Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

Okay, I admit it: I am a sucker for this TV show. I have watched every season except the first. It's the only "reality" show that I've actually picked up the phone and voted for someone. I was asked last night why I like it so much. My reply was that 1) not everybody is old enough to be my child, 2) the "old" people actually do well, and in some cases, surpass the teenybopper crowd, and 3) it's a positive experience for everybody concerned. Not much TV these days that can lay claim to all that. And besides, I like to dance!

As evidenced by the fact that a couple of months ago, I was persuaded to take some dance lessons. And not just your typical, run-of-the-mill, cha-cha/tango/waltz dance lessons. Oh no. These are CAJUN dance lessons. Get down....get lessons. Yes, really.....CAJUN. Bet y'all didn't know about those, did you? Me neither. But boy, are they fun!

So now, I'm out trying to find boots to fit my very slender, narrow feet. IMPOSSIBLE. I have a pair of Frye's that fit fairly well, but haven't come up with any others yet. And a girl has to have more than one pair of Dancing Boots if she wants to twirl with the best of them. Well, at this stage, I think it's safe to say that I am no threat to anyone when it comes to expertise. But you just wait. In a few months, I'll be zydeco-ing and swinging and waltzing.......and all that jazz!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Flashes or Pounds?

It's really not fair. You wait all your life to not have to put up with periods, cramps, and all the related folderol that goes with it. You finally get your wish. But nobody ever tells you what you get in addition.

This morning I got on my scales. I weighed..... a lot more than I want to. What's so depressing is not the weight gain itself, although God knows that's depressing enough. No, it's the CAUSE of the weight gain. Last August I began some hormone therapy. Now this was not a snap decision by any means. I had been sweating, melting and bitching for the previous two years. Oh yes -- and not sleeping, which for me is worse. I kept thinking it would go away. It didn't. So I hied myself to my doctor who immediately said, "I can fix this and you'll think I'm a miracle worker." He did and I did. What he didn't tell me is that over the next 6 months I would put on approximately 8-10 MORE pounds to go along with the 12 I already needed to lose. So, here I am today, 20 pounds overweight and feeling like a beached baby whale. To add insult to injury, my hot flashes and waking up at night have come back! YES! Can you believe it? Not only am I fat, but now I'm fat AND hot. And that "hot" is not in a good way at all. I can see right now that Dr. Miracle Worker and I are going to have to have a "sit down" about this. If I can't get the thermostat turned down by taking hormones, then I can at least shed a few of these pounds by not.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

One of my passions happens to be dogs -- more specifically, MY dogs. But dogs in general, too. I've shown them, trained them, loved them, and yes, spoiled them -- but just a little bit, around the edges. I've done some rescue work and contributed to all kinds of dog causes. I've spent the last 15 years in this doggie world, or as dog people refer to it, "the dog fancy". Like every other hobby of the heart -- NASCAR, bass fishing, figure skating and lots of others -- it has its own culture.

A few days ago, I read a piece on that really brought out the terrier in me (my dogs and I are a lot alike in some respects). Entitled "Time for a Westmuttster dog show", it was written by one of the PETA Faithful Fanatical, Alisa Mullins. (For those of you unfamiliar, PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) Basically, it was a put down of dog shows, show dogs, the owners, potential owners, the breeders, the handlers and the people who derive any enjoyment from watching said dog shows.

Now, I don't know Ms. Mullins from Adam's house cat, but it's apparent to me she doesn't know a damn thing about dogs, dog showing or the people involved in the sport. And I quote:

"Westminster and other dog shows are simply overblown beauty pageants -- nothing more, nothing less. So what if a dog wins. What does it mean? That she was having a really great hair day? How silly is that?"

Well, no sillier than sitting in a boat from dawn to dusk in a drizzly 40 degree day trying to catch a fish, I'd say. And, so what if it is a beauty pageant? It's a friendly competition; people are having fun; dogs are content. What it means is that folks are participating in what they consider to be a wonderful past-time. Back off, sweetie. You're treading on some constitutional rights here. You know. The ones about life, liberty and the pursuit......

According to Ms Mullins though, it is due to dog shows and the dog fancy that there are so many dogs in shelters. And to back up that claim, she throws out some almost-impressive numbers as follows:

"It is estimated that 6 to 8 million animals are abandoned at shelters every year and roughly half are euthanized. Most of thee animals are young, healthy and friendly (and approximately a third of them are purebreds.)"

