Saturday, January 24, 2009

He Knew We Could

I’ve never heard so many people express the same sentiment before: that they never thought they would see the day come. Not in their lifetimes would it come. The day when a black person would be President of the United States. The day blacks and whites, Natives and Asians would unite behind him, as one, in joy and hope.

But I didn’t share that sentiment. I didn’t think the day would never come. This is not to say that I thought they were wrong when they said it would never happen. I hoped they were wrong. I knew in my heart that the goodness in all of us would one day see beyond the color of a man’s skin. I believed Dr. King’s dream would be a reality. I hoped I was right.

I hear and respect their sentiment, their disbelief. I honor the men and women who pilgrimaged to Washington DC to see it happen with their own eyes. The elders who truly believed it would never happen in their lifetimes. Their faces washed of the pain of past inequalities, and reflecting the highest level of joy. The young, exuberant faces, free of the fatigue their parents and grandparents know so well. All watching, together, as President Obama and his family stepped into their rightful places in our country’s history.

I know that I sound more than just a little bit naïve when I say I knew we could.

He said “Yes, We Can.” He knew all along.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tiny Dogs, Big Cruelty

Don't you love tiny dogs? Seems everywhere we look, there's a delicate, not-bigger-than-a-minute Tinkerbelle of a pup on the end of leash. Sporting adorable coats against the winter cold or bows and jeweled collars, these pets are their keepers' darlings. I've never seen so many Chihuahuas, Poodles, and Yorkies as I have of late. And then there's the Puggles (like in this photo), the Peek-a-Poos, Chugs and other so-called designer mixtures. So precious. So cute. So overbred. So abused.

This just in:
Nearly 250 dogs were confiscated from two separate kennels south of Mount Vernon for animal cruelty, said Chief Criminal Deputy Will Reichardt of the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.

More than 400 dogs were being held in a Mountain View Road puppy mill where they had been kept in small kennels, not bathed and many were left in their own feces, Reichardt said.
Well, gee. I bet they cleaned those babies up before their new parents arrived to take their little bundles home. I bet the people who kept this hellhole in business never asked to see where the darlings were being bred, born by the hundreds, and raised in unspeakably cruel conditions.

Well, gee. This is what happens every day in puppy mills everywhere. They're in small towns. In neighborhoods. In the upstairs bedroom of the house down the street from you. They're not all operated by kind-looking, cruel-hearted farmers in Pennsylvania—you know, the bad guys Oprah exposed on her show. Puppy mills are operated by soccer moms and ballet dads. In trailers and minimansions. By scumbags of all description.

They can be stopped, though. It's not even difficult. The cruelty and heartlessness that enables some people to let dogs die in their own waste (there were SEVEN dead dogs found in the above raid) can be forced into dormancy. How? Just stop buying these dogs. It is the easy—and only—way to totally stop the puppy mills and the cruelty that these dogs live in every single day. It's a simple supply and demand equation—we all learned it in economics class.

So just don't buy a purebred or designer dog. Nobody must have a brand spanking new puppy that's somehow “better” than the puppies that people have been abandoned. Anyone can take the time to carefully choose a dog from a rescue organization or shelter. They have dozens and dozens ready to go. Every person who adopts or rescues a dog helps decrease the overbreeding, the cruelty, and the 9.6 million animals that are put to death every single year in this country.

It's a travesty. I've yet to hear a good reason for breeding dogs. Or for buying a purebred or designer dog. And every time I hear about someone buying one, I think about the cruelty that puppy mills keep pumping out. There are just no excuses.

UPDATE: We're up to SIX HUNDRED dogs rescued--80% of them are pregnant. Oh my heart.

WTF were these idiots thinking??@!???!?!??!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unwrapping My New Look

Whoop! Whoop! I finally revamped my plain-Rainne (as in Wilson—why should Janes always have to take that rap?) blog header! The standard blue text/white background number the template gave me reflected my personal laziness more than my personal style.

While I don’t dare even dream of possessing the amazingly mad Photoshop skilz that my girl Melanie over at Beanpaste has coming out her adorable ears, I can sort of maneuver my way around the Adobe Creative Suite. (As long as the GPS window is up.)

