Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dear Mystery Philanthropist,

First, thank you for getting this far into the letter. I would like to ask for a few things that would make my life sooooo much easier. Yes, they are rather mundane and ordinary, but gosh, if you are throwing money into the fireplace for fun, well, please reconsider and buy me the following items:

  • A cleaning person, because...I relapse into major depression when I look at how much hair and dirt is produced by two slobbering puppies who ingest large items of furniture and constantly wrestle; thereby coating everything within a 10-foot radius with skidmarks, hair, eye boogers and drool; a 14 year-old cat who won't stay out of the garbage, steals dog food and chews through plastic bread, cracker and coffee bags; a 13 year-old cat whose periodontal disease causes a constant drip of vicious-smelling spit; a 12 year-old cat who has recently decided to lose control of his bowels for no medically discernable reason; and two 2 year-old cats who attack one another atop the armoire, sending hair clods into the air like furry scud missles falling to Earth. And dear God, bless little Pickles, our 14 year-old dog, who mostly sleeps and couldn't care less about making a mess of anything.
  • A new mailbox (pictured for your viewing pleasure), because...some asshole keeps hitting a homer on ours. Sometime last night the entire top half and door underwent a decapitation process. (I wonder what the mailman will do with our mail today? I can't believe he just laid it in there!)
  • A real garage, because...ours is a giant storage closet. And being built in 1930, the doors are hardly automatic as well being just wide enough for a Model T.
  • One year's salary, because...I would just like to go to school and fulfill my internship for my last year.
  • New throw rugs, because...the 12-year old cat ruined my favorite two rugs, not to mention the hardwood floor underneath (throw in hardwood floor refinishing, also, please).
  • Someone to come in and wash all of my underwear, because...the pair I have on today has a big hole in them.

    That should do it for today. Tomorrow I'll probably have more items for you. This week would be good. Have your people call

  • Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    watch out for dangerous port-a-potties...

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    I don't do the limbo very well...

    It's not that I'm not flexible. For a 41 year-old, I dare say I am quite flexible, but I ain't talking about dancin'. Way too many things are up in the air for me right now.

    One thing that did land squarely on the ground was my internship for next year. I did get the veterinary social work position I was wanting so much. I am very excited about that. I will work there three days a week fall and spring semesters. It's a large university vet clinic so I'll see everything from puppies to alpacas and tigers. There are lots of components to the program, including the obvious counseling for folks who have a tough time with the grief process. It's a very unique opportunity that will probably never come my way again.

    I'll also be in class and work 20 more hours part-time (I hope). Our company's benefits are three times more costly when you go part-time, so I will basically be working to provide benefits. That sucks. Hubby is 100 percent commission, so I'm just praying for promptly paying customers. I'll be playing the part of "Guido with the baseball bat" if they don't!

    I deal with change okay, but not necessarily instability plus change. Ever since Daddy died I seem to be oversensitive to stress of any kind, which has really frustrated me. I've been moving at a snail's pace ever since.

    I am finally starting to paint again, thank God. I couldn't get into the studio until I put some of Daddy's things away in a closet. Now it doesn't hurt so much to go in there. I need to build an inventory of about 40 paintings for a show in November, so I need to get going! I'm still going to have some smaller "warm-ups" for Ebay soon, but for the most part I'll be saving all my work for November. After the show I'll have a bunch up on Ebay (well, hopefully not as many as I took to the show!). I've not been really pleased with the "warm-ups," but part of it is a negative attitude I think. I have a hard time believing I deserve to be in this show, but I reckon' I need to get over that and get busy!

    Hope your Monday goes like a Friday today!

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    ants in his pants, or...

    Go see MATT, courtesy of Barry

    so much for that...

    So much for getting out and having fun. So much for bringing in the pups to work. So much for...hoark...we interrupted that message for a stomach virus. A really, really ugly one...a porcelain-hugging one. And I don't do porcelain-hugging unless forced against my will. 'Nuff said.

    Now I'll be stuck with working on Sunday to meet Monday's deadlines. Yippee. Not to mention doing about eight hours of studying for class. Actually, five or six of those hours have been done thankfully, but I still have a chapter and four essay questions to write up. Bleh.

