Saturday, December 31, 2011

See Ya 2011

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say an official adios to 2011. Frankly- I wished I could have back-peddled right out of this year 7 days into it- but I couldn’t. So- Nick and I were left with holes in our hearts, good and bad memories, words unspoken and unfinished business to wear across our shoulders like heavy chains for the rest of the year.

My own personal, physical misfortune paled in comparison and I felt guilty for even complaining about the pain I was in- when Nick’s poor dad would never feel pain or joy again. It wasn’t fair.

It’s never fair. I used to laugh at my sister who has three children and who bent over backwards to make sure they always had the same amount of gifts, the same things if possible. I saw the future of this error before she did. Different sexes, different needs and wants.  It would never be fair. It’s such a great thought but a poor lesson- because life in reality- is seldom fair. If we tell our kids to expect that- we are doing them a disservice. Fortunately, her kids figured it out on their own.

But as life does, so marched time and eventually we were able to put one foot in front of the other and live to varying degrees. I try not to live too out-loud anymore- having done a great job of that in my 20’s. But Nick has picked up the living baton and made a dash to the next stage, whatever that is. He is living out-loud- good for him.

I hear about Nick’s work and I know he is a lot like me. He gets the job done-and then some. And if they continue to treat him right he will remain loyal and true. I see bits of his dad too- an incredible work ethic, going to work if he has to crawl. He is no slouch.

My year would have been a lot easier if my dog Noodle hadn’t gotten so ill- but oh he taught me a wonderful lesson. Never give up. Not ever. And with that lesson came a quiet patience I never had before; developed while caring for him- while I was willing him to live and putting syringes of food  and water in a mouth that couldn’t open. He reminded me of what was important in the world- not just my little house. Be kind, be generous with your time, love with all your heart and have faith in yourself- and those around you too. He surprised me when he lived and then thrived and now he can eat a crunched up milk-bone.  He can open his mouth enough to sustain his own life.  He’s not perfect. He’s better than perfect- because he taught me, and all who went through this with me- that adapting is half the battle and heart is the other half. He had real people praying for him- he brought a community of people who didn’t know each other together with their concern for him. Wow- I bet all those politicians wish they knew how to do that.

I’ll remember this year for the rest of my life. It was full of impossible. That I somehow managed to take the Real Estate test and pass was something of a miracle. I had given up studying, my mind too tired to remember any more details after working all day and coming home to take care of dogs and clean- and maybe even write a line or two. But because I had paid for the test I figured what the hell, go take it. No one could have been more surprised than me when I started answering questions that seemed easy. They were all easy. I hope doing some business in 2012 goes as smoothly.

For 2011- I was reminded of what great friends I have made over the years and what a remarkable family I have. We may not talk everyday- but we are all in when the chips are down. How lucky I am to be born into this clan of crazies, and pick up my friends for life along the journey.

Easy years are the ones we never remember. I will remember 2011 until the day I die.

2012 will bring me to my 60th birthday. I have outlived my three true loves and I can tell you there is a sadness to that I cannot describe. 

I have spent the last 26+ years trying to be good mom. Some years I fell short- but I think my overall grade is above average.

My goals for this coming year are simple- but lofty for a sixty year old. But I have seen from last year- if you believe and you have enough heart you can overcome incredible odds. Maybe I can’t change the tide- but I can change how I ride the waves.
Wishing you ALL the very best, safe happy & healthy 2012. Whether you are living out-loud or quietly - live well.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Fear is a horrible thing…unless you’re a writer. Then it’s a catalyst.

I know a bunch of people who are running on fear all the time. Mostly, they are afraid they will be laid off or fired for some unknown broken rule, or because they were late due to the fatal head on collision that happened two minutes before they arrived to the same spot. Or maybe because they were less than subservient to some narcissistic moron who isn’t sure what kind of latte they want, and whose brain is void of anything but the words ME. MY. MINE.

The veiled threat is always there, and that started me thinking - this was how the unions got their start. People were overworked and under paid and if they said anything about it, they quickly lost their jobs or maybe they just disappeared.

Unions leveled the playing field-for a while.

Sometime in the 1820’s the 12 hour work day was changed to a 10 hour work day thanks to the first labor union, then in 1866 the work day was actually cut down to an 8 hour day. Big business was not thrilled as this cut into their bottom line.

