Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/01: Ten years later

How have I not written about 9/11?? The only blurb I can find is from a post about Jack:


"Then came 9/11. I was on night shift by then and had slept that whole day. I didn't find out until that afternoon when Jeff called to tell me to turn on the TV. I was in utter shock. I went through the motions of getting ready for work but I was in a complete daze. As I reached down to pick up my socks, the enormity of the situation hit me. As I crouched down, Jack pushed himself into my arms, put his paw on my arm and rested his head against my chest. He gave me comfort when I needed it the most. He always has. I just held him there, hugging him back, amazed at how in tune he was with my feelings."


I remember sitting on the couch in our little Durham apartment watching footage of the planes hitting, of the towers collapsing and was in a complete daze. It felt like days went by as I watched when it was more like an hour.  American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the north tower at  8:46 am. United Airlines flight 175 crashed into the south tower at 9:02am.  American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37am:184 victims.  United flight 93 crashed in a Shanksville, PA field at 10:03am: 40 victims.  There were 2,749 victims of the World Trade Towers, including the occupants of the planes. I was a newlywed, having just been married for 5 months and having just been to NY the previous January. I went in one of those towers. Granted, it was just to use the restroom..but still..I'd been there. How could it be gone? I knew people who worked in the Pentagon. Were they ok? And all those brave people who took back United 93 by rushing the cockpit and crashed it into PA to save the lives of how many others?? It wasn't just an act of terrorism, but it was a declaration of war against our country. 


After getting some solace from Jack and taking my shower..I left for work. I walked out the door and remember the silence. No cars, no planes..not even birds. Nothing. In the distance, I could barely hear some church bells.  There was hardly anyone on the road. Truth be told..I don't remember much of the days that followed. I remember research efforts trying to find people alive. I remember watching footage of people diving to their deaths from the towers rather than die in a fire. I remember the realization that there were still firefighters and police officers in that building. Lives of brave, courageous men and women...gone. Other firefighters and police trying rapidly to get to their fallen brothers...not knowing if they were alive and trapped or if they were just looking for a body.  


I also remember walking into work and seeing the concern on everyone's faces. I work in a 911 center, so the impact is a bit different when you're imagining what the NY and DC 911 centers were going through. I've worked some crazy, insane stuff..multiple car wrecks that were fully involved on the interstate, b&e in progress with shots fired, chemical storage facility fires..and many of those things were all going on at the same time, but I can't imagine how their centers were handling what was going on.  I remember a coworker who's sister lives in NY and works only 2 buildings down from where the towers once stood. She's still alive, but she suffered lung damage from breathing all that stuff in.


So what's changed in 10 years? A lot. The Department of Homeland Security was developed. The TSA really tightened down on who was allowed to fly, what you were allowed to take on the plane and really made it a complete pain to try to fly anywhere. They now have backscatter x-ray machines to take pictures of your body to make sure you're not hiding metal of any sort on you. Does it cause cancer? Maybe, but it's a LOT faster than having a full body pat down where they leave no crevice unexplored. 


We waged war on the Middle East. A war that still continues. Over oil, over religion, over foreign policy and a difference of life values.  We've killed Saddam Hussein and we've killed Osama Bin Laden as recently as 5 months ago. Someone's already taken Bin Laden's place and made threats to attack the US again on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This country's economy is crippled due to the cost of this war. The cost of gas and oil has tripled. Before 9/11, gas was about $1.50 a gallon. Yesterday, I paid $3.52, which is actually down a bit. It's been as high as $4.35. There's an overall hatred of Muslims, despite the fact that many of them are just as against terrorists as the Christian next to them. Many in this country are ignorant though and stereotype horribly.  It's not as bad as it used to be though. The images of that horrible day haven't been seen much in the past 10 years. There's still even new footage coming out...different angles of the plane hitting, interviews with the people who survived, the journalists, the president, etc.  Even to this day, the footage is hard to watch. I still feel a sense of anger and dismay...a scream of," How dare they!?! How DARE they do this to us!! Attck the US!?! Who do they think they are?!"

Some of the hardest footage to watch is listening to the chirping of hundreds of firefighter locator beacons as they were trapped in the rubble of what used to be the towers. Everyone was just standing around helpless. Listening to the 911 stories was hard too. Phone lines jammed, endless radio traffic, trying to coordinate rescue efforts..then the 2nd tower came down and there was just silence. There was no more radio traffic because the people on the other end were gone. That lasted for about 2 minutes..then the phones started up again. 


I think many are just waiting on another attack. Every year it's expected..but that's exactly why it'll never come. They know we expect it and heighten security. I'm not arrogant enough to say it'll never happen again, but it won't happen on 9/11. Will we recover? Someday..but no time soon. Will we be attacked again? I think Al Qaeda will try, but they'll meet the same end as Bin Laden. Every time a new threat rises, we'll knock them down but not at a great sacrifice of our own. We all suffer because of what happened that day. The entire country changed that day. Our entire outlook of life changed..our way of living. Even 10 years later, I feel like we're still wounded...still bleeding. In the past, the war was always somewhere else. You can't compare Pearl Harbor to this.   We were already in war and Japan was trying to cripple the Navy. This was different. They were starting a war by killing 3,000 innocent people. 


