Can you imagine going online to buy a present for someone and coming across a dead dog for sale? What about a dead cat? Appalling, right?
The subject was “Stop the Sale of Dead Parrots on eBay!” and included a link to this petition. That gives me two questions on the matter: 1) Wut? and 2) No, seriously, wut? No, actually my questions are 1) Who is selling dead parrots on eBay and 2) Why the hell is there a market for said dead parrots? I mean, I know the Bloggess has a thing for some weird taxidermy, but not some flopped over dead parrots. Who goes on eBay and battles it out, emotions running on high, for someone else’s dead parrot? And how does one find these dead parrots, because I clearly am using the wrong search terms. (“dead parrot” did not bring anything up that looked remotely like a real dead parrot.)
The only thing I can sort out in my mind is that it must be a type of Monty Python fan looking for a punchline. Even so, that’s good for what, one joke?
People are odd ones.
And for the record, what the hell would I be typing in to come across a dead animal? When I look for gifts on eBay, I’m looking for things like CDs or vinyl or t-shirts. If I come across a dead animal, I need to seriously rethink my searching strategy.
With the holidays coming up, it’s easy to reflect on how good I have it, all things considered. My family and I have relatively good health, we have a roof over our head, clothes to wear, and food on our table. We can somewhat afford to be discerning about what fills our refrigerator and pantry. On any given day, my kids have a choice on what they want to eat for breakfast or what they want to pack for lunch. I hate admitting this, but Peanut has the luxury of declaring how he dislikes sandwiches on that particular day and has the choice to bring something else for his school lunch. But for 1 in 5 children*, the possibility to be a persnickety eater is non-existent, because their choices are non-existent. Those 16 million children* are those who live in poverty and struggle with hunger. I’m not talking about a far-off country either; those 16 million children live right in America and are going to school hungry:
The good news is, it’s a fixable problem. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign approaches the solution from three different focus points: Access, Education, and Awareness. They help provide children with access to solutions like school breakfast programs. They help provide nutritional education to lower income families so that these families can cook healthy and affordable meals. Finally, No Kid Hungry works to actively shine a spotlight on the issue of child hunger in this country.
This is where you come in. For $1, Share our Strength can provide 10 school breakfasts for a child in need. For an entire school year of breakfasts, it’s just an $18 donation. Think about it: if you were dropping off your child to school and saw one of his or her classmates hungry every morning, wouldn’t you feel compelled to bring even an extra breakfast bar to that child? I know I have done just that simple act alone to the child in my son’s daycare who came in day after day with just a bag of Cheeto’s for breakfast. (Cheeto’s are not brain food for a 3 year old!) Consider making a donation and help make an impact in a child’s life. And since the holidays are rolling around, how about making a donation in a loved one’s name? (Look! You get a special card too!)
I must apologize for two dog related posts back-to-back, but let’s face it: I kinda am a crazy dog lady after all.
I was doing some thinking today about Sable and her dashing out the front door ways. One she gets out, she runs laps around the neighborhood and will run back into the house if I refuse to chase her – a suggestion from the dog trainer. I’ve had a German Shepherd growing up, but we had her from a puppy so she was trained from the get go. The nature of the breed is to have a high need for exercise and purpose, but my previous GSD wasn’t as demanding of exercise as she should have been. (She used to carry around a stuff dolphin for security and comfort, and put herself in the corner when she did something wrong, so I don’t think she was a typical GSD at all.)
Anyway, it occurred to me that one of Sable’s issues is most likely related to her not getting enough exercise. We have a decent sized backyard that she runs laps in when I let her out and they get to go to the dog park to run off leash, but I suspected she still needed more. I’ve decided to walk her more regularly to wear her down. She is surprisingly good on the leash, and having the time just with me seems to really boost her spirit. I’m hoping it helps with her with her anxiety as well. I need to step it up with her training as well. She is a smart dog, despite my frustrations with her. I think she needs to be challenged more.
See, this is why dog ownership is not something to rush into. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it.
Oh, NaNoWriMo, you were within my grasp. Oh who am I kidding? We were never meant to be. As it turns out, I can’t really write a novel in 30 days probably at all. Being the nutter that I am, just the concept of churning out 50,000 words in a month was driving me bonkers. Who can write a decent novel in a month? Not me. I can’t even write a bad novel because my brain goes into strike mode. Anyway, I was moping around and my husband finally asked why I even set myself up for things like this. Challenges are good. I love a good challenge. But I tend to give myself a dozen challenges at once and expect myself to win everything. It doesn’t work that way, and I’m usually too stubborn to realize this right away. Ergo, I’m tossing in the towel for NaNoWriMo. I still plan on writing the story, but I’m not rushing into it without feeling like I have a good understanding of the story and characters.
