Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ellie, The Wonder Dog

As we made plans for our vacation, I knew that we would have to find someone to watch Ellie. My mother-in-law does a wonderful job with Sunny and Simba, but Ellie would have been a bit much for her, so Rommel's coworker was the perfect person for the job. Susan is a dog person, single, and could bring Ellie to work with her. I thought it would be really good for her too because she never adopted another dog after her last one passed away, plus she could take Ellie to the nursing home to visit her mother.

It worked out better than I could have imagined. Susan fell in love with Ellie and spoiled her beyond belief. Her mother could not wait to see Ellie, who acted like a perfect little lady at the nursing home. Her mother even began to ask when Ellie was visiting instead of Susan (not so good). But it brought a new sense of joy to their lives and also some new friends. Susan's mom is now a social butterfly at the home and Susan has play dates planned for weeks.

To make a long story short, Susan is keeping Ellie. Believe me, I desperately wanted her back, but I couldn't imagine taking her away, especially when it came to Susan's mother. And I knew it would be good for Ellie. Susan treats her unbelievably well and she gets so much love and attention. I cried for quite a while, but I knew that she belonged with Susan.

I still miss her. We only had her for a short time, but that little dog makes a big impact in people's lives. She's finally found her real home with Susan and loves her weekly visits to the nursing home.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Doom and Gloom

I had some extra time last night, so I decided to see if CNN's special "Planet in Peril" was any good. Yes, there was good information in the documentary, but it was mostly just depressing. If I was just becoming involved in environmentalism and watched that, I would be so overwhelmed with the current devastation (which I am anyway) and think what's the point of me doing anything.

I guess I'm just tired of seeing so many depressing shows and articles on global warming and the declining condition of the world. What happened to "one person can make a difference"?

I honestly think that there would be a much better response if things were presented in a more positive light. Yeah, things are headed in a bad direction, but we can change that! Use 100% post consumer recycled paper, save a tree! Change your light bulbs to CFLs and we all breath easier! They may be exagerating, but messages like that would make me want to try and do some good unlike the facts and figures of glacial melting.

It's not that those facts and figures aren't important, but taking action is more important.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back to Reality

Our time in Illinois was so wonderful, especially spending time with family and friends. As on any vacation, I only got on the computer once or twice and rarely watched the news. But the moment we stepped off the plane at LAX, it was obvious that something was wrong. People at the airport were gathered around tv's watching CNN, whispering to each other. I glanced at the newspaper rack and saw a picture of firemen on the front page, but didn't think much of it. The first time there was a fire in the area I literally freaked out. I called Rommel, turned the news on, and stared at the smoke over the mountains. Now I have become used to hearing about fires in California, which is actually pretty sad. I was honestly more concerned with getting out of the airport and getting back to bed.

After a long nap, I turned on the news. I saw the usual pictures taken from helicopters above the fire, but then they started listing off the locations. It wasn't just Malibu; it was Malibu and San Diego and Ventura and various other places. It was obvious that things were bad and the headlines gave the impression that they would only get worse. The weather was only fueling the fire, a large number of firemen had just been laid off, people were being evacuated.

As of this afternoon there were twenty separate fires and over a million people have been evacuated from their homes. The worst part is that most of the fires were set by people intending to cause harm.

We are a safe distance from the fires, but we just have to look out the window at the smoke-filled sky to realize how close to us it really is. At least we are in the position to help those who were affected.

You can go to www.redcross.org to find out how you can help those affected by the wildfires.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

A lot of the books I have been reading lately keep talking about separation from nature and not knowing where the food we eat is coming from. I honestly didn't think much about it. I live in the city; the closest I get to where my food comes from is the local farmer's market.

And then I arrive in Illinois to visit my family. On the two hour drive from the airport to their house, I come way too close to the source of some people's food than I can stand. At first there was just corn fields, some of which were ready for winter and others that were untouched. We saw the grain bins that were so full they were overflowing and corn that was piled three stories high on the ground. Next we passed a cattle truck. You could see noses through the small holes in the metal sides. Not wanting to acknowledge where they were obviously headed, I opted to believe that they might be moving them to another farm. Lastly, we drove by two semis moving chickens. You could tell that they were still alive, but the poor things were packed so tightly. Between the lack of air, the freezing cold wind, and the fact that chickens in close quarters usually peck each other to death, the drive probably saved the slaughter house a few minutes by killing them.

