A few digital scrapbooking attempts...

Alright, so I'm getting better at this, but it's kind of hard and there is definitely a learning curve!  So far, the animals have been my muse, mainly because I have more pictures of them than anything else.  I'm wanting to make an engagement set, and a vacation set, but I need to find the right layouts first.


A week of firsts

I've finally discovered a hobby that doesn't completely overwhelm me!  Digital scrapbooking!  It really seems to be my speed...and I've figured out how to do it with Picnik, so that's great, because Photoshop in and of itself makes me want to bury my head under the covers and keep it there.  I can't do quite as much with Picnik as I can with Photoshop, of course, but I'm having a lot of fun with it.  And as much as I love manual scrapbooking, it really does overwhelm me.  So many choices, and so many events to scrapbook, and it takes soooo long.  And you have to go develop the pictures, and if you mess up, you're SOL.  I'll post some creations in the near future.

Thanks to a favorite dogblog of mine, Life with Dogs , I won my first ever online giveaway!  I won a glorious, seafoam green Expression Flexileash.  These aren't cheap!  I looked it up online, and they have a retail value of $39.99.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  Plus it's always fun to win stuff, and I never do.

This leash will probably be used primarily for Fiona, as she's the obstinate one who refuses to learn the command "heel".  You wouldn't think it to look at her, but to walk that dog on a leash is the equivalent of being pulled by a tow truck.  I can't count the number of times she's drug me across the parking lot.  Arley, on the other hand, was born to walk on a leash.  She walks in step with me without a problem, and we've never really had to train her.  Their personalities could easily be assessed by the way they walk on their leashes.  Headstrong and stubborn versus laidback and goes-with-the-flow.  Those are my girls!

 Another first this week: first real rescue!  Tomorrow, Shawn and I are headed to Effingham, Illinois to pick up Buster Brown, a gorgeous yellow Lab on his way to his forever home.  Buster is part of a "lab rescue train", he was adopted from Columbus, Missouri...all the way from Massachusetts!  In order to get him to the great Northeast, rescuers have put together a journey of legs that take Buster part of the way through his long journey.  We are leg 3 of Buster's journey.  The awesome rescue is helping to pay for the gas it takes to get there, so really, it's just a donation of time.  I saw the post on the Humane Society of Indianapolis's Facebook page, and I thought, what the hell?  I will feel a lot better about doing something like this than I would about sitting around all day.

Also, for those of you that aren't aware, the Northeast has much less of an unwanted animal problem because they have stricter spay and neuter laws in place.  As such, adoptable dogs and cats are in somewhat of a demand up there.  As such, devoted rescuers of animals help transport them to their new homes up north.  You might be familiar with Last Chance Highway, a mini-series featured on the Animal Planet that documented a similar thing.  Only that was on a much larger scale.

That said, I really, really appreciate the people in my life who don't chastise me for what I'm passionate about.  It's fine if you think I'm crazy, but please don't give me crap for it.  Please don't tell me how ridiculous I am.  There are many, many worse things about which I could be passionate. And no matter how trivial so much of the world deems it to be, to me, it's huge.  Helping even one dog get to its forever home gives me a high I can't describe.  Because being the voice for those who do not have one is what I believe in.  Because being the change is not just talking about it---but living it, too.  So that's why I'm doing it.  That's why I'm spending about five hours on the road tomorrow, devoting a huge chunk of my precious weekend to "just a dog" --- because, to someone in Massachusetts, he's more than that.   And I have barely even scratched the surface of animal rescue.  There are so many more people who do so much more than I've ever done--- who devote their lives to saving those "just dogs" and "just cats".  And to those people, I commend you, and hope to emulate that someday.

I'm going to explore this subject in more detail in other entry.   I'll also keep you posted on how our rescuers-down-under adventure goes tomorrow!

Meanwhile, my animals are being extra cute today.  So enjoy some puppy porn, and birdie porn, for those of you who fancy that sort of thing:

"I don't really like having my picture taken, so I'm gonna squirrel up my mouth and ruin the picture."

Archie is most proud of his vibrant colors when he's surrounded by the repetitive colors of fall leaves. And can I just say how proud I am of this picture?!

Always Looking Up: Adventures of Arley the Eternal Optimist

The neighbor's dog should bark more often, I'd get better pictures.
She really, really wants that ball.  But she is really, really too lazy to get it.


a list

1. I care way too much what other people think.
2. Everytime I sit down to write a blog post, I get interrupted.
3.  All I want to write about is dogstuff.
4. I can't stop thinking about moving to the country and starting a dog rescue. 

