Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Michael Vick and President Obama

This has been a heated controversy in the news this week. I considered making my Facebook status about it, but realized I couldn't sum up my feelings in a status. And if I did, I'd be one of those annoying people with a status you have to scroll to read. Lame. Hence, the blog.

The media is not liberal, much to the far right's dismay. The media is out to make money. The news is often over-exaggerated to gain more viewers. President Obama's involvement in the Michael Vick controversy is minimal, at best. He was talking on the phone with Jeffrey Lurie (owner of the Eagles), commending the team's decision to use alternative energy to power the stadium. This is a commendable act, by the way. Lincoln Financial Field is going to have "hundreds of wind turbines" and "solar panels," (http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obama-vick-20101229,0,6835269.story) according to the Los Angeles Times. More stadiums should follow suit. Eagles are going green. So far, so good.

That was the point of the phone call. That was why President Obama even got involved. My first impression last night was, "Doesn't he have more important things to be doing than discussing Michael Vick?!" but now I realize he was commending a green initiative. But don't worry-I'm not a brain washed liberal. BECAUSE he did have to mention Michael Vick. Though it's really not that big of a deal, it will cost him THOUSANDS of animal-lover votes. It was minor, in passing, but he commended Lurie for giving him a second chance in football. Honestly, I think Michael Vick is worthless, weak, and disgusting. The kind of person who abuses animals is the kind of person who abuses defenseless people. But Obama NEVER mentioned Vick getting another dog. The White House statement was, "individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again." I'm all for second chances. The football player spent 19 months in prison. I have no problem with him playing football. I have a problem with him thinking for 5 seconds he can own a dog again. On December 15th, on NBC news, Vick stated, "I would love to get a dog in the future." Well, SORRY MICHAEL VICK. Child abusers don't get to adopt children. Child molesters can't even be around children. What in God's name makes you think you are worthy of having a pet?? Forgiveness, I'm all for. And I'm not saying I think judgment on him will solve anything. I just think we have to be CAUTIOUS!!! Ultimately, the victim makes the choice to forgive the abuser. And that great old expression with humans applies, "Not forgiving somebody is like drinking poison, expecting somebody else to die." But the dogs that died, or are permanently disabled, are actually more enlightened than humans. They aren't holding grudges against Michael Vick. They aren't mad. They have, in an unspoken sense, forgiven him. But they are defenseless, and it is up to people to defend them.

Anybody who thinks dog-fighting isn't "that big of a deal," should be informed. These dogs are riled up to fight and literally tear eachothers' faces off. Many are HUNG. It is without a doubt, not a sport, but an abusive act. The following is a picture of one of Michael Vick's dogs. I think it's important to see the actual face of a victim to understand the severity of what he did. WARNING, it's graphic, and absolutely broke my heart. No animal deserves this.

As sad as dog-fighting makes me feel, and as angry with Michael Vick as I have become, I still remain objective regarding his football career. Lisa Lange, a spokeswoman for PETA, stated, "As long as [Vick] is focusing on playing football and not abusing animals, we will focus our attention on those who are being cruel to animals."

In summary, after the recent controversy, I am Pro-Obama, Pro-Green Initiatives, Pro-Second Chances in Careers, Pro-Animal Love. I think it is kind of bad karma to say you're "anti-" anything, so I'll just say I'm not in support of Michael Vick having a dog again. He burned that bridge. Gotta stand up for what you believe in!

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. And shout-out to Teddy-love ya, mean it. I'd NEVER hurt you, Little Man!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life Lessons from "Real Simple" Magazine

When I was checking out at Sprouts, I made an impulse-purchase. Glad I did. Best $4.99 I've spent on a magazine! "Real Simple" is a great magazine with awesome articles on simplifying your life. The website is here: 

In this month's article, "Life Lessons: Expertise," there are (5) lessons we can learn from our pets. Some people think it's weird, but my dogs have always been a major spiritual inspiration for me. This article coincided with some of my core beliefs and observations from my experience with animals! Again, credit goes to "Real Simple" magazine, not me. I'm merely sharing what I found!

1. "Celebrate Everything"- "Each time I walk into my apartment-even if I've been gone for less than a minute-my three dogs leap on me, kiss me, lick me, wag and bark, and show me their chew toys. I find it inspiring: Life throws a lot of junk in your direction, so you might as well get your kicks when you can..."

2. "Just Being Present Is Enough"-"About a decade ago, I suffered the two greatest losses of my life in quick succession: My sister died of breast cancer, and my marriage ended. One lonely night, when I was experiencing the worst of my grief, my two cats got on the bed and snuggled up to either side of me. They didn't make a sound; they just stayed there, so close that I actually felt embraced. That was such a powerful lesson in what truly gives comfort. I have never known what to say to a friend who has a terrible illness or has lost a loved one, but my cats taught me that I don't need to say anything at all. What matters is showing up."
5. "You Can Get Along With Anybody"-"You know that expression, 'they fight like cats and dogs,'? In my experience, it's not necessarily true. It's quite surprising how many animals of different species (cats, dogs, birds, you name it) can be friends-as long as they are raised in a warm and loving environment.....Humans would do well to emulate such displays of generosity."

