Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lost Dog Alert- Help us find Roy

Missing Labrador Retriever / Golden Retriever Mix
Color: Yellow and Orange
Gender : Male
Age : Mature

After 5 reports in the Richfield area on Friday, Roy has since moved to the Nokomis area of Mpls. He was spotted on Minnehaha Creek west of Nokomis on Tuesday, May 1 and last spotted on 44th and France heading West on Friday, May 4. He is on the move, so keep your eyes open everywhere! Roy will not come to any person due to the fact that he was severely abused when he was a puppy. If anyone should see him, please contact Animal Control (MPLS 612.348.4250) or Roy's Mom at 612.202.9091.

Lost in Richfield, MN on Friday, April 27. Blue collar. 70 lbs. Was a rescue dog. Has separation anxiety disorder. Most likely will not come up to anyone. Please call Richfield, MN police at (612) 861-9800 or animal control at (612) 861-9800

For More Info Visit Roy's page on Pets 911

Friday, April 27, 2007

More about me!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My Father thinks I was named after his grandfather, Michael. My Mother knows it was after the Beatles song.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? There is this really sweet Kleenex commercial on TV now…
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING ? My print, yes. My script (or cursive if you aren’t from the Northeast) is horrible.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, Luna is almost 3 and Solei is 1 ½… and they have fur.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I try to be a good friend so I think so.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Does a bear poop in the woods?
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Once was enough.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby or Edy’s Samoa.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their eyes… if they are strong enough to look right into mine.
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I can’t concentrate and have to do 30 things at the same time or I get bored (kids these days call that ADD).
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST ? My Aunt Joan… I wish she was alive to share the world with me.
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Ratty Jeans, I just walked the dogs.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken Cacciatore (so easy in a crock pot)
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The pitter patter of dog nails on the wood floor.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Curve for Men, makes me think of Wade
25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes, and I hope we can catch up sometime when I’m in NY.
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Baseball, Football, Tennis
27. HAIR COLOR? Blonde, and it’s still all mine.
28. EYE COLOR? Blue
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Hot and Sour Soup from King House in Carle Place. Sausage pizza from Alfredo’s in Westbury. Pad Thai from Chang Mai Thai in Minneapolis.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? I like all Happy Endings (euphemism intended) 32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? I honestly can’t remember.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Mary Washington College Sweatshirt (none of that University of Mary Washington Crap)
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer is almost here!
35. HUGS OR KISSES? Big Hugs
38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Stacy (can you reach your computer 35 weeks pregnant?)
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don’t have one.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? Whose Line is that Anyway (even in reruns it still cracks me up)
42. FAVORITE SOUND? Puppy Snores.
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles (see question #1)
Let’s figure that out!
Minneapolis, Minnesota to:
Melbourne, Australia, as the crow flies 9433 miles (15181 km) (8197 nautical miles)
Phuket, Thailand, as the crow flies 8707 miles (14013 km) (7567 nautical miles)
Christchurch, New Zealand, as the crow flies 8391 miles (13504 km) (7292 nautical miles)
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I am a process flow champion…
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? The Bronx (Does that scare you?)
47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Wade (always good to see how well you know the man you married)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Oh the places you'll go...

My cousin Drew had this fun travel tool on his site. This is a great geography lesson and an important reminder of how big the world really is.

30 US states down (Plus Washington DC!) and 20 to go.

create your own personalized map of the USA

create your personalized map of europe

The Southern Hemisphere looks so white with only 9% of the world's countries visited and only 2 below the equator.
create your own visited country map

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Childfree by Choice

Addressing the highly taboo topic in our culture around the decision to remain childfree is difficult in a society that embraces “baby bump” celebrity sightings and ever mounting laws that deliver a message that women are only as important as the womb they possess. Libraries are filled with literature on the topic of babies and children; how to conceive or adopt, what to expect while waiting for the big arrival, how to raise them once they are here and how to move on once they are gone. What pales in comparison is the number of books tackling the topic of whether individuals SHOULD have children or not.

