Thursday, May 28, 2009

Change #1

It happened innocently enough. 

There was no motive behind my purchase other than I was out of reading material and needed a new book.  I mean, I had heard a few people talk about it in the past and they raved about how it radically changed them for the better. The topic didn't fall within my normally sought after genres that I bury myself in but, still ... I picked it up off the shelf even though I cringed at the crude and brash title. 

It was the subtitle that got me (like they always do). 

"A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous".

Ok, I do! 

 I bought it.  
I saw me in the subtitle.  
Don't hand me "soft" and "easy" but give it to me straight!  

It did ... and I will never be the same again.

Here's what happened.  I read the book and within hours was completely horrified at the way I've been eating or, to be more exact, at the nonexistent attention that I have given to what I've been eating. No, I'm not talking protein, carbs and fat content here or diet mamby-shmamby... I am talking - where did the food come from in the first place and what is the process of how it gets to my dinner plate.  

The book has a lot of spicy language with some funny jabs at the reader to keep it pretty sassy.  But, the big deal for me, was the book made me stop and really think about the statement - you are what you eat.  And, I realized I was eating crap!
So, I've made one radical change, Change #1, with a few others up my sleeve in the upcoming weeks and I'll keep you posted.  

Hang on to your forks and knives, friends, because .... (light drum roll, please)

I am now a vegetarian.  

Or, as Mr. Smart Guy laughed and said, "veg-a-freak-0"! 

Here's why and I've listed the page numbers of the book if ya wanna check it out for yourself:
  • The USDA does NOT protect the population with pure motives and is untrustworthy.  "Many high-ranking staff members at the USDA were employed by, or are otherwise affiliated with, the meat and dairy industries.  And if the group responsible for the safety of meat, poultry and egg products is run by people from the same  industries they're supposed to be protecting us from...well, that would be a conflict of interest.  And it is. An enormous, ridiculous, outrageous, catastrophic conflict of interest." (p93)  
  • The EPA is allowing us to eat an insecticidal protein deemed unsafe for human consumption.  "But the Environmental Protection Agency allows the use of StarLink for livestock feed.  Let humans eat the animals who ate the corn?  That's safe? Duh." (p110)
  • The meat we put on our table most likely came from a slaughterhouse. "Humane protocol calls for animals to be "stunned" before they are slaughtered.  For cows, this means getting a metal bolt shot into the skull and then retracted.  When done properly, using working equipment, this renders the cow unconscious.  But time is money, and slaughterhouses operate at lighting speeds, some killing one animal every three seconds.  Because thousands of frightened, struggling cows are not easy to stun, it is extremely common for a "stunner" to miss his mark.  Panicked hogs, also difficult to "hit", are stunned with an electric device." (p66)   The book goes on to explain the disturbing "bleed rail", hogs thrown into 140-degree scalding water to remove the hair from their bodies, and chickens with their beaks literally chopped off their faces so that won't peck each other and workers because of stress.
  • You are what you eat.  "Assuming you started with a healthy animal (highly unlikely), you've now eaten hormones, pesticides, steroids, antibiotics, fear, grief, and rage.  You are what you eat." (P77)
  • Antibiotics are not an appealing appetizer. "Half of the antibiotics made in the United States each year are administered to farm animals, causing antibiotic resistance in the humans who eat them.  A study at the University of California-Berkely linked eating beef to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.  It just so happens that the most common infectious disease in women is UTIs.  You do the math. (p45)  
... and there's so much more information in the book!  I know some of it's pretty gross...but I hope you'll think about what you're eating today.  

Remember, you are what you eat.

Signed with love,

~ a one-week vegetarian ~

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Met So-and-So

A few years ago, I was traveling on business and I sat behind him on the plane. His accent was undeniable but I wasn't quite sure it was him....I mean...was it really HIM??!!  He had aged quite a bit and I just wasn't sure I could say with 100% confidence that it was him.  We engaged in a little small talk as we gathered our things from the overhead bin on the plane and that was it.  As I exited the plane I leaned over to the stewardess and asked politely, "Who is that?"  She smiled wide and like an informant overspilling with a juicy tidbit she replied, "Robert Plant".

Robert Plant?  You mean, the Led Zeppelin kind-of Robert Plant?

