Friday, January 30, 2009
That is among the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center, which found that Denver was the top city when Americans were asked about where they would like to live.
Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati were at the bottom of the list of 30 large metropolitan areas which Americans were asked to rank as places to reside, underscoring the economic woes of the "rust belt" and manufacturing industries including the car-making sector.
See...Colorado is the best state to live in. I loved Denver. I loved the ethnic diversity of my neighborhood and the choices everywhere. I felt relatively safe there, but had to come to Grand Junction to get sober. I would consider going back to Denver, even my old neighborhood, but I'd go with much more stability behind me because I AM now sober. It is a fun city on a lot of different levels, and really easy to get around. Alas, the downside is the City of Denver has breed specific legislation, so Callie and I will likely stay in Grand Junction. We like it better because of that.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thank you for writing to Amazon.com with your concerns. I understand that you feel very strongly about this issue.
Let me assure you that Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to choose his or her own reading material or entertainment.
As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they might be seeking. That selection includes some items which many people may find objectionable. Therefore, the items offered on our website represent a wide spectrum of opinions on a variety of topics.
Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable. Therefore, we'll continue to make controversial works available in the United States and everywhere else, except where they're prohibited by law.
We also allow readers, authors, and publishers to express their views freely about these titles and other products we offer on our website. However, Amazon.com doesn't endorse opinions expressed by individual authors, musical artists, or filmmakers.
We value all feedback from our customers, and I thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments about this issue. Although we won't be able to comment further on this topic, we hope you'll allow us to continue to serve you.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I said a while ago to someone who isn't an alcoholic that the best movie I'd ever seen about the reality of the obsession of every alcoholic is "Days of Wine and Roses". It was directed by Blake Edwards. There is a scene that moves me every time. Jack Lemmon's character and Lee Remick's character are at her father's house and drinking, and her father has had enough and forces her into the shower to try and "sober her up". Jack Lemmon's character runs to the greenhouse where they had hid some booze and tears the green house apart because he knows it is in there but can't remember where because he is so sloshed. The movie does a beautiful job portraying the decent into addiction and the absolute insanity that every alcoholic I know goes through. I said to this person they had to have talked to an alcoholic, because non-addicts couldn't do such a realistic portrayal without being in the mind of an alcoholic.
Well...Jack Lemmon apparently admitted many years ago that he was an alcoholic. There was the information needed right there in authentic form. Someone who had descended to the depths of hell and lived to tell about in on the other side. The end of the movie is equally as moving. His character finds Alcoholic Anonymous through a character portrayed by Jack Klugman, and he begins to heal by putting down the bottle. Lee Remick's character decides she's not ready and walks away from a meeting at the end of the movie. That is the battle we face every day. I am sorry that people decide to relapse, but through their experience I stay sober. And I realize each and every day because I am walking the path of sobriety I now have choices I never had while drinking. Again, I end the day grateful for another day of sobriety and as a result, I also have serenity.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Another statement that bothered me made by the Humane Society was that Amazon.com sells books on fighting techniques, so I did a quick search. There are some books on the history of dog fighting in America and Europe, but there are also books on breeding, training and using dogs for fighting. I am a person who has purchased many books from Amazon, especially books on writing, writing techniques, and living the writing life. I will now take my business elsewhere. I looked for a link to be able to contact Amazon and couldn't find it. The Humane Society suggests that we contact Amazon and tell them to stop selling the books on animal fighting, but I've never had luck contacting Amazon about anything. I'm guessing on this particular subject they don't want to hear it, and will bury their head in the sand and simply argue they are book sellers.
This has become a new hot point for me purely by accident because I have Callie and I was researching the breed and came across some incredibly disturbing facts about these dogs and what happens to them on a daily basis. We consider ourselves a civilized society, yet the barbaric practice of dog fighting continues to happen in America. The guesstimate is that tens of thousands of people are involved in this underground activity that, by the way, also frequently involves drug dealing and using.
