Saturday, March 21, 2009

The pumpkins of yesteryear

It was announced today that Jimmy Chamberlin has left The Smashing Pumpkins. This is sad news, but not surprising. For a band that at one time helped shape me during my adolescence, I take a moment to reflect on the impact they had on my life. I know that may sound silly, but there is truth in that. But The Smashing Pumpkins are not what they used to be, in more ways than one. And Jimmy leaving is just the latest disappointment. I will always have fond memories of what they once offered to my generation, and at least I can play their songs on Rockband every now and then when I can channel my inner James Iha.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oscar the not so Grouch no more

I recently had to give up a dog of mine, and it was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. She was a pitbull mix, and as many people know bull breeds tend to get a bad rap because of the number of careless owners out there, not because of their genes. Here in MN there is actually a movement to pass a bill banning all bull breeds, which would mean that thousands of dog owners would be forced to find an out of state home for their pet or put them to sleep. I have a major issue with that because I know first hand that these dogs don't deserve the reputation they've received. Here's one article that helps illustrate how these dogs not only can be balanced dogs, but can even be rehabilitated after going through traumatic situations:
The following article is from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Making history!
Okay, all you scholastic types. Picture this academic situation: You’ve crammed all semester long for the final exam. The big day arrives. But, right before the instructor tells you to pick up your pencil, you sit down on a chair full of thumbtacks while hundreds of fire ants come spilling out of your desk to nibble on your arms. Think it’d be easy to concentrate? Oscar the Vicktory dog didn’t think so either. Thank goodness he had another chance!
Oscar has been going through the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) classes at Best Friends. These classes teach dogs good manners, which helps them find homes and stay there. For Oscar, though, the stakes were higher. He is one of the 22 dogs who came to Best Friends after being seized from the property of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick.
The courts had very specific requirements regarding these dogs, one of which dealt directly with Oscar’s big day. Nine out of the 22, Oscar included, were required to pass their CGC tests with a perfect score before they could ever live in a foster home. One of Oscar’s caregivers, Carissa Hendricks, was determined to help him succeed. She attended the classes every week and then worked with him on the behaviors as often as possible. Oscar’s biggest issues were loose-leash walking, becoming too afraid at loud noises, and being confident around strangers.
Over the weeks, Carissa watched Oscar overcome his problem areas one by one. She felt sure he would pass his test with flying colors. Then he hit one little setback. Right before the big test, they plowed an area of land for the testing ground. In doing so, they unearthed a whole bunch of goatheads—nasty little weeds sharp enough to puncture car tires. During his final practice, Oscar stepped on a bunch of those nasty little things. No fun! But that really wasn’t the worst of it. When he had to sit and stay for that part of the routine, he sat unknowingly on a pile of red ants. Ouch! The poor guy, he was squirming and twisting in a hurry.
Safe to say, that wasn’t exactly his shining moment. He took a week to heal up and regain his focus before the big day (which they held at a different location). But once the main test came, boy was he ready. And guess what? He passed! A perfect score! Oscar is the first of all the Vicktory dogs to pass his CGC exam and he couldn’t be more proud.
This big loveable lug is officially now eligible to join a foster home once the right person comes along. Congrats, Oscar and Carissa! Glad that even the ants couldn’t slow you down.
Story by David Dickson
Photo by Molly Wald
Learn more about the dogs of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick on the Vicktory Dog page.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bulldog Adopts Nest of Birds

I'm always a sucker for a good animal story. Today I read one that reminded me of a dog I used to have as a kid. She was a Shih-tzu named Dixie. When I was in high school, I got a kitten named Tricky and when I brought him home, Dixie's maternal instincts kicked in and she started to take care of Tricky as if he was a pup of hers...she even laid down and let him nurse (even though she had no milk to offer). Silly dog...I can't believe those tiny kitten claws digging into her belly weren't cause enough for her to run the other way. Anyway, it was cute, and the following story reminded me of it today and I had to share: (From

One Dog that Wants to Protect her Little Birds

By: Elizabeth Hoerske

Does every dog hate birds? Or is it instinct that can make dogs stock and prey some animals? Maybe some...but not all. We'd like to share this story with you from Elizabeth and Wayne Hoerske.

