What a Fantastic Week

 

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First experience at Maoz Vegetarian. YUM.

This week. Wow, this past week. So much has happened and it’s all bee so wonderful. SCOTUS! Sitting at work, alone, (Fridays are quiet) I got the news from my best friend.What a great way to get it. I teared up with joy. The overwhelming feeling of happiness, of safety, of security. Of knowing that the U.S. government recognizes me as a valid entity worthy of the same rights.

As my dad said, and this really meant a lot: “The thing is Rach, you were never a second-class citizen to begin with. Don’t forget that. They just got with the program.”

I write a good deal about queer politics and intersectionality here on the blog. Wow, how things come full circle. It feels incredibly validating to have marriage equality recognized by all 50 states. My reaction: enjoy this. Enjoy the moment for the battle is won but the war is not yet over. We still have a long way to go. But for now, savor this. I know I am.

Pretty much sums it up:

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On a personal scale:

First off, I submitted my first piece to an online queer site. If it’s not accepted, I plan to publish it here.

On an even smaller scale: thrilled with my new kicks. Decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes in light of yesterday’s good news, as a celebration of this week, a celebration of beautiful Miami and how much I love it here. While I’ll be glad to vacation in NC for a couple of weeks soon, I’ll be so sad to leave this place that has so welcomed me into its fold. To leave all of the art deco buildings and palm trees, feral cats, parrots, and coconuts. I feel oddly at home here, and I can’t wait to come back.

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On a similar note: I finished Judy Blume’s new novel, (written for grown ups!) In the Unlikely Event, on Thursday of this week. One of my most favorite podcasts, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, gave a heads up a couple of weeks ago that they’d be discussing the book on this week’s (put out yesterday) podcast. Something about it tantalized me. I bought the book on kindle (one of the few novels I’ve purchased electronically!) and read it in just a few days. There’s a bit about Miami Beach there, which was a welcome similarity and strange collision between my life and a fictional (well, sort of fictional) world. This story was also a fantastic segway linking my life to what I just read. The book is a fun summer read, a period piece that really engages multiple levels of conflict, growth, tragedy, and familial structures.

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Favorite Miami view: from the balcony where I’m staying. I often sit out here, reading, writing, reflecting. Summers are always a time of introspection and growth.

In that vein, would anyone be interested in a post about the books I’ve read this summer? My voracity for the written word runs rampant in the wild days of summer, unbound by academia and responsibility, and the multitude of articles I read during the academic year. I’ve blown through quite a few books so far, and I’ve got thoughts and feelings on all of them.

I’m also thinking (put this out on Twitter last week to a positive response) of doing a podcast round up. I mention several podcasts that I listen to throughout my other posts, but I’m toying with the idea of a podcast review. What I listen to, why and maybe a few choice episodes that I’d recommend to folks. Thoughts on either of these?

Some South Beach Eats

Yes! I’m staying on South Beach for the first stint of my Miami stay. On an island. Surrounded by palm trees (some that drop coconuts, quite the surprise for a deciduous tree-lover like me) and about a zillion feral cats who populate the beach. Smothered in SPF 50 constantly, and usually hiding in the shade from the sun. I’ve had some simply glorious foods here! Just a few highlights to share with you all. I haven’t been dining out a lot–that’ll likely come in time. I’ve enjoyed the process of cooking and shopping a bit differently here as I’m outside of my own fully-stocked kitchen. This has given me the chance to try several new foods and products that I haven’t gotten around to yet like some vegan cheeses and (FINALLY!) Beyond Meat’s Beast Sliders!

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First day here, a colleague gave me a mango. A LOCAL mango. I’ve never eaten its equal. It smelled unlike any other mango I’ve ever had before–much richer, fruiter, and deeper. So amazing.

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This is Whole Foods. Well, the entrance is on the other side of the building but I sort of love the giant plant fixture on its roof.