Yes..even today the images of that day are hard to see. So much so, that even with all the 9/11 Anniversary footage on tv recapping that day and telling the untold stories, Jeff doesn't want to watch it. He left the room, but I think it's important to remember that day. To understand this was the greatest event in our history and know we lived through it. It was the first time such a huge event happened on live air. Even parts of the war were shown on live air..the bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the first time I realized that we weren't invincible..that we may not always be on top. It was a loss of innocence for the entire country. Our bubble was shattered and looking back, I barely remember what life was like before it. 


Life is described as "Pre and Post 9/11"..but the pre part is pretty hazy even though 23 of my 34 years were Pre 9/11. I just know I'll long for those days. The days of trust. Of innocence. I pray the next generation will know that innocence again, that they can overcome and keep us safe from this ever happening again. I have faith that's true. I have to, because I refuse to live in terror. Isn't that what terrorists want? Terror? Well, they won't get that from me. I believe in God and He gives me strength. I pray for the families of those who were lost that horrible Tuesday 10 years ago. I pray for our country's leaders who shoulder burdens that should never have existed.  I pray for world peace and an end to terrorism. I pray for the citizens of the USA and the children who can't have the happy go lucky childhood I had. I pray for God to protect us and I thank God for the blessings he has given me because the way I see it, In God We Trust. Always. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Milo's Surgery Update

Milo's surgery went great! He had his eye removed, 2 teeth pulled and was also neutered. Here's a reminder picture of what he looked like before the surgery.

Here's what he looked like when we brought him back from the vet.

This is Milo before he went back to the vet yesterday to have the stitches taken out and the cone taken off.


And here he is without a cone and no stitches!!
He was so happy to have the cone taken off! He did have to be taken back to the vet because his eye was bleeding as well as his nose. It's apparently normal and he was ok. We also had to have an extension put on his e-collar because his neck is so long he was still able to grind his eye against the carpet. He was running around playing the same day he got home though.

I have noticed some food aggression...and I'm not sure where that came from. He was fine up until he got back from surgery..so we've got to put an end to that quick.

Milo's Chip-in raised $53 and I sold a few things on Ebay. Thanks to those of you who helped out!!! I love him to pieces and I'm so happy he's doing well! I'll keep you updated!

Vacation and Other things.

I've been negligent again. Life is chaotic like that. Work, work, and more work. Even if I'm not at work I feel like I'm working. Laundry, dishes, pets, yardwork, errands...it all gets in the way. Plus..it is sooo hot here..I'm ready for fall! We've had a bit of a reprieve here the past week where it's only been in the 80's, but the sticky Carolina air still makes it unbearable to be outside for long. I can't wait for fall and some Hokie football! On to the updates!

The last week of July we took our annual vacation to Fontana Dam, NC. It's in the southern part of the Smoky Mountains near the TN border and it's Heaven to me. Every time we go we see something we've never seen and do something we've never done. It's remote and secluded, yet there's a never ending list of stuff to do in the area. We go for the Miatas at the Gap gathering every year and this year, we took Milo. He's such a small dog and we didn't want to have the expense of boarding a 4th dog knowing we had his surgery to pay for. Milo did great in the car! He either stayed in my lap or perched on the arm rest.

Hmm..let me rephrase and expand on the car trip. He was fine on the highway but once we got
on curvy mountain roads, it was another story. He was ok most of the time, but after a spirited run back across the Dragon, he threw up. I can't blame him..318 curves in 11 miles..I'm surprised I don't throw up every time we go across. I at least planned for this and had a towel in my lap. Shew!

We thought Milo would be a bit of a burden since we're usually on the go during our vacations and there's little down time, but most places allowed him in. We went hiking for a day and got caught in the rain. I wore the wrong shoes, so my foot was in severe pain and I stopped while Jeff ran with Milo the mile or so back to the car. He was worn out that night! As timeshare members, they came to us saying they wanted to discuss some changes, etc. and they'd give us $50 for our time. It was a sales pitch to upgrade our ownership and was the weirdest meeting I've ever had. I'm pretty sure the guy was high. He kept saying he was going to cut through the b.s. and get to the point. After an hour, he still hadn't told us how much or what we'd be gaining, so we left. We used the money to rent a bass boat and went out on the lake. I don't know that Milo necessarily enjoyed it, but he tolerated it very well as he does most things. He doesn't seem to like water very much and I don't see him being a swimmer which is disappointing, but I can't force it on him. We did dip him in the lake a few times to cool him off and he was ok with that! Side note: I didn't catch any fish. Again.
This is a short video where we tried to get Milo used to the water before we went out on the
boat. Um..it didn't work. He's not afraid of it..he just doesn't like it.

video




We drove across the Cherohala Skyway at sunset one night and it was amazing!

After the sun went down, the sky was so clear you could not only see multiple layers of stars, but an entire arm of the Milky Way. It's breathtaking! Sadly, my camera couldn't capture that and we couldn't stop for pictures anyway because we had to get back to the cabin to meet Jonathan and Candi. Candi is a good friend from college that I never get to see as often as I'd like, so knowing I had a weekend with them was fantastic! Mentioning my camera reminded me of something. Let me back track to the beginning of the week, before we left for Fontana.