Millions of reasons exist on why people choose to remain childfree and it is important to address the topic. Choosing to have children is a monumental decision, however, more thought is often given to having, or not having, children by those who are childfree. Couples who explore being childfree face unique challenges in their decision; while few question couples, especially those in stable, healthy, loving relationships, on having children, couples who choose a childfree life are met with criticism, disbelief, suspicion, pity and anger.

Following the path of marriage and children is a common practice worldwide and universally accepted as the “norm.” Those who stray from societal standards are forced to investigate themselves and their relationships closely to truly understand why they are different and if they have the strength to communicate and embrace these differences. While many couples who are childfree remain “in the closet” on their decision, hiding behind a veil of assumed infertility, others “give in” to the pressures to have children because of the intense backlash of not having children often received from family, friends, peers and total strangers.

Never one to dream of marriage and family, acutely aware of being different then the females around me, I followed the challenging course in life of embracing my dreams of being childfree and openly talking about my decision. While it would often be easier to remain quiet on the topic, it is important for us as a society to allow women the right to choose life without children. The right to choose includes more then the abortion debate that divides our society or access to safe and reliable birth control.

The right to choose being childfree requires us as a society to honestly discuss the pros and cons of having children, allowing women to make an informed decision on whether to have children or not. There is incredible pressure on parents, especially mothers, to maintain the facade of the perfect family. Afraid of the impression total honesty would make on others, only the positive aspects of children are discussed openly. This creates a system where parents are unable to completely open up with issues and to discuss the the pain and heartache of being parents. Unable to gain the support necessary to survive some of the tougher times for fear of repercussions; perception of weakness, of being lesser parents or of not loving their children, we wonder why there are parents out there who snap and do horrific things to their children. Perhaps if we all could be more open to the ups and the downs of having children there would be fewer acts of violence against them. The guard of parental realities is especially high between parents and non-parents. The joke among some is this is how parents can get others to join the club, but in reality it is keeping crucial information from people on the realities of having children.

Treating families with and without children equally; legally, economically, socially and religiously, is vital to the right to choose. Can people make the best decision on having or not having children when there are cards stacked against them? If the choice to be childfree equates to being an outcast with friends, family, work or at church, is it really a choice?

At the same time as parents should be more honest to ensure information on parental pros and cons are shared, so should the childfree. As parents pretend all is perfect and life is harmonious 365 days a year with their children, childfree individuals are forced to tell lies of their own to protect themselves from opening up doors to parents and friends that are uncomfortable or unnecessary. It is easier to say “I hate kids” or “I can’t have children” then to go into the complexities that really exist for people making the childfree decision. Just as a mother admitting she is tired or bored does not automatically mean she is an awful woman, a childfree woman admitting she likes a certain baby name or would never make her kid eat lima beans is not to assume she is changing her mind (note to family: that means don't go out and buy baby clothes).

Everyone will benefit from a country and culture where people who have children, or choose not to, can openly discuss the pro and cons and make an informed decision on whether they should be parents. As I begin writing on the trials and tribulations of the Childfree, I encourage a partner in the “Mommy-blog” space to do the same. There are some important messages to share to ensure that every child is a wanted one.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Rite of Spring

Spring has sprung after a particularly cold and nasty winter and I couldn’t possibly feel worse. Cursing the snow and bitter cold from November through April is a favorite pastime; complaining about the weather is therapeutic. We count the days until spring when gray skies are lifted and sun beams shine upon the earth. Spring is nature’s re-awakening. God’s creatures emerge from a state of winter hibernation and suddenly squirrels are dancing in our yards, birds are chirping and dogs beg to be outside at all hours of the day. For many, this is a cause of celebration but unfortunately, I do not fall into this category. As much as winter is a long and loathsome season, the evils of Spring far outweigh the pain of winter.

Allergies: As flowers, leaves, weeds and grass make their yearly entrance into the world so do Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin. First comes the low grade headache, then the itchy eyes, runny nose and then, the full blown sinus infection. While some people are allergic to rag weed or cut grass, I am allergic to Spring. Neglecting to take medicine can yield a waterfall of snot and misery that cannot be adequately described. Medicating the issue leaves gaps in memory, endless sleepiness, mood swings and dry mouth. The whole season is spent determining what is worse, the symptoms or the side-effects.

Spring Cleaning: This is no longer the monstrous task since outsourcing the care of my home in January; however, there are tasks that without a full-time housekeeper get neglected even with a cleaning service. Clearing items from refrigerator and freezer that are no longer recognizable, scrubbing out the refrigerator and freezer, clearing out all cabinets and drawers to dust and clean, dusting out book shelves, honestly assessing closets for donation opportunities, discovering what lies behind large appliances, power-washing the siding, emptying the garage to reorganize, and creating boxes filled with items for a Yard Sale that will never occur. Cleaning services rarely do windows either, luckily, that can be remedied yearly along with removing muddy paw prints from furniture with a swift phone call to a local handyman.

Yard Work: One of the major drawbacks of a large yard is what it takes to keep it beautiful. While never one to believe in gender roles, when it comes to our yard, this is my husband’s territory. If I were in charge, we would have a gang of men, preferably well built and wearing jeans and a smile, taking meticulous care of our grass. Unfortunately my husband, like many with a Y-chromosome, sees hiring a lawn service as some sort of admission of manly failure. While tasks like painting and dry-walling go undone, the yard is the primary focus of husbandly activities. There were battles of World War II that were more poorly planned then what lies ahead for our backyard this summer. This will not be a one man job, but since there is only one man living in the house, I will have to help.

Winter Insulation: With warm weather comes less clothing, less clothing means visible skin and long winters brings extra flesh. Nothing says spring is here quite like the realization that bathing suit season is around the corner and old man winter wasn’t kind to your rear-end. It is easy to hide under bulky sweaters, avoid exercise and pass on salads in the winter. As if fighting allergies was not enough to make one cranky in the Spring, the severe drop of calories consumed makes each day unbearable. There is no fury like a woman with sinusitis subsisting on a 1000 calorie a day diet.

Luckily, spring is a short season in these parts and soon summer will be upon us. Like the great Abraham Lincoln once said, “This too shall pass.” There is a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel, and it is called summer. Surviving winter and enduring spring is a brings an added appreciation of long nights, warm breezes, barbeques, daiquiris, volleyball, swimming and the boys of summer.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Online Survey of the Week

Is there anybody you just wish would fall off the planet?
All members of the religious right.

How do you flush the toilet in public?
Flush? I let the next person handle that.

Do you wear your seatbelt in the car?

Do you have a crush on someone?
The host from Really Big Things (Matt Rogers) on the discovery channel, Chris Meloni from SVU, Matthew McConaughey because he likes animals, my husband because he is an animal

Name one thing you worry about running out of.

What famous person do you (or other people) think you resemble?
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patricia Arquette, although according to the facial recognition software on I look like John Ritter

What is your favorite pizza topping?
Real Italian Sausage and Pepperoni

Do you crack your knuckles?
Yes, and occasionally, other people’s knuckles

What song do you hate the most?
Celine Dion’s “Because you love me” (how pathetic is that song, I hate weak women)

Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head?
No, the only thing in my head is voice of a girl on a sales call by me

What are your super powers?
I am the best process flower on the planet

Peppermint or spearmint?

Where are your car keys?
Sprawled on my desk

Whose answers to this questionnaire do you want to hear?
I think I’m the last one to answer

What's your most annoying habit?
I’m sure my ADD annoys the hell out of everyone around me

Where did you last go on vacation?
No trip to NY or NJ counts as a vacation, so Australia/New Zealand.

What is your best physical feature?
My smile

What CD is closest to you right now?
Low Back Pain Program training call

What 3 things can always be found in your refrigerator?
Ketchup (only Heinz), Pickles, Milk

What superstition do you believe/practice?
I knock on wood (or man made surfaces)

What color are your bed sheets?
Deep Brown or Purple

Would you rather be a fish or a bird?
A bird... I would love to crap on people’s heads.

Do you talk on your cell phone when you drive?
Yes, and put on makeup, do my hair, pick my teeth, pick my nose and sing

What are your favorite sayings?
My favorite foreign word is Voila, but my latest mantra is “Be careful of what you wish for…”

What song(s) do you sing most often in the shower?
Singing in the Rain

If you could go back or forward in time, where would you go?
My early 20s

What is your favorite Harrison Ford movie?
American Graffiti

What CD is in your stereo?
Prince, Edwin McCain, Liz Phair (in my car), Goo Goo Dolls

What CD will be in your stereo in a few minutes?
Probably the same thing (I so rarely remember to change cds)

How many kids do you plan on having?
I have two with four legs, otherwise I hope to be a host family for foreign exchange students some day.

If you could kiss anyone who would it be?
Cary Grant (if he was alive, dead kissing is gross)

What do you do when no one is watching?

If they made a movie about your life, what actor/actress would be you?
Drew Barrymore or Charlize Theron

Would you rather die in a blaze of glory or peacefully in your sleep?
Blaze of Glory, preferably before my body falls completely apart.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, hot and black. Or my current favorite: Venti Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte, Non Fat, Extra Hot, No Whip

Favorite musician(s)/bands you've seen in concert?
Billy Joel

Have you ever been in love?
I still am

Do you talk to yourself?
All the time, especially in the aisle of a grocery store to freak people out

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Night Flying

The colors of dusk glow in the sky as creatures below go about their evening routines, unaware of me gliding above at 34,000 feet, trying to peer into their world for the brief moment I am suspended overhead. Street lights quickly become the sole means of viewing the globe below as darkness envelops the earth, the last glimmer of sunlight only visible to those flying into the western sunset.

New York City glows with life, vibrant streets dancing with activity still apparent from such a distance. Cars lumber through traffic clogged highways and move through intersections like a well choreographed dance routine. The city that never sleeps actually wakes up from the dreary look of daylight when skyscrapers and billboards put on their evening shows. My mind wanders with amazement of the number of lives crammed on this one bright island when so much open space is visible through the small window before me. The beauty of the heavens, God’s very own light show, is masked by these lights. But for those drawn to the city, light pollution is a small price to pay for the opportunity to live in the planet’s spotlight.

Suburbs radiate from the sparkling city like rays of sun. Endless miles of small towns, where families arrive home from work, prepare dinner, watch TV and wind down from another tiring day in the rat race. The only sign of season revealed by the baseball diamonds, strategically dotted on the landscape, all aglow as little leaguers and corporate softball teams play America’s pastime under stadium lights. There are so many fields of varying sizes lit for evening play, that it is hard to imagine night ball as relatively new in the history of sports.

Besides the distinctive look of a baseball diamond from high above, there are other signs alerting a traveler they are flying over an American suburb. Strip malls with their abundance of neon line the streets. The millions spent on corporate advertising and branding is truly valuable when messages are delivered to those on the ground and in the sky. The yellow arches of a McDonalds in a random suburb below remind me I forgot to grab dinner before boarding the plane. My stomach immediately begins to growl with this realization brought on by one of the most recognized symbols on earth.

Suddenly, the world below is dark, a reminder of how much open land is still available even with a population topping 300 million. Miles of darkness are broken by enclaves of light, people deciding to live away from it all, yet still living in a community of neighbors and friends. Nothing demonstrates the human need for closeness and interaction like these islands of light nestled far away from the hustle and bustle of major metropolitan areas.

The pattern repeats over and over; suburb, city, suburb, darkness, suburb, city, suburb, darkness, as we cross the thousand miles I travel to get back home. As a child, I often looked up at planes flying above, in their final descent before arriving in New York, trying desperately to look in the windows of the jet. From my world below, the jetsetters were coming in from London, Paris or Frankfurt, on their way to some important business meeting downtown. Their lives seemed rich and exciting whether they were arriving on the Concord or squished in economy, achy from their trip across the pond. Life continues to move below even when air travel isolates people from the world. The view from above can be really pretty, but the true beauty in flying is the opportunity to look beyond the lights of our own city and discover the sparkle of a new place.