    I'm using vacation time at work to cover the rest of my internship hours, which sucks, but I have a finite amount of energy at the moment. Work is sad, unproductive and stressful right now. I worry about going part-time and I worry that the part-time job I'm waiting for won't be approved and I'll be screwed. More importantly, someone I've worked with for many years is about to lose a parent to illness and the office has become a place of unrest, tears and frustration. I feel for this person who isn't sleeping at all, and who is still trying to fulfill many obligations that, in my opinion, just oughta wait. I really felt bad for missing a day of work when this person could have used my help. I worked as much as I could from home, but I know it would have been better if I had been there. Nothin' I can do about it now.

    A couple of months ago I asked my mom, "When does it stop feeling like it was just yesterday?"

    She said, "a really long time."

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    are you bringing your pup?

    Tomorrow is national Take Your Dog to Work Day

    Now, you don't even have to tempt me. It's just that I need to pick who to bring.

    Petey, who is more manageable because he's small...


    Pepper, who needs socialization.

    Pickles, our 14 year-old, would not be interested in the whole soiree for more than 35.2 seconds, so I'm going to let her get her rest on what is left of the couch (if you missed that post, Pepper ate the couch).

    Of course Petey did try to pee on a stack of dog food bags at Pet Supplize Pluz, but I yanked him away before the stream hit the I had to tell the cashier she had "a clean-up on aisle seven."

    Then, Pepper has decided she needs to drag us for walks. We have since tried the "Gentul Leadur"...and, let me just say, it works IMMEDIATELY. Pepper was practically digging up concrete and now she walks with a LOOSE LEASH after ONE WALK. So, if you have a persistent puller, get one of these things...they're worth every penny.

    Tonight, I'm off to my first MINI meeting with the Smoky Mountain MINI Club and then it's off to hear Rhett Miller play at Sundown in the City. It should be a fun night. :-)

    Toodles, all...and don't forget to contact your legislator about voting for HR 503--the bill that would end horse slaughter in this country.

    House of Representatives to Vote on a Permanent End to Horse Slaughter

    [from SAPL...]

    House of Representatives to Vote on a Permanent End to Horse Slaughter!
    The American public must be heard like never before!

    June 22, 2006

    Dear Humanitarian:

    Since the Society for Animal Protective Legislations national campaign against horse slaughter began in 2001, our ultimate goal has been passage of a permanent horse slaughter ban. We have just learned House of Representatives Leadership has assured the sponsors of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act that a vote on the measure will take place on the House floor before June 30.

    Sponsored in the House by Congressional Horse Caucus Co-chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt, Jr. (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), the Act will end the slaughter of horses for human consumption and the domestic and international transport of live horses or horseflesh for the same purpose. Just last year, over 90,000 horses were slaughtered in the three foreign-owned horse slaughter facilities located in Texas and Illinois.

    We have always believed that, if given a fair chance and an open vote, Congress would support this complete ban. Four separate times, it has demonstrated interest in stopping horse slaughter for wild and domestic horses by voting in favor of amendments. The upcoming vote is crucial, and it represents a culmination of five years of hard work by supporters from across the United States. It is vital for everyone you know to call their Representative immediately and urge a YES vote for the Act.


    Please call or fax your Representative TODAY, asking him or her to vote in favor of H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Keep checking your email every day for the latest news, and continue to contact your Representative until the vote has transpired.

    When talking with your Representative's office please include some of the additional facts about horse slaughter listed below.

    To locate your Representatives contact information and to learn more about horse slaughter and the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act please visit

    Please share our Dear Humanitarian eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to call or fax their Members of Congress, too. Thank you very much for your help!

    Cathy Liss
    Legislative Director

    Sign up for SAPL eAlerts to receive the latest legislative news on what you can do to help us protect all animals.

    Last year three foreign-owned slaughter plants cruelly slaughtered more than 90,000 horses for human consumption in Europe and Asia. Tens of thousands more of America's horses were exported from the U.S. and slaughtered in other countries.
    Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia. Horses suffer horribly on the way to and during slaughter.

    Passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) will reduce animal suffering ­ hence its wide support throughout the equestrian and veterinary world, as well as the humane community.

