Saturday, September 25, 2010

No food, just despair.

My dog was old, but I was a good owner. I raised her steps away from a dog park, I trained her to walk off leash in San Francisco no less, I took her to dog parks all the time, didn't give her people food, and made sure she had lots of socialization and love. I know she had a goo life.

She was getting old, and it was getting hard for her to walk so our long runs soon became short stints around the block. I get it, older and all. Didn't mind in the least. Then this past Monday she came to me and collapsed on the floor, shaking. I was freaking out so we went to the hospital. Now remember, I have not had a job for nearly two years. My unemployment had been suspended for a mistake on my statement I made a year ago. Money was tight, but this was my love, so I did what I could.

Took a cab to the closest vet (I don't drive) and when I got there they saw her. I told the vet I had $100 but if you gave me time, a week or so I can get the rest. I really didn't know how, I guess I'd sell my computer or something.

Astonishingly the vet would not work with me. She wanted to do all this stuff; x rays blood work, etc. but each procedure was well over $100. I wanted blood work to just see where my dog was in life, but I couldn't afford that. So after haggling, they sent me out with a shot and some pills and I a paid $115 bill.

I called the same cab place that brought me there but they kept telling me, after me calling twice and speaking to two different people, that the address I was referencing was not real, and I need to go into the place I came from and get he real address. I told them I'm looking at the signs on 4 different buildings, and walked down the block giving 4 different places, and they could not find a 'real' building.

"The computer won't take the address , so its not real," the person said.

"Your cab dropped me off here. How can a whole street of addresses not be real?!"

I hung up after that and googled another cab company. Glad I did too because my phone was about to go dead.

I paid this cab who found the non existent address rather fine with the last $10 in my checking account and took my dog back up to our apartment. I wetted her feet with alcohol as the doctor said to do to cool her down, and gave her the pills every 12 hours. My dog seemed to be doing better. She was not as hot as she was, and she was eating and drinking. I was relieved.

I got a follow up call from the vet's office and I told them my dog was doing better. She was alert and stuff. I still wanted to go in for blood work later because she was getting old. I looked online to see what my computer would sell for. $150 if I was lucky. Great. I looked for cheaper vets but they were so far away.

A couple days later I go to my unemployment hearing and come home and that night take my dog out for her normal walk and poop. Then she crawled by my feet at the kitchen table, which she always did and I hear her convulsing. She jerks her head back and her legs get really stiff. She lets out this painful sounding weak whine, and just relaxes. I scramble down to the floor with her and she looks at me. I keep saying how sorry I was that I could not help her over and over as she too three last gasps of air and died.

I cried for about half an hour and having stumbled upon dead animal pickup via the humane society page, I call for an appointment. I called them at 7:30 am, when they open. My dog had died about 20 minutes earlier. They said someone would be out soon.

At 2pm, I called again. Then again at 4. No one had come and it was in the 80s that day. The woman on the phone, who seemed empathetic when I told her the dog was on my kitchen floor, said that they can't contact the pick up people but they are still out today and might be coming by soon.

That was when I got another follow up call from the vet herself. "How is she doing," she asked.

"She died." I said. The vet was silent. I was rock sleepy. She kept saying words like 'bizarre' and 'odd' and 'wow' and stuff. "Im sorry."

I wanted to say, "If I had been allowed to make payments on her bills perhaps something would have been found in her blood work." But I didn't. I just didn't. I hope the 'she died' took her aback. I hope the vet feels terrible and stupid and greedy. Probably not, but I hope.

So I wait. Then 24 hrs pass and nothing. I called again this morning and found out my ticket from yesterday had been closed! I've been sitting with this dead animal on my floor for nearly 30 hours now. Its supposed to get up to 90+ degrees today.

Luckily some friends have offered to help pay for her removal. I called the private place and they are on their way. Im kind of numb right now from the entire experience because everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. I think I'm going to write to the vet. Just to tell her that I hope she now takes payments into consideration on a per patient basis. And to the people who run the sanitation stuff. Both instances were just nasty to go through. I would not wish them on anyone.

This whole week has just been ugly for me. Just ugly. But I do thank the friends online and the ones who have called. I really, deeply appreciate it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No soy month continues.

