I quit eating meat about a year or so ago; that is, anything that could look back at me that also had hair or feathers. My last holdout was fish and dairy products. My wife Lee went from vegetarian to vegan about a year or more ago. I finally bit the organic bullet and became a vegan 49 days ago.
Now there is a difference between being a vegan and being a vegan on Thanksgiving (actually the day before). What? No turkey? No smoked ham? Are you kidding? But Lee happily toiled around in the kitchen concocting a recipe that smelled out of this world, but the question was, “Could it taste as good as it smelled?” And furthermore, was it possible to eat a Thanksgiving meal without large chunks of white meat turkey with gravy? The answer turned out to be an absolute yes. The meal turned out to be gourmet and there was no way to tell it did not contain turkey. I’m not sure how she did it but glad she did.
And unlike eating turkey, I was not sleepy after the meal, but did get to sleep about 10pm. But at 5 pm I woke up craving more. So I took out a pan and heated up another helping and enjoyed a very early Thanksgiving breakfast.
Now I can’t promise everyone is going to enjoy being a vegan on Thanksgiving as much as I do, but then again, not everyone is married to the very talented Lee Hiller-London. But she was kind enough to post photos of the meal on facebook which included recipes. I strongly suggest you try them (even if its not Thanksgiving or any other holiday). But be forewarned, you will be spoiled and not want to go back to your old diet or lifestyle.
I’m 58 and we’re going mountain hiking in about 2 hours. We do that fairly often (Lee does it often) but 3 days a week is plenty for me. Not bad for a guy with 3 heart stents. We hike the steep incline any given time from 2-5 miles. I think there might be something to this vegan thing. And besides, it tastes very very good. Happy Thanksgiving All.
I am a bit of a goofy vegan mountain man very much enjoying my life with my beautiful talented nature photographer wife Lee HillerLondon who also blogs HikeOurPlanet.com. I founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts in 1997 which have been Google #1 ranked since Jan. 2005. I like to design shoes and clothes as well and founded the worlds only famous love quote shoes ShoesThatAmuse.com and RickLondonWisdomShop.com for shoes and gifts with famous people and their famous wisdom quotes.
I just read a Twitter post about bullying written by a guy I know to be a bully. The government of Iran wants to blow us up. Herman Cain probably chases women, and is sort of sure who President Obama is and what Libya is. Jerry Sandusky is very ill and a criminal. Joe Paterno went from hero to great disappointment and possibly a criminal along with the ex President of Penn State. Syracuse has come out with similar allegations. Let’s not be surprise but there could be more. Ironically I’m not that much of a news junkie and certainly not a political animal. I love nature, hiking, and watching Netflix movies with my wife. I occasionally make people laugh with my cartoons.
On the other hand…………………….
Our economy is on the skids, and politicians are circling the Presidental wagon. Rick Perry says “Whoops” in a cute way in which he does not pronounce his “W’s”, but we’re in big big trouble when Ron Paul has to give him the answer to an easy beltway trivia question. The thirty year old Natalie Wood case is being reopened. Famous Hollywood Couples are announcing not only their divorces but “What the marriage meant to them” on Twitter. Newt’s wife likes Tiffany’s. Newt “did it with women” for our country. One has to ask, did she yell “Oh Newt baby Sign me with you John Hancock” at, um…the end of the act? Michele Bachman applauds our founding fathers for freeing the slaves. She’s anti-socialism but got one of the largest social farm grants ever (then voted against it). Romney passed a health care bill more socialist than Obamacare while in Ma. (but says now “that kind of bill only works in states). Oh. LOL. Uh, Mitt…this is the United States. 50 of them. Ok, never mind. The whole thing, Democrat and Republican is the keystone cops we’ve come to expect
My homestate of Mississippi voted on a bill called Personhood. Fortunately it was unanimously voted down but had it passed something like a wet dream and one could have found oneself life in Parchman or even the chair. A miscarriage could have meant solitary confinement or something like that. God knows what a menstrual cycle could have gotten ya. I don’t even want to know. Kudos for Mississippi for knowing better than insanity. Much better.