I'm obsessive by nature and latch on to topics that have meaning to me. Cruelty to animals is something that raises my blood pressure, it always has. This topic is also very personal to me now that I have Callie in my life. I am terrified that she may become victim to this insane witch hunt happening in this country (when Denver passed Breed Specific Legislation regarding Pits, 1,800 Pit Bull family members were required to be surrendered to shelters and were subsequently euthanized. This was not a highly published fact). PETA has come out and said that this is a dangerous breed, even stating emphatically that trying to rescue Michael Vicks dogs was a waste of resources. Sports Illustrated published an in-depth article in December 2008 about the status of the dogs he used for his operation: 47 out of 51 dogs were saved. Most have been adopted or remain in foster care, many are at a Utah sanctuary where they will live out their lives because their trust issues are too daunting. Several have received "Good Citizen" certificates for their behavior and the work they do in their communities. For example, one is now a therapy dog visiting cancer patients, one helps children feel more comfortable reading aloud. The list goes on.
The groups I find myself now supporting in whatever manner I can are the groups that are working to change the perception that society in general has of so-called "strong breed" dogs. One of the groups that was pivotal in saving the dogs that Vick used is called "BAD RAP" (stands for Bay Area Doglovers Responsible about Pit Bulls) based in Oakland, California. They are the group who made a proposal to the judge in the Vick case, evaluated and rescued so many of the dogs that had been taken from his property. They went in initially thinking that they could help three or four dogs, and what they found surprised even them. The dogs showed no or very little signs of aggression. What they found instead were very scared dogs, afraid of what would happen if they came out of their kennel, because invariably when they were living in Virginia and were brought out of their "kennels", something really bad did happen (read the article in Sports Illustrated by Jim Gorant, it is very illuminating and heart breaking. I just read he's now writing a book about the dogs. Good. Keep in in the public mind). What the group did was not short of a miracle and the resiliency that the dogs have shown is truly awe inspiring.
I don't know what I can do on a daily basis to help, but I know that I can give my support to these organizations and spread the word.
On a personal level, I can honestly say, that though Callie is walking through her puppy hood with some issues, i.e. destroying dog beds, my comforter and chewing whatever else comes into view, she is the best dog I've ever had. I did not set out on purpose to get a Pit Bull, I had many of the same fears as others do, but that is changing. When I was told she likely had some Pit in her, I was nervous, but now I know what I as a dog owner need to do on a daily basis with her, and it makes me a better dog owner. What I have found with Callie is that she is smart, funny, responsive, terrific around people and other pets, athletic, and an all around well-balanced dog just wanting to grow up and live life the way it is meant to be lived: Pampered, exercised, fed and getting a good nights sleep...oh, and don't forget, the biggest stick on the block to play fetch!
Monday, January 26, 2009
It is beginning to make me mad. People do not get that it is the people who own the dogs, not the dogs, who are the problem. It has become a witch hunt in my mind. We don't hold people accountable for their actions, we simply destroy an animal. I commented on the article and said that I firmly believe that if this keeps up and Pits are banned, in a couple years the same people will want to ban Dachshunds because some little kid was stupid and got bit.
Even animal rights people have said, neither Pits nor any breed is inherently vicious, but they can be trained to be whatever the owner wants. It is very clear in looking at the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's horrendous operation that they are trusting dogs and responsive dogs. They want to please their owner, and sadly some owners are very sick people who will put them in dangerous situations. The dogs rescued from Vick's property have become loving family members and citizens of the communities they live in. I think that in itself says a lot about a dog having the right person to manage it, care for it and treat it with respect.
I know that we can't do much about people's stupidity, there will never be an end to people's illegal behavior and mistreatment of animals, but killing the animals one by one will not solve the problem. The people who use dogs for fighting and other illegal activity don't care about laws! They wouldn't be breaking the law in the first place if they were concerned about getting caught. All these laws do is punish law abiding citizens who are just trying to live their lives and want to share their life with a pet.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I was thinking about what that woman has seen in her life. The short list that comes to mind: World War I, the roaring '20's, the Great Depression, World War II, Elvis, Korea, Vietnam, Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968 as a pivotal year, man on the Moon, gas guzzlers, electric cars, the birth and death of the 8-track (thank heavens for its death), and now the election and inauguration of the first black president. It would be fascinating to talk with her and get her pulse on events she has witnessed. I think I'll do it if we can work out the logistics. Everything else I've been writing has been far too dull anyway.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It feels good to write it out. These feelings. They are mine, right, wrong or indifferent and I have to honor them and still move forward. Just saying what feels wrong in my life takes away its power and energy over me. I think that's why I like to write so much. I always find it incredibly cathartic. So I guess I'll take "destructo dog" for a walk. She's earned it by putting up with me being selfish and self-centered for what seems like forever.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S. states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between trade unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or "fees" a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.
