Currently viewing the tag: "volunteer"

The day’s activities would involve a pitchfork and a wheel barrel. But first, a bit of breakfast: great coffee from Archive Coffee Bar, which has vegan donut holes from Bigwig delivered Tuesdays & Fridays (bummed I missed them!) and a strawberry and chocolate-stuffed vegan crêpe from Oregon Crêpe Cafe & Bakery.IMG_9587

I was joining the Wednesday volunteer party at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, a safe haven for a variety of animals–horses, cows, goats, pigs, donkeys, sheep, llamas, and other assorted critters in need of love and safety. If you volunteer, you get to meet the lovely beings (and human beings) who spend their days at Lighthouse while helping with sanctuary’s needed chores. It’s a win-win. Here are the pics I snuck in between pitchforking and wheel barreling.IMG_9789












I have to admit that it was the possibility of meeting Helen, the sanctuary’s blind bison, that had me reshuffling plans and hauling it over to Scio from Portland on what was to be a day of laid back vegan eats. I was so glad I had made the trip. Meeting her made my day.IMG_9634







After a long morning of work, I decided to take the Mt. Hood Express shuttle to the historic Timberline Lodge. The Timberline Lodge was the site of the exterior shots of the fictional Overlook Hotel where Jack Torrance was always the caretaker. The lodge has long been on my list of must-sees, but unknown road conditions and the possible need of snow chains made me dismiss it. But this new-ish shuttle (and the road condition cams on Timberline’s website) made it totally doable. The $2 shuttle allowed some scenic window gazing downtime while saving the engine of my economy rental.IMG_9760



Sitting smack dab in front Mt. Hood, it was far colder than I was dressed for. Winds swept the tall mounds of snow, remnants of winter.  It was mostly overcast during my trip, which made it difficult to see the glorious Mt. Hood. But I know I would be back close by soon enough.DSC_0035



I hung around the tremendous fire in the lodge and waited for the Cascade Dining Room to open for dinner. They accommodated my veganism well. Here is the breakdown:IMG_9793

Amuse bouche of beet and wild rice with balsamic reduction.IMG_9795

Fresh baked bread was heavenly. IMG_9797

A Pinot Noir & beet sorbet! A nice surprise.IMG_9800

My veganized dish: pasta with with Maitake mushrooms, leeks, radishes, Fava beans, pine nuts and chives. Earthy, fresh and bountiful. It was a welcome dinner after a day of no eats.IMG_9804

Another glorious day on the West Coast with plenty more to follow. Goodnight, Pacific Northwest.


The homebound senior I visit, has a pretty cat named Cindy. Cindy is friendly and vocal; a youthful 5-year old, she explores and plays and does all that endearing cat stuff. Unfortunately, Shirley, who is 74 years old and struggles with mobility due to Parkinsons and Osteoporosis, is unable to keep Cindy, who has been her companion for 2 years or so. Cindy is active. She sprints behind Shirley’s feet; she takes a nibble now and then; she runs the show in characteristic cat-fashion. Shirley has fallen once already, tripping over Cindy, and is finding it physically difficult to feed and clean Cindy’s litter box. Given this, Cindy needs to find a new home. Shirley knows it and accepts it but her resources are nil. She’s made many phone calls but, like the majority of no-kill shelters, there is no room. Shirley has been struggling with caring for Cindy because she will not give her to a shelter that may euthanize her. I am hopeful that someone may be willing and able to take in Cindy out there. If you know anyone who may be interested, please let me know right away.

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#1: Volunteering.
Now that I have successfully decompressed from years of working and going to school in the evening, I have time to kill, time that often is wasted after work staring at various glowing screens. To make better use of this pool of minutes in 2011 I will incorporate a weekly volunteer position. Thing #1: Errand runner companion for homebound senior for Visiting Neighbors NY.

#2: Reading.
I have a hard time reading. During the long span of college and graduate school, leisure reading was impossible. I read journals and research papers, technical writing; I read looong boring books about reading and craft-less writing about writing. It’s no wonder whatever morsel of free time was spent stimulating other senses. I was rebelling from what bound me, draining my energy and time. Now that I am decompressed, I am going to read again, open myself again to the world of books.

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Smart businesses implement measurable plans for growth, pouring over analysis, strategy and trends to ensure profit. They track results annually, quarterly, daily. They call on committees of expertise to brainstorm, define a clear statement of purpose. Investments and profits on the line, they operate, ideally, as a efficient organism, each branch aligned in purpose. Surely one’s personal life may benefit from this kind of forethought and planning, yes. Surely improvements on the physical, emotional and social worlds of oneself [the three branches of self-government] would benefit from concrete and sequenced progress throughout the year, the month, the day. Yes, yes, yes, Yes!