John Huntsman is quiet….and sane; and is actually the only one of the candidates on either side who has stated publicly exactly what the job description of President is. Can you imagine..a candidate that actually understands the job. I know, I know…he’s not exciting/charismatic enough but has cute daughters.
Obama is smart but not in the least when it comes to economics (excellent on snuffing out big time terrorists and my hat’s off to him for that). Congress is dismal. Occupy Wall Street is worldwide but can you imagine the greedy 1% suddenly begin throwing money to them out their high-rise windows in complete shame and guilt with tears running down their eyes? Ain’t gonna happen. Life is compromise and both sides will one day learn that. Maybe the hard way. Hope not.
I am a designer and write cartoons and blogs and am sometimes asked, “What goes through your head?” (see above paragraph). And even when the items in the above paragraph (to borrow a phrase from Herman Cain “are twirling through my head”), there is always the chance of creative or writer’s block.
When that happens, I have learned over the years never to mention it, at least not on social media or in public. When I used to, I found myself surrounded by the dregs of society known as “life coaches” willing to sell it back to me (for a nominal fee starting at app. $5000), but I get a lot of their cool cd’s and workbooks). So it’s a tough decision. When questioned what they have done on a creative level etc. I’m often led to their “free ebook”. They have a similar demeanor of an Elmer Gantry or a moat of crocodiles surrounding a once creative human in a moat who could write and swim but suddenly has writers and swimmers block. The only difference between a crocodile and a life coach is the crocodile has not learned to charge exorbitant fees for eating you alive.
So I have these online shops you see and they sell my designs on products like tees, mugs, mouse pads, aprons, etc ., and its starting to get busy again. I asked myself why, as I could tell many were buying gift items. I never used to shop for Christmas or Hanukah gifts this early, but some started in the summer. Why? It’s simple. Best prices and service (which still exists as I decided to keep it all the same all the way through the 2012. But also many like to get it out of the way. Keep in mind these are usually folks who’ve not been bankrupted previously by the crafty lifecoach.
When (again thanks Herman) my mind begins twirling with all the things around me, I think of why I’m grateful. I have the most wonderful wife in the world. Our home office eclipses the most beautifully mountain in the Ouchita Range (possibly the world). We hike it and others when we want to. Our quality of living is very high, cost of living very low. We have no debt. Our cars are paid in full. We both are published authors and have our own brand businesses.
Are we smarter, more talented, better than anyone else? Not in the least. I mention that because people sometimes ask “our secret”. Its far from being a secret. I can only say, “Start where you are; even if its at the bottom. That is where I was. Learn. Ask questions. Stay persistent. Keep working. And when something sidetracks you (and it will); forgive yourself and go back to work. On several occasions over the past year, Lee and I found ourselves entrapped in “helping someone else build their empires for slave labor”. We gave them every opportunity to offer some kind of compensation. They totally ignored they were doing anything wrong….our answer? We totally ignored them.
We don’t mind helping others succeed, but help us back. It need not be money. It can be promotion, co-branding, etc. but please, please, understand fully what that means. It can’t be what you want it to mean, or what some life coach taught you.
Otherwise, Lee and I design some of the most unique (we think) gift items on the planet. So its okay if we go it alone (we have a great deal of fun).
That is the way it should be for you too, but please be advised, chances are good it won’t happen overnight. I’ve been at it 14 years and Lee has been at it 2 years. There are many sleepless nights and lots of fires to extinguish and still much to learn (for us).
And we both started at middle age. So can you. Now get to work but first visit our shops and buy things so you’ll know even better how its done. J See, I can act like a life coach too.