So I made my way in the small airport to the baggage claim area and there he was. As I stood next to him, I  stole the quick I-don't-want-to-be-seen-gawking kind of glimpses of him while I tried to act nonchalant.  But, inside... I was trying to build up enough courage to ask for an autograph but all of my brain cells were saturated with star-struck immobility.  The baggage rolled off of the conveyor belt, we each picked up our things and parted ways.


I just met Robert Plant.

I quickly called home to relay what had just happened and my elated emotions quickly began to deflate with each skeptical question that was posed to me:

Did you take a picture?  You have a camera phone, ya know!

Did you get his autograph? have no proof that you actually met and talked to Robert Plant?

I tried to explain as best I could that I got completely and utterly star-struck and that was why I had no proof.  I only had my story and my word that this is indeed truth!

Then, a few months passed and our family was at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum when Mr. Smart Guy spotted Donald Rumsfeld,  the then Secretary of Defense, who was enjoying the museum with family and friends.  Instantly, Mr. Smart Guy and our boys became stalkers trying to get the best picture possible of him.  Plans were quickly being formulated by Dan the Man and Theatre Dude to approach Mr. Rumsfeld and ask for his autograph.  But, in the end, no one had the courage to approach him nor get a photograph with him.

I quickly brought the story back full circle to my encounter with Robert Plant so that they would understand why I had no autograph or photo of him.  I guess sighting someone who is influential in our world does strange things to people, eh?

So, imagine my surprise when just yesterday, I sighted another celebrity in the airport.  My trip back West wasn't was just a spur of the moment, my-heart-emergency and I needed to be with Mr. Smart Guy!  

My itinerary was simple:

3:30am - leave the house.
5:30am - plane leaves for Philadelphia.
7:10am - plane leaves for San Francisco.

Easy enough, right?  NO! 

I made it to Philadelphia and my flight to San Francisco was cancelled due to maintenance issues.  I stood in line at the customer service counter for 2 and a half grueling hours with my co-passengers in an effort to get re-booked on other flights.  Flying is not glamorous!

Lo and behold, there were no more flights that day on that carrier and so they switched me to a different carrier.  Sadly, I had to wait 6 hours in the airport before we left and to top off the best of the day, I was making a connection in Chicago.  Did I mention that I was awake at 3am that morning?

** ugh **

I finally left Philadelphia and, without any issues, thankfully made it to Chicago.  I had a 2 hour layover and was waiting for my flight to San Francisco when I spotted him.

Still though, I wasn't quite sure it really was him. So, I took a picture just in case it was.  

And, then  .....

It was him!  It was him!

....and I jumped out of my seat and approached him ....

"I'm so sorry to bother you but I love worshipping with you and you are amazing!  ... um, can I take a quick pic of us?"

Ever gracious and truly humble, he obliged and I took our photo.  I shook his hand.  I smiled and complimented him.  And I wished him well.

My friends, I met David Crowder!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dog-gone Good Book

The subtitle of the book, Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics and Organic Pet Food, is what really caught my eye and I just had to read One Nation Under Dog by Michael Schaffer. It was the most statistically driven book I've read to date regarding the 4-legged friend population and the lengths that pet owners now go to so that they feel their animals are well taken care of.  I found myself laughing, and feeling a little guilty, when I found myself within the pages and things quickly came to my attention with how I care for my Miniature Schnauzers:

Yes, both of my puppies go to Doggie Daycare.

Yes, both of my puppies luxuriously lounge on the bed with me and Mr. Smart Guy.

Yes, Mr. Smart Guy is called "Daddy" and I am "Mommy" to our fur babies.

Yes, the puppies' diet is an "upscale, premium food".

Yes, the puppies get lots of toys and treats.

With that being said, I felt right at home within Shaffer's pages.  I am "normal" in the current trends of dog ownership.  The cool thing about this book though is that Schaffer takes a look at the ongoing innards of the pet industry, currently a powerhouse $41 billion dollar generating machine, and how products and services cater to the now 60% of U.S. households who own a pet.

If you're not a dog lover, this read probably won't be for you.  However, if you are like I am and love your dog(s), you'll find lots of information, humor and a reflection of your pet spending habits within the pages of the book.  

