Dec. 31 petition deadline for Indiana Pet Friendly license plate

Tired of all those In God We Trust plates? No specialty plate that appeals to your convictions? Join me in petitioning for an Indiana license plate that supports spay/neuter for low-income residents’ pets. Spay Neuter Services of Indiana (SNSI), a local organization which already does this great work, is applying for the license plate, which would support more of this subsidized-surgery-funding statewide. They need 500 signatures to be considered for the plate.

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SNSI also sponsors low-cost spay/neuter a couple times per year without the income restrictions. We actually used one of their certificates to get Walter fixed a couple of years ago. They also sell the cool Peace Love Spay Neuter shirts.

You can click here to get the info and print a petition. They need actual, hand-signed signatures mailed to their P.O. box by December 31. The petition is presented to the BMV who decides if the plate will be issued. A spay-neuter plate has been attempted in the past unsuccessfully, if I remember correctly.

Note that signing the petition is a ‘pledge’ to purchase one of these plates at a $40 premium to the normal plate fee, $25 of which goes to the S/N surgery subsidies. (However, I don’t think anyone beats down your door to compel your purchase of the plate!) If you’ll be seeing me this week, I have a copy on me, so feel free to sign it and I’ll send it in for us.

Happy veggie Thanksgiving

I took this week off work and have been pretty much lying around, still recovering from last week’s illness and also unfortunately doing some work from home. I have (not particularly intentionally) reverted to my night owl ways, staying up very late and sleeping until normal persons’ lunch times. Something about 2 a.m. just seems like a great time to start projects or settle down to watch TV to me.

After illness and work stress and just not wanting to leave the house, we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving. It’s the first time I did not eat with one of our families. It was great! Of course I missed the folks at home, but I just didn’t want to drive six hours in a day, or even to David’s family event closer to home. And get this: I made great food I was excited to eat! Being vegetarian at Thanksgiving provides a lot of side dish opportunities but is overall not the meal I used to look forward to when I was a kid. This time, I chose the menu, and holy cow I haven’t had gravy that good in years.

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The mushroom and spinach galette was ok to good (NPR article/recipe); the pastry is a bit dry for my tastes but the filling has promise in another application. But the gravy recipe at that page was terrific! I suppose all the fat (olive oil) and flavor (onions, garlic, veg broth, spices) just came together in a way that reminded me of the tasty drippings of yore. Tasty, yes, but again this year I adopted a turkey instead.

David made mashed potatoes and I whipped up the standard roasted veggies for a meal so filling I didn’t have room for the pumpkin pie I also made. I’m excited about the (gravy) leftovers! I had intended to do a Quorn turk’y roast as well but Kroger was out and we had way too much food anyway.

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eat more chicken vegetables graffiti, Indianapolis

Of course today was Black Friday, and while I look forward to the ads for some reason (still a holdover from a history of the expectations of the season), I’m not usually compelled to go out in the fray. This time I considered it, then figured out I could shop online and actually pay less with online discounts than going to the doorbusters at ‘o-dark-thirty. Then I went back to bed!

When we were kids, we would craft our wish lists from looking at the Sears Wish Book and any other catalogs that came to the house. We often had rating systems to indicate how badly we wanted particular gifts. I remember the moms and grandmas and aunts getting together after Thanksgiving meal to discuss who was buying what for which kid–we knew to stay out of that room so they could decide! From then until Christmas was an exciting time, and I don’t think we were too spoiled, but maybe I just think that because our cousins got more junk than we did! It was easy to think we sacrificed for the family financial good when they had new stereos and TVs in their rooms each year while we just shared a video game system two years after it was initially released. I think our families were careful to get the items we would really play with, and the anticipation of Santa and stockings and the surprise Big Presents at the end of marathon gift opening sessions all made for a pretty neat holiday–not to mention the big family meals and waiting to watch each person open something in turn rather than tearing into the pile at once.