At-will employment is a doctrine of American law that defines an employment relationship in which either party can break the relationship with no liability, provided there was no express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship and that the employer does not belong to a collective bargain (i.e. a union). Under this legal doctrine:
any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work.
Several exceptions to the doctrine exist, especially if unlawful discrimination is involved regarding the termination of an employee.
Since this reduces job security, it can create, in theory, an atmosphere of fear that may contribute to workplace bullying. As a means of downsizing, such as closing an unprofitable factory, a company may terminate employees en masse. However, there are legal limitations upon the employer's ability to terminate without reason.
Colorado follows the at-will employment doctrine. When I was recruiting that language was put verbatim in employment offer letters.
So this cleared it up for us. In Colorado, with the exception of Amendment 47, which has yet to be ratified, you have to join a union or lose your job. In Arizona, you don't have to join the union in order to work for a union shop, but you miss out on the many benefits, such as the union taking union dues and doing absolutely nothing except keeping your pay rate down so you can't really make a living, and telling you that they are helping you make a better living than what you would make without them (people really believe it too). We have one non-union shop here in the valley. Because they don't have the union dictating pay rates, they have been able to give people raises which helps keep good people on the ship. For instance, our carry-outs make $7.15 an hour (increase to come with the federal minimum wage increase), the non-union store carry-outs start at $10.00 an hour, and have the possibility of getting a raise based on performance. Hmmmm...I can see where the union helps by keeping less than mediocre people on board and losing decent people with possibility because they can go to a higher paying job. I know those aren't mind boggling wages, but we live in the grand valley, where pay has always been behind the eight ball. I think the union ensures we stay there, which is really too bad, because what we are facing now is the challenge of hiring anyone who has the potential to someday become a manager, which directly affects our ability to provide excellent customer service, and that is our primary goal.
The old adage, "you get what you pay for", is really true in this scenario, I see it every single day I work. One thing we pay for the privilege of living in a beautiful area that is somewhat isolated. I am willing to pay that premium because I do make somewhat of a living wage and have potential once I get my confidence back, and I love this area of the country. But others that I work with, aren't making ends meet, and having to make some really tough choices. I'm happy to pay the price too because I did make a lot of money in past careers, but never found peace or satisfaction in what I was doing. Now I have a job, not a definition of who I am, and time to work on my dream.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Overnight, officials said a total of six structures were damaged or destroyed, including three residences and three outbuildings.
As of 5:30 a.m. this morning, the official estimate of terrain burned grew to 3,000 acres.
Two wildfires ignited Wednesday afternoon burning mostly grassland and brush near U.S. 36 northeast of Boulder.
Crews were concentrating on protecting structures in the path of the Olde Stage Road wildfire, which had not been contained.
Two firefighters received minor injuries, there was one unconfirmed citizen injury, and seven horses and one dog were missing, said Boulder Sheriff's Cmdr. Phil West.
About 9,600 acres were closed to residents.
Ranch owners loaded hundreds of horses and llamas onto trailers and fled in long caravans to safety.
"We can't stop the fire, so we're concentrating on protecting structures," West said of a strategy dictated by fickle Chinook winds that peaked at 75 mph. Chinooks blow warm, dry air down the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in winter and early spring.
As the fire approached the Dakota Ridge and Boulder Heights subdivisions in northwest Boulder in the evening, the fire's intensity decreased as the winds died down. But West warned that the "dirty burn" fire left unburned pockets of land behind — including 200 homes — and could start burning if the winds shifted again.
I grew up in Boulder Heights. Fire danger was one of several reasons my parents were all too happy to sell their house. I loved growing up there. It was a great place to be a kid, but has changed dramatically. I had a horse and could ride for hours, cross property lines with people's permission, and wander the back woods forever without seeing another human being. The Chinooks are the worst. We put in a steel door on the west side of our house because of the winds, and they still bowed it. Boulder trumps Roswell in wind gusts, and I thought the wind in Roswell was miserable. At least in Boulder it didn't last long, in Roswell it's interminable.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The 77-year-old Salisbury resident appeared in Bantam Superior Court on Monday. He pleaded not guilty to illegal operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane.
