Sunday, January 31, 2016

Foster Fail

L.B. makes himself at home with Marigold as Janie observes.

Yes, everyone saw it coming. No, that doesn't make any of you psychic. We are keeping L.B., previously known as our foster kitten, now to be known as a resident of the 1952 House. "Foster fail" is the term given when a person thinks they will find a home elsewhere for a pet, but that person ends up adopting/keeping said pet. I accept most of the blame for not working harder to find an appropriate home for L.B. with another household. I thought it would be easy to find a good home for a healthy, socialized kitten who excels at playing, purring and cuteness. Lesson learned: if I find another kitten or socialized cat with no discernible home, I immediately get them into an adoption program at Austin Humane Society. Without the support of a proven no-kill shelter, trying to find a home for a pet (even a super-cute, healthy, baby pet) is difficult and daunting. 

Sonic, our fifteen-pound male cat, plays with L.B., and has not done any bodily harm to him. Janie, our wonder-mutt dog, is less interested in trying to make friends with L.B., so I think we'll be okay. Kenji and Marigold can't be bothered to react to L.B. other than a bit of hissing and one half-hearted cuddle session. (By the way, Marigold is now eighteen-and-a-half years old. Persian cats and other exotic breeds of cats typically don't live this long. She may break some longevity record for her breed.)

In other great news: we caught L.B.'s mama cat, and successfully had her spayed and vaccinated at Austin Humane Society as part of their feral cat program. After a few days of rest, healthy food and central heat at the 1952 House, we released Mama Cat back to our neighbor's yard. Mama Cat seemed ecstatic to go back to her life as a roaming outdoor feline. Our neighbor made a little bed for Mama Cat in her favorite spot in his woodshed.

If I keep the house super-clean and all the pets healthy, then it's not pet hoarding. Right? I solemnly promise not to bring more pets home until the number of resident pets is back down to two through natural attrition. I should probably start volunteering for a pet rescue group again, but clearly not as a foster. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

L.B. Kitten Update

Wait. What? Oh! It's a boy. Our foster kitten, previously thought to be a female, is in fact a male, as proven by recent developments. (Pun intended.) L.B. was short for Little Bit, but is now short for Little Bubba, or maybe Little Buddha. He is approximately 17 weeks of age and weighs in at seven pounds. L.B. finished all of his kitten shots today, and is ready to find his forever home. He is a sweet, busy boy. L.B. loves to explore, chase string toys, chirp at birds from his window seat and try to befriend the resident pets at the 1952 House. 

Chad and I have exhausted our social networks trying to find a home for L.B., so he's going on Craig's List later today. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Meatless Monday? Try Vegan Monday!

Repeat after me: what one chooses to eat or wear is personal. You do you, I'm gonna be me.

I've been a vegetarian on and off again since my teens: a looooong time ago. I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian consistently for the past nine years. (Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products. Chad and I buy humane certified eggs and milk from pasture-raised animals, but I'm aware of the hypocrisy. Thanks.) The cow slaughter scene in the movie "Hud" coupled with my work as a Furry Godmother caring for pets compelled me to say goodbye to eating meat over nine years ago.

I was very fortunate to work on the movie "Temple Grandin" several years ago. (You may recognize the back of me as the flight attendant when Temple Grandin as played by Claire Danes exits the airplane.) While I applaud the work of Ms. Grandin, a notable person with Autism and an animal behavior researcher, more humane slaughter methods for cattle won't let my conscious condone consuming steak. I am very fortunate to live in a society with abundant food choices and the personal freedom to eat what I want.

In December I made the enlightening choice / awful mistake of watching a documentary called "Vegucated" about three people, former omnivores,  who as part of a social experiment embraced a vegan lifestyle for six weeks, and had their eyes opened to the cruelty of factory farming. While the movie was very well made, it was shocking and sickening for me to see what animals go through on an egg farm or a dairy farm. SHOCKING. and SICKENING.

A few years ago I made a half-hearted attempt to go vegan for the forty days of the Lenten Season. I ate lots of processed vegan foods, gained four pounds, discovered my soy intolerance, and gave up after only 20 days. Armed with the knowledge gained from that failure and with the shocking images of conditions on egg and dairy farms, I am resolving to embrace a more vegan lifestyle in 2016.

In the month of January, Chad and I will eat vegan on Mondays. (When I told Chad, a sometimes-vegetarian / current omnivore about my plan to go vegan, he asked if he could try it with me. This was totally his choice.) We are blessed to live in such a vegetarian-friendly and vegan-friendly city as Austin where vegetarian and vegan choices abound at most restaurants and grocery stores. We've already discovered an almond milk coffee creamer that we both love, and that doesn't upset my tender tummy.

In the month of February, I will eat vegan on Mondays and Tuesdays. Each month I'll add another day of vegan-eating to my routine. By August, I plan to be vegan full-time. Easy-peasy! Okay, not really easy-peasy. I love cheese pizza. I also love cheese on bean nachos and bean tacos. I love milk with cookies, the cookies made with milk and eggs. I love milk chocolate. I may give myself a "pass" when traveling, and just be vegetarian if I find myself in the backwoods of exurbia far from a Whole Foods market or vegan-friendly food cooperative, or in Spain where the meat entree comes with a side of meat salad.

Recently, I pondered a return to school to become a pastry chef. Austin Community College offers an accredited, exemplary pastry chef certification program. I thought I could sublimate my artistic compulsions and need for hands-on, 3D work into a job that offers good income and a degree of social acceptance. (A blog post for another time: I'm so tired of peoples' small-minded reactions when I say I work as an actress, or a housewife, or a retail stylist, or a professional petsitter.) I'm not going back to school to be a pastry chef. I'll keep baking, because I love to bake, and learn some new vegan baking tricks. I can be creative without using dairy and eggs, but I can't graduate from a pastry chef program without using dairy and eggs.

My decision to transition to more of a vegan lifestyle is not a weight loss diet or a plan to be healthier. Thank goodness Oreos, Nutter Butters and Twizzlers are vegan! Wheatsville Coop (our local cooperative grocery store) offers lots of healthy and not-at-all healthy vegan foods. My decision is all about doing what I can to reduce cruelty to animals and the breeding with subsequent slaughter of animals for food or for fashion.

I'm fully aware that bone meal and animal dung are used to fertilize crops such as fruits and vegetables. Rather than throw my hands in the air and order a bacon cheeseburger with mayo, I am going to do what I can to live according to my personal values and principles. 

Repeat after me: what one chooses to eat or wear is personal. You do you, I'm gonna be me.