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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Care and Feeding of the Puppy Prince

Dogs are cute … and a stack of fun! But, dogs are also a lot of work.

I decided to get Jake (a rescue) about six months after I lost Marty. He and I had been together for over 12 years. During my grieving, I realized that I am a dog person. I really like having canine companionship. I knew I would end up with another dog. I had grown up with dogs but I spent most of my 20’s dogless. This time, I knew I wouldn’t be without a dog for long.

It was an easy decision to get Jake and keep doing what I had grown accustomed to doing (getting vet coverage, paying for flea and heartworm treatments, grooming, daily walks, finding a sitter when I would be out late or out of town….)

Prince Jake!
It wasn’t so easy when I decided to get Marty. Getting a dog after going so long without one, I knew would be challenging. My lifestyle would have to change. No more getting up and rushing out the door for work in 15 minutes flat. He would require my time, my money, and my care (he can’t feed and groom himself). I would do all of that in exchange for his love, his loyalty and a belly full of laughs.

When I got Marty he was 2 years old, trained and housebroken. A family was moving to another state and decided not to take him with them. I got him just before the shelter did. Together we traipsed across the country and back. I had to find dog-friendly hotels along the way. In addition to packing my stuff, I made sure I had water and food for him during our long drives.

You see, a canine (or feline) is work. It is fun work. It is rewarding work but make no doubt about it, it is work! I have a neighbor who got a dog because his 3-year old wanted one. This Chihuahua (not a dog bred for the outdoors) is outside, barking incessantly 24-hours a day. If the temperature dips below freezing, they put her in the garage.

A decision to get a dog, like any other change in your lifestyle, shouldn’t be made lightly or on a whim. It takes thought and planning. By the time Marty (and Jake) walked through my door, they had health care, quality food (in cute bowls), a tag with their name on the front and my contact information on the back (also cute). I knew how dog expenses would fit into my budget. I knew how my morning and evening routines would change. I had someone on standby to take care of him if something came up.

These dogs had found their forever homes and there was no turning back. I held Marty when he was scared of thunderstorms. I cared for him when he was diagnosed with Cushings and needed expensive medicine and to be quarantined in the kitchen because he would have accidents. A few months ago, Jake was diagnosed with epilepsy. I cared for him when he’d had seizures and now I give him his medicines twice a day.

I would never compare pet ownership to marriage or childrearing. But I will say when it comes to any life-altering decision, it is essential to take the time and make the effort to think it through. You choose a restaurant on a whim, not a pet, partner or the decision to be a parent.

As for me and my current Puppy Prince, I am looking forward to years of laughter and love with Jake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Offended? Get Over It!

Grow a thicker skin and let it go!
The Confederate battle flag is offensive to a lot of Black people. Say “Thank you Jesus” and a lot atheists are offended. Many redheads are offended by the term ‘ginger’. Feminists are often offended by cat-calls. Look at social media and you’ll see that people are offended by anything and everything all of the time. I guarantee I’m going to offend people with this post.

My advice … get over it.

Here is the thing, you getting offended is about you, not the person committing the offense. It normally doesn’t change anything … nor should it. Let me explain.

Since a sizable number of South Carolinians see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate and not heritage, I personally do not think it should be flown over a state house that is supposed to represent all South Carolinians. HOWEVER, it is ridiculous that The Dukes of Hazard has been pulled from TV Land and that NASCAR doesn’t want people to fly the flag at races. You have the right to be offended but others have the right not to be. Your offense doesn’t trump someone else’s rights. Besides, the Dukes never hurt anybody!

Here are 10 things that offend me:

  1. Having to see a man’s dingy underwear because his pants are hanging down You’d think these guys would go out of their way to have pristine underwear since they clearly want everyone to see it!
  2. Hair colors that do not occur naturally in nature Bozo Red should never be a hair color. In fact, if the color is found in a pack of crayons and it isn’t black or brown, I’m offended
  3. People who feel pajama bottoms are pants Let me get this straight. You walked out of the house and drove to the store in your PJs. On what planet is this okay?
  4. Bad breath and body odor Unless you are homeless this should NEVER be a problem
  5. People who have loud private conversations in the bathroom Let’s not forget the annoyed sigh when someone flushes. How dare someone flush a toilet in the bathroom!
  6. People who call every compliment __________-shaming because it doesn’t apply to everyone Compliment a thin girl and it is fat shaming, compliment a big girl and you are shaming skinny girls. Sometimes a compliment is a compliment and not a diatribe
  7. People who post their views on social media and then go off on a rant when someone posts an alternative viewpoint Yes, I am offended by your offense!
  8. People who can’t decide what they want or have a massive order at the drive-thru Just get out of the car and take that mess inside, the rest of us are in a hurry
  9. Stores that close a few minutes early and then I show up “Damn, they are supposed to close at 6:00 and it is 5:53!”
  10. Using big words and compound-complex sentences to convince people that you’re smart Actually, you’re boring and I tuned you out ages ago

But later today, I’ll be at Wal-Mart where I am certain to see #1, #2, #3 and possible smell #4. Before I leave work though, I’ll run to the bathroom and most likely encounter #5. I might grab a quick bite to eat and encounter #8. Sometime today, I’ll check my Facebook and run into #6 and  #7. You see in the course of a day, I’ll encounter most of my list.  And you know what, that is okay.