Unleashing my design abilities is a little dangerous, sure, but I could be wreaking much more havoc on the world than Adobe CS will allow. I mean, bad graphic design, improper kerning, and whacked out alignment never hurt anyone TOO badly, right? It’s not like I’m in charge of dropping bombs on the Gaza Strip or anything.

Sigh. We, the world, are facing bigger issues than my little blog design.

So I’ll try this header out for a while. I love my little bird. Love the colors. Not crazy about the font, but hey, it was late and I had one cup of plain popcorn waiting for me—so I stopped right here.

Tell me—is it gorge? Take my little survey and you might win a PRIZE!*

*Not true. I have nothing to give that anyone wants. But be a pal, huh? One can always use survey practice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not the New Year’s I Had in Mind

This year, I did not spend New Year’s as I planned: just D. and me, enjoying a nice dinner out at one of our favorite tapas restaurants, then returning home for a quiet evening in front of the fire, or in front of a movie, topped off with our traditional champagne toast at midnight. And then. . . onto something that’s best not described here.

Sigh. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I got the dinner. I got the champagne. I got the fire. I didn’t get the rest.

The problem? A third wheel. And herein lies the conundrum. Should we have just told him our plans, knowing he’d find something else to do—or tell him our plans, taking the chance he’d be alone NYE? Should we have come right out and said, “We’re going to dinner and then spending the evening at home, just the two of us.” Ouch! Can you imagine being on the receiving end of that message? Stay away, we want to get frisky.

The man I married could never do that to a friend. I could. And wanted to. Friends should understand, right?

As it turns out, we had a nice dinner, wonderful wine, and my favorite champagne (apart from Dom, which wasn’t even a consideration). Plus, we brought Actual Meaning into the night by writing down all the things we wanted to let go of ( I don’t deserve this or that, I release my negative feelings about a certain ex, etc. etc.) and burning the little bits of paper in the fire. Heady stuff. Great revelations were shared. Growth was achieved.

I can’t remember any of it because we consumed two bottles of champagne. Three of us. Do the math. But no matter. It felt good to share and the evening was quite enjoyable.

Still, I lament the loss of the night that could have been. A romantic end to 2008. And truly bringing in 2009 with a bang. Dang.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lose Weight, Exercise More, Blah, Blah, Blah

My 2009 resolutions are short and sweet. No major improvements needed? Hell, yes, there are. But I'm taking it easy on myself. Overreaching is overrated.

  1. Make Money With My New Business
    This is a biggie. We sold our business last July, with a financial cushion to hold us over for about a year while we launched our new businesses. That cushion was based on the new owner of our business paying us a nice chunk of money (also known as "the mortgage") every month, beginning January 1. Now it looks like that monthly payment is everything but happening. Thus, earning income from my freelance copywriting business is ever more important.

  2. Cut Back on Spending
    See above.

  3. Lose The Damn Weight
    By eating more veggies and fruit.
    By eating less sugar and flour.
    By training for a half marathon in April.
    By getting outside for more adventures.
    By being accountable. And it starts here: 28 pounds, people. 28 pounds.
    It's a health issue. I'm not being my body's best friend. And who else will be?

  4. Write, Write, Write
    My parents' life stories
    My blog
    My novel
    My clients' work

That'll do me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Last Year's Resolutions--How'd We Do?

We, meaning me, of course. How you did is your own personal business and nobody else's. You need not expose your failures here. I'll do it for both of us.

2008’s list wasn’t a total washout. I really did okay. Having a major life change (I have them Almost. Every. Freakin. Year.) helped my resolutions along. For example, seven weeks of vacation made it much easier to keep the take care of myself promise. And I'm not apologizing for it, either. That's part of the growth, see. I've been working since I'm eight years old, and thirty-eight years later I should have some time off.

Digressing here. Guilty much?