I’m just a goofy vegan mountain man who has developed a few talents (though that is a matter of opinion). I’m a freelance writer, cartoonist, and designer. I write music; and my wife Lee Hiller-London and I are active in childrens, animal, and environmental causes. I founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts in 1997 which have remained Google’s #1 ranked on the Internet since 2005. I founded the world’s only famous love quote shoes & gifts called Shoes That Amuse (USA Today Like’s ’em), and Wisdom Quote Shoes & Unique Gifts at my Rick London Wisdom Shop.
by Rick London c2011
I believe if someone truly had the “happiness recipe”, their financial worth would eclipse that of Bill Gates & Warren Buffet combined. They’d be so rich they could march in the 99% in torn jeans and an unshaven face in a rustic temporary cabin that he’d paid off the corrupt city administration to set up (permanently).
But of course…I digress.
I don’t have the key to happiness nor am I in the 1%. And happiness is far from a “one size fits all business”.
I have some friends who travel and no matter what else, they are happy. Some other friends are more than content to go to church on Sundays or Synagogue on Friday and share their spiritual experience with others, and they are constantly smiling. Some of my friends seem happiest when they are working and away from their families, and others feel a sigh of relief to be away from the office (or wherever and with their families). Again, this is not a one-size fits all world when it comes to figuring out what makes one happy.
And it changes, at least in my own experience. And I am fortunate to have a soul mate who seems to find happiness in many of the same things.
We are happiest when our health is good. Ok, that’s a universal. So we’ve researched and are trying everything possible to try to be as healthy as we can. We don’t smoke or drink. We commune with nature via mountain hiking or just strolling to the park and always come back with a smile (even if we headed there with a frown). Nature is a quick cure and recipe for (at least getting rid of “the grumps”). We both feel a deep spiritual connectedness in our Ouachita Mountains.
We laugh. But we don’t laugh for laughing sake. There are many “feel good psychologists and life coaches” who tell us to laugh”. I believe that is a big mistake….not to laugh laugh at inappropriate times (and things); but to recognize when something is funny to us, and let go. Again that’s not a one size fits all world. Humor is subjective. Just because someone likes one comedian, TV show, newspaper or webcomic, does not mean you will, and vice versa. The importance of knowing when/why to laugh is important because it helps us know more about ourselves and our own boundaries. And knowing and conquering the “hidden demons” in our psyche is half the battle. Good humor is one of the greatest weapons.
Having faith seems to be universal. But don’t get me wrong. I am not promoting one religion over another; or any religion. I know many atheists with plenty of faith and same with agnostics. I know many who claim to be the most religious with little or no faith. They are generally the ones who preach the most. I always want to tell them “Don’t Preach To Me, Show Me With Actions”. Words mean very little to a spiritual educated adult. We learn and “are sold” by example, not by how “religious you are”. Jerry Sandusky was very enthusiastic about his church. Most of us understand the value of words vs. the value of actions. We’re not fooled and we’re not impressed (with mere words)…which are often diametrically opposed to actions).
Another point I’m (trying) to make is we can’t find happiness by trying to absorb or copy someone else’. It truly is an “inner job”. Those looking outside oneself will most likely do so until time runs out and we don’t want that.
Trying one’s passion is of the utmost urgency. I don’t have to tell you that. No matter what you are doing and how much you are making, you have a dream that you’ve stuffed way back in the corner of your mind. I don’t mean quit your day job, but give that dream the respect it deserves. Study it on the Internet or through books. Take lessons. Do whatever you have to do to make it a part of your life. In my case, almost at midlife, I finally did that and I love the creative process so much, it truly feels like play, much more so than work, and people actually pay me to do it. It almost seems unfair, but Lee reminds me that “it makes people laugh”, so I suppose it is a service, creates jobs, etc and is somewhat important in the entire scheme of things.
In any case, it gives me much greater satisfaction than numerous jobs I’ve had that paid considerably more. And same is true with Lee and her hiking/photography/design business at Hike Our Planet. It gives her a great sense of joy which is very contagious and we feed off each other in a fun creative manner (some call it brainstorming). We call it “just plain fun”.