5.  No one reads this blog, and I prefer it that way.
6. I'm exhausted, and there just aren't enough hours in the day.
7. I'm too lazy to actually write a real post, so I'm just listing everything.
8.  I miss creativity via writing.
The end


Halloween Weekend

Quiet. Not a noise I hear all that often these days, and certainly not this weekend. Before I get into all that, I'm going to take a moment to savor the sheer...quiet of it all. Shawn has finally given up work for the evening and is passed out on the couch, beneath a blanket far too small for his long and lanky physique. I know this because his toes are peeking out of the end of it. We finally turned off the light next to Archie's cage, so he, too has retired to a peaceful slumber (and given us all a break from his squawking). Fiona and Arley are sleeping next to me, though they haven't retired for the night yet because they need to step outside and do their evening business. As for me, I have abandoned any hope of having a clean house with which to start the work week, and as such, have decided to put it off for another day and write a little.

We had a great Halloween weekend! Quite eventful, which I welcomed, for a change. Normally, I become quite grumpy if I don't get enough "me" time, which usually equates to "down" time. But we were busy and it was fun and the social obligations didn't feel as much like obligations, I just plain old looked forward to them.

Friday night we went to one of our favorite little pubs with one of our favorite couples: PJ O'Keefe's with Kelli & Nate. Love these kids. This particular pub is one that's in the suburbs of Indianapolis, so it doesn't necessarily attract a younger crowd (which is just fine with me as it was good conversations, drinks, and laughs we sought). Nevertheless, the four of us decided to dress up. I mean, how many times a year do we, as twenty somethings with lives and responsibilities, get to dress up in costumes and be characters of our choosing? So we dressed up. A sexy baseball player, a scarecrow, & Robin Hood & Friar Tuck all made their way into this suburban strip mall pub. And oh the looks we got from people! Lest I forget to mention it, we were four of the maybe five individuals in the whole place dressed up. Everyone else had likely come from work or was just boring and not lively and didn't get in the Halloween spirit. I like to think the looks we received were looks of jealousy, for being young, beautiful, and fun-loving. Pictures of youth that had passed them by...but it's likely that's a little dramatic.

Anyway, hours passed, we got used to the stares, and eventually it ceased to matter. We got drunk and we forgot the world existed for awhile, just us and our cast of characters, enjoying good drinks and good times with the greatest of friends.

...I spent most of the day Saturday trying to recover.   Meagan's little girl was with her daddy for Halloween, which sucks for her because she didn't get to take Amirah trick-or-treating, but was good for us because we got to get together and partake in weekend festivities together.  She and her boyfriend, Billy, joined us in our recovery efforts for the day, as they had also gone out the night before.  We went to see the last Saw movie, were pissed for a multitude of reasons.  The first being that our movie theatre wasn't showing it in 3D (big bummer!), the second being that the movie just all around was not good.  Gory, yes.  Realistic?  Not at all.  We spent more time laughing at the cheesy dialogue and terrible acting than we did actually being frightened or even repulsed.  Big disappointment there.

Later in the evening, Shawn and I had a couple of Halloween parties to which we planned to go.  The four of us got ready and began our night at Jenn's---taking pictures and bonding with her adorable new puppy.  We then went over to our friend Scott's house for a pretty badass Halloween party.  I don't recall a good portion of the night, though I do know that Shawn and I left for a brief period to go to another party we were invited to down the road---my friend and coworker Casey's house.  Good times all around.  Bonfires and beer and people in silly costumes---just can't quite go wrong there.

Back to Scott's house--- we played what seemed like several hours of flippy cup in which I determined that my flippy cup skills are significantly better than my beer pong skills, and that says nothing at all.  I reached a point in the night when I couldn't stomach the thought of anymore to drink and was, in all honesty, just very tired.  The good Friar drove Pocahontas and myself home, after which he fell asleep and Pocahontas and I ordered Cheesy Bread and had a very in-depth, drunken discussion about politics.  Ohhhh the memories.  It also occurred to me as I was typing this that I've spent the past four Halloweens with Jenn--- and our evenings usually always end in a similar way. 

I actually felt pretty good on Sunday.  I spent it lounging about in my pajamas, we also had our very first trick-or-treaters tonight!  Shawn even morphed back into Friar Tuck for the occasion.  Kinda fun, I must say!

