Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scrapping the craft faire

It turned out the Holiday Craft Faire was starting to look a bit too much like Christmas for my sensibilities, so I bowed out. And that meant I had to go into full-on Etsy posting mode.

Making quilts to sell in-person is like a real date. Person sees quilt. Person likes quilt. Person buys quilt. Everyone is happy.

Selling quilts on Etsy is like Internet dating, or so I imagine. An entire personna must be developed. Some grab-in-a-second first impression one-liners need to be tweaked. And photos, it's all about the photos. I'm still working on my Quilt Glamour Shot techniques. Morning light is good, it hides the wrinkles. Some props always help, takes the eyes off the imperfections. And then comes the uploading of photos, price decisions, measuring, figuring out worth verses effort. Then the sinking realization that you're competing with 13.7 million other Etsy sellers rears its ego-crushing head. Oh bother, give me a craft faire any day.

In addition to the quilts I had made, I decided to try to clean out my stock by posting some vintage fabric. A few short descriptions, some quick photos, a half-hearted paragraph or two. Bam! Two Disney vintage fabrics sold within an hour of posting. While my quilts were still getting ready for the ball, those bratty little pieces of vintage material were off to LA, tossing their hems with unbelievable self-confidence. Some fabric has all the fun!

Herb, the Decaf Tea Quilt is on his way to the East Coast.

Spot, the Dalmatian Quilt is wagging its tail

Autumn Rose, Pretty in Peach

The Hamlet Piggy Quilts are squealing to get off the farm

Dillon, Beachy Chic for Shore already jumped ship. He sold!

Pippa, the Apple a Day Quilt is ready to fall far from the tree.

Lady, the Bug Quilt hasn't made it past the cutting board. I may wait for spring with this one. I'll use this little break to clean out my fabric, sell some of the hot-to-trot vintage stuff and start hitting the Goodwill for some more fabric - the older the better.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Square by square

When I start a quilt, I'm in it to the finish. No half starts for me, or works-in-progress. I march into my fabric stash, pick out the material, cut it out, lay it out, start sewing, and don't come gasping up for air until my fingers look like eagle claws and my back is in the shape of the letter C. Balance is not one of my strong suits. 

In getting ready for my second craft faire, I tried a new approach. I cut out several quilts at once. It felt like I was cheating on the first one, but after that it got easier. I got on a roll. I only sliced my finger on the rotary cutter once, while cutting out four quilts in a short time span, while still having an unfinished project in my sewing closet. It was like I was running some sort of business or something. Unprecedented.

Dillon, Beachy Chic for Shore

A Futon Full of Future Fluff

Herb, the Decaf Tea Quilt

Spot, a Dalmatian Quilt

Pippen, the Apple a Day Quilt

Or some other apple name, I'm not sold on Pippen.

Lady, the Baby Buggy Quilt.

Cleaning up as I go along has never been one of my strong suits.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Village People

"There is more happiness in giving
than there is in receiving."
Acts 20:35

What happens when in life, a person gives and gives and gives and gives and gives?

When that person most needs it, they receive and receive and receive and receive.

This past weekend we heard some sad news about a dear friend, our precious Peggy in Davis. I have known her as long as I have known my husband and he knew her before we met. How can I describe this amazing person? She is full of life and spunk and humor and spark and has a twinkle in her eye that makes every minute with her memorable. She is more interested in experiences than things, she puts people ahead of possessions. Because of this, she has built up a group of friends, young and old, that cherish her. We were saddened to hear she had a massive stroke, that her brain was basically gone and according to her wishes, she would not be provided any measures to prolong her life, including water. Ernst went to see her, said his goodbyes through tears and sobs. I was going to say my goodbyes yesterday, if she was still with us.

Peggy had other plans. She woke up yesterday in the hospital and greeted the nurse who came in to care for the patient on "Comfort Care." She is awake, and while weak, is the same hilarious Peggy she has always been. I told her Ernst and his buddy Dan drank a shot of vodka in her honor the night before, she complained that she didn't get any! She told Dan he should shave off his mustache so the nurses would think he was even cuter. She is 89, in the hospital after a massive brain bleed and she is amazing us all.

