Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Just a Dog"

The three words I must admit I really dislike is he’s “just a dog."  In fact, I not only dislike it I must also admit that I hate it and I don’t hate too many things.

Let me tell you a little about my “just a dog”.  He’s the reason I get up in the morning and walk in steamy hot weather or snow and ice.  He’s the reason I make sure I have plenty of food on hand for him at all times.  He’s the reason I go down the dog food aisle to bring home special treats to see his happy face and wagging tail.  He’s the reason I stay by his side when he has an epileptic seizure.  He’s the reason I have had extremely high vet bills.  He’s the reason I buy special food for him to decrease his seizures.  He’s the reason I am so excited to walk in the door when I get home. He’s the reason I go to the park and walk two miles in the heat.

This may sound horrible to someone who thinks he’s just a dog.  Now if you are one of those people you must wonder why anyone would have just a dog.  Why do I have just a dog?

I have just a dog because no one on the planet would stay by my side constantly while I’m sick.  No one sleeps by my side all night long every night and snuggles against my leg.  No one is as excited to see me as much as just a dog.  No one kisses my tears away like just a dog.  No one wakes me up with a happy face and wagging tail each morning.   No one stays by my side all the time like just a dog.  No one makes me a better person as much as just a dog.   

So who is just a dog.  His name is Scamp.  He is 10 years old and he has been having epileptic seizures since he was 1 ½ years old.  I had a person ask me once with all the seizures he has why I would keep him.  I keep him because he is part of my family. When we brought him into our home we brought him in for life.  If your child had epileptic seizures would you get rid of them?  Scamp has given our family so much more than we could ever give him and he asks for nothing in return. 

All just a dog wants is to be loved and taken care of properly.  What you get in return is everything they have to give.  How many people do that for you? So next time you think to yourself it’s just a dog….think again.  It’s not just a dog, it’s unconditional love and I don’t think anyone in my life loves me more than my just a dog. 

My family loves our Scamp and he will never be “just a dog”.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence Wants Young Women to "Catch Fire"

I’ve always told my daughter, like all mothers do, to make sure she eats balanced meals. I nag her probably more than I should, and everyday I ask her what she has eaten at school. 

She is in college and is gone for the majority of the day. I give her plenty of money so she has no excuse not to eat. I’m proud to say she does make healthy food choices and I will take only some credit for that part. She is very health conscious, but she has on occasion told me she is fat. 

Young women tend to not want to eat. They are always worried about their weight. My daughter has said to me on more than one occasion that she thinks she is fat. If you know her, she is anything but fat. As her mother who loves her child more than life itself, I must admit that her self-assessment of her weight worries me more than just a little bit. 

Much of what is portrayed in magazines and on television are women who starve themselves sometimes to death. That to me is not sexy. In fact, if you’ve ever seen someone who is too skinny it makes you feel a little sick to your stomach. 

The first thing that comes to my mind is self-destruction and low self-esteem. Everyone wants to be perfect and what you see in a magazine many times is air brushed to make the subject look perfect—flawless, in fact. It’s all an illusion, like a magic trick.

Nobody on this planet is flawless and Hollywood is a large part of why some young girls want to starve themselves to death. You must be angry at any industry that allows our beautiful young women to feel less than perfect.

However, I was so proud to hear how actor Jennifer Lawrence (left) has become a voice against exactly what I’m complaining about. She has been fighting back against an industry that is helping to destroying our young women’s self-worth.

Hollywood has always been nothing but illusion and magic. Jennifer Lawrence has become Katniss Everdeen, her movie persona, in many ways—fighting against Hollywood like she fought in “Hunger Games” and now in “Catching Fire.”

“Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight,” the 23-year-old said. “They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. It was just that.”

On top of feeling hurt, however, the actress says it makes her angry. “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet’, I’m like, ‘You can go f–k yourself,’” she said.

I believe she is indeed “catching fire” and fighting back in real life, as well as in her role as Katniss. You have to feel proud of her that she is brave enough to say this is wrong! She is a wonderful role model and I’m happy to know my daughter agrees with her as all young women should. Fight back, raise your voice and make changes. 

As women we come in all different shapes and sizes. No one is better than anyone else. We are not china dolls, but real women who deserve better from an industry that is clearly out of touch.

Jennifer Lawrence is not fat, just as my daughter and many others are not fat. As mothers we have to start teaching our daughters to be proud of who they are, no matter what shape or size they may be.

Eat healthy of course, but you have to splurge on occasion. Most important you must eat balanced meals three times a day. Must we continue to lose beautiful young women like Karen Carpenter (left) to eating disorders brought on by an industry that has been nothing but smoke and mirrors?