Casey Birds

Every night when I came home from work I always sat out back with my dog "Casey Girl". The evening was the best time for the best photos and I always had my camera near me. Casey was lying by my feet when we heard a crash. Suddenly she ran to the back of our house and came running back with a baby bird in her mouth. I thought she had killed the bird but instead she sat there looking at me with a tiny bird in her mouth. I ran and grabbed a basket for her and she gently put the baby bird in the basket then laid down by my feet again.

Shortly we heard another crash and she came running with another baby bird in her mouth and added him or her to the basket. I was floored as I thought dogs killed birds by instinct.

Again about five minutes later there was a loud crash and the entire nest fell down from our gutter with two more baby birds in the nest. Again, Casey Girl added the last two birds to the basket.

They seemed to be okay and screaming for food so I went inside and grabbed a slice of bread and rolled up some BB size balls of bread and they were pecking at me for it. Casey laid quietly next to the birds.

The birds were trying to fly but one did not make it and fell in the pool. Casey Girl stood by the shallow end and barked and barked until the little guy jumped out. I could not believe this but the baby bird followed Casey's voice. I grabbed a towel for the tiny bird and Casey Girl laid down next to the bird licking it dry and nudging it constantly.

The next day all the birds were trying to fly and found their way under our fence. Casey Girl laid there and whined for them to come back. A few weeks later four black birds swooped down over Casey's head as she was sleeping by the pool. They were thanking her for taking care of them I am sure.

Elizabeth and Wayne Hoerske
Germantown, TN

More pics of Casey and her birds

Monday, December 01, 2008

Get up you lazy bum!

I really need to get off my ass and do something already...and while I'm at it, so should everyone else who's actually reading this. I don't think I'm fat, and I'm not accusing anyone of being fat...I think it's time we all put some plan, any plan into motion. Am I sounding ridiculous yet? Well, it's been 3 years since I actually posted anything on this blog, so I think it'll take a while to wear out some of my excessive ramblings--this is a place for me to "rant" after all. [and speaking of, that reminds recent birthday has me much closer to being a 30-something rather than a 20-something...SCARY. Recently I was having a conversation about having kids, and I realized I don't have that many more prime years left to do so (not that I'm in any hurry, because I'm not), but it just makes me feel old :( ]

Okay, so back to my original rant...My boyfriend, Mike, and I have been talking (while trying to avoid talking) about politics and more specifically the recent "Clean Water" bill that passed to change a constitutional amendment here in MN by raising the sales tax to pay for a variety of special interests. To begin with we had different views about it, but that was mainly because I honestly didn't take the time to learn much about it. I only went by what my brother (a DNR manager) filled my brain with. So, naturally I was hypnotized into thinking. "Save the water, save the world!" (Can you tell I watch too much "Heroes"?) But, after Mike and I discussed it, and batted ridiculous hypotheticals back and forth at each other, I was able to look at the whole thing from a different perspective. I don't think the Government should decide how we spend our money or who should get to use it...we should. That's supposed to be the whole point in voting right? put your say in. Well, in my selfish way of thinking, I and a majority of Minnesotans voted to decide what will happen with a part of every Minnesota consumer's money--let the government have it :( Now don't get me wrong...I care a lot about what happens to this state and this country...I want to have clean water, plenty of natural resources, wildlife preservation, well kept parks and historical sites, etc. So, it's time for me to act. Otherwise, I'm just a hypocrite. If I care so much, why haven't I done something about it? Not enough money? Yes, that's true. But something Mike pointed out to me is that there are all sorts of people out there doing great things...It's too late now to go back and change my vote, but I know what I can do for the future. I can do what the government should be doing, which is ENCOURAGING people to take action. It doesn't take the Donald Trumps of the world to make things happen. We all have a voice, and we all have a pocket book, no matter how small some of ours may be. Thankfully for some of us, our voices can be heard louder than others (I knew there was some reason I was born with these pipes) This is our town, this is our state, this is our shouldn't we "stand up for what we believe in", "put our money where our mouth is", or do whatever we can to at least spread the word about whatever cause(s) we feel strongly about? So, here's what I've decided to do...