I'll end on that positive note, and leave you with some pictures of Halloweens past:

 A witch and a Catholic school girl.  This was our sophomore year, also known as my first year as an IU student.  Epic. 
A devil and a bumblebee in Indy.  See that feather boa around my neck?  Jenn and Brian were still finding feathers from it a year and a half later.  Oops!
Our dogs hated us this night.  I loved that costume, though.  Almost everything was from Goodwill.  We enjoyed a fun-filled night in Broadripple shortly after this.  I became so inebriated that I attempted to pull the "do not park" covers from the parking meters and was threatened by a cop. 

Pocahontas, Firewoman, and Robin Hood ready for another fun-filled Halloween night. 

Happy Howl-O-Ween from my baby skunk!


ramblings of a tired mind

I get bitter and cynical sometimes, but I knkow that's just me. Somedays I hate the world, and some days I muster the ability to appreciate every tiny little second.
Some days I get overwhelmed by all the sadness. I read the news and I cry. Some days, I just cannot understand blatant and ignorant torture towards other sentient beings in the 21st century. But that's a tale for another day.
Right now, I look around and I see beauty. I see a sleeping puppy curled up next to the man who will love me until his dying day. I see a bird looking around appreciatively at his world from the perch on which he sits, inbetween pruning his feathers. I see another puppy peacefully dozing in the corner. I see a home with stable walls whose decorations remind me of the love and beauty that's around me.
I must admit it is hard sometimes to ignore the pain and anguish and utter tragedy that I witness day in and day out, whether I go looking for it or not. It's hard to put away the guilt I feel for only being able to do so little. Somedays, it's overwhelming.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you see what you want to see. If you look only for pain, pain is what you will see. If you seek out the beauty in the world, then, nine times out of ten, it is beauty that you will get. I should really remind myself of this more often when it comes to the individuals that surround me. I spend a great deal of time pondering the things that bother me about everyone else, very few times to I make a conscious effort to see the good in people. As a social worker, maybe I'm not supposed to say that. But I'm not really talking about my clients; it's easier for me to see the good in people who are used to having the world see only the ugly. I'm talking more about my peers, people I interact with beyond my profession--- just people. I pass judgment far too quickly, and it's something I should work on.
I used to think of myself as a people person, I loved people. But looking back, I wonder now if I ever really was that passionate about people, or maybe I was just really good at faking it. And the older I get the less energy I have to fake it. Who knows.
There is really nothing much that is tangible to which I can relate this rambling...only that it's been awhile, since I've allowed myself to be alone with my thoughts.
It's sad to think about how fast I zip through my days, without giving much thought to the things around me I value so much...without taking little moments to take it all in...sad to think about how fast time passes and how, one day, I will want nothing but these moments to return.
I probably should have called Granny today. Few things in this world soothe me more than her voice and the thought of her.
I did have a nice chat with Jenn today. Nothing terribly special. The pain we felt in our butts from our spin classes, work for me, school for her, boys and housework. Shawn likes to laugh at me everytime I argue with her. He knows she's like my sister and he knows that, like sisters, we'll make up. Even with that knowledge though, there isn't much that upsets me more than arguing with her. I've always been that way and I'm not really sure why. But she's my best friend, for better or worse, and I would dare to say that the kind of friendship I have with her is beyond irreplaceable.

I mean, we've been friends for over a decade. For over a decade, the same person has been the person I laugh with, cry to, and rant with. The same person has listened to my crazy, called me on my bullshit, and loved me in spite of myself. The same person has been the only person I consider calling at 4am when the bad gets worse.
You just don't touch a friendship like that. Not with distance or change or what have you. Doesn't happen. I'm blessed for that.

And a multitude of other reasons.


Write a post, help a dog! #dogsrule

How often have you had a chance to have a 20 pound bag of dog food donated to a shelter simply for writing a blog post? I know I never really have so this is very exciting for me! It’s really that easy. Pedigree has upped the ante big time. And please spread this message: The food drive is not limited to pet blogs. Imagine if we could spread this message beyond our circles and see how far it goes? The numbers could be substantial. Here is the full scoop:

* Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.

* This year the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1 million bowls have been donated. So, go! Click 'like' for the pedigree adoption drive...


* Special for BlogPaws West: For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19th, PEDIGREE® will donate a bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It’s simple: Write a post, help a dog.

* Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 19, the Pedigree BlogPaws bloggers will host a Blog Hop, to help raise awareness for the “Write a post, help a dog” effort.

