Sunday, May 30, 2010

2 weeks with 2 dogs

I'm not sure if the honeymoon ever really started but it is definitely over. The reality of having a 9 year old dog and a 3 year old dog at the same time has sunken in. The 3 year old has endless energy and has been living in a cage for most of her life so she wants a lot of attention and she wants to play. The 9 year old is used to getting all the attention and isn't as mobile as his new sister so he gets frustrated watching us play fetch with her and having her run circles around him. There have not been any fights (and maybe I'm just being paranoid) but the 9 year old definitely seems pissed at the 3 year old after she's run circles around him and sounds like he would attack her if he could catch her. The trainer said I should just let them be dogs and work it out but I can't do that. I can't risk one of them getting bitten and having a whole new list of anxiety issues to deal with.

It's not all that bad really. The cat has accepted the new dog (which she definitely didn't at first) and now treats him like the old dog. The dogs get along really well when they're in the house and there are thousands of Kodak moments every day with them sleeping next to each other and licking each other's faces. Plus the new dog is not nearly as screwed up as her previous owner described her as being. And the biggest plus is my husband helps out with the dogs now which is something that he rarely did before.

I don't regret my decision. I have always wanted two dogs and my old dog needed a buddy (all his buddies moved away and he was seriously lacking in socialization). I gave a dog who didn't have such a great start a new life. But no matter all the good reasons for adopting the dog, the heart of it is that I adopted this dog for selfish reasons. I considered how it would affect my old dog and cat, my husband and my own daily schedule but I don't think I was realistic about how great the impact would be.

My husband thinks that part of the reason I wanted another dog was to help me get out of a rut that I've been in for years. That getting another dog would force me to get my shit together and organize my time more efficiently. I think that subconsciously that is exactly what I did. But in order for it to be successful I'm going to have to try a hell of a lot harder than I have been. But it will be worth it. In three months I will look back at this transition period and take pride in the progress that has been made. But right now I'm a little overwhelmed and hoping that all the members of my household don't resent me for putting us in this position.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The New Dog Blog

So Ollana didn't work out for us. She has lived in a kennel for too long and just won't adapt to a home life with another needy dog and a cat. Hopefully someone else will come along for her. But, on the bright side, she is very attached to all the great staff at the kennel where she is housed and gets lot of walks, playtime and kisses. She has never known anything other than the kennel life and doesn't seem to think she's missing out on anything.

We did end up adopting Georgia. She is three years old and very hyper. Similar background to Ollana- most of her life in a cage because of a crappy owner but she did have exposure to other dogs and cats. Her play date with Chale when great so we brought her home on Monday.

The amount of work for two dogs vs. one is definitely an adjustment but its worth it. Things have already improved dramatically since the first day and we're only on day 4! I hope to look back on this week 3 months from now and smile at how normal and easy everything seems comparatively.

One of the neighbors complimented our dogs yesterday when we were walking them. These are the moments that I cherish because people assume that two well behaved, purebred dogs must have come from a pet store or a breeder. I take pride in telling them that they are both rescues who spent 3-4 months at a rescue before I adopted them.

That the only difference between my dogs and some puppy mill dog is that I know whats wrong with them when I get them. So I can have a plan in place and work to fix or accommodate those problems from day one. You are playing a game of roulette and have no idea what physical, medical or behavioral problem will pop up but I guarantee you one will, because they always do. Dogs are the ultimate money pit but they are oh so worth it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy

l. Let them pick their own dresses. You pick the color but let them pick the style. Everyone's body is shaped different and nothing will piss people off more than buying a dress that makes them feel uncomfortable. People will tell you they can have the dress altered and will wear it again but they aren't going to do that. If you must have your bridesmaids dressed like identical Stepford wives then get their input on the dress that you pick. At the bridal store they can tell you "this isn't flattering on my body or I hate this dress" without having to worry about pissing you off. If you've already picked the dress without any input from your bridesmaids you are not being a good friend. You wouldn't want someone else to pick out a dress that you had to wear for 12 hours. Not too mention have it preserved in pictures forever.

2. Plan activities for the wedding weekend. People are spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to participate in your big day. No one wants to spend four days in your mothers living room staring at the wall. Planning activities doesn't mean paying for them. Even if you don't feel like doing anything, many of your friends and family members will. Put together a wedding website (you can do it for free) with links to local attractions and give your wedding party some free time so they can check out these attractions. Once again, you don't have to participate if you don't want to. Your wedding party will have no problem going out and having a good time without you and this time out may lead to new friendships and relationships.

3. Provide your bridal party with a schedule well before the wedding weekend. This will make it easier for them to plan any activities that they may want to do outside of the wedding activities and will help them figure out when they want to arrive and what to pack. The night before your wedding isn't the first time your bridesmaids should find out that they have a 9 am hair appointment for your 4 pm wedding.

4. Make sure your bridesmaids will be able to see the ceremony or will be able to sit if it is a long ceremony. I have been in weddings were I have not been able to see the bride or the groom for the entire ceremony because of the setup of the church and the placement of the bridal party. I didn't spend $1000 to listen to your wedding. And I certainly didn't spend that money to pass out because I was standing in my 4" heels in a hot church for 90 minutes with my knees locked.