Food Stamp total: $210

9/2/10 Fresh & Easy total, $44.81

I started off the month at Fresh and Easy. That's new for me, as I generally go to Trader Joe's or Food 4 Less. I guess I'm starting to enjoy the staples I get from Fresh and Easy, although, their self checkout sucks ass if you use your own bags.

9/6/10 Food 4 Less total: $21.19

9/6/10 99¢ Store total $4

9/10/10 Trader Joe's total, $50.23

That's not a lot of stuff for $50, is it?

9/10/10 Food 4 Less total, $14.90

I honestly thought I would have more to say about this experiment of no soy this month. It has been fairly uneventful. I mean, I did have to change coffee, which for me, is a big deal, because the almond milk didn't compliment my favorite brand line the soy did. What I have now is fine, but it's not as flavorful. I do think the almond milk masks a lot of flavors of things. But its fantastic over bananas!

I also started taking a multivitamin. I've done it sporadically in the past, but this month I was feeling like a zombie, and I think it was my iron. I didn't really have the cash for the vitamin, but I was feeling like crap so I went to the drug store. I was just going to get an iron supplement, it was cheap, but they were out! I looked on the shelves for a good fifteen minutes, knowing I only had $6 in my wallet, and I didn't want to risk charging it because my rent check had not cleared yet. I found this generic multivitamin for $100. Shit! I had a decision to make. Either not buy it via my checking account and feel like crap for a few more weeks, or get it and risk overdraft fees making this thing cost more than it should. I decided my health was a bit more important than money (thats a first) so I got the vitamin and now i fell SO much better. if it's a placebo, its an awesome one.

To celebrate, I made cinnamon rolls!

Mini-Cinnamon Rolls *(my variations)

2 cups flour *1 cup all purpose, 1 cup whole wheat
*2tbl wheat gluten
1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Earth Balance
3/4 cup soy milk *I used cocoanut milk

2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon margarine, softened
1 cup vegan powdered sugar
soy milk *I used cocoanut milk


Mix dry ingredients first, then cut in margarine.

Mix in soy milk until dough is soft (you may need slightly more or less to get the dough to a workable consistency). Do not over mix!

Roll dough to 0.25 inch thickness n a long rectangle -- about 8 inch by 16 inch. Coat the rectangle of dough with the melted margarine. Then spread the Sucanat and cinnamon over it.

Roll from the long end, forming a tight roll. Cut rolls about 1 inch thick. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 15 mins or until golden.

While rolls are baking, make icing by mixing margarine and powdered sugar. Slowly add soy milk to reach desired consistency.

Spread on rolls while they are still warm.

They were yummy.

Don't expect Cinnabon crap. These wont give you a heart attack.

They are rich but a clean tasting rich, you know? Plus they are great with coffee.

I also made guacamole with the Trader Joe's pre packaged kits. Bough a lot of avocados at 5 for $1 and almost of them needed to ripen. I got the kits because I was craving avocado for dinner. I like it with my spaghetti.

I always get more 'cados anyway, as two that are provided with the kit are never enough. Add some more garlic, some salt and pepper and mix it all, and it' s good to go!


The thing is, I leave it out a few hours before I eat it. I don't like cold veggies, of any kind. I think it takes away from their taste, and because I get peckish, I don't eat the quac and it sits there. I made too much of it to have it go bad this time, so I'm making myself eat it. COld or not.

I may have some job prospects lined up. I saw 'may' as I've been disappointed for a while now. And speaking of disappointed, I'm up for review of my food stamps.

Geeze, these people know so much about me. I can't believe it's been a year. Wow. I was suppose to have a phone interview the other day, but they never called so I called them yesterday and my agent picked up realizing she didn't call me. She asked me for all this stuff and I told her, "I already set that to you." Then she found it and said I was alright. She is suppose to call today, around 11 am, so I gotta wait by the phone for a 5 min chat about what they already know about me. Fun fun. But once this is over, and I'm alright with this part, I think Ill make some lemon squares.

Mmm, lemon squares.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

End of the Month Food.

