Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Flying Nun/Yoda

Pictures never turn out the way I want. I was trying to capture Callie's ears early yesterday. She either looks like the Flying Nun or Yoda depending on how she holds them. The one trophy shot I'd like to get is when her ears a perked in interest. I've never been able to catch that. They stand straight up and meet in the middle of her head. It's the funniest thing to watch. She could launch into space with those ears held just right and a perfect breeze!


Being within the bounds of reason; rational; logical. All words that I know, but rarely have practiced. Mostly because I am strong-willed, bull-headed and selfish. I want what I want when I want it. There are places and times to be unreasonable. When someone asks too much of me and it will compromise my goals, morals or values. Most of the time, however, reason is called for. Compromises can be made that don't sacrifice the other person, and rational conclusions can be made.

I don't know why I was thinking about this as the day starts; but my ex is, and has been for most of the last year, the first person I think about in the morning when I wake up, and the last person I think about at night before I go to sleep. I miss him horribly, but the damage I did in my drinking days is irreparable. I was unreasonable, irrational, highly dramatic, and terribly violent, for the short list. It took a lot for me to get sober, reason finally won out. If I continued down my path, I was facing certain death after a life barely lived. I had to surrender to my powerlessness over alcohol. Reasonableness continues to rule, if I pick up that first drink, it will be all over, no returning to sobriety again. I am completely convinced. To be reasonable in that assertion and understand that I now live a life of relative peace, contentment and fulfillment because I am reasonable in my thinking about alcohol. (Or maybe I am unreasonable about my thinking about alcohol, but I know I have to be.)

As for him, he was right to do what he did. As he said, no reasonable person stays on a sinking ship. As much as I hurt from what I did, as sorry as I am that we can't share our lives, it will not change what is happening now. The truth is that I can live with what is happening today, reasonably.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More New Pictures of Callie

My little girl grows about an inch everyday, but she still likes to snuggle up with her pig. A girl after my own heart. Her fetch game is picking up pace. She is more focused each day. It used to be she was pretty distracted by anything happening around her, and sometimes a little intimidated if other people were around. She's gaining confidence. I'm still trying to find a dog sport club so we can do an activity together. We may have to start one ourselves!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Pictures of Callie

I got a new computer yesterday, set it up, and can now download pictures of Callie again. It's pathetic, I need to work more on writing... :-) I still need to work on my photography skills, but she moves awfully fast, it's hard to get a good shot. As I was posting this, she was outside barking at a rock. I keep telling people I have a defective dog!

Personal Legends

"He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of." From The Alchemist.

I was given this book some time ago and began reading it last night. I have heard about it frequently in talking with people and other reading. A Personal Legend is what we have always wanted to accomplish, but through life experience and caution from overprotective parents have pushed it aside for more practical matters. I like to think we can accomplish our Personal Legends and be practical at the same time. There is much time in the day to do what we need to do and want to do. I'm glad I've discovered that, finally.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Julia Cameron details her alcoholism

I was surfing the new Cuil search engine and decided to see if Julia Cameron had any workshops coming up. She is one of my coaches in the writing practice I do, though we've never actually met. I have worked with "The Artist's Way" since 1995 on a pretty regular basis, unless I was taking a timeout to be a stupid drunk. I found the following on a web site called It's an interesting review about her book "Floor Sample" and probably a book I'll read. The site was interesting for another reason. It had a lot of information about addiction that I wasn't happy to read, but have to agree with in some respects, which surprised me. In AA we discuss the disease of alcoholism. This site suggests that it is not possible that it is a disease. I don't mind that. It may not be. However, the sick part of me that doesn't want to take responsibility for my behavior didn't like it. Fortunately, the open-minded part of me won and looked at it as possible. I doubt it will ever be conclusively ruled one way or another. I do know I process alcohol differently than other people and simply need to stay away from it. What was reaffirmed for me, is that we addicts are sick people trying to get well. We may be mentally ill, we may be physically ill. We may have abused alcohol and drugs in our healing attempts and sadly failed, and are attempting another method. I don't think that makes AA a bad thing, as one article on this site suggested. Whatever else it may be considered, AA is a life preserver thrown to anyone who wants to save their life. It is, as one of my friends says, "a very good thing".

At 57, Cameron, famous for her semispiritual approach to healing artist's block (presented in 1992's The Artist's Way) still seeks her creative and emotional center. She now details her creative struggles, framed by her fight to maintain sobriety after years as an alcoholic and drug addict.

Early fame writing for Rolling Stone led her to the most cataclysmic relationship of her life, a youthful marriage to director Martin Scorsese, with whom she had her only child. The relationship lasted less than two years. For 10 years after, Cameron chased similar creative ground to Scorsese's, attending film school, making small films and screenwriting for film and TV.

