Continuing to answer your questions...
Heidi Renee asks: When and why did you go vegetarian?
Can you also ask where? Because that's equally awesome. (Hawaii! The land of Spam lovin', ironically.)
For the whole story of my vegetarianism, check out this post from a year ago.
The quick(er) story: I never really enjoyed meat, but my dad wouldn't let me be a vegetarian. So I just ate as little as possible. I didn't want to say I was a vegetarian, because hello! high maintenance.
Then I learned a whole lot about the land usage for meat - like how 80% of all agricultural land in the US is used to raise animals for food, and about all the chemicals and antibiotics that get injected into animals to make them cheaper to feed. (ie. Cows. They are supposed to eat grass, right? Well, we inject them so they can eat grain and scraps of other animals. Not good for the cows, people! Also, ew.)
Vegetarians have lower rates of colon and other cancers, which sounded awesome to me. And I didn't have to worry about animals laying in their own waste or beaks getting chopped off or all that stuff you hear about in factory farms.
So, I decided to be high maintenece and proclaimed myself a vegetarian in January 2005, my sophomore year of college, in Honolulu, Hawaii. And I'm never, ever going back. I love my meat-free life way too much.
Miriel I know you've talked a lot recently about the politically-based tensions in your family. Since I have lots of siblings, I'm curious about your relationship with your sisters in general. What are they like as individuals? How are you similar? How do you all differ? What are the things you like to do together? And will you post pictures?
Thanks for being polite, instead of saying, "ZOMG, shut up about your family and how mean they are to poor-wittle Ashley! Get over it."
Who's Who of Ashley's Siblings
Tara: First of all, you must know that all of my sisters are absolutely gorgeous. It's true. Tara is a year younger than me and is a blond haired, blue eyed former cheerleader and sorority sister. We are quite different in a lot of ways. She went to a small conservative Christian college as a business major and moved to Colorado last fall. We didn't get along for a long, long time. (I was jealous of her always getting guys' attention. And how she was a foot taller than me.) Since it was just the two of us for the first few years of our life, it's a shame that we went for much of our middle/high school years not getting along.
Despite our obvious, many differences, we're definitely friends. We're both odd and quirky and share so many of the same memories from childhood - who else crawled on the freshly painted dressers pretending to be cats in their church dresses and got in huge trouble for it?
I think she'll end up with her own business, networking like crazy.
[She recently got her nose pierced and my grandma told her: "I forgive you, because you voted for McCain." Ha. Sad, eh?]
Melanie: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! She has left her teens as of today! She is similar to me in many ways - but way cooler and more stylish than I could ever pull off. People often tell us we have similar mannerisms, and she's the one I called when I was upset with our crazy family.
She's artsy and funky and awesome. And also a vegetarian! We've been friends for a long time. When we were growing up, she'd always hang out in my room. We'd talk forever. And even though we're four years apart, I'd confide in her.
She's going to be an English teacher and a cool teacher who everyone adores.
Emmie: Quite decidedly a mini-me in appearance, she even just dyed her hair quite dark so we match again, Emmie is in 10th grade and is 16-years-old. I love this girl, and she's becoming a wonderful young lady. (No, I am not 80-years-old, even if I sound like I am.) She loves animals, art, and television. She's learning how to drive and is actually quite good! She's so loving and affectionate, just a sweetheart.
I know Emmie will do something with animals. Perhaps run a doggie daycare?
Anthony: 14 years old, in 8th grade and a little technology geek. And I say geek in the most loving way. He loves computers and gaming and reading PC magazine. He suddenly became into politics this year and was a huge McCain fan, even skipping school to go to the rally. He recently sent his sisters an email: "If you don't know what to get me for Christmas [link to overly expensive mouse. Who pays $55 for a stinkin' computer mouse?!] I have extra money in my pocket, so we could combine. :)"
He's a little entrepreneur and asks 50 million questions a day. I'm not even kidding.
Although he's been interested in anesthesiology lately, I can't see anything but computers in this kid's future.
I love these four people so very much. I adore being a "big sister" and always have. Whether we're singing Christmas carols as we ride a trolley after ice skating, traveling around the chilly of San Fransisco, or just laying on the couch watching Scrubs (to make Emmie happy), we always have a good time.
/End sappy ode to siblings.