Finally, nobody’s perfect. My words don’t always parallel my actions, but that is my goal; and I know my moral compass is in a good enough place to where I’ll never go so off-track as to the horror show at Penn State. The name of the game, I believe, is not to be perfect (Emerson, Thoreau, Mark Twain, Picasso) and so many others have warned us many times, “Looking for perfectionism? Look somewhere else because you’ll never
find it”. It’s all about progress, and a healthy respect for others seeking progress, not perfection. And for the most part, I stay happy.
I am just a plain nutty vegan mountain man who loves my wife, hiking, the mountains and pie (if it’s vegan). I founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 which has been Google #1 ranked since 2005 (hey that’s 7 years now) for offbeat cartoons and funny gifts. And I like to design shoes, clothes, gifts and such in such shops as Shoes That Amuse and Wisdom Shop.
It’s Wednesday and a gorgeous Autumn day in Hot Springs, Ar. My wife Lee
surprised us on facebook with beautiful colorful leaves she snapped on our
main mountain a few days ago. We’re going on a short lower-mountain hike today.
We’ve had the news on nonstop and it reminds me so much of watching my maternal
grandmother, Ruth London, watch Tom Brocow religiously in the 1970’s, and never
failing to tell us at the end of his newscast, “The world’s gone crazy”. I used to laugh
so hard and finally recite it with her. I was about 21 or so and everything had always
been a bit crazy, so I thought that was “normal”. To me, nothing had “gone crazy”, it
had “remained crazy”. But she was right.
I reminded Lee of grandma’s quote last night as we watched the news. Some, but not
all of it was a horrifying pedophilia sting at Penn State. Sorry, there is no humor I can
find in that story. I was sickened to hear of what had happened there, and triple nauseated
hearing of the way it was handled (with a probable cover-up). It is good that the coach
and school president will be stepping down. I hope those guilty are prosecuted beyond
their wildest nightmares. Children and animals are the only beings
on our planet that do have rights but don’t know it. In a true civilization, it is the
duty of the rest of us to speak up for them.
So shame on you Penn State (all involved). How very horrible and total moral
We expect you to clean it up, and for the legal system to prosecute to the fullest extent
Within the same hour the major contender for U.S. President in the GOP camp had a
criminal lawyer introduce him to give a 5-Flag Press Conference to defend himself
against alleged sexual harassment from 4 different women, and his claiming “They’ll
probably be more”…(Yikes), and that he’d surely take a lie detector test (if ever there was
a need to take one) Yikes again.
I don’t get too wound up about politics and/or politicians anymore, but all I could think
was, “Scuse me, SCUSE me, SCUSE ME, Herman extra onions please and welcome
back to the 99%”. His backers did the predictible “Let’s bully and shame Rick” thing but
(Yawn); I’ve got a lot more important things to think about than who someone wants
for President (like who I want for President), and I don’t tend to splash that all over
social media because it reminds me too much of high school, and, the only place
that really has any power is in the voting booth, not my blog, not on facebook, and
not on Twitter. Those places are ideal for…as I mentioned amateurs and high school
students. If I’ve offended someone, consider yourself one or the other (in high school,
or…an amateur. I didn’t make the rules so don’t kill the messenger).
I can’t please everybody. I was surely willing to listen and give him a chance for my vote
(like I do every other candidate, as I don’t vote party lines. I vote candidate. But with all the horrors in our
country and world today, I don’t think a man who is his own distraction is in any position
to run our nation.
Not long before that a microphone had been left on revealing a conversation between
our President and the President of France of the difficulties of dealing with Israel’s
Prime Minister Netanyahu. I thought to myself, “They probably have a point; it wouldn’t
be much fun. He is a tough customer. But when I think of the alternative, his nemesis
Ahmadinejad, Bibi ain’t that bad. The IAEA had just reported that it is definite that
Iran has reached a point of no return; that is, there is not even a slight chance that all
Their nuclear work has been for “peaceful purposes”. They are building nuclear weapons
And not far away. It appears Israel is most likely first in their crosshairs and the USA
next and who knows after that. But to me, that’s enough. Though I would like to believe
sanctions would do the trick, my instincts tell me either Russia or China or both will
not cooperate. Maybe I’m wrong, and I do hope so.