She seemed unable to settle down, moving between Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Taos, and details a constant, painful struggle to find a creative touchstone. Her one focus remains her art yet that often resembles monomania and leads her to periodic psychotic breaks.

She leaves her daughter adrift to work on her art; relationships crash and burn because she is a workaholic and egomaniac. Cameron is best at revealing the dark side of her privileged life: her descent into alcoholic blackouts and drug-induced paranoia as well as descriptions of her bouts with psychosis. These are disturbingly vivid.

From Booklist:
Creativity guru Cameron presents a page-turning, richly textured, and wrenching memoir that begins with her strict Catholic childhood in a book-filled Illinois house. Brainy and longing to emulate Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker, she was "a bad girl waiting to happen." At Georgetown University, she spent her evenings in bars writing, downing doubles, and experiencing memory blackouts.

During her junior year at Fordham, she stayed out drinking until dawn while still maintaining a stellar GPA. She then became a hard-drinking, hot young writer, first at the Washington Post, then at Rolling Stone; then met filmmaker Martin Scorsese and followed him to Los Angeles, where she added cocaine to the mix.

Finally, a postpregnancy return to alcohol and drugs and Martin's romance with Liza Minelli pushed her to the edge. No longer able to write and drink, she foreswore drugs and alcohol, viewed God as her employer, and set the daily writing quotas that would win her fame.

I need to expand my horizons

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Anna Patterson's last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google Inc. bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system.
She believes her latest invention is even more valuable - only this time it's not for sale.
Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet.

The end result is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.

Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom Costello, and two other former Google engineers - Russell Power and Louis Monier - searched for better ways to search.
Now, it's boasting time.

Web index: For starters, Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

Okay, developing a new search engine is "cool". Here was my first thought, I need to expand my horizons. I have maybe, at tops, seventy-five to one hundred web sites I keep in my favorites category. Mostly those dedicated to writing, writers, sobriety, and the usual news crap. 120 billion web pages. That's a lot of exploring left for me to do should I choose.

Note: I posted this, took Callie for a walk, loaded her Kong with Peanut Butter and sat down to surf. General search of Writer's Groups netted 7,447,680 hits on Cuil, and 1,310,000 on Google. I think I just died and went to heaven.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Agility Training

Callie and I went to Sherwood Park this morning. It is a great place to do some training with her because she's supposed to be on a leash and there are about a million other dogs everywhere to distract her. I like to use the environment to establish pack order in our pack. She did really well this morning. Not perfect by any means, but she is only about 4 months old, so I was impressed. I had her attention more than I was fighting to get it.

Anyway, one of the dogs that interested both of us was a Border Collie doing some agility exercises with her owner. Border Collie's really excel at agility because they have the herding moves inbred. They are tight, specific moves designed to move herds in very specific directions. They respond to whistles and hand gestures with amazing speed. I know Callie isn't a herding dog, she's definitely a retriever, but she may be good at something like obstacle courses. I think it'd be good exercise for both of us and something to look forward to each day rather the usual boring, dull...walk... :-)

I'm guessing there has to be something here on the western slope. There are just far to many dogs around here to not have clubs or groups or something. I think I'll start asking customers. There is always someone who knows something I'm looking to find out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Freedom from Bondage

It takes time to free ourselves from the demon of addiction. I think about it frequently. Time simply takes time. There is no shortcut to healing ones life. It is an inside job, and a person has to be willing to really take a hard look at themselves; the wounds left on them, the wounds left on others by them; the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of ego, pride, flawed thinking, self-righteousness, indignation, all wrapped up in a human being that becomes our ultimate definition and undoing. Who we become in the wake of it all, how we choose to live with the hard lessons learned, creates our ultimate character. How we move through the world after the wreckage we have left, how we treat others we meet in our new life, all become our new complete being. Forgiveness from others is not our right to ask of anyone. We can only forgive ourselves, and until then we are stuck in the past, trying to rationalize, justify, blame, criticize, and hold accountable all but ourselves; and our lives never move forward, we can never breath freely, we can never truly respect ourselves and who we think we are working so hard to become out of the ashes. Only when we stop. Really stop. Really look, really face the truth of who we were, what we did, who we hurt, how we cheated, lied, stole, blamed, needed, loved and hated all in one fell swoop; can we begin to truly rebuild a life free from the bondage of addiction. The demon loses strength when we surrender fully to who we were, what we became under its influence, how we behaved, what we did, and then we challenge ourselves to never let it happen again. Never sacrifice ourselves or our lives to that demon who claims to be our friend. The friend whose only promise was to turn on us and destroy us, piece by piece. Only when we surrender to its power can we one day at a time begin to heal and become whole human beings.