The evening before we left, we were cleaning out the car, polishing the inside, cleaning the windows, etc. No wait..let me back up further..several months back I noticed a horrible smell every time I got near the porch. I couldn't put a finger on it..kind of like stinky stagnant water and maybe sewage. Jeff said not to worry it was just water under the porch from rain. I poured bleach and it went away for awhile..but would always come back. So..forward to the night before Fontana. Jeff comes back in and asks how much more laundry do I have to do because there's a break in the water line and the laundry water is just dumping under the house. Lovely. That would explain the stagnant water smell. Then it hit me. Sewage. That whole end of the house is connected to one pipe..so MONTHS of laundry, shower, sink and toilet water were just ending up under the house..not into the septic tank. Crap. Literally. It kind of put a damper on vacation knowing we had to come back to have that fixed. Just another expense.

Ok..so back to why the camera reminded me of all that. After we got to Fontana, we had my delicious Fajita Lasagna that I invented out of thin air and then Jeff goes to pick up his bag. The bottom half is for a camera and lenses, the top half for a laptop. The camera portion was open and his nice Canon Rebel XTI fell out and hit the floor breaking an $800 wide angle lens. He was LIVID. SO..that's why we don't have pictures of the Milky Way. The week didn't start off well.

Alright, back to vacation goodness. The day after Jonathan and Candi arrived, we went on a winery tour to Calaboose Vineyards and Valley River Vineyards with a rather large group of Miatas. Both were very hospitable, had great wines and it was a very fun way to spend a day.

Miatas at Calaboose Vineyards

The day after the vineyard tour, the men went to the Miata picture at the Dam while Candi and I stayed in the cabin. After that, some relaxing by the pool and lazy river while the men went running and did Miata stuff. They joined us at the pool later for awhile and then it was off to shower to get ready for dinner and the wine/beer swap. We met some great people who brought some home brews. One was like an orange wit-beer and the other was a pink hibiscus wit-beer. It was to die for! Floral, light and it was pink! But, if you mixed the two beers together..it tasted like ruby red grapefruit. I have no idea why because it doesn't make sense given what was put in them..but it was like the 4th of July in my mouth! I tried many wines and was tipsy. Maybe more than tipsy. Possibly drunk. Yeah, I was drunk.
Beer table. You can't even see the rest of the selections. There was a LOT!

The day after was a yummy breakfast and the trip home. Fantastic week that just solidifies my love for Fontana. It's not only the place, but the people too. It feels like home to me. I made new friends and got so see some old. My soul was smiling. After returning with some tan lines and great memories, we did get the pipe under the house fixed and for cheap..even if Jeff did have to crawl through crap to reseal the joint. Turns out the support hangers in that area were attached to the plastic and insulation instead of to the wood..so the pipe fell. Easy fix..just a hassle. The lens is still broken and I'm still peeling from the sun I got. SPF 30..and I didn't get hardly any sun. SPF 50..and I'm burnt. ?? Milo had his surgery..but that's another post. So now you know what I've been up to the past few weeks! =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Milo Update

Fourth of July weekend, Jeff and I headed to the beach for Tucker's annual drunken party. We took Milo and I was so proud of him! We were around a LOT of people..it was loud, chaotic and busy..and he didn't flinch. There were kids carrying him around everywhere and he was ok with it. There were fireworks and he didn't react at all. We walked on the beach and he didn't like the water, but he LOVED running with Jeff in the sand. He's such a great and sociable little dog!


Then..it got weird. I was sleeping one day while Jeff was off running errands and he peed on me! In bed!! That makes the 4th time he's peed on me. The other 3 times were on my foot. I had to completely strip the bed and wash everything..even the pillow top cover. Sigh. No idea why he did it. We haven't had an issue since..at least not dominance peeing. He's still being housebroken, so I expected some peeing..but not ON me. Hmm. Don't know how I'm going to address that. I need to find a reason before I can correct it. I took him on a walk and he totally ignored me but listened to Jeff. The next day, he did exactly as he was told and I had no problems. Before Jeff got home from his 2 week trip, I had no issues...it was only after he got home that he started trying to claim me.

This past weekend, our neighbors had a fish fry. They'd just gotten back from Alaska and had some fresh salmon and haddock. It was awesome! There were a LOT of people and other dogs and Milo did fantastic. There was still loud music, fireworks and a lot of chaos..but he played with the other dogs, let everyone pet him and behaved like he was supposed to. So proud of him!

We've decided to schedule his surgery for week after next, after we get back from vacation. I am concerned about him though because tonight he tried to get in Faith's bowl while she was still eating and she snapped at him. He has a scratch next to his good eye and the white part above the eye is reallllllly red! His eye still responds to light and he can still see..but I'm worried he may lose his vision. Jeff says it'll be fine..that it's just bruised. I'd still rather take him to the vet and have him checked out, just to be sure. I don't know that I have it in me to be a seeing eye person. That's a serious challenge.