I always have change that is filling up my pockets or the bottom of my purse, and occasionally I collect it in a jar and cash it in at the bank. Well, for the new year coming up I'm going to keep collecting it and whatever I have at the end of each month, I'm going to donate to an organization I feel is worthy. I will keep track of my donations on this blog by highlighting the organization I choose each month.

So how did I get on this subject today? Well, I was checking up on my favorite author (Nicholas Sparks), when I discovered that not only is he an amazing writer, but he has done some pretty amazing things for others. Here's the story that inspired me today: "Heroes of Running 2008: The Philanthropist: Nicholas Sparks" from the December 2008 issue of Runner's World. And a video about it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Home sweet home

Almost a month ago, I started a grueling morning shift at Bath & Body so I have to get up almost every day by 5:30. That same day, Rob went missing. A week later it snowed for the first time, and a week after that, I found Rob thanks to some wonderful people (I'll have to share the awesome story in another post). Now 24 days since Rob got lost, it has snowed enough to finally stick now, I'm frustrated with my morning job (and the commute doesn't help any), Robbie's so happy to be back home and settled in again. I've got a nice fire going, so it looks like we'll be staying warm tonight.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Movies v. Reality

I saw Elizabethtown last weekend, and I really liked it. It was really awesome how Cameron Crowe incorporated so many good music references into the film. I got the soundtrack, but I have yet to be able to sit down and listen to it. Even though they weren't on the soundtrack, the Duluth band Low had about 45 seconds in the film when Kirsten Dunst sports one of their t-shirts (which I happen to own as well). I thought that was cool.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Love is in the air

Last month, I was a bridesmaid when one of my closest friends, Kelly, got married to her college sweetheart. Just recently, another one of my friends got engaged and surprised me with a request to stand up for her as well. I'm so excited because even though I just met Tammy a year ago, we've become extremely close and I'm so touched that she considers me important enough to include in something so meaningful. (I guess that shouldn't surprise me though, considering she's known me longer than she's known her fiancee). We've already had so much fun picking out her wedding gown & bridesmaids dresses. I love how laid back she's being with all of the preparations--it's so unlike most of the brides I work with. The only thing that's weird about it all is the fact that I'm yet to meet the groom. I've been assured by others though, that he's a perfect match for her. All I care about is that he makes her happy, which I know he does.

The kids

This is Hissy (orange) & Bailey (black). They a couple of trouble makers, but obviously their cuteness helps make up for it. They remind me a lot of what Teddy & Andre were like at this age--full of energy. More pics of them and the rest of the entourage of animals can be found on my Flickr page.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

kitties galore

I finally have a mini vacation. 4 days. Entirely too short. I didn't have enough money to travel anywhere this year. I finally informed Bath & Body that I wasn't going to make myself as available to them as in the past. As of now, I don't know when (or if) I'll work there again. Yesterday I went to that place considered the "Great Minnesota Get-Together". It was all right. I must say that the best part was the food (as it usually is). I always have my standard 3 or 4 items I must have. I did happen to catch Cloud Cult, but the combination of the 25 minute delayed start and the loud newscast nearby sort of put a damper on things. Even aside from all that, I didn't enjoy their performance as well as at the Varsity Theatre back in July (the first time I'd ever seen them). I think the ambiance of the place helped their appeal factor. Anyway, overall the fair was really just one big waste of money. It was nice to have a day I could spend outside with no schedule, but it didn't turn out how I'd hoped. Maybe it had something to do with what time of day we went. Last year I was there until the end of the night, so there weren't as many people around and I got to see the fireworks show as I walked out. Hopefully my family and I will have a much better time at the Renaissance Festival in a few weeks.