Private businesses don’t like Unions. They don’t want their feet held to the fire so their employees can have protection against poor working conditions, unfair wages, fake “management” jobs (so no overtime is paid. ) and let’s not forget health benefits, vacation days and sick leave. Employers say paying people is enough. Well if it is enough people wouldn’t be in the position they are in today.

I actually have paid little attention to the OCCUPY protests across the country, until someone posted something a little disparaging about young people and the movement in general, on facebook and someone else spoke up and said hey wait… we are just looking for a fair shake- not a hand out.

Now I know there are more than a few protestors showing up at OCCUPY because they just want to stir up trouble. I heard of people actually quitting their jobs to go. Well that’s nice but sort of dumb and won’t look good on their resume.

But here is the truth. There has never been a better moment for Unions to make themselves heard or grow their numbers. This is what Unions do, they fight for the underdog.

According to Science Daily The decline in fair wage is directly correlated to the decline in Union membership.
From 1973 to 2007, wage inequality in the private sector increased by more than 40 percent among men, and by about 50 percent among women. In their study, Western and co-author Jake Rosenfeld, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, examine the effects of union decline on both between-group inequality and within-group inequality. Between-group compares people from different demographics and industries, while within-group looks at people from the same demographics and industries.

Focusing on full-time, private sector workers, Western and Rosenfeld find that deunionization -- the decline in the percentage of the labor force that is unionized -- and educational stratification each explain about 33 percent of the rise in within-group wage inequality among men. Among women, deunionization explains about 20 percent of the increase in wage inequality, whereas education explains more than 40 percent.

Part of the reason for this gender discrepancy is that men have experienced a much larger decline in private sector union membership -- from 34 percent in 1973 to 8 percent in 2007 -- than women (who went from 16 percent to 6 percent during the same period).

"For generations, unions were the core institution advocating for more equitable wage distribution," said Rosenfeld. "Today, when unions -- at least in the private sector -- have largely disappeared, that means that this voice for equity has faded dramatically. People now have very different ideas about what's acceptable in terms of pay distribution."

Interestingly, the study finds that union decline explains little of the rise in between-group inequality.
"Unions standardize wages so that people with similar characteristics -- if they're union members -- tend to have similar wages," Western said. "So, it makes sense that deunionization has little impact on between-group inequality, which, by definition, exists between groups of people that are different."

While the purpose of unions is to standardize wages for their members, Western and Rosenfeld find that even nonunion workers, if they're in highly unionized industries, tend to have fairly equal wages, partly because nonunion employers will raise wages to the union level to discourage unionization.

In terms of policy implications, Western and Rosenfeld think their study could help reignite the dialogue on labor unions, which they believe has disappeared from economic debates in recent years.
"In the early 1970s, unions were important for delivering middle class incomes to working class families, and they enlivened politics by speaking out against inequality," said Western. "These days, there just aren't big institutional actors who are making the case for greater economic equality in America."

While the purpose of unions is to standardize wages for their members, Western and Rosenfeld find that even nonunion workers, if they're in highly unionized industries, tend to have fairly equal wages, partly because nonunion employers will raise wages to the union level to discourage unionization.

In terms of policy implications, Western and Rosenfeld think their study could help reignite the dialogue on labor unions, which they believe has disappeared from economic debates in recent years.

"In the early 1970s, unions were important for delivering middle class incomes to working class families, and they enlivened politics by speaking out against inequality," said Western. "These days, there just aren't big institutional actors who are making the case for greater economic equality in America."

Cited: American Sociological Association (2011, July 26). Union decline accounts for much of the rise in wage inequality, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2011, from¬ /releases/2011/07/110726092151.htm

A union can only be as strong as its numbers. But, big business and many small ones outfoxed people when they convinced them if they left the union they would be taken care of. They convinced them they would pay health benefits, 401K’s and that they would get yearly pay increases. Instead, in many cases all of those things went away and eventually so did the job.

If you are 25 years old and lucky enough to have any job, chances are you are underpaid, and have no benefits. If you are 60 years old and job hunting good luck. No jobs, no benefits, no government hand-outs. You will hear people say things like “You should have been prepared.” “You should have saved for that rainy day.” But maybe this isn’t your first rainy day.

It doesn’t matter anyway. Your savings should not be what you live on. If you are living on it and still working something is wrong.

