Happy birthday to my amazing hubby!

Chuck isn’t much into his birthday (which I actually kinda like about him), but it still makes for a great excuse to throw a BEACH bash in the middle of winter! We have company coming into town to help celebrate, and I got all sorts of fun goodies from Party City to help transform the house into a tiki bar. We have two other February birthdays, so it should be a raucous good time. 

Anyways, wishing the happiest of birthdays to the love of my life today! 

Valentine’s Day Rant

1. Why does Valentine’s Day have so many haters? It just makes you look insecure if you’re being a Scrooge about celebrating love, however you define it – romantic or otherwise.

2. Yes, of course we should demonstrate love every day of the year. But, we should be thankful and count our blessings every day of the year too, and no one seems to have a problem with a nice little holiday we call Thanksgiving.

3. Amusing irony: do people know that St. Valentine actually had nothing to do with romantic love, but was a martyr for the Christian church? Connections to love had to be manufactured over the course of history. Read up on the history of Valentine’s Day here.

4. Any excuse to eat excessive amounts of aesthetically pleasing chocolate sounds good to me, even if I have to buy it myself.

5. “There are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13. I think that deserves a holiday!

Anyway, I’m not one of those people who stands up for Valentine’s Day because of I’ve always been that lucky to girl to have a date. In fact, My first 23 V-Days were spent single. My first Valentine’s Day with Chuck was alone too – he was deployed – but you didn’t see me moping around or making people feel bad for celebrating the love in their lives. I went out with a girl friend that I love, instead. We had a great time reveling in the joy of each other’s friendship.

This Valentine’s Day, we should all take a minute to realize how lucky we are if we can claim anyone in the world who loves us, and love them hard in return. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t receive love at all, any day of the year, and that is the true tragedy – not your relationship status.

As for me, tonight I am having my first real Valentine’s date with my hubby at a lovely riverside restaurant in Wilmington, and I’ll have some chocolate-covered strawberries ready for an extra treat at home. If nothing else, Vday is a nice excuse to get a little decadent, and I for one am looking forward to it, so please don’t rain on my parade 🙂

The Vegan Plunge

It seems that every day I see a new Facebook status update surprising me with friends taking the plunge and going vegan. I am further surprised, after a little digging, to find how many people I know are vegan already, or close to it. It appears to be a rising trend – or maybe it was popular already, and I just didn’t notice.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of avoiding animal products. This started after reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, when I pored over each page desperate to ensure that no one would eat Wilber. I’ve never liked the fact that I eat animals. I know it’s a natural part of the food chain, but I love animals. I’m one of those annoying people who borderline likes animals more than people. Why would I want to kill them and eat them?

Because they taste so damn good, that’s why. Not only that, but I’ve always been one of those “lucky” individuals who struggles to keep weight on. Without my hearty, often meat-based dinners, you would probably be able to count my every rib (you can still see more of them than I’d like.) Since weight loss is a big motivator for many who decide to go vegan, that is actually one strike against it for me.

That being said, I read the blogs my friends write, and I’m fascinated by their assertions that they not only look but feel better/more energized than they ever have in their entire lives. I’m not sure how this is the case, because many vegans/vegetarians I see in the media (and knew in high school) seemed frail and sickly to me – almost ascetic in their effort to deny themselves the most commonplace foods.

Of course it’s true that animal products have a lot of bad stuff in them, especially the way they are produced these days… but they also have a lot of really good stuff that we need to survive and be strong. I can often feel my body crave the iron and protein I get out of red meat… and of course, I don’t have the willpower to deny myself the savory bliss of a thick, juicy steak. Not to mention that I am obsessed with cheese -which I consider one of my primary food groups – and unfortunately appears to be one of the first things to go in vegan diets.

I’m sure it’s true that other foods have similar nutrients, but it just doesn’t seem the same, and would require a lot more control and monitoring to make sure I get enough of what I need. I imagine it kind of like taking vitamins. They suffice and get the job done, but it’s still better to actually eat your fruits and veggies, and get your nutrients straight from the God-given, Earth-grown source.

Still – I like the idea of cleansing my body, and being good to it. One of my vegan acquaintances has a blog that does very well in spinning it that way. I guess what I am trying to say is, given my desire to treat my body well – in addition to my antipathy to the mass slaughter of cute animals for my dietary satisfaction – I am curious about it, and will maintain an open mind as I follow my friends’ blogs and observe their progress. Maybe I will even try a vegan recipe or two. Who knows – I may really like the alternatives!