"Michael Schaffer has written a thoroughly researched, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud expose of our love affair with the pets in our lives.  Go find yourself in One Nation Under Dog!"
- Nick Trout, Author

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy, er...Crappy Birthday

It began to rise 
Within its confines
Swelling past the edge 
Then spilling over
Into one tear
That turned into many
Forming a river
Of sadness

... and it was a Happy, er .... Crappy Birthday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today, I'm immersed in a different kind of "Dust Covered and Discouraged". Instead of choosing and tossing garments in my closet...I've moved on to the garage and am making different piles this time:

Keep ... Junk ... Goodwill ... Need Mr. Smart Guy to Choose

So, as I've been adding stuff to heaps and mounds of piles,  I happened across yet another can of bug spray! 

Oh, they're not mine .... they are Mr. Smart Guys!  He is the one who has a bee/wasp/hornet/anything-that-buzzes-nearby phobia as is evidenced by my garage findings.  I collected ALL of the cans and just smiled because of a funny memory; I remembered a time early in our marriage when we had pulled up to a fast-food drive through.  He was driving and placed our order and then coasted up to the pickup window when, all of a sudden  ........

he freaked out!!

And, it was just as he was handing me my drink.

He jumped out of the car and started waving his arms around like a crazy man while I was dealing with a spilled drink all over me.  Can't you just see the chaos that ensued after that? lol

Hmm...maybe I should have put a can of spray in the car? ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Dog's Day

I am joining so many others in my community to help raise funds for the Richmond Animal League so that they can continue their mission of providing hope, help and homes for animals in need. They really do some great work! ;)

Copernicus and I are participating in the "Strut Your Mutt" walk on 5/30/09 and are, begging, you for a donation. Our goal is to raise $500... and we hope you'll help us.

Please visit our secure, online giving page and throw a couple of bucks our way, won't ya? ;)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Pictorial

Prom 2009

Prom 2009

Prom 2009 - The SWAG

A Letter

Strawberry Picking & Eating

First Hike of Spring

So Much Water


Spring Musical - GREASE!

Theatre Dude's Solo "Hand Jive"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I many hats are you wearing in a 24-hour period?

Let me know in the comments section or even on your own blog (just be sure to let me know that's where your answer is).  I'll give you a peek inside my current wardrobe changes, if you'd like ...
  • Real estate negotiator (we're in the final details of having a signed contract)
  • Dog trainer (for the last time, Copernicus, leave the rug alone!)
  • Contract bidder (how much will it cost to have a condensation drain line extended?)
  • Mean mom (no, you may not wear "sag".  I don't care if it's cool. NO!)
  • Chef (vegetable soup and a loaf of homemade bread)
  • Model (subject of an already-late photo project at school)
  • Maid (dishes, laundry, floors...spotless!)
  • Cheerleader (for my favorite on The Biggest Loser)
  • Writer (stretching it a bit but maybe "blogger" would be more accurate)
  • Scheduler (hair, guidance counselor, vet appointment, doctor appointment)
  • Crawl space dweller (braving the environment to prevent standing water)
  • Taxi (I know you're late...ok, I'll take you to school)
  • Wife (loving Mr. Smart Guy from afar) wonder I'm tired!  ;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Looking Back


He has not allowed himself to be in the moment because he's been so intent on looking back to how things were, instead of how things are, that he refuses to allow himself to be happy.  He has been unruly and stubborn and is just making himself miserable by pining away for things that aren't going to happen.  Unfortunately, he's been caught up in all of the change of our Coastal Craziness and he's letting everyone know exactly how unhappy he is.  

He's been acting out-of-sorts by:

  • grumbling
  • being anti-social
  • chewing the foyer rug 
  • taking toilet papers streams through the house
  • not obeying simple commands on purpose

But, I saw a glimpse of the old him.  Just a small glimpse of a happier puppy who was ok with life for just a moment.  But, it wasn't until I said, "C'mon, Copernicus, let's go for a ride".  And, there, in the moment, I saw my sweet, lovable puppy.

Oh, Copernicus...put your Change Agent cape on and join the rest of us, won't you?  Take all of the change in stride and look at the brighter side - you're an only puppy for a little while.  You don't have to share anything right now and you get all of the treats and walks and lovin' and belly scratchin'.  That sounds like a pretty sweet deal for you, puppy. ;)

In the meantime, I'm doing my part and trying to spend as much time with him as possible. And, repeating, "I love my puppy, I love my puppy, I love my puppy", because things are really getting out of hand.  A rug?  Sheesssh....he didn't even do that as a little puppy guy!