I don't know if any of that makes any sense, but it is something I have been thinking about now. After a year sober, so many walls have been broken down and some wounds healed, so many have not, and never will be. So I often question how I walk on despite those wounds I cannot heal, no matter what? All I can have is faith now. Faith that there is hope for me. I am no longer the person I was, I am no longer locked in a hell of my own making. I have broken free from the choking bonds of addiction and have redefined my life. I have learned much. I am far less than perfect, but I now embrace, cherish and accept my imperfections, and live in my humanity. I have learned to take ownership and responsibility. I have learned to stop blaming, finally. I have learned to live in the journey, not sprint for the destination. I have learned to welcome my experiences and accept outcomes as they are, not as I want them to be. I have learned to live for today and not worry about tomorrow. I welcome and appreciate my friendships for what they are, rather than hold a cloud of suspicion over everyone I meet. I have learned to trust myself again. Because I can trust myself I can let others into my life honestly. It is a journey, one day at a time, and my heart and mind and eyes are open and welcoming to the process.

Callie's Horoscope for July 26th

I check my horoscope each day to see if anything interesting is going to happen. The past few weeks have boring and dull, much like my life of late, but I found a place today to check Callie's horoscope. It's not very accurate. Flashy is her middle name, she knows exactly how to get noticed, and she certainly with the program on earning treats! She does her tricks before the command is even given!

Her horoscope for the day:

Your loyalty and devotion are an art form in themselves. But if you want them to be noticed, you'll have to be more flashy about it. Undying love feels good but doesn't earn you the treats you deserve.

Lawn mower Skeet

A 56-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start.

There are so many things about the whole story that aren't funny. But anyone who has ever owned a lawnmower has had this feeling I'm sure. I know I have!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not suitable for puppies

Since I've had Callie I've been doing lots of shopping for chew toys, fetch toys, etc. Most everything I've bought has said, "not suitable for puppies". Every Kong toy, which is indestructible, every Booda bone, every Jumbone, have all said, "not suitable for puppies". My Crocs didn't say, "not suitable for puppies", she ate those. My bath towel didn't say, "not suitable for puppies", she ate that too. I almost forgot...since I'm not driving much with the gas prices... she ate my steering wheel, that didn't say, "not suitable for puppies". So far she has survived all of it. I'm guessing that most of what I give her isn't suitable for her, but with her teething and growing, she needs to be kept busy chewing on things other than my shoes and clothes. So I give her what's not suitable for her and it keeps me sane and has saved her life, otherwise I may have shot her by now (absolutely just kidding, I'd never do that). She is a constant chewer. If it's not me, it's my chair I sit in when I write, or I catch her wandering off with a sneaker, or working on the rocking chair. So I've decided that what may not be suitable for her is better for her in the long run. I even caught her chewing on the wall one day. That one scared me because when I moved in I got a memo from the landlord on lead based paint. Not that it had been on the walls recently, but the place is so old it is most likely it was used at some point in history. That would be far worse than chewing a Kong filled with Peanut Butter, which will keep her busy for hours...pure heaven! Jim said that with all that puppies eat when they're little it's amazing they survive their first year of life. I think she'll survive and then some. She's a great little girl and growing fast!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My friend Michael is getting Married

My friend who helped me move home from Roswell is getting married. Congratulations! When I met him he had nine months sobriety, time on his hands, was looking for a relationship and hadn't had a relationship for 12 years. He said helping me pick myself up kept him sober. He was my absolute angel during the worst period of my life. I couldn't get sober, I couldn't pick myself up, and somehow I got to a meeting and he was there and swooped in and helped me clean myself up, finally. He helped me when I really couldn't help myself. He helped me get sober, helped me get home, made sure I got to meetings and found a home group, and helped me believe there was hope for me. He deserves all the happiness in the World! I wish you well, friend!

Summer Cold

I took my first vacation from work since I'm now eligible and promptly got a summer cold. The last day I worked two people came to work sick, including the Store Manager. Oh well. My vacation plans were to do some writing, which I've been doing, and hang out with Callie, which I've been doing. She's doing great. I can't load any pictures right now. My computer is barely hanging in there. My Mom's IT person is looking at new systems for me and once I get a new one, I'll upload some new pictures. I only have about a million of them. No wonder my computer crashed. I told her I have all kinds of writing software that I need to load and I need a stable system. One thing I learned for sure is to back up my writing now. Mom gave me a thumb drive. I'd never heard of them. They are just great. No bigger than my index finger, they plug into the USB port and I can back up up to 2GB. I should have been doing that all along. I lost some writing, fortunately it was mostly practice and not worth saving anyway, but still...I never know where those little nuggets of gold are hidden in my writing.