We all need to “catch fire” and fight back! Enjoy life, enjoy food and eat healthy! Be who you are and proud—and may the odds forever be in your favor!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The "21st Century Soap Operas"

As a child brought up in the 1960s and ‘70s, I remember the old time soap operas.  Shows such as “Days of Our Lives”, “Dark Shadows” and “General Hospital” bring back memories.  I could go on and on, but you get my point.  My mom didn’t watch these, but I do remember them very vividly just the same.

Today we have what I like to call the “21st Century Soap Operas.” Shows like “The Walking Dead” with Andrew Lincoln.  BBC’s   “Sherlock”, starring my daughter’s favorite, Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch, Also, “Sleepy Hallow”, staring Tom Mison and last but certainly not least, “Supernatural”, with Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins.  Again, I could go on with more shows, but those are just a few.  The things these shows have in common are plenty of drama, good looking, sexy men and fan girls that go crazy over both the shows and these men.

My daughter, who is now 20, has made many new and close friends through these shows and her computer. The young people today tweet, blog and are on Tumblr.  They also text each other during these shows with the friends they have made through multi media.  They cry, complain and scream together.  They discuss and pass along pictures via the Internet about their favorite shows and the men they are literally “falling in love” with. 

Back in my day, we “fell in love” with guys like Donny Osmond and David Cassidy.  We had posters on our walls from Tiger Beat Magazine and 16 Magazine.  My daughter has posters on her wall as well, although they didn’t come from a magazine.  They came from being ordered via computer.  For instance she has a big poster of Benedict Cumberbatch on her wall like I had of Donny Osmond, although mine came from a magazine and hers came in the mail from ordering it through a computer. Everything seems to be done through the computer—including watching TV shows with a friend you met on the Internet.  Who, by the way, probably lives in another state.  The kids tweet and text during the show as if their friend is sitting right next to them and in a sense I suppose they are.  My daughter has a friend in New Jersey whom she has never met in person. They text constantly. They are now best friends.  It’s a new day and age for sure and it’s interesting to observe; technology has changed so much since I was a young girl myself.

The stars of these shows also tweet during their episodes as well, which creates more of an interest and yes even a frenzy from time to time.  Misha Collins from “Supernatural” is a perfect example of a star who tweets to his fans.  It’s a way to talk directly to their fans without being in the same room and that is quite amazing when you think about it. 

This interpersonal contact via social media is also good advertising for the star’s show and creates more interest when you get a personal quote directly from the stars themselves as you watch their latest episode with them.  No waiting for the next teen magazine to hit the stands!
When I was a young girl my friends and I would run to the corner store to get the newest edition of a teen magazine.  We would read it from cover to cover, pull out all the pictures of the guys we were in love with, and hang them on our doors and walls.  Now with the computer it has opened up a bigger world and you find more people with similar interests.

One thing leads to another, but a common thread today has become the computer.  I think it has made shows even more popular.  The stars of these shows tweet and that piques even more interest for both the actor as well as for the TV show.  This is also the new 21st century way of advertising and marketing a show, and provides a direct link to the fans who love them.  I can’t imagine seeing a tweet from my teenage crush, Donny Osmond, back in the late 1960s or early ‘70s.  I would have lost my mind the way these girls and guys do today when their favorite star tweets—especially to them.  Somehow tweeting seems more personal and a way to better know the show and the stars.

 I believe the computer today is a double-edged sword.  It can be used for good and bad, like everything else in life.  Although my daughter has made wonderful and close friends through the computer and these TV shows, you still must be careful.  I think my opinion is that in this instance it’s been more of a positive than a negative in our home, to have the Internet play such a prominent role in day-to-day life.  These TV shows are drama-packed and full of excitement just like the young generation who loves and watches them each week. The Internet keeps the fans’ interest and allows the stars to keep in touch with their fan base in a safe environment.  It also allows young people like my daughter to make new friends she would never meet otherwise.  It opens a whole new world we never had in my generation.  Is this more good than bad? It’s your call, but in this instance I say it’s more of a good thing.

Long gone are the days of walking up to the corner store to buy the latest teen magazine.  Those were the good old days, but we must remember that these are the good old days for our children.  Each generation becomes more advanced and things continue to change like they always do.  That’s how life has always been.  Technology advances and that’s the way it should be.  The next generation will be even more advanced with exciting new technology always changing.  Yes, these are indeed the “good old days” for our children and these are the memories that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

May everyone’s memories keep them forever young and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Most Important Room in the House

Sunday has always been family day in our home.  It's the one day we make sure to eat together, and it keeps us close.  The kitchen for us is probably the most important room in our house.  Not only have my daughter and I shared many hours cooking together I truly believe it has helped maintained open lines of communication between us. Cooking and talking makes the time go by fast, but it's a very important part of our family bond as well.

My daughter, who is now in her second year of college, has remained very close to me and I'm very proud of that fact.  She is heading into the nursing program soon and I contribute a large part of that to family values. We always knew where she was, what she was doing and who she was with.  I have always been a parent first and friend second. Kids need to know they are loved and I believe the most important way to show that love is to make sure you know what's happening in their lives.

Now that she is in college I really don't worry about her because I know she knows right from wrong.  She has always exercised good judgement and I trust her completely.  As a parent, that is the best gift you can receive from your child.  As parents my husband and I can't take all the credit because we have a child who has respected our judgement and I believe that says more about her than it does about us.

She turned 20 years old and she still wants to cook with me.  She still gets excited about the holidays and we still make Christmas Cookies together every year.  We are always together on Christmas Eve.  As a family every year we head to the Italian store Christmas Eve day.  We buy cold cuts, cheese, olives and bread and come home and partake in all the imported Italian food we bought.  It's been a tradition and it's always something we've done together as a family and we look forward to it each year.

I know some day she will get married and leave home, but I will always treasure the time I've spent with her. I hope that will continue after she has her own children.  I look forward to growing old with my husband and having everyone over for our Sunday meals.  I can see me in the kitchen with my daughter and grandchildren and I hope she will be as close to her children as I have been with her.  So indeed the kitchen is the most important place in our home.  I hope this carries on from generation to generation because family is the most important part of life and the only thing that will last.  Family love never dies and memories will last long after we are gone.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Behavior Of "The Bachelor" Inexcusable, But A Lesson May Be Learned

People are buzzing about "The Bachelor" on ABC. I watched it unfold and if it was true and unscripted this Jason is a total disappointment.

I felt so bad for Melissa. My heart absolutely broke for her. If this was actually true, I hope Melissa finds true happiness because she deserves it.

I find this so ironic that the guy who was so afraid of being hurt could actually hurt someone else so deeply. Especially knowing how much Melissa has been hurt in the past. I remember how Jason's brother was so verbal about not wanting Jason hurt. Yet Jason turns around and does the same thing to poor Melissa. How ironic!

Actually Melissa is better off without this guy, and though she may not realize it he did her a huge favor.

Jason through this whole process kept mentioning his son, Ty. However, what kind of example does this set for this little boy? Jason didn't think about Ty nor Melissa -- just himself and "following his heart". I'm sure Melissa and Ty during the last several months had formed some kind of bond. He not only hurt Melissa, but also hurt his son. This is a very selfish person who thinks of nothing but himself. He acts like such a great father, but in reality he is no such thing. He didn't even try to work on the relationship with Melissa. The message he sent his son is that nothing is worth fighting for; just follow your heart and your head. What kind of example is that?

"The Bachelor", Jason Mesnick, and son Ty; what sort of lesson is being taught to the little guy?

Well, if Molly thinks he won't hurt her she is mistaken. Men like this are just interested in the flavor of the month. The "grass is always greener" syndrome. Certainly he is no one you would consider having a long term relationship with.

Melissa showed a lot of class and she can hold her head up high. The man who gets her is a very lucky guy. She is not only pretty outside, but also inside. I hope this whole experience doesn't change her. Because not all guys are like this and it's worth the wait for the right man. Jason is not a man he is a boy and needs to grow up. To do what he did to her on national television was inexcusable and nothing a real man would ever do.

So go ahead Jason -- follow your heart and head. You will fail every time. If you think that a successful realtionship isn't constant work you are fooling no one but yourself. As someone who has been married to the same man for 17 years, I can honestly say we have worked every day to keep our relationship going. It isn't easy and if you aren't committed to the other person it will never work. No, you aren't happy all the time. You have peaks and valleys, but you endure and work. Why do you work on the relationship? Because not only does it affect you, but it affects others. If there are children involved it's even more important to work and fight to have a successful relationship. Because the peaks are worth more than the valleys! Are you happy all the time? Absolutely not. Is it worth fighting for? Absolutely!

The lesson here is that anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seizures In Dogs: You Can Stop Them With A Bag Of Ice

We have a precious little Jack Russell Terrier named Scamp. He's a wonderful part of our family and like most people who have pets, we love him. We have gone to the ends of the earth to take care of him and make sure he has all he needs to be happy.

He is a very special dog because first he was saved as a little puppy and second he is one of many dogs who have epilepsy. This has broken our hearts over the last three-and-a-half years. To see the animal you love so dearly have seizures is heartbreaking, to say the least. It has cost us both emotionally and financially as a family. We love this dog so much and he's such a big part of our family. We do our best for him. Even though at times we couldn't afford the cost at the emergency vet in the middle of the night, we took him there.

