Tag Archives: authors

Lucky

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The Lucky OnesAfter a couple of reschedules yesterday, we were able to interview Jenny Brown of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary today. I love Jenny—she’s so funny and frank—I just finished her book, The Lucky Ones, and I highly recommend it. Although it covers very serious issues, she had me laughing out loud at times.

I can’t wait to edit the interview and hopefully air it for our live pledge drive show next week. Between the interview and recording our news segment, we’ve been at the station a lot over the last few days!

Now that I have my books and VegFest is over, I’m starting to get caught up on reading and homework, but still have quite a way to go. So, I’m off to read some essays for Environmental Ethics from Earth in Mind.

Yoga, brainstorming, family time, bundt pan, interview

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Wow, I actually got to yoga twice this week! That hasn’t happened in a long time. Random times and random classes, but both good in their own way.

About all I accomplished today besides that, is some grocery shopping, and meeting with an old acquaintance about her fundraising ideas and reviving a great animal issues magazine she used to produce. It was nice to brainstorm together. Bonus: She said she barely recognized me and that I looked great! She hadn’t seen me in about 6 years and even though it didn’t seem very drastic to me, I gradually lost quite a bit of weight after becoming vegetarian then vegan, and I guess it shows.

Tonight, we hung out as a family, made pizzas, made pineapple upside down cake in the new bundt pan, and watched some Big Bang Season 5. I had planned to work on more show notes, but I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. Ooh, now we can make this bundt cake recipe.

This weekend, in addition to show notes and schoolwork, I’m going to read a good portion of Jenny Brown’s The Lucky Ones, since we’ve set up an interview with her for next week. We met Jenny last year and she was so friendly and funny—I can’t wait to talk with her again.

Distracting, and a couple of interesting books

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So nice when things go right for once! {And this family can certainly use good news.} Distracting and productivity sucking, but nice. As a result, it was one of those days when I was up at 7:30 a.m. but got pretty much nothing done that I had planned on.

While we’re processing and plotting and scheming, here are a couple of interesting books I’m reading for school:

Vegan in Israel, our HOME is in trouble, and Forget Sorrow

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Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, by Belle Yang

Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, by Belle Yang

Here’s what I did on this beautiful Saturday:

  • Spent 6 hours finishing up the radio show, featuring some great info on the vegan movement in Israel. {And tried not to fall asleep during the last several hours.}
  • Took a nap.
  • Managed to stretch watching a 90-minute video required for school over 4 hours {breaks for food, mostly}. Good video, though, with stunning videography of the world: HOME.
  • Spent zero time outside {sigh}.

Last night, I finished up Forget Sorrow, by Belle Yang, a memoir in the form of a graphic novel, and I highly recommend it. The illustrations are lively, intricate, and expressive, and the story unfolds in a non linear fashion that I wouldn’t have thought would work in this format. I learned a lot about China and how the people there coped with numerous conflicts and wars over the last several generations. For some reason, I can’t find a good image of the hardcover that I have out from the library, but this paperback cover represents her style nicely as well.

2nd try: Chickpea crêpe fail, too much computer time, Wichita and modern book editing

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I tried to make another chickpea crêpe this morning, using this recipe. Epic fail. It was way too thick, stuck to the pan, and I had to cook it forever to get it past gooey stage. I didn’t have asafoetida, garlic paste, or ginger paste, so I guess I subbed too many things? Or maybe I just needed to make sure the batter was a lot thinner. Next time I’ll start again with the VegNews recipe and try my variations from there.

Unfortunately, I spent most of this beautiful late summer day in front of the computer, working on the show (at home and at the studio). This evening, though, I was able to hang out with the hubs for some much-needed time together—sans kids.

