Category Archives: Music

Gratitude

Billy Blackwell performing live at Wade's Place, Aug 24-2014

Billy Blackwell performing live at Wade’s Place, Aug 24-2014

Over the weekend we attended a large function where there was a live band. It consisted of five people, three of whom are very dear to me: my ex-husband, Darryl, on guitar, my younger brother Robert on bass, and my stepson, Billy (who is the child of my heart), on drums.

It never ceases to amaze me how much of an influence music has been in the life of my family, over many generations.

This tie binds us and has sometimes cut us apart, but in the end it always brings us back together.

Family is so much thicker than blood.  Gratitude is too.

Robert (Mad Dog) Johnson performing live at Wade's Place, Aug. 24, 2014

Robert (Mad Dog) Johnson performing live at Wade’s Place, Aug. 24, 2014

We are a close unit, bound by love and children.  Music is the common thread that runs through our lives–two horn players, one sax player, two drummers, three guitarists, three keyboardists–four working musicians and everyone else singing harmony–music is the core of our life, and a new generation is learning at their knees.

I loved this weekend.

The air held the peculiar quality of serenity that is unique to Black Lake-the lake of my childhood home.  The crowd loved  the music they played. Children ran wild and the food was fabulous–even the vegan found something delicious to enjoy!

Darryl Riffero performing live at Wade's Place, Aug. 24, 2014

Darryl Riffero performing live at Wade’s Place, Aug. 24, 2014

Seeing these three men, none of them blood related to each other, but all of them family and close as brothers, made me once again realize how much I have to be grateful for. Each has faced and overcome demons that would have killed a lesser man, and they are stronger for it.

Happiness and love of life fill their music, and it is beautiful to me.

My blessings are many, and I count them every day.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Adventure, blogging, Fantasy, Literature, Music, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

How dining in Bedlam taught me to write dialogue

Days of Wine and Roses quote copyThe family I grew up in is a loud, all-talk-at-once kind of a family, with a lot of talkative members. Family gatherings are absolute bedlam–large, loud, full of life and great food, and long on opinions and ideas. We are comprised of musicians, artists, and authors, along with engineers and software developers.

Above all, we are avid gamers of all kinds, from old-school Super Mario, to Grid Autosport, to Final Fantasy X/X-2, to Halo, to Assassin’s Creed, to  Dark Souls 2, to Minecraft–and we love to talk, loudly and all at once, about everything we love. Somehow, we all manage to have our say and allow the others have theirs, but it’s like living in a blender at times.

We, and our friends, are loud and passionate and most people love it, but every now and then a visitor can’t handle the hullabaloo.  Sometimes, less outgoing girlfriends or boyfriends don’t get it, and the general din intimidates them.

In fact most people carry on conversations, where one person says something, and the  other one answers, and this goes on like a tennis match until everything has been said.

Huh. Who knew?

So, that is how we want to write our dialogue. We want it to sound natural.

Writers need to keep in mind that when people talk, they rarely follow any grammatical rules. Any English class that writers have taken will have stressed the importance of using proper grammar and punctuation in their writing. However, when we attempt to write dialogue, those same rules should be thrown out of the window. Many times people speak in broken sentences, with pauses, and even use incorrect words.

