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California Dreaming…

I am dreaming that California would always have these big puffy clouds and even partially green grass at the end of May. Big clouds make me happy and so do old cars in the middle of fields.

A new heart for the tin man…

(pig heart, from pigs butchered in March.)

Right after we graduated from college my best friend was told she needed open heart surgery to replace her aortic valve. One of the options she had was to replace her broken valve with a pig valve. But she was told the pig valve might not last as long, so she might have to have another surgery later in life. She chose the mechanical valve instead. If you listen really closely, you can hear her heart clicking. It is a constant reminder that life is short and science is amazing.

So please take care of your heart and the hearts of people you love.


We are going to Iowa…

On April 4th, 2010, our wedding anniversary, Arann and I went to Tomales Bay, to the house where we stayed the night we got married.

Well, fake married. We haven’t legally gotten married yet.

In November 2008, we were at the height of our wedding planning when California passed Proposition 8, denying same-sex couples the right to get married, and we were heart broken. We thought about canceling the wedding, but instead we decided to continue with our plans, because we felt the ceremony with our loved ones was the most important part.

And on April 4th, 2009, we had an amazing celebration with family and friends.

But because we want to get legally married in a state where all people are allowed to get married, we haven’t gotten legally married yet.

At first I didn’t think the legal part mattered to me. But a year later, I can feel the difference. Even though people, and insurance agencies, don’t question us when we say we’re married. And even though we made our vows to each other, and in my heart I know that is the most important part. I also know that if anything happens to one of us, the other one has no legal rights. And that bothers me.

So in June…

We are going to Iowa.

Because who wants to go to Iowa to get married?

We do.

We want to support the middle state that has historically been a leader in civil rights.

First making a stand against slavery in the civil war, and then putting woman’s suffrage on the agenda 50 years before the rest of the country.

And now leading the way again with same-sex marriage, which became legal in Iowa on April 3, 2009, the day before we got fake married.

Coincidence?

No way.

We are going to Iowa.


I hate waiting…

If I am walking somewhere and I come to an intersection that I want to cross and the light is red…

then I cross the street that is green.

If I come to a bus stop and the bus isn’t there…

then I keep walking.

If I have to choose between instant oatmeal and healthy make your own oatmeal…

then, regrettably, I eat the instant, even though I know it is a packaging nightmare and it has too much sugar.

If I make cookies…

then I eat so much cookie dough that I become ill and then I burn my mouth on the cookies I do bake.

And if I want to put up a blog post, but I am at a hotel with a bad connection and it takes too long to upload photos…

then I just don’t post.

This is what has been happening to me for the last week that I have been traveling. It was very frustrating not to have an alternative to my waiting.

(Rolleiflex photos: Arann waiting for Rube to make us breakfast, in Athens, GA.)

But I am in New York now…

So, while I may have to wait for other things, at least my internet waiting days are over.

I love to do my taxes, as much as pigs love Easter…

(This post contains a photo of a butchered pig and may not be enjoyable for everyone.)

I would be editing photos from the pig butchering I went to a couple of weeks ago, but instead I have to do my taxes… this is one time I would rather be editing.

Part of this pig, who was raised by my friends, was in fact enjoyed by our community at our Anniversary/Easter dinner. While I did not have any of the ham, because I do not eat much meat, my loved ones said it was very tasty.

On my way to a very different coast…

I am off to Charleston, South Carolina, for the weekend…

Where the waves are a lot smaller,

the water is a lot warmer,

and in the place of cliffs stand barrier islands of sand.

And while I am gone,

I have just one request…

Take good care of you, for me.

And I’ll take good care of me,

for you.

How much do you like your bacon? (part one)

My friends, Rebecca and Nick, like bacon so much that in December they got their own pigs to raise… and slaughter. And ever since the pigs arrived, they have been talking about all the different ways they were going to eat their pigs when the time came.

Well, last Wednesday, the time came… and Nick called me to see if I wanted to document the process.

Personally, I don’t eat bacon, or much meat at all.

When I get to choose the food I eat, I choose vegetables, partially because I am lazy and meat requires a lot more work than vegetables, but mostly because I don’t want to support the inhumane and toxic practices of factory farming (for more information watch Food, Inc.)

But if I am served meat then I will gratefully eat it. I don’t like to be rude and I don’t like to waste food. And if I know where the meat is coming from and how the animals were raised, then sometimes I actually even choose to eat meat, like heritage turkeys at Thanksgiving, or grass-fed burgers at the Fremont Diner… so I call myself an opportunivore.

Because I do occasionally eat meat, I think it is important that I know what it means to eat meat… to see the process of going from a live animal to, in this case, bacon.

So Wednesday I documented the first step… Killing the pigs. I have documented sheep being harvested before, at Windrush Farm, but never pigs. Pigs are a little smarter and more personable than sheep, so I was a little nervous and not entirely confident I could watch. But really it wasn’t so bad.

Actually I would be grateful if my death were as quick and painless, and if my body could continue to be a part of the life-cycle, instead of having to be cremated or preserved in a box, wasting valuable resources and land.

So I arrived and met the pigs. I gave them both belly rubs until they rolled over and passed out in pure joy.

Then the truck arrived. We met JD and his special truck that is equipped to process animals on site, which is less stressful for the animals because they don’t have to be transported to a slaughterhouse.

Nick was also nervous. He was the one who cared for these pigs every day for the last three months, and he wasn’t sure he could watch them being killed either. But before we realized, JD had already shot the first one and the process of cleaning and butchering began.

The photos posted were taken with my Rolleiflex, which actually make the event look less graphic. If you would like another perspective, or to compare the difference between film and digital, then there is also a slide show of photos I took with my digital camera.

If you would prefer not to know where your bacon comes from then now is a good time to close your eyes…

These were two lucky pigs. They lived a good life and they will continue to live on in the bodies of my sustainably farming friends.

Next step in making bacon: butchering. Those photos coming soon.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To dress up, or not to dress up…

This is Charlie, chef and co-owner of Pizzaiolo in Oakland, and the truck he uses to pick up his produce from the farmers’ markets.

And this is his son, Eli.

Charlie’s daughter, Matilda, wanted them to put on suits because she felt weird being the only one dressed-up during the group photos, after her impromptu wedding dress photo shoot.

While I really like the photo above, mostly because of Charlie’s socks, I think I like the one below better…

It is definitely random, but it is more of an honest reflection of who they were on that rainy Monday in the middle of January. I love dressing up but if I have to choose… I prefer honest reflections over imaginary projections any day.

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