We don't have kids, our family all lives in distant places. I see the work that my sister Joanne puts into taking wonderful care of our mother. My brother Jeff and his wife Chris left Bethel last year to help out. We tease that "it takes a village" just to do my Mom's hair. She has five kids and two of them are there doing what it takes to help a person age with dignity. But if/when I need it, who will be my village? These questions start to come up and they are disconcerting. No kids, no village?

When I saw Peggy in the hospital yesterday, my worries were calmed. Peggy has no family left, save for one grandson in another state. But she has a village, and it is huge. The nurse who showed me her room commented on how many friends she has. She has no idea! She's just seeing the ones from Davis. Peggy's friends span from Mexico to China to Vietnam to Warwick. She is reaping the rewards of giving what people need most in life - love and acknowledgment and approval. We don't know what the outcome will be for our dear Peggy, but her village is ready. And my worries have been calmed. Life gives us what we put into it. As we navigate through our health issues and medical scares, I know the very best choice is always to keep giving. Live like Peggy. Give like Peggy. That is a pretty decent way to live my life.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Last Garage Sale Ever...for now

Finally, after putting off our second garage sale of the season because of busy schedules, heart surgery, heat waves, smoky air from wild fires and a nasty virus of mine that just would not go away, we did it. We shed the stuff. We trashed the trinkets. We moved the mess. We finally managed to get all the KonMaried garbage, um, er, items out of the garage, onto tables, priced and sort of sorted to sell. It was warm but not hot, I was between antibiotics and drum roll also happened to be right after payday. Which for getting people to buy your garbage, um, er, items, was the perfect weekend.

The goal was to get all this stuff out of the garage and out of our life, with some money to show for it. Where did all this stuff come from? From inside our house. Yikes. The garage became our "staging ground" for the entire decluttering process. That term "staging ground" made it all seem so civilized. The movers, the shakers, the beautiful people - if you listen closely, their conversations are peppered with the phrase "staging ground".

We had not one, not two, but three staging grounds. Here is what the room off the kitchen looked like while we were moving and shaking. It was a sea of big blue Ikea bags. How did I ever get through one day of life on this planet before big blue Ikea bags were invented? Ikea bags spark joy. They also hold laundry and ironing, but I don't hold it against them. And they are perfect at garage sales when someone buys a particularly large amount of your stuff, hands you their hard earned money and you get to put what they bought in a big blue Ikea bag to make them not feel like a sucker when they get home and look at the items they purchased. It's all about the whole experience, that's the joy of garage sales.

And at this point I need to bring up hard cider. We opened our sale, as is our custom, on a Friday night and got the items sorted. I normally don't drink hard cider at any garage sale, mine especially. But this night was different. Because I did a very bad thing. I sold all our crystal to a hoarder. I did. I knew he was a hoarder, and I shamelessly sold him an Ikea bag sized amount of crystal. He came back and bought more, And then he came back with his wife and got even more. When he was wondering what he would do with some glass punch cups my neighbor was selling, I reminded him eggnog season was quickly approaching. Shame on me. Then as he and his wife were discussing where they would put the glass punch cups in their already too full china hutch, I suggested installing cup hooks. Double shame on me. I even went to look for some cup hooks for him in our newly organized garage, but I think I KonMaried them. He bought every last glass punch cup and most all the crystal I was selling. He paid full price, because it was the perfect weekend for a garage sale, being held just after payday. Triple shame. Hence the hard cider.

After the sale was over, the money counted and the garage sale signs ripped down, it was time to deal with all the items people didn't buy. (How dare they.) Ernst piled up the back of the car and took trip after trip to our local Goodwill. No regrets, that stuff is gone and gone for good. I swept out the garage, and for the first time in months parked the car back inside. I danced in the garage. There was room, even with the car.

The remaining Ikea bags are all neatly rolled up in the newly improved place for rags and bags. Now the question is, how many Ikea bags makes one a hoarder? Maybe I should ask the guy with the eggnog cups, he should know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Growing boys and trees

The most important thing by far when it comes to growing boys and trees is location. There has to be room to grow, spread those limbs, put down roots and really settle in. They'll need lots of attention and care, so putting them where all can keep a close eye is usually best.

Boys and trees take work. This isn't for sissies. Be prepared to put some effort in. You'll need the right tools, and you'll have to keep those tools in good working order. When one tool stops working, grab another until you find the perfect one for that moment.