Since the incident, he's been extremely submissive. To the point of submissive peeing. He was laying on his blanket and peed while laying there...and then just laid in it. I put him in my lap and while laying there..peed. I went in the laundry room and he followed me in..and peed. Then he walked away with his head down and his tail tucked. He did it again in the kitchen..twice. Then in the bathroom, then at the water bowl and then in the living room. It's not like he's being defiant and going to go pee. He doesn't even take a "pee" stance. He'll just sit there and pee or lay there and pee. We put him in his crate and he just laid there. Didn't yelp, whine or bark. We even put him in another room and turned off the light..not a sound from him. It's like he lost all confidence and personality. We left him in the crate for a bit while he napped then we took him outside. I tried playing with him for a bit, but his heart wasn't in it. I gave him a piece of rawhide, then tried playing with him again. He seemed to be snapping out of it by bedtime, but I'm still worried. More about his eye than about his personality. I can work with him on getting his confidence back..but once he's blind, that's it.

I am worried that his run in with Faith with either make him afraid of other dogs or aggressive towards other dogs. I'm not angry with her..she was just claiming her food and putting him in his place. She didn't mean to hurt him and even came over to check on him when he went crying to Jeff. She acted genuinely upset that he was upset. He cowered in Jeff's lap for awhile. He had been showing some dominance and needed to be taken down a peg or two..but not like this. Jeff and I don't have children. That's a road we've been down for years and we always come back empty handed, so our animals are our children. As a parent, you try to protect them and prevent anything bad from happening to them. You don't want them to have any bad experiences that will scar them. You don't want them to know pain. I know you can't stop the world and can't prevent life from happening, but I still feel like I failed somehow. I didn't protect him. I was in bed when it happened. Jeff fed them and went back to work but he couldn't have prevented it any more than I could. No one's to blame..so why do I feel bad. Feel guilty? I'll call the vet today and set up an appointment to have his eye checked. Jeff will have to go because I have to work..but I hope he's ok.

I also did some research into Chiweenie's. The vet says there's another breed in there somewhere..that he had certain features that didn't fit chihuahua or dachshund. So, I ended up finding a picture of a Feist...and it fits. Almost exactly. Coloring, legs, feet, build, everything suits him. I'm sure he's still a mix..but that's the breed that we were missing. The eyes are chihuahua for sure..and he's long like a dachshund, but the rest is feist for sure. Jeff wants to have a blood DNA test done later on to determine his heritage, and while it would be interesting to know..it's not a great use of our money. We have other pressing matters. So, anyhow..that's my update for now. The sun is coming up which means it's time for bed. Yawn. If you pray, please pray for Milo and both his eyes. Pray that his good eye is ok and he'll keep his vision. Also pray that his eye surgery goes well in a few weeks. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pet Overpopulation

I thought saving Milo would give me a sense of satisfaction..to know I'd saved a life but instead, I was filled with guilt over not being able to save them all. Half the ones I saw that day are now dead. This week, 3 owner surrender's were put down. One was dropped off b/c the owner was moving. Another was dropped off b/c he didn't want to care for her anymore. She was 9 and he'd had her since she was a puppy. She probably sat in that cage wondering what she'd done wrong and then had to die in a gas chamber with other dogs, afraid and lost. Her name was Shelby. It just breaks my heart. I've never seen a dog look so sad as her. I just want to clarify that NCAF is NOT the shelter. It's a separate group trying to save pets from the shelter. There was another senior dog who had a rescue, but they were trying to arrange transport and short term foster..but the shelter killed him because they didn't listen to their phone messages. It's senseless death. Horrendous. There's so many groups trying to ban gas chambers and promote non-kill shelters..both of which I'm for..but for now, I think their efforts are misguided.

I think the effort should be put into spay/neuter programs so that there's no overpopulation in the first place. There need to be programs in place to prevent backyard breeders, to require all shelter pets to be spayed/neutered, to develop low cost spay/neuter programs. More would be fixed if vets didn't charge so much for it. One place I called was going to charge $260 for a neuter. Seriously?? The mobile spay/neuter clinic SNAP is $100 and I've used them for 4 of my pets. At the time, it was only $60, but still, $100 isn't bad and it includes rabies, parvo/distempter and pain meds. There's also POP and they charge $95. There are places that offer $20 spay/neuter if you're income is under a certain amount or you're on Medicare/Medicaid.

If the population were under control, there would be no need for gas chambers. Once it's under control, THEN we can worry about the best way to euthanize. Focus on the cause of the problem..not the symptoms. Ok..I'll get off my soapbox for now. I just had to get that off my chest!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Milo's surgery


I know I'm missing a blog to explain who Milo is..but it won't post..and I don't know why. I lost half the blog because it wouldn't save and now I have to rewrite it.

Anyhow, in short, Milo is a Chiweenie puppy we took in 2 weeks ago from a kill shelter. He has secondary glaucoma due to a detached retina and needs the eye removed. It'll cost around $700..plus he needs to be neutered..so $800. I started a Chip-In so people who want to help save Milo from any pain can donate. Please go here to donate or click on the red box to the right. Even $1 can help us! I realize we're all affected by today's economy and you may not be able to afford to donate, but please pass this information along to someone who may be in the position to help. We have other animals that we've rescued and can use any help available.


See, isn't he cute?!? Don't you want to help him and prevent any future pain?


Friday, July 01, 2011

I'm late? Oh, I must be on Summer time!

The post from 6/30/11 that wouldn't post.
So much has happened since my last post! I've been to Switzerland and France, got a new puppy and had a LOT of training at work. Since so much has happened, I'll do my best do keep this a summary and then do detailed posts on everything another time.

First: Switzerland. It was amazing. The food is almost always a mixture of meat, potatoes and cheese in some form. My wine glass was rarely empty and my camera was always on. The air smelled of flowers, food or cows depending on where you were. They had self-cleaning toilets, took their dogs EVERYWHERE and it was remarkably clean. No litter or trash anywhere. We walked a LOT and visited Luzern, Schilthorn in the Alps, Interlaken, Lake Thun, Murren, Pilatus and stayed in Basel. The Marketplatz was very neat there. Because it sits in the corner of Switzerland that borders France and Germany, you'd be in one store where they spoke German and then go next door and they'd speak French.

Their version of Wal-mart had the best cart system ever. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who're too lazy to put their cart back and just leave it in a parking space. There, you have to pay to use a cart..and when you put it back, you get your money back. Brilliant! We also went to a futbol game between Basel and Thun where Basel won 5-0. Lucien and his girlfriend Katka were very accommodating and generous. They tended to our every want or need! I'd love to go back! One week just isn't long enough!

Since returning from Switzerland, I've had 48 hours of training at work for in-service. Half was online, the other was 3 days of class. Before Switzerland, we had another 12 hours of training through FEMA. I tell you, I'm trained out. Shew! It's so hard to take the online classes when you're at work and trying to do them between your other job duties. You keep getting interrupted. Eh, ok..that's enough about that.

Two and a half weeks ago, I happened to be looking on the Nash County Animal Friends (NCAF) Facebook page and re-posting the available pets for adoption. I've been doing a lot of that lately because there are so many who need homes. I had no intentions of getting another pet since we already have 7, but there he was..this cute little 3 month old chihuahua/dachshund mix with an injured eye. Nash County is a very high kill shelter because they're so small...and they use a gas chamber. They called him Pete and I knew by looking at his picture that his eye was going to need to come out. I thought, who's going to adopt a one eyed chiweenie pup?? No one will want the expense of having the eye removed and he was just too cute to risk letting him die. So, I kept watching for new posts about him since he wasn't going to be available for adoption for 72 hours. I contemplated my options and decided I was going to go save him. I got off work at 6am, got up at 10:30, left by 11 to be there by 1..which is when they opened. He wouldn't be available until 1:30..so I took the time to play with him. He's only 6 lbs and was basically bouncing off the walls. My actual plan was to be an independent foster and find him a home.

As luck would have it, another couple showed up interested in taking him, so I told them to go ahead and take him since I already had 7 animals. They changed their mind, even when I agreed to pay the adoption fee. Their thinking was that if I took Pete..they could save another one..but they left empty handed. Maybe they got one from another shelter. So, I scooped him up and brought him home. Jeff, who "hates" little dogs just loves him! We renamed him Milo and took him to the vet who referred us to an eye specialist. After seeing the specialist, it was determined that Milo has a detached retina which caused secondary glaucoma..so yeah, the eye has to come out... preferably before it becomes painful but after his skull has developed more to reduce deformity of it. They have no way of determining if it was an injury or if he was born with it. Both chihuahuas and dachshunds have a history of retinal dysplasia, but the good news is that his other eye is perfectly normal.

We've had him for 2 weeks and he's a cuddly little love bug. Potty training has been difficult, but he learned to sit within 15 minutes and hadn't even been home for an hour, so I think he belonged to someone and had wandered off. He did hike his leg and pee on my foot..twice. Today he also got so excited over dinner that when I told him to sit, he started peeing. It shot out in a stream across the floor from between his front 2 legs. I couldn't help but laugh! I'm still working on stay, come, heel, go potty and out. His eye drops every night are a pain in the butt though. I thought I could sneak up on the blind eye, but he can still see light/dark. I've tried different strategies. Some nights holding him down works, other nights I have to wait until he falls asleep and then open that eye and drop it in before he knows what happened. He never tries to bite though..he just wriggles around and I'm afraid of poking him in the eye.

The other dogs don't know what to think. I still don't trust Jazz to be left alone with him since she's been so snarly. Patches lets him climb all over her and she tries to play, but she just can't keep up. Despite my best intentions of trying to re-home him..I think we're going to keep him. He's well socialized, travels well, energetic but mellow and was a dream with the eye dr. and the vet. Jeff has this idea of taking him around on his motorcycle with him. A one eyed chiweenie on a motorcycle. Oh..yeah..Jeff got a motorcycle several weeks ago after taking a class for his license. He looks great on it!

Anyway, Milo is curled up in my lap sleeping as I type this and also despite my great attempts to keep him in a crate at night, it didn't work..he cried for HOURS. It's not like I gave up too easily..but 4 hours of crying when I had to get sleep was too much. I got up thinking he needed to go outside, but he cried for 2 more hours, so I let him in bed where he burrowed under the sheets and curled up by my feet. Since then, no issues. He runs through the yard with the other dogs, fetches and gallops through the house. The cats are warming up to him..but they're bigger than he is and have smacked him a few times. I do have a fear they'll scratch his good eye and blind him completely. I don't know that I have it in me to be a seeing eye person. I'm trying to schedule his eye removal and neuter the week we'll be in Fontana. That way, he can be boarded through his recovery and watched after. Jeff wants to take him with us, but since we're sharing a cabin with another couple, I think it would be rude. Plus, I go on vacation to get away from responsibility and he'd be in my lap in a Miata for 7 hours. It would be a great chance to socialize him more though. Eh, we'll see. We still have a few weeks to decide. Besides, I need to find a vet willing to do both surgeries and board that week.

Well, I think that's all the updates for now. I'll get into more detail about Switzerland later. There's just too much to write about to try to smoosh all this into one blog!

Errors

So, I've been trying to post a blog for a few days now..but Blogger wouldn't save it..or post it. Despite my many attempts, it has not posted and half of what I wrote is gone leaving me in a position of trying to re-remember what I wrote. Why am I writing this? To let my sole follower know that a blog IS coming. You WILL have your update. I just don't know when. It contains musings on a new puppy, the wonders of Switzerland and the atrocity that is in-service training. Soon, my dear reader..you will have your update.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Is Osama Bin Laden Dead??

Last night..May 1, 2011, Osama was reported as dead in Pakistan. After a 9.5 year man hunt, they say he's dead and has been buried at sea. Let me state this from the beginning..I'm conflicted over all of this. Having worked at a police department for 12 years, I can tell you that there's a huge gap between what the media says happened and what ACTUALLY happened. I've seen it countless times...and they're already changing their story over what happened. I would also like to preface all of this by saying THANK YOU to all of our hard working military. This was truly a heroic action and finally a pay off for all the long, lonely, homesick hours you've put in defending this country! I can never thank you enough. I also want to thank ALL of the American people for suffering through this economy and the atrocious gas prices in order to fund this war. Without all of us diligent tax payers..none of this would have been possible, so thank you!


Here's why I'm conflicted. When I heard the snippet that he *might* be dead, I thought..big whoop..I've heard that before. Then when it was "confirmed"..I still thought...big whoop. Now we have to worry about retaliation and sleeper cells who will try to avenge his death. Yay. Just because he's dead, doesn't mean this is over. It's far from over, so I don't really feel a sense of relief. There's always a face of evil in the world. Stalin, Hitler, Bin Laden, Hussein, Kadafi...so who's next? We're still hunting for his 2nd in command, right? Where's the 3rd or 4th? He still has what, 50 children or so who will be mighty angry.

I also have some theories as to what may have happened. There's been rumors that Osama's been dead for years but that the US covered it up to pursue their own agenda in the Middle East in order to take control of the oil there. With him dead, they'd have to reason to justify their presence in Pakistan, etc. If that's true and he's been dead for years, it seems like Bush would have wanted the credit for it so he could go out on a high note and justify his actions during his term.

Another theory I have is that we've known where Osama has been for quite awhile and have been sitting on his location until the right time to take him out. Why now..I'm not sure. Maybe they chose now to prove to Kadafi that we're patient and will always win so that he'll back down. Kind of like.."Hey, we killed your other son and now we took down the baddest s.o.b in the world, are you sure you want to keep fighting us?" I don't know..it's just a thought.

I've heard people complaining about his burial at sea..and I have a problem with it only it's not for the same reasons most people have. Seems like most don't agree with him being allowed a burial because he didn't "deserve" it. If he hadn't had a burial according to Islamic customs..I think it would outrage even the proUSA Muslim community because it's their religious right..it has nothing to do with whether he deserved it or not. I just think that it would cause more problems that we don't need right now. I'm not familiar with Islamic customs and burial rights, but I've never heard of them being buried at sea. My problem with his being buried at sea is that now there's no proof he's dead..he's just gone. Fish food. While that also means the Al Qaeda sympathizers won't have a shrine or place to mourn like they would if he were buried on land, there's still no evidence of his death. Sure there's pictures all over the web, but more than half are photoshopped, so how can I believe any of them? Also, as weird as this sounds..what about fishing boats who throw their nets out and then bring them back to sell to restaurants? What if i consume a fish that consumed Osama? I want no part of that. Even if I waited to eat seafood, eventually I'd eat a fish that ate a fish that ate a fish that ate Osama. Yes..I know..stupid, but it's what goes through your head after a long night at work and you're ready to go to bed.

They've also issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans basically saying..watch your back. This concerns be because Jeff is flying to Budapest at the end of the week and then we're both off to Switzerland for a week. I'm American, I'm Christian, I'm a strong independent woman, and I work in law enforcement..they have all kinds of reason to hate me. I should be ok in Swizerland..but Jeff in Budapest? Eh..I have concerns. I also think gas prices are going to spike because many in the Middle East will be pissed and put a hold on the oil export. Eventually it'll come down..but I don't think it'll ever be below $3 a gallon again.