It is so easy to make a big difference. Please set aside a few moments to write a post. Include the bullet points above. Copy the pics if you’d like. Add whatever you’d like in addition to help get the message out. Because this is not limited to pet bloggers, there is tremendous potential. Know bloggers in other categories that might be interested? Please share this post with them, write one of your own, and be here Thursday to leave a link to your post. Let’s make this huge. It would just feel great.

Don't shop, adopt! Keep this going---20 pounds of dog food adds up over time! :)

Here's a post with a lot more detail about what you can do as a blogger:


Sorry, my link codes aren't working for some reason!


For the love of Fiona...

Dear Fiona,

What in the world have you done to me? You came into my life on July 5, 2009, and have spent everyday since then changing it entirely. You have made me the crazy dog lady. Because of the way you wormed yourself into my heart, because of how I love you with every fiber of my being, I have developed a passionate love for all creatures similar to you, one that makes me do crazy things like adopt another one of you. A love that has made the Animal Planet my favorite channel, and anyone who is a dog rescuer my biggest hero.

You, with your curly tail and big, doe-like eyes, are the sole reason we adopted your sister, Arley (a tribute to Arley later). You're the reason I traipsed around in three feet of snow in the dead of winter so that you could play and have a good time---let's not think about my frostbite, not even for a second.

You are the murderer of many pairs of my favorite shoes, and the thief of my heart. Your destructive little teeth are the reason we still don't have a bookshelf in this house, because the only one we ever did have, you had your way with before we could put it together.

You're a lucky girl, Fiona, but I am far luckier. My love for you has opened my eyes to all the dogs in this world capable of creating that kind of love in other human beings, if only given the chance.

Did you know you're the reason I take the long way home? Please do not think it's because I'm not in a hurry to see you, I am! It's just that, if I take the long way home, it sends me through less than stellar neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are more likely to have strays running the streets, and if I can, I want to rescue them. Because of you. Because I see the way you look at me sometimes, like you know how lucky you are, but with a bit of wistfulness mixed in with that luck based on those of your species who are not quite so lucky. I see that look, and I want you to know that I know you are right, and I am doing the best I can.

I tell this to only you, but I've recently been known to spend hours perusing the streets for strays. I have found a few, but they run from me. I've still got some practice to do in that department. I chase them, I promise. I've chased them while wearing heels and a dress, I've chased them into bad neighborhoods, I've stopped traffic in the middle of MLK Boulevard to ensure their (temporary) safety. And I've recently discovered a new idea. I will carry dog food in my trunk to leave for the dogs who will not come to me.

If I am ever able to rescue one from the streets, I'm not entirely sure what I will do with it. Don't worry, it won't take your place. People like to tell me that they're sure I'll be the next animal hoarder, but they're wrong. I will find homes for your kind. Clean them up, post them on Craigslist, do home visits, whatever it takes.

There's a lot of bad news in the dog world lately, lots of fighting and hoarding and neglect and abandonment, but don't you worry. I promise you I will do the best you can. Because that's what you do for me. Everyday of your life. You give me chance after chance, wag after wag, puppy kiss after puppy kiss.

You have inspired me to do for them what you have done for me. I cannot save every dog, and I'm still having a hard time grappling with that. But I do know that I can start somewhere. I started somewhere. With you. That lanky little puppy behind bars, with kennel cough and the saddest, sweetest look in her eyes. You stole my heart that day, and ruthlessly refused to return it.

I keep hearing that once I have children, my pets won't mean as much to me anymore. If that's the case, then I don't think I want children, because I can't stand the thought of feeling any differently about you, Arley, or Archie. Some people were born to be parents, maybe I was just born to be a pet-parent. Either way, you aren't going anywhere. I know you, and I know you'll love anyone who comes into your world, as long as you can see how much I love them as well. I know that you will embrace our future children in much the same way that you embraced me. I know you will be gentle, and I know you will not be replaced. You will be older then, and wiser, and you will understand that you'll need to step aside for awhile. I know that you will trust me to love you and to always take care of you, and I will. So don't listen to those people, they're silly.

Thank you, my sweet little girl--- for loving me in spite of myself. For adoring me when I am all but deserving of being adored. For making me smile on days when I'd much rather cry. For understanding when I'm just not ready to play tug-o-war at 7am. For teaching me what it means to love unconditionally.

You rescued me that day, just as much (or maybe even more) as I rescued you. People think I'm crazy because I love my animals so much, and let them think. Because of you (and Arley, and Archie, who I will write to next), I have discovered a world for which I am truly passionate. And I love you for that. More than you know.

Love Always,