5. Taking into consideration any special accommodations that you need to make for your bridesmaids. You should know these people really well or you wouldn't have asked them to be in your wedding. If one of your bridesmaids is black and you and all the other bridesmaids are white don't expect her to get her hair done at the same salon. Even if you have checked with the salon to see if they have someone who can do black people's hair it will take a lot longer for her to get her hair done than it will take for the rest of you. And, realistically, she's going to want to check out the salon on her own before hand to make sure she is comfortable going there. A bad hair day for her could take months to undo and will only reinforce that she is different.

If one of your bridesmaids is a vegetarian don't plan an all you can eat beef smorgasbord for your rehearsal dinner. If one of your bridesmaids is obese or doesn't work out regularly, that wedding day 5K might not be such a good idea. If you want to be friends with these people after the wedding then you need to act like a friend when you plan the wedding.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The More Time I Spend with Women...

The more I love men. I've never enjoyed hanging out with large groups of women. Slumber parties where we do each other's hair and talk about boys? Not a chance. All day at the mall to shop and giggle? I'd rather have a root canal. The conversations are always about things that I don't care about and there is the inevitable cattiness and low self esteem that just make me sick.

It takes me 20 minutes to get ready in the morning whether I'm going to the gym or a wedding. If it takes you longer than that, we can't hang out. I love sports, I love food, I swear like a trucker and I love a good dirty joke. I've never had any desire to watch Grey's Anatomy, Friends, Sex in the City, The Bachelor...the list goes on. I know a lot of you women feel the same way and I'm happy to be friends with you. I don't know if we are in the minority but it definitely feels like it.

I recently went to a bridal shower for my friend Jessica who is marrying her girlfriend of 10 years. They met playing softball in college. So you'd think this was the perfect atmosphere for a girl like me. Not so much. Their softball team (at least 75% lesbian) was very cliquey and only talked to each other. Her high school friends had all become soccer moms and sat in the corner in their Ann Taylor dresses talking about their children and husbands and how they were dying to get some makeup on Jessica to accentuate her cheekbones (not making this up). I am a social person but people were not open to meeting anyone new and were pretty blatant in ignoring me and the other outsiders. It seems that no matter what the situation the default is the bitchy rudeness when you get a group of women together.

I've experienced the same sort of cliquishness in my quilting and aerobics meetup groups. I thought the point of meetup was to meet new people. Every event I have gone to only reminded me that I was not part of any of these little cliques and, short of someone new joining who was also an outsider, I wasn't going to ever belong. I continue to go to meetup events and look out for new meetup groups that match up to my interests because I'm not going back to my hermit phase. But it's hard to push forward when after 5 years in Syracuse I still find myself looking for a place where I belong. If I didn't have my husband and my out of state friends and family it would be a very lonely existence.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Organ Donation and Transplants

I was reading an article in last month's Discovery Magazine on how people sell their organs in some Asian countries to make money to live. Apparently there is a huge market for people from all over the world to come to these countries to buy organs that they need to survive. Not surprisingly, a lot of people from the United States make this trip.

My uncle has been waiting for a kidney for three years. He receives dialysis a couple times a week and seems to be in relatively good health (considering that his kidneys aren't working) so it is not a medical emergency for him to get a kidney right away. But I worry that by the time a kidney becomes available that is a good match for him it will be too late.

Some of the stories I read about people being forced to give up their organs were completely disgusting. The thought of being so poor that I would give up an organ to a stranger to have enough food to provide for my family is depressing. But obviously the need is there. When it truly is a matter of life and death you can't fault people for making the decision to travel overseas to get these black market organs for a chance at life. I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing if I or someone I love became terminally ill.

One thing that did stand out in the article was that China harvests organs from death row inmates. What a fantastic idea. This person is going to die any way, why not take something good out of their death? This person probably committed a violent crime and took someone else's life. It seems only fitting that with the end of his life comes the potential to save several other lives.

There are some human rights experts that claim that China pushes people to be executed before they can receive a fair trial in order to get the organs. There are also some issues to how sanitary the operating conditions are and how the organs are stored once they are removed. I don't condone any of these practices and hope that the international community is successful in making sure China is not violating any human rights and follows all basic guidelines for sanitary medical facilities. But, if done properly, I think this is a system that could work.

You have broken the law. The government has confirmed that you are guilty of a crime and cannot be rehabilitated. You will be put to death. Why not harvest every piece of that person's body to help as many people as you can? Should we have to get a prisoner's permission to do this to their dead body? Absolutely not. If we have deemed this person no longer worthy of life then why we would allow them the right to deny life to others?

I'm sure that there would be religious and cultural groups saying that the practice of harvesting organs goes against their beliefs but I suspect killing people is also against their beliefs. Once you go on death row, you lose those rights and know that your organs will be harvested upon your death or your body donated to science or whatever the government sees fit to do with your body. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

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