  1. Don’t overuse character names in dialogue. People don’t use each other’s names in every sentence they speak, because it sounds silly. (“Helen, your hair is lovely.” “Thank you, Ralph.” “Do you want to watch a movie, Helen? “Sure, Ralph, but stop touching my hair.”) When you do use character names in dialogue, use them early in order to indicate to whom the speaker is talking, and after that, be sparing with the monikers.
  2. Avoid writing dialogue that’s really an excuse for “speechifying” (I love that word ♥.)  Avoid giving your characters long paragraphs with lines and lines and lines of dialogue that is uninterrupted.  In real-life conversations, people usually alternate in conversation, and like my family, they often interrupt each other. It is your job to capture the rhythm of real speech–but don’t make it choppy.
  3. The dialogue of one character shouldn’t repeat what was said by the other, unless it is for emphasis in that one instance. “So Helen, what you are saying is, ‘don’t be repetitive.'” “Yes, Ralph, don’t repeat my every word.” “Don’t repeat your sentences.”
  4. DON’T explain your dialogue by adding too many descriptors, such as: John shouted angrily, or Garran commented sulkily. If the meaning is effectively conveyed in what your characters are doing as well as saying, adding these descriptors undermines the dialogue and disengages the reader. Try removing the explanation and see if the meaning is still clear. If it isn’t clear, it’s time to rewrite. By letting the dialogue speak for itself, by describing it less and showing it more, you make it more compelling.
  5. DON’T get creative with your attributions, or ‘dialogue tags’ as we call them: stick to John said (not said John, which sounds archaic in modern literature.) Unless you absolutely need a John screamed or Edwin uttered (which you pretty much never do) just say it and let the reader do the rest. Fancy synonyms for ‘said’ are usually unnecessary and distracting.
  6. And now for my pet peeve:  people do not smile, snort or smirk dialogue. I mean really–“That’s a lovely dress,” snorted Clara. (eeew. )  In fact, it is often best to do away with attributions altogether for a few exchanges every now and then, if:  A. you have only 2 speakers, and B. you have established who is speaking.
  7. Most readers hope authors will avoid trying to convey accent by altering spelling. It gets tiresome to read an author’s attempt to rewrite the dictionary to fit a cockney or an Irish accent, so use colloquialisms and speech patterns instead. That said, if the character is making a MINOR appearance, using an accent will give the reader feeling that they know that character, without resorting to an info dump.
  8. Feel free to break the rules of grammar if your character shows a blatant disregard for what’s correct. If he wants to say, “I seen that movie last week. It were a real dud,” let him.  That is a way to show the description of your characters.
  9. Miss a few beats. Beats are little bits of physical action inserted into dialogue: John fell quiet and stared out the window. Marta turned and walked out the door. Used sparingly, these pauses serve to punctuate the dialogue, to give the scene movement, and to maintain a strong mental picture in the absence of description. They’re best placed where there is a natural break in the dialogue, because they allow the reader to experience the same pause as the characters. Pauses are essential to good dialogue, but don’t overdo it. If your characters are rattling pans, slicing apples or staring out the window between every line of dialogue, the scene becomes about the action and not the dialogue, and the impact of the conversation can be lost entirely.
  10. Once in a while, it is okay to have your characters tell a story within the story, but do it as naturally as possible. Speaking as an older person, I admit that some older character will be just dying to tell the younger ones how it really was. Please don’t use that plot twist as a crutch to dump a chunk of boring background. No one in real life wants to hear an old duffer go on about the good old days at Bob’s Fish Cannery, even if Skyler Webbley did lose a finger that was never found and didn’t notice it until his shift was over when he discovered his driving gloves didn’t fit right. (Just sayin’.)

In regard to proper use of punctuation: it is important to follow the rules in the general narrative but punctuation has a different role in dialogue. There are times when it is used to create pauses in dialogue.

Oh, dear. What have I done? Breathe, Irene, breathe! Inhale…exhale…it will be fine–it’s dialogue, for the love of  Chatty Cathy…we want it to sound normal, not necessarily literate. (Oh, dear, she’s turning blue… . Line editor down! Quick! Someone fan her with the Chicago Manual of Style!)

Or you can properly punctuate your dialogue to your heart’s content.  It’s your book, and your style–you make the decision.

Anyway, to write natural dialogue, observe others around you, see how they talk, what they do with their bodies, and where they pause. These are what you know of them as people, and are what you want to convey in your writing.  What we want our dialogue to do is  give the reader a clear visual of the scene, the characters and their environment. A truly great book is clearly visualized in the mind of reader, so give those clues and hints, but let the reader see for themselves the beauty or horror you are describing though good dialogue and properly setting the scene.

VOS QUOTE

 

20 Comments

Filed under Battles, blogging, Books, Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Music, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Nurturing the Muse

photo ©Leah Reindl 2014 used by permission

photo ©Leah Reindl 2014 used by permission

I come from a family whose creative muse is frequently expressed in music or in art. Musicians and artists dot the landscape of the old family tree. So far as I know, other than my daughter Leah, I am the only one who writes novels, but it may be that I am the only one who ever had the time to spend on such an endeavor.

When I watch children at play, I see the creativity that all musicians and artists know, that wonderful sense of “Ah ha! This is fun!” that comes with making something that exists only to bring pleasure to those who hear or see it. I see this sense of “I can do it!” in all the children, but by the time they are teenagers, much of that joy in creativity has been trained out of them. I wonder why and how it happens.