Although, maybe instead of giving up completely on NaNoWriMo, I’ll bust out some Scooby-Doo fanfic? I KNOW my Scooby-Doo. It would be the greatest fanfic to ever exist.
Last political post for a long time, I promise. Last night was interesting to watch. I don’t remember at what point in my adult life where a Presidential election began to have an emotional impact on me, but it certainly does now. Funny enough, I actually don’t care to talk politics. It seems like something so out of scope of our day to day lives, and yet it is such a divider amongst people. I don’t like to classify people as one political party or another. Yes, my candidate of choice won. But I won’t gloat about it. I won’t point at you and accuse you of being stupid for not voting my way. I won’t tell you that you’ve doomed the country or that some deity is going to send you to hell because of your beliefs. One of the greatest freedoms allowed to us in this country is to vote how we choose and have open political discourse. As I may have alluded to in my previous (albeit, alcohol-fueled rant), religion and politics is a hot topic for me. I believe government should be a neutral-free zone. You are free to worship whomever or however you choose, but don’t assume to make decisions for an entire body of people that reflects your personal religious beliefs. We don’t all worship the same god. That, too, is one of the greatest freedoms this country allows us.
Anyway, I lasted the whole election before my head exploded and my mouth got me into trouble. That may be a new record for me.
I am not delusional to think any person could fix the mess that we got into after 8 years of Bush’s reign in a mere 4 years. What President Obama inherited was a freaking mess.
I believe that EVERYONE deserves equal rights. Don’t give me that shit about the sanctity of marriage. Your religious beliefs have no business in the governing of a country, especially when they so easily deny the rights of an entire group of people.
I’m a woman. I work in a field where I am still a minority. I deserve equal pay. I deserve not to be put into a binder to be considered for a job. My abilities and experience should speak for itself regardless of my gender.
I don’t believe a silver spoon-fed, rich, white male can speak to what it is to work for a living. Rolling up your sleeves does not make you one of us.
Mitt’s hair IS fabulous. But that is not enough to get my vote.
PBS <> Sesame Workshop. So any arguments about the amount of money Sesame Street gets in revenue or marketing is null and void. What is the value of PBS? See here.
Eating Halloween candy during the results is not as good as an idea as it sounds.
I’d go to the gym instead and avoid all this result coverage, but I already started drinking.
Holy Moses, is it hard to write a novel! I don’t know how professional writers do it. Well, I mean other than they have talent. I have ideas and the ideas are developing, but little things throw me off. How does one, for example, write dialog without it sounding trite and forced? Can I do a novel with no dialog? That would make it a lot easier. Telepathy. Only telepathy. I feel like I’m supposed to have mind maps or story maps or an outline at the very least. I have a paper with ideas scribbled down. Clearly, I am an expert at novel writing.
As my ideas develop, I’m trying to understand the characters, which seems like it should be easier than it is. After all, I’m the one creating them. Shouldn’t I know already what makes them tick? But no. I don’t. I go back and think about them some more, and that’s more time that I’m not writing. Then I get all concerned about it and BOOM! Self-inflicted writer’s block. I can’t force myself to write when I’m too worked up about word counts and deadlines.
Somehow, I force out some words. Back to dialog. How many ways can I possible describe how someone said something? They asked. They said. Why am I over-thinking all of this? Maybe I should read another book by a real writer and take notes. I know what I don’t like in books: over-descriptive paragraphs about Ikea furniture or stupid euphemisms for sex. Luckily, my story doesn’t call for any situations that would require me to work around those.
Right now, I have two or three pages down. My story has not progressed anywhere but in my head. Maybe I should have written a pirate romance story instead. That seems like it would be fairly easy to do, and I could probably have fun creating good euphemisms for sex. “He unsheathed his trusty cutlass.” See? Much easier than anything of substance. The success of 50 Shades of Twilight FanFic should have tipped me off to that one.
It is an interesting exercise in the very least, but I’m convinced it’s making me more frustrated than I was before, back in the days where I just toyed with the idea of possibly writing something “when I have time”. I’m not completely confident in my ability to get out 50,000 words that make sense in a month’s time. I shouldn’t even panic about it because it’s not like I stand to lose or gain anything, other than pride. And who needs that?
They should have a National Wing It Month. I could wing it like nobody’s business. What I’m winging could be completely up to me. Just don’t give me a quota for my winging.