I’ve also had a chance to read a novel over the last few days, something I’ve been going without for a few weeks. I’m working on Wichita by Thad Ziolkowski. It took me a few tries to get into it, but now I’m flying and am halfway through. Problem is, the egregious amount of typos and errors is distracting and sometimes confusing. We’re talking whole words omitted or repeated in the wrong place, in multiple areas of the book. I don’t understand why this is happening more and more in the books I’m reading lately. Why aren’t modern books being properly edited?! Or am I losing my mind? {Don’t answer that.}

I had my own little Pickup Artist / Brazil day

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I’ve been reading The Pickup Artist, by Terry Bisson. There’s a point in the book where Shapiro (the main character) is calling to find out how his sick dog is doing. There is so much bureaucracy in his world that he gets in this ridiculously long series of phone calls in which he gets the run-around about how his dog is doing, hears recorded platitudes, has to be transferred to grief counseling before he’s even told his dog has cancer, is upsold on a new miracle life-extending drug for his dog which would keep her just barely alive for up to two years (HalfLife™), in case a cure is developed within that time-frame, but then is told his insurance won’t cover it, and has to wait so long on hold to get through to anyone that he dials in the morning, and then carries the phone around with him all day on speaker phone, waiting for somebody to pick up. This is a futuristic story, but so painfully true. The novel reminds a bit of Brazil.

I had my own little Pickup Artist / Brazil government bureaucracy going on today. First of all I spent an hour and half or so waiting patiently at the DMV, just so I could pay them $40 to spend 30 seconds glancing at my  paperwork and various forms of i.d., have me double-check their data entry (twice), and take a new photo. They were, to their credit, very friendly and efficient once I got to the counter. As a bonus I got to try to read while crammed in a room with about 60 other people, many of whom had also been waiting for a couple of hours and had brought along various loud and/or obnoxious family members. I’m surprised nobody busted out a picnic basket. At least I didn’t get picked by the lonely and somewhat confused elderly lady who talked the ear off of the teenage girl next to her. But I did have to listen to her, because, well, she was shouting.

Then, because I’m masochistic, I decided I also needed to call the IRS today. I had already tried to fill out an online form with them on multiple occasions over the last week or so, only to receive an unhelpful error message. I had also tried to call several times over the last week, only to be told that the wait would exceed ½ hour. Today, I thought I better bite it and just wait on hold. So, I put the phone on speaker and carried it around the house with me while doing various things like feeding the animals, going to the bathroom, preparing lunch, etc. Over 45 minutes later an agent finally answered. Things were going along just fine until the IRS employee decided to give me a canned lecture on the importance of remembering that money owed to the government is owed when it is earned, and what did we plan to do differently next time, seeing that we were being gifted this magnanimous extension plan? And no, getting a job wasn’t the right answer, and if I didn’t indicate “compliance,” or basically, state that we had learned our lesson, he would have to put a note in our file. Say what?! {And this is over a very small amount of money owed.} It was condescending, to say the least, and I told him that I knew it was his job to say his script, but that I did not appreciate being treated like an idiot. Poor guy. How would you like a job that required you to be a jerk to people who are unemployed and just doing the best they can to pay their tax bill?

{This upset me almost as much as the day the lady from the unemployment office called to harass me because I hadn’t responded immediately to a job possibility she had emailed me—for a job with a company that I had previously interviewed with and been rejected by. Of course I wasn’t going to apply with them again! “Well, are you even looking for a job?!” she said. Uh, yes. In fact, I had just gone through an interview the previous day. “You’re supposed to get back to me right away, every time.” She sends me another job opp—I email her back within a half hour. Never hear from her again. I have other examples. Here’s a classic from another agency: Me, “Let me check my calendar really quick to make sure I can make that appointment.” Agent, “You’re supposed to be unemployed, so you shouldn’t have anything on your schedule.” OK… so I don’t have 3 step-kids to juggle and a ton of volunteer work. And one car to get 5 people to all of their various activities. If I’ve made an appointment with somebody, I’ve made an appointment—I can probably reschedule, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have commitments. WTF?}

In spite of the above, over the last 6 months for every one bureaucratic cog that has made me want to cry or pull my hair out, I’ve probably dealt with 3 that were kind, efficient, had a sense of humor, or went out of their way to make things go as well as possible.

What’s your favorite bureaucratic interaction story?