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Pretty standard lunch these days. This bowl contains: quinoa, magic beans, a hefty salad, and sugar snap peas brought down from NC. Topped with a vinaigrette dressing.

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Burrito bowl on the balcony, where I eat most nights.

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There’s this Thai joint not far from my apartment that is ON POINT. As in AMAZING. Their panang curry with steamed tofu and a ginger beer.

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Probably the best summer rolls I’ve EVER had! Beautiful.

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Another burrito bowl. This included my first ever Teese on it! I liked the Teese nacho cheese roll, it was perfect melted on a dish like this!

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LOCAL lychees! Nature’s candy.

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Gluten free whoopie pie for the win. And Netflix.

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Granola bowl with Nancy’s soy yogurt and banana.

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Simply lunch: cukes and tomatoes on rice cakes with hummus.

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Aannnnddd another bean/grain burrito bowlish thing. True heaven.

So, that’s a bit of what I’ve been eating lately. Typical summer fare: light, lots of vegetables and raw, fresh fruit. Had the most wonderful time in downtown Miami yesterday evening and last weekend. More on that to come!

Middle of Miami

First off:

That pretty much sums it up. I’m in the middle of Miami. Doing work, lots of work.

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Yes, yes. I’ve been absent for oops… a month? But big, big, BIG things going on for this little vegan art historian, folks! First off, let me say that I’ve so loved seeing all of the Veda Vegan Con III photos, posts, interviews, and antics from a couple of weeks ago! I was most certainly there in spirit, though in body I was hightailing it up to NC to take Leonor to stay with grandma and grandpa while I’m IN MIAMI FOR SIX WEEKS!

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Did I mention I’m in Miami? Whoa. What a crazy fall down the rabbit hole adventure this has been. None of it seemed real until I arrived here 2 weeks ago, clothes for 6 weeks in hand, groceries and 3 bags of books in tow. But I’ve got an internship gig down here until mid July, doing lots of research and lots of exploring of a different part of Florida. Florida is SO WEIRD, you all! SO WEIRD!! I’m essentially in the tropics of course, there are parrots flying around, and lots of stray cats, and mangoes and coconuts. (Side note: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that I can get local citrus here. It’s just never going to sink in.)

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Meet Wolfsheim. If you follow me on the Instagram, you already know that she’s sort of temporarily adopted me (and all of the other residents of my building).

This past month has been a whirlwind, I must say. Getting things finalized with work down here, working at my job back at FSU up until the last possible second, driving up to NC WITH THE CAT, staying for a week, working, working, working, on this paper I’ve got under revision, driving back to the panhandle, then down here within the space of 2 days. Whew! Needless to say these past two weeks have been mostly about restoration than anything else. Restoration and that paper!

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Sitting on the sea wall for lunch, this part of South Beach really cracks me up. Bridcage anyone?

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Crazy trees, everywhere.

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Sweetest little lady gray, keeping me from missing my own kitty too much. No, she will not be coming back with me. I could never take her away from her courtyard, the benches she sleeps on, and the smorgasbord of lizards.

This past weekend, the other shoe finally dropped when I fell a bit under the weather. I’m taking a few days away from said revisions and forcing myself to relax a bit, which I haven’t done since oh… the semester was fully underway? So I suppose this is half work, half vacation. Attemping to get some of the latter in this weekend! Trying to hunt down some vegan eats and hotspots while I’m here. Have any recommendations? I’ll of course be checking out all of the local art hot spots while I’m here. Again, half work, half play. More on my Miami eats to come!

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The (Vegan) Body: Spinster Strength

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TLT (tofu lettuce and tomato) melt on a GF tortilla, side of carrot ginger slaw at one of my favorite local eateries. Went here recently with a friend just prior to seeing the new Avengers movie.