There are many more great articles in this magazine, and other examples of animal love as well! These were just my 3 favorites. This also has influenced my decision to not eat animals, FYI. But to each his own, I'm certainly no better than anybody because of that choice! I just thought I'd throw it out there.

Real Simple! Check it out! Definitely inspiring!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Black Swan (a personal review)

Go See Black Swan!

I saw Black Swan a few days ago, and have not been able to stop thinking about it! THAT is what makes a great movie, in my opinion. I haven't felt this way since I saw "Doubt" a couple years ago. Natalie Portman should absolutely win Best Actress from the Academy. She completely became the character, Nina, who is a ballerina with perfectionist tendencies that eventually drive her mad. What I love about Darren Aronofsky is his ability to get the audience completely in the mind of his characters. (PS, Watch Requiem for a Dream if you haven't seen that!)

When you watch this movie, you FEEL for Natalie Portman because in a sense, you BECOME Natalie Portman's character. You understand her thoughts, feelings, and emotions. But the ending (don't worry, no spoiler YET) makes you wonder, "WTF JUST HAPPENED? Do I get it?!" The film is genius. The cinematography is phenomenal. I don't want to ruin it for anybody, but trust me and go see it!

*****SPOILER ALERT******
So after watching the movie, George and I analyzed it. My mom and sister saw it also, so we talked about it another time with them. George had this great idea-that the more I think about, the more I think is the case-that maybe she DOESN'T die in the end. Once you realize she is going mad, you no longer know what actually happened and what was just in her head. Was her death just in her head? I realize that since the character of the WHITE SWAN has to die (per the ballet plot), Nina only thinks she will perfect the role if she dies. So most people assume at the end, she dies. But does she? George thought it would have been better if they had shown after the white screen a "3 Months Later" segment with her going into the next ballet audition. I also wondered about the authenticity of Mila Kunis' role. Was she actually a cool, laid-back girl, who was only portrayed as manipulative in the mind of Natalie Portman? Did she put the ecstasy in the drink intentionally so Nina would relax, intentionally so Nina would miss rehearsal the next day, or did she not put it in the drink at all? I thought surely she did because she didn't deny it the following day when Nina told her about her experience. But Mila Kunis' character also joked about the lesbian scene, and I don't think that scene actually happened. Maybe she put the drug in the drink, knowing Nina saw it and wanted it deep down (only didn't want to ask for it), and after dropping her off at home, left the scene all together. Maybe that scene was completely hallucinated. Maybe Mila Kunis didn't sleep with the guy at all, and Nina was just completely paranoid. 

I also thought maybe her mom was a totally normal mom. She knew her daughter was borderline insane, and was trying to protect her like any mother would. In Nina's mind, she was over-bearing and controlling, but perhaps that was just attributed to the paranoia.
What's scary is thinking that Nina's mind probably isn't that crazy....I'm not making any confessions, but I have had some crazy thoughts! It's what we DO with our thoughts that defines our character. But this film highlights on the fact that we all have a little bit of crazy in us, and shows what can happen when that takes over.

That's what I'm leaning toward today, but I know that I might have a change of opinion based on other perceptions! I love talking about different interpretations and am so grateful I saw this movie!!!!!!!! Anybody out there have any thoughts?!?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Zealand Nostalgia

If I were to choose one event in my life that has made the biggest impact on my heart and my head, it would have to be my trip to New Zealand.

Click HERE to see the WEBSITE!

I flew, by myself, from DFW to LAX and met up with a girl named Sarah. We had been communicating through Facebook for a couple weeks, getting excited for our International Student Volunteers trip to New Zealand. She was my only friend, and we ended up getting separated. She had been assigned a different volunteer group. After the 14 hour flight from LA to Auckland, I met the rest of my group. Even though we were only together 2 1/2 weeks, and (with the exception of Ali) I haven't seen any of them ever again, I still think about them often and wish them well.

We had such a unique bonding experience, living in a solar-paneled accommodation with 1 other person on Motuihe Island. Michael was the only person living on the island we were sent to conserve. Our roles included planting over 5,000 trees, and transferring seeds in the nursery that would eventually become over 30,000 trees.
Had to capture my first planted tree on camera. This is FLAX. Think flaxseed oil. A WONDERFUL GEM OF A PLANT!

Planting 5,000 trees was physically draining, but mentally and spiritually stimulating.

Yes, that's right. Boomer Sooner! Baby knows how to saw.

Putting up drywall in the new shed!

