First Week of Vegan Recipes

This is my first week of doing this Vegan thing for real, not foraging while traveling. I’m wrapping up 3 weeks with a pure plant based diet with no sweetener except fruits and honey. Honey isn’t Vegan, but that’s what my doc told me to use as a sweetener, over maple syrup even. I have the honey sourced locally and hardly use it for much. I’m also not eating dairy or eggs. If it comes from a plant, I can eat it. If it’s made in a plant, I can’t.

My weight bottomed out at 139 and is now hovering at 143 from being 150 for years. I’m 5′ 8 & 3/4″ on a good day. I feel great. I seriously think my mind is firing on all cylinders. I think smarter. The hardest thing was eliminating sugar. I did have withdrawals for about a week. And I didn’t realize how much crap has dairy and eggs. I love dairy and eggs!

I have had luck traveling, but, it takes a bit of work, like Ubering to a Vegan restaurant in a foreign city, settling for tasteless limp greens at airports, foregoing a proper meal for a powerbar and cooking in a hotel lobby microwave with food that I prepared in my room without proper plates. Another thing that annoys me is that room service always takes my utensils, I guess they think they’re theirs.

Here is my menu for the week.

Bean Soup
https://elavegan.com/vegan-white-bean-soup/

French Dip
https://cadryskitchen.com/vegan-french-dip-sandwich/

Taco’s
https://www.theedgyveg.com/2015/04/20/jackfruit-carnitas-pulled-pork-tacos/

Broccoli Casserole
https://kitchenofyouth.com/creamy-broccoli-mushroom-casserole/

Pea Mint Soup and “Crabcakes”
https://better.net/food-drink/recipes/pea-soup-recipe-from-jamies-food-revolutiona-must-have-cookbook/Crabcakeshttps://veganheaven.org/recipe/vegan-crab-cakes/

Gone Vegan

Thai Broccoli from Gold Leaf Collective, Fort Collins, CO. USA

I consider myself a foodie and a great amateur home chef. I’ve been a world class professional baker in a previous career. Because of a challenge from my wellness provider, I’ve been vegan for 2 weeks. My goal is 60 days of vegan with zero sugar, no bread, unless home made with fresh ground grain and no dairy.

What I’ve experienced so far:
1: I lost 11 pounds and I only weighed 150 to start.
2: It’s almost impossible to find ANY vegan food when traveling for business, especially at hotels, even 5 star hotels.
3: Indian restaurants have some of the best vegan food I’ve eaten, including the recipes I’ve tried.
4: From my research on the web, most vegan web hits are full of surprisingly pretentious hateful people spewing their arrogant attitudes towards non-vegans.
5: I LOVE the way I feel.
6: My senses are on overdrive.
7: My appetite is super active.
8: I can smell scents I’ve never before been able.
9: Eating is more enjoyable than ever before in my life
10: I love dates ( I’ve always hated them )

Roller Coaster Flight

I saw the kids, all Indian boys and girls between 8 and 10, as we went through security at the Coimbatore airport, a bunch had their bags re-checked manually, careless packers, obviously. They had some type of uniform on. I saw them again at the gate. I wondered where they would be sitting. They all seemed super excited. I didn’t really pay attention after that and since I was in row 1, didn’t notice where they sat.

As we taxied to takeoff at 11:15 AM IST, it was just another flight. Except I had an aisle seat with an empty seat to my left, very rare for a domestic Indian flight that was fully booked. I guess someone didn’t make their flight for some reason.

Anyways, the plane accelerates for takeoff and I heard the entire back 10 rows erupt in oohs and ahs and whoas and wows and screams. Then it reached peak decibels as we took flight. I didn’t look, but I’m sure all the kids had their hands in the air waving them with as much enthusiasm as they sounded, like they’re on a rollercoaster.

Gotta love the kids. They remind us how boring we get as we get older. I looked around and everyone was smiling.

