this. My first reaction is to tell you that I adore you. My second is, welcome to our lives! Mike and I get a lot of this with our blog. The first thing I remind folks is that they do not know me. They only know what I posted. The second is that I will always be an unapologetic voice for the voiceless, all of the voiceless. I am not going to be quiet just because my voice does not equate to someone elses vision of liberation or equality. I must always do this in a loving way, and it is even more vital on FB where many people see and may only read snippets of what is going on.

If I were involved in this I would write a loving/compassionate note to whoever is in charge of organizing this event simply asking that they offer more vegan items so you can not only go, but feel good in inviting others to go and support them.

Sending you lots of love. Dan

My experience here is to see how I can lovingly support a group whose mission I strongly believe in and at the same time be a voice for the voiceless. 

It's not always easy, simple or fun. And please know that I am not trying to simplify what can be a very difficult experience. I am only trying my best to be a loving example of a voice for the voiceless.

Thank you so much for reading. I would love you feedback. You can leave a comment or email me at vegandude@msn.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

46 1/2 years

Last night I went to my first ever yoga class. It was amazing and I can't wait to go again.

Towards the end of the 1 1/2 hour class we were finishing up by doing a yoga move/pose where one lays on the back and is completely still, palms up. The instructor went over a list of body parts that would begin melting into the floor. My closed eyes were rolling as I thought "can we just finish up please".

He continued. And before you knew it I totally felt that I was melting into the floor. As I embraced this I realized that yesterday was the half-way point from 46 to 47 years old.

Already.

That six months went by fast.

Yet what a year it has already been. I am in love with my husband, I have the best job in the world, my family and friends are so amazingly supportive, Mike and I love our home filled with furries, and each day I wake up wondering what I can do that day to make the world a better place for all living beings.

Whew, what a list. Gratitude is an understatement.

2012 is the first year I started out as a blogger. I love this blog and all of the wonderful people who I have connected with because of it. I love that through The Gay Vegans I am able to help build bridges and engage in conversation around things that are important to me like animal rights, human rights, marriage equality, bigotry, compassion, and simply being gay and vegan in the burbs.

Thanks to all of you who support this blog!

And as always, thanks for reading. I promise to have a more engaging blog post next time; I just had to share this!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Time to stop the hate

This blog post comes from my personal experience within several communities that Mike and I are a part of.

It's time to stop the hate.

Bullying on any level is wrong.

I am not going to say your behavior is OK.

Stop the verbal violence against each other.

Stop the character assasination.

Look in the mirror. The person you are being is not the person we know you are.

I wish this issue was rare. The more I listen to others I realize it isn't. A family member doesn't talk with you. Someone thinks you are not vegan enough. That person makes too much money. So and so told me that he told her that you said something bad about me. I hate that person so you must hate them too. Did you know he did THAT?!?!

It's the whole focus on the family deal. You are OK with me as long as you act just as I want you to act, believe just as I want you to believe, and don't you dare think otherwise.

I have been on the receiving line of all of this. It's not fun. It's hurtful.

So why do we do it? I have no clue. My daily goal is to make the world a better place for all living beings. And to love. Being part of any of the crap that I just wrote out has no place in my life and does nothing towards ending suffering in the world.

There is so much hate in the world.

Only we can stop it.

I can disagree with you but I will not hate you. I will set boundaries as to what behavior is OK and what behavior is not OK, but I will not hate you. If our disagreement is so strong that we should not be in relationship, as sad as that is then so be it. My love is stronger than any hate out there.

Thanks for reading. I am truly grateful. My email address is vegandude@msn.com if you would like to communicate with me without posting a comment.