The ‘Vegetarian or bust.’ post was born of a visceral reaction to the gruesome sincerity of slaughter, and a connection to my mother’s story of the headless chicken flailing about the barnyard. It was amusing because she would gloss over the butchering and bloodiness, thereby rendering it sterile and harmless.

It got me thinking about two things:

1.) This was an opportunity to connect to my mother’s experience. Since I can’t share the Amish chicken story with her–due to her advanced Alzheimer’s–sharing it with others was a small way to honor one of her memories.

2.) I’ve read that as a modern society, we are largely disconnected from our food sources. The Amish episode dealt with a young “English” woman wanting to join the order. Witnessing the slaughter of the chicken was a test. She passed the test; I would’ve flunked. Then puked.

Here’s another interesting example:

Recently on Oprah’s Next Chapter, she and her BFF Gayle King visited Paula Deen at her compound in Savannah. As you can imagine, there was a whole lotta good eatin’ that night, and in the mornin’, “we-uh gonna catch some catfeeish for breakfast, yawl.”

I give the gals a lot of credit for showing up–wearing baggy jammies, morning hair and no makeup–to handle raw liver bait and throw a line in Paula’s pond. Naturally, Oprah bagged the first and only one. (I imagine she’s so famous even that fish was dying to meet her.)

But here’s the real ‘catch’ of the day: she couldn’t handle the idea of killing and eating it. It was too personal. “It’s dying, it’s dying! Please, throw it back! Throw it back!” Cut to the gals eating biscuits while Paula deep fries catfish fillets. Which prompted Oprah to comment that she only wants to eat fish that has been neatly packaged.

Right. It no longer resembles a living thing.

I made this the other night, and I share it here because it’s delicious: Garlic Cheddar Chicken. And yes, it involves boneless, skinless chicken, which happily no longer resembles a living thing. I admit it: I’m relieved to be disconnected from the original source. What can I say? I am at one with modern living; as a toddler I was toilet-trained and have never looked back. In other words, and to quote Woody Allen, I am at two with nature.

However, I am not isolated from it, and am grateful for that. We live on roughly six acres of land that can be legally hunted in season and with permission. My husband Doug, his sons, and his best friends are deer hunters. This picture* was taken in our yard:

I took the picture. I’ll leave it at that for now.

*Doug’s friends. I hid their faces out of respect for their privacy.


Vegetarian or bust.

When I was a kid, my mother would prepare chicken dishes, but she hated to eat any of it. She explained that while visiting her grandmother in Indiana (her Grammaw Heaton), she had the dubious honor of witnessing the slaughter of their dinner. She told me that after the chicken was decapitated, it continued to run around, sort of desperately, and the vision of it haunted her. I used to laugh at that, because the idea of it was funny.

But I just saw an episode of Amish Out of Order, and there was a chicken–plump, white and beautiful–plucked (no pun intended) from her coop and thrown into a carrying cage. She was brought to a wire runner (where they apparently ripped her head off; I couldn’t watch) and in the next scene the chicken was running with no head–just a bloody neck–running in a straight line, then flopping over on its back and fluffing its wings in the dirt. I was horrified. I may never eat chicken again.

This comes on the heals of cleaning the meat off a rotisserie chicken yesterday. I’ve done it hundreds of times, but this time, I noticed its spine. And it affected me to the point that I didn’t want to continue. This was a living thing, I thought. This was a bird and now it’s meat. I was nauseous.

I could easily be a vegetarian. I’m not at this point, but I could be. So why aren’t I? I suppose I could blame my husband, a committed carnivore. But that wouldn’t be fair.

Truth be told, I’ve been slowly introducing meatless meals for about a year. And all was going well, until I realized that there were a lot of leftovers, and I was the only one eating them. So I decided to buy burgers for him and meatless burgers for me. That worked out okay, but there are only so many burgers (veggie or otherwise) that you can stand.

I tried introducing wheat berries into our lives, because I found a good recipe for Wheat berry and Black Bean Chili. Unfortunately, wheat berries require an overnight soak, followed by a long cooking process. And in the end, I was eating it far longer than anyone should have to, because my husband didn’t like it.

