Getting older isn’t so bad.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, on the phone, and she mentioned to me how she was starting to feel old. I can relate. Really. Now, for the record, I’m only 45. I don’t think that’s “old.” Hell, I don’t even think 60 is old these days, but I certainly don’t feel as young as I used to. I remember the days when I used to play with board games and ride my bike around my neighborhood. I find myself not really interested in too much new music, and more and more prefer to listen to the “classic” stations. Yeah, classic as in songs from the 80’s and 90’s! Brother, if you had ever said to me that U2 would ever be considered a classic band, I’d have laughed in your face and told you to take your Geritol grandpa. See, I’m dating myself because I don’t even think they make Geritol anymore! Do they?

The reason for these thoughts began couple of days right before Thanksgiving Day this year. My niece was born on November 22, 1990. Christ, in 1990 I was 23 years old myself and living with a total loser, out of work and wondering how much worse my life could get. Fun times right there.

As my friend and I kept talking we remembered the times when we rode in the back of stations wagons with the windows down, and rode in the front seat of cars standing up with little thought of seat belts. My father actually ripped the seat belts out of one car we had because the noise that went off when the seat belts weren’t worn was driving him nuts. I mean, hey heaven forbid we actually buckled up! You see, back then we didn’t have the mass exodus of information coming from every possible outlet today. We weren’t worried about being thrown out of car windows in accidents or being impaled by lawn darts. Today, between cell-phones, tablets, laptops, radios and television, we’ve got news coming out of our pours. It’s virtually impossible to NOT be informed about something!

At the risk of sounding like a naive child, there are days when I wish I could be back in grade-school, not really knowing what the rest of the world is going through. Too much information comes with it’s risks. For someone like me who already has anxiety issues and tends to be slightly OCD, having all of this information at my fingertips can make a person just want to stock up on Diet Dr. Pepper and Ramen noodles and just shut the world out! However, that would irresponsible and frankly a bit ignorant. You just can’t live that way no matter how difficult the world around us and everything going on gets. Me? I have medication, and I AM NOT afraid to use it!

It’s not all bad though. With the passage of time, and growing older we begin to really find ourselves. We become something a little different than what we were in our youth. I find myself a little more mindful of others feelings, and realize it’s not just about me. This world isn’t just for me! This world is about WE and US. Being kinder to others and going out of your way to help and do something good. Not because you’re getting anything out of it other than a good feeling. I’ve become more active in social issues than I was as a young adult. The environment is more important to me than it was when I was 15 or 18 or even 25! I advocate for animal rights, and am a militant animal lover! I’m a vegetarian working hard on being a vegan. I’m more interested in politics and feel this ever growing need to inform others as I myself become informed. Self-awareness is pretty awesome, and I was nowhere near this aware of myself and the world around me 20 years ago.

I look around many times and think, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I would think of my future at 23. I thought I would be married with a couple of kids at this point. I’m not, and it’s taken me a long time to realize that maybe I never really wanted to have kids. I saw my cousins getting married and having kids and thought, that’s what I was supposed to do. It’s just never happened for me, and really, at 45 I am not about to start having children. As for the getting married part, I’m still open to that, but admittedly, I’m a hard pill to swallow. I have my issues and I’m very settled into the way my life is now. Still, I do think I’m in a better place than I was back in my younger days. There are times when I wonder how I got here, but I guess where we are at this point in our lives is where we are supposed to be in the grand scheme of things. In my case, the loser boyfriend has been long gone for many years, and while I do have a job, I am desperately looking for something better. I have a small dog sleeping next to me, and 5 cats sunning themselves next to the window. At this moment in time, I’m where I am supposed to be, ready for what life, God and my guiding spirits have in store. Yep, getting older is not so bad.

I live with animals!

Last night, as I was laying in bed, my iPhone in one hand playing Words with Friends, and my remote in the other as I raised the volume on Storage Wars, I realized, “I live with animals!” To my left, on the nightstand lay Czarina on a pillow. At my feet lay Kiska, and Maks. To my left side Sofie, who had just wiggled her way to comfort. Oksana was on the dresser watching as Vlad walked across the room and contemplated either jumping up onto the bed.

In that moment I became amused to no end. Think about it. Here you have these little lives. They’re all furry, have sharp nails and VERY sharp teeth. They eat in your kitchen and most of the time sleep on your bed, and they’re animals. Yes, to me my cats and dog are just as important as someone’s child is to them. These ARE my children, they have feelings and they all have their own distinct personalities. They are intelligent little beings, but yes they are animals and they are in my house! I think that’s just the coolest of things.

Pandora Radio

I’ve been listening to Pandora online radio for a few days. I love how it allows me stations that play similar music to an artist I list. But sometimes they like to confuse you.