I was planning on doing some good writing practice here this morning. But I'm rambling. The phone is ringing, people sending me messages. Too much happening. I guess maybe I'll try again later. Yeesh!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Roice-Hurst Humane Society, which maintains it is Mesa County’s only no-kill animal shelter, has transferred vicious pets to Mesa County Animal Services to be killed, according to Mesa County records.

Fourteen pets, including 11 dogs and three cats from Roice-Hurst, have been euthanized by Mesa County animal officers from Jan. 1, 2007 to July 21.

Mesa County Animal Services Director Penny McCarty said the animals are killed because they pose a public-safety threat.

And, only animal sanctuaries such as Best Friends in Utah, which operates on a multimillion-dollar budget, truly never kill animals, she said.

“Keep in mind that there are people out there who don’t deal with animals that aren’t perfect animals. They think that no-kill is realistic,” McCarty said.

Using the “no-kill” slogan may pull away potential donations from other nonprofit agencies that rescue animals and are vying for public donations. After making public pleas for donations last week, Roice-Hurst has collected more than $200,000 from an energetic outpouring of public support.

Office manager Kathy Haack at Roice-Hurst said few pets, “about three in the past year,” were euthanized at the shelter because they were in obvious, terminal pain.

Roice-Hurst board members Georgia Holt and Claudia Jackson both said Tuesday they were unaware that animals from Roice-Hurst were sent to Mesa County’s facility to be killed.

I think the media is once again rearing it's ugly head. Royce-Hurst is for the most part a no kill shelter. There are animals out there that pose a threat to the public. It is always the way they are raised and bred and treated by people. Sadly, the animals lose. There is no perfect solution as humans are themselves a threat to society. In addition, putting down a terminally ill animal is the humane thing to do. Why it can't be regulated for terminally ill people is beyond me. It would be a shame if Royce-Hurst lost potential funding because of the tough choices they've had to make in evaluating animals for adopt ability. Many people are poor animal owners who take no responsibility for themselves or the pets they should consider a privilege to have.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


My aunt and uncle are in town for a couple of days and yesterday, we girls went for a walk on the Colorado River Trail with Callie. This time when she swam, she went a little further out and retrieved her stick no less than 10 times. I'm so proud of my little girl. She's got the retriever gene dominant in her make up. She may have some Pit in her, but her lab gene is raging to the surface. We had a fun walk, but it was at least 100 degrees out there. Callie couldn't walk along some of the paved trail because it hurt her little paws. Luckily, she's little enough for me to carry still. Then back to Mom and Dad's for a great dinner.

I saw a bumper sticker on a truck (no doubtedly belonging to a man) when we were on our rounds that made me laugh. My ex can use this mantra: "It is better to have loved and lost than to live with a psycho the rest of your life."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It starts with the character dummy!

I have been approaching my writing backwards. Something that is likely most obvious to other writers, I have missed completely. Well, I don't know if it's that obvious to other writers...anyway, I'm working with Elizabeth George's Write Away and she starts with Character. Everything else I've read has said begin with an idea. What a generalization. We all have ideas. What George says turned the light on finally for me, that it is all about character. "What we take away from a good novel is mainly the memory of character". She points out when people get together for a cocktail party that they often discuss character. It may appear to be an issue or position politically, ultimately it is about someones character that creates those issues and political positions. Larry, a new and important person in my life, is a great observer of character. Everything that we are now, how we think, how we react to events and circumstances, how we present ourselves in public, how we interact with family and friends, is our character. George argues that if we start with character, the story develops. This holds true to beginning with an idea. The idea starts with the question "What If?". Always the what if question involves a person...a character. I don't want to even think about how much time I wasted working on stories through the back door. Making character secndary to the idea...No wonder they have been brain surgery and hard to figure the next step to the story. If I begin with character it flows naturally. Yeesh! Fortunately, Larry is a kind man and told me that it took him a while to get it too. I don't think so. He's a natural story teller and his stories involve interesting, complex characters that are well developed. I told him his writing seemed to flow simply. He assures me it wasn't always like that for him. So...I guess there is hope now that I can see the way and can develop my characters fully before I begin writing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Get Smart

I went and saw get smart with a friend tonight. A funny movie with good plot twists and a good takeoff from the show. I'm too young to remember the original Get Smart, but have seen some reruns. Steve Carroll is fun to watch, and I find myself beginning to be a fan of Anne Hathaway. I really enjoyed her character in The Devil Wears Prada. The great surprise for me is The Rock is in it. I can watch him for hours. He has good acting ability and is extremely easy on the eyes :-)! It was good to get out and have dinner and a movie, an actual date night. And it's nice to take things slow and take the time to actually get to know someone to see if their a fit for me. Clarity has been a new thing for me, and very enjoyable. I'm lucky I have it now. The Dark Knight was opening at the same theatre and there were three theatres showing it. The lines were enormous. We were in a smaller theatre with about 20 other people. Get Smart won't make the big box office of The Dark Knight, but it is a fun summer movie to help beat the heat.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