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Lots of good reads on the internet lately! Plus a few photos of life lately to illustrate as always. Also, following recent tradition, there are a few pop culture-y things at the tail end of the post that I think play into issues of the body in mainstream consciousness. These days it’s been a whole lot of getting into the swing of things. Letting the dust continue to settle from the end of Spring semester and looking ahead to projects and endeavors that are pretty much packing my summer into a solid mass of busyness. I’m not complaining–I’d much rather have my time filled up, I love staying busy and having a somewhat fast paced schedule. More on that to come. For now, some reading!

Lacy Davis’s article “My Job is to Stand in my Strength” pretty much sums it up right now. That feeling of early summer listlessness, the inevitable shifts and changes it brings and standing in strength through all of that with your health in mind and your body cared for.

“Standing in my strength, to me, means the acknowledgement that I not only have the power to make positive and negative choices, but also that I have the power to enjoy my life or not. When I say “I wanted to do XYZ (let’s say XYZ is write) but instead I did ABC (cruised Facebook) because I juuuust couldn’t help it and now I feel terrible about my action”, well- that just downplays the fact that I am the one that chooses the things that I do and also that my choices help me to live a life of agency.”

A great read that definitely helped me come to terms with some of my life’s bustle and recent world events. Food for thought, as always.

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Lots of time spent on the mat lately. I’ve been getting better about practicing a few things regularly: stretching after cardio and flossing my teeth. This is an example of the former.

Of course, there are a plethora of books I’ve got in mind for non-academic summer reading. This is certainly one of them (along with Kate Mulgrew’s and Sally Mann’s new memoirs, plus anything and everything by Tana French, and a Jo Nesbo novel a friend gave me). I think a lot about singledom and spinsterhood as a lady bachelor. Looking forward to reading a whole book on the topic.

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Smoothie bowl of champions.

Sayward Rebhal’s “Of Green Juice and Gin —  AKA, Why I think we all Need to Chill the Eff Out Around Food” is pretty much perfection as far as I’m concerned. This post plays quite nicely off of the Super Strength Health article as it also deals with strength, particularly in light of food choices and quotidian decisions surrounding eating. As you likely already know as a reader of this blog, I love food politics. This is certainly the most applicable issue to combining the personal with the political: sometimes it’s just as radical to eat a cupcake as it is to eat a salad. I’ve been coming to terms with that lately, and trying to give my body what it needs while maintaining a healthy relationship with things like desserts.

Sayward describes her food philosophy in a mini manifesto:

“I believe that the healthiest, highest quality food is fresh, local, whole, and organic. I believe that it is unrealistic to expect to eat the healthiest, highest quality food 100% of the time, and holistically healthy people are pretty much okay with that — because holistically healthy people have learned to chill the eff out around food.

I believe that the mental anguish you feel over eating the cookie is infinitely more damaging to your physical health than the actual cookie itself.

I believe in eating foods which make your body feel good, and avoiding foods which make it feel bad. Excessive cookies don’t make anyone feel good, but occasional cookies are delightful.

If you can truly make choices based on the way that the food will make your body feel, then it’s hard to go wrong. But eating this way requires tuning in to your intuitive self, which takes practice. More importantly, it also requires NOT scrutinizing and over-analyzing every little burp, bump, hiccup, and bad day — because that sort of hyper-focus will only breed anxiety. There is a balance there, and that balance is the sweet spot.

The sweet spot can only be found when you chill the eff out around food.”

Spot on if you ask me.

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Pretty typical work lunch these past few days: salad loaded with veggies over local romaine with a ginger/sesame/miso dressing I made the other night; magic beans; red quinoa; cold echinacea tea; raw almonds; orange.

As I mentioned, I saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron last week. Great flick, but I keep muddling over the whole Black Widow issue. There have been a couple of good articles about her (bodily) portrayal, most notably Linda Holmes’s article for the NPR blog Monkey See and this article from Bitch Media that I just stumbled on this morning. Interestingly, they use the same photo of Widow to illustrate both posts.

Have a great Thursday, all!