This takes backbreaking effort. Use your legs. Put in your all, and then some.

When you think you can't do anymore, you'll have to do more. Put your heart into it. Somehow it will all work out. Have faith.

But when you honestly feel like you can't do anymore, accept help from others. They want to help. Future shade trees and solid men are at stake here, this is important stuff.

Watch those fingers and toes, avoid trips to the ER as much as possible. But keep band-aids on hand. Lots of band-aids. Preferably with super heroes on them. No princesses, those are for girls.

Take the time to look closely and see how things are going. Is there enough room to grow and thrive? Nice rich soil? Any obstacles? Good, let's keep up the hard work.

You're going to get down and get dirty, just face it. There will be dirt in the car, dirty clothes, dirty shoes, dirt dirt and more dirt. But dirt is good. Boys and trees need dirt. The more the better. Buy good detergent and hope for the best.

Once in a while take a step back and access the situation. Is everything going according to plan? Time to take a breather? Make some small adjustments? Nothing wrong with some mid-planting think sessions to make sure all goes well.

Sometimes you have to dig even deeper than you thought possible. But it's worth it. You're doing great.

After the hard work, comes the nitty gritty details. Making sure nothing is overlooked, all the potential pests and problems are under control. It's not such backbreaking work as before, but it's just as important. Trees and little boys need to be staked securely while given room to blow a bit in the wind, developing strength and character and deep roots. It takes time. It takes care. It takes love.

But just watch them grow!
Thank you sweet little man, we love you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Three Quilt Summer

When it's shorts and swimsuit season, no sane person wants to touch a quilt. Summer is time for the heavy blankets and comforters to be put away and the lightest covers to come out. When I Summer-ize our house, all things related to the fireplace and couch potatoing are banished.

But what's a quilter to do when she gets four orders for custom quilts in the summer months? Crank up that air conditioner and get over it, it's snuggle time. The first order came the week before we went to Chicago. A friend called and said she needed a baby quilt and she needed it fast. Cindy came over, sat on the futon in my newly Kon-Maried sewing room and I brought out some pinky girl fabric. Cindy is not one to fuss or agonize over choices. We banged this quilt fabric out in a few minutes. She said perfect and that was that. If they were only all so easy.

Most of this fabric came from old clothes of mine. The core piece was a sundress, in a print with purses all over it. I wore it a lot when I could get away with a sundress with purses all over it, but the fabric on most of it was still in pristine condition. Two other prints were skirts that I wore when I could get away with them, one black and white checks (always a wee bit too short) and another a gorgeous pink flowered skirt from Talbots (with flowers a wee bit too big.) With some other prints from Goodwill and a lovely dress shirt from my husband's coworker, we had ourselves a wee little baby quilt in no time.

Greta, the Grab and Go Girly Quilt

Next up it was time to finish a quilt that was mentally in the works for a very long time. One of my most loyal Etsy customers gave me a wonderful donation of fabric and asked that I make her a quilt from it, using whatever I thought would look good. Well, it all looked so adorable together, the choice was easy. I did add one project piece from Goodwill, it was some sort of easy quilt pattern preprinted. I cut that up in no time and repurposed it into this really sweet bear themed quilt. It's not a wee quilt, it's a whopper. The library bear, tea cup fabric and the calicoes say "Snuggle up on the couch with a good book and some honey sweetened Earl Grey". But not quite yet, because it's still "Stop touching me you hot fabric" season here in California.

Leslie, the Li-Bear-y Quilt

As for the third quilt - I think I made this during the time I got a wee bit better from my Virus From Venus, Plague From Pluto summer sickness, but before it became Brontosaurus Bronchitis. That crud stole five weeks of my summer and it's all a bit of a blur, but somehow I managed to sew up this bright and fresh colorful bear quilt in the middle of it all. I love the colors in this, fresh and cute but not overly babyish. My neighbor and friend Rosie, the Great Grandma, reported it was big hit at the baby shower.

