Sunday, August 17, 2008

AR 2008 and Melons

Let's start with the melons....Here are the first two melons, harvested from my little garden. These are the "surprise," that sprouted from my organic bean packet a month or so ago. They are definitely cantaloupes or musk melons, whatever you call them, although my husband read something that stated that cantaloupes are actually a tropical fruit, and what we grow here are musk melons. At any rate, I was eager to taste my home grown treats...

Though they were misshapen, they were beautiful and perfect inside (which goes to show you how non-perfect looking produce is really just fine!). However, I was disappointed in most of the bites I took. One melon was clearly not ripe, though it was the right color, and the one that fell off the vine was barely sweet. I have a third that is sitting on my counter, which I will let ripen longer before I dig into it.

Of course, I have twenty other melons to taste!! :)

My mother-in-law came into town to help us with some house projects (What a doll! Our front bedroom is now two lovely shades of green). We made this pizza from the Vegan Express cookbook for her, with no sauce or cheese, but lots of fresh tomatoes, basil, canned olives and artichokes, and vegan mozzarella. I was really disappointed in the way that the veggies didn't stick to the crust and in the blandness of it overall. But I think it was all because of the grocery store tomatoes! No flavor - blah. Everything else was good, except the Rustic Crust as usual was a little underdone.... One and a half stars and a good reason why local or homegrown is better!

I spent Saturday at my first animal rights conference. They switch years between the East and West Coast, and the short drive to D.C. was a breeze with a fellow AR pal. Here is the welcoming table, early in the morning. It was so cool how I felt "at home," right away. The t-shirts, cool tattoos, dogs (the hotel made an exception), posters, exhibits, and general attitude of excitement, passion and acceptance made it an amazing day.

I went to several workshops, one of which was this panel of speakers about campaigning. I was thrilled to sit down and see none other than Howard Lyman (the Mad Cowboy) at the front table as a speaker! I couldn't believe my eyes. I had to take a picture for this blog :)

Another panel discussion I went to included Karen Davis (far right in pink) of United Poultry Concerns. I saw her in the lobby beforehand, and had to introduce myself. I had just read her article about animal welfare versus rights, and how we should stop apologizing for our beliefs, so I was thrilled to see her in person. I've never been much of a celebrity gawker, but these people have actually made a positive difference in the world, and were not just born beautiful or rich, so I didn't mind feeling a little star-struck.
There was a really cool set of advertisement posters (by PETA, I think, but I'm not sure) of which this was one. Each set contained a typical photo of an animal abuse or factory farm (like the hens crammed into cages below), alongside a photo of humans demonstrating the same (the women above the hens are crammed into cages as well). The shot of the boy getting his nose cut off (not really, of course) pared with the familiar chick getting debeaked shot, was my favorite. Gory and raw, but sometimes that's what gets to people!

Here is the exhibit hall right as it opened. There were sooo many booths I wanted to see, it was overwhelming! As the crowds grew, it was harder and harder to get a good shot, but I visited every single one at least once and got into some good conversations!

I was excited to stumble upon Pangea, selling vegan chocolates, donuts, jerky and belts, among other things. I got chocolates for my husband and mother-in-law.

Here was a great booth by Herbivore, selling those familiar t-shirts. I got one of their newest designs (see next pic) and the cute guy at the table tried not to pose :)

Ragazzi vegan shoes! Need I say more? No peering into shoes to see if they are man-made or leather, just a plethora of great shoes and beautiful boots. All were soft and very nicely made. Too expensive for me, but a pair of their boots might make it onto my Christmas list!

Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe had the best selection of many things: tiffins (lunch containers) in cute cloth carrying cases, candy, jewelry, purses, wallets, and some cookbooks (we chatted about ED&BV!). I got a cool but delicate necklace (see next pic- hey -I was saving on shipping!).

Then, it was time for lunch and I knew what I wanted! I had a grilled cheese sandwich, hot of the press and dripping with creamy cheddar Chreese! I hadn't had a grilled cheese sandwich in years. Despite the fact that this vegan cheddar was missing a bit of tang and bite, I bought a pound of the powdered mix (you just add non-dairy milk or water) for just six bucks. My husband should be happy!
Of course, the day wasn't all about commercialism or materialism, but it really was so thrilling not to have to read labels or ask, "is this vegan?" I spent the majority of my time in the workshops and raps, connecting with other ARs and vegans, feeling utterly happy and not at all out of place! In fact, one speaker asked all vegans and vegetarians to stand up, and only one person did not! Now I'm energized to start leafleting for Vegan Outreach and to continue helping dismantle the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

1 comment:

VeggieGirl said...

Gorgeous melons and great conference!