When I was young and working at dead-end jobs, I would come home and while my children did their homework or played, I would write, draw, or play the guitar. It was selfish, yes–in that it gave me pleasure. But it was not selfish, as it didn’t take me out of their world, and was something we could share. It taught them that they could take the time to be creative.

If there is any advice I would give young parents, it is to be creative in the presence of your children. You go to work every day, and by that you are teaching them that one must earn a living, yes, but the reward of earning that living is a life of love and creativity.

Some people will say bitterly that their job has burned all their energy and creativity from them. I say this is not necessarily so–you must take the time and energy you expend on hating your circumstances, and convert it into something creative. It’s amazing how many people I know who tell me they aren’t creative, but they doodle the most amazing  little pictures on the handouts during those requisite boring meetings-to-nowhere that we all endure in Corporate America.

That is creativity trying to get out.

The reason children are so creative is that they don’t do it for other people, they are doing it solely for the fun of it. Get out the crayons and a blank sheet of paper for a child who hasn’t been to school yet, and watch what happens. Add old magazines, round-end scissors, and mix up some flour & water paste, and the possibilities are endless. But once that child gets into a social environment where he begins to feel less talented than the child next to him, he shuts that creativity down.

science of relationships dot comInside every adult at the water cooler is kindergartner with a picture to draw, a song to sing, or a story to tell. Somewhere along the line, they began to fear they weren’t good enough and put it aside. Soon they have an “I can’t do it” attitude, because they fear failure and embarrassment. They have forgotten the joy of making a good, creative mess. They don’t remember how they learned as much from the failures as they did from the successes.

Don’t let the fact you have no money stand in your way. It takes very little money to draw a picture, or to write a story. You don’t need an expensive computer program–all you need is a pencil and paper.  And music?  You don’t need to play an instrument to sing. If you always wanted music lessons but couldn’t afford them, a great way to learn is to join a community choir. It’s free, and takes a little time away from your TV, but it is a way to jumpstart your joy of making music.

Our children are all artistic and creative in the most amazing (to me) ways, and I think that is because I never stopped making art or music.  They all sing or play instruments, or create art. Our older son, Billy, and youngest daughter, Meg, are working musicians. Billy is a drummer in a band with my ex-husband and my brother. Meg is a young mother and a working musician with several mp3s to her credit. If you are curious, here is her Facebook page where you can hear her work: Meg is Singing.

Meg and Billy are both incredible musicians, playing the drums, the guitar, keyboards, and in Meg’s case, the flute. Music is their passion. Son Dan is a guitar virtuoso, but he plays for his own pleasure. He is an incredible sports photographer, and his work can be seen here: SpotKazu

Christy and Leah express their art in other ways. Christy is an engineer who deeply loves her craft, and brings her sense of beauty into her home, designing an environment that is both serene and filled with color. Leah is an artist, one of her pictures can be seen at the top of this page, and a hair-dresser. She loves her craft as much as Christy does hers. They go to work, and art is expressed in their daily lives, enriching the lives of their children.

This is why I am and have always been a happy person despite the bumps and hardships of life–I did what I had to do to put food on the table, but I played and sang and wrote poems and goofy stories in my free time. My children were my audience and my co-creators. My husband’s children were raised in the same sort of environment (he is a trumpet player and she is an actress) and all 5 of our kids are sheer genius to me. They far outstrip me with their talents and abilities, and with their drive and ambition.

Tower of Bones Trailer, Music by MEG

2 Comments

Filed under blogging, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Music, Publishing, Self Publishing, Spirituality, writer, writing

2013 – Huh – Look at that!

472px-Judith_Leyster_Merry_TrioThe WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog, which I looked at and said “Huh. Look at that.”  Though it didn’t really tell me a lot, it was interesting and I loved the shiny picture (at the bottom of this page.)

But it got me to thinking about the year and what my personal favorite posts were. In looking back, I realize my favorite posts are not the ones that detailed my personal life, but are the posts dealing with the craft of writing. Still, the things we struggle with on a personal level are the things that form us as writers–me more than anyone, perhaps. They seem to have been the more popular posts, which surprises me.

For me, the year started out with a round of bad health, and in an effort to turn it around, I became vegan.

Vegans and Version Control posted 04 January 2013

That worked to a certain extent, and now a year later, I am still a Reluctant Vegan. I don’t miss meat, as it has never been that important to me, but boy do I miss the cheese. (sigh.)

