I Dare You

I dare you to read the following quote, out loud. (If the word “God” bothers you, use something like “the universe” instead or just leave it out.) If you can’t read it out loud, just read it to yourself. But really read it and take it in.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marianne Williamson

Go shine today, and everyday. 🙂

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When Lynch Met Lucas

OMG, I just had to share this with you guys! My brother (the one who works at Grey’s Anatomy) has a friend he works with who created this animated short using audio of David Lynch recounting the time he met George Lucas about possibly directing Return of The Jedi. It was shot entirely with his iPhone 3G using the iMotion app. He did all the illustrations himself.

In case you don’t know (I didn’t), David Lynch is the guy who “did Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Twin Peaks and a bunch of other edgy shit which makes the story in the interview even funnier.” (per my brother)

Also, he’s had so many hits on YouTube that David Lynch’s people have scheduled a phone interview with him! Lucky guy.

Enjoy!!

I can’t believe the guy would turn down STAR WARS!!!

Puppy Pictures!

The transport on Saturday went really well. We ended up with nine dogs instead of eleven. (Puppy millers are notorious for changing things at the last minute.) So, we had two adult females and seven puppies. One of the females didn’t get along with other females, so she was crated by herself. Then we had the four young puppies in a crate together, one of the older puppies and the other female in a crate together, and the remaining two older puppies were tethered. Talk about a car full of dogs!!

Here are some pictures. We had very little time in between transfers, so all of these were taken in the car. And unfortunately I didn’t get pics of all the dogs.

These little guys were 3 months old and SO adorable! I'd attempt to take one out at at time, and they'd all escape. They're all supposed to be special needs puppies, but the only thing I could see wrong was that one had one leg that was short and a bit deformed. The others seemed fine. But they're going to the vet to get checked out!

This was one of the 5-month-old puppies. He was very shy, but sweet, and so handsome. And ENORMOUS! If he's that big at 5 months I can't imagine what he'll look like full grown! Perhaps the father wasn't a Shiba and that's why they got rid of them. Who knows.

This sweet boy was the puppy that had the short leg, which you can't see in the picture. He was so nice and calm, and just as sweet as can be. And those floppy ears just kill me!

Another picture of the same pup as above. Don't you just want to cuddle him? I did, and that's why my coat is covered in fur. But well-worth the trip to the dry cleaner.

And this is the guy that we fell in love with. He's one of the 5-month-old puppies, and is another really big one. His paws are much bigger than those of my my full-grown Shibas! But he was such a lover. Gentle and kind, yet still playful, he melted our hearts. I'm going to keep my eye on him, and we may just have to snatch him up!

Needless to say, I couldn’t keep my hands off them the entire trip. I mean, really. Who could? I even climbed across the top of the crates to get back to the two dudes that were tethered in the back. Good thing I’m flexible.

Thanks so much to my husband for driving so that I could play with the dogs. And thanks to him for putting up with my baby talk for two hours. )It’s impossible for me to play with a dog and NOT use baby talk.) And more thanks to him for coming with me. There’s no way I could have done it by myself.

Now, the dogs are in foster homes being evaulated, and will be up for adoption soon! If you’re interesting in adopting, go to www.savingshibas.com

On My Soapbox and PUPPIES!

On Saturday, I get to take part in transporting ELEVEN Shiba Inus from a puppy mill in Arkansas to their new foster homes. This is one of my greatest passions, saving these animals from certain death, or from lives lived solely in a crate, producing litter after litter of puppies.

The last time I did this, there were only eight dogs, but they were all either adults or older puppies. This time, we’ll have NINE PUPPIES and two adult females. Four of the puppies are about 2 months old, and they all have special needs. One of them has one leg shorter than the others, but we don’t know what kinds of issues the other three have. The remaining five puppies are 3-5 months old, and for some reason weren’t “good enough” to sell.

Here is where I get on my soapbox and scream, “NEVER buy a puppy from a store!” These puppies always come from puppy mills, and the only way to put puppy mills out of business is to stop buying their products. My two Shibas, Kaia and Chloe, spent the first 8-9 years of their lives living in cages. Their only job was to produce litters, and they had very little human contact. Once they became too old for breeding, the owners were just going to euthanize them.