As I think about the day ahead

Callie is having her breakfast, Abbie is moving through the house trying to figure out what to do next. I'm waiting to go to my meeting and thinking about my day ahead. I'll take Callie for a very long walk after the meeting, play some fetch and then do a little writing while she naps and then grab a nap myself before I have to go to work. I'll touch base with some friends via email and make some plans for the next couple of days I have off. When I think about this, this has been my routine for a while. Before Callie, it was doing something with Ozzie. I realize how lucky I am. It was a very short time ago really when I was looking at living on the street; homeless and drunk. I try to keep this blog light, but I can't help reflect frequently how far I've come in a short amount of time. Describing how bad things got is impossible and a waste of time anyway. But I flat couldn't stop drinking, I don't know why, and even after I stopped I tried for many months to justify my behavior and blame someone else.

And I don't know what turned me around. Maybe the letter from ex saying that he was going to start the eviction process and sell my stuff (he mailed a copy to my parents). I can't blame him any longer, I got exactly what I deserved. He was probably nicer than anyone else would have been based on what I did. Maybe it was the death of my birth father from alcohol abuse. Maybe it was somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I had had enough of myself and my drinking and just couldn't do it anymore. Maybe I knew that I was going to die, and though a very big part of me wanted to, my soul wasn't ready to let go of this life and knew there was a life worth living somewhere. I don't know. I don't know what made me start drinking again after a few sober months, but I do know something reached the deep part of me and made me finally quit.

I do know that I've been able to sustain a high level of sobriety lately, not just abstinence from drinking. For many months after stopping I was simply a dry drunk. That feeling has left and now I am truly sober. There is a difference, believe it or not, that non-addicts can never understand and I can't explain. But there is a purpose to my life, there is a serenity and calmness that I've never felt before and certainly never felt while drinking, but sought so much. And I am grateful for that deep serenity. Life keeps getting better and better. The people in my life are good people, and the healthier I get, the healthier are the people that share my life. The promises outlined in the big book are coming true. It never ceases to amaze me how men in Ohio in 1939, could write a book full of promises that could come true for a woman living in Colorado in 2008. I am always in awe and am grateful they took the time to show me the way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've had to face facts

This is supposed to be about Random Thoughts and other writing practice. Well, since Callie is the focus of my attention, she gets to be my random thoughts and writing practice.

Yesterday I wrote about the difference between my dog and Gertie. Night and day. Jim told me that Gertie is never on a leash...she doesn't have to be. He reminded me that Callie is exactly as Ollie was when Ollie was a puppy (Ollie is a Springer/Lab mix). I've had LOTS of people say Callie has Pit Bull in her. I've had LOTS of other people say she doesn't. We will never know for sure. So I've decided to look at the dog. You'd think I'd have been looking at her all along with all the pictures I've taken. :-) I can say that she has some Pit looking qualities. Her ears, her nose, her tail, especially her eyes. I was looking at some pictures of Pit Bull puppies on the web to see if I could see a similarity. It's in the eyes. I saw Callie in most every picture I looked at. Her ears are little different, her nose is a little different, her expression is different, but her eyes are most decidedly Pit. This is not a bad thing. In researching the Pit Bull breed, I learned a lot about a dog I've been mostly leery of, simply because of their reputation. Callie is also a bit of Lab. She has webbed feet, swims, fetches and uses her tail as a rudder, so she's got the Lab in her. I believe this makes a good combination for the type of pet I want.

Here's what I found out about Pits:

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a strong pleasure to please (I have found this to be very true of Callie, she is attentive and responsive, especially when I have a hot dog in my hand :-)).

The APBT has evoked more human emotional, rational, and irrational response than any other breed that exists today. By no means are these dogs people-haters or people-eaters. Their natural aggressive tendencies are toward other dogs and animals, not people. However if they are properly socialized they will not even be aggressive with them. (Callie has shown absolutely no aggression towards other animals, though she wants to play with Abbie and can be rough. She loves other dogs and visited with a cat in the park yesterday. I hope she stays social).

These are truly quality companions for quality owners only! The American Pit Bull Terrier is a good-natured, amusing (my girl is definitely a clown), extremely loyal and affectionate family pet, which is good with children and adults. Almost always obedient (the almost is when I forget the hot dog), it is always eager to please its master.

