Monday, August 31, 2009

California Wildfires

Callie and I went up to Bang's Canyon per usual. There is a short hike I like to take when I'm overtired and haven't slept much, which was the case this morning. As we hiked up the hill to the first meadow on this terrific trail I saw two hummingbirds flying around. They looked like they were thinking of making a nest together and lay some hummingbird eggs...how sweet. We came around the first bend where the trail heads back down and we can usually have a spectacular view of the entire valley from the Mesa, Mt. Garfield, the Bookcliffs...all the way to Utah. I love looking down at the valley from that vantage point and I feel so lucky I live in such a beautiful place. Today the sky was filled with smoke so thick that I couldn't see the Bookcliffs or the Utah border. Mt. Garfield and the Mesa were masked by a thin haze and I could see the smoke settling down over the city. I hope those in California suffering through this disaster see some relief very soon, and I'm sorry we've already lost two firefighters.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I wonder if she'll be open to a second date

FERNDALE, Michigan - A first date went from bad to worse when a man skipped out on the restaurant bill, then stole his date's car, police said.

Police say 23-year-old Terrance Dejuan McCoy had dinner with a woman April 24 at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. The woman said the two met a week earlier at a Detroit casino and she knew McCoy only as "Chris."

And I thought I had met some really lousy men!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living in the past can be a good thing

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—With the help of a $250,000 reward, the founder of the Papa John's pizza chain has finally reunited with the muscle car he sold years ago to help keep his family's business afloat.

John Schnatter sold the gold-and-black 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for $2,800 in 1983. The money helped save his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Ind., and he used the rest to start what would become a worldwide pizza business.

I loved this story. If I could, I would find my Karmen Ghia too. It was my favorite car, first cars are always the best. I still managed to wreck it twice before Dad sold it, but it was cute and fun to drive when I wasn't running into other cars. :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lonliness

There are more than 300 million of us in the United States, and sometimes it seems like we're all friends on Facebook. But the sad truth is that Americans are lonelier than ever. Between 1985 and 2004, the number of people who said there was no one with whom they discussed important matters tripled, to 25 percent, according to Duke University researchers. Unfortunately, as a new study linking women to increased risk of heart disease shows, all this loneliness can be detrimental to our health.

This is the first paragraph in a Newsweek article I read this morning. The whole article spoke to me. This is the core of my problem. And it has been like this for years. In or out of romantic relationships, surrounded by friends, working with people on a daily basis. I am intensely lonely. I know part of what's happening this minute is an attempt at total redefinition of myself in sobriety. But above that, I'm in my mid-40's with no direction, no passion for any subject, no real career that interests me, no love relationship and no one I can turn to for support. I am surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and customers and I have never felt so lost and alone in my life. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about finding a safe harbor to navigate from. And I still believe I have found that safe harbor. What I didn't know was how comfortable I would get in that harbor and then how it would leave me completely empty. When my life was full of drama and alcohol and transient relationships there was at least some activity happening, whether good or bad. Now, as much I love my sobriety, it is so different. I feel so happy that I am sober, and I will go to any lengths to maintain my sobriety, but this overwhelming feeling of heaviness and emptiness and I am on my own forever is strong and suffocating. I guess I hope that if I talk about it here and other places, it will pass, I will find my compass. My purpose and life will have meaning and that meaning will take away the intense sadness I feel. I hope.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Impressive photography

I was browsing the best pictures of the last decade on MSNBC.com. There are some incredible pictures that capture some major events that have taken place. The Twin Towers, Iraq, Albania, etc. This picture struck me the most. I don't condone fighting, but I have to say, this is some seriously impressive photography. These squirrels in a campground in Namibia are duking it out over camp food.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Callie girl

I haven't posted any pictures of Callie in a while and was downloading some pictures this morning after our hike. We've been hiking fools this summer, running all over Bang's Canyon pretty much on a daily basis. It's good for her, re-centers me and gets everyone some good exhausting exercise. We did go up to Glade Park once with Dana and did the Turkey Flats trail. That was great! Once I quit obsessing about what happens if we run into a Bear, I had quite a nice time. We didn't see any Bears, but we did see one dear and lots of trees and flowers.


She's so cute. This is what she looks like after a long hike and she's tired.









Playing with Gauge. Miles and Gauge have moved to a house, so Callie is missing her friend. They used to love to play tug of war with a huge rope Gauge has.






Turkey Flats Trail. Miles and miles of wilderness and beauty. Dana liked this hike a lot because the trail was smooth and relatively flat. There were still some challenges since we were at about 9000 feet above sea level.







There's a dog in that pond. We love taking advantage of hikes after the rain. Small pools form in the canyons, the water is cool and Callie dives right in!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now for the good news

Believe in miracles and good deeds?

Best Friends trainer John Garcia, who was on Larry King Tuesday night with one of the dogs, Georgia, talked about their rehab with us before going on the TV show. "They're great dogs. We're setting them up for success," he says.

John Garcia gives Georgia a hug at Best Friends animal sanctuary north of Kanab, Utah. Her teeth were pulled out all together, probably to keep her from attacking while she was bred to produce litter after litter.