Thank God for the Shiba Inu Rescue Association (www.savingshibas.com), and all the other rescue groups and shelters. They take these “unwanted” dogs and find loving, permanent homes for them. So please, if you ever want to get a dog, check out your local shelter or search for rescue groups for the particular breed you’re interested in.

OK, back to the PUPPIES! I think it goes without saying that I am SO EXCITED to get my hands on nine little Shiba puppies! Our portion of the transport is only about two hours, so I’ll have to get my puppy fix in quickly. My plan is to have Nature Boy drive, so I’ll be free to pluck them out of their cages at will, and play with each one for a bit.

Cutest puppies EVER!

And no, we aren’t keeping any of them. Both Kaia and Chloe were supposed to be temporary foster dogs, and we know how that turned out. We’re definitely not ready for three dogs!

More great news on the dog front: we’re getting a fence tomorrow! My fur babies will be able to go outside and roam around the backyard without a leash! I’m excited for them and for myself, because this means I don’t have to walk them three times a day. Now, if we can just get a doggie door, that would be icing on the cake!

I’ll be sure and post pics of the pups after the transport!

Training Montage

So, last night I did my first training session for the Fight for Air stair climb event. First, we did a little warm-up:

  • Started off jogging in the snow, climbing some hills and crossing some rivers.
  • Came across a man with a horse and cart who was stuck in the snow, so we helped get him back on the road.
  • Did some speed bag work.
  • Sawed some logs using a giant hand saw.
  • Loaded some big-ass rocks into a cart.
  • Pulled our snarky manager Paulie on a sled in the snow. (This was really hard because Paulie is kind of fat.)
  • Did some pull-ups.
  • Walked through DEEP snow with giant logs across our shoulders.
  • Did some shadow boxing.
  • Chopped down some trees with an axe, NOT a chainsaw.
  • Jumped some rope.
  • Did these God-awful ab exercises where we hang from our feet and perform sit-ups.
  • Split some wood.
  • Did these crazy leg lift things where only our heads and shoulders were touching the ground, as we lifted and lowered our legs really slowly.
  • Did some uppercuts while squatting under a rope.
  • More trudging through the deep snow, this time with a yoke on our shoulders.
  • Lifted a wooden cart filled with Paulie, our friend Adrienne and our trainer Duke. That was a bitch.
  • Finally, we ran out in the snow again, up this giant hill, with the KGB chasing us. Strange. The hill became a mountain, and when we reached the summit, we all shouted “DRAGO!” over and over.

It went something like this (the dark-haired guy, NOT the blonde giant):

Crazy how they have our exact warm-up on YouTube. Go figure.

So once we finished the warm-up, we went on to climb the six flights of our building ELEVEN times. That’s 66 flights, yo. But see, we got to rest each time we took the elevator back down to the first floor. In the real race, we won’t get any rest. Just 42 flights, straight up. We need to find some taller buildings to use for training.

So, we’ve got one month to get in shape to kick that building’s ass. Won’t you help motivate me by donating? Click here or on the logo below. Don’t forget that I’ll wear a tutu during the race if I raise $500!! All proceeds go to the American Lung Association.

Thanks y’all!

Fight for Air

OK peeps, I’ve gone and signed up to do something completely insane awesome. On March 6th, I will be participating in the 2010 Fight for Air Climb: Master the Met, a stair climb race to benefit the American Lung Association. A bunch of girls from my work, other friends and I formed a team called The Social Climbers, and we will be raising money and then climbing the 42 flights of stairs that are housed by the Metropolitan Building in downtown St. Louis.

OMG, 42 flights!! What have I gotten myself into? My office is on the 5th floor of my building, and when I take the stairs I am gasping for breath by the time I get to to our floor. Now multiply that by 8.4, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be a heaping mess of sweat and tears and wobbly legs when I’m finished. IF I finish!!

Needless to say, it’s time to start training. We’ve got a hotel next door that has ten floors, so I plan to use that for training, since our building only has six. Climb ten, ride the elevator down, and do that three more times. Easy as pie, right? Right?

But as I huff and puff I can’t help but think of the people who fight for air all the time. People with lung cancer, asthma, COPD and influenza. These are the diseases that the American Lung Association is fighting to cure.

More than 35 million Americans suffer from chronic lung diseases and nearly 349,000 die each year as a result. Chronic lung disease and breathing problems constitute the number one killer of children under one year of age. The economic effect of asthma is tremendous- lung diseases cost the American economy $81.6 billion in direct healthcare expenditures every year, plus indirect costs of $76.2 billion – a total of more than $157.8 billion.

So, I am climbing for those who can’t. Will you help me by donating? I’ll even give you extra incentive. If I can raise $500, I will wear a tutu during the race, and I will post pictures afterwards to prove it. (If you read Chez Rougie, I kind of stole the idea from her, but I’m the one who showed her the tutu in the first place. If you’re not reading her, you should be. She’s hilarious.)

Click here or on the logo below to go directly to my donation page. Or if you’re feeling frisky, join my team and climb with me!

Thank you SO much for your help and support. I’ll keep you updated on my training. We’re having totally kick-ass team t-shirts made with the logo above and our names on the back. I’m trying to decide on a good name, because I really don’t want to use my boring name. Maybe something like “Killer”. Suggestions?

Also, I’m going to need some awesome music for my iPod, so if you have any good suggestions in the comments for songs that will get me and keep me motivated, please let me know in the comments!

Thanks again!

Mr. Hollywood

I’ve already told the story about how my mother married my best friend’s father and we became stepsisters. What I haven’t told you is that not only did I gain a stepsister, but a stepbrother as well, four years my junior.

When we were young, my sister and I would torture him by locking him either in his room or outside. It was always HER idea, however, because I would never do something so cruel without provocation.

As we got into our teen years, we pretty much ignored him. We did our thing, and he did his. We were into dance, drill team, boys, etc. He was into writing songs and making movies.  He and his friends would record songs like “Pass The Shit” (I am totally not joking), which had no purpose other than for them to be able to curse a lot. There were many others for which I have sadly forgotten the titles. If only I had MP3 files of them.

Then came the movie-making. He would take our gigantic VHS recorder and film all kinds of interesting movies, most of which made no sense. I remember one line went something like this, “Don’t call me Dick, my name is Richard!” (I think it was supposed to be a sex scene. )

Fast forward a bunch of years. His love of film-making never died, and so he went to film school at USC. He wrote and directed a short film which won him a college Emmy and selections in several film festivals.

He worked at E! for a long while, but has now hit the big time as an assistant editor for Grey’s Anatomy. I get so excited when I see his name in the end credits. Although, you can’t blink or you might miss it.

So, basically I’m waiting for him to give me my big break. So far I’ve got diddly squat. He did invite me out to tour the Grey’s set, which I’m sure once I do, they’ll see my potential and hire me on the spot.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Today is Mr. Hollywood’s birthday, and he has grown up to be such a wonderful man. I’m constantly amazed by his quick wit, and he always has me cracking up, whether in person or online. His Facebook posts are priceless, and he does a wicked Mick Jagger impersonation.

He is one of the most loving and caring people I know. He called me on Mother’s Day once, and it was so special. My kids LOVE him, because he actually likes being around them. He taught both of my boys to play chess, and they even beat him sometimes!

He got lucky and married a wonderful woman, and together they have a beautiful son, who I don’t see nearly enough! But we’re hoping to visit in March so I can get my big Hollywood break.

So here’s to you, Mr. Hollywood. Hope your birthday is filled with love, joy and laughter!

Your big sis,

Thirteen

My dearest son,

Today you are 13. How in the world can that be? How did you go from being this tiny, helpless baby to a TEENAGER in such a short period of time? I know it seems like a long time to you, but for me it’s like an instant has passed.

When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was ecstatic. I had always loved babies, and I knew that motherhood was at the top of my list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. But when that pregnancy test came up positive, I couldn’t believe it was true, so I rushed to the store to buy two more, both of which were positive. Holy crap! I was going to have a BABY!! Your father was so happy, too. You were loved from the minute we knew you existed. And that love that has never, ever faltered.