MSClipArt MP900390083.JPG RF PDEpilepsy. A scary plunge into the unknown if ever there was one.  The  ‘e’ word  appeared 24 February 2013. I have two children who developed seizure disorders as adults, and they have each handled this frightening change in their lives differently. My daughter handles it the way she does everything–she accepts she has it, takes the medicine, and goes on with her life. Other than the first one she suffered which put her in the hospital with broken bones in her face, her seizures have been milder than my son’s. His seizures, when he has them, are severe, and he has been hospitalized three times this year. Each time, it was because he had not accepted his condition and was not obeying dr.’s orders. I am pleased to report that has changed. Sadly he is unable to drive until February 2014–but with the positive way his treatment is going it looks like he will be cleared to drive at that time. In the year since I wrote ‘The e-word‘ he has made a complete turnaround and is fully committed to managing his disease.

Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895Hard on the heels of that major change was the acknowledgement of my dysfunctional family, and dealing with loved ones who suffer from crippling addictions. That was my emotionally draining post, Trains that Go Bump in the Night, posted 25 March 2013. That situation has also seen a major turnaround, with some really positive results. There is still a lot of pain, but the low point seemed to get my brother’s attention too. He is back on track, and with his jail time behind him and a good attitude. He is working a good recovery program, with an honest desire to be truly happy.  He is doing well, and while our relationship has been forever changed by this terrible ordeal, we have mended some fences between us. I was deeply touched to discover through all of this just how many people have lost loved ones to this terrible addiction, and even more importantly, how many have regained some sort of normalcy.

If there is a Hell, Meth is the devil.

But the positive side of all of this is that because I am unable to really face the reality of my crazy existence, I managed to complete the first draft of Mountains of the Moon. YAY!!!  The End Is Nigh, posted 28 March 2013 detailed the strange reluctance I felt to actually  finish the book and let go of my characters. It was hard, but now the book has made it through the second draft and is in the hands of the beta readers.

Due to bad health, I spent many hours on Facebook, killing time when I should have been writing. Face book–A Squirrel Ran Through It posted on 6 June 2013.

BIF Blog Print ScreenThanks to having surgery and being sicker than a dog for the entire summer, I also read a lot of books and blogged about them on Best in Fantasy, my weekly book review blog.  I thank God for all the amazing and wonderful writers out there who fire my imagination and keep me plugging away at this craft. Someday I hope to have written a tale that is considered a “Best in Fantasy” tale–it is something to aspire to and work towards.

Over the course of the year I wrote many technical pieces, on everything from how to format your ms for print, to how to create a clickable table of contents for your e-book, to how to effectively use WORD, and how to–>oh, dear…Grandma’s sort of a know-it-all and she’s not afraid to tell you about it. Are you listening? There will be a test.

I published a novella, Tales from the Dreamtime, a small book of three short-stories which I think is some of my best work to date, short pieces though they are. I also had two short stories published in a children’s anthology, Christmas O’Clock. I was privileged to be included with some high-powered authors like Shaun Allan and Alison DeLuca, along with Irene Roth Luvaul, Mary K. Mitchell, and Nicole Antonia Carro. That is some heady company!

My Coffee Cup © cjjasp 2013All in all, 2013 was a good year, with the misery being more than balanced by the joys. My suspicion is that people who don’t know what it is like to suffer don’t appreciate the true beauty of life.

It has been a hard year, true, but through it all I had the joy of grandchildren, the love of my husband, the support of my dear friends and the beauty of art and music to surround me. I have rediscovered my gratitude — both for the bounty I enjoy, and the people I am privileged to share my life with.

May your new year bring you joy and prosperity and the ability to appreciate them. May you have the good health to enjoy them, and may your imaginary friends never stop talking to you!

 

6 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Dragons, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Food, Literature, Music, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing

The Crazy Things

582px-Il_Pordenone_001b_detail_sheet_musicMy good friend, indie author Stephen Swartz, had a blog post today about creativity, music and productivity.  I love his blog, DeConstruction of the Sekuatean Empire, and find his dry sense of humor to be rather invigorating. He has been extremely prolific lately in getting the work out of his head and onto the paper, and I am quite impressed with his output! I’ve been more easily distracted lately by the shiny things in life.

Anyway, he was talking about the types of music that forms the soundtrack to his writing. As Stephen is also an accomplished musician, music is very important to him, and he is like me  in that the right background music can improve the flow of ideas.