It is an extremely courageous and intelligent guard dog that is very full of vitality. Highly protective of his owners and the owner's property, it will fight an enemy to the death. It is usually very friendly, but has an uncanny ability to know when it needs to protect and when everything is okay. (I'm always surprised by a dogs intuitiveness, and Callie is not exception, she is simply with the program and just knows...)

The American Pit Bull Terrier can be willful and needs a firm hand (I told Jim that Callie is passive-aggressive. I find myself doing things I don't want to do because she very cunningly manipulates me into them. I see her laughing in her eyes...Gottcha!). They are generally okay with other pets if they are raised with them from puppy hood.

For the most part they are very friendly, but not recommended for most people. (Living in New Mexico was hard enough on me, but seeing Pit Bulls on chains made me that much more leery of them. They were aggressive and mean and just scary. I wasn't fond of many of the people where I lived anyway, they did nothing to assuage my thoughts that they are not good people by how they treated their dogs. There is only one I met who I thought was a great Pit, Red Rhino. He's a pretty dog, well behaved and gentle as can be. He has a good attentive owner).

Excellent with children in the family, they have a high pain tolerance and will happily put up with rough child play. As with any breed, they should not be left alone with unfamiliar children.

A minimum of training will produce a tranquil, obedient dog (Callie is lightening quick in learning a new command. I have never had to be rough with her or horribly firm. Again, the hot dog is strong motivation). Socialize very thoroughly when young to combat aggressive tendencies and be sure to keep the dog under control when other dogs are present. It has given outstanding results as a guardian of property, but is at the same time esteemed as a companion dog. When properly trained and socialized, this is a very good dog and a great family companion. Unfortunately, some choose to promote the fighting instinct in the breed, giving it a bad name.

Accompanying this need to please are remarkable abilities of all kinds. Jack Dempsy, Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Johnson are just a few people who have owned Pit Bulls.

Pit Bulls excel in practically every canine task including herding, guarding, hunting, policing, cart pulling and ratting. A Pit Bull, named Banddog Dread, holds more canine working titles than ANY other breed. The owner's name is Diane Jessup and you can reference her book, "The Working Pit Bull." It tells you all of Dread's accomplishments. These dogs are truly capable of many tasks. (There was a Pit I read about named Popsicle who holds the record for the largest drug bust in Texas because of his sniffing abilities).

All in all, I'm not leery of Callie, she is affectionate, playful, obedient for the most part, and she is smart. Dr. Hoest told me that Pits are SMART. Research I've read supports that. And Callie proves it, she is one the smartest dogs I've ever met. With the program, alert, attentive and an overall really neat dog. If I ever see that inbred redneck that dropped her at Burger King, I'll thank him before I kick him in the nuts for kicking her. He made me a lucky girl.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Gertie is one of the three puppies that is new in the neighborhood. I mentioned previously that she and Callie played one morning and looked like they enjoyed meeting someone their own size. The other morning as I was writing, I looked up and watched Erin walk Gertie along the street. Gertie wasn't on a leash. She tottered along a little behind Erin, making sure to keep up. She was very serene, her little lab ears perked and paying full attention to her mom. She didn't stray, didn't stop to check out much, just kind of walked along like a really well behaved little puppy. Then I looked over at Callie:

Callie walks on a leash, or rather grabs it from my hand and carries it herself. She jogs a full two steps ahead of me, drops her leash to grab the nearest stick whose only requirement is that it be a minimum of twice her size and must have three to four extra shoots on it. She could easily be hired by Cirque de Soleil as combination tumbler and clown. The bigger, the dirtier, the smellier the puddle, the better! Routinely she relishes digging a hole in the ground out back and then (I don't know how she does this, truly) dumps her water dish in the middle of it and JUMPS as vigorously as she can. She climbs in the shower with me and steals my washcloth and bolts through the house. The wetter, the faster she runs, the more she shakes and then if my furniture and floors are not wet enough, does it again. On most days during my writing time she disappears. I know where she goes; I can hear her. She goes to the far side of the bed, climbs under it and crawls all the way across on the wood floor on her elbows looking for the cat. Her moods are obvious because of her ears. When they are propped up and flopped to one side, she's interested in the topic, when they are flat against her head, she's ready to bolt away from me or towards something she really isn't supposed to be bolting for. I think she has some greyhound in her. Last night I was talking to my neighbor and Callie was full throttle in circles around the yard. Chasing nothing, just flat out running. She minds me if I have a treat in my hand, otherwise I get a "your joking...right?" look, and then completely ignored.
Callie has come into her own. She has decided she is her own dog and will do what she wants, when she wants, with who she wants, wherever she wants. The puppy has become a toddler.
I'm talking tongue in cheek of course. Callie is a really good dog. She's not as sedate as I'd sometimes like her to be, but she is a puppy. I don't know how Gertie behaves behind closed doors, but I'm guessing she has her moments. What I love about Callie is that she is so full of life and so sure of who she is and what her role in our pack is, but really checking out the world. And she checks out EVERYTHING! She strikes me as a dog that doesn't want to miss a minute of what each day has to offer, and ready to take full advantage. I sometimes worry that she'll be an out of hand dog, but I'm not so sure. She is alert, attentive and does pay attention to me. I don't want to suppress her freedom or her zest for life, I just want her to be safe. As Jim said, because Dogs do what they do when they're puppies, it is amazing they make it through the first year of life. :-) I think Callie will be okay, she's pretty tough.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I've been reading my friends writing and said to him that I think that he's a natural story teller. He assured me that it wasn't always that way. In the beginning, he says, it was painful to write one line, but he had to do it or he'd make himself crazy. He's also read my writing. His feedback has been helpful. My writing flows, the language is where it needs to be. The problem is that it's too close to home. He's right. I can't move the plot forward because I lived it and it's difficult to be objective about it. Even as young as I was when the story happened, I was there, I witnessed it, I lived it. So the new goal is to tell a story the way that I want that is totally mind candy for me. I think this could be a fun project. Also, he suggested that I use my other story for writing practice and maybe it will come together...eventually.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A woman came into the store to return some shrimp she had bought the day before. They cooked it up and it was alright, but she said it tasted a little fishy...Ya think!

