Quest for new tastes and adversity

As one grows older, the quest for new tastes from our food becomes more of an adventure. Kim and I have been cooking more vegetarian meals of late and on average eat this way about 3 days a week. Vegetable soups, and Chickpea curries are our favourites so far. Our uptake of these types of meals are partly because of an abundant garden, stocked with foods we wouldn’t/couldn’t normally buy from the supermarket, and partly because we know it is good for us and for the planet. I won’t harp on about impact of meat production on the environment, which is well documented elsewhere. I just love the taste of the vegetables I grow and the new types of meals we can make with it. I know that the food I grow is not covered in poisons and grow at a slow rate as nature intended. I don’t think that I will ever convert to becoming a full vegetarian, however, if push came to shove and if in future we have no option, I certainly would not mind the change. All changes start with acceptance of the facts.

Yesterday, I travelled to the office which is based in the central business district of Melbourne, and got stuck into my work. I travel to work two days a week and spend the other three days telecommuting at my home office. This is because my back injury is still persistent after 7 months. Anyway, after a demanding morning, my green friend Jen and I decided to go out for lunch for a vegetarian meal. We found a hidden little place called “Crossways food for life” which is up on the first floor at 123 Swanston St. It is run by the Hare Krishna, and not that I am into this religion, I must say that the food was fantastic. For $6.50, you received a vegetable curry with jasmine rice and a huge papadam, a semolina pudding with custard and a drink (water or soy milk I think). It was very filling and a good wholesome food. And further more the restaurant was packed full of people. As Jen and I were leaving, the line at the food counter was nearly out the door! If you are ever in the city, and looking for a cheap and nutritious meal, give Crossways a try. Maybe I am becoming a middle aged hippy, like my 20 year old son Adam keeps telling me!

After the meal we walked slowly back to the office mainly because I was in a little pain from sitting, and because Jen has been sick on and off for the last few weeks, and it was the most exercise she had done for ages. We talked and talked (Jen can talk the leg off a chair) about all things environmental, and she has some great ideas about environment and community projects that she is working on. She is a great friend, and I treasure our friendship. It goes to show that my employer cares about the environment and climate change, like most corporations should. I feel privileged to work for them.

We arrived back at the office, went up to Jen’s floor and I had to have a lay down to stretch out the back, and took a muscle relaxant to get rid of the spasms in my legs. Jen and I talked some more about planet saving ideas, and then lunch was over. It was nice to see her again.

Back to work and then home by the train. Unfortunately, the train was cancelled and replaced by a coach which thankfully was express to Melton station. I had no opportunity to stand during the trip as the coach was full to the brim. Consequently my legs and lower back hurt like someone was pushing a knife into them, and had to rest when I got home. I was so low and in so much pain that I felt so depressed to the extent that I nearly gave up blogging. Some of my readers may have even seen a brief shut-down note. Fortunately I have a very understanding wife, who convinced me to keep going, and not get down about my injury, and keep saving the planet one blog at a time. So I removed the shut-down note and here I am again.

Kim is such an understanding soul, and has to deal with demons of her own. You see, she has Multiple Sclerosis and is fatigued a fair bit of the time, and I care for her when she has a minor or major MS symptoms. She doesn’t drive because of her condition, but is not in a wheelchair or anything like the typical MS stereotype, and to look at her, you would think she was a normal, happy go lucky type of lady, who cares about her family very much. She lost her sight twice over the last 10 years and each time it took about 3 months for her vision to return to normal. The first time was when Ben was 1 month old, which was a very stressful time in our lives. We have learnt to deal with it as a team, and are closer than most couples we know. I love her so much. With tears in my eyes, here’s to you my love.

Soppy stuff aside, you can understand that with my injury, it has taken a toll on our normally family life. We rarely go out for more than a few hours (cabin fever happens regularly), as I find it hard to tolerate driving more than about 30 minutes without pain (I have to stop and stretch and recover for 10 minutes). I don’t do any heavy work around the yard, and the kids do all the heavy lifting for me. Thank goodness for stay at home adult children. We have become very local folk. Even with the annual leave I took last week, I think we left home twice to go and get some essentials and to take Megan to the dentist. Neither of us could handle the travel involved with a holiday away. On the positive side of things, I am not used the car much and our fuel bill is about $15 a month in the Hybrid and our GHG emissions are much lower. As I now catch the train to the city, there is not much call for driving outside of our town.

So when forced to live locally, it really opens your eyes about what might happen in the future. We have a few good friends locally, but the majority of mine I have found through work. We need to create a community in the suburbs and would like to start a Sustainable Living group in our town for like-minded people, to share ideas with and to help make our local community a better place to be.

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