I guess I’m weird because I love leftovers. I was raised by a father who would eat things from the fridge that couldn’t be identified anymore. But it’s impossible to eat leftovers if no one else has eaten any of it.

What should I do?


It sort of started here.

In my About section, I talk about being born with an insatiable need to communicate by pairing words and images. As proof of this, I offer the following (as a side note, the grandmother I drove nuts by reading the dictionary was my father’s mother; more on that some other time).

When my maternal grandmother, Nans, died in 1999, I found this among her belongings:

I’m guessing I was about seven. I don’t remember creating it. But I was proud enough to dedicate it to my Nanny Francie (later in life I called her the truncated, more adult-sounding Nans).

I adored her. She encouraged my creativity, even though she wasn’t particularly creative. In fact, she was a no-nonsense woman raised in Indiana farm country. She was the third oldest–and oldest daughter–of 16 children. She helped raise her younger siblings. Because of this, or maybe in spite of it, she loved children. She loved chores, for that matter. OMG, she loved doing laundry! She proudly separated the whites from the colors (tattletale gray was unforgivable), and hung it all outside because she didn’t have a dryer (and besides, dryers aged fabrics too fast). Seems silly, making such a fuss over a mundane task, but I treasure the memory of being enveloped in crisp, fragrant sheets that have dried in the sun.

But I digress.

She would not indulge me with material things. I knew not to whine for toys in the supermarket. But I was fascinated with the typewriter in the spare room, and she let me play with it. Or maybe she left me alone in there to give herself a break. Whatever. I was in heaven in that room. Writing is such a deliciously solitary pursuit. And when I emerged from my confinement, masterpiece in hand, she was my fan, my gentle reader. She fed my soul.

It’s a funny thing: she’s been gone for almost 13 years, yet she still feeds my soul. Knowing her, I think she’d be both proud and embarrassed by this post, because she was humble. She taught me to be proud and humble, though I don’t always live up to either one.

So what did you think of my little masterpiece? It’s a real page turner, isn’t it? All four of them.

Copywriting, Graphic Design, Greeting Cards, Marketing Communications, Paper Crafting


My name is Dee Short. I’m a writer, graphic designer, crafter and appreciator of all things creative. I have a marketing communication practice, Dee Short Design, and like to dabble in handmade greeting cards. I love, love, love paper.

I’ve been struggling with designing a website, and it finally occurred to me that it’s probably a losing battle. I will never have the time to build a site that shows me or my work in an honest light. Or any light, for that matter. And if I do find that kind of time, it probably means I’m out of business.

This landing page was created in 2009. What have I been doing for three years? Let me think. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and taunted by the ‘elephant’ on my plate. Even one little bite at a time, it’s too big to digest. So many years, so many projects. And I don’t want a website that simply functions as an online portfolio. Borrrrring. Besides, design is subjective. If, by casual viewing, you don’t care for one (or more) of my designs, it does me a disservice. Every project is a collaboration, and when it’s complete, all that matters is a solid outcome and a satisfied client. Otherwise, I’m not in business.

Which brings me to what else I’ve been doing: staying alive in this wretched economy. I’ve been watching the landscape shift and change. I’ve watched businesses merge or fall away; heard about the struggles of fellow designers. Some have thrown in the towel and are looking for other meaningful work, some are using food stamps(!), some are close to retirement age, not sure if they should stick it out. Me? I’ve watched my income trending downward for the last three years, but I’m surviving. Adapt or die, so I adapt. Trim the fat, be more proactive with self-promotion and marketing.

That’s why I’ve decided to create a limber blog, rather than labor on a lumbering website. This is a good fit for my constantly juggling attention span (or, to put a positive spin on it, my multitasking talents). It fits with my pinball machine neurons and synapses. It’s an indulgent place where I can dump my stuff. And you can get to know me, if you’d like.

I enthusiastically welcome your comments with one caveat: please be polite and thoughtful. I encourage differing viewpoints, as long as they’re constructive.

Thanks for visiting.