I'm also seeing a lot of people posting on Facebook that we should have brought him back here and tortured him before killing him or burying him at Ground Zero for everyone to spit on and that infuriates me. Not because he deserved better but because as a country, we should be better than that. He may not deserve our respect, but we deserve to have respect for ourselves. And, I wouldn't want him even touching American soil. People's taste for revenge astonishes me. I have a ruthless streak, yes..but it doesn't make me want to torture a person...even Osama. Revenge doesn't accomplish anything. What's done is done and cannot be undone. Accept and move on. I have better things to focus my energy on. Wanting revenge and spreading hate makes us no better than Al Qaeda or the Taliban. No better than terrorists. Yes, I'm angry over the actions that Osama has brought upon this world and I feel that we're better off with him dead but it's not our place to judge him. It's God's. Or Allah's..whoever you choose to believe in. We all answer to a higher power and it's up to each person's God to pass judgement and make them pay for their earthly actions. God is certainly more qualified than I am to decide what a person's punishment should be.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure I'll add more to this later as more information is released. Regardless of what really happened, I belief the truth will come because things this big...can't be covered up for long.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

10 Years of Happy

As I sit here on the eve of our ten year anniversary, I'm reflecting on the past decade with a warm, fuzzy heart. Marriage isn't easy. It's something you have to work on daily. A friend of mine doesn't believe love is a feeling, but a choice you make. I used to think that was crazy, but as I've matured, I understand it. I now think that when you fall in love, it's a feeling. After several years of living together and really getting to know a person, while you still love them, the strong feeling of love waxes and wanes because you're comfortable and life's little challenges tend to take most of your attention. There's days that I don't "feel" like I love Jeff even though I know I do. Sometimes that feeling disappears for months and it's during that time that I choose to love him and remain faithful because I know the feeling will come back. In a decade, that feeling has always come back and every time, it's stronger than it was before. Love and marriage takes patience.


I've noticed that people are all too easy to call it quits because they think life is supposed to be a cushy, easy existence where marriage is going to feel like the first year of a relationship and where there are no fights. You know, where it's new, exciting and unknown. After 10 years, I can tell you, it's still exciting and unknown. I realize that it completely depends on the type of person you're married to, but for me, it's always exciting because Jeff is experimental and approaches everything with a child like wonder. I find that so endearing and entertaining! I remember what it felt like the first year of our relationship. I couldn't get enough of him and would get butterflies in my stomach at the thought of getting to see him. I still get that way sometimes but the feeling is slightly different. The butterflies are more like a warm hum deep within me that makes my heart skip a beat. The longer we're married and the deeper the relationship becomes, the more the feelings mellow like a proper wine. Instead of the sharp, tangy bite of a new or green wine, the flavors of the marriage blend together and all the flavors complement each other and leave that warm feeling in your belly and an aftertaste that makes you want more. I think I'd rather have that feeling than the excitement of a new relationship.

I also have realized over ten years that the reasons I love Jeff are the same reasons I find him so infuriating. It's a double edged sword that I'm more than willing to carry. I know most people have probably heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, but I wonder if anyone has really paid attention to it in relation to their own marriage. This is from the NLT Bible: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand it's own way. It is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." That is so true.

Jeff and I both have done some insensitive stuff and no matter how unintentional it was, it still hurt. However, we forgave each other and don't love each other any less because of it. Those moments, that vulnerability and that pain has only allowed us to know each other better and appreciate each other more and we don't hold them against each other. Despite the few hiccups our marriage has had, I have hope and faith that we'll get through it..and we always do. I trust Jeff and consider him my best friend. How lucky am I to have a best friend that I'm also totally in love with?? Ten years and I still can't keep my hands off of him. I'm still very much attracted to him, but I love him more as a person because I know him better after ten years. We're always easy to laugh, conversation is always easy and we're quick to hug.

Jeff says I tell him I love him too much and that it takes away the specialness, but I refuse to stop saying it. I want to celebrate it and when I feel it, I say it. I never want him to doubt how I feel and I am SO proud to be his wife and to be able to call him mine. I'm just so lucky to be with a man who loves all of me..even my quirks. =) We're like puzzle pieces that fit together and while the jagged edges of each piece sometimes rub together and create friction, we just fit. Some people don't get us because we're such opposites, but we just fit and I love us! The good always outweighs the bad and more often than not, I'm overwhelmed with a a sense of love for Jeff and can't wait for our time together. He knows me better than anyone else and I hope the next ten years are even better. Happy Anniversary, Jeff and thank you for making the past ten years so much fun and for making marriage one of the best decisions I ever made! I love you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Car!!

Over the past month or so, my little 02' Nissan Sentra SE-R started having some issues. It seemed to be burning oil, so my parents agreed to give me some money to help with getting a new car. I almost considered getting the Nissan fixed, since that would be the cheaper option, but it had other problems. The trunk still leaked from a wreck 2 years ago, the visors were both broken, the radio didn't work, the sunroof motor was about to die, the paint was faded and peeling, the seat belts didn't want to retract and it had 155k miles on it. It was a great little car and I'll miss it. After adding oil honey to it..and oil..I didn't have any more problems with it, but who knows how long that would last. I wanted to sell it when I could still get some money out of it instead of driving it into the dust.

So, with trepidation, I set out for a new used car. I decided I really wanted a Mazda 3 hatchback. It was sporty but still had versatility so I could haul the dogs around. I couldn't find one I liked..the one I drove was ok, but they were asking too much for the miles it had on it. I also drove an 09 Scion xB, a 10 Toyota Matrix, an 09 Hyundai Elantra Touring, 11 Kia Soul, and was also looking at a Pontiac Vibe, but after a ton of research through Consumer Reports, online forums and Fuelly, this is what I ended up with: a 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring SE!!!



