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,


Food and factories

I do a lot of reading. I go through phases: sometimes, I read books for the purpose of entertainment, others, I prefer to delve into specific subjects and learn as much about them as I can. Typically, these subjects are hot-button issues with which I'm not sure I have enough understanding to form an opinion. I love having an opinion, so I certainly want it to be an educated one.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about the food industry---primarily the meatpacking industry. So far, I've read "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer and I'm about to wrap up "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. I've got "An Animal Manifesto" on my "to-read" shelf, and I devour all the articles I can get in regards to this issue. Why the sudden interest in the food industry, you ask? For starters, I keep seeing these words protrude my supermarket visits. Words like natural and organic keep popping up everytime I reach for the milk--- so what do they mean? And why in the world is it suddenly so important? Could it be because people are becoming increasingly aware of what they put in their mouths, and, as a result, food companies are leading us to believe that they're accommodating that?

So I've delved into modern day muckraking in an effort to educate myself and hopefully make more aware decisions in regards to what I eat. What I've found out has been staggering. It's definitely made me think twice before I pick up the package of Tyson boneless skinless chicken breasts at Marsh. There's no way I can sit here and tell you everything I've learned, but I would strongly encourage advocating for yourself by educating yourself. I'm gonna share a few of the most shocking bits I've discovered, and you can take it from there. But before I start, here's what I'm doing about it:

Farmer's markets. These are a great way to support your local farmers, in addition to tasting better and being healthier.

Organic. If you're concerned about the welfare of the animals, then this doesn't always mean much. For example, "cage free" only means that the chickens must have access to the outdoors. This could mean a tiny square carved into the side of the building where the chickens are kept, whether or not they actually see/experience the outdoors is unknown. And usually, not the case. BUT...in terms of the hormones and steroids that most chickens come to know as just in their blood, chances are you're eating less of these.

Eating less chicken/turkey/pork. The poultry and pork industries' change to assembly line meatpacking and processing has rendered it the most inhumane and frightening of the meat industries. Beef is on its way, but it's not quite there yet. As such, I just don't eat chicken as much. Especially not when I pay attention to the size of the breast, which is, in most cases, unnaturally huge. Kinda makes you wonder what they're feeding those chickens? Yeah.

Did you know that there is no longer just one chicken? Two chickens now exist--- one for eggs, and one for chicken meat. Additionally, chickens have been injected with sulfa drugs and other antibiotics since the 1940s. All in an effort to make "the chicken of tomorrow".

Chickens are so designed to grow faster than their bones can support, that a huge majority of them cannot walk. Some pigs cannot survive outside. Factory farm turkeys can no longer naturally reproduce (it's all done at the hand of man).

Chicken is cheap, and yeah that's awesome, but let's put things into persepective. The average cost of a new house increased nearly 1500 percent over the past ffity years, cars 1400%...milk? Only 350%, chicken and eggs? Their prices haven't even doubled.

Chlorine baths are often used to remove slime, odor, and bacteria. Birds get pumped with broths and salty solutions for their look and flavor ("many labelled as natural are ballooned with 10-30% of their weight as broth, flavoring, or water"--Consumer Reports).

Eviscerators are used to rip open intestines, which release feces into the birds' body cavities. USDA once condemned birds with fecal contamination, but the USDA has since been petitioned by the poultry industry to change the classification of feces to a "cosmetic blemish".

This one's from an interview from a former USDA poultry inspector, written by journalist Scott Bronstein----" Every week, millions of chickens leaking yelllow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria, or marred by heart and lung infections, cancerous tumors, or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers."

That's just from a couple of pages from this book. The rest of it is jampacked with even more shocking facts.

I wanted to record some of these facts for my own references, I need to reread the book and jot down some more. It's repulsive on so many levels, on what it's doing to animals and what it's doing to humans. I won't even begin with the "humane" part of it, but I will say, pick up the book and you will find that these animals are treated as the lowest of the low, they receive no respect for the lives they sacrifice so that we can eat.

I'm not saying that a bird needs a spa prior to the end of its life, but what about the old days and those farms? Isn't that the image that most of us get when we think about where chickens, cows, and pigs come from? And the meat industry goes to such great lengths to hide this from us. Which is what's scary. What in the world are we eating?!

I recently read an article on the Daily Beast that dealt with how much earlier girls were reaching puberty. Are we finally starting to see the effects of the food we've been consuming for so long?