I have been a member of many unions- some strong, some so weak they’re gone. I was never very pro union, I didn’t understand the history or the insurmountable odds they fought against to help people like you and me get a fair shake.

Fear will make people irrational. Fear will start riots. Fear will make people slip into depression and some will even kill themselves. I did some research on another subject a while back and while reading newspapers from the 1930’s depression era I realized almost every day in every  paper some mother or father were killing their children and then themselves out of shear despair. No jobs, no food, no heat. No hope.

I think Unions are in for a come back. I hope they can accomplish some good- without over taxing the business owners. There has to be some balance for everything to work.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blogging- It's Therapy and More

I kept a journal when I was 12 and 13 until my mother read it. Then I kept another when I was older until a boyfriend read it. Blogging is not journaling- not for me. I’m not telling my deepest darkest secrets here. Anyway- I have no more secrets left.

When I sat at my dad’s funeral and listened to all the people telling stories about him, I realized I didn’t know him at all. My Uncle Richard and I had a private moment and I asked him. “Who the hell were those people talking about?” I decided then that my son would know me. He would know about my politics, my loves, my hates, my broken hearts, my pride, my joy. He would know me so well that when people told stories at my funeral he would not be caught off guard and would laugh or cry, knowing with absolute certainty the story was true or false.

I bought a journal shortly after the funeral. I wrote in it maybe twice. Writing long hand is just not my thing. My brain works best sitting at a keyboard. It took me six more years to find my best method of communication.

I started blogging in November of 2008. Fortunately, for my reading friends I don’t blog about every little detail that crosses my brain. I blog about things that mean something to me. I still want my son to know who I am- though by now I think he knows me better than anyone else does.

The side effect I wasn’t expecting is that it helps me to think things through. If I write things down perhaps a few stresses will be relieved; if I just give it to the universe- or to you anyway. That was what my very first journal did for me too.

Most of us keep things in pockets. You have this pocket for your son, this pocket for your siblings, this pocket for your Uncle and Grandma and usually a big old pocket for your friends. I only have one pocket and I share all the contents within right here. There are things I will take to my grave, maybe my secrets, maybe yours- they will never end up on my blog.

When I die, my son won’t have to miss me so much. He will be able to pull up my blog and read my ramblings about nothing in particular and he will know I am there. He will laugh at my attempts at humor and he will be proud of my research abilities. Most of all, he’ll be glad his mom was an open book.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Can't Hear You

I can’t hear you. I’m sorry because I know how inconvenient this is for you.  I see your eyes roll when I say what? Or, Pardon me, can you repeat that please? I feel your annoyance at my inability to hear through walls or over loud music.

Usually by the third time I say I can’t hear you, I am annoyed too. I’m annoyed because though I am the one that is deaf, you are the one that does not listen. Your diction is so poor I don’t even know what language you are speaking. But it doesn’t matter because I can’t hear you.

I can read your lips if you move them. If you take the food or whatever out of your mouth or control your lazy tongue and wrap your lips around your words I can usually make out what you’re saying. Not if you are talking to the floor, to the sky, your computer, your book.

 I’m sorry I can’t hear you.

 I know how inconvenient this must be for you. My bionic ears merely allow me to hear what is clear and in front of me. I can’t hear you running up behind me so I sometimes scream with fear when you fly past me. I’m sorry that scares you.

If I were blind, would you walk up to me with pretty pictures and say look at this? Maybe you would. It seems like your style.

I’m sorry you have to raise your voice a little and use proper diction when you are speaking to me. It must make your life so difficult- I can’t imagine.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Losses & Gains

This week started on the wrong foot when Steve Jobs died. I was expecting it- like all of us, but it was a jolt felt around the world anyway.

Steve Jobs actually did affect my life in a profound way.  Around 1994 A good friend of Nick’s dad worked at Apple and gave Nick a prototype model computer with a color display. I remember sitting at Nick’s desk at his dad’s house and trying to figure out how things worked when my then 9 -year old son told me I was using the mouse wrong. It was then that I decided to master the Apple computer.

Soon after that incident, I enrolled in Computer Graphic Design school, while still working full time. I would get up at 5AM and not get back home until 10PM Monday through Thursday. I had no computer at home to practice on so I lagged behind most of my class. When finally I couldn’t stand my job any more, I quit and spent all my days and nights at the school. My work improved, and while I would never call myself a great artist, I mastered page layout and some complex Illustrator and Photoshop pieces.  It was the beginning of a new life for me.