Yep..it's brand new and only had 39 miles on it when I drove it off the lot! I've had it for just over a week and I love it. I paid more for it than I was originally looking at, but it has a lot of hands free features like blue tooth, plus leather...which means dog fur won't stick to everything. It has plenty of space and gets a little better mileage than my Nissan did. They have me $1500 for it as a trade in, which I felt was fair considering the shape she was in. I really wanted to get a picture of my with the old & the new car, but they'd already driven mine away to be sold at auction. =( This one also has a ton of safety features my Nissan didn't. Curtain airbags, traction control, bigger tires, a break away engine I'm not looking forward to 5 years of payments, but it's new and has 60k mile bumper to bumper warranty plus 100k mile power-train warranty. I spent a little more because I had financial help and figured if I was spending the money, I wanted to get what I wanted. I can never thank my parents enough for helping me out...I could have never gotten this car without them! So..technically, they own about 45% of it! I just feel so blessed to have them as parents. They're generous, fun and so easy to talk to. They didn't have to donate to the cause, but they did so they'd know I was safe on all my travels.

I'm still getting used it and am scared to death that it'll get scratched or something. Our driveway is awful, so I have to creep up it so I don't get mud on it. Two days after buying it (yesterday), we had a snow/ice storm and I had to drive home from work in it. I was terrified, but it did brilliantly. I'm not sure if it's b/c of the car or my awesome snow driving skills, but in either case, I still made it home safely! Anyhow, here's to hoping for many, safe years together!! Oh, and a fast payoff!! =) OH..and also, Happy Binary Day!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Alright, alright..I realize it's already past both those holidays, but I've been busy. The past few months seem almost like a dream. Jeff's been traveling a lot and brought me pretty things from all across the globe. This past Christmas was incredible. It was the first in a long time where we rolled out of bed and straight down to the tree in our pj's. Noel got a big girl bike and a hobby horse..she was amazed at all the stuff under the tree! I had to work the night before, so Jeff waited to come pick me up and then we headed up to VA at midnight. It's been an 18 year tradition that he goes to the Omelette Shop on Christmas, so we stopped and had a late dinner/early breakfast which I paid for the rest of the day. Upset stomach when there's so much Christmas yums to have is just not fun! We got to my parents house around 3am & was up by 8.

It was just a fantastic Christmas. It had nothing to do with the gifts. Don't get me wrong..we all got some great stuff, a Pandora charm bracelet, cute pj's, jewelry, clothes, gift cards, furniture, money, I could keep going..but this isn't the point of my story. It was just relaxed and fun...it was about spending time with family, laughs, and fun...which is exactly what Christmas is supposed to be about anyway and the way that God intended it. Loving the time with your family and enjoying each others company is the best way to celebrate Jesus' birth..it has nothing to do with how much money you spend or how many gifts you get or give. It's about love..and this Christmas was full of it. It was also full of snow, which was awesome!

After Christmas at my parents house, we went over to Jeff's brother's house for lunch and gifts. There was soooo much food that I can't believe I had only one plate full..and only one serving of Aunt Brenda's broccoli casserole. It's the most awesome thing ever. I don't know what she does, but I've never had any that compares to hers. We had something like 13 people there, so we couldn't even fit in one room to open gifts. Even Justin, who's normally very quiet and reserved, was more at ease, open and talkative than I have ever seen him. I think a lot of it has to do with Jamie and Crystal both dating other people who have kids. Him and Griffin get more attention and therefore more social interaction and while I don't agree with the whole living/dating situation, it seems to have had a positive impact on Justin, and that's really what's most important. Christmas at the Lane household was followed by dinner back over at my parents house. Oh..and I forgot to mention that we left yet another gift in Paul & Brenda's front yard! This year was a Hokie Forest Face. They loved it!!!

After dinner, we went to Ron & Misty's for Christmas with the kids and had a great time. We also went by the mausoleum to visit my grandparents. They hadn't engraved my grandfather's marker yet, so Mom called to get that straightened out. We drove up to the Star to gets pictures of Roanoke covered in snow.

I love my little hometown! =)

The weekend went by way too fast, but it was so much fun! For New Year's, Jeff took me to The Melting Pot for dinner and we rang in 2011 with a champagne toast and some awesome fondue. I was stuffed and we had a great time! I'm hoping this year will be prosperous. I want the economy to improve, I want Kelly to find a job that's fulfilling and allows her to still spend time with Noel. I hope for a little one of my own. I hope to get my house decluttered and suitable for having company. We just have way too much stuff that needs to be gone through and tossed. It's a daunting task! Most importantly, I hope to re-renew my relationship with God and find an intimacy that seems to get lost in the day to day shuffle of life. I miss feeling that closeness. The same thing happens with Jeff. We get busy doing our tasks and forget how important it is to stay connected. We drift apart and a few months later we notice it and reconnect. It makes me wonder though, am I the cause of it? Am I the one doing the drifting?? Probably..and I want to work on that this year. So, here's to hoping that everyone has a fabulous year and accomplishes what that want to! God bless!