Thursday, November 14, 2013


I have been thinking about how we humans seem to be programmed to choose to be surrounded by the most similar people, make close group friendships around close to the group equilibrium of common behaviors. It makes sense in a way, because it is the least effort path. No adjustments and life goes on.
It is a bit different with family because we dont have a choice who we are related to. Luckily, my family adjusts very well around me. So sometimes we are forced to adjust, but friendships and other relationships are a choice.

There are a few(or probably lots) instances this does not work well. For me, I am the not so normal individual in our friend circle, who doesn't conform to the least effort state.(I need a minimum of good back support seating, decent lighting and limited moderate noise if I have to spend anything more than 5 minutes anywhere). For this reason, most times we (hubbs and me) or me depending on the event, dont get invited to things. Though I am not even sure I want to keep getting invited to things I cannot do. And when we do get invited, there is hardly a thought put into if the event actually works for us (and I am not even talking about food). More often than not, a little thought would provide an answer of how to make the event more not normal people friendly. Each event for that matter for me is different levels of adjustment, that i do for several reasons including being with hubbs, for myself, for everyone around.

I dont know how this translates to how we all deal with other issues like kids in a group who have slightly different needs like food intolerances or other bigger differences.
I can maybe understand the frustration faced by parents when no one.. friends, schools, relatives, are open to changing something or adding options or generally even giving a thought to the not so normal needs or requirements of the kids. This is probably a bigger question too. The way we deal with anyone with a different interest(creative arts versus science), different lifestyle, with the non conforming lot.

I dont know the answers to these questions. I dont know if I would want to take the easier route if I was within the easy equilibrium circle, maybe I would too. In a way, it makes sense that why would you want to make the changes, take extra steps when those extra steps might make the event or change not as enjoyable for you. For example, changing a venue or an activity of your birthday or celebration changes how you want it to be. It is your birthday after all. The change though means that the not normal someone can participate. But then do you really want the person there? It is probably a hassle to keep adjusting(eg. food allergies). And if you are thinking probably not, did you ever stop to ask why not?. Some Close and strong relationships happen when people spend time with each other. Do you see the irony here. Its a cycle, if we dont spend time with each other, we dont get to know each other well and develop a bond. Maybe after the closeness, we automatically choose options that are friendlier to the not normal set.

Isnt all this related somehow. If we cannot take that extra effort to accept, be cognizant of and adjust with certain issues with our fellow family and friends, how will we take the extra effort to change something for the animals. Though both can be done mutually exclusively, the changes someone makes for any living being gives a window into the compassion that is there even if stronger for certain people/species, but its there.

Till we find answers, there will be loneliness.

my last year's thanksgiving post here. my ponderings seem to happen around the holidays.

As Isa says and I hope more people follow" A larger tradition for Thanksgiving is inclusiveness. Or, at least, that is what we’re supposed to tell our children. Let's keep that tradition by providing something out of nothing. Or, more specifically, cutlets out of chickpeas. Here’s to new traditions!"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plans and babies

As I mentioned some time back, there has been an explosion of babies being born around us. Most of our friend circle and extended circle around got married between 5 to 8 years ago. There were only a few babies in the years till last year and few and far between. And then pretty much everyone that was left got pregnant one by one and the deliveries are still going strong. 5 done and a few more to be this year.

With the first few kids, no one really asked us about our plans, because I was still trying to figure out the health issues, the diagnosis, the solutions and waiting for unknown things to heal and get better.

Now after a bunch of years, we know that some of the issues are here to stay and that I have to live with them. Both me and hubbs have realized and accepted that. Life goes on. 
Hubbs has lately been getting more comfortable thinking about an addition to the family.

I dont know what I feel about reproducing or caring for a baby though. Whenever I do spend time with any baby or toddler, I have done so in not familiar and high stimulus environment(different home, levels of noise and activity which keeps me far from getting  comfortable) and hence constantly struggle to associate any comfort and joy with the baby. I think for a few months last year, I would go into a mixed set of emotions. I would try to be happy because it is a joyful occasion and at the same time feel depressed because I dont know when, if ever, I would be able to experience it. 

