Friday, May 25, 2012

Pregnancy and the Demise of Veganism: An Illustration

I was vegan for two-and-a-half months, from January to mid March 2012.  I LOVED it, I was gung-ho about it and didn't want to quit.  However, circumstances changed...

One innocent morning, I made my usual veggie/fruit juice for breakfast, a large 30 oz shot of vitamins and minerals that made me feel bright and alive each day.  Today was different.  I was uncharacteristically nauseous.  Surely, I was just hungry, the juice would fix it.  The Juice can fix anything!  I drank as much as I could hoping to settle my stomach.  No sauce.  I vomited the whole lot.  Miserable.

Turns out, I was a few weeks pregnant!  Triumphant use of ecstatic exclamation points!!!  Kyle and I are thrilled.  But, as one could imagine, early pregnancy symptoms put a pretty abrupt end to my vegan goals.  Of course, pregnancy effects every woman in different ways, but after that first expelled juice, I couldn't even think of juice for weeks without feeling queasy.  Food aversions and cravings started immediately for me.  I had incredibly strong feelings of aversion for almost all of the delicious vegan food that had become a steady part of my diet, which was really weird. Think of the last time you had a food craving--for me it usually goes something like this:

This is normal Mel.  Easy going, rolls-with-the-punches kinda gal.  Whilst I was vegan, the internal monologue was a little different, something like: "Pizza would be SO good right now!  But I am determined to make healthier choices so I will look up a delicious veggie-filled recipe online and spend the next hour cooking."  Resolutely goes to work.

However, as soon as pregnancy nausea hit, for those first few weeks of "morning", aka "all day", sickness, it was more like this:

 Chick-Fil-A= a vegan's worst enemy.  Aka, "Cocaine Chicken".

I'm not a fan of "fast food".  I never eat at McDonald's, Burger King, and some of the lower-on-the-totem-pole establishments.  Sometimes I eat at Wendy's, but less and less these days, and when I do I usually get a baked potato and a frosty (cause I friggin love Frosties).  I like Chipotle, but that's hardly typical "fast food".  However, they just built a Chick-Fil-A near my house.  DANGER.

Those first few days of nausea, ALL I could stomach was Chick-Fil-A chicken.  So I gave in, pretty shamelessly.  Truthfully, I am not ashamed of this and do not consider myself a "failure" for "quitting" my vegan diet/goals.  I really have been trying to listen to my body, and eat what I could hold down.  I figured it was more important to get food into my (and the baby's) system, than to operate under such strict restrictions and end up vomiting all the time.  Besides, I hate to vomit more than I love eating vegetables, so there ya go.

Now that I am in my second trimester, most of the symptoms of the first (nausea, aversions/cravings, exhaustion, etc) are starting to abate.  Awesome.  I'm gaining weight at a slow and steady pace (so far), which is good, and I've had a chance to indulge, which is also goooooood.

I fully intend to adopt and resume healthy eating habits, both while pregnant and after this little bundle comes in November.  In the meantime, don't judge to harshly.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Artomatic 2012

Artomatic is a "month-long art festival in the DC area that is "by artists, for everyone." It is absolutely free to the public" ( It is organized by unpaid volunteers, and is the largest (I don't know of any larger) independent, unjuried art show in the country, if not the world.  (If anyone knows of a bigger one, let me know.)

I've been volunteering for Artomatic for the last 2.5 years, getting to know the wonderful community of people who work so hard to pull off this monumental event.  Just to give you an idea of how BIG this art show is, here are some stats: In the last event, in 2009, over 76,000 visitors attended, over 1,000 artists exhibited, over 600 performances were enjoyed, and a 9 story building was full of every variety of art you can think of.

Artomatic 2012 opened last Friday night, with attendance over 3,000 people!  I was there for about 6 hours, taking in art on only 2 floors out of 10!  I'll be back for many more visits over the next 6 weeks, and try to see everything in the building. (over 1,000 artists exhibiting, probably over 10,000 pieces of art).

This is my first time participating as an artist in the event, and I'm very satisfied with how my exhibit space turned out.  Each artist was allowed to chose a space in the emptied DOD (Department of Defense) building.  The building is 11 stories, 2 of which are closed to the artists, and one is reserved for other activities.  I chose a 17 foot space on the 8th floor.  Here is the evolution of my installation:
Here's a map of where you can find my space on the 8th floor, space #377.

The space, raw and office-like.

Ripped off all of the phone wire encasements.



Bob doing my advertising.  How nice of him!

Now for hanging!

Finished space, complete with track lighting, an awesome sign that you can't really see, QR code and business cards.  Near Bob's head is a short artist bio, and the grey patch in the middle of the wall is painted to look like sheets of paper with the lyrics of "Case of You" written on them.
I have a few improvements still to make, which I'll do on some afternoon when no one else is around (I need to add a guest book, etc).  Other than that, I think the space looks pretty great.

During my first 6 hours at the event, I took a lot of pictures of images, techniques, and ideas that were inspiring to me.  I plan to do this on each visit, and will post them as an update to this post as I get them.

If you're in the DC area, visit to get directions, hours, and a calendar of events.  There is NO REASON to not experience this most-amazing of art shows.  I can't really express how incredible and mind-blowing it is.  It is very RICH, very REAL.  You must see it to understand.

Also, I'll be playing a solo/acoustic set as part of the Songwriter's Association of Washington's showcase on Wednesday, June 6th at 7pm!