Best Friends, the largest no kill animal sanctuary in the USA, took 22 of the pit bulls in January 2008 when other groups called for their destruction and said they could not be rehabilitated. Garcia says all but two of the pit bulls will be sent to families eventually. Halle recently was adopted and Handsome Dan just went to a foster home. Only Meryl and Lucas will stay at Best Friends for the rest of their lives -- and that's due to court orders, Garcia says, more than anything else because they were prize fighters.

I watched Michael Vick's interview on 60-Minutes. There are skeptics out there who believe he is giving lip service to his contrition. Philadelphia generally is not happy that the Eagles signed him. I think that his celebrity status can help educate children about the brutality of dog fighting specifically, and maybe eventually reduce the numbers. Can he help end it? I doubt it. Human beings for some sick reason love bloodsport, whether human or animal. We are the only species that participate and encourage this destructive behavior. Michael Vick did appear humbled by what happened to him. When asked about losing his $130 million dollar contract and endless endorsements he stated, "I deserved it." He now has a tremendous responsibility, burden, and opportunity. I hope he is up to the task. As for the truth of what he feels, he is the only person who knows what is inside his head, and time will tell if he is committed to the job before him. If he is not committed, it will show, and it will show very soon. As for the dogs, they have done an incredible job of showing their tenacity and willingness to change, ability to adapt and perform amazing acts of forgiveness and kindness. Human beings should take a hard look at themselves and be so tough in the face of adversity.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drugs were at the bottom of a midday shooting at the intersection of Fairfax and Forest streets in Thornton that left the victim hospitalized and three men in police custody, police say.

The 18-year-old male victim was taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening after several neighbors reported hearing gunshots at 12:33 p.m.

The victim was standing near his truck at the intersection when a group of people pulled up in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle, said Matt Barnes, spokesman for the Thornton Police Department.

A passenger allegedly jumped out of SUV and opened fire, hitting the victim in the left wrist and upper right arm. The injured man then ran to his home nearby at 12757 Fairfax Street, where police discovered him.

This is a subdivision where my ex-husband and I had a house built. It looks as though this crime was committed less than a block from where we used to live. I remember reading years ago that new housing then would be the slums of tomorrow. I guess tomorrow is here. It's too bad. I liked that neighborhood and the house we lived in, but I know with the economy, foreclosures, etc., that it was only a matter of time before the virus spread.

Waste of taxpayer money, again and again

More than 200 peace officers helped cover multiple events in the county related to the first family’s nearly three-hour stop in the Grand Valley Saturday.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Junction Police Department, Grand Junction Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol, Bureau of Land Management and the Clifton Fire Department helped U.S. Secret Service agents keep an eye on events surrounding President Barack Obama’s visit.

The police department spent some $3,000 to $5,000 in overtime pay to assist the Secret Service, with 75 employees, including officers, dispatchers and police service technicians. The Sheriff’s Office estimates it cost $5,000 to $10,000 to assign 71 employees to cover multiple events Saturday. Each department will pay the amount required to provide assistance.

“We consider events like this to be an agency assist,” said Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey. “The Secret Service is one of our federal law enforcement partners and they can not fulfill their missions without local law enforcement. We are pleased and proud to be able to assist them in their mission today.”

This doesn't include the cost of the secret service, who was put up at the Hampton Inn. I can't imagine they got much of a group discount rate from the owners here. Other costs: Fueling the motorcade that runs through all the towns he visits, fueling Air Force One, or the helicopter that brings him in and out of the venue, cost of set up and take down of the venue, etc., etc. This doesn't come out the "departments". This is our pockets. I don't make a lot money (less than $40k a year), I contribute the max amount to my 401(k) to defer taxes, and last year I still owed the feds. I appreciate their concern over spending more and more and more for nothing, nothing, nothing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Future

I'm thinking about going back to school, trying to figure out how to fund it and how to make ends meet while I study. I know where I want to go and what I want to do. I simply can't figure out the money part. I used to be so good at making decisions and making things happen. I haven't been able to do that lately. My sense of security in my abilities to have life work out was shaken to the core and I cant' seem to get my strength back. I used to just make stuff happen. I would set a goal, make decisions and it would all fall in place, and I never worried. Things always seemed to work out, even when I wasn't entirely sober. If I took the leap of faith, things fell into place. Now, not so much. Life just doesn't seem to work. I'm scared shitless to make a wrong move, I have nothing to fall back on now. I used to be able to believe in life and the universe and me. I'm beginning to not believe in anything anymore. And I hate that. I've always been optomistic, brave, forward thinking, ready for any and all action and really out there going for it. Now I don't. I go to work, go to meetings, pay the bills, hike with Callie and sometimes friends, sleep a lot, cry a lot, and wish it had been so different. My world has gotten so small, so much lost. I always wanted so much more for my life...so much more. I've never been a negative fatalist by nature, but so many things have happened that have dampened my view of my life and it's purpose and meaning and ending. What will I have contributed to this world after I am gone? It feels like it has been nothing but wasted space. I hate that I think like that. It makes me so sad.

