Drone on the Farm: An Aerial Exposé

Photographer Mishka Henner documented factory farm pollution—like this waste lagoon at a Texas feedlot—by satellite. What else could drone photography uncover?

Photo of factory farm pollution by Mishka Henner

The brilliant Will Potter from Green is the new Red has a new Kickstarter campaign called: Drone on the Farm: An Aerial Exposé.

Factory farms clearly have something to hide. That’s why “ag-gag” laws, which make it illegal to photograph or film farms and slaughterhouses, are spreading internationally. But the best way to combat such secrecy is with sunlight.

Will will be using drones to take aerial photographs of factory farms. Check out all the details on his Kickstarter!

Please consider helping Will with his kickstarter. With your help, He’ll be able to use new investigative journalism tools to expose what some corporations want to keep hidden.

While you’re at it … watch this short 4 minute TED video with Will. He’s the real deal.
Go Will go! :)

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LympheDIVAs!

When I was diagnosed with my breast cancer I thought “They’ll cut it out. I’ll do chemo/radiation and I’ll be done with it.” What I didn’t consider was the toll all the cancer treatment would have on my body so when I was diagnosed with Lymphedema it was pretty shocking.

I am very lucky. The Lymphedema in my right arm is small and manageable. I am going to see a massage therapist for MLD massage. I’ve also started seeing a physiotherapist to help me get strength back in my arm and right shoulder. I also wear a compression sleeve.

The government issue sleeve I have to wear every day is pretty uncomfortable. I had to special order a black one (this punk rock girl does not wear beige) and it’s not super comfortable. It pinches the crook of my arm. It’s made of a catchy material and so when you wear clothing over top it makes your clothes bunch up. It’s like hardcore spanx for your arm. Have you ever had a hotflash in spanx? Not cute. :( 10261229_702892746419576_1454833687_n

In utter frustration I hit The Google looking for an alternative and found the LympheDIVA’s website.

I couldn’t believe what I saw – so many beautiful sleeves to choose from. I love it when function and fashion come together! :)

I immediately purchased a leopard sleeve and they’re wonderful. Soft. A little silky so they slip easily underneath clothing.

It’s incredibly empowering to have choices and that’s what LympheDIVA’s is offering. Beautiful, bold fashion-forward choices.

I have had people stop me on the street to ask me about my sleeve. So many people think it’s part of my outfit. I used to be a shoe-addict but I think I’ve become a sleeve addict. I can’t wait to get more!! :)

Y055UQrSNngxl8Hv3TyGQBzZ-irPgs6FVdPgR75D2YeCVST0VNudVT7yUCvgZRhEiO6TPUN2lbgj64HxLXgBENES9MrCAc6cLZLWEMQKs2I2FGCCP96M51uI0RQns5kjB32y3Tlj4g30Jgywfz4yGBDLCmIbyvBSt_F32A=s0-d-e1-ftIf you’re thinking about getting a sleeve  LympheDIVA’s has a special sleeve on sale right now to benefit of the National Women’s Survivors Convention. $10 from each sleeve and $5 from each gauntlet will be donated back to this wonderful organization. Learn more about NWSC here.

The two-sided Music City design features a microphone on one side and a guitar and the NWSC logo on the other. Super cool!

AHHHH! I am so happy to have found them.  :) Thank you LympheDIVA’s!

 

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Dwight

What a weird month …

My doctor wants me to stop taking Ativan. I’ve been taking 2mg every night since the breast cancer diagnosis to help me sleep. It’s been VERY helpful. It completely turns off my manic “am I going to die” hamster wheel in my brain and gives me a full 7 hours of sleep.

I don’t think I would have been able to get through all this cancer treatment without having a good nights sleep every night. I’ve never slept so well in my life. I’m not a great sleeper and Ativan has made me realize how poorly I was sleeping pre-cancer.

Now that I’m “post-treatment” my doctor wants me to stop taking Ativan. It’s not for long-term use. My doc gave me sleeping pills and said “stop taking your Ativan and use these instead.

I took a sleeping pill that night and woke up at 3am having a FULL BLOWN panic attack. I woke up and my entire body was shaking. Gerry thought we were having an earthquake but it was my body quivering so hard that it was shaking the bed. My heart was pounding. I was sweating and terrified. I reached over for Fergus and was convinced he was dead. I reached over for Gerry and couldn’t feel him in the bed. I sat up and started sobbing.

Gerry woke up and turned on the light and through sobs I told him what was happening. He shoved an Ativan in my mouth and 3 minutes later I was back to sleep.

