The VEB Review — everyone is entitled to my opinion.
For the entire life of my blog, I have struggled to post once a week… my anxiety about hitting publish on anything less than rocket science is severe.
But I have to let this anxiety go because THIS IS NOT THE NEW YORKER.
If you were confused, feel free to excuse yourself.
Today I am going to air out some random facets of my brain… If this sounds boring, go read my post about repurposed kitchen island inspiration, or Pilar Guzman’s kitchen… OR go tour this restored Philadelphia mansion.
Even though this is my blog, and I decide when I show up, and what I say when I do… there is an awareness of the scrutiny-of-strangers, and the impossibility-of-pleasing-everyone, and the fear of inadvertently making an ass of myself through some gross failure of judgment (or just my general personality), and most of all the commandment that I NEVER BORE YOU.
Combine this with the fleeting-attention-span-of-the-internet… and also the occasional unhappiness of people who don’t like what I’ve written/feel I have failed them personally/and apparently have had an entire lifetime where everything they have ever encountered has been made specifically for their enjoyment, and my blog is their first experience otherwise.
All of this can feel complicated. Like the dance of the seven veils… but with the added requirement that I pay website-hosting fees and hope that you will follow me on Facebook and vote that you like me on Instagram… because what I write doesn’t actually matter if no one validates me in the most impersonal way possible.
The feeling of finding something special: you. A community of people who share my love of the absurd and Giant Fancy Things… has sort of left me paralyzed to NOT DISAPPOINT YOU.
Which has turned into rigidity against trying anything new. And let me tell you something— I AM AWESOME AT RIGIDITY.
Inflexibility is my happy place!
But I guess I’ve finally gained some clarity about the fact that I write free content on the internet along with 37 million other blogs… and that my that failure to write EXACTLY what every single person is expecting is not equivalent to a huge catastrophe.
It took me a while to realize this, because you people are, without exaggeration, the very best thing that has ever happened to me… even the ones who don’t like me are doing me the accidental favor of allowing me to align my Self with Oscar Wilde… Self is pleased!
Anyway. All of this is to say that once in a while, I’d like to write about some things that are frivolous/interesting/time wasting/funny/important to me, but might not be utterly absorbing to you… I would love if you would hang in here with me while I add an occasional tangent to my general rotation.
Some Luck, Jane Smiley: the first book in a trilogy that tells the history of the last 100 years in America, through a “typical” American family… it begins in 1920, and each chapter equals one year, through 1950… I really loved it and went on to the two sequels: Early Warning, and Golden Age. Neither of which were nearly as good as the first; I barely made it through the last out of respect for the scope of the project.
Catastrophe, a UK series… The duo who play the main characters also wrote the show which is the sort of thing I really enjoy. I thought was snappy, light, fast, and tightly written… And also full of profanity, and, uh, more profanity. So, if that’s not your thing, skip it.
Now for the exciting part where maybe I alienate you!!
WELCOME TO MY SOAP BOX: cat lady edition.
Recently I spent a lot of time standing out in front of the stadium in Philadelphia, thinking about the ways I have cheated my own belief system.
I have actively avoided sharing here, the thing that is most important to me; because your validation and enjoyment of my blog feels good and that is hard to gamble with.
But it is time for me to be the change I wish to see in the world– people saying loudly and unapologetically:
1. Animal suffering is evil.
2. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What I’m doing: protesting animals in circuses.… SO MANY countries have banned animals in circuses, but the United States continues to allow it!
Here is a great article by the Humane Society that offers a concise overview of the realities of circus animal life. (There are NO images, graphic or otherwise, so please read and share it!!)
— Did you know that circus animals spend, on average, over 90% of their lives in chains or cages? Ringling’s own records show that animals can be chained for up to 60 to 100 hours straight. — Humane Society, Join The No Circus Movement
Knowing the sad lives these wild cats are living makes me want to curl up in a ball. OR set someone on fire… The middle ground is raising awareness that these animals are CAGED FOR LIFE… (if you are a rabid cat lady like me, here is a good article dedicated to wild cats in the circus.)
And it’s not just Ringling! There are SO MANY smaller circuses! Here is a list of the top EIGHT circuses; they have ALL been cited for animal welfare violations… regulations that are impossible to enforce, and nearly meaningless.
Circus animals LIVE in small, filthy travel cages with only enough room to stand and turn around… no matter freezing cold or sweltering heat, without regard for their basic care.
We can make a difference simply by SHARING information and encouraging people to NOT support circuses or any other “entertainment” that uses animals: severely emaciated tigers perform at state fairs, gas stations that double as road side tiger attractions, and this HS football team whose mascot is a LIVE baby tiger… every year they buy a new baby tiger. What happens to the old baby? Nothing good.
This is not a life for any living being.
How to make a difference:
- SPEAK OUT! Be a voice for animals! Tell your friends and use social media to SHARE INFORMATION!
- Read and sign petitions… it really does make a difference. *see below… (here are a few to start: petition Congress: End Wild Animals in Circuses, ask Ringling to retire all animals, petition to end HS mascot cub tradition)
- If the circus is coming to your town: start a conversation on your town’s social media pages. Comment on the circus’s facebook page asking them to stop using animals and send them to accredited sanctuaries!
- Write or tweet to the circus’s sponsors.
- Find a protest. (Philadelphia has TWO more circuses just in May! Protest here and here)
- Organize a protest.
- Write to your representatives to tell them you want them to ban circuses with animals in your county and state! Some cities like SanFrancisco have passed a ban… a proposed bill in PA, still has not passed.