Now, everyone knows Grandma loves Heavy Metal, but let’s be real–Rammstein and Rainbow aren’t really conducive to a meditative state, so they are mostly for editing. And while I love John Adorney, I have a problem with some new-age music, in that it puts my brain to sleep.  So I have certain playlists I pull out when its time to write.  Sibelius, Mozart, Karl Orff – these great composers of classical music provide the soundtrack to Mountains of the Moon, now that we are approaching the end of the story.

In the beginning,  when I first started writing Mountains of the Moon, the music that inspired me was Robert Plant’s Band of Joy album, along with Steve Martin’s ‘The Appalachain Mandolin and Dulcimer - Butch Baldassari and David SchanauferCrow”.  Butch Baldassari and David Schnaufer’s album, ‘Appalachian Mandolin and Dulcimer’ also figured prominently in my playlist at that time.

I know.

From Banjos and Dulcimers, to Cellos and Violins, to Stratocasters and Korg Keyboards.  Throw in the occasional big choral piece like Carmina Burana and there you have the entire repertoire.

I find that at each stage in my work, a different sort of music is required. Once the structure of the story is laid out and the actual writing begins, I need light-hearted fare, sort of like the salad course at a fine restaurant. You can’t get much lighter than Steve Martin’s incredible work. Here is the link to the YouTube video of Steve Martin, Bela Fleck, and Tony Trischka playing The Crow.

joe bonamassa dust bowlDuring the both the initial imagining of a tale when I am world building, and also in the editing process, I need to keep on my toes. I find that Joe Bonamassa’s channel on You Tube is conducive to that.

So is this lovely YouTube channel I found with 87 (!!!) tracks for Rainbow.  (I guess you know now what I listen to  quite often when I am in need of inspiration.) I love YouTube!

So often random inspiration comes from my grandchildren, from my friends, and from the world in general.  It never emerges out of my head the way it goes in. It always amazes me, how in the long run it’s the crazy things that spark my creativity, but the music always sustains and nurtures it.

4 Comments

Filed under Books, Fantasy, Literature, Music, Uncategorized, writing

Great Collaborations

Rainbow_-_Ritchie_Blackmore's_Rainbow_(1975)_front_coverThis album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was a watershed moment for me, musically.  I discovered Rainbow when my first husband and I moved to Bellingham Washington to go to college. We had one child, our daughter Leah.  We were pretty broke, and couldn’t go to many concerts, but we did invest in new music as often as we could.

I was the one who was the Rainbow and Led Zeppelin freak. I liked Deep Purple, but something about Rainbow really grabbed me. Darryl was into The Who and Argent.  We were also crazy about Procol Harum,  Focus and Genesis. Heart also figured largely in the noise that erupted from our small apartment.

The thing about great bands that inspires me is the chemistry between the members that lead to great collaborations.  Some of the most powerful music of my generation was created during the 1970’s.  The collaboration that still reigns supreme in my heart is the Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore collaboration in the band Rainbow.  Separately, they were brilliant, unmatched in their skill and talent. Together they were pure magic, creating thunderous, powerful, bone-shaking music like The Gates of Babylon and the beautiful, lyrical Catch the Rainbow. Alas, Dio passed on in 2010 but his legacy lives on.

In books, there are great collaborations that produce incredible tales that change the face of the fantasy genre.  MythAdventures by Robert Lynn Aspirin and Jody Lynn Nye were the game changers for me as far as my reading material went. They brought the fun to the party!

The Darkover Series that was begun by  Marion Zimmer Bradley and which included collaborations with various authors such as Mercedes Lackey and Deborah J. Ross was wildly popular among my friends. The Dragonlance series, which came out of TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons game empire was another series that introduced the fantasy genre to a wide audience of young people. This collaboration between Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss hooked my son Daniel as a teenager, and turned him into a rabid fan of speculative fiction.

Currently I’ve been reading The Adventures of Don Valiente and the Apache Canyon Kid. It  a book that is a collaboration between John A. Aragon and Mary W. Walters, and it’s one that is not only NOT a fantasy (it’s a WESTERN) it’s an actual physical book as opposed to a Kindle book.  This awesome book details the adventures of Roz, a young lesbian cowgirl and her mentor, caballero Don Valiente. I’ve never been a fan of westerns, but THIS book is a game changer for me.

I love books and music that expand my boundaries.  Every time I hear something new and powerful, like Apocalyptica, Rammstein or Evanescence or read a book in an unfamiliar genre I am inspired to create on my own and my work benefits.  Music, art and books are like yoga for my soul!