Then I accepted the fact that I am getting depressed for no reason, because there are other options(adoption). Most likely I did not even want a baby right now. I was getting depressed about something I cannot have, but dont even necessarily want at the time.

Most days I am worse than a kid. You can leave a kid at a day care, but you can't leave me anywhere. I dont let hubbs get too far away from me. He is my safe person because of my PTSD. If he is around, I feel less anxious. I dont know how he handles my clingyness. 

It probably stems from the experiences during and post surgery. The helplessness a day after the surgery where your body doesnt listen to what you tell it to do and there is no way you can get up by yourself, walk or do anything, is the scariest thing ever for a control freak. 
Whenever people tell me I am brave and strong, I think to myself, that I am not. If i really was that brave and strong, why would I get post traumatic stress disorder. Why would I be so shit scared of something similar happening again or even another vertigo episode. 

And to think that I can be responsible for another life during a vertigo attack is incomprehensible. I remember I got an attack once while in the car. Hubbs had to pull over and then he got down to take a pillow out of the trunk so I could stabilize myself, and chewie got out with him without him knowing. The only thing I could do was yell to alert him, which he heard only after 4-5 yells. I couldnt move to catch chewie. He is my 4 legged baby and if something happened to him I would be devastated. But when I cant even crawl during an attack to stop him, how in the world will I cater to the needs of a baby. Forget the trips to the hospital. every trip is a panic +vertigo attack in the making. And all the responsibility will again fall on hubbs.

Sure, all the mommy oxytocin might just make me do things. But who knows. 

If I get to the point when I can either go through a pregnancy or adopt and care for a child, I think I would rather use the ability to get a bit more independent, to accompany hubbs on travels(its been 8 years since i stepped foot on a plane and he hasnt either because I get panicky if he is more than a few hours away from me), to fly and meet parents, parents-in-law, brothers and sisters and everyone I havent met in 8 years., and so on. but maybe my priorities will change. 

This year is about finding, moving into and setting up a new home. That postpones this difficult discussion by another year..

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Humane - what humane

When I first started about changing up my diet after reading a few things here and there.. I gave up meat and then I went about trying to find more "humane" options.. cage free eggs. Milk from Pasture fed and happier cows.
Then after finding out more and more about those farms and reading stories on vegan food blogs, I decided to replace each of the products which used animal ingredients one by one..

Whenever I read a detailed post, the questions that would come to my mind were "what the heck.. Why are these people doing all this." and not questions like " Where will I get my protein and nutrition" or " Omg I love cheese, I have to give it up?" Or "surely this is all made up information by hippies and I cant care about each and every extreme post out there"(Real questions by people in discussions).  

I just knew that I couldnt cause that much pain and suffering and there would be ways to either substitute some or just change up my taste buds.. It took a while to sub out everything especially the milk in our tea, mainly because I was not cooking breakfast for a long while. Once my health improved enough to take that over, milk was out the door. 

As for "Humane". to this day I dont understand the meaning of the term. By definition it means having or showing compassion and inflicting the minimum of pain.

Who decides how much compassion and how much pain?

Are cage free eggs "Humane" because the hens have some space to move around, even if their beaks are cut off so they dont peck at each other?

Are low calf cull rate dairy farms "humane", because the cows are not impregnated every few months and their calfs not killed(they all grow up and end up in the beef industry instead).

If there any such thing is "humane" slaughter. How about humane murder.. the notion of "humane slaughter" is at odds with the physiological reality of concussing, electrocuting, slashing open the veins of, and/or violently decapitating an animal, the idea that one can be "humane" while killing for profit is self-contradictory.

I just dont get the usage of the word humane. It seems like a band-aid term to band-aid our conscience and continue eating whatever we want to. 