In the morning Gerry got up and googled Ativan withdrawal. Guess what?? You’re not supposed to stop taking Ativan cold turkey. You need to slowly wean yourself off… fucking doctors.  :(

I talked to a friend of mine who had to wean herself off of Oxy and she told me to go talk to my pharmacist for help. So I called my pharmacy and made an appointment to talk about the Ativan. She confirmed to me what we had learned on Google about Ativan withdrawl. You can’t just stop cold turkey. Ugh. fucking doctors.  :(

She made a “schedule” for me to slowly taper off. It’s a month long program … and she said that I might find it too quick but that we could work with how I’m feeling.

It’s been rough but I’m determined to get off Ativan. I’ve been slowly tapering and I’ve gone from 2mg a night and now I am on .5mg but I feel like this last bit is going to be the most difficult. I’m super raw right now. Not getting enough sleep makes me feel awful. Like I can’t cope. :(

But I’ve had a nice distraction at the same time … my friend Mason (who works at Tattoo Zoo) went away for 3 weeks and asked if I could take care of his 4lb chihuahua Dwight. I was like “HELLS YES” and I ran over to his house to grab the dog. Dwight is a delight. :)

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I’ve been been a little obsessed with Dwight and my instagram feed reflects my obsession. Ha ha. Nothing like a little tiny dog to keep your mind busy while you detox from Ativan.

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Fergus has been pretty nonplussed about Dwight. He is such a chilled out and confidant dog. He is not worried about Dwight. He knows that the more animals I have around me … the happier I am.

I gave Dwight back to Mason today. It was so nice to see them reunited but I am truthfully a little sad. That little guy wormed into my heart with his perfect amount of neediness and his love of snuggling. Love that little guy. :)

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In other news I’ve been focusing on doing things that help rejuvenate my body/mind/spirit. Gerry and I have been doing yoga 3x a week at the Y. Almost all the pain from the tamoxifen is out of my system and I’ve been taking Dwight and Fergus to the beach almost every day. Little by little. Day by day I am starting to feel more and more like myself again.

I’ve been talking to a councilor at the Cancer Center about my anxiety. We are working on a plan to help combat my hamster wheel brain (I love a plan).

I am really focusing on self-care. I don’t get involved in anything that drains my energy. I’ve been meditating. I’ve been chanting. I listen to guided meditations before bed. I take melatonin. I do yoga. I walk. I journal. I go to therapy. I talk to my loved ones about how I’m feeling … and yet my brain spins out of control at night.

I’d love to hear what you guys do to help with an uncontrollable hamster-wheel brain? Any tips or tricks?

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Secret Tattoo Shop

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks … we moved Tattoo Zoo to a new location at 826 Fort Street. WHAT?? When/How/What?

I know. It’s a shocker. :) I’ve been keeping this secret since January and it’s been killing me not to share. Ha ha.

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Gerry and I have been casually looking for a new location for TZ for a while. Wharf Street rent is CRAZY expensive and we can’t keep up with it. Plus if you included the lack of tourists walking down that street because of the construction going on with the Blue Bridge … and the fact that the city also ripped up Wharf/Yates/Johnson street to replace the sewage pipes. Forgetaboutit. It’s a frickin ghost town down there.

And while we know the construction is temporary … it’s not the only reason we wanted to move. Gerry and I have had a ROUGH year and what we’ve realized is that we want a simpler/easier lifestyle. We work hard. Too hard. With this move – we have simmered down the vegetable stock a little. It’s less liquid to manage and has a deeper flavour. Ya know what I mean?? :)

We’ve been searching all over downtown Victoria for the perfect place and our prayers were answered!! As soon as we walked through the doors of 826 – we knew we found our new location.

I was feeling pretty good at the beginning of Jan when we viewed it and signed the lease. I was healing and getting stronger after finishing radiation. We had NO idea that the Tamoxifen was going to be so difficult on me. We thought I would be able to help Gerry put the new shop together but the Tamoxifen laid me flat on my ass and I was barely able to walk – let alone wield a paintbrush. I was heartbroken.

1516818_1426003994320749_1649724997_nThis is the part of the story where our amazing friends come in to help …

Everyone pitched in and helped us fix up the shop and get it ready. We could not have done it without their help and we will be forever grateful.

