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!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:06 am
I love, love, love your blog, whatever the subject!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:07 am
DITTO to all comments above! Everything I feel has already been said. Your blog is special, because of you, so keep on keeping on.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:10 am
Love this timing! I mentor a class, and last night our reflection was about where our beliefs and actions aren’t congruent. Good for you for taking a stand and doing something about it!
Debbie from MountainMama
March 15, 2016 @ 11:13 am
First of all, you could write about toilet paper and it would be insightful and ever so amusing. Love your style! Second of all, I hopped right on over an bought the book – can’t wait to start that series – what fun! Third of all – I have boycotted the circus since I was about 10 years old – keep up the amazing work enlightening people on the reality of these poor little critters!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:15 am
Thank you for your enlightening post. Now I know I will never take my little granddaughter to a circus. I will share your information with her parents.
Long ago I stopped eating veal, and then stopped eating animals when I met my sweet Stella the Cat. When her time came, we had a wonderful vet come into our home. Of course, it was still unbearable and I still miss her two years later. She left me with the legacy of feeling a deep concern about the raising and slaughtering of farm animals.
Please write what you wish. I will laugh at your antics I am sure. But, other days I will just be informed. That is good, too.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:16 am
I always read and never comment but I just had to tell you that this was T H E best post title ever!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:17 am
I will read anything you write, even a grocery list. Love your blog, love your ideas. Keep on keeping on!
Please continue your circus protesting. Hopefully, we can all make a difference and get them banned.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:21 am
Love your keen intellect, wit, and charm. You could post about taking out the trash and I’d enjoy reading it. Like you, I’m obsessed with a particular time period for decorating; mine centers on the year 1910. Sending positive, loving thoughts for sweet Elvis and looking forward to your next blog entry. 🙂
March 15, 2016 @ 11:23 am
Oh how awesome are you?!? I loved every part of today’s post! I love reading all you have to say…someone as interesting as you has so much to share with the world *in addition to* the awesome restoration projects!
Mahalo for being you! For being willing to put your happy and REAL vibes out there.
I have to say the Elvis update hasn’t smiling through a tight throat. How is it that I can so love your cat and I’ve never once pet him. I’m thankful you share him.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:23 am
You’ve moved me to comment! I’ve been reading your blog for some time, and I really enjoy your sharp wit, and your GFT’s! But, there’s a lot more to you…isn’t there? I had no idea of the abuse of circus animals…and I thank you for enlightening me! And I will protest…I’m from the generation that grew up on protesting! (And, believe me….it’s a lot easier today with the Internet…and no tear gas!) Hoping for good days for Elvis! 😉
March 15, 2016 @ 11:24 am
Always a joy and full of ideas , info and insanity that makes perfect sense.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:24 am
I’m only a recently-acquired reader of yours and have been plowing through the archives, but if getting a little more variety means you can post with greater frequency, by all means please do! Personally I’d rather get these little insights into what else has you interested rather than have to wait longer for a project update, because I’m an impatient person like that. Besides, home improvement is far different than, say, food, since presumably we have to eat every day. (Even still, I’m lucky I can usually get one post out per week.)
TL;DR version: please keep this coming because it’s always great to read your posts.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:26 am
If it kept your lovely conversational and witty writing style, I would happily read your grocery list.
The book you mentioned sounds lovely, and I’ve added it to my list. Love the GFT posts, but bring on more inside the life of VEB posts! 🙂
THANK YOU for sharing your passions, and for spreading the word about the evils of circus animal treatment. I’d love to hear more about your path to veganism as well – and is your husband vegan?
I’m so happy to hear Elvis is still hanging in there – every time I see her picture I’m afraid it will be followed with sad news which would make me burst into tears at work, even though I’ve never met her. She seems like such a good cat friend.
To give some insight into my cat-attachment: when I was a little girl I would cry myself to sleep worrying that my cat would die (she wasn’t even old at that point), and I would fervently pray that she would live forever until I drifted off to sleep, snuggling the very tolerant Miss Tiger.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:26 am
1. I just watched one episode and I am walking away from the computer because I feel a binge coming on.
2. I ‘m glad you talked about what the circus is like for animals. For some people (myself included) you don’t always think about , till it is pointed out , what their lives are like.
3. Maybe Elvis is a little more Keith Richards then Elvis in that she will go on much longer then anyone ever expected. All kidding aside hugs to your sweet kitty and keep writing whatver you want. We will be here!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:26 am
No writer can always please everyone. Dont try. Stay true to yourself, ramble if you want, and I will keep reading, because I like your style. Also, having done the rehab thing before, I delight in vicariously sharing your searches for the perfect GFT! You do so with grace and humor!
And from another crazy cat lady, evryone remember please, adopt rescues, spay and neuter!
Hugs to sweet Elvis.
March 15, 2016 @ 11:28 am
Hey girl I love your post today! I enjoy you and look forward to any post ( ok I may have skipped the animal story. It breaks my heart)
March 15, 2016 @ 11:28 am
Thank you for writing, thank you for blogging, thank you for posting, that you for taking photos, thank you for opening up my eyes to the ongoing suffering on cats (of which I am totally a cat lover), thank you for being you. Love and hugs to you and Elvis.
Lind S. Montgomery
March 15, 2016 @ 11:29 am
I am charmed tot he toes by whatever you write and have gifted your blog to many friends whom are also big fans.
Elvis being sick is not funny but it’s important in your life as is the suffering of other animals. You have a platform, you should use it!
I’m sticking with you no matter what!
March 15, 2016 @ 11:30 am
I haven’t been to the circus in literally more years than I can remember because of the animal acts. My little boycott has done nothing to the bottom line in said circus’s – but we do what we can do. Animal mis-care and disrespect makes me cry and mope. Unfortunately my personality doesn’t allow me to take actual steps towards ending said horrors, but I feel my silent protests are still worthy.
I had my love of 19 years, Armstrong, put down at home and then held and cuddled him for 6 hours before a friend came over to drive me to the vet’s office. The home vet was lovely, warm, tender, and understanding. I was able to hold Armstrong when he took his last breath and look into his beautiful eyes. I know that being at home with you and Paul will help Elvis with an easier, less stressful transition, and will also help you and Paul deal with the devastation. Here’s hoping that that day is far into the future. xo
March 15, 2016 @ 11:33 am
VEB, you are a special brand of crazy wonderful. Thank you for the first class ticket into your home and your heart.