I think this is the third celebrity drinking arrest I've read about this week. Charles Barkley and Sam Shepard are the other two. They may have just had a couple too many like normal drinkers do and got caught. Us career alcoholics do it different.
We were just talking about this this morning in the meeting. I had to have a drink to be able to shower, to put on make-up, to be able to get behind the wheel and drive to work, to be able to get through the day I'd have a mid-morning shot to stop the shakes, and then one in the afternoon to keep going until I could get home and drink like a normal person (the definition of insanity at it's most pure).
Heads nod in meetings when we share stories like this. The really crazy thing is that so many of us never killed anyone, never got stopped, never wrecked our cars. Some did, and are still sober today. Our stories are so similar. Then we read about the drunk driver who kills a family of four, or a pedestrian, or plows head on into a tour bus. And what we recovering alcoholics think is simply, "but for the grace of God, go I". So many times, I was flat lucky to not kill myself or anyone else. I was so far gone that I actually thought it was normal behavior. It is simply amazing what we addicts can talk ourselves into.
My ex said to me one time that I went to Rehab because I had no where else to go. All I can say to that is, No Shit! Alcohol kicked my ass over and over and over. And then kicked my ass again when I got out of rehab. What has saved me is AA. And it has saved me because I truly had no where else to go. He and the landlords were beginning the eviction process where we had been living, I couldn't keep a job, much less think about getting one in the shape that I was in. I was at the bottom, and I had been digging for a long time.
There comes a point that every alcoholic who makes it to sobriety and maintains it has to surrender completely. There is no question of maybe someday I can drink like a normal person, there is no believing that I can control it. Alcohol controlled everything, absolutely everything I did, everything I said, and everything I believed. The only way to have some semblance of a normal life is to never drink again, one day at a time.
Rehab didn't keep me sober, but it did introduce me to people in AA, and when the time came that I couldn't fight any longer, that I was entirely defeated and broken to my core, they were there. They helped me pick myself up, and they have helped me stay sober since, one day at a time.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Anyway, I ended up with a printer, copier, scanner, photo maker all in one. These things are great and cost less than $100 dollars. So I practiced the scanning part this morning because I'm procrastinating on my writing.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Most of life with Ozzie was uneventful. There were little moments that made me laugh. He was out in the back yard in his dog house and I was in cleaning. I peaked out the back door to check on him and a squirrel was drinking out of his water bowl that was maybe two feet away. Ozzie was laying there watching him and then looked over and saw me. I could see the "oops" in his eyes. He jumped up and chased the squirrel out of the yard. I encouraged him to get after squirrels, I had a peach tree.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Since Callie had taken the stuffing out of her bed, she decided I needed the stuffing taken out of MY bed...I can see the logic in her thinking. She is a puppy, and part of the pack, and wants to take care of everyone the same and do her part as part of the pack...Her face was precious when I walked my bedroom and screamed. She came right to my side, sat down, looked up at me and started wagging her tail just a little bit. I expressed my serious unhappiness, she kept wagging just a little bit, trying to look more cute with each passing moment...I had to walk into the kitchen and chuckle.
This really is not very funny. I had a nasty old quilt I used for years when I had Ozzie because he slept all over my bed all the time. When he died Mom got this new one that is (was) very pretty and comfortable and snazzed up my house a bit, not top of the line expensive, but not cheap. Callie still sleeps on the bed, but takes up less room...anyway...Now I have to figure out how to replace my comforter before Mom finds out...of course if she reads this, which she may, I'm in big trouble.
The picture above is how I found Callie this morning when I woke up. I had to take the picture, she looked so cute, and apparently scarred for life with the lecture she received last night about destroying my stuff.
The moral of the story is that this dumbshit needs to remember that she's still very much a puppy and I need to treat her as such. No butcher bones, no hanging out on my bed while I'm not here! I amaze myself some days...
Oh...and Happy New Year!