At the end of the day, Lee and I looked out our office window at my favorite mountain
and the leaves are in all their glory. We woke up today and it was still there. We know
there is a peace up there that was described once by Sierra Club founder John Muir, “The
Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go”.
Is it a cop-out, an escape, a relinquishing of responsibilities? In a way… yes. But I
think it is important for everyone to have such a place they can go. It need not be the
mountains. It could be a favorite pond, a beach, a river, a field, just anyplace “far from
the maddening crowd” where one can remove the cobwebs and be at one with nature and
God (and whatever your belief system may be), and know that in spite of network news
and all it entails, it is going to be alright.
I decided to slow my pace of life down as I aged before I aged..in other words it was
already in the back of my mind when I was in my twenties; to live fast and furious, and if
I lived through it (and I did but just barely, I would retire to the most beautiful place on
the planet (that was within economic feasibility). The two places I had found along the
way were Kauai, HW (too expensive and far away), and Hot Springs, Ar (Just right). So
here we are. I believe that by the time we reach a certain age, where we are or what we do is a choice. To use the
excuse “But I inherited this” or “This is the only work and people I know” are true cop-outs if you think it through. A mature adult can
make positive changes (if one wishes) by merely taking steps and a risk.
Footnote: Lee and I hiked for about an hour and saw the most beautiful forest of
every color under the sun. We stood there mesmerized; or at least I did. She took as
many photos as Ansel Adams on a long hike, or at least I hope.
Now I just pinched my arm and I’m still here. Now its time for me to assess myself
and notice with all my flaws, I’m still okay…and I’m on day thirty of the vegan diet. Not bad
for an old man eh?
Rick London is a freelance writer, cartoonist and clothing and shoe designer. He is active in children, animal and environmental causes. London founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts, Londons Times in 1997 and it has been #1 worldwide ranked across the web since 2005.
Rick London C2011
In America Where Elections Are King
When boy leers at girl,
It’s harassment they say.
When Herman gropes your thigh,
Where he sells pizza pie,
It’s called foul play.
Candlelight and some wine
He went over the line
Had it his way.
Twas just a short fling,
The whole time thought of buffalo wings,.
My Viagra-driven thing.
They were my deep dish, I their fellah,
Sweet as anchovies
I went momentarily astray,
Was there DNA in my drool?
Or was I just a sexual fool,
Either case I had to pay.
Now one’s at Dominoes down the street,
And the other at Pizza Hut but gets no Herman love,
Still love my Godfather’s theme,
Hey there’s a face in this pizza it belongs on Ebay.
So hush money it had to be,
Just so back in Godfather’s got his way.
Your the height of my wife. May I please feel your thigh?
Can I bribe with pizza pie? Whatcha doin’ Friday?
Okay then Saturday.
I only said I went to Moorhead I ain’t lyin’,
Didn’t say I wanted MORE head but that’d be fine.
Did I score, hey?
Dam media stings,
Bunch of liberal left wings,
Wait it’s Fox who just ringed.
Even Bill O’Reilly’s giving me hell-a,
I coulda been a contedah, Stella,
Hush & you’ll get a free buffet.
All you can put on your tray,
Herman’s just a nice fellah,
But an unlucky fellah.
While Restaurant Assn members make you drool thinking making your next move
Having a bad day.
Did that pizza have meat
While Herman’s in heat,
Was it the extra whipped cream,
Why you didn’t stay,
At one time Herman thought he could lead,
Now asking if you’d like bread sticks with that pizza.
Rick London is a mountain man in Arkansas happily married to nature photographer Lee Hiller-London. He is a musician/songwriter, cartoonist, designer & freelance writer. He is active in children, animal, and eco-causes. He enjoys the outdoors/hiking, wildlife, reading animals, books and film. He founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons (since 2005) Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts. He also designs more serious clothing, gifts and shoes and numerous shops such as his famous wisdom quotes shop Rick London Wisdom Shop.