With respect to Barbara Kingsolver, this blog is dedicated to my obsessions: animals, veganism, and women.

The Passion of the Rat

After days of not sleeping worth a damn, I was curled around my sweetheart like a contented kitten, warm and asleep.

“Baby, do you hear that?” my love asked, shaking me awake. “It’s the sound of a rat screaming.” He got up and began getting dressed. “Let me go see what’s going on in there,” he said.

I sat up, groggy and feeling drugged. “Do I need to go?” I asked, hoping the answer was no. “No, baby, just stay there,” he answered, pulling the bedroom door shut behind him.

Grateful, I burrowed back under the covers.

“Damn! He’s got it in his mouth!” he called.  I got up and ran into the living room to inspect the carnage.

There sat Rufus, my 85 pound hulking beast of a dog, with a huge 15 inch rat dangling out both sides of his formidable mouth.  He smiled around its dying body, wagging proudly. When he saw me, he dropped its battered body onto my cream couch and ran over to greet me, smearing fresh rat blood on my hand.

Needless to say, this was beyond disgusting. But I wasn’t unhappy he’d killed it.

For months, I’ve been dealing with varmints. Each morning, I’ve found messes that weren’t there the night before: broken bottles, items knocked around, food gnawed open and eaten.  Anyone who knows me knows not to mess with my food, ever. But taking my food is especially egregious when I’m unemployed and on food stamps. But these varmints aren’t the roaches, ants, and mice I’ve battled since moving to the big city. These are big rats. I’m certain the one Rufus killed had recently been appointed mayor on Foursquare.

I realized I was dealing with rats late one night when, all alone, I came into the kitchen for a drink. I flipped on the light, and while everything looked normal, I had the strange sensation that something was amiss–almost like I was in a horror movie and being watched by the killer from the shadows. As I surveyed the kitchen suspiciously, a rat the size of a caterer’s serving platter leapt from the darkness of the pantry to the floor. I screamed and it scurried under a cabinet and vanished. Just remembering it now makes me feel itchy and in need of a shower.

Everyone told me I’d have to get some traps, but I didn’t want to deal with the cost of the traps or any dead rat bodies.  Thankfully, now, I don’t have to. The mister swept the heavy rat body into a shoe box and promptly put it in the trash.

Rufus has put the rat world on notice and sent a clear message to the rat community that their aggression will not stand.

A friend joked that the rat is the Easter rat. After catching a few minutes of the big budget snuff film “The Passion of the Christ” last night, I hope she’s wrong. I don’t want to see that resurrected. But if anyone is capable of handling that, it’s Rufus.


Rick Santorum may be an emetophiliac….not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of writing another piece for Ecorazzi. I’ve recently started writing freelance for them, and this one was particularly fun because it involved barbs being thrown between two of my very favorite Republicans, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. It also gave me a good, unanticipated chuckle to boot.

The tale of how the wildly, profoundly, shockingly disingenuous Romney tied his then-dog, Seamus, to the top of his car during a 12 hour drive to Canada is now being used by Santorum’s campaign to cast aspersions on Romney’s credibility as a prospective Commander-In-Chief. While the genuine care and concern Santorum and his camp have for animals is apparent here and really very touching, the word choice is what stood out to me like a sore thumb.

On CNN, Santorum’s chief advisor John Brabender stated “Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’m going to listen to a value judgement of a guy who strapped his own dog to the top of a car and went hurling down the highway.”

Hurling? Hurling down the highway? Hurling as in barfing? Barfing down the highway? Could it be that you meant to say Hurtling down the highway, Santorum top advisor? It’s not just because I have a healthy interest in barf that I noticed that right away, because the not-overly-interested-in-barf mister noticed it right away, too.

Let me clarify: my interest in vomiting is two-fold. I am 1) obsessed with not vomiting. It’s an awful experience and I have structured my entire adult life so as to avoid it. Having said that, I also 2) very much enjoy a good barf scene in movies and on TV—the chunkier, the better. I loathe a watery, weak vomit scene and have been known to give the screen a piece of my mind when I see one. Maybe it’s because so few of my experiences vomiting in life have involved thin, puny vomit that I find representations like that objectionably unrealistic. Maybe it’s because Tim Roth really set the barf bar high with this scene from Four Rooms. I don’t know. Give me a graphic chunky puke scene or nothing at all.

I digress.

This statement, taken in conjunction with Santorum’s comment last month that the separation of church and state makes him “want to throw up” makes me wonder if he’s not more than a little interested in vomit himself. That just seems like an awful lot of barf-talk for one man. Add to this the widespread sexual duplicity of the Republican party and the recent statistic that purports Republicans have more orgasms than everyone else, and I find myself wondering if Santorum’s not a closet emetophiliac.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If the consensually shared acidic stench of stomach bile does it for ole Rick, who am I to judge? And as long as he’s sharing the experience with a woman, it’s even in line with the GOP’s mission to uphold and promote the natural sanctity of traditional sex between a man and a woman.

Yeah, just as long as he’s not spewing on another man. That would just be weird.

Inchoate (It’s apt, plus I’ve always wanted to use that word.)

I was lying in bed with my honey one night, farting around on the Internet while he flipped channels. Every so often, I casually mentioned a recipe I’d come across. Because I, the vegan, do 99.9% of the cooking for us, I want to make meals my meat-and-potatoes man will enjoy—so I’m always talking about food. 

There’s also the fact that I am completely obsessed with food—so much so I’m fairly certain I have a tapeworm. I think about breakfast while I’m in bed at night. I think about lunch while I’m enjoying breakfast. I think about supper while I’m wolfing down lunch. And I pretty much fantasize about snacks all day. 

Needless to say, mama’s always wearing a really fabulous eatin’ dress.

A few minutes later, I came across an image of a tiny piglet and squealed so loud that I’m pretty sure my mama heard me from two states away. Before I could even shriek “Baby!” to get his attention, my love asks “What is it? A picture of a lesbian holding a puppy while she eats a salad?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked, laughing.

“‘Animal, vegetable, vaginal’ is what I’m talking about,” he said. “Damn near every time you get on the computer, you can bet you’re looking at something to do with animals, vegan food, or feminism.”

It only took a second for me to realize he was right. I am constantly online, essentially jerking off to recipes, restaurant reviews, and pictures of food. I’m still feeling the effects of the carpal tunnel I gave myself over the Landreth Seed Catalog. Like a woman torn between lovers, I grew weak from the two days it took me to pare down my heirloom tomato seed order to the 8 varieties I simply could not live without. And that was just the tomatoes.

When I’m not obsessing over vegetables, I’m reading about animal welfare or looking at pictures of animals. Otherwise, I’m reading about the latest assaults on women’s rights or our latest political or ideological achievements. 

So this is it. While Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was the story of her family’s deliberate foray into the locavore movement, Animal Vegetable, Vaginal is, to borrow Kingsolver’s words, my “part memoir, part journalistic investigation” into my three biggest obsessions. There will likely be some deviation here and there, but that’ll be interesting, too.

Welcome to Animal, Vegetable, Vaginal.