gjwriter in training

So when Ozzie died and I got Callie, I made an agreement with myself that I would have a well-behaved, well-mannered dog, who wouldn't get on the furniture, sleep on the bed, or jump on people, or express any other bad dog behavior. Here's an example of how it's worked out for me:

Callie laying on one of my footstools while I'm watching a movie.
Callie posing for the camera while sitting on my footstool. She likes having her picture taken. She's not sure what's happening, but as long as it's all about her, she's okay.
Abbie laying on the floor in front of my dresser (yes, Tony, she is fat!) because:
Callie is laying on the bed in roughly Abbie's spot. This is the new comforter I got after Ozzie died, which is why I don't want Callie on the bed. I don't want her to ruin my great new spread.
Someone I know expressed an interest in getting a dog. What I said to him is that no matter what, get a dog trainer. The trainer isn't for the dog, it's for the owner. Here is proof positive. Left to my own devices, I am inconsistent, lenient, spoiling and putty in her paws. She has me trained well. I have to say she is very efficient. This only took her a couple of days to teach me. But I have to say, I've always been a good student. I'll be calling a dog trainer today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Copyright Law

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution understood that copyright was about balance — a trade-off between public and private gain, society-wide innovation and creative reward. In 1790, the U.S.’s first copyright law granted authors a monopoly right over their creations for 14 years, with the option of renewing that monopoly for another 14.

Current copyright laws last 70 years past the authors lifetime. It was a battle that Sony Bono fought for while in Congress. What I remember is it became known as the "Free Mickey" bill. Mickey Mouse's copyright was set to expire about the time I was studying for my Paralegal certificate. The topic came up in a discussion with my parents because I had a copy of Alice in Wonderland that had no publication date or copyright date on it. We have no idea how old our copy is, even when it was published. When we looked at the binding no pages appear to be missing. The question then became when was copyright law enacted? My quick search has revealed the above. A little further looking shows that the Sonny Bono acted increased the lifetime of copyrights in a complicated format depending on the topic being copyrighted, when it was copyrighted, etc. It's good as a writer to know what my rights are and I guess I better dig into it a little further. I know when I was in IT, we simply put a copyright notation on all our documents. Whether it had legal foundation or not is another matter. Most people wouldn't mess with a document that looked copyrighted by us. I wonder what they would have done if they thought it had no legal foundation.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swimming and Wasps

Callie went swimming again this morning. I was able to catch a picture for Scott and Mick. Hope you guys found this blog and can see all the pictures since I couldn't get them emailed to you. She went a little deeper this morning and even retrieved a stick I tossed in for her. All the splashing is her little legs. One guy I met out there told me puppies do that. They start almost upright in their swimming and as they get more comfortable begin to level out and paddle. I was proud of her. She did it right. Swam like crazy then got out of the water and shook herself dry all over me! :-) Good girl! I'll work on that part. Train to her shake off on the nearest stranger, maybe one who doesn't like dogs. :-) Just kidding. Sadly, on the way back to the car she stuck her nose in one of those divider poles on the trail and pissed off the wasps. Her nose is sore, but she survived to work on a rawhide and is now hanging out in the sun enjoying a quiet morning. I have a couple of days off to spend with her and always enjoy that time. We may peruse the neighborhood for furry four legged friends to romp with. There are plenty around here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Callie Full Throttle