When we landed in Hyderabad about an hour later, I was first in line to get off the plane. When the door popped open, a dude was there asking if I was Mr. Jon William Long, “going to Dehradun?”. He then escorted me to a bus void of people except the driver, then to a makeshift security table on the tarmac, back in the bus and straight to another plane. Same seat as the last flight. I walked up the steps from the 110 degree tarmac into a plane void of passengers.

The Indigo flight attendants, a step up from the Spice Girls on SpiceJet, have buttons on their sleeves that say “Girl Power”. They greeted me on board like a prince, then gave me a bottled water. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I never get boarded first in India, and never have been offered a beverage anywhere in the world before takeoff, when not in first class. So, this made my day.

The first person that boarded, 15 minutes later was my friend and colleague, Syed. I haven’t seen him since April, so it was great to visit with him before we took off for Dehradun.

I feel much better today than the past week. I even ate an entire cucumber, lettuce and cheese sandwich on white bread. That is something I never do.

Now, doing Doon for a week or so.

The Last Time I Went to an Indian Hospital

For my Mom who asked for a thorough account of my experience.

I remember the last time I went to an Indian hospital. It was today.

Here’s the story as I weave in and out of real-time and past tense, since I’m not that fast of a typer on my phone.

On the way, I saw an elephant painted like a gypsy, Hindu signs on its forehead, led through the busy rubble filled streets and gutters by its owners. Cars, bikes, carts, kids, goats, dogs and cows competing for the same path thru the rubble as if it’s on a regular. This is just a typical Indian street in the middle of Coimbatore, a typical Indian city. Nobody seemed to notice the elephant but me, on my way to the hospital.

This visit is the 3rd to a hospital in India on the 14th day of my 6th trip to India in the past 2 years. 3 days to the hospital in over 160 total days combined in India? That’s about my average in US

Indian hospitals are nothing like you would see in the states, not even in Montana. The crowds of the streets don’t recede at the hospital campus entrance. In fact, it seems to increase.

In many ways it seems as if time has no effect on India. This is especially apparent in hospitals. I can imagine going back in time one hundred years and not being able to see any difference, except cell phones. The check-in counter and lobby look like something from Ellis Island.

We stumbled ignorantly into the cancer and “bad stuff” ward. There were signs with disfigured faces and people there that actually resemble those depicted on the signs.

Finally, at the respiratory ward, we were given a form to fill out, but nobody could find a pen. A sign read like a menu for rooms: Room with bed 8000 Rupees, Room with bed and A/C 12000 Rupees. There were lines to the different types.

Luckily, I’m just here for a cough. I’ve had a compromised breathing problem since I owned a bread company in the 80’s. I once bought semi loads of wheat berries from Montana, ground it with a large stone grinder, breathing in the gaseous flour as we blissfully baked our bread. Bam, asthma, duh!

So, here I am, India, 100% humidity, wrong preventative inhaler, my fault, and sitting in a queue of actual sick people waiting for my turn. I didn’t get an option for an A/C waiting room, at any cost.

I’ve smelled urine many times, but these were smells I’ve never smelled. Smells on the spectrum that can only be contained by a live body. Fresh urine maybe. I’ve heard death is a smell you never forget. I’m thinking some of the smells I smell are that.

Saravanan was in the hospital the day before yesterday passing a kidney-stone, his second in two years. Now he is here with me navigating me through the Indian maze of medical bureaucracy as convoluted as the architecture of this place.

He held my water as I used the rest room. The man at the sink was washing his whole upper body. There were no towels. I didn’t wash my hands. As I came out of the rest room, Saravanan was apparently swallowing water from my water bottle. Now, I’m no germaphobe, but, NOW I AM! Of course, he assured me, he didn’t actually drink from my bottle. It was all in my head.

I’m now remembering a story my brother Jay told me about a time on a chairlift while skiing with his son Deane. Jay offered his water bottle to Deane who took a swig, when he stopped swigging, Jay saw a swirl of Deane’s saliva slither down into the bottles remaining water like some type of macro level amoeba.

Don’t want that!