    Americans overwhelmingly support an end to horse slaughter for human consumption (polls from Kentucky, Virginia, Texas and Utah respectively show that 82, 74, 72 and 69 percent of those questioned oppose the practice). In California, a 1998 ballot initiative (Prop. 6) banning horse slaughter for human consumption passed with 60 percent of the vote.

    Sick and old horses to slaughter

    Question: Is it true that slaughter is only a last resort for infirm, dangerous or no longer serviceable horses?

    Answer: 92.3 percent of horses arriving at slaughter plants in this country are in "good" condition, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter.

    Neglect and abuse

    Question: Will horse abuse and neglect cases rise significantly following a ban on slaughter?

    Answer: There has been no documented rise in abuse and neglect cases in California since the state banned horse slaughter for human consumption in 1998. There was no documented rise in Illinois following closure of the state's only horse slaughter plant in 2002 and its reopening in 2004.

    Cost of caring for unwanted horses

    Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter, will horse rescue and retirement groups have the resources to take care of unwanted horses? Should the government have to pay for the care of horses voluntarily given up by their owners?

    Answer: Not every horse currently going to slaughter will need to be absorbed into the rescue community many will be sold to a new owner, others will be kept longer and a licensed veterinarian will humanely euthanize some. Opponents of this legislation admit passage of the bill will not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of horses sent to rescue facilities, precisely because humane euthanasia is so widely used. It is not the government's responsibility to provide for the care of horses voluntarily given up by their owners, as these animals are private property. Hundreds of horse rescue organizations operate around the country, and additional facilities are being established (a list is available).

    A safe and humane solution for sick, old and unwanted horses

    Question: If slaughter is not an option, what will we do with sick, old and unwanted horses?

    Answer: Approximately 900,000 horses die annually in this country (10 percent of an estimated population of 9 million) and the vast majority are not slaughtered, but euthanized and rendered or buried without any negative environmental impact instead. Humane euthanasia and carcass disposal is highly affordable and widely available. The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225, while the average monthly cost of keeping a horse is approximately $200.

    Export of horses for slaughter abroad

    Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter in the United States, will there be an increase in the export of horses for foreign slaughter? Will horses suffer from longer transport for slaughter in countries where there may be weaker welfare laws?

    Answer: Horse slaughter has declined dramatically in the United States over the past decade, but there has been no correlating increase in the number of American horses exported for slaughter abroad. Further, the AHSPA prohibits the export of horses for slaughter abroad, and contains clear enforcement and penalty provisions to prevent this from happening. Risk of federal prosecution and the high costs associated with illegally transporting horses long distances for slaughter abroad are strong deterrents.

    Standards of care at sanctuaries and rescue organizations

    Question: Is it true no standards exist for horse rescue facilities that take unwanted horses?

    Answer: The Doris Day Animal League and the Animal Welfare Institute published "Basic Guidelines for Operating an Equine Rescue or Retirement Facility" in 2004. Additionally, the Association of Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuaries Association provide accreditation programs, a code of ethics and guidelines for the operation of sanctuaries and rescue organizations. Horse rescue groups must also provide for the welfare of horses in their custody in compliance with state and local animal welfare laws.

    Use of horsemeat in pet food

    Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter, will horsemeat no longer be available for pet food?

    Answer: There is no horsemeat in pet food. This practice stopped decades ago and has some connection to the enactment of protections for America's wild horses in 1971. The US public and Congress were outraged to learn federal agencies were rounding up and allowing the exploitation and slaughter of these national treasures for items such as pet food. Some by-products of the horse slaughter industry are used in various consumer items, but they are derived from the rendering (a different process than slaughter and not affected by the AHSPA) of dead horses and other animals.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    countdown to chaos...

    It's a mere two months until I leave a communications career of 17 years. I had hoped to stay on part-time while I finished school, but they wouldn't arrange it for me...which, well...I'll be nice.

    So, I'm about to leave a group of people, some with whom I've worked since 1989.

    Nineteen-eighty-nine...When I had big hair and wore skirts so short it made my boss nervous. I was a freakin' kid. In a company that's grown to nearly 8,500 employees, there have been many departments and companies to provide change, and I've held many jobs while I've been here, albeit all in marketing/pr/communications.

    I actually used my degree.

    Fancy that.