My pregnancy was uneventful and normal, although it went much too slowly for me because I was so anxious to see you, to be your Mom. Toward the end, I was having some big-time back pain, and I felt that if I could just take a big poop I’d feel so much better. (I know this is TMI for you, but humor your mother, please.)

I went to my last appointment on a Friday and begged the doctor to induce labor. I threw in some tears for good measure. Naturally he fell for my dramatics, and I was told that we should arrive at the hospital at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night, so they could get me admitted right at midnight. (for some insurance reason, I don’t know.)

I called Grammy and Gramps and told them you’d be arriving soon, so they planned to drive up the next day. However, a couple of hours later, Grammy called back and said they were going to head out that night instead of the next day and drive halfway. She had a “feeling” that I was going to go into labor soon, and wanted to be ready. I chalked that up to her excitement.

That night around 10:00, my back pain suddenly got much worse, so much so that I was on my hands and knees in agony. But after about a minute it was gone. ALL the back pain I’d been experiencing in the last couple of weeks was gone. What a relief! I went on folding laundry, and about 20 minutes later I got that same horrible pain. Lasted a minute and it was gone. AHA!! I was in LABOR! Grammy was right! (as usual) 😉

I woke up your dad to tell him I was in labor, told him to go back to sleep and that I’d let him know when it was “time”. I couldn’t sleep, so I just stayed up timing my contractions. Once they got to be 5 minutes apart, I called the doctor and he told me to come on in to the hospital.

We arrived around 4 a.m., and I immediately asked for an epidural. They wouldn’t give me one, because my contractions were about 6 minutes apart at that time, and they wanted them to be closer together before they gave it to me. Jerks.

They had me walk around the hospital to try to get the contractions to come more often. I did this for about an hour, and it didn’t work. So, they decided to give me this medicine called Pitocin which not only speeds up the contractions but also makes them MUCH stronger. Sweetheart let me tell you, labor HURTS. But labor with Pitocin is much, much worse. (This is the guilt portion of the story which I will probably bring up periodically throughout your life.) Thankfully I only had a couple of contractions before they gave me the epidural.

(Now, let me tell you something here and now, son. Someday when you get married and your wife is in labor, make SURE she gets an epidural. She will go from Satan’s bride to an even-sweeter-than-normal version of herself in mere seconds. Instead of digging her fingernails into your hand while screaming, “YOU did this to me!!”, she’ll be professing her love for you endlessly.)

Suffice it to say that I LOVED the epidural. All was right with the world.

All I had to do then was wait until it was time to push. After a few hours, that time came. I’ll leave out the gory details (you’re welcome!), but I pushed for about 30 minutes and you were out. As soon as I looked down and saw you I said, “Oh my God!”. I was just so shocked and awed that there was actually A BABY, a real person, in there! I was overjoyed.

And that was just the beginning. Throughout your 13 years, you have brought me more joy than I have ever known. And I am so proud of the young man you’ve become.

You are so smart that it boggles my mind sometimes. I hear you talking about the things you’ve learned in school, and I’m amazed at how much you know. You get straight A’s in school, and I never have to help you with homework. Thank God, because I’m pretty sure you know more than me at this point.

You are also such a wonderful person. You’re outgoing, kind and loving. You have lots of friends, and people enjoy having you around. I’ve been told by many adults what a great, well-mannered kid you are, and that makes me so proud!

You’re also an excellent sportsman. I’m in awe of your physical abilities in the sports arena. You’re always up for the challenge of playing up with kids who are older than you, or for trying new sports like swim team. I wish I had your natural talent. (I’m pretty sure you got that from Dad.)

And of course, you’re damn good-looking. I’m sure the girls will be all over you any time now, if they aren’t already. Are they? You’d tell your mother wouldn’t you?

One more thing. Even though you bug the crap out of each other at any given moment, you really are an excellent role model for your little brother. He looks up to you so much, even though you don’t realize it. Thanks for being such a great big brother.

I could go on and on about the wonders of you, but you’re probably getting all embarrassed by now and wish I would just stop already. OK, I will. But not before I say that I love you and I am so honored and blessed to be your mother. I will ALWAYS love you, no matter what. Thank you for being my son for 13 years.