Read more from a farmer's perspective here

and more here

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Offensive or not

So I posted this yesterday on my Fb status.
'If you can respect "my personal choice" to "pick any currently not acceptable by society behavior", then I will "respect" "your personal choice" to eat meat/dairy/eggs. - via Several sources.'

It is a quote with several interpretations. What I am talking about is "a choice", not the person.

For example, while growing up, several of us made decisions and choices that our parents did not agree with, disliked, got offended by, or even hated. Did that mean that they did not love us anymore. It is the choice they do not like.

My brother is currently a big carnivore. I love him as my brother, but I do not have to like or respect his choices in food. In fact, he hears exactly that from me every time we talk. But I love him, the person. 

To put it in better terms..please see the Extract below from Colleen's post. Entire post here

“Eating meat is my personal preference, and since I respect your desire not to eat animals, I would appreciate your respecting my preference to dine on them.”
The problem with this justification is that it assumes there is no victim, no other.
As a society, we collectively decide that certain behaviors, certain actions, certain personal preferences are inappropriate or morally reprehensible, particularly when they cause injury or harm to another. When confronted, abusive parents or spouses often protest that it is nobody else’s business how they treat their child/wife/husband, that people should not meddle into their affairs, and that they can do what they like in their own home. Though there was a time when the law protected such people and practices, this is no longer the case.
As conscious consumers, we make choices every day about the products we buy — we choose those that do not contribute to child labor, those that use the least amount of the Earth’s resources, those that do not exploit indigent farmers. How, then, can we possibly ignore the animals whose miserable lives have been so violently cut short because we hold onto a particular taste preference or habit? The animals whose bodies we have locked up, used up, and cut up for our enjoyment are no different than the victims of domestic abuse who, if they had a choice — if they had a voice — would choose not to be tormented or killed.
A choice made from personal preference might be the color I paint my bathroom, the kind of car I buy, or the way I style my hair. But a personal choice to hurt someone else???"

Sure, my fb post is probably not the best way to put things, it is offensive, distasteful, and other adjectives. It got the attention though, didnt it.

How is it a personal choice of someone who is being abusive to their family, children or their pets?

A personal choice that someone is getting hurt and tortured so bad as a direct result of someone else's action.

Does it matter that the "someone else" we are talking about is not someone's family or friend but an animal. That animal is a sentient being. That animal is my family. My family is being hurt. How is it "a personal choice".
And How do I "respect" that choice.

Please watch Earthlings here if you havent.
Or under cover videos at MFA here

It is interesting to read old posts back and see the transition journey. Transition into veganism takes years with several stages of understanding, evaluating that understanding and feelings, the helplessness, the anger, the motivation to do more and so on.

In the bigger picture of things, everyone including me, vegan or not, makes certain choices (personal or otherwise), that will not be a good one. Those choices made unknowingly, knowingly or however, can affect just me, or can affect someone/some living being somewhere to any extent, small or big, and tey would still be personal choices (unlike my interpretation above). Every small choice that I make is going to affect some living beings. Who farms my food, processes it, distributes it, markets it. Farming inherently will displace/hurt/kill some small animals. So many sentient living beings are part of the whole process that is life.

We dont however use this information(this overwhelming information that everything is going to affect someone or the other) as an excuse to Not do things. There is always more information to be found,more options to be found, changes to be made based on the current options and information. We haven't stopped at changing our diet. There is more things to be done, for fair treatment of people employed in any food or commodity field, and more to be done to protect our environment, and this planet.
Every step takes its own time. The point is to keep doing something for some step/cause/issue for this planet. This singular planet full of life in this vast universe, there might be more but we havent found any yet. So this is our only home. 

Friday, February 22, 2013


As I mentioned on my food blog.. My eyes are being very ridiculous since the past week and I am ready to learn to walk blind folded.. I couldnt stand in the kitchen for more than 2 minutes for 2 full days last week..gaaah... finally I realized I can walk easier on the carpeted area, so we put a thick rug on the tiles and I made it to the 15 minute in the kitchen mark. I dont know when they will get back to a the normality i know. 