As much as I would love a return to natural hair colors and pajamas worn indoors, my offense is my problem. The women with the Bozo hair probably loves it. The guy with the pants around his knees thinks it looks good (and so do his boys and his girlfriend).

What I won’t do is get my panties in a twist about it. I will roll my eyes and keep it moving. I won’t let the comical hair colors or loquacious people of the world (Ha! I just used a big word!) get the best of me. I’ve got more important things to do.

I won’t call for a boycott of indecisive patrons at the drive-thru.

I won’t try to pass a law against cell-phones in bathrooms.

Everyone who offends me is entitled to their offensive behaviors. You see, you are not always right. People don’t (and shouldn’t have to), do everything your way. The thought police and the politically correct posse have gone too far. We have to stop outlawing and picketing everything we are offended by. Again, Offended? It’s your problem and no one else’s. And it doesn’t even have to be a problem if people would learn to live and let live and just let shyt go.

If things keep going the way they are, it won’t be long before people are offended by you.

When they start passing laws and shaming people who car dance at stop lights, chat with the cashier at the check-out, and who make up songs and memes about their dog, I will be in big trouble.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Karyn's Self-Care Solution

Some times you need a reminder!
Without going into too many details, the past few months (the past year really) have been trying, stressful and often overwhelming. The past few weeks especially. Financial problems, career stress, even the home that is usually my sanctuary has become a major stressor.

So what does a Get It Together Girl do when the going gets tough? She rolls up her sleeves and works that much harder. But (and this is a big but) there are limits. When you reach those limits, cracks begin to appear. Things fall through those cracks and as the stress continues, those cracks become bigger and more perilous.

Stress manifests in different ways. This is what it looks for me.

  • Insomnia: All week I lived off of 2 to 3 hours a night.
  • Poor Diet: Sleepy and stressed, I went to my go tos: caffeine (Cokes and coffee), junk food (potato chips and Snickers bars) and fast food (Quarter Pounders).
  • Emotional: Irritable, weepy and culminating in a major panic attack
  • Forgetful: I had to record an interview for my podcast and I forgot to turn on the recorder, so I lost an hour’s worth of an amazing interview.
  • Withdrawal: I slink into a corner when the going gets really tough. I don’t reach out to friends or use my support system like I should.
  • Poor Judgment: After a series of air conditioner issues, the unit was running but I noticed there seemed to be water damage in the ceiling of my garage. After several days of progressive worsening damage, I decided to check it out. I climbed up to the space over the garage, slipped off of a beam and almost fell through the dry wall, ending up bruised and creating a big hole in my garage.

I knew I needed to do something to get back on track. So here was Karyn’s Self-Care Solution:
  • Social: Friday night had a girl’s night out. We met for dinner and say Magic Mike: XXL. It felt good to be around friends. I needed that.
  • Rest: When I got home, I ran a warm bath and went to bed. 12 hours later, I woke up. I needed that.
  • Diet: After a good night’s sleep (finally) it was time to deal with my diet. I went to the grocery store, loaded up on fruits and veggies. I had a big salad for lunch and a green smoothie. For the first time in over a week, I actually drank water.

For the rest of the day, I am catching up on some TV, journaling, hanging out with the dog and resting (and getting off the computer after I post this). Not up for fireworks tonight but it’s okay. I feel like my old self. Sure, I have things to do for my podcast. I have chores to take care of. But you know what? All of that can wait.

Going forward, I am going to make sleep and diet a priority. This week I plan on getting back to 9Round and working out too. You see, self-care at its most basic level isn’t about mani-pedis and bubble baths. It is about doing what you have to do to take care of your needs. I’m taking care of me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Heritage, History ... and Hate?

Fly it over your own house; just
don't fly it over the statehouse.
I live 10 minutes away from South Carolina. The grief, confusion and anger over the nine people who lost their lives in Charleston is real. While we wait to see how this saga plays out, it has reopened the discussion of removing the Confederate flag from flying atop the South Carolina statehouse. I believe it is time to take it down.