And people wonder why I don't eat meat of any kind. I might tell people that one of the biggest reasons I became a vegetarian is health reasons, but if I am being completely honest, it's because I can't eat a burger without thinking about how it came to be on my plate. I can't eat a turkey sandwich without wondering how the turkey was raised and if it was treated kindly. I'm even at the point where it is difficult to eat eggs or dairy. Of course there is free range chicken, etc., but requirements for those classifications are just now starting to be strictly regulated.

I hope this doesn't sound like preaching. My husband still eats meat, most of the time I cook it for him, but that's his decision. I just can't eat it in good conscious and that was before I witnessed a very small portion of that animal's life. It wasn't how they were raised or how they died. Maybe if more people saw those sorts of things, they would reconsider what they are putting in their mouths.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Waiting for the breeze...

“You may feel like a bug that has been flipped on its back today. Your legs are flailing wildly in order to get you back on your feet. The harder you wiggle around, the more exhausted you become. You might consider just giving yourself a rest and waiting for a breeze to come along and push you back over. Trust that you will be back on your feet soon enough. In fact, it may be good for you to lie there motionless for a while to absorb a bit of humor from yourself and your situation.”

I don’t take much stock in horoscopes, but I check it every so often and the passage above was from mine last Friday. I thought it was so funny I printed it out to show my husband. This afternoon I found myself thinking about that horoscope again and realizing that it is more fitting for this Friday. Today I am the bug flipped on its back and apparently I have been flailing my legs a lot because I am completely exhausted. It has just been one of those days when one thing after another happens.

I’m not complaining. If anything, it’s made me realize that I need to change some things in my life. I need to keep my family closer and let the people I love know how much I appreciate them. I need to live my life, really live my life, so that I don’t have regrets later.

So I’ll rest here for awhile and wait for the breeze to come along.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Addition

I finally signed up for my blog and I have spent the whole last week wondering what I would write about. I don’t want to write about mundane daily occurrences, but life changing experiences don’t happen that often. So I decided to write my first entry about the newest addition to our family, Ellie. Last Thursday, my friend Karolina mentioned that she could no longer keep Ellie, a three year old Yorkie. Karolina is seven months pregnant, has a two year old son, three other dogs, two cats, and plenty of responsibilities. She originally brought Ellie home as a favor to a friend who runs a bull mastiff rescue and couldn’t have such a small dog running around. But a fourth dog was just too much, so I jumped at the chance to at least try and find her a good home. The next day Karolina dropped Ellie off and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the three pound bundle of joy.

I knew my chances were slim, but I decided to introduce her to my two other dogs and see how they got along. Within an hour of bringing Ellie to the house, I was sure we were going to have to take her to our backup family. I even gave Sunny, our seven year old Pomeranian-mix, a lecture about getting along with others. I didn’t want Ellie bounced around, but Sunny is my baby and has been through so much. She is a complete mess, but she is my mess and I would never give her up.

I called Rommel and told him that I had one more idea. If it didn’t work, he would have to call our backup and let her know she was going to have a new dog. I brought in an old baby gate that we used when we first got Simba and put it up in the bedroom door. I put Ellie and Sunny on the bed and sat there with them the rest of the evening. Sunny barked at Ellie for awhile, but they eventually both fell asleep.

It’s been a week and we bought a new tag with the name Ellie D. Sunny is happy to have a smaller dog in the house. She can play with someone other than Simba, who is a ninety pound Chow-mix. The only fights in the house are over toys, but there are more than enough to go around.

So we are one big happy family. There’s Ellie, Sunny, Simba, Daisy (the tortoise), Ziggy (the canary), and the fish. And I think this is as big as we are going to get, at least for quite a while (and that includes kids).