We built a shed, took down cattleyard fencing, and created hiking paths. Motuihe has had several ISV volunteers come through to help with the transformation of this historic island. It has even been called an "Eco Success Story" (http://www.newzealand.com/travel/media/features/naturesustainable-tourism/nature-sustainability_motuihe-island_feature.cfm). 

Being a part of something SO much bigger than myself was fantastic. It puts life in perspective. Realizing there are so many people, in so many other countries, with lives functioning that have nothing to do with me whatsoever, helps to cut down on my egocentric views. I have such a special place in my heart for this beautiful country, and in particular, this beautiful island, Motuihe! I thought I'd share my experience, and encourage anybody who is THINKING about travel, to DO IT! Life is short. This is your planet. DISCOVER it and FALL IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."-Anais Nin

"...travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."-Miriam Beard

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home."-James Michener quote, that my Dad wrote down for me before I left. This inspired me to try VEGEMITE!

Birds evolved differently on New Zealand than anywhere in the world. Since NZ didn't have MAMMALS when the rest of the world did, birds evolved without a fear of them. This is a fantail, and these are known for coming right up to you and flying around you. How joyful for a little bird!

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."-Andre Gide
(I had no internet or phone while I was in NZ and could only call George twice, from a payphone in Auckland. Not many guys would be as supportive and understanding as my sweetheart. Thanks, George, for loving me enough to let me go for a few weeks.)

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."-Scott Cameron
(By the way, this is my favorite tree all grown up. The Pohutukawa.)

All of my photos have been manipulated with the very entertaining Picasa Photo Editor. But one of them, I didn't want to TOUCH, because I think it's so beautiful NATURALLY. The picture below was taken without me even knowing it, and I have it framed in my apartment. I also have a oil painting, inspired by the photo, from my grandmother's friend. It's hanging by my kitchen table.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cleaning Up A Mess

I would like to start by saying I'M REALLY LUCKY. And very grateful. With that being said....

.....I'm terrified to live with a boy. To live with anybody, really. I had a couple of roommates in college, and when I was a senior, I got my own place. I've lived alone ever since, and DO NOT miss having a roommate! I just love making every decorating decision, and having everything neat and tidy. Occasionally, I'll leave a dish in the sink (SOAKING, of course! Never getting crunchy...), or go a week without sweeping. But that is the rarity, and it is much easier for me to be tolerant of my own mess.

Yesterday, George and I got lunch at Sea Siam.
(Great Thai restaurant right by my apartment! $6.95 lunch special includes soup, salad, eggroll, and entree! All VEGAN options, too!!!)
(picture from: http://www.pegasusnews.com/places/sea-siam/)

I was so relieved that he had taken Teddy for a walk and to play ball outside prior to our date. That meant I didn't have to go home and let him out! But when I got home from work, his shock collar wasn't on (and he barked incessantly AT ME walking through the door). The puppy pad wasn't inside. A puddle of pee was on my freshly cleaned floor. An empty McDonalds coke was on the counter, and crumbs. A cereal bowl was crusty in my sink. An Oriental 2011 wall calendar that I had told George to keep because it did NOT match my place, was left on the table. One sock by the bed...one under my desk. I was furious.

I rudely texted him, and told him about the mess he'd left. I told him that I liked my place neat (as if he didn't know) and I didn't appreciate coming home to a pit.

After sipping some wine on my couch, and watching The View (I DVR this show daily, don't hate), I realized something HUGE.

I can clean up a mess. I can clean and sanitize my floors. These are fix-able. If I damage my relationship, how do I repair that? Can you ever really clean up a messy fight? Sometimes, words are said that we always remember. Fortunately, this wasn't one of our biggest brawls. I'd barely even consider it a fight. But I was grateful for that brief moment of clarity in the midst of my racing thoughts. I hope to focus more on that insight in the future.

I know that eventually George and I will be husband and wife. And sadly, we will be roommates. I just hope that I remember along the way that I am fortunate to have somebody like George in my life. He loves and accepts me AND my OCD tendencies. I guess if he can work on cleaning up after himself, and I can work on letting the little things go, we'll be just fine. But if there are any married couples...or co-habitating couples out there...PLEASE give me some advice!!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

some favorite things

First of all, the Denton Women's Collective held the FIRST meeting last Wednesday at 7:30! We ended up talking and enjoying ourselves until about 10:30.......so we will have meetings MONTHLY (lol) with updates on our Facebook page as our main communication. My favorite part of the evening was listening to each woman's different experiences. Friends I've loved and adored since age 5 shared stories I hadn't heard. No big, dark, hairy secrets or anything, just things that we don't usually talk about. I think it's great that we've started that conversation.