Thats the frustrating part of this messed up eye, brain, legs, balance.. There is no predictability really. 

Some months I will be running around, over working my eyes, walking 10 blocks, taking 300 pictures in a day.. some other months, just a block, or not even to the elevator in the building or to the kitchen and back..

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Midway The film - Effects of the pacific garbage patch

The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. 
Production of the feature film "MIDWAY" continues through 2013.
Please go to for more information.

Read the blog here. Please watch the short trailer below.

MIDWAY : trailer : a film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.


Hubbs' everyday wear shoe sole broke at office the other day, so he dropped by the puma store to pick up a new shoe. He liked a few shoes, looked inside at the material label, read the insanely tiny print, then selected a few from them, tried, found one, confirmed the materials and bought one.

Several things to note here.
He searched for the label inside the shoe and read it.
eliminated all the obvious materials he wouldnt wear.
Confirmed the materials with the salesperson to be sure. how many guys would know what polyamide or rayon are or if the fleece is cotton based or wool or synthetic.

He came home and was beaming coz he found something he really liked and could buy.

You know you are vegan when you look at the materials before looking at the price tag.

There are always more things to learn and change.... like child labor practices or eco friendly ness of the companies... finding local, all vegan and green companies.
It is one step at a time.. and I am so proud of hubbs that he remembers some of the points I keep harping about, takes time to understand why and unknowingly applies them even when he is alone..:)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Another day another reminder

Its been 3 years already..

3 years since the UW Neurology department reminded me that i need to do follow up MRI. which after a few months of delaying, i went for in may 2010 and got hit by the panic disorder. A reminder sits in the mail.

3 years since I had to meet my neurosurgeon, who is a brilliant technician and one of the best to let handle your brain, but lacks a bedside manner, who at every instance tells me that I am complaining about the problem too much or tell me that maybe I dont want to get better.(nasty!) This year i am changing my follow up to someone else.

3 years of re-fixing everything. The panic disorder pushed my progress with my balance back a year and i am yet to get it to a predictable state.

How do you deal with Post traumatic stress. How do you come to terms with the change in life. How do you get that closure. Till I can figure that out, the ptsd will keep coming back in some form or the other.. and keep putting huge blocks at my balance rehab and progress towards some things i want to be able to do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Simple gestures

A post at Hannah's, about a simple gesture by a lady offering to share her umbrella in Hawaii heat, reminded me of how a simple gesture can make your day.

One day sometime in December on one of our house tours, my balance got messed up. I wanted hubbs to see the other under construction units as well, and was contemplating either sitting cross legged on the side walk to wait for him(which would still be unstable for me) or try to make it to the car by myself. Eventually he would walk me to the car which was 3 houses away, as he always does. He leaves the shopping cart with the teller, walks me to the car, goes back and bills and so on and so many other things. But this time, the house listing agent offered to walk with me.
When my balance in unpredictable, I can still walk (though awkwardly) and dont necessarily need to hold onto anything or anyone. But there is always a fear of falling. So I prefer to walk close to walls or railings or anything that I can hold on to if needed or to have someone around.

There are so very few times that someone offers help, that I feel warm and get very emotional when a complete stranger does. Also probably because hubbs is almost always there to help, so people dont really get an opportunity :).

It feels really good though. I dont know if I am that kind of a person, who would notice something different and offer anything, something, how much ever simple or small. Maybe , maybe not. I hope maybe in some ways, some days I am. Maybe I will never know, because almost all days, I am the one who needs that simple gesture. What I can offer maybe is a smile, if I am not falling off my feet that is. :)
Note to self, pay it forward.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I miss driving

I miss driving.. One of the first things I did after landing here for my Masters was get a license and then a few months later a car.. And the independence of going anywhere, meeting anyone.

In the 6 years before my surgery, I drove long distances, alone or with people, through downtowns,  through plains, through mountains...

I miss being that person behind the wheel.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Videos on dairy

Mostly words. A life of a Cow.

Why would anyone want to inflict so much pain on a mother, any mother.

More to be added..