Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Love Wall-E and I Love Recycling

I also love irony. And it's ironic that Wall*E is featured on Kleenex boxes, which contain tissues made from absolutely NO recycled materials.

Learn more at

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things That Are Bugging Me Right Now

The separation of church & state - when is this going to be a reality? Why does my money say, "In God We Trust"? Even if I do trust in God, the person to whom I'm making payment may not. Why are kids as young as Kindergarten reciting a Pledge of Allegiance that states, "One nation under God"? And why, oh why, is CNN broadcasting a Presidential Candidate Forum moderated by a minister and held in that minister's church???? Rick Warren introduced this event by stating a belief in the separation of church & state, yet one of his questions for the candidates is about their "walk with Jesus." Excuse me??? I don't care if my President is walking with Jesus, Buddha, or nobody but his own shadow! The current Prez not only walks with Jesus, he has been spoken to by God - and he's not exactly a great endorsement for the benefits of a Christian President!

The Olympic$ - billions and billions of dollars have been spent on these games, by China in getting ready to host, by athletes and sponsors, by spectators, etc. How many homeless families could be sheltered by just the cost of the Opening Ceremony? How many meals could one gold medal buy? Hua Ming explores this in more detail than I could, as my mind is just spinning around and around about this.

Parenting Status of Olympic Competitors - ok, I agree it's pretty impressive to be a 41-year-old Olympic Swimmer (Dara Torres), but why must every mention of her refer to her as "a 41-year-old mother?" My husband disagrees with me (sweet, naive man!), but I truly believe if Dara were a David, the announcers would not constantly refer to him as a "41-year-old father."

Of course, these are only a few of the things bugging me right now - but nobody wants to read about heat rash on the inside of my elbow, the sunburn on my nose, the inability of anyone in this house but me to wash a dish, PMS, etc. Maybe another day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Pain Of Letting Go

A couple weeks ago, we returned our puppy, Stardust, to the Humane Society. It was one of the most painful things I've ever done. She is a sweet, loving dog. She is housebroken and doing very well with her training. However, she is a blend of three very strong breeds, all of which have strong instincts that require intensive, consistent training to control. I fought hard to keep her, 100% committed to her training, and I did not want to 'give up on her.' However, with puppies and kids, there needs to be commitment and consistency from everyone in the home - and that just wasn't there. And, having Fibromyalgia - and simply being Human - it was too much to do alone. And, in the meantime, we were putting our lives on hold - my niece, with whom I usually spend a lot of time, hasn't been to my house in over a month; my son hasn't been able to have friends over; family members have been nervous when they visit.

Intellectually, I get that it was the best thing to do. Emotionally, I hurt horribly. My 9-year-old son understands as well as a kid can, and he's hurting, too. I feel I let Star down, and I let my son down - and I let myself down. However, we have learned a lot from this experience - our lessons will help us in the future, should we decide to try again:

1. Select a dog that's right for your family, not just a dog you like. My husband likes big dogs. He says he'd absolutely love a Great Dane. Since I'd always preferred smaller dogs, he was pleased when we selected Star, a medium dog. However, when all is said and done, we came to the conclusion a small dog is a better fit for us. If you're considering getting a dog, it's important to take into account the time, exercise, and space needs of a dog. Be honest with yourself and each other about what you can - and want to - offer a dog. There are good online quizzes to help narrow down what kind of dog is best for you.

2. Breed
does matter. Star is a mix of Border Collie, German Shepherd, and Pit Bull - these are all great breeds. Any dog is only as good as its owners, and there's no such thing as a 'bad breed.' We were a little worried about the Pit Bull part of her, as they've gotten a bad reputation - and all our research put any concerns about her to rest. We didn't even think about what it means to be a Border Collie & Shepherd. These are both herding breeds, and they are both 'mouthy.' Not knowing this, we worried when she started nipping at heels and hands. With strong, consistent training, these instincts can be managed - without that, they will jump, chase, and nip.