The Great Bear Quilt

I've got one more baby quilt to finish for Cindy. The fabric is picked out and ready to get going on. I have a wee bit of a cold, but this seems like just an Easy Earthly one, so I should be able to sew it up before the baby's high school graduation. And then...I get to start on the quilts for the Curtis Park Craft Faire on December 4th. It's never too early to start thinking of Snuggle Season.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Moldovan Wedding Tutorial

A friend commented the other day that we go to a lot of weddings, Moldovan weddings in particular. So I counted them up, and for the eight or so years we have been associated with our Modovan friends, it really hasn't been that many. In no special order, here they are:

Ion and Natasha
Vitalie and Elena
Igor and Rafaela
Sergie and Dorina
Nick and Natasha
Alex and Irina
Igor and Oxana
Viktor and Daniella

You know you've been around Russian and Moldovan people for many years when you know two men named Igor and this no longer fazes you. But the weddings, they still faze me. They are stunning but not stuffy, fun but never out of control, gorgeous but never pretentious. Here are the rules as far as I can tell.

First you need a bride, because what is a wedding without a bride? Just a very expensive party, and who needs that? We met Daniella when she was young and had moved here from Moldova with her parents. She didn't speak any English, but that changed in a flash. This is a smart girl, incredibly smart. I got to know her gradually, because at first the Moldovans were part of the Romanian group associated with the Sacramento Russian congregation. Since we weren't in the mood to learn two languages at once, we waited until the Romanian congregation was fully formed before we joined. But we got to know the families before this, attended many functions and we became friends with the kids.

I knew Daniella was special from the beginning. I had a little slumber party for the girls, and they were adorable and charming and helpful and beyond-their-years mature for such little ones. I found out later their mothers drilled into them to HELP JESSICA, and they did. I was sweeping and Laura grabbed the broom from me and said it would make her very sad if I didn't let her sweep the floor. OKaaaay, sweep to your heart's content and by the way do you like to dust? 

They played Dance Dance Revolution for hours, baked, frosted and decorated mini Bundt cakes for their mothers and stayed up giggling and whispering in Romanian until very late. They woke up early, made their beds, got dressed and were playing Dance Dance Revolution with the sound off when I woke up. When I finally convinced them it was time to head home, they grabbed their stuff, their moms' cakes and I drove them home. When I returned I saw that Daniella had left her cake for me. Wow. My heart melted. These girls. 

As Daniella and the girls grew into teens, we spent a lot of time together. They asked me many questions about English, about school, about my opinions on all kinds of subjects. They had so much pressure on them as they became their parents' translators for medical and legal matters. Daniella sold her first car for her parents on Craiglist when she was in her very early teens. I heard her on the phone answering questions about mileage and the salvage title, and I was amazed at her level of maturity. They also gave me detailed cooking instructions, such as how to make the perfect rice dishes. As twelve year old's. 

Unplanned Polka Dot Duo at the Stanley Theater in 2012.
Last year Daniella let me know a certain Viktor from San Diego was interested in her - they had met at Igor and Oxana's wedding. He was older than her. She wanted advice and she wasn't just pretending she wanted advice. Do I ever love to give advice, especially when someone isn't just pretending to want advice. She listened like a sponge as I gave her my spiel, Take your time. Get to know him. Be yourself. Don't rush. Don't be afraid to call it off. Get to know him. Take your time. Watch how he treats other women. She kept listening, asking more questions and treating me like I was someone who had her best interests at heart. Then Ernst chimed in and she listened more. He told her what he always tells people, contact the brothers in his congregation and ask about his reputation. And she did. Because this girl is smart! And they took their time and got to know each other and then he popped the question and they set the date.

Viktor and Daniella

Her last meeting in Sacramento. Boo.
Now, about Moldovan weddings. You have to erase everything you know about weddings when you attend a Moldovan wedding. Of course there is a white dress and a cake and food and drink and dancing. But the order is more like dancing, food, drink, white dress and cake. There are no fancy wedding favors or fussy details. There are huge flower arrangements, but they are not fresh, which I didn't even realize until this last wedding. They are held in elaborate banquet halls that are gorgeous on the inside and so ugly on the outside you cringe when you drive up. This particular hall is an old skating rink that is probably one of the ugliest buildings in Sacramento with one of the most amazing interiors that replicates a village square, complete with a sky mural, street lamps and a giant fountain. 

The photography is a day long event, these girls got up at five in the morning to prepare for a four o'clock wedding followed by a reception that went on into the wee hours of the morning. And they still looked fresh. 
The beautiful bride.
Exhausted, but still with her cute sense of humor.