Proponents of the flag cite ‘heritage’ as a reason it should continue to fly. They say, it isn’t even the Confederate flag. It is a battle flag flown by Confederate troops in Northern Virginia. I’m not going to dispute the history of the battle flag.

However, since that time, it has been appropriated by racists and Klansmen. It has been draped over lynching victims and used to terrorize Black people. For many South Carolinian and black people nationwide, the heritage it represents is one of hate, intolerance and violence.

With so many constituents offended by it, it should not be flown over a government building. Sell it in stores (I think Walmart, Sears and eBay should continue selling it). If it represents Southern heritage, then fly it proudly on your cars, over your home or even your churches, just don’t fly something so divisive over the statehouse. It is a slap in the face to a large portion of South Carolinian.

Here is the thing. Symbols change over time.

For centuries, the emblem known as a swastika was a symbol of prosperity for several Eastern religions. It was a positive symbol. Then Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party got a hold of it. And now? No one really cares about the heritage of that flag anymore. In Western society, it is synonymous with hate and Antisemitism.

I am not equating Confederate flag wavers with Nazis. I make the comparison to show that for a significant number of people a symbol of heritage has come to stand for something else – something darker, more sinister and even deadly.

Out of compassion, out of empathy, out of love, it should go.

NOTE: This topic comes with strong emotions. Notice, I did not insult or curse when stating my opinion. If you plan on stating yours, please show the same respect.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Get It Together Girl Blog - The Reboot

This glass is half-full - but the good
news is that it can be refilled!
July 10, 2008 is the date of my very first blog post. Back then, it was called, Lose the Excuses. I have been blogging faithfully ever since to inspire, inform and share my life with readers. At this point, I’m almost 800 posts in … or at least I should be.

I changed my blog host last year. Due to an issue with the host, I have just lost an entire year’s worth of blog posts. I was annoyed yesterday as I talked with tech support. I was infuriated when I was told they could recover my posts … but it would cost me. I passed on that and decided to take the loss.

I went back to my old blog host, about 100 posts lighter, but that is okay. I had to redesign this template to reflect my new website design and it took me about an hour but now I’m back in business.

The Get It Together Girl Blog continues.

Actually, I think this will be a good thing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lessons from Jake: Dog Fight!

I spent last week back home in Cleveland, and I took my dog Jake with me. If I didn’t think Jake needed a dog trainer before, I know he does now. He and my dad’s dog Bentley were natural enemies from the start. They were kept in separate sides of the house. It was crazy! What’s a poor pet owner to do!

I’ve had Jake for just a few months but he has taught me a lot so far. His ‘issues’ with Bentley made me think, “What happens when we humans encounter people that just rub us the wrong way?”

I’m a chronic (and recovering) people pleaser. I really, really, really want everyone to like me. However, as I’ve gotten older, I have realized that some people just don’t like me … and that’s okay. There are also people (not many but a few) that rub me the wrong way … and that is okay, too.

Here are four things to keep in mind when you find yourself dealing with someone you just don’t like.
  1. Functional, not friendly. You can be cordial. You don’t have to be besties but acting respectfully and making basic conversation should be possible.
  2.  Don’t share your dislike. Everyone doesn’t have to know how you feel about this person, this is especially true if they are family members!
  3. Limit your contact. Chances are you’ll have to see this person at some time. However, you don’t need to sit right next to them on a 12-hour road trip or rub elbows with them over Thanksgiving dinner!
  4. Don’t do the drama! Yes, you aren’t crazy about this person. Yes, they probably aren’t crazy about you either. However, do not dissect their every move or comment, looking for dirt. Looking for ways to dislike the person even more isn’t productive or helpful.
You might be oil and the other person could be vinegar. It's okay. Dislike doesn't have to descend into disgust. It is what it is. In the meantime, Jake will have a seat in some training program very soon!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Talkin' BlogTalkRadio!

There are as many reasons for having a BlogTalkRadio show as there are BlogTalkRadio hosts. The overwhelming majority of host get paid little to nothing to do their shows. However, a quick listen and you’ll find a lot of people with a lot of passion coming over the Internet airwaves. On tonight’s show, I’ll be talking to two members of my BlogTalkRadio family about their shows and why they do what they do.

Tekneshia Day is the host of The Bright Side with Teknesia which airs daily at noon and handles a myriad of topics. A trained journalist, BlogTalkRadio is part of Tekneshia’s way of branding herself as a broadcaster.

Myra Hunn is the host of Endless Encouragement. After a life filled with ups and downs, Myra knows first-hand how important encouragement is. Her show is perfect for people looking for a dose of positivity.

I love talking to passionate people and tonight’s show will be great because I’m talking to two passionate women.