But… who the heck wants to accurse their personal life with structure? Lose their freewill spirit to timed, organized and measured bounds? I do, that’s who! When my natural routines inhibit progress, mounding height and girth to natured/nurtured blockades, I need to. To build a preventative stockpile against my next age and my next adversary, I must. Vital organs [brain, heart, skin, etc] need new material to expand their field of vision. New calories to burn. New Girl Scout badges. New survival gear. I’ve already mastered me and my habits thus far. I’ve had much success in being and staying me. Now I have to evolve my definition, on a weekly basis.

#1: Volunteering.
Now that I have successfully decompressed from years of working and going to school in the evening, I have time to kill, time that often is wasted after work staring at various glowing screens. To make better use of this pool of minutes in 2011 I will incorporate a weekly volunteer position. Thing #1: Errand runner companion for homebound senior for Visiting Neighbors NY.

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I am thankful for the ability to put my ideals in action.

IMG_6542This past weekend I had the chance to partake in a very special event hosted by Long Island Food Not Bombs. I helped share thousands of pounds of packaged foods, hot, prepared vegan dishes, fruits, vegetables, clothing and books with the people in Hempstead, Long Island. Though LIFNB share healthy vegan food three times a week on Long Island (in Hempstead, Huntington and Farmingville), November 21st’s Thanksgiving Food Share Bonanza was their biggest in history. And though I am always a bit apprehensive about a day spent on Long Island, I left feeling very thankful I was there.

To explain a bit of my L.I. apprehension (and to get all David Copperfield), I was born and raised on Long Island. As a Brooklyn resident for the last seven years, I still am geographically upon that same stretch of that very long island. Though I have often thought Long Island and Brooklyn to be worlds apart, it is on Long Island where I became who I am, where I established my ideals and values… where, out of the alienation of suburban sprawl, I rebelled through music, doing zines and acquiring a passe of misfits all similarly stifled by the lack of substance we saw in the maze of strip malls we were trapped within. (Now, these misfits are still my closest friends. We’re ex-pat war-buddies who made it out of the oppressive trenches.) I hated Long Island. So much that when I first left my parents’ house, my new home would be on the other side of the country in Seattle, Washington.

But meeting the amazing volunteers and seeing the passion of the LIFNB gang, I realized that this Long Island was different than I remembered. This Long Island was solidarity, change and ideals in action (as opposed to ideals running away across the country, in my case). It was humbling and inspiring and I was glad to have the opportunity to give back to my old home.

Below is some of the fruits and veggies handed to the eager line of folks, ready with bags and shopping carts. IMG_6534


I’ll admit, it was vegan food that had brought me out this Sunday morning to the Hempstead Long Island Rail Road station. And in this capacity I was even more taken aback by Long Island’s finest. The amazing hot plates of food we shared to the community were ample and delicious and all-vegan. Food that volunteers cooked, baked and simmered for hours on end to distribute to a community in need. When I went vegan on Long Island 12 years ago, I had to travel far, far away in my rusty old hatchback, covered in stickers, to get to the only Trader Joe’s that existed in the NY-metro area. Or to Wild Oats in Stony Brook between thrift shopping excursions. This was the pre-Whole Foods explosion. Vegan eats were slim then and not as tasty… and finding another vegan, who wasn’t wearing it like a badge on their Long Island Hardcore boyscouts uniform to prove his righteousness (emphasis intended), even harder to find. (Ah, the inherit sexism in the ol’ liXhc scene. This birthed my zine.)

Anyway, I keep digressing because these are my roots. Mmmmm, root vegetables. Yes, food. We served soy chicken wings, chili, quinoa pilafs, stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes with Sweet & Sara strawberry marshmallows, mac & cheese, spanakopita, portobello mushrooms, soy chicken nuggets, bean taquitos, cookies, tofu cream pies… My goodness it was hard to not sample all the delicious vegan foods. IMG_6538







So SuperVegan reported this event here and that LIFNB was bestowed a massive quantity of Soyatoo Whip, 2,000 pounds worth, just in time for the holidays. That is how I found out about the event! Though I headed back to Brooklyn with five containers of Soyatoo, I left with so much more: a love for this new Long Island the folks at LIFNB are helping create, the synergy of action and ideals and inspiration to help me be the change I want in the world. What are we tackling next?IMG_6550