And, it was easier to be kind to D. seeing how he had two surgeries in three weeks' time. The first was an emergency (are there any others?) appendectomy in Missoula, Montana, and then there was his double hernia repair when we got home. Poor baby! I was very kind and patient with my little patient. I had to carry all the grocery bags for weeks. And the 50-pound suitcase up the broken escalator at Sea-Tac airport. While the line behind us grew. And people glared at him for not helping me.

Again, I digress. Whiney much?

As for the rest of the list, here's an honest accounting, including my original resolution and self-imposed grade:

Resolution #1: Be more patient with my husband. As in, no rolling eyes when he asks if we have any butter. This is a tough one because it involves a DNA transplant. Might need help. I reserve the right to silently say, “Have you LOOKED in the refrigerator, by chance?????”
Grade: B+. I have tried, and it actually works. He’s sweet and deserves it.

Resolution #2: Scoop the cats’ litter boxes every day.
This will be an easy one: if I do it each morning after I feed them, it will only take a minute, max. Maybe it will cure the phantom pooper, too. I don’t know any cats who get scooped every day, but I’m sure they’re happier than mine, who deserve a cleaner environment in which to poo.
Grade: B+. I've missed a few days, but all in all, I am the queen of scooping kitty poop. So proud.

Resolution #3: Be kinder.
I am not completely unkind, mind you, and I will never be one of those annoying public-sweet-closet-bitchy women. I keep it real. But at times, that realness lands on others with a thud, or worse—with a smack. It’s not what I say, it’s how I say it, they say. I’ve heard it enough to know I need to work on it.
Grade: A. Helped along by selling a business that stressed me out to the max.

Resolution #4: Write. I have two novels in the works. I need to get back to them.
Grade: F. As in FFFFailing miserably. (Sidenote to Hay—here's your answer!!) This one goes to the top of 2009’s list. (Novels aside, I do write almost every day. Make excuses much?)

Resolution #5: Get organized. Since we moved into this house in April, I have never felt completely unpacked. There are still two unfinished rooms where boxes are shoved into corners, the closets are jammed full of crap, and nothing hangs on the walls—because we haven’t painted them yet. My mind is not at rest, and every time I walk into those rooms I feel stressed. I will pick out the paint and get started. Hang the pictures and clean out the closets. Breathe easier.
Grade: A. Wow. I didn’t realize this was so undone last year. We’re good now. Again, selling the biz made this achievable.

Resolution #6: Attend Boot Camp faithfully. I have done better than I expected—I have survived two 8-week sessions of Boot Camp, and I’m stronger, my clothes fit better, and I love the class. I’m signing up for round 3 (I need the discipline of a class structure) and I vow to not miss any classes unless I’m sick or out of town. Three hours per week is no big deal. I just have to make myself get dressed and leave the house.
Grade: C. I did complete Round 3 of Boot Camp. But then I stopped having fun. It seemed to be getting more competitive, and I don't do competitive any more. I didn’t lose any more weight, after the first 6 lbs (which came right back—the shock!), and it was a lot of work. At 6 a.m. So I didn't sign up for Round 4. Long hikes and light jogs work for me, and will appear on 2009’s list.

Resolution #7: Be this girl (come warmer weather, of course—I’m not going near the water now):

Grade: F. Didn’t. Paddle. Once. We sold the business, traveled a bit, then D.’s hernias appeared. That was it for strenuous activities for this summer.

And this girl:
Grade: A. I rode my bike a lot.
Bonus points: I was also this girl:
That was a big deal for me. I love the skiing. Not the knee twisting.
Resolution #8: Get myself on one of these:

purchased, rented, borrowed—whatever it takes. Because I had nearly forgotten the pure happiness I feel when I’m sailing. I don’t want to forget.
Grade: F. Didn’t do it. Stepped on a boat in a slip once. Does that count?

Resolution #9: Take good care of myself, however I define it, each day. Naps, massages, walks, bike rides. Be with people who are good for my soul. Simply put, do more of the stuff I want to do and less of the stuff I do not.
Grade: A+++++. I rocked this one.

Overall Grade: A-. I became a happier person in 2008. Don’t know how I could top that, but I think all things are possible . . . even getting rid of those 20 annoying pounds I need to lose again this year. Now I need to start that list. . .