On a separate note, I thought I'd share some photos of my favorite things. That expression, "It's the little things!" describes me very well. I find such pleasure in decorating my apartment and surrounding myself with things that I love. When I do this, and am relaxing in the evenings, looking around, I feel calm.
So the above picture is in my kitchen, looking at my dining nook/living area. I have my favorite (and only) apron hanging on one of many "L's" in my place. That empty wine bottle is one of probably 56,783,456 that I've gone through. Pinot Noir is my favorite, and this brand, "Tisdale" is 3/$11 at Sprouts. On top of that, when you buy 6 bottles, it's 10% off. On top of THAT, if you use a re-usable bag, it's 25 cents off. Or something like that. Anyway, just so happens my favorite wine ends up costing me about 3 bucks a bottle. And it tastes SO much better than Franzia. Ha! The little sign next to the wine was a gift from the mom of a friend in college. It has inspirational advice from "A-Z". I love it. Accept differences, Be wise, etc...good daily reminder! Then there's the adorable little knob that I have yet to convert to a wine-stopper. Once I pick up tapered corks, I'll drill it in to one and have a precious top for my empty wine bottles. This wine bottle had a cork-candle in it (another great find from Uncommon Goods) that melts over bottles. On my walk with Teddy yesterday, I grabbed some pieces of outside to bring in, and placed them in this bottle. Unfortunately, I have no idea what these plant names are. But they sure are pretty, and I love bringing OUTside IN!

For the candle corks: http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/wine-cork-candles-set-of-12

The wine is Pinot Noir by Tisdale:
and you should get it from Sprouts if you live in TX! If not, sorry for your luck. :)

To browse through Anthropologie's aprons (32 is kinda pricey, but if you are like me, you see it as not only practical, but also home decor!! and there's a ton of cute new ones!):


Hope you're as excited about it being Friday as I am! Have a great weekend!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Feeling intuitive about my new change........

Introducing........the Denton Women's Collective!

It started last week. I wanted to watch my boyfriend's show on a livestream online! They were playing at Dan's Silverleaf, but the live stream wasn't working. We have Time-Warner cable at my parents' house, and it wasn't being shown on their channels. Bummer, I thought. I defaulted to the Victoria's Secret fashion show.

After watching the 5'11", 105 lb models with D-cup breasts strut down the runway, I got on Facebook. My friend, Kyle Kaminski, had posted a video link on her FB page that she had seen in class at UNT. See link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47qkz0IT7IM
(This is 1 of 4, on the right side you can click to see the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th parts!)

I was inspired by the film. In case you can't watch it right now, it's called "Killing Us Softly 3" and by Jean Kilbourne. She has dedicated years to researching the advertising industry, and the mis-use of women in the media. Models have gotten thinner and thinner, reaching an all-time low. They can't get any thinner now, because if they do, they will die. Several have already died of anorexia. 95% of people with anorexia are women...clearly men do not have the same social pressure of being thin. And it's not just about being thin! EVERY magazine airbrushes EVERY model/actress/singer before being published. SERIOUSLY, YALL, I'M ON THE COVER OF LIVING MAGAZINE THIS MONTH FOR MY WORK. EVEN I WAS AIRBRUSHED.

I also had the unique pleasure of working with an 80 year old woman last week. She is one tough cookie. She started the FIRST women's flight school, and went from being a flight attendant to a pilot herself. She told me when she was a flight attendant, a 5 lb weight gain was reason for automatic dismissal. Yes, things have improved, but with the digital media and airbrushing ability we have today, the subconscious messages have gotten arguably worse for women today.

I was in the Norman Women's Collective in my college days at OU. I loved being a part of an organization that dealt with female issues, and made a positive impact on the young women in our community. It has now become my goal to start a Denton Women's Collective. ALL WOMEN, of ALL AGES, and from ALL GENERATIONS are invited. All colors, sizes, beliefs. On occasion, we will invite men to join in on the discussion. Men need to be informed, too!

It is my vision that the group will include fun activities, like ice-skating, movies, and coffee. I also want to go back to my middle school, high school, and other schools in the Denton/DFW area, and talk to girls. I want to get to the middle-schoolers before the impact of the media does. And I want to talk to high schoolers, because I know it's affecting them now. Funny thing is, when I was in high school, I remember groups coming in to discuss tobacco. I remember "DARE" talking about drugs. But women's self esteem, eating disorders, and depression are all directly impacted by this issue, and 1 in 3 women will suffer from one of the aforementioned conditions. Why is this not being discussed? I want to make a difference, and I want women who care about the FUTURE of our gender to join me!

FIRST MEETING IS THIS WEDNESDAY, Starbucks in Lewisville, on the border of Flower Mound (Main St), at 7:30. Please come. And no, you don't have to be a "feminist" to share your opinion. Just bring with you experiences, and a vision of equality.


**Average height of model: 5'10". Average weight: 105 lbs. Average height of American woman: 5'4". Average weight: 135 lbs. **