After graduation, I found work as a production artist. I freelanced for an advertising agency and then created Nika Design, my own company. When business faltered, I sent my resume to one agency and was immediately hired by Ernst & Young to lead the Creative Services Team in San Francisco. That job grew to leading five Bay Area offices and training other managers across the country.

That day I sat at my son’s Apple Computer was a pivotal day for me. Thank you Steve Jobs.

Then, later this week we lost another Giant- or Raider, I should say. Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders died this week too. I met Al in 1978 or 79 when the Oakland Raiders trained at the El Rancho Tropicana in Santa Rosa.  I managed the restaurant that year and John Madden, Tom Flores and Al Davis would sit in the same booth every morning at 6AM and discuss their business while their players were shaking off their hangovers from the night before.

Al was a strange guy. He seldom looked at my staff or me, I think because he was preoccupied, not rude. His hotel suite was filled with exercise equipment (I learned from room service) and he only wore jogging suits all training season.  I don’t recall him being particularly kind or generous like John Madden and Tom Flores but I do recall his presence. He was impossible to ignore.  He led a bunch of wild men into the super bowl and they all, coaches included, wore their rings with pride.

My life was not changed by Al Davis, but the lives of many football players and the game of football itself were changed forever by this freethinking, rebel of a man.

So, here’s to two giants. Two men who followed their passion and their dreams and who both demanded excellence from themselves and the people around them. May they rest in peace. 

Finally, I want to say thank God Amanda Knox has been found not guilty and is home in the US today.  More than anything I’m appalled by the people here in the US that were so ready to believe every stupid rumor, lie and exaggeration written by the press regarding this case.  People without any knowledge of the facts decided Amanda was guilty because some rag of a newspaper said so. 

Anyone that had done a modicum of research would have been able to see that this case was a mess from the beginning. It was the kiss with her boyfriend that made her the devil. Did anyone see that kiss? It was three quick pecks, the kind people who care about each other give each other when one or both are upset. It was not a tongue swallowing, passionate, I can’t wait to get you in the sack kiss.

Fortunately, justice prevailed. Unfortunately, some people will stick to their ridiculous convictions and not let the facts get in the way of their messed up thinking.  Amanda Knox is going to have to live with stupid people forever- I hope she stays strong.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What's New in the News?

I haven’t written about current events, local, national and world wide for a few weeks. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say about them, or even that the news is so depressing no one would want to read what I have to say about it. I have just been chewing on some stuff- trying to formulate my words and reconcile my feelings at the same time.

The political process that took place during the recent debate to solve the financial crisis in the United States was nauseating. The fact that grown men- for the most part- old white men – for the most part, basically had a whose penis is bigger contest- really disgusted me.

I read something someone wrote that this was indeed democracy working. Well let me just say- bullshit. This was not democracy working- not for the people anyway. Of course, I know there are people out there that stood behind their particular old white men- and said- “Yeah! Ours IS bigger” but really- none of them spoke for me.

Principle- is meaningless if it serves no one.  

You can say you are sticking to your principles, but if they don’t solve the problems then your principles are meaningless and possibly destructive.

Everyone was waiting for the President to jump in and take over. Guess what? That was not his job. It was the job of congress to solve the problem- the fact that the President had to hold the hand and stroke all the so-called leaders was also disgusting. That was not democracy at work. It was babysitting.

After all that, and the 11th hour solution, they have not solved any immediate problems and the US credit rating was lowered anyway, from AAA to AA+.  Nice job guys. And oh yeah- the stock market is crashing.

I won’t be voting for anyone that was part of that debate.


I’ve been listening to and reading several reports and articles analyzing where the probation department went wrong in the Jaycee Dugard case. A lot of finger pointing has gone on and of course, lack of funding for the department seems to be a huge issue.

I see training as the biggest failure- and that starts at the top level management. From the probation departments’ own video, you can see for yourself how the inspection was cursory at best. I believe, the same as I believe for people going into any kind of law enforcement, you have to have an aptitude for the profession. You have to have an innate sense about people. Spidey sense.

It’s been my experience that if you hire the right people they will surpass any training you may give them and contribute their knowledge to the training curriculum. And people with a natural affinity for certain vocations will require less “classroom” type training and that alone is a money saving option when looking at training and development costs.