3. Sometimes you have to put your head over your heart - research, research, research. Talk to other dog owners. Read books. Research online. Talk to local trainers and pet supply store staff. Try to be fully informed and prepared before you go 'fall in love' with a puppy and take it home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Family Puppy

After many months of discussion, research, nagging from my 9-year-old, countless worries from my husband, we've adopted a puppy. Her name is Star, and she's a 9-month-old Border Collie/German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix. Because of a landlord's change in policy, her previous family had to surrender her to the Humane Society. Their loss is our gain - she is housebroken, spayed, vaccinated, microchipped, and knows "sit" and "lie down" and "kennel". She is a beautiful lady with a beautiful disposition. How lucky could we get, to have the joys of a playful puppy with most of the tough stuff already done? She even lies down in the other room when we're eating supper - no begging!!!

For the most part, the transition gone very well, aside from a few things for which we were not prepared:
1. Explosive Diarrhea. Now, I remember quite a few "blow-outs" when my son was a baby, but puppies don't wear diapers. I think they should, after this experience. The mess, which was mostly contained to the kennel (every square inch of it, mind you), and the smell were enough to make me consider giving up. Apparently the previous owners fed her very bland (cheap) food, and the 'good stuff' was too rich. Fortunately, after a few days of ground beef and rice (with a little canned pumpkin for fiber) and some Imodium, she got over it.
2. She has been very good with new people - including my 2-year-old niece. There have only been 2 people with whom she's been out of control. And they are both 10-year-old boys with attention and psychiatric issues. She just goes nuts - barking and jumping and nipping - before they even made a move or said a word. One of them lives next door and spends a lot of time with my son, so it's kind of important we get her over this.
3. She has major separation anxiety! My son never got this upset when I left - and I never gave him a peanut butter filled Kong when I left him! She gets that, plus the radio and ceiling fan left on.

So, if anyone knows how to get over the nightmares of puppy diarrhea :), soothe a puppy around kids with anxious energy, and cure puppy separation anxiety....I'm open to ideas!

Now I've got a belly to scratch so I can earn some puppy kisses!

Friday, March 28, 2008

It IS Easy Being Green!!

The great things about "Going Green":
1. It can be done in baby steps. It doesn't need to be done all at once.
2. It's not an all or nothing goal - some people will live less green than I, and some will live more green, but every little bit I do matters.
3. It really triggers my creativity and fun buttons to find ways to REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE. So I can feel good while I do good.
4. In many cases, the changes I make are money-saving.

Ways I'm already Living Green:
1. RECYCLING - we used to live in Fitchburg, one of the first communities in Wisconsin to mandate recycling, so it's been a habit for years.
2. Using canvas shopping bags - this is a work in progress, as I don't always remember to take them with me. When I need to use a store's bags, I get paper - then use them for collecting recyclable papers. I also use a canvas bag at the library.
3. I only do full loads of laundry whenever possible, and use cold water the majority of the time.
4. I use rags instead of paper towel whenever possible (cat puke warrants a paper towel).
5. I'm in the process of switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products - some purchased, some homemade (using vinegar, baking soda, borax, etc.).
6. I insulated the water heater.
7. My thermostat is never above 68 in the winter, and we installed a programmable thermostat so it's only working when we need it to.
8. I'm finding new ways to REUSE - tea bags and leftover tea are great for my plants, coffee grounds go around the rose bushes, old t-shirts & sheets become rags, etc.
9. I'm composting kitchen scraps.
10. I switched to rechargeable AA and AAA batteries (the two sizes we use most).
11. I donate whatever I can to the kindergarten class I work in or to art teachers - empty kleenex boxes, paper towel/toilet paper tubes, magazines & calendars with great pictures, unused wrapping paper, etc.)
12. I share magazine subscriptions with other family members, and we have a magazine exchange at work.
13. We switched to higher efficiency light bulbs.
14. I buy used when possible (and occasionally find what I need free through Freecycle.)
15. Any usable items I'm ready to part with are either donated or posted to Freecycle.
16. My husband changes the oil in both our cars and takes the used car to a local mechanic for recycling.
17. We try to remember to unplug and turn off items that are not in use.
18. For many years I sent leftover and received Christmas cards to St. Jude's Ranch for Children ( They discontinued the program for awhile, and it will resume this Spring!
19. I try to purchase books secondhand or check them out from the library. I only purchase books I intend to read again, lend to others, or pass along to someone else.