I have a secret germ killing trick, Isopropyl, better known in the US as Rubbing Alcohol. I put it in these TSA approved spray bottles and use it to spray anything and everything that may be compromised. I may even spray the air. You know it kills all germs and odors. Unfortunately, I left my bottles in the room. Here I am in a most vulnerable place without my Isopropyl! And so, I will hold my breath during this visit. It’s my only option. I’m screwed.

A few trips ago, another unfortunate forgetful moment, while roughing it jungle huts. I went horse riding with shorts thru thick jungle, with a barely bandaged gash on my leg. Now that is another story, but, we rode out of the horse coral and into the jungle. That’s when I realized I didn’t have bug spray. At one point, I must have had 50 bugs on me, none of which were mosquito’s, but these mini fly like things. Luckily, they didn’t bite. And they didn’t land on my Indian friends. WTH?

I googled Malaria and Chinese Encephalitis for weeks after.

The last time I was in an Indian hospital, the doctor was very good, very smart and very exact in treating me for thrush. He said to get a better inhaler med for asthma prevention. I didn’t. That’s why I’m here AGAIN. Symbicort apparently doesn’t agree with me. I’m hoping I get a different med inhaler after we finally get to see Dr. Binu.

And, it turns out it was Dr. Binu’s assistant. She was very nice. Said I likely have some type of infection in my upper respiratory area. Now we wait for the Doctor Binu.

I really don’t feel sick. I just have a cough.

Last time when I had Thrush, I went to the ER at MIOT hospital in Chennai. Mosquito’s are about as prevalent here as in Colorado, at least before they spray, and relative to where I’ve been in India. So, I was really surprised how many mosquito’s were in the ER, more than I’ve ever seen, dozens at a time, hovering like tiny drone clusters coming in to get me. It wasn’t comforting that the nurses would frequently sift the room with their tennis racket zappers while I laid defenseless on the gurney. I did finally put bug spray on.

I always liked that Monty Python bit where they are pushing carts of human carcasses through medieval England streets shouting, “BRING OUT’CHER DEAD, BRING OUT’CHER DEAD”. A gurney was just rolled by me as I wait. The old man on the gurney didn’t look dead yet. Everyone around me is coughing. I’m coughing more. I’m starting to feel actually ill.

The other day we got lost driving back to Coimbatore from a temple and ended up driving thru what looked like an ancient cemetery, when in fact it wasn’t that old. I asked about a smoldering pile of rubble and one of my friends said it was the smoke from a cremation. It was right there in front of us!

That dude they rolled by earlier? They just rolled him out of the room. His IV had been removed. He must be dead. He looked dead. I think he is dead. Definately dead.

I’ve seen many dead bodies on my trips to India. They parade them thru the streets throwing truck loads of flower petals in their wake as a marching band blares over the wailing, grieving loved ones left behind.

And here I sit, one of the hapless, one of the wretched, one of the miserable sickos at the mercy of others, in the thick, smelly heat, coughing and thinking about dead people.

“Only 8 ahead of us” Saravanan said as he woke me from my dead thoughts, making my writing finger cramp up just a little.

Three hours and less than 600 Rupees ($10 USD) later, I have 5 prescriptions that will help me recover and a non-inhaler oral asthma preventative that will replace my inhaler.

Diagnosis: Infection due to Symbicort not working properly, triggering an overdose of emergency inhaler, which caused lack of sleep and appetite from the overdose of the steroids in the ProAir emergency inhaler.

I feel better already. But, I feel like a delicate flower for sure. What a wimp.

Dr. Binu

What in the actual f%$ is this?

Everyone is sick

Reminiscent of the DMV in USA

How Can You Picture This

Have you ever seen a sound
heard a feeling
bled a tear

Have you ever seen a woman
200 years old
walking shoeless
on coal hot dirt

bundle on her head
bigger than her

immaculate dress
as a wedding
hanging as a flag
on
stick
thin
poles

all light lost
behind her skeleton teeth

Have you ever seen a dog
laying as dirt
skinny as fleas

Have you ever judged a man
with no legs
on a wheeled board
his arms as oars

the color of his skin
the color of the street

Nobody cares
Nobody stares
Nobody helps
Nobody dares

and another with missing teeth
on his shoulder
a bag
a burden in the dirty heat

going to the temple
past the goats
to the temple

past the water where the mosquitos breed
past the kids playing with the earth
smiling and laughing