No barn-themed weddings for the Moldovans, it's all glitz and glamour. 

Find your table, because you're in for a feast.

This was the first wedding when our names were spelled correctly.

Just a bit of the food served.
Now about the food. When you arrive at a Moldovan wedding, there is already food sitting out on the table. Salads, cheese and vegetable platters, fish dishes. No one eats it, not a bite. There is no such thing as an appetizer. Once the bride and groom arrive and the prayer is said, then it's time to dig in. The wait staff then brings out the real food, the hot dishes. They keep coming and coming and everyone eats family style. No buffet lines, no plated dishes. The dishes go around and around as everyone helps themselves. And then the food sits on the tables for hours. Hours. No one is concerned. These functions go on and on, and after some serious dancing, more food is consumed. More food that has been sitting around for hours and hours. And no one gets sick. Ever. 

Another difference with Moldovan weddings are the amounts of children. They are always invited and they come in droves. They sit at the adult tables and eat the food that has been sitting around for hours and hours. They don't get sick. They don't ask for mac and cheese. They eat chicken with bones and they don't choke. They stay up past midnight and they don't throw tantrums. It is a spectacle to behold. Except we leave way before midnight so I'm just going by what I hear. I would throw a tantrum if I stayed that late and would start choking on chicken bones and demand mac and cheese.

Happy kids don't get kid's meals.

But they don't get cognac, that's for the adults. Each table gets their own bottle. Nice.

The cake cutting isn't a big thing, people are too busy dancing.

But the magical moment when the fruit table opens for business is a big deal.

We love Moldovan weddings!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Eight Benefits to a Summer Cold

Winter is the time for colds and colds should come in winter. It's that simple. They aren't any more pleasant or convenient then, but if you're going to be miserable you should be able to be so covered in thick blankets and fuzzy slippers. It's just like that famous song, how does it go...

The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Blow your nose!
Blow your nose!
Blow your nose!

It looked like I beat my Chicago cold, but it came back with a vengeance. When I was in my "I think I'm much better" phase, we had company, we did some yard work and cleaned out the garden shed, I went back to work, made a quilt, shopped, showered, dressed up like a lady - all that good stuff. But then I started feeling like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. OK, that's an exaggeration, more like a thousand little tiny elephants inside my chest. Stampeding. I got a little nervous, because, um, we've already had one heart emergency in this family this month.

My doctor knew I felt really sick when she saw me, because she said "Wow, you must be really sick, I never see you." She ran all the usual tests, and the official diagnosis is Yucksville, otherwise known as bronchitis. Her advice is rest and plenty of fluids. Those silly doctors, don't they know how hard that is? But I'm listening, and trying to find the positives to being sick when you're sick of being sick and it doesn't have the decency to be wintertime.

  1. Laundry consists of underwear, tank tops and pajama bottoms,
  2. Dishwasher loads consist of soup spoons, soup bowls and tea cups.
  3. You go through all the weird left-over herb teas in your cupboard.
  4. You finish off that gnarly piece of ginger in your fridge.
  5. You can reinvent your Fall wardrobe by watching the last six seasons of What Not To Wear on YouTube.
  6. Beer is considered a fluid.
  7. Coughing is the new running.
  8. You have an excuse to stop KonMaring your house for a while.
We plan on having a garage sale next weekend, a dear friend is getting married Sunday and I have to work Labor Day. So, it's rest, rest and more rest this week - doctor's orders.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Like plumbers, but for the heart

This was going to be a post about our trip to Chicago, my new favorite U.S. city. It really was. I was planning on writing stuff about...

...the Romanian language convention we attended and how much of the language I understood this time around...

...and the good friends we got to see there, so many good friends...

...and our sightseeing around the city. There's so much to visit and revisit. Five times in a year and a half and Chicago still surprises me...

... doing everything to make tourists feel happy... how they installed the brand new Maggie Daley Park, which feels like an oasis tucked into the skyscrapers...