Much like today. I have a “station” named Pablo Cruise. If any of you are familiar with them, they’re a late 70’s band, I think their biggest hit was “Love will find a way.” Really laid back easy going music. So imagine my confusion when the next track on the station right after “Baby come back,” by Player was, “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) by W.A.S.P.

Yeah, I didn’t get it either, but hey I love the song either way and I really needed the chuckle.

Sonia Kashuk cosmetics

I’ve been searching for a cruelty free cosmetic line ever since I found out Clinique (who I had been using at the time) Mary Kay, and Avon were no longer cruelty free. It turns out they have been trying to sell their products in China, and the Chinese government will not allow any products used for personal care to be sold unless they have been tested first…on animals. So, hearing this news I began looking for a company, that was not only cruelty free, it’s suppliers cruelty free, AND reasonably priced!

There are several great options out there. Urban Decay and Hard Candy, are two such companies.  I had decided to get some things at Target and thought I’d check out Sonia Kashuk, since I knew this line is sold there.  Imagine my extreme surprise when I found out that not only are all of Sonia Kashuk cosmetics are cruelty free, but so are their suppliers as well as their make-up brushes.

I wound up buying some concealer, and I have to say I’m thrilled with it.  It actually covers better than the Clinque I had been using, and was almost three times less expensive.  My next purchase will be foundation.  There are a couple of colors that look like a good match for  my skin, and I’ll also get some blush.  I think I’m going to be very happy with this.

I give Sonia Kashuk 4 tuna cans – This stuff rocks!

Morningstar Farms “Veggie Hot dogs”

I’m always looking for different meat substitutes, whether meatless burgers, cold-cuts or hot dogs and sausages.  Finding a really good tasting hot dog type product has been the hardest.  I have tried some good chorizo and sausage type products, but hot dogs, not so much.

This past week I saw a new product from Morningstar Farms which was a hot dog.  I was sooooo excited because I used to love eating hot dogs. I finally made them yesterday and they were deeply disappointing.  So many times people describe food like this as tasting like cardboard.  I wish!  Hell, I’d love to say they tasted awful, but that would imply they actually had flavor.  Really, they tasted like nothing.  The most flavor in my meal was the bun and the mustard.

I will NOT be buying these again. This gets a litter box rating of 4!  Blah!

A sorry 2011 and a hopeful 2012!

I’m sitting at home, as I do every New Year’s Eve.  I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say this, as I take quite a bit of pleasure being home, with my furries, especially on such a crazy evening.  It isn’t as though I’m the only one.  If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself why the plethora of New Year’s Eve programming?  But, I digress.  I don’t want to harp on what an absolutely shitty year 2011 has been, not just for me but for many others.  I won’t tell you how incredibly disappointed I’ve been at not finding a better job, or that going back on Monday to the hell that is my current position is a fate I don’t wish on anyone, even Charles Manson.

My smallest kitty, Tatiana is at the vets office being spayed.  I didn’t really plan on doing this today, but the opportunity presented itself, and today was the best day to have it done.  Perhaps this is a sign of a greater beginning not just for her, but for me as well.  Tatiana has gone from a skinny, very sickly stray cat, to a very loved 5 pound ball of terror!  She’s going to start the new year a brand new kitty.

I should do the same.  I keep telling myself, things happen for a reason.  I need to go out and get the things I want and not be afraid of making changes.  You know why?  Because those changes might just be part of something great!

So to 2011, I say, “Go sit on a porcupine!!”

And to 2012, I say, “Bring it on!”

Drinking the Kool-Aid

This term has been used for the past few years, mainly in politics, as a sort of a joke. Meaning, when someone has an idea that is incredibly outrageous or ridiculous, they’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Many times you see the user jokingly say the term, often with a little smirk on their face. Honestly, this phrase makes me want to cringe. I have to wonder if those using this phrase realize what they’re saying.

If you aren’t familiar with the real meaning of this phrase, allow me to educate you, and if you have forgotten, take a moment to refresh your memory.

On November 18, 1978, 918 people died in jungles of Georgetown, Guyana.  These people were part of The Peoples Temple, headed by Jim Jones.  Jim Jones formed the People’s Temple in Indiana, in the mid 1950’s.  Jones was a socialist, and he used this philosophy in his church.   People who were part of the People’s Temple loved Jones.  In theory, it all seemed wonderful, and for a time in practice it was.  After some criticism on how his “church” was run, Jones uprooted his flock and moved everyone to Redwood Valley, California in 1965.  During the early 1970’s several more branches were opened in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The bottom began falling out of the organization after a scathing newspaper article was written in 1973, which questioned Jones leadership and what the church was really about.  Some members began to leave and family members of others began to want to know more about Jones and the organization.