    Now I'm 2 1/2 semesters away from getting another degree that will launch another career. I wonder if I'll work at the same place for 17 more years? Who knows? I seem to be one of those people who grow roots wherever they land. That's good. That's bad.

    Every once in a while I think of leaving this relatively safe job and I get a jolt of electricity in the old solar plexus - the reeling sort of feeling you get when you realize that, yes, you did in fact miss that nail with the hammer, and yes, you just smashed your finger into its fascimile three times the original size.

    Objects are (much) closer than they appear.

    It's sneaking up on me and I'm starting to miss people. People I've really enjoyed working with are actually sad. Hell, I didn't even know you liked me! I guess a few people do. They must not have been faking it.

    I worry about writing and editing - and stuff. Will I suddenly become illiterate when I leave this field where I work and play with words all day? Will I forget all the proofreader's marks? Will I actually attend the Writer's Guild I just joined so I can stay involved with my "writing side?" Or maybe I'll start using sentence fragments a lot? Or maybe all the time. Or maybe in addition to forgetting that "alot" is really two words. Oh, the worry, the angst, the adjectives of it all!

    Will I forget how to code simple webpages? I work with our intranet everyday; soon, not at all. Will I never close a tag again? Will I become isolated in a big ocean of non-gadgety information and never live up to my dream of being a wanna-be nerd?

    I didn't expect to be scared. I didn't expect to grieve the end of this career that has been on my nerves for so long. I didn't expect to whine this much.

    (I didn't expect anyone to read this!)

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    hey, our humane society has balls...

    or rather they're trying to get rid of them.

    This June, lop 'em off. Click the logo to see the flier. My dad would have surely snickered at such a thing. Sure ain't no fun having Father's Day without him. Miss you, Pop.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    is it just me, or...?

    Every time I log into Yah00! mail it drives me crazy that there's a picture and heading that are completely incongruent.

    For instance, there will be a picture of a crazy (and I do mean crazy) old guy screaming his brains out in a tent, and the cutline reads...

    "Find an old flame"

    Um, maybe you're better off if you don't. This dude has issues! He's screaming at a tent no less.

    Or today, there's two chicks in their early 20's running from the incoming surf, and the cutline reads...

    "You deserve the best."

    I'll let you come to your own conclusions; there are several.

    Granted, a few are relevant, but some of them just have me cocking my head to the side like a beagle.

    It all started with the crazy guy in the tent. That's the one that gets me.

    gimme some monkey lip...

    One of the funnier things I've gotten lately from my husband--Monk-e-mail.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    today's quiz!

    Closely study the picture below.

    Now, is this a picture of:

    a) a crack house (minus the addicts)
    b) an attempt to find out how a couch is constructed
    c) the result of boozed up lunatic with a chainsaw
    d) the result of two puppies, who in three weeks destroyed a nice couch that used to be in our living room


    Ding! Ding! Ding! Even though I am fascinated with the construction of the couch (b), if you answered "d," you are correct!

    We used to have this couch in our living room. When we got some new furniture a couple of years ago, we put our old couch in the cellar where our laundry room is (I know it looks haunted down there--a la old house charm). Sadie and Pickles always had cool water, perfect 70 degree temps. year-round and a nice new couch to nap on while we were gone. There's also a doggie door that goes into a fenced in area outside.

    Now, in less than a month, Pepper, and to a lesser extent Petey, have completely...well... eaten that same couch.

    More pictures of the destruction. Click for BIG.

    Like I always say, "Oh well..."

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    mostly Pepper...with her toys...

    a few historical points...

    What do you think of this presentation?

    A friend of mine, who is also an avid historian, sent this to me.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    let's play...

    A very poor quality video I took with my digital camera...the puppies are GROWING!

    Petey and Pepper playing What's YOURS is MINE...and what's MINE...IS MINE, TOO!

    people who have more disposable income than moi...

    Way too cute. A lot of you have probably already seen it, but if not you'll enjoy (just try to not cringe at the potential waste of dollars)...

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    the real scoop on the origin of dogs...

    (If you've seen it before, well, sorry 'bout that...)

    HOW DOGS CAME TO BE: Where do pets come from?

    A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

    Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

    And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves."

    And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

    And it was a good animal.

    And God was pleased.