past the blind old man
with a single rag for

the only thing that separates us all

clothes

and a stick

past all things
to the temple

for gratitude
for being alive

Have you ever seen yourself from the hearts of a billion people

How can you picture this

Drum Corps, Rain and Hope


Last night we experienced the wildest drum corps show I can remember ever. We pulled into the parking lot for Drums Along The Rockies at Mile High stadium just as the sky was falling. Thunder, lightning and rain like I’ve rarely seen. The show, scheduled to start at 6, hadn’t started as we arrived at 6:30. Storm delay.

But, nobody really knew how long the delay would be as we sat in our cars, under the bridges, at Brooklyn’s, in buses, in the stadium under eaves and in concourses. People were leaving by 7, and as the bleakness continued, those that had no hope, streamed out of the parking lot.

But the diehard’s, in the face of absolute hopelessness, rain streaming down so fierce on our car you couldn’t hear yourself talk, and barely see out the window, lightning in every direction, some seemingly hitting the stadium, lighting up the 3 story tall white bronco perched well above the highest seats,

the people who have seen drum corps and know that the show must go on,

the parents who drove from Arizona to see their kids perform,

the kids, in their buses, uniforms on, horns in their hands, every cell in their body filled with energy, ready to experience the pleasure of release…

Drums along the Rockies facebook page:
Some Woman “At what point do they cancel?”.
Me: “When the Troopers don’t show up”.
Some Guy: “They just showed up, so, I guess the show is on!”.

At 8:30, with no sign that the show would go on, we were just about to leave, no sign of anything happening, we heard horns warming up.

We drove across the half empty parking lot to a horn line and witnessed 1 minute of some powerful horns before they casually marched away under the bridge, just as the rain subsided to a drizzle. To me, a diehard drum corps fan, this in itself was worth the drive.

We thought this was it. But, just for safe measure, we drove closer to the stadium.

With binoculars, I could see the main entrance where people were streaming out of the stadium. On Facebook, people were complaining that they were struggling getting refunds.

All hope was now gone.

But, anyone who has been in drum corps knows that kids want to play. So, Barb and I decided to walk towards the stadium, with little hope, and could soon hear drums over here and horns over there. We seemed to be the only people walking towards the stadium. I thought at least we would find a bathroom.

Then, a guy said the corps are doing stand stills at 9 in the stadium.

And they did! We walked in without a ticket, we, the believers, struggling against the leavers.

Next thing you know, we’re sitting on the 50 yard line, 10th row getting our faces blasted with goose bump worthy drum corps magic, even bringing a tear to my eye on a couple “notes”. The home town Blue Knights even performed their entire drill. And they are great this year.

It was a perfect post storm evening under the lights of Mile High with a depleted crowd of those who reap the spoils of hope.

That’s the ultimate drum corps experience to me. That’s what drum corps has always taught me. Every 10 minutes of pure pleasure is preceded by a thousand times that in pain, practice, patience and hope.

That’s what drum corps is all about.

Love and Tears

This wedding was in a castle in Southern France.

Perhaps I didn’t cry enough. Perhaps I held back my tears too much. The pain in my throat…perhaps it was love, trying to get out. Perhaps love trying to get in. The anticipation of what was to become a most amazing and inspirational wedding ceremony, hung in the pre-ceremony air as if we all knew. Even the birds, the wind, the light, the stone walls, floor and ceiling. Just like all weddings, you know what to expect. That’s when the pain starts.

This wedding though, was different

This wedding was for my niece, Hannah Long. This wedding was attended by all my brothers, “The Boys” (Jeff, Jay, Jon and Joel). Yes, we’ve come a “long” way from California, 1964, when our Dad died in a car accident, leaving my Mom to raise 4 boys in Montana. This was the first time “The Boys” were ever out of the US at the same time, let alone in the same country. This wedding was only my Moms second grand kid’s marriage. This wedding was attended by my wife Barb and son Baxter. This wedding was artfully “officiated” by my brother Joel. This wedding gave me a new nephew in Wes Barker!