Don't let the picture fool you. This is Callie in one of her rare quiet moments. The girl comes out of the gate in the morning at a full sprint. Ready for action, any action. Chasing the cat, playing fetch, going for a walk where she carries her own leash or a short swim in the pond. She is so full of life and ready to take it on each and every day. It's all so exciting whatever the new adventure may be. She's learning a lot every day and has discovered car rides are just great! That means we must be going somewhere fun. She likes going to the store with me because everyone makes such a fuss over her and she is the center of attention. OOHHHH! She loves that part. Pets, scratches, people talking funny. There are three new puppies in the neighborhood. Callie, Gertie and Trigger. She has met Gertie and they had a blast hanging out. I think it was great fun for both of them to have a playmate their own size. Callie's not opposed to mixing with dogs bigger than her though. Ollie, Jim's dog, is one of her favorites. They talk forever. We wish we knew what they said, but we don't, and they're content just sitting and barking back and forth. Gauge is a service dog who amazes me. She can go from work mode to play mode with the flick of her owner Miles' hand. And she likes Callie, she plays gently with her and lets Callie run all over her. Abbie, my friend Gene's dog, didn't like her too much, but Abbie has been inundated with other dogs over the last few months and her life has changed, she's not happy about it. Duke is one of the dogs that lives with Gene now, he was laying on he floor and Callie crawled up on his back to chew on his ears. He didn't look thrilled, but let her do it a little bit because I don't think he wanted to hurt her. I came to his rescue, he needs his ears. I had one redneck offer to take her off my hands if I couldn't manage her. That pissed me off. Some people simply have no manners. Callie is adjusting to her world pretty well and I like that she makes me get out and do things with her. I also like that she's so responsive to training. She wants to know her role in the team and is glad someone tells her. I'm getting better at being consistent, but I also want her to have her full out playtime to burn off some of her endless energy. She'll never replace Ozzie, but I'm having a lot of fun with her that I didn't have with him because he was older and had so many health problems his whole life, but he was still a great companion. Callie is a blank slate that I can shape into a great companion that will not be intimidated by her surroundings or limited by health issues.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Year

I celebrated one year of sobriety today. I belong to a very special group called AA. I feel privileged to belong, though I never wanted to grow up and be a member of AA. Mensa, maybe, but never AA. It was never a group I thought I'd belong to, or sought out...I never sought them out until I really needed them. I didn't think I'd be so emotional today, but the tears won't stop. I'm grateful they took me in when no one else would. I'm grateful that I was willing to listen; be patient (sort of); was willing to give it a shot because nothing else helped me stay sober; that they helped me get home; that they loved me when I couldn't love myself; that they understood the pain I was in and helped me walk through it without drinking. They showed me through their examples that there is another way to live my life, and it is much more rewarding, more uplifting, more productive, happier, more free, less frightening, less dramatic, and so much more loving.

The tears are also from the sadness of loss. Loss of a potential love that will never be because I couldn't stop drinking, I couldn't stop blaming, I couldn't stop being a victim. Even after I got sober, I couldn't stop being a victim for a very long time. Slowly, very slowly I learned. There are no victims here. We have to make our own way, we have to take full responsibility for our lives, its direction, its failures and ultimate rewards. Sometimes I think if I could go back and change it, I would in a second. I would never cause the hurt I created. I wouldn't have hurt someone so badly who I said meant so much to me. I wouldn't have been so selfish and self-centered. I would have let go with dignity and been alone rather than destroy something so completely that could have been a really good thing. I would have tried harder to be the person I always wanted to be and am now only because I am sober and growing each day. I would have just tried harder.

Why do we alcoholics do what we do? I don't know. But I carry a statement that a very good friend of mine in the group shared one day...I am so grateful every day he is there...he has 20 years sobriety and counting, and he shows up every single day for a meeting, and I can see the path to a better life through him. He said, "Out there, no explanation is possible, in here, no explanation is necessary." I am so grateful that I can go there and not have to try to explain myself. I can be me, I can grow, I can mature, I can complain. I can do all of it and be accepted and loved where I stand in sobriety.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Callie has figured out fetch. I'm a little biased, but I think she's one of the smartest dogs I've seen. She's 12 weeks old, knows sit, down, stay, high-five, swimming, and now fetch. I'm learning a lot. Build a foundation and then put it all together. She's a pretty mellow puppy when we're home. I love this part the best...when we get done playing and walking, she lays at my feet under my desk while I write. It's like a story book. When I'm done writing we head out for another round. She keeps me balanced because she's so naturally balanced. And she's growing like crazy, so constant work is important because I don't want an out of hand dog, and so far so good.