I don’t pretend to have the answers. I don’t know any of the probation officers that supervised Phillip Garridos, but I do know that for so many of them to not even be curious about the backyard, especially after neighbors had mentioned seeing kids, is negligent at best- and I bet if you were to ask the family of Jaycee Dugard, they would say it’s criminal.

Very recently, A Marin County Deputy, Jim Mathiesen, was shot to death while off duty and helping a friend who was involved in a domestic dispute. The shooter- Halloran was shot to death at the scene by a third party. Mathiesen, a good officer and by all accounts a fine man- shot to death for trying to help someone.

By Gary Klien, The Marin Independent Journal

“The relationship between Halloran and the woman had recently ended, and the woman asked Mathiesen, a family friend, to come over to provide advice and assistance about death threats coming from Halloran”, Basurto said. Halloran had threatened the woman and her family on Monday evening.

Halloran, who was on active state parole, has a history of arrests in both counties, and was once identified in court documents as a confidential drug informant for the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force

Another failure and it looks like the MCMCTF should have known this train wreck was coming too.

Here is the budget for the California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department – I don’t even see where training and development are included for the Parole Officers though I do know they are trained and go through extensive testing- so what gives?  Do they just become complacent once they get the job?  Maybe they need to readdress the battery of psychological exams – update them to reflect 21st century thinking. Clearly- something needs to change. 

Corrections and Rehabilitation Administration $437,172
Corrections Standards Authority $90,782
Juvenile Operations $251,112
Juvenile Education, Vocations, and Offender Program $38,343
Juvenile Paroles $25,258
Juvenile Healthcare $58,090
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations – General Security $ 3,360,099
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations – Overtime $ 105,391
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations – Inmate Support $ 1,386,034
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations – Contracted Facilities $ 413,484
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations – Institution Administration $ 440,552
Parole and Community Services – Adult Supervision $ 478,256
Parole Operations-Adult Hearing $ 274,850
Parole Operations-Adult Administration $ 111,495
Board of Parole Hearings $ 66,984
Board of Parole Hearings – Administration $ 7,300
Education, Vocations and Offender Programs – Adult Education $ 141,101
Education, Vocations and Offender Programs – Contracted Facilities $ 169,739 Education, Vocations and Offender Programs – Inmate Activities $ 65,856
Education, Vocations and Offender Programs – Administration $ 25,110
Correctional Health Care Services $ 2,070,583
 Total: $10,017,591

While gathering all this information I noticed the CDCR had a lot of updated information on their site- and that they are trying to address some of the failures that cost an 11-year-old girl 22 years of her life. I plan to keep an eye on things for a while just for my own sense of security. I’ll keep you posted. 


The most difficult news to absorb was yesterdays notice that the US had lost 31 troops in Afghanistan. As the hours went by more details trickled in and we heard it was Special Forces and then 20 members of SEAL team 6- the team that brought down Osama bin Laden.

In addition to the 31 US troops, seven Afghan troops and one interpreter lost their lives. The Taliban took credit and the US has no reason to believe otherwise.

It’s hard for me to not look at this from a mother’s point of view; mother to a combat veteran. 31 families will be receiving the dreaded knock at the door, letters from the President, whatever personal belongings their loved one had in country and in their numbed state they will make funeral plans, contact family members; try to figure out what the military pays for and what it doesn’t.  They will receive visitors bearing casseroles of lasagna and macaroni and cheese; meatloaves, cakes, cookies, and every comfort food known to mankind.  The loved ones will take a bite here and there and then cry because their loved one, their son or husband or grandson, will never take a bite of a chocolate chip cookie, or Boston Crème Pie again, that was his favorite they’ll think.  He’ll never see his kids grow up and get married, he’ll miss his nephew being born and after all is said and done- the Taliban will still be there.

I read on social websites, many people praying for the families and I certainly said my prayers for the families too. I saw a few people mention it was God's will. Well- if it is God's will-you can keep him. I personally don’t believe God is any part of war. I refuse to believe that he sanctions it in any aspect. I refuse to believe he picks sides and I certainly don’t see that he has come to the aide of any of the war torn Middle East, who by the way- pray a lot more than Americans. While people sit around saying it’s all God’s will- I am thinking- I bet God would like us to fix this mess.