I still really enjoy Christmas, but I try very hard not to ask for or purchase items that won’t be valued and used. I definitely take more pleasure in buying for others now and in watching what others receive. It’s relaxing not to worry whether I’ll get some new gadget because I’m now in a position to just get it myself if needed. I try not to take that for granted. And I’ll be making my own gravy this Christmas as well.

America Recycles Day is Nov 15

The sun is shining through my huge window in my energy-efficient office building, where lights go out when motion is not detected. From here I can see the giant smokestacks of Covanta, where the city’s curbside-collected trash is burned to make steam and then electricity. I think this is a pretty neat way to handle waste, and I learned that they recycle the metal that comes through the trash too. I’m sure it’s because they can sell it/can’t burn it so well, but the net effect is good for resource preservation.

Next Sunday is America Recycles Day.

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The site has a recycling conversionator/calculator (which was niftier than I expected), a pledge, and a few links to recycling information. Now, I’ve been recycling as long as I can remember, and I think it’s pretty neat that my Dad has been into it longer than that. I pay extra for curbside recycling because it’s incredibly convenient and shows the neighbors I care. Curbside even takes #1-7 plastics now along with the cardboard, glass, and aluminum.

This one from the website was a shocker: Every three months, Americans landfill enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet! While I hear arguments sometimes how it’s not ‘cost effective’ to recycle glass and paper when the economy is down, aluminum is pretty universally agreed upon as probably worth recycling, even by folks who just don’t give a crap about any other recycling. Aluminum has value to anyone who takes it to the scrapyard. Of course I set it out with the curbside pickup (our biweekly recycling tote is usually full and also larger than our trash volume) because as long as it gets to a recycling facility, I’m happy. I also trash dig at work and pick up recyclables in parking lots and when I walk the dogs in the park. I know I’m the weird one, but Americans are so lazy that we landfill airplane loads of metal?

Anyway, thanks for taking a moment not to put a pop can in the trash. It’s really not that hard to put it in a recycling bin later.

Best recycling info in Indy is at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Their new website looks nice but I’m not sure the map of where to recycle stuff is as useful as the list they used to have.

2009 Pub Crawl

We attended the eastside pub crawl again this year, which our buddy George organizes to benefit NESCO. We scrambled again at the last minute to create costumes, but David is a bit more last minute than I am!

(Last year’s pub crawl)

More pics from this year at Flickr

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No DUI when you take the bus!

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David as Dr. Horrible (watch it here), with Phil playing Max

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Here we are in the showcase showdown

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Mac Daddy (Stephen), Andrea as police woman, Phil again, and organizer George as Little Edie Beale

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Ziggy Stardust (Don) wants to bid on the showcase

I would like to point out that my outfit was fun farts & craps time and only cost $10 in materials. The fonts used in my bid and prize are the actual fonts used on the show! Amazing what the internet holds.

David had to repaint his rubber boots ten minutes before we left because the previous coat flaked off in our kitchen.

Let’s not be progressive or anything

Ah, Indianapolis. Stuck in the Midwest, happy with its mediocrity. I was SHOCKED when the response to longstanding problems at the city pound last year not only ousted the politicians running the place, but HIRED A COMPETETENT, and – get this – PROGRESSIVE person with actual shelter experience! You mean we finally get to take the 64% kill rate in this city seriously? Yes, that was over 12,000 animals last year in Indianapolis. (And this number is actually down from previous years thanks to progressive ideas like FACE, while the shelters don’t seem to improve their come-in-but-never-leave rates.)

So Indy hired Doug Rae, a guy who turned around bigger shelters with higher kill rates: places like Philadelphia and Phoenix. Yes, he was a big change from what our city pound had been for many years. But that was the point.

Doug started in January. And then they fired him this week. Nuvo did a pretty good writeup of all that’s happened in these short months.