...and that has crazy fun play structures for the kid in all of us. I was going to write about our visit to the free Lincoln Park Zoo, where we saw baby gorillas riding the backs of their mommies, our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, and the epic (I don't use that word lightly) Second Annual Moldovan Circle Dance Around the Bean and all the other fun stuff we did. I even had a post written in my head of the misery of flying home with a head cold, stuck in front of The Exceedingly Boring Woman Who Spoke in a Loud Voice for Hours About the Weather in Various U.S. Cities. Did you know, for example, that it rains a lot in Portland and Sacramento is dry and that Buffalo gets a lot of snow? Riveting. She could not be drowned out by my significant hearing loss and noise cancelling headphones playing the Beatles greatest hits. The only thing that could drown her out was my hearing loss plus noise cancelling headphones playing the Beatles greatest hits pushed into my ears while munching on carrot sticks. No, this post is not about Chicago. It's about plumbers of the heart, otherwise known as cardiologists.

That's my husband, on his way to get his third heart procedure. His paramedic was from Romania and was shocked we had heard of his language, Gagauz. Note to self: Learn a few phrases of Gagauz because you never know when it can come in handy. But wait, I jumped ahead a bit. This is my husband, who unknown to me had been experiencing a bit of tightness in his chest while walking back from the free Lincoln Park Zoo, while touring the Museum of Science and Industry, while playing at Maggie Daley Park, but oddly enough, not while dancing the extremely invigorating Second Annual Moldovan Circle Dance Around the Bean.

Upon returning home from our Chicago trip, while my cold was getting worse and worse, his exercise induced chest tightness was getting worse and worse. He called the advice nurse, who contacted his cardiologist, who told him to get his heart over to ER soon, along with the rest of him. So he went and cleaned the pool. Then when I stumbled out of bed to hydrate my sick body, he told me. And I collapsed into a puddle of tears onto the couch. Not again. Not again. There was no way I could go to the ER with him, so once again, his coworker and amazing friend Jeff went with him to the hospital.

His EKG was normal, that blood test they do (which I really need to remember the name of) to see any recent cardiac events also came back negative. Which was positive, because he hadn't had a heart attack. Yippee. They decided to keep him overnight for observation and do an angiogram the next day.

The next morning, still feeling awful, I decided to see what a shower would do for my situation. I survived, so I put on some presentable clothes and went to the hospital. I wore a mask, because that's what responsible sickies are supposed to do when visiting hospitals. They discovered his last stent procedure seven months ago had slightly damaged his artery, and there was some plaque buildup at the edge of that stent. They needed to add another one. There was also an iffy area, a place they had opted to let off the hook last time, they were going to revisit it with more testing to see if it needed a stent. It really starts to feel like cardiologists don't like to put in just one stent, they like the two for one deals. So off to Mercy General he went.

We got settled in the amazing new heart center there, very fancy shmancy. We waited. And waited. I kept the mask on as well as I could, and felt pretty darn yucky, until a nurse brought me a warmed blanket. Warmed blankets are about the best thing ever at hospitals, almost as good as that life saving stuff they do on the side. And we waited a bit longer. Turns out the patient before Ernst had an angioplasty that lasted five hours. They said it was five hours of reaming out calcified arteries and sucking out plaque. I would have lost my mind waiting that long, an hour or so seems like forever - even when I'm a pro at this now.

Sitting with the doctor after, supported by my friend and neighbor Linda, I watched him diagram what happened (why am I still so ignorant of the physiology of the heart?) Discussing with him Ernst's case, he said to me " your husband is in his sixties..." My first thought was, "Did they operate on the wrong guy?" So I ever so politely said "My husband is only 47." The doctor smiled and realized his brain was still on the five hour case he had done before Ernst. The next morning during his rounds, this doctor looked about 10 years older himself, We found out he went until 3 am with two more cases, then woke up at 6 am to handle more emergencies. If you're planning on having stent surgery, you might want to pick a day that other people aren't having heart attacks. Which won't be easy, because unfortunately that place was crazy crowded.

So, what NOW? Just keep doing what you're doingthat was the advice. His other stents are still clear, as was the area that was merely sucked out last time from the ruptured old plaque. This is getting old and extremely frustrating and scary and annoying and tiring. But as of now, Ernst has a freshly revamped set of arterial arteries, all systems are good and we will just keep eating like hamsters. Hamsters with heart.

Cardiac Vegan should be a self-cancelling phrase. Or a rock band. Or maybe a line of plant-based frozen foods? Hmm...