Recently my husband and I did research on the Internet regarding dogs with epilepsy. What we found was amazing. Something the eight or so vets we have seen over the past years had never even mentioned to us. It's as simple as keeping a bag of ice in your freezer.

We had never tried this until this morning at 5:00 a.m. when Scamp began seizuring. I've never seen anything work so fast in my life. As I write this this morning I'm still amazed and can't believe that what ended a seziure was as simple as a bag of ice and 2 teaspoons of vanilla ice cream to elevate his blood sugar level.

Here's how it works: all you do is fill a food storage bag (at least one quart size) with crushed ice and leave it in the freezer. When your dog starts to seizure remove the bag of ice from the freezer and place it firmly on his lower back. Scamp came out of his seizure in about 30 to 60 seconds. Never have I seen this happen so quickly. I know I keep using this word but it was truly amazing. There's no other word for it.

He came out of the seizure smoothly and with no post-ictal symptoms whatsoever. He began to walk and followed my husband and I right into the kitchen. I went to the freezer and took out vanilla ice cream and took two teaspoons out of the carton. I placed them in a microwave safe bowl and zapped it for about 10 seconds, mushed it, put it in his clean food dish and he lapped it up. He was fine. He wanted to go outside so my husband followed him out to make sure he would be OK. He went to the bathroom, roamed around the yard for a bit and came in and went back to sleep on our bed. I'm still in shock.

The blue area above is approximately where you need to place the ice bag using the "ice pack method"

It is now 11:00 am and he is doing just fine. The emotional and financial burden this has placed on our family has been so very difficult over the years. Not to mention how upset our daughter gets when this happens. To see your precious little dog clench and seizure is not an easy thing to endure, but we did. Now to find out that a simple bag of ice on his back and two teaspoons of vanilla ice cream is all it takes to get him out of an epileptic seizure just makes me crazy.

Why over the past three-and-a-half years hadn't one vet even mentioned this method? Especially knowing how hard a seizure can be on our little guy's body. This makes me more than angry. Not to mention all the emotional things we go through as a family. Watching my daughter have tears streaming down her face as we try to get the seizure under control. Then we have to take him to the emergency vet, knowing how much money they will charge.

This "ice pack method" has been in medical journals for the past five years. Scamp has been having seizures since he was about two years old. This has been going on for over three years and neither our regular vet nor any of the many emergency vets had said one thing about using something as simple as a bag of ice and two teaspoons of ice cream. Better they pump him full of medication, shave his paw and put a needle in his vein I guess.

I hope I'm wrong in what I'm thinking, but I'm wondering if money isn't the root of all evil. How else can you have a little 15-pound dog go through seizure after seizure and not mention something as simple as a bag of ice to try to help him and his owners? I'm more than stunned. However, in this day and age why should I be?

If you want more information about the "ice pack method", click HERE.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Books Don't Have To Be New To Be Enjoyed

If you enjoy reading a good book like I do, one way to save money is to take advantage of used bookstores.

They're a great alternative to having access to reading material you enjoy, at an affordable price. Of course, you probably won't find the books that are on the current best sellers list. However, they have many great books that may be older. And if you haven't read it yet, it's new to you, right?

Most of the books I find are in very good condition. They may have only been read once. For instance, I'm reading a series of books right now that have twelve in the series. The price in the regular book store, new, is $14.99 per book. Yesterday I paid only $3.95 for book no. 4 in the series at my local used bookstore. That's a saving of $11.00. Needless to say I was very excited.

The books in a used bookstore usually have two prices on the cover. One price is with "trade in". The other price is what you pay if you haven't brought in other used books to trade with. All this means is that you bring your old paperbacks to the store and they give you credit for each one. It's a great way to get rid of old books that are just laying around the house. Also a wonderful way to help a local small business while at the same time putting a little extra money in your pocket.

They're used, but so what?

My daughter is reading the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. I paid full price for these books. Yesterday I saw this series at the used bookstore for one-quarter of what I paid. You can encourage your kids to read at an affordable price too.

Your whole family can get many hours of enjoyable entertainment, and reading is a great stress reliever for everyone.

Make reading fun for the whole family. Have a family reading night. Take turns discussing your books together. This is another way to talk to each other and it helps keep the family close. We all need outlets right now and that includes our kids. Don't think for a minute our kids don't feel stress too.

Keeping lines of communication open with our kids is important and this is another way to achieve this at an affordable price.

We all deserve to relax and enjoy a good book!