The upshot is that Indianapolis wanted everything fixed while still letting everything slide: some of the employees of the shelter and members of other animal welfare groups in the city liked the power/freedom/laziness of the status quo. The evidence of secret meetings about IACC but without their participation, canceling board meetings at the last minute, and firing board members who sided with Rae prove to me that politics won.

I have been to the pound several times recently. I went through volunteer orientation and had emails every week for all the events the shelter was doing in the community, and volunteer participation hours skyrocketed in the kennels. I went to fostering orientation. I met with the woman running that program a few times, the latest in a new bimonthly meeting with Rae himself inviting local animal rescue groups to come share their concerns. It was an open meeting to discuss whatever we wanted (I was there on behalf of IHRS). Radical changes were made: they actually wanted copies of the rescues’ nonprofit paperwork! You know why? Because no one had bothered to collect this information before. How does the shelter know who is a ‘real’ rescue? And this was good news to us, because I know of at least one active rescue in our community who takes an awful lot of animals and they never seem to get adopted anywhere. They do end up in veterinary clinics badly injured from poor sheltering at the rescue though. Are they hoarded? Are they sold to laboratories, fed to wildlife? Not as farfetched as you might think–that’s the path many free to good home pets take, as well as those in less-than-upfront rescues. There has to be some accountability if you are going to work with the city pound. Hell, even having some paperwork about who took what animal and when would be an improvement.

So I’m disappointed but not surprised that Indy put politics first. Not surprised at all. Here’s the thing: if you want change (and it surprised me they got that far), you have to be willing to change.

I’m sure the new politician in charge of the pound will be great. She has no shelter experience either, just like every other person who has ever been in charge of IACC before.

Some pro-animal blogs in Indy: Move To Act, Indy No-Kill Initiative. Note I’m not self-identifying as a member of the no kill movement, but what’s coming out of their mouths seems to be in the animals’ best interests compared to the political crap coming out of everyone else’s.

Major Moves, major typo

Coming in as my second favorite typo so far, I give you: The I-70 ramp to RURAL Street. Ironically named since this street is in a gritty urban area, now I have a reason to pull off the road to take a picture and risk carjacking.

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(Favorite typo: Village Panty)

Meanwhile David’s prototype coffee table bit the dust when he sat on it. All the items on the floor used to be on the table. Watching him land was hilarious. I should note that it was a prototype for size and shape, not construction quality.

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A few of the smart asses from IASMH class of 1993 at their 16th reunion (because we were too lame to plan a 15th)
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And I’ve been bonding Harrison and Vegas (seen here in before-and-after haircut pics)
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Who wants to do the Tour de Cookie?? I need to get my bike replaced! COOKIES!

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Some recent items:

Congrats to my little brother (though he’s noted as a Clydesdale, and darn it if I’m not basically Athena weight!), Matt, on completing his first triathlon last weekend. It was in downtown Indy and so far there are no reports of anyone dying after swimming the canal.

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Matt’s first triathlon 08.16.09 from Amy D on Vimeo.

Friends recently invited us to Symphony on the Prairie, where we heard Queen music in an outdoor picnic setting. Drunkenness ensued. Also the guy who sounded like Freddie Mercury threw in “I’m gonna sit by you, another one rides the bus!”

Had a bunny date at my house. Rabbits who happened to be named Bill and Hillary met, and Bill humped Hillary repeatedly. She looked annoyed and went home with Waldo instead.