- Tweet to @NicoleFeld —executive vice president of Ringling’s parent company—tell her you don’t think animal abuse is entertainment! Urge Ringling to take ALL the animals off the road and send them to TRUE sanctuaries.
*Ringling is planning to phase out elephant performances, due to public outcry, BUT NOT THE CAT AND OTHER ANIMAL PERFORMANCES.
Ok. I guess you got my point… if you’re still here, THANK YOU for reading. I know that it is painful to witness the suffering of animals, but if we don’t, WHO WILL?
Two Sundays ago, Elvis had her first hospice appointment. Her regular vet does not do in-home care and recommended someone who does nothing else.
When the time comes, I want Elvis to be put to sleep at home… and I want her to be comfortable with the person who does it. This is hard, because Elvis really hates new people. My plan is to get her acclimated beforehand.
Since the appointment, I’ve been two things: relived that I really liked the vet. And so, so, so smacked in the face with reality.
But she is still hanging in there! (Much to the surprise of all the doctors she has seen.) But she LOOKS better than she is… her fur is amazing, and she is still eating well and has not lost weight. Actually, she is a real pudgekins now– the steroids are making her chow down.
Paul says she is past the young-GI-Elvis phase, and is now in the too-many-pills-and-fried-peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich phase of life.
Ok. That’s it… abrupt end. I am still working on the Arkansas GFT. When I have an update, you’ll be the first to know!
April 5, 2016 @ 4:56 pm
Boo Hiss! I love Ringling and the few other circuses I have been too. Unfortunately you are seeing this as black and white … as in BAN ANIMALS and said ANIMALS LIVE FREE & HAPPY IN THE WILD FOR EVER AND EVER. Sadly I don’t think that is at ALL the case. Let the elephants live in Africa? Do you have any idea what is happening to the elephants in undeveloped countries right now? They are being killed faster than they are being born. Circuses may not be a bed of roses for the animals but it sure beats certain death.
May 23, 2016 @ 8:23 pm
Victoria – I just finished Jane Smiley’s trilogy and I am bursting to discuss it. I remembered your post, so here I am! Anyway, have you thought about doing a virtual book club through your blog?
Secondly about the trilogy. Hmmmm… well, I think they’re better read when you read all three in a row so the threads make more sense, but a lot of things got lost in the shuffle for me. PARTICULARLY in book 3. The ending just absolutely fell apart. Too much focus on the twins – never hearing Michael’s thoughts were annoying when contrasted constantly to how unrelentingly horrible he is. I get it – the twins are supposed to represent extremes of Franks good and bad traits (the Angel and the Devil, so to speak), but the hand was overplayed. Clearly the apex of the book was Frank vs. Joe and how their nuclear families resolved themselves, but I really was disappointed by the ending – which was so overplayed and frankly, frustratingly imprecise. It just sort ended with a big plopping dud. And I think accidentally, a very scathing snub against farming. I know the point was supposed to indicate how American values so rapidly shifted against hard-work in the span of a century, and that sleazy corporate values trump all, but it was just too overly rendered for my taste. It would have been far better served to allow Team Joe some triumph.
Furthermore there was just too much of those twins! The author was clearly more fascinated with them than anyone else. And much too much Janet – who frankly, made zero sense. What on earth was she so bitter about again? I would have much preferred more insights into Lillian’s children. Or Joe’s daughter Annie. Or Lois. Or Claire’s sons. Or Claire at all! It seemed like her life was so rushed in the fragments as well. Andy, as intriguing as she was, also seemed shockingly unformed for how much ‘air play’ she received. Perhaps that was intentional. Anyway, just my thoughts. Thanks for giving me a place to share. 🙂
July 2, 2016 @ 8:42 am
First, I just stumbled upon you and I am poised to seek you out across all your platforms. (Being a proud, crazy cat lady myself, your Instagram cinched it!) Secondly, I’m laughing as I read your thoughts. How many times do we all feel the same way. I want to share something on a social media site but we fear the criticism of complete strangers. Instagram is my…”hmmm this might appall someone on fb space.” Thank goodness Pinterest allows locked boards for my free pinning abandon, away from the judging eyes of others. I applaud your bravery. It’s hard to put yourself out there in the cold, impersonal interweb 😉
Thank you for feeling free to be fabulous!
JOELLE L METZ
July 17, 2020 @ 2:23 pm
I have been a dog person all my life til a year ago ish. My fiance mentioned that someday he would like to have a black cat and name it Poe after Edgar Allan Poe. I thought-I can make that happen. I can fulfil this wish. I went to my local shelter and picked a black cat. Drove home and said surprise! We have a cat ! I had no food, no litter, no litter box… My now husband was very surprised and pleased. Fast forward to now: I have 4 cats. What happened to me? How did this happen? The amount of litter we go through is ungodly–but I wouldnt trade it for anything. The fourth and final cat, is my cat, Cody. We were decorating for Halloween (we love Halloween) It was just dark enough to see the string lights and other lighted decorations. I suggested taking a look at/admire the house decorations from across the street, when a ball of fur came flying across the lawn making a sound I had never heard before. It startled and confused me before I realized it was a cat. All gray with yellow eyes. Immediately she was very loving and affectionate—but we were getting married and honeymooning in in less than a week…..oh my heart. I held that cat’s face in my hands and I told her: if you’re still here when I get back you’re mine! She was. And she is. All of this to say: I hear you. I feel you. I understand you. The emotion of what you’re going through with Elvis is the culmination of a relationship of love towards your pet and there is nothing better than the joy they give. Be sad but confident that you provided a life of comfort, love and a well lived life for your pet. Hugs jo