7 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Heavy Metal, Humor, Music, writing

Vegan and loving it (mostly)

Me at the age of 29

Me at the age of 29

When I  set out to write a novel, I approach it from the viewpoint of a storyteller.  This creates some problems with having “a passive” voice when the first draft is “eye-balled” for revisions.  Of course, I can’t see it unless it is pointed out to me, so I have to allow another person to read it.

Some people will tell you that allowing ANYONE to see a manuscript at that stage of development is just plain suicidal.  It’s certainly difficult for me to do, but I’m doing it. If I am to chug these things out with any speed at all, I have to bite the bullet and let Irene have the first look at it.  Hopefully, getting rid of the passive voice immediately will be a positive step toward making the ms ready to be edited.

In the past I have finished the entire ms before I allowed anyone to see the first draft. Before I let them see it, I went over it a million times.  When I sent it to them, I was sure it was a good as I could get it. Still, the first chapter that was sent back to me was a sea of red.

Sigh.

So, the premise is this–I’m going to have to revise it anyway. If all these strange things I can’t see in my own work are going to still be there after I’ve wasted a year on grooming the story, why bother?  Why not just go for it and see what happens? Irene was bored, and needed something to work on. We agreed that this is a true experiment and if I can’t do it, I won’t feel too embarrassed. (edit: Correction – Irene says she was NOT BORED and may never have been bored in her life. Knowing her as I do, that’s most likely true!)

However, the first chapter arrived back in my Gmail this morning. It was a sea of red just like the finely polished apple would have been, and it said basically the same things. SO maybe this is a more streamlined way to get the process done; I hope so!  It is helping me to stay focused on the final chapters of the book as I write them, and I am keeping the active voice more clearly in my mind.

It’s a first draft. I’m most likely still letting the ‘thats’ and ‘whichs’ fly where they may, and be aware: commas are landmines in my hands.  Hopefully Irene will still like the book when I’ve dragged her all the way to the end.

I’m sure some will remember that on December 31, 2012 I became a vegan.  That means I stopped including meat and dairy in my diet, completely. I got off to a good start with a fun dinner party that was split fairly evenly between vegans and carnivores.  So now, 34 days into this, I am still vegan, and surprisingly I’ve found it to be easy.

The picture at the top left is of me in 1982, two years after my first thyroid tumor was removed.  I’ve lived an active life for the most part, and on the occasions when I did gain weight, I was able to take it off. At the age of 55 I began gaining weight and I was unable to shed it. Now 4 years later I know it was because of two unavoidable things: menopause and the thyroid.

I’ve lost 7 pounds of weight since January 01, 2013.  Losing weight is difficult with a thyroid tumor, and since the tumor is benign and isn’t life threatening, we aren’t opting for surgery. Instead I’m making positive changes in my lifestyle and the weight is slowly coming off.

Some of my weight loss can surely be attributed to the energy I’ve burned reading labels.  I’ve always avoided GMO products and also corn syrups and corn sugars, but now I’ve a whole new world of things to be on the lookout for! For instance, I have discovered that  vitamin D3 is rarely vegan while D2 always is, casein is a milk protein that finds its way into stupid things like soy cheese and honey.  I avoid anything with the word lactose although I’ve been told that most other lac- ingredients are fine. I am not well-educated enough yet to know what is what so I just avoid it if it says ‘lac-‘.

I do know that if the product has any cholesterol, even 1 mg, then the product is not vegan, because cholesterol is not found in any plant-based products. So that means there is some sort of animal-derived ingredient. When I found that out, I looked at my cooking oils, products that I thought were vegan by virtue of being olive or safflower oil and I found that they were spiked! The bastards!  Even margarine can have animal based products in it!

So now, I am careful to carry a list of no-no words and I try to stay vigilant. After all, either you are a vegan, or you are not–there is no such thing as ‘sort-of -a-vegan’.  For me, I think giving up the dairy is what has made the difference in my health.  I feel better, I have more energy, and by golly I did lose seven pounds in 34 days.

I guess I’ll keep on keeping on a while longer, and see what happens. Heck, I have all day to read labels and not much else to do in the way of excercise.

Unless you count ranting, tearing my hair out and desperately squeezing out my self imposed word-count goal of NO LESS THAN 1800 words a day.

I get a lot of excercise from that.

8 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Books, Dragons, Humor, Music, writing