I grew huge ass zucchini!
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And my pepper is finally turning red!
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Also note we now have cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and a wine rack! David’s work slowed to a backwards crawl but at least he had time to work on his own place.
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I looked away or took a phone call or something while working, and Walter apparently brought me Thing 1 for a game of fetch.
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Rode my bike to the state fair this weekend. I’ve never gone and wanted to get it out of my system. The prospect of fried food overrode the sadness at some of the animals (I managed to walk into the swine building while they were being auctioned). Of course the first building I wandered into had the rabbit judging going on. Poor buns.
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There were a number of bizarre sights at the fair, including middle-aged white women belly dancing in a group (I got stuck watching this because it began pouring rain and this tree kept me dry):
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An awesome mullet with balding and feathering at the same time:
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Suckers with their feet in nasty brown muddy water getting ‘toxins’ removed (what a freakin’ racket):
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Miss America seasoning (I almost bought it but it wasn’t worth eight bucks for a joke):
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And a lady playing show tunes on an organ in the middle of Pepsi Coliseum while competing horse teams trotted around her:
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It was all worth it for the funnel cake, mint ice cream, and onion rings.

Even though a draft horse farted on me.

“Ah, he always smelled that way”

When I was young, we’d go visit my great great aunt and uncle’s farm on the west side of town. Uncle Walt and Aunt Dorothy had 80 acres, and at various times, cows, chickens, corn, a pond, an inground pool (this was the most exciting part for my brother and me at the time), dogs, woods, strawberries, you name it. They had a long dirt lane and when you drove on it, the resident dog (jobs included guard and groundhog killer) would come running to meet you.

My mom and her mom both spent lots of time at the farm when they were young. I am SO glad we got to go visit too, but I wonder what it would have been like to live there for whole summers. There are stories of using dynamite to blow up field rocks and my mom getting lost as a toddler and the dog finding her.

They lived in a creepy-cool 1850s(?) farmhouse and the upstairs, a place we rarely visited, wasn’t even vented for heat. The dirt cellar had amazing jarred veggies on old shelves. The big wraparound porch had rocking chairs and bees would visit the flowers while you sat around and talked.

The old barns were really amazing to me. I was not very adventurous and didn’t explore as much as I should have, but the falling-down old chicken coop and slatted corn sheds fascinated me. My memories don’t include the animals that lived there, since Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Walt were older by then and rented their cornfields to other farmers, but the old buildings were right there by the house as a reminder. There’s a picture somewhere, one I clearly remember, of kids bottle-feeding a calf. I remember the wooden ramp with rails where the grown cattle apparently climbed on the truck to go to slaughter. My mom said Uncle Walt would cry when they left.

Whatever happened to that world? It must have been amazing to be an American farmer through the bulk of the last century; the changes in fertilizers and yields, the move to families shopping in big grocery stores, the selling of this beautiful property in the country to be another fancy subdivision after the old farmers went off to assisted living facilities. Uncle Walt suffered from illnesses related to his life’s work, but I just remember him sitting in a recliner and telling deadpan jokes. (When asked why his dog was so spoiled, he responded with the title of this post.) Aunt Dorothy climbed on top of the shed in her 70s to paint; I remember her still liking to eat Long John Silver’s food, of all things, in her 90s, long after moving away from the farm and going deaf.

I was thinking of the farm after watching Food, Inc. last weekend with friends. Please go see it–it’s amazing what we don’t know about the food we eat and where it’s sourced. I visited a farmers’ market just before the movie, and went to another one this past weekend, but yet that’s not where the bulk of my food starts. I’m trying to take advantage of more markets this year while we are in growing season, plus we are growing more vegetables ourselves. When I stop to think about this basic thing, food, it amazes me what an industry it’s become. Now there are even concerns about ‘food security,’ whether from national perspectives or right here in my city.

Maybe it’s not helpful to idolize the old family farm in this day of WalMarts and a bigger population, but I know none of Uncle Walt’s cows stood knee deep in their own manure their whole lives, nor did his chickens live in cages the size of a sheet of paper. The unchecked growth of factory farming and seed law signals to me the dirty politics and the greedy side of capitalism that tosses aside any reasonable treatment of worker, animal, or planet.

The power of consumer dollars: a vote every time you eat.

I’m very excited about the upcoming opening of our first non-profit community grocery in a rehabbed building in an underserved part of the city: Pogue’s Run Grocer!