Laurie Andersen believes that grief is the release of Love.

The pain in your throat when you grieve is the same pain I felt during Hannah and Wes’s wedding. Perhaps it is because I was holding back my tears.

Perhaps the tears that come from inspiration, reflection and beauty are also a release of Love. They come from years of taking for granted, the things that life can only reveal. Things that are exposed when we get together for those few events in all our lives where we are forced to reflect on what is important…. people’s lives and the love for each other.

Joel, in his beautiful oratory, mentioned how old is actually new. You are the newest manifestation of your self. I believe that love is the ultimate evolution of life. It represents the newest universal manifestation that exists because of life.

And during this wedding, and during the reception, and during the toasts, and during the explosive cake reveal, and during everything and behind every story and behind every person’s personal adventure that led them to these moments in this castle, in Uzès, France, there is a story of pain. The pain and challenges of international travel, the financial pain of getting to a very specific and special remote place on the other side of the planet for a 30-minute ceremony, the pain of sitting on a plane for 20 hours, multiple connections, the pain of not understanding languages in other countries, the pain of jet lag, the pain of planning, bad planning, miss-guided transportation fiasco’s, the pain of filling up your rental car with gas before you return it, the pain of driving in French cities, the pain of sketchy internet.

But, these are pains that we can tolerate without emotion, if we choose. These are pains that we endure for family and friends. These are growing pains. We are not just obligated, but excited for these adventures. At worst, we are just, merely exhausted because of these things. Eventually, we laugh and are proud of these things as we go through life. We overcome. These are the pains that we endure to expose ourselves to fulfilling lives.

But the pain I felt in my throat before and during the wedding, and you perhaps feel in yours as you read this, is the result of being present in life, it comes unexpectedly, when you are touched by words and the air of love that you feel and the things you see and hear…. that is not just the pain of life. That is love. Let it out.

Tears to Hannah and Wes!!

London

Hello,

Baxter, Barb and I arrived in London Gatwick Airport at 6:15AM today. We’re staying tonight at a decent hotel at the Heathrow airport where we will depart for Marseille tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM, with a 5 hour layover at the Paris airport. Today was spent working, sleeping and eating. Our evening adventure was amazing. We took an hour long Uber drive through London at rush hour and ended up at Jamie Olivers Fifteen, a restaurant of impecable quality. Perhaps the best food I’ve ever had. On our route, we saw some London awesomeness in architectural and royal history.
But, we were pretty jet lagged, so, all we could do was eat. We’re sleeping soon and looking forward to Southern France tomorrow, where we will hook up with Joel in Marseille, if he doesn’t have another Expedia mishap, or get’s lost in some museum.

8 Years Playing

Wow me.
I still am playing the trumpet nightly and loving every minute. Due to Essential Tremor, I can’t play as intensely as I need to to stay in shape and practice. But, because I knew I would someday feel the effect of this stupid disease, and because my brother Jeff Long got it and adapted by learning the EWI, I was able to ease into the steep learning curve of playing the EWI as well. I am not missing a beat.
Katharine Hepburn, Ozzie Osbourne and John Quincy Adams had ET. It effects 10% of the population. It sucks, but, it’s not progressive and honestly, I probably wouldn’t even know I had it if it weren’t for the trumpet. But, it does come out in my voice, mouse movements and even shaving. Nothing I can’t live with.
The EWI is now my main instrument and I’m able to get to the same zen space as the trumpet, in fact even more.
The EWI(Electronic Wind Instrument) has given me infinite dimensions of sound, with the same trumpet-ish valve like playing that I’ve grooved into my cerebral cortex since I first played trumpet in my back yard one day when I was 9 years old. “Look mom, I can play”.
I’ve also picked up the Ukulele and can say, I love it!! Being called “Mr. Obvious” many times by my friends, I will, in the face of further ridicule say, it’s not the trumpet that I love, it’s music.
But I still do love the trumpet!