We'll See

In a Tuesday morning appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike In The Morning, former NFL coach Tony Dungy talked about the interest in quarterback Mike Vick.

Said Dungy: "I think something's gonna happen this week." Dungy also explained that his comments from Sunday night's Hall of Fame game broadcast on NBC regarding the level of interest in Vick arises from the fact that a dozen NFL coaches have called Dungy for input on Vick.

Dungy said that Vick needs to "get with a football family," and that the sooner it happens, the better off Vick will be.

We agree.

If Vick had been with a team as of last week, we might not have seen his "interview" last weekend with Young Jeezy, which doesn't project the kind of change that people are looking for from Vick.As we explained yesterday, some of the teams that have said they aren't interested in Vick are actually pursuing him. We heard five teams are currently after him; Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that "at least five teams" are interested.

I guess I am going to be surprised. I won't be surprised until the ink is dry on a new contract. Apparently this "Interview" did not show Vick in a favorable light. I tried to view it and it has been removed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beyond ridiculous

NEW YORK - A New York City woman who says she can't find a job is suing the college where she earned a bachelor's degree.

Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court. The 27-year-old is seeking the $70,000 she spent on tuition.

Thompson says she's been unable to find gainful employment since she received her information technology degree in April.

This is simply ridiculous. When Information Technology started to collapse in 2000 I began thinking of a career transition (I was working as a software/hardware engineer recruiter). I went back to school and obtained a paralegal certificate. I attended a school certified by the American Bar Association to increase my credibility with potential employers. The school I went to advertised that they helped with job placement. However, I knew that it was all up to me to find a job suited toward my skills and impress potential employers with my abilities. The economy was in a serious downturn then, not as bad as now, but it was very slow. I found jobs on my own because of basic persistence. In the beginning I had to take contract hourly positions and finally in a year found something with more stability. I think people are expecting the world to be rosy if they get a degree, any degree, from any school. That simply isn't how it works. People need to take what jobs are there and work their up or into a position that they desire. Jobs don't get handed to people on a silver platter because they have a piece of paper. Suing the school because of her inability to find work shows she lacks personal responsibility. Employers will look at that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

School Supply Season

My favorite time of year. I'm easing back on the purchase of school supplies this year. I have plenty of supplies to move forward with my current writing projects, but there is something about freshly sharpened pencils, new model pens and fresh highlighters in millions of colors that gets my blood pumping! At work, we have to begin to work around school schedules and two of the other managers were quite frustrated about it yesterday. I pointed out that at least we have kids working for us who have goals and are in school, rather than drop-outs with no ambition but to find an employer to take advantage of and abuse, and then quit and end up on welfare for the rest of their natural lives. I may join some of them in school again in the spring...hopefully.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Who are Mutt and Jeff?

Callie and I were walking through the park this morning and saw a couple walking their dogs. One dog was enormous, the other an itty-bitty little thing that came up to the other dogs ankles. I immediately thought of Mutt and Jeff, and then realized I have been using that phrase forever and don't really know who Mutt and Jeff are. Now I do, and discover that as with many facts about life, I have been using it as a misnomer. I probably will continue to do so.


A comic strip created in 1907 by Bud Fisher.


Augustus Mutt is a tall, dimwitted racetrack character, a fanatic horse-race gambler, who is motivated by greed. Mutt has a wife and a son, Cicero, whose cat starred in the Mutt and Jeff spin-off strip Cicero's Cat. Mutt encounters the half-pint Jeff, an inmate of an insane asylum, who shares the passion for horseracing. They appeared in more and more strips together until the strip abandoned the horse-race theme and concentrated on Mutt's other get-rich-quick schemes, with Jeff as a sometimes unwilling partner.


The original inspiration for the character of "Jeff" was Jacques "Jakie" Fehr, a tiny (4'8") irascible Swiss-born shopkeeper in the village of Occidental, California. One summer day in 1908, Fisher, a member of San Francisco's Bohemian Club, was riding the North Pacific Coast narrow-gauge railway passenger train northbound to the Bohemian Grove, the club's summer campsite. During a stop in Occidental, Fisher got off the train to stretch his legs and observed the diminutive walrus-moustached Fehr in heated altercation with the tall and lanky "candy butcher," who sold refreshments on the train and also distributed newspapers to shops in towns along the train route. The comic potential in this scene prompted Fisher to add the character of Jeff to his A. Mutt comic strip, with great success.



I think about a lot of things as Callie and I are walking our route in the morning. The other thing that came to mind was the word dogfight. Is it dog fight or dogfight? I have noticed several articles have used it both ways, as have I. According to my research, both uses are correct. Regardless, my research also showed that while illegal across the globe, and a felony in the United States in particular, it seems to be a widespread "sport". What I hope through Michael Vick as a public example, this horrendous criminal activity will eventually come to an end. Whether you use the term as one or two words, it is cruel, unnecessary and serves no purpose for the betterment of humanity.