Happy Birthday, Alex. Today we celebrate YOU. 🙂

Love,
Mom

Resolution Disillusion

New Year’s Resolutions make me stabby. There’s just so much PRESSURE. We make these big proclamations, resolving to quit smoking, lose weight, be a nicer person, etc. Then by mid-February we’re back to our old tricks and habits, feeling like giant losers for not sticking to our resolutions.

This is exactly why I don’t make resolutions. Instead I think about things I MAY want to try to do better, IF I feel like it. This year those are as follows:

1. Blog more often. Apparently the folks at my work think that I should actually work instead of write blog posts. I know! WTF? But it should be slowing down here soon, so I might be able to achieve this one.

2. Exercise more. My youngest asked for a mini-trampoline for Christmas, so I bought him an Urban Rebounder. I figured he’d like it for a couple of days and then I’d get to use it for myself. And I’ve been doing just that! It’s quite a workout, and I’m really liking it. So much that I bought all the different workouts they have on DVD. There’s like 14 of them. I figure if I have a lot of variety I’ll be more apt to stick with it.

3. Drink less Starbucks. So far, this isn’t going well, since I already got a mocha this morning. But hey, it was the first day back at work, and I slept like crap last night. I needed some energy. Plus it was 4 degrees this morning and I was cold. And yes, I could have gotten some FREE, low-cal coffee here at work and gotten the same buzz. But nothing replaces that mocha-y goodness…

Ones that didn’t make the cut:

1. Work harder. Seriously people, do you know me at all?

2. Go on a diet. Isn’t it enough that I’m exercising? I can’t take the pressure of a diet.

3. Watch less TV. Ummmm, no.

4. Spend less time reading other people’s blogs. Again, no. You people keep me going. It comforts me to know that others are just as insane as me.

5. Curse less. No fucking way.

So how about you? Do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year!!

Happy Birthday, Daddy-O!

OK I know it’s been a LONG while, but I’ve unburied myself from my pile of work, and my vacation, to write this very important post. I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!!

Today is Daddy-O’s birthday! I’m 41, so he must be 85. Right, Daddy? OK maybe I’m off a bit. 67? 68? Hell, I don’t know. He’s old though.

Even though he’s old, he’s extremely talented. He can whistle through his eyes (seriously!), move his scalp without touching it, make cricket noises, cross one eye, and all sorts of other cool stuff (some of which, he’s passed on to me).

Dad with 50 grapes in his mouth. Also note that one eye is crossed. That's talent, people. Pure and simple.

I have so many good memories of him from my childhood. Like the time he got his wisdom teeth pulled. We were sitting at the dinner table and all of a sudden his eyes started rolling around in his head. My brother and I were cracking up, as he was always quite the jokester. That is, until he passed out on the floor. Which, at the time was kind of scary, but it cracks my shit up now to think about.

Or the time when I got my finger stuck in the hole at the top of my brother’s football helmet. We tried the usual methods to get it out, to no avail. But my dad is an engineer. One with lots of tools, and a mind for solving problems. So he decides to DRILL A HOLE in the helmet right next to the hole where my finger was, then file the little section in between so my finger could be freed, Yes, it worked. But people, I was like FOUR. Try to reason with a 4-year old about why drilling mere centimeters from her finger is a good idea.

Uhhhh, a little help here?

Sweet freedom, and scarred for life

But, in all seriousness, he’s the best Dad a girl could have. He is supportive, loving, genuine, hilarious and fun. He taught me that I could be or do anything I wanted in life (even when I told him I wanted to be a frog). He encouraged me to try things, even when I was scared.

Like that one time in Colorado. I was about eight years old, and we’d taken the T-bar to the top of the bunny slope. Because it was my first time skiing, I was scared shitless to go down that huge “mountain”, and was making quite a fuss of it. He’d had enough and basically told me, “You’re going to do this.” So, I just did it. And LOVED it. I spent the entire day riding up the lift and skiing back down (with no poles) directly into the lift line again.

So here’s to you Dad. Hope your birthday is filled with love, joy and laughter. And know that no matter how old I get, I’ll still be Daddy’s little girl.