Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my closest friends Priya and her husband Winston. Priya and I have been friends for over EIGHTEEN years. We all drove to Winston's brother's place in Connecticut. Priya drove the Mini cooper, Winston acted as DJ and Saimon (her precious beagle) kept me company in the back...

Saimon was a little hysterical in the car 'cause he didn't understand where the hell we were going and assumed someone was going to the airport and leaving on a jet plane for good because of all the bags of stuff (food) we put in the car, so he was flipping out (poor baby). (Stuff=vegan pumpkin pie, mashed yams with maple syrup, banana cake and vegan stuffing. Yum-ee.) We got a little lost and there was quite a bit of traffic but about three hours later, a bunch of Flamenco and Rihanna songs later, we were in Connecticut and greeted by this little guy:

That drive made us hungry as hell. We were all staaaaaarving, but we had to wait for everyone to arrive before we could start eating. Meh. And people just kept arriving! By the time we started eating there were like 40 people there: Uncles and cousins and friends of cousins and mommies and daddies and kids of all ages and a yeah, a TON of food:

And salads...

(Hey. That's not a bad couple of iPhone photos. Damn. Go, iPhone camera.)

We ate. And then...we sang:

Well, I taped Priya singing the second half of the Elton John song (we sang the first half together but no one had the guts to document that). But then I decided to Beat It:


Winston's bro (Richard) and his wife Kathy really got into it too:

Priya, Winston, Saimon and I left totally stuffed and happy. Priya and I felt like we were getting sore throats from getting so close to that contaminated mic while doing karaoke (licked by every kid in the house). But, whatever, that's what vitamin C is for. Before we even said our goodbyes, Saimon was passed OUT in the backseat of the Mini. Maybe it was from eating all the turkey and mashed plantains and all the kids tugging at him, but he also could have been wiped out from meeting a bunny rabbit for the first time.

Check it out:

And good night.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ahem. WiFi is back. So here's day one in France...

Last Tuesday (the 25th), I flew off with my Irish (half) brother to hang with him and his mom at his mom's place in Prats de Mollo la Preste. We took Ryanair. I'll tell you more about this airline soon. But for now...

Here's Aaron (the bro) very anxious to board the plane:

Ryanair is Southwest Airlines-ish in that you don't have the luxury of an assigned seat. But instead of rushing to get in line to get a good seat (like smart people), Aaron and I stayed in the waiting room until the very last second. We were just lucky we were able to find a seat far removed from the bathroom. Anyway, it worked out. We found decent seats. And as soon as our tooshies hit the (rock-like) cushions, Aaron fell right to sleep. He'd been working for many days in a row without a break, so he was beyond tired. He says that he has a tendency to fall asleep when on any form of transportation (car, plane, train,...boat?) so he would've been fast asleep whether he was tired or not. That's fine, 'cause I was also kinda pooped and drifting in and out of sleep as well. Oh and welcome to Ryanair:

Well, at least the flight was cheap. It only cost 30 pounds to go from London to France, so what did I  expect?

Anyway, we got to Perpignan on-time. The airport's very small, so as soon as you get off the plane (outside), you're only about 15 feet from baggage claim and the exit. Pat (Aaron's mom) met us at the airport and within minutes, we were in the car and heading off!

Here's Pat driving:

We made a stop at a nearby supermarket to shop for dinner and I was absolutely repulsed (sorry, Pat and Aaron!) by the large amount of beautiful animals that the French consume. Like horse and rabbit. Yes, HORSE and RABBIT. Ahhhhhhhhhh! I don't read (or speak) French so I wouldn't have known by looking at the packaging that I was looking at a dead packaged horse instead of a cow, but Pat informed me (or maybe it was Aaron?) that indeed the French eat those things and in fact, they're quite common to consume. Wow. I mean, meat is meat. I guess one can't justify eating a cow over a horse or rabbit. They're both animals and none of them are necessarily more or less deserving to live a life without fear of being eaten, but Jesus I just think it's completely unnecessary to eat these gorgeous animals just to appease our appetites (??!). I'm sorry but that's how I feel. I think it's barbaric, in fact. (I'm probably gonna get serious heat from the Irish and English fam for saying that, but they probably already know that's how I feel.) These animals might be lower in fat than cow or taste "wonderful," but there are many non-horse and non-rabbit and non-cow items that tastes even better and don't inconvenience a soul. I've been vegan for over 20 years and don't have any health problems whatsoever. I look younger than anyone else my age and it's no coincidence. You do not need meat to be healthy. There's no such thing in 2011 as a protein deficiency. There's protein in everything (fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, grains, etc.) and it's higher quality than animal flesh and we need *much* less of it than we think to be healthy and balanced. In fact we eat WAY too much protein than our bodies need which in the long run, causes serious weaknesses in the body. Eating too much protein overtaxes the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, colon, etc. So the reasoning that one *needs* to eat animals and a ton of protein in order to be "healthy" is simply untrue. If that were the case, then after eating a vegan diet for over twenty years, I should be very sick, yes? And yet doctors are always amazed at how healthy I am. And it has nothing to do with my genes, 'cause I come from a pretty unhealthy family. Anyway, enough of my rant. I'll shut up now.


I picked out a bunch of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and called it a day. And BTW, Pat would not let me pay for a thing. The Irish are like that. They are incredibly generous in every possible way.

We left the supermarket and made our way home:

That's a thumbs up from the bro!

As soon as we got to the house (about 90 minutes later), Aaron started cooking:

He's an awesome cook.

It was too dark to take photos of the house, so I'll share house pics next time.

A couple things you should know about the house is #1: it's gorgeous. And #2: It's absolutely freezing all the time. Since the weather in France had been uncharacteristically cold and rainy and since the house is covered in tile and stone and is absolutely massive, it holds in the cold is difficult to heat. It was actually colder inside than outside. So I just bundled up and made do. Aaron and Pat are used to the cold (being from Ireland and all), so they felt right at home. : ) Luckily there were electric blankets in the beds that were absolutely heavenly and kept me toasty warm throughout the night. When I woke up the next morning I didn't wanna get out of bed. I mean, I *really* didn't. But eventually I did. But that's a blog entry for another day...