Seeing this, Jones decided to move everyone to a place where he would be able to have total control over everyone and everything.  The move came in 1976, and little by little members moved to Guyana.  What started out as a dream turned into a nightmare for many.  On November 14, 1978 Congressman Leo Ryan, after receiving many calls from concerned family members, decided he would go to investigate Jonestown for himself.  He took with him some family members hoping to bring those who wanted to leave home with them, along with a reporter and cameraman.

After a few days Ryan as well as some of those who had traveled with him sensed danger and were asked by Jones to leave.  As they arrived at the airstrip they were all gunned down by members of Jones’ army.  At the same time, Jones and his more loyal followers were reading their own demise.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not a mass suicide.  Many of those people did not willingly drink the cyanide laced “Flavor-Aid”.  The adults were encouraged to give the poison to the kids first, and then themselves.  All the while being surrounded by men with rifles.  In the end, Jones died of a bullet through the head.  It’s never been confirmed whether he shot himself or someone else shot him.

33  years ago 918 people died, from drinking Flavor-Aid with cyanide and not actually what has always commonly been believed to be Kool-Aid.

So there you have it.  The origins of the overused phrase so many joyously use in order to look clever.   Next time you decide to say this, please remember where it came from and the lives lost.

Santa Claus!

Okay, so I HAVE to brag. This is Sofie’s (my Yorkie) first Christmas with me. For those who don’t know, Sofie used to live with my dad and his wife. She was his wife’s dog, and for reasons I won’t go into again, this woman wanted to give her away to a friend when her sister came to live with them and needed constant care. Sofie has been with me since April of 2011, and this is her first official Christmas photo! Okay, so her dress didn’t come out as floofy as I wanted to, and you can’t see the cute rose. Her little tag is sideways, so you can’t see the heart that has her name on it, but look at that face!

I’m telling you, this has got to be the cutest Christmas pet photo EVER! If you are curious, the dress is a Toile Christmas design. I was drawn to it because 1. I love Toile, and 2. it had dogs and cats watching Santa as he put presents under a Christmas tree.

If you aren’t sure what Toile is, here’s a little sample:

She was a little excited, but she let Santa hold her and she sat patiently as we took her picture and picked out the perfect one. Afterward, we drove home in a torrential rain storm and when we got home, she shared some treats with her favorite kitties.

Sometimes being a pet parent isn’t very glamorous.

You know how sometimes people say having pets is like having kids? It’s true. Especially when it comes to the gross stuff. Let this serve as a warning right now to those with weak stomachs.

Of all of my cats, Vlad is the fastest eater, and this means many times he winds up barfing up what he just ate. This morning was one of those mornings. It’s funny, when I first brought my little 5 pound boy home, anything like kitty poops or barfing would gross me out. Now my boy weighs 16 pounds and quite frankly at this point, it no longer phases me.

This morning he had finagled his way up on top of the fridge and in between Kiska and her plate of food. When this happens, Kiska jumps down to Vlad now empty plate, and I take her plate, split what’s on it in half, and give Kiska half of what she’s left and give Vlad the rest. It’s not totally fair, but Vlad is bigger than her, not just in weight, and in reality, he does need a little more food than she does. Anyway, everyone went about their business, finishing their food and me washing plates as they were all done. I was at the sink, and I heard the tell-tale sound of Vlad getting ready to spew. When I hear this sound, I immediately go into panic mode!

I say panic because Vlad doesn’t just barf, he turns into Linda Blair kitty and what comes out turns into projectile grossness. AND he was on top of the fridge. Not a good place to barf from. I won’t go into what happened the last time he barfed from on top of the fridge. I looked up and he was getting ready to go and all I had was, well my hand. Yeah, you know what happened. He actually barfed on top of the fridge, but close enough to the edge that it came down like hot lava down a mountain. The paper towels were in front of me, but I wasn’t fast enough in tearing a piece off, so I had to block the flow with my hand. Ack! I wouldn’t have been so panicked about it expect my fridge is like most, sandwiched (sorry for using food reference at this point) between the wall and my counter. The space between the counter and fridge is millimeters and cleaning anything between that space means pulling out the fridge, cleaning the fridge and cabinet side then pushing the fridge back, and I had no time for that.

Well, I stopped the flow with my hand and by that time I had some paper towel in my other hand so I managed to sweep the rest up to the top of the fridge, where Vlad was patiently waiting for me to clean up the mess so he could go on eating what was left of his food. He made sure not to barf on the plate. I washed my hands, and it took me all of 5 seconds to clean up. I’ve become a lean mean barf/poop cleaning up machine.

I remember when my friends were always talking about their kids bodily functions when they were babies. This was all the time! I always had to just sit there and listen, not saying anything because I didn’t want to offend them! Not long ago, I was doing the same and my friend reminded me how I would complain about her talking about her kids stuff. I calmly said, “Yes, I complained about it, only after you had bitched and moaned heartily about how much diarrhea your kid had and the color and bouquet. So I think I’m entitled to the same.”

So there!