Let's just take a little closer look at this. According to the latest figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are approximately 72 million (yes ma'am, MILLION) dogs in the U.S. Taking Ms. Mullins' highest shelter figure of 8 million, that would mean that 11% of all dogs are abandoned (a figure still way too high, I agree). If half of those are euthanized, that is about 5%. And if one-third of those animals are purebred, that would be about 1,320,000 dogs, or .018%. Obviously, responsible breeders can't be fingered for filling animal shelters and are not "as culpable in the deaths of shelter dogs as if they had administered the lethal injections themselves". Understand that this comment is made by a senior writer for an animal organization who in 2006 killed 97% of the animals it took in for "adoption". (

Inflammatory pieces such as Alisa Mullins' take the focus away from the true roots of the problem of abandoned animals: shelters that don't do a good job of placing animals and irresponsible people who abdicate their responsibility to care for their animals. Dedicated dog people -- at least all the ones I know or have ever heard of -- actively work to make sure dogs are properly homed and cared for, their own and others as well.

15-20 years ago, animal numbers in shelters were stated as being in the neighborhood of 11-15 million. Numbers have steadily dropped primarily due to public education efforts regarding spay-neuter and responsible ownership. For example, in 1996, 494,998 dogs came in to the California shelter system. The numbers reached a peak of 521,300 in 2002. Since then, statewide shelter admissions have fallen dramatically: 292,531 dogs in 2006. And much of these efforts at public education have been supported, funded and endorsed by kennel clubs, dog performance clubs and breeder/owners across the country.

So, if you have a hankering to really support the WELFARE of dogs, do yourself and them a favor: support your local humane society, shelter, or rescue group with your time, talent and money. And if you have dogs of your own, be responsible in their care. Don't listen to pinheads like those at PETA (and their kissing cousins, HSUS and the Animal Liberation Front). Educate yourself. Animal welfare -- which we all support -- allows us the right to enjoy our animals. Animal rights does not.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

Choices, choices, choices.........

There's a part of me that's just sick and tired of SO MANY. Just this morning on the Today show, they were discussing -- yet again -- how to create another career after 50. What if I don't want another career? What if I'm done with careers? Will making me feel guilty about not having one motivate me more to find one? I doubt it. I'll just feel guilty. I'd much rather just feel satisfied and content. Why can't they do a show on how to achieve THAT?

It takes a lot of energy, thought and time to filter through all the crap that swirls around to get to the "good stuff". And then, by the time you get there, more options have usually cropped up and the process starts all over again. It's enough to make you want to find the nearest version of Walden Farm and camp out for as long as you can.

Except for a couple of things that sounds like a good option. One, I'm definitely not the camping out type; I like LOTS of hot water and a really good mattress. And two, I'm positive that after several days of "simple silence", I would be bored out of my mind. I mean, you can only gaze at wildlife, knit sweaters, read books and think DEEP THOUGHTS for just so long. I don't know about the rest of you, but sooner or later I need a little more stimulation and one or two really nice single malt Scotches. I guess I could always take the Scotch with me to the wilds, but where would that lead me? An old drunk broad with lots of scarves.........

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Second Chance Adulthood

So, I was reading a definition of "midlife" today which says it's the midpoint of my total projected years on earth. Which means if I live to be 84 -- which I think is about what THEY are predicting for women these days -- and I'm 55 now, I've got about 29 more years to go. I'm slightly halfway to the finish line, as it were. Oh boy. Just what the hell is there to do to fill those almost 30 years? More to the point, if I find stuff to do, will I even feel like doing it? Maybe, maybe not. But like all good Baby Boomers, I'm going to give it my best shot because God forbid that we should actually AGE. I mean, already 50 is the new 30, or so I'm hearing. So, by the time I get to 84, I guess I'll really be just 62, right? (Try telling that to my already creaky body with a straight face.)

When you read about it, it always sounds so simple. Explore your options; have a 2nd, or a 3rd, or a 4th career; pick up long ago-dropped hobbies (and become a famous whatever...artist, writer, scrapbooker..... you name it); travel and see the world (on your somewhat wobbly knees); explore yourself, etc. etc., ad nauseum. Now I ask you: if it were that damn easy to do, wouldn't everybody already be doing it instead of LONGING to do it? Obviously, this dawning of a Second Chance Adulthood is just a tiny bit more complicated than anti-aging gurus would have us believe.