There are not enough words to say thank you. So we took everyone out for Sushi. :)

I get teary when I think about how little I was able to help with the construction when normally I’m up to my elbows in renovations. It was a real test for me to sit back and delegate. I wasn’t very good at it to be honest. Ha ha. I cried a lot because I was so incapacitated by the Tamox.

During all of this renovation we went to see my Oncologist and talked about the Tamoxifen. She agrees that I can’t take it. It is not the medication for me – so I am taking a “medication holiday” again … only this time for 3 months. I need time to heal and detox from the Tamox.

So I stopped taking Tamoxifen and 4-5 days later I started to feel like myself again. It was like I had woken up from a coma. Clear headed and with the pain subsiding I was able to find the energy to help Gerry get all the last touches done to TZ before the big move.

And then more wonderful friends stepped in to help…f0ed4cf4c37811e394da0002c9c7c4aa_8

We packed up TZ in less than an hour and had everything moved to the new location and moved in by 1pm. It was a great team effort. I love my tattoo family!!

It was really weird standing in the empty shop that Gerry and I have worked in for almost 15 years. That’s a long f-ing time. Nobody will ever understand how much blood sweat and tears we put into that place. I didn’t think I would get emotional about it but I shed a little tear saying goodbye to the old spot.

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But the tears didn’t last long because Kramers only move forward. We don’t look back!! :)

And our new shop is AMAZING!!

We know we’re in the right place because on opening day it felt like we have been in this location forever. It feels like home in a way we were never able to achieve in the old location.

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Plus it’s located on one of the coolest/busiest streets in Victoria. Our address at 826 Fort Street is right in the thick of it. There is food, shopping and so much community in the cross street of Fort/Blanshard. It’s exciting.

Even though I don’t technically work there – the new TZ location has a few “Sarah” touches throughout such as the Twin Peaks floor in the back room. I hope David Lynch approves.  :)

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There’s also a secret garden through the back. We are the only ones who have access to it and my plan is to fix it up this summer and have it be a nice place to hang out while you wait to get your tattoo.

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One of my favourite features is the huge skylight in the middle of the shop. That’s where we decided to put the library/drawing table. So now all the artists congregate there when they’re drawing/painting. It’s really cool.

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We had our friend Chris Dobell come and hand-paint the windows. He is an amazing talented sign painter and he did SUCH a good job. I’m not sure if you can see it from the photos but the shiny parts in the lettering are copper-leaf. It’s gorgeous!

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My favourite part about the new tattoo shop location is how it’s given Gerry his groove back. It’s been a hellish year and this mitzvah has shifted everything. There is a lot more smiling at the Kramer house. It’s good. It feels good.  :)

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I am so thankful to all our friends who pitched in to help. Thankful to all of our clientelle who came running to see the new shop to book an appointment for a tattoo. And to our artists who make beautiful tattoos for us every day.

We. Are. Stoked.

Posted in Go Vegan! | 15 Comments

Vega Fueled!!

-1Oh my word … I asked Vega if they would be interested in sponsoring my YWCA Encore Breast Cancer group and look what they sent us!!

After our work-out we hang out in the yoga room and have a round-table where we talk about our week and have tea and snacks.

The snacks aren’t always super healthy so I decided to use my Vegan Superstar powers for good and I asked Vega if they would sponsor us.  :)

They sent us All-In-One Meal Bars, Savi Seeds and Maca Chocolate Bars. They also sent Starter Kits for everyone in the group.

-2The All-In-One Meal Bars are SO good. We were all buzzing on chocolate by the end of the meeting.

I totally forgot about Savi Seeds. I used to carry them in my store. Have you tried them?? The Karmalized ones are my fav. It’s crazy that this little seed has 17x more Omega 3′s per oz than Salmon! YEAH!!  Plant powered!!

I can’t thank Vega enough for being such a super cool vegan company.  They rock.

In other news I cried my face off today talking about my trouble with Tamoxifen with my group of ladies. It’s amazing to be with other woman who “get it”. I don’t feel so crazy … I’m not the only one struggling.

Full of gratitude today. Overflowing with love …  :)

Love my ladies. Love for Vega. And I love the YWCA for doing this Encore Program.

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I am not in my body…

I am not in my body…

I have completely disassociated and feel like I am floating above myself most of the time. Why? Because I’m in pain. The Tamoxifen is hurting me. My joints are aching. My bones are aching. I can’t seem to get relief no matter what I do.

And I’m only on 1/2 a dose.  :( This is the medication they want me to take for 10 years.

Gerry says I’m like a helium balloon … he’s hanging on to the string and I’m floating away.

This is my 2nd time around trying Tamoxifen. This is a different brand of Tamox and we were hoping that I wouldn’t have any issues with it. I’m trying SO HARD to stay on this pill as it is part of the treatment recommended by my oncologist… but in 30 days my life has gotten really small.

I can’t walk on the beach anymore because I’m afraid my legs will give out. Walking up the stairs has become difficult. I spend more time in bed then I do out of bed.

Everything is uncomfortable. All things I normally do to self sooth – are gone. I can’t wrap myself in a big scarf (I love a big scarf) because I am having hot flashes. I can’t snuggle with Fergus because I hot flash. I can’t snuggle with Gerry because I hot flash. I can’t snuggle under covers… because I hot flash. I can’t even tolerate a hug for more then a few seconds before I hot flash.

I can’t go sit in a hot bath and relax (because I have lymphedema and have to avoid hot water). Because of my lymphedema I have to sleep with a pad that sits on my chest to help move the fluid away from my trunk. I attach it to my chest by wrapping a chest binder around me. Try and sleep with that on while you’re having hot flashes as you sleep and I dare you not to cry.

Speaking of Lymphedema I have to wear a compression sleeve on my right arm to help bring down the swelling. It’s like Spanx for my arm. Have you ever had a hot flash in Spanx?? It’s torture.

I can’t go on long walks (or even short walks) with the dog (because my knees are killing me). I haven’t been to Thetis Lake in forever … There is no way I could do it. :(

60a566bebd2311e391a2121a17c5eeae_8I haven’t had friends over or visited family in weeks. I’m canceling visits and spending more and more time in bed because sitting for too long hurts.

It hurts to stand. It hurts to sit. I hurt. I hurt. I hurt. Yesterday I stepped out of the car and almost fell because my knee gave out. WTF.

My brain is giving out too. It’s hard to have a conversation because I’m not in my body. I’m in that place you go when your body is in constant pain.

My teeth hurt. My gums are swollen. I have mouth sores. I feel like I’m getting the flu … but it never lets up.

The hot flashes are intense. The name Hot Flash should be changed to Hot Attack. First you feel woozy and uncomfortable. Like you’re in a dark basement hiding from someone who is trying to kill you. You have that feeling of fear deep inside you start to bubble up… Then the heat starts. It’s like holding a light bulb against your skin from the inside. Hot Flashes are a lot more uncomfortable on this medication then when I was on chemo. Those were more like “hot sweats”.

I tried to take Fergus for a walk around the block and I got to the end of the street and had a major panic attack. What if I can’t make it back? What if my leg gives out? We turned around and came home … Great. now I have agoraphobia?

I looked at the calendar and realized I have been on Tamox for 30 days and it feels like 30 years. I stopped taking it on Friday. Today is Tuesday and I already feel a little better. The fog is lifting and the pain is subsiding. What is this pill??

They keep telling me this pill can reduce my chance of cancer recurring … but at what cost? What is this pill doing to me?

Everyone I’ve met (through my cancer programs) who is on Tamox says the same thing. That they are in pain. That it’s uncomfortable … but that they do it anyway.

I think they are talking about a different kind of pain then I’m having. I have a high tolerance for pain … I’m a tough chick. Scrappy. I have my chest tattoo’d for fucks sakes. I can take pain. But this pain? It’s unbearable. Unrelenting. Feeling like this? I can’t do it.

I feel like a wuss.

Except that I’m NOT a wuss. I got through a mastectomy, chemo, radiation and it was REALLY FUCKING HARD but I got through it with smiles and laughter and friends and family and Fergus.

But this little white pill? It’s knocked me to my knees. Tamoxifen has drained my light. My normally glass half full is now empty.

We are seeing Dr.B on Wed to talk about what to do next …  :(

 

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Good Bye Power Port

Had my Power Port removed on Monday. I did ok … I knew I’d be stressed about it so I brought my Ativan with me.  :)

bbb7b6a4b8fc11e3bad2124a1fe00c8c_8I walked into the surgical room and told Dr.H that I took an Ativan because I was nervous.

He said “I’m nervous too so I took 5 Ativans. Are you ready to get this thing out?” Ha ha. What a joker that guy is …

Dr.H removed it using a local – so that meant I was awake for the whole thing. Ugh. It was creepy. I’ll spare you the details. I just did a lot of square breathing and let my mind wander to my happy place.

I asked Dr.H if I could keep my port and he was SO excited that I wanted to see it. He said “You’re just like a man. I’ve never had a woman ask to keep the port. It’s always men who ask. You’re just like a man…” I was like “Thank you?” and then I took my port and headed home for a long nap.

The next day I felt pretty good… in fact I felt so good that I took the dog to the park for a walk. Then I ran some errands at the drug store, went to Linens and Things and bought a juicer. Went to the grocery store and bought some veggies to make juice with and then I met up with the drywall guy (who is fixing our bathroom) and then met Gerry and our friend Roberto for dinner at the taco place down the street.

I woke up today feeling like shit. NO WONDER!! Look at all those things I did post-surgery? What is wrong with me?? Why can’t I sit still and just rest? I’m the worst patient. Ha ha.

The good news is that my body is so focused on healing this wound on my chest that my crushing joint pain seems to have subsided. Fingers crossed this means I’m getting used to the Tamox.

Here’s a little video I made of my port so you can get a closer look at it. I think it’s amazing … this little invention saved my veins from being battered by the chemo. I didn’t realize it was so BIG! It didn’t feel that big under my skin.

What should I do with it? Turn it into a ring? Or a necklace??  :)

 

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North American Hemp Co.

6d7eb0f6b77f11e3a6ad123473c870c6_8North American Hemp Co. sent me a wonderful care package!! :)

They make such a nice product!! Canadian made. #Vegan. Available at London Drugs! Woot!

I love it when a out and proud vegan product is available in a mainstream store!

All the products are really lush/rich. A little bit goes a loooong way. I especially love the Holy Grail body lotion. I used it after I shaved my legs and I was able to cream up my entire leg with one tiny pumps worth.

Thanks so much North American Hemp Co. for the package. :)

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18…

18 years ago I married my best friend …

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A couple years later … for kicks we got married again. Viva Las Vegas! :)

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How did I get so lucky?? :)

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One day at a time …

It’s been about 25 days since I started up with the Tamox and it’s not getting any easier. :(

15ab47fab76a11e388e812d767576a00_8You know that feeling right before you come down with the flu?

Where your whole body hurts and you feel like you’re wearing a heavy wet gorilla suit? That’s what I feel like every day.

Sore bones. Sore joints. Plus add in hot flashes and roller-coaster of out of control emotions and you can kind of understand how I’m feeling.

I went to see a councilor at the Cancer Center. I walked into her office and completely broke down. I think I sobbed through the whole conversation.

The first thing she did was give me a pad of paper and a pen and said “Let’s make a plan…” It was EXACTLY what I needed to do. :)

First thing. Be more gentle with myself. Right now. While the medication is so new in my system and because I’m having so many issues with side effects – I need to only do things that nourish/replenish me.

Second. Call my naturopath and see if there is anything he can suggest to help support my sore joints (and my emotional state) while my body gets used to taking the Tamox.

Third. Stop crying. These “Crazy Person” crying jags that I’m having are because of the chemicals in the Tamox. So I have to set a time of 15 minutes and limit my tears.

Plus she added some other “coping” suggestions that I already do like breathing exercises, meditation, etc etc for my anxiety.

I have always been a “glass half full” kind of girl but this Tamox makes me feel like I’m drowning. If things don’t start improving for me soon I don’t know if I can continue on this medication.

The worst part is that I’M ONLY ON 1/2 A DOSE!! I’m supposed to bump up to a full dose next week. I don’t think I can do it.

I was speaking to a woman in one of my support groups the other day. She’s about the same age as me and is on Tamox as well. We were commiserating about how miserable we are on this medication and she echoed my sentiment.

Neither of us were anticipating the Tamox to be this difficult. We both thought the Surgery/Chemo/Radiation was the hard part and that once we got through that … the pill would just be an inconvenience.

I was so uncomfortable this morning that I told Gerry I wasn’t going to take my pill anymore … but a few hours later … I somehow crawled out of bed, had a bath, brushed my teeth and choked down my dose of Tamox.

1530848_312418698906442_1373350990_nI’m going to give myself 2 more weeks (6 weeks total) to “get used” to this medication. If I don’t see a change in how I feel … I’m going to talk to my oncologist again about what I can do. I feel like such a wuss. :(

Thank goodness for my Magical Hummingbird.

She sits outside my bedroom window every day and chirps at me through the window.

My heart skips a beat every-time I see her. Isn’t it crazy that she sits on the same branch every single day!?

I swear she follows me around the block when I walk the dog. :) I’m so lucky to have a Magical Hummingbird.

 

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