8/17/10 Trader Joe's: cash total $15.68
I needed some beer. It's good beer.

8/18/10 Food 4 Less: cash total $19.90

8/19/10 99¢ Store: cash total $14

8/29/10 Ralphs: cash total $14.99

Food Stamp total: $195.40. Cash total, $79.57.

This month was quite luxurious as far as my general food allotments go.

I was able to have a lot of greens, experiment with foods, and bake a lot more.

Made a few loaves of whole wheat, made the Banh Mi again (much better this time).

I sauteed the tofu with soy sauce and added the chili to the slaw instead of the other way around. Next time, I think I'll go back to adding the chili to the tofu because it adds more flavor.

I did however meet up with a fried who is not vegan and she treated me to a night out of a three course dinner which I got a lovely grilled veggie plate, lentil soup, and a nice berry tart. The next day we went to a vegan place close to my house. She's not vegan, and i didn't want to push it on her, so I choose a Tai place across the street. But she said let's go to the vegan place, and who was I to argue?

We shared a few dishes; I ordered some fresh spring rolls, the ones I want to copy some day at home. She got a red curry. I think I'm the only vegan I know who is not a curry fan. I ordered a lemongrass soup with mushrooms. It was the most cluttered bowl of soup with bamboo, tofu and peppers. Delicious! We split an order of Pad Thai which was lovely. Can't go wrong with Pad Thai.

I spent $15 on my share. These are leftovers with some homemade rice.

I've missed eating out. The choices, the unknown, the variety. I guess being at home so much you get the feeling that change on a budget isn't worth the risk. So I don't experiment too much. I might not like it and I don't want to waste any cash if I can help it.

Speaking of cash, it looks like my food stamp contract is up. All that means is I have to redo alllll the forms over again. Provide every ounce of income I have, all accounts I have, and all sources of money I get/make/win, etc. Whoever said that being on public assistance was a breeze has NVER done it. I've never had to provide so much personal information. I didn't even have to give over this much when I rented my apartment!

I had a potential job, but it fell through. At least the hope of it carried me by a couple of weeks.

But in the mean time, I baked.

I used my scalloped cupcake tins again to make chocolate cupcakes. Recipe from VegWeb.

Chocolate Cake Cupcakes *(my alterations)

3 cups flour
*1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa *I used 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup oil *I used apple sauce
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 cups water *I use soy milk
*2 tsp cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients.
Mix soy milk and vinegar in cup, set aside. Mix wet ingredients and then blend into dry. Add soy milk.
Pour mix into greased pan.
Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

I think they turned out pretty good except the cinnamon cap came off my jar and poured in a heaping load of the stiff.

Next time Im going to use 3/4 cut of cocoa and omit the cinnamon.

I did however make a great butter cream frosting on the fly using tofruti as the base. Trader Joe's sells it. A soy based cream cheese. Its good.

'Cream Cheese' icing *(my alterations)

1/2 cup room temperature Earth Balance (or cocoanut milk works great too)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Tofruti
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Mix all well. If too runny, add more sugar. If too dry, add a bit more Earth Balance. Want more of a cream cheese bite, add more tofruti.

I dig it. And the icing is sooooooo good. Its runny, though, its the tofruti that makes it that way. I added some cornstarch to see if that would help, but it masked some of the flavor. Perhaps next time I'll try arrowroot powder.

Which brings me to another optic.
I think I'm going to cut back on the soy. I feel I eat a lot of it. I use about 3/4 a gallon of soy milk a week, which might not seem like too much, but if I include all the tofu I consume, I'm not too content with that. I guess this will give me a chance to try out some of that variety I was yapping about.

I started with selecting a 'milk' for my coffee. I'm never giving up coffee, so I need something that will add some body to it. I got some rice, and almond milks. Rice, yeah, its just white water. Almond won hands down. There was a hemp milk at the store, and perhaps if I'm really adventurous I'll give that a try.

The almond adds an interesting flavor. Not soy, but interesting. I'm particular about my coffee, so I hope this will work out. I don't know how long I'm going to be doing this, a few weeks or so. I still have some tofu in my ridge, so I'm phasing it out slowly.

I'll let you all know how it goes!