So it's been getting colder and colder each night. It's making me start to think about winter already and I'm actually looking forward to being curled up inside with my pets next to the fireplace. It's such a cozy feeling. Speaking of my pets, they're all inside tonight since it's raining. I have 2 new kittens--Bailey and "Hissy". Well, that's his name as of now. I think he needs a real one. Anyway, they're very cute and each have a distinctly curious personality that gets them into constant trouble. I'll post pictures soon.

Tomorrow (my 3rd day of vacation), I plan on doing something fun. What? Who knows. But it'll be something cheap, that's all I can say. Maybe we'll invent a way for money to grow on trees. That sounds fun!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Should I really get up tomorrow?

I’ve been exhausted, fed up and annoyed with customers at my job before. I’ve even had 2 in my career that have reduced me to tears. But after today I need to add complete anger and utter rage to the list of emotions. Anyone who ever thought working at a bridal shop would be “so much fun” must be f***ing crazy! Anyone who works in retail feels my pain to some extent. But I swear, shows like Bridezilla haven’t just become an addition to the long list of unnecessary reality TV shows, but also act as a “How To” guide to being not just a bridal nightmare, but a complete piece of work in which there are no words to describe. I’ve never worked with such rude & disrespectful people as I did today. I have no idea where I get the patience to deal with these people, but I’m beginning to think it’s a curse. I wish I could just tell some people off when they act like jerks. I really should have kicked these customers out of the store today. I don't know what was the worst: the fact that they went into the stock room that is clearly marked "EMPLOYEES ONLY" to pull dresses on their own, the fact that they didn't apologize when confronted about it, the fact they proceeded to keep me there an hour & ten minutes past the time I should have locked up and gone home, or the fact that they stole a picture from one of our catalogs and lied about it when I caught them. Needless to say, I left work tonight fuming mad. Some people are so selfish. Their actions prove they have no respect/consideration for others.

That reminds me of something else that I'm perturbed about...I had plans the other night. I was on call at my 2nd job, but was informed the night before that I probably wouldn't be needed because they were already cutting other people's hours for the day. Well, much to my surprise I was called into work anyway (supposed to start at 5pm). This posed a small problem for me and the night I was commited to because it was 3:10pm and I now had to take a shower & get ready, I had to make arrangements for other people to get rides or get them where they needed to go 2 hours earlier than planned (FYI-I live an hour from work.) Anyway, I got super stressed out because I was fighting with people over the lack of time I had had. Then 15 minutes after I had talked to her, my boss left a message (which I didn't get until I was already leaving) saying I didn't have to come in until 6pm instead. Great, I now just got in a fight with my friend for no reason. So I decided to leave anyway so I wouldn't feel rushed and I could maybe grab food on the way down. Then get a load of this: when I was 15 minutes from work I get a call from them to tell me I don't have to come in at all! And to top it all off, it wasn't even my boss making the call. She had some other poor soul do her dirty work because she knew I'd be pissed. She knows how far away I live, but she just didn't want to deal with it. Sales weren't high enough to warrant a full staff Saturday night, which I totally understand. But don't f***ing string me along for 2 hours just in case! She did it just to save her own butt. She didn't want to deal with the company asking why there were "X" number of people working and there was only "Y" amount in sales. Well you know what?...X + Y = I will no longer be your bitch--I quit!

Wow, I feel better to have that all off my chest.

One more thing: I'm glad I don't know Katie from Road Rules (most recently on Kill Reality) in real life. I was watching Kill Reality tonight and couldn't believe how ubsurd she was acting. Did anyone else see this and find it foolish? And what an instigator of drama that Trishelle is! She's not just a trouble maker though; she's a waste of air time.

Okay, I'm done. Thanks for putting up with my rants.