It’s that time o’ year – the November NaBloPoMo! Maybe it’s a weird thing to get excited about; I don’t know. I’m considering doing the NaNoWriMo as well, if I can get my hands to cooperate. And my brain needs to cooperate as well. My brain would be a lot nicer to me if I didn’t have so many distractions, like a certain dog (ahem..Sable..) who likes to nudge me over and over again and then run off when I try to pet her. She has issues, obviously. Crazy pants issues. But when she has moments of sanity, she is so cuddly, so all is forgiven and forgotten.
Anyway, today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is “Tell us your favourite quotation and why.” I have to admit, this one is going to make me really think. If it was a movie quote, well heck, ANYTHING from “Jaws”. Seriously, have you watched “Jaws” recently and truly appreciated the natural flow of dialogue in that film? It’s magic. And for the record, my favorite quotation on Facebook is “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!”, from Planet of the Apes (the original, with crazy-ass Charlton Heston”). I have no explanation for that one.
As for a quote that really drives and inspires me, I certainly don’t have anything framed. I would have to pinpoint Hunter S. Thompson though as the source of quotes that make me smile and nod in agreement.
Here are two of my favorites:
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.”
I consider myself a professional that is both weird and crazy, so I get this. I feel most at ease in the awkward situations I tend to get myself into. The stranger, the better. It’s a good reminder to me to take my meds. (Ha!) Being the creative type, my quirks help me, whether I’m designing or programming or cooking up some new venture to try. I used to wonder what it would be like to be very linear in my thinking and function “normally”, but I realized that I’m just not wired that way. I like my eccentricities, as long as they don’t interfere.
Recently, I participated in a call to learn more about Oxfam America’s GROW Method. The GROW Campaign’s goal is to “build a better food system” through sustainability. Sustainability is one of those concepts that I whole-heartedly back, but am completely shaky about how to put it into practice in my own life. I had envisioned a flock of livestock in my suburban backyard, which would be utter chaos around Sable. (I do not doubt for one second that she would attempt to eat a goat.) Luckily for me and my delusional plans, it’s much, much simpler.The GROW Method has five simple steps:
Save Food. Reduce the food waste. I cannot tell you how much food I end up tossing because of my own poor planning. Just the other day I was tossing out meat that went uncooked and vegetables that sat too long uneaten and went bad. It’s shameful. Not only the costs that I’m burning through, but the waste in general. GROW suggests saving food by storing smarter, saving leftovers and planning meals.
Shop Seasonal. It is a luxury to buy fruits and veggies at any time of the year, but there’s a reason nature intended it all to be seasonal. The process of growing year round wastes a lot of energy. An easy fix is to plant your own. This is the step I’m very excited about. For a long time, I’ve wanted my own garden, and now that I own my digs it’s entirely feasible. I just have to educate myself on how to grow things, since any plant I have tried to keep does much better without my intervention. I call it a Black Thumb. I’m staying positive though. If I can have blackberry bushes thriving in my backyard, I will be in heaven. I have wonderful memories of hiking with my family and picking fresh blackberries as a child. It’s just not the same to buy a mass produced pint of them at the grocery store year-round.
Less Meat. Sorry, Paleo-lovers. Being a reformed vegetarian (I discovered bacon), this one is going to be tough for me. But, just giving up meat once a week can help. See, all those livestock use up a good portion of clean drinking water. In fact, according to Oxfam, a family of four can save the equivalent of 17 bathtubs of water by going one day without meat. My family does go meatless more often than I realize, but I would like to find something besides spaghetti to include. Wait, did I just suggest that I need recipes? They’ve got me covered – http://pinterest.com/oxfamgrowmethod/less-meaty-meals/
Support Farmers. Give back to the people who are working so hard to provide you with food by supporting fair trade products. Stop buy local farmers markets; not only are you supporting the smaller farmers, but you’re supporting your local community.
Cook Smart. This is a simple fix. Take a good look at your kitchen routine. Are you using way more water than you need to cook your food? Are you multitasking in the kitchen or cooking one thing at a time? Easier still, unplug that ol’ microwave and other appliances when not in use. (I’m running to unplug my microwave and toaster myself!)
That’s it. Five steps to take to help the millions of people who don’t have enough food. None of them require a drastic upset of my life. I want my kids to be part of this process as well. It’s important to me that they understand the impact little choices can have on a global scale. Saying “there’s starving people in China” doesn’t have quite the impact on kids anymore – if it had a big impact to begin with. Oxfam has me covered though with the Dinner Discussion Guide. There are plenty of good talking points that I think I can bring up with my kids.
Consider joining me as I dive into the GROW method. 5 simple steps. That’s it! No backyard livestock/chickens required. (Okay, I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed by that one.)
This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about Oxfam America’s GROW Method. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.