Changes I intend to make in 2008:
1. Install a clothes line
2. Install motion sensors on light switches that tend to be left on (my 9-year-old is apparently untrainable in this respect).
3. Plant more trees - I just joined the Arbor Day Foundation (, so I have TEN FREE TREES coming soon!
4. Switch to cloth napkins. Paper napkins will be reserved for special occasions - like barbecued ribs.
5. Switch to rechargeable batteries in other sizes.
6. Turn unplugging into a consistent habit.
7. Complete switch to ALL environment-friendly cleaning products.

I'm always looking for new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and save money, so let me know what you're doing!

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Self-Esteem Is Stretchier Than That

This morning, as I was driving to work, I heard the following words on my radio:

"Stretch marks are humiliating."

Yes, humiliating. The lovely voice informing me of this went on to tell me that stretch marks can even damage my self-esteem. Wow...if only I'd known this sooner, I would've been properly humiliated and ashamed. I now come before all of you, ready to admit my horrible offenses.

I've got stretch marks. There, I said it. And admitting is the first step, right? And I suppose this miracle cream advertised is the "Higher Power" to which I should submit. I take full responsibility for all my weaknesses. I filled out quickly as an adolescent, so there are some stretch marks on the sides of my breasts. And when I was pregnant with my son, I didn't properly control my belly's speedy expansion, so I have some there as well. And on my inner thighs, though I don't recall exactly how they happened - I suspect it has something to do with my inability to maintain my high school weight all the way through my 20's.

As long as I'm purging my soul, I suppose I shouldn't stop there. I have scars as well. At 14, I got my face to close to that of an angry, pregnant beagle. I had the appropriate surgeries, but I'm afraid there is still an imperfection on my lower lip. And, my son was born via c-section (I'll save my atonement for being unable to have him 'naturally' for another time), so there's a scar going perpendicularly through my belly stretch marks - my belly's just a tapestry of humiliation!

Oh, and as long as I'm acknowledging the hurt I've caused, I would be remiss to not address my breasts. You see, I've allowed them to become less perky than they once were. Aside from nursing my son for an extended period, I actually continued to age at the same time. I know, it's shameful.

Does someone know a really good therapist? I'd love the contact information, so I can send it to the advertising agency that came up with "Stretch marks are humiliating."

Monday, December 31, 2007

95% OFF - I love this!!

I very recently (a couple days ago) discovered a wonderful blog - Centsible Shopper, Thanks to her postings, Centsible Shopper: Walgreens clearance deals and Centsible Shopper: Walgreens Deals: December 30 to January 5, this evening I purchased $74.70 in product for an end cost of $0.42. Yes, that's 42 CENTS!!

Here's how I did it:
Product Reg. Price Sale Price Mfg. Coupon
Easy Saver Rebates Paid
Rx Essentials
$14.99 $14.99 $5.00 $3.00 $14.99 -$8.00
Rx Essentials – BOGOF $14.99 $0.00 $5.00 $3.00 $0.00 -$8.00
Post-It Products (6 items) -had 3 coupons, each $3/2
$18.24 $18.24 $9.00
$0.00 $0.00 $9.24
L'Oreal Couleur Experte Hair Color $18.99 $8.49 $0.00 $3.00 $0.00 $5.49
Garnier Nutrisse Multi-Lights Highlighting Kit $7.49 $3.19 $0.00 $1.50 $0.00 $1.69
$74.70 $44.91 $16.00 $10.50 $14.99 $0.42

I subscribed for a few months to a website that would put together weekly lists of Walgreens' specials, what coupons were out there, what rebates you could combine, etc. I never got this sort of value out of it. The difference? Centsible Shopper listed only the exceptional deals, including links to printable coupons (as opposed to noting a coupon in the Sunday newspaper 2 months ago that I might or might not have) and links to active rebates.