    And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

    And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

    And God said, "I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

    And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

    And they were comforted.

    And God was pleased.

    And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

    After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

    And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

    And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

    And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

    And Adam and Eve learned humility.

    And they were greatly improved.

    And God was pleased.

    And Dog was happy.

    And Cat didn't give a shit one way or the other.

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    National Kitty Pimping Day...

    Okay, so I made that up, but I am pimping a kitty named Aldo. If you're in the area and you're looking for an adorable tuxedo-sort-of-guy, Aldo's your man. Aldo belongs to a friend of mine who took in a pregnant kitty and voila! kittens. (You do know to spay and neuter your animals, yes!?)

    Anyway, now that Aldo is here, he needs some lovin' as my friend can't keep all the babies. If you're a kitty-parent-in-waiting, give me a shout at

    Okay, so that's fake, too, but the link opens up to the right address.

    What do you expect from a freakin' pimp?!

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    every once in a while...

    you have to revisit Dooce. I really loved this post on her Alpha Mom site. Thanks to Britney at Nashville is Talking for pointing it out.

    On another animal-relationship-sort-of-note, I'm interviewing for next year's social work intern placement at University of Tennessee's vet school. They have one of the country's few formal veterinary social work programs. I've been wanting the internship ever since its formation a few years ago, and now I'm eligible for it.

    I'll share more about it later once I have the interview. :-) Woof, wish me luck.

    trouser chili...

    The words alone make it recent favorite My Cat Hates You posting.

    I send in my cats' photos, but the bastard never gives me the honor of a caption. Hey, mister, MY cats hate YOU! Um, so there.

    Trouser chili, heh.

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Smidget to the Rescue!

    Smidget and I (and my mom) went on a cat rescue adventure June 4. We were part of a seven-cat rescue relay to Atlanta...all Persians! They are all stretched out, cleaned up and getting ready for new homes now! Smidget can put a lot of booty in her boot if she needs to! Oh, and the above pic was taken on the way home with the exposure set at 10 sec...warp speed!

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    this GERDle is too tight for me...

    Welcome to the GERD-le of mid-life, tightly laced with purple pills and the squeeze of "ha-ha-you-just-thought-I-was-a-heart-attack" esophageal spasms.

    Hilarity at its best. Comedy Channel funny.

    I have arrived, hand on the wheel and pill-in-hand, flux-capacitor over-fluxing; speeding down the super-highway of antacid-altered reality.

    Maybe that's what the eggs were trying to tell me.

    Leaving a career of nearly 20 years and looking at cutting my salary by 75 percent over the next year while I finish school has gotten me GERD-ishly green.

    Saturday night after dinner I started having significant chest discomfort and nausea. By the guidelines, fodder for the emergency room.

    Except I had recently had my heart checked, cathed, EP'd, everything-you-can-thing-of-grammed.

    So I didn't go, but I wasn't having any fun in the meantime.

    The next day I put new flowers on my father's grave to replace the old, faded ones. A year-and-a-half and still no grass will grow on his grave.

    I said, "Maybe he wasn't ready to go."

    Later that night, my chest discomfort turned into double-you-over-Sanford-and-Son chest pain--spasms that had me clutching my chest just like the old man.

    Still, I did not go, but I did get a quick EKG screening from a healthcare friend. No abnormalities.

    Instead of taking it easy that night, I ate hot spicy Thai food from my favorite restaurant.

    Drunken Noodle, spicy 3/5, please; coconut soup, no meat and Diet Coke

    It went down like razor blades. The true test of GERD. I ate every bite anyway--it was so good. I didn't care. I wasn't having a heart attack (I knew I wasn't, but confirmation is GERD when you need it).

    Still no grass on his grave and maybe I wasn't ready for him to go. I had a hard time getting the flowers there. I had a hard time ordering them. I had a hard time deciding what day to take them. I had a hard time driving up there to place them. I had a hard time controlling the urge to dig him up and ask him why, why now, that we were close for the very first time, why did you leave? Why did you leave just when I was on the verge of having the thing I longed for my whole life? To be close to my own father; to know he was finally proud; to know he thought I was really a good person.

    I can take a purple pill for the GERD, but it's going to take the slow, watered-down medicine of Time for the broken heart.

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