I’m not against praying for anything but prayers alone do not seem to be working. Maybe it’s time to rethink how much the United States can do about the rest of the world and how they choose to live. I hate to think all these deaths, all the sacrifices of life, all the 21 year olds that will never see 22, have been in vain. But in vain they are, if at the end of the day there is no change. We have been in Afghanistan for 10 years now. It’s like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, the job is never done. They clear one area and move to the next, the Taliban moves into wherever the troops are not.  The Afghani people are so war weary they will make friends with whoever is offering the best deal- because they have to feed their families. They aren’t really working on higher principles like democracy yet- they are just trying to survive. We would do the same if the war were on US soil.

Democracy or forms of democracy have caught on in Middle East countries that have not been at war for the last 30 years. I think the movement is wonderful and indirectly related to the work our troops have done. Now it seems to me- that Arab nations should take care of each other- and we should come home.

Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with the families of ALL the troops lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers are with the mothers and fathers, wives and children of all people killed in action while trying to help helpless and corrupt countries survive. My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of wounded, visibly and not, I pray they heal and are able to live full lives. My prayer is for an end to this war.



Saturday, August 6, 2011


When I lived in Charlotte, a very sick Smokie got into a fight with a raccoon. I was in the kitchen baking cookies when Noodle chased Toshi in the house with growl and a bark that clearly meant “stay”. I followed Noodle outside to see what the fuss was about. Smokie was losing a fight with a raccoon. Noodle took the raccoon from Smokie- shook it till it’s neck broke- then gave it back to Smoke. I had never seen anything like it my life. Noodle was bitten all over his head and snout.

I had never seen him kill a fly- but that day he came to the rescue of his old dog and his new dog all at once. The next day- he was outside with Toshi and a stuffed toy, showing Toshi how to kill. It was amazing to watch, as the little puppy would shake his head back and forth and then Noodle would take the toy and show him again. If he could talk, I imagine he would be saying to Toshi, “You have to do it like this.”

On 5/26/11 Noodle, my 12 year old Chow- Terrier mix, had his necrotic tail amputated and his teeth cleaned (thinking his gum disease was the cause of the necrotic tail). He came home, was on pain pills and antibiotics for two weeks, and seemed fine. About two weeks later, he started having problems eating his food.  By 6/25, he could not open his jaw. We started him on antibiotics and pain pills 7/7. By 7/18 still no change, I brought him to the vet- where he was given an injection of antibiotic and more antibiotic and pain pills. On 7/25: he was given a skull x-ray, prednisone, muscle relaxers, and pepcid.

The Dr. went over the x-rays with me and pointed out where she thought it was arthritis. She thought the problem was arthritis and that his jaw had atrophied. She said she was going to look into options for me.  Her assistant called me yesterday to tell me that he can have surgery (no guarantees of course) and that it would cost about $5000.00.

So wait-if it is arthritis, what would the surgery be?  That was my only question to start with. But I could not get an answer. Here is my email to her-

Hi Dr. Podracka,

Thank you for contacting the surgeon and getting an estimate for the surgery. I understand it would be risky so I really need to be able to explain this to my son. I just have a couple of questions.

1.  What would the surgery entail- in other words what would the surgeon be fixing exactly?
2.  How long would the recovery time be approx?
3.  Would his jaw be wired closed?
4.  Mac has very watery eyes now- it looks like he is crying- this is something new- can you tell me what this might mean about his condition?

 My son is coming tonight- so if you could reply today that would be very helpful-

Thank you for your time- I appreciate all you have done.


Nick arrived at my house yesterday before I got home from work and before I received a reply to my email questions. He saw Noodle for the first time since the lockjaw episode. He took one look at him and went into action. He called me for the veterinarians’ phone number and then went over there for Noodle’s records. He did some research and low and behold- he has come to the same conclusion as my sister Angie- that Noodle has tetanus.

Angie has been telling me this for two weeks now-she even called the Dr. and told her what she thought- but the Vet disagreed.  I admit-I did some research and didn’t think it was tetanus. However- since then, more symptoms have presented themselves and it is looking more like tetanus.  At this point- we owe it to Noodle to at least get him the treatment, which would completely cure him if it is tetanus and not hurt him at all if we are wrong.

Nick found this information in an article: “INCREASED activity of serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) has been reported recently in patients with tetanus and may be useful in the diagnosis of this disease.1 The object of the present study was to identify the tissue source of the elevated serum CPK in tetanus and to determine the mechanism of its release from the tissue.” 
Origin of Increased Serum Creatine Phosphokinase in Tetanus An Isoenzyme Analysis
Arch Neurol. 1967;16(1):89-93.

Noodle’s CPK was 2513 prior to his tail amputation. Normal canine CPK  (Creatine phosphokinase) should be 20 – 200.

While tetanus in dogs is rare- it’s not unheard of. The incubation period for tetanus is two weeks. I found a few articles written by people chronicling the symptoms, course of action and recovery of tetanus in their dogs. There is hope.  Nick asked the vet to order the appropriate medication. If she won’t- we will find someone who will. Meanwhile I am going to bulk him up with as many calories I can pack into his feeding as possible. (His weight-loss has been significant.)

My sister has been a great support while I have been going through this ordeal and I really appreciate it. She has loaned me her Care Credit dollars to pay for the bulk of the hospitalization and medicine and she has called me every day to see how Noodle and I are doing.

Having my son step in like he did yesterday was great. I am a little “sick dog” weary right now and needed that reinforcement to get me through the next phase. I could feel his decisiveness and his positive forcibility and knew that somehow we would get through this ordeal.

And my Noodle… well he is just the bravest dog I have ever met. He has not complained or whined once. He still tries to play with Toshi, though not being able to open his mouth puts him at a clear disadvantage. He still follows me from room to room and greets me with complete enthusiasm when I come home from work. He really is a very good, very brave, boy.

A link with information regarding tetanus in animals

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A lot to say today...

There is so much I wanted to write about this week that I hardly know where to start.

My Sunshine
My son, my sunshine, just got a good job in the corporate world. Having worked in that world, I am scared for him- oh not like I was scared for his life when he was in Iraq- more like scared for his soul. Those corporate jobs will eat you up and spit you out. The survivors and the people that thrive in that arena have to be able to outfox everyone. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t placate the right people- I was a born rebel- a maverick- a teller of truth no matter what the consequence. I still am.

He should be okay though. I know that military training; that special brand only the US Marines dish out will serve him well and the two years stationed at Annapolis, where diplomacy was essential even though they had authority to shoot and kill gatecrashers- that training will be especially useful.  

And this is not very parental, but I hope he doesn’t lose his little craziness to the big old corporate monster. I like that part of him.

My friend Renee sent me a message this week that a friend of her son’s was missing in Sonoma County. Now I have to say, I usually keep an open mind about these things. I have known more than a few women who have actually run away from the husband and kids for a weekend without as much as a phone call just for the sake of sanity. But my instinct told me this was not the case here. I posted the missing woman’s picture on my facebook page and so did several of my friends and Renee’s friends too.

We had coast to coast coverage and a post from Renee’s son Dominic stating only “it does not look good” that made me think I don’t care if I repeat myself every week- or every day. I don’t care if you are 4 or 104. You really need to be careful and pay attention to your surroundings.

It turned out better than I thought it would, the woman was found, in a hospital, after being kidnapped and held for two days. I don’t know the details, and I don’t need to- here is what we need to know.  She will be okay. She did not die. She was not paying attention to her surroundings.

I sleep with a lethal weapon – no not my dogs- although good money would bet on Toshi to go for a throat. I have a combat knife (I won’t say exactly where I keep it), which belongs to my son, that I know would easily kill a 200 pound man. I never liked knives, but honestly, I have never heard of anyone accidently stabbing them self to death- whereas you can’t say the same about guns. Could I actually stab someone up to the hilt of that knife? Yes.

Here are some basic safety guidelines to keep in mind: (Taken from the Humble Police DEPT.. Humble TX.) 

Strategies for Avoiding Sexual Assault

Assertive Behavior:
Awareness and assertive behavior may be your best defense against becoming an "easy victim."

Walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace.

Real anger instead of fear may not be expected by a would-be attacker and may throw him off-guard.

If approached by someone you sense to be a potential threat, try to stay out of his reach.

Report suspicious or criminal activity to the police immediately.

If you feel you are in danger of being attacked- try to escape the situation by running away from it if you can.

Head for a well-lighted place where you think there will be other people who may be able to help you.

Try in any way you can to attract attention to yourself. Scream. "CALL 911!"

Take a self-defense course.

Trust your instincts. If a person, place or situation makes you uneasy, leave or change it immediately.

Use common sense. If it seems risky, it probably is.
Safety Tips

At Home:
Have good locks (dead-bolts are best) installed on all doors and windows and be sure to use them.

Be sure you know who you are opening your door to. If a sales or repair person is legitimate, they will not mind your asking to see their identification and confirming their identity with the company they represent.

If a stranger comes to your door requesting assistance (e.g. to make a phone call, car trouble, etc.) offer to call the necessary people for him. Do not make yourself vulnerable by opening your door to a stranger, especially if you live by yourself or are at home alone!

For women who live by themselves, never advertise by listing your full name in the phone book or on your mailbox. Use instead your first two initials, or even add another name.

Be cautious about revealing any personal information over the phone.

Draw your curtains or shut your blinds at night so people on the outside cannot determine who is in the residence.

Do not hide a spare key in obvious places such as under the mat, in a potted plant, or the door sill, etc... Know your neighbors.

In Your Car:
Always be sure to lock your car doors, whether or not you are in the car. Always check the floor and rear seat before getting into your car.

When returning to your car, make sure your keys are in your hand, ready to unlock the door and turn on the ignition. They can also be used as a weapon, should that become necessary.

If you suspect that you are being followed while driving, keep on going -- do not stop and pullover until you get to a place that is well-lit and where there are other people to assist you. If practical, drive to the nearest police station and tell them you are being followed.

Avoid parking lots and gas stations that are poorly lit.

Do not pick up hitchhikers nor accept rides from strangers, particularly men.

If your car should break down, or you are in a fender bender, raise the hood and remain in the car with the doors locked until the police arrive. If someone should stop and offer to assist you, roll down the window just enough to tell them they can be most helpful by calling the police for you.

Keep your car well-serviced, with good tires and plenty of gas. This will greatly reduce your chances of being disabled on the side of the road.

On the Street:
When walking alone, act self-assured and confident that you know where you are going.

Walk on the traffic side of sidewalks, not close to alleyways or bushes.

If you suspect that someone is following you, cross the street or walk quickly to a well-lit, well-populated location.

Wear sensible clothing and shoes which allow you to maneuver or run.

Don't load yourself down with packages, bags, books, etc... You will appear vulnerable for attack.

Stay alert and aware. Turn around and look at whoever may be behind you.

If you walk or jog for exercise, try to vary your route or time on the street. Predictable behavior is risky.

If You are Raped:
Go to a friend's house or another safe place where you can get emotional support.

Go to the nearest hospital. DO NOT douche, bathe, shower, eat, drink or change clothes before you go.

Report the rape to authorities (this does not mean you must proceed with prosecution).

Seek counseling. Even if you don't report the rape or press charges, you should contact your nearest rape crisis center for information about counseling. Their services are free and confidential.

Know that it is not your fault. You did not do anything to cause it and you are not to blame.

If you are raped and you live in Marin call: Rape Crisis Center of Marin
(24 hours)

Noodle in better days

I’m really sad to report my Noodle still can’t open his mouth. Tomorrow he is going for an x-ray. He is still eating via syringe- he has lost a lot of weight, even though I am feeding him at least ¾ of a can of food twice a day.

I chop up his pills and grind them to a fine dust that I mix with a little food and put in his syringe. Most of the time I think he gets all of it but sometimes it dribbles back out and is lost.  He has been on antibiotics for 3 weeks, pains pills for 3 weeks, muscle relaxers and steroids for a week now. Every day I tell myself he could wake up and be better in the morning- but so far he is the same.  A sweeter dog never lived. I wish I knew what to do for him.

I had an old friend in town that wanted to see me this weekend. Someone I really haven’t seen for 35 or so years and whose life and mine have gone in fairly separate directions. But I was not willing to leave my dog to fit his schedule- my dog, who has never left my side in 10+ years. These dogs, my boys, have been my constant companions for so long, through so many things-so many hard times, losing them (last year Smokie) is beyond horrible. I’ve been teary all weekend, trying to keep busy cleaning or writing, but I keep tearing up when I think of my little Noodle.  These dogs have made me a better person.

My Boys
So that’s it for this week.  So much, I needed to share it- purge