Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Belated Birthday

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I never thought that I would be someone who loves dressing up her dog, but I've been wrong before

Christmas in Fort Myers, Florida with my grandparents.  Unemployment in Lee County is 13.3%, the foreclosure rate for the county hovers in the top five for the nation.  In past years, McGregor Boulevard during the holiday season rivals the Las Vegas strip in wattage.  This year, the lights are in short supply.  The house with the neon "Jesus is Love" sign that has been around since my mom was a kid is abandoned.  We've looked at two nursing homes for my grandparents.  I gave at mass, but then felt queasy because I'm not sure what it means that "we pray that those without food or shelter in this holiday season find sustenance and comfort in the shelter of the lord".  Probably would have been better if they said "we pray that those without food or shelter in this holiday season find food and comfort through extension of unemployment benefits, food stamps and prosecution of foreclosure mills; activities which we are directly funding through our ministry", but I'm crossing my fingers that they meant that anyway.  Then the priest bid everyone to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus Christ.  Why is this the hot new thing?  The priest at my local parish also does this.  There is nothing to say but no. 

I bought an inflatable, 5 foot, light-up penguin that aggressively offers a candy cane to those who pass.  It looks like he is trying to hitch a ride.  His name is Doug.  I also found a full-on elf costume for Charlie.  My grandfather is really pleased with the penguin and, out of all of us, including my grandmother, Charlie is the only person he remembers when he has episodes.  Best to keep the focus on the one we all love the most.

To everyone I love, I am giving Charlie a hug and pretending that you are there also.  Merry Christmas and I am so happy I know you. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

A benefit of working from home

however, having only one hand free does make using Excel significantly more difficult

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Charlie continues to suffer the indignities of seasonal attire

This Thanksgiving, there are not one, not two, but three animals here for me to love!  Charlie, of course, was subjected to a thematic costume (as it is Thanksgiving, my only non-problematic option was a turkey). He was a pretty good sport about the whole thing though, as I think he was somewhat drunk on the food choices in front of him.  He sampled some mashed potatoes, some gravy and had his first brussel sprout!  It cannot be said that Charlie is dog that does not appreciate his vegetables.  Here he is:

 My sister also brought her two kitties.  I've met Cowcat before but Gambit was new to me!  They are both very cute.  Cowcat, who also goes by Fatcat, is pretty much just a big ball of fur who watches everything somewhat disdainfully, even when he is being petted.  Gambit is one mischievous little munchkin.  Here they both are:

I am thankful for these babies and all the rest in the world. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

He couldn't wait until midnight to turn back into a dog

 Charlie is bribed with whipped cream in an ultimately failed attempt to keep his pumpkin hat on

 I bought a large, but apparently this dog costume company uses rat sizes.  
It had to be taped to a t-shirt.

Escape from Alcatraz!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Easter Charlie!

Easter is Charlie's favorite holiday because there are so many carrots!  This year, he had to follow a carrot trail to find his basket.  He refused to wear bunny ears but was pleased by how dapper he looked in his bow!

But the truly exciting part was still to come....

A trail of carrots snaked across the floor

Leading to a glorious basket of joy!

Charlie is hot on the trail!  He pauses only to destroy the evidence of his quest!

Aha!  What's this?

Happy Easter!


There is video footage of the festivities.  If you are allergic to/annoyed by cooing it is probably best to watch with the sound off.  Spring is here!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Importance of Charlie-Care

"Self-care" is a fun phrase that tends to be thrown around a lot by organizations that have counseling or outreach programs. Apparently, burnout is a problem for employees and volunteers who staff the hotlines and "mobile health units"of rape and abuse, low-income abortion assistance and sex worker outreach/needle exchange/HIV testing organizations. Astonishing.

Anyway, staffers have to learn to recognize the signs of burnout and make self-care plans. We get worksheets with helpful ideas to get us started! Or, as I like to call it, "77 Suggestions and A Drink Ain't One"

Here are some gems:

20. Skydiving
23. Play on a teeter-totter
38. Imagine myself achieving my goals and dreams (lol)

(---and my personal favorite---)

52. Tell myself the loving words I want to hear from others.

Way down this list, at #59 to be exact, we encounter "Pet an animal". This is my version of petting an animal

(I'm also singing 'Always be my Baby' to him, but I guess that isn't apparent)

The past 9 months have been rough. I feel like to be a successful counselor, I needed to be in a much better frame of mind when I started than I was. And I don't think it helped that I took a lot on pretty quickly. But, it is getting easier and I think I am getting better at "establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries" and "managing my discomfort". I had my first suicidal/self-harming session a couple of weeks ago and it was really hard. I lost it after my shift was over. I think the hardest thing for me is not knowing what happens to people after our brief encounters are finished; not knowing if they are ok. I finally got certified as an HIV counselor/tester this week and my hands started to shake when we role-played giving someone a positive result.

I guess we'll see how that goes. But for now, I'm going to keep reminding myself how happy I am that I have Charlie (and lots and lots of other good things and alcohol) in my life.

What an angel.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Julian and Bailey!

Happy birthday friends! I am late for Julian (by 5 days) and early for Bailey (by a couple of hours). My video recording thing on my computer has decided to freeze every time I try to play a song. Which is a problem when it comes to the production of dancing Charlie birthday videos. Sooo, these pictures of Charlie in festive attire will have to serve as a stand-in until I manage to fix the problem. Rest assured that Charlie will return to his rug-cutting ways once all technological glitches have been fixed.

Charlie celebrates Bailey and Julian's birthdays' proximity to Mardi Gras!

Charlie celebrates the best birthday present of all! The sure-to-be-announced news that Mei Xiang is pregnant!

Charlie models my brother's AC/DC trucker hat. Everybody wins!

Charlie is tropical (?) with a tropical reptile friend (?) to celebrate the imminent arrival of summer!

Charlie wears sunglasses, claws them off his face several times, effectively ends celebratory fashion parade.

Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Friday, January 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Rant

Dear Democratic Party,

Please stop fucking up. Are you all delusional? Did you imagine that a party controlled by reactionaries who thought that John McCain/Sarah Palin was a winner of a ticket would embrace bipartisanship? You know why Scott Brown won in Massachusetts? Because when I got emails from Emily's List about phoning voters for Martha Coakley, I didn't do it and neither did many others (not even Coakley herself it seems). And you know why? Because three years of a congressional majority and one year in the White House hasn't done anything. Because we are embroiled in two massively expensive wars with no end in sight. Because our foreign policy agenda is still bullshit. Because we don't have anything resembling national healthcare. Because there hasn't been a whole lot done to ensure justice and equality if you are a person of color, of a different ethnicity or religion, female, trans, non-heteronormative or anything deviating from how the majority of people in Congress identify. Because the previous administration compromised the Constitution and the values of this country enormously and I haven't seen any meaningful steps to repair that.

And I am not excited anymore. The unyielding corruption, bureaucracy and empty promises are chipping away at my belief that this democracy can better itself and thereby better the lives of many, many people. I thought that Barack Obama was going to make changes. I thought that the ineffective leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would be replaced by people with agendas dedicated to making this country a more just place. Instead, we get people dithering over college football and catering to JOE FUCKING LIEBERMAN.

So, Democrats, here is how you get me to donate and to phone bank again. Start pushing for actual progress, because this compromise strategy isn't getting anything done and selling out your base. I'll get out there on the front-lines if I think that the person I am working for will work for me, even if not all measures succeed.

Not so much love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Amy! (A Day Late, Inexcusably)

So, yesterday I got drunk for the Patriots v. Ravens playoff game. Then, I proceeded to pass out mid-afternoon while mourning their loss. Amy, you know I love the Patriots but I can be sanguine about our dashed Superbowl hopes if it is just a karmic balancing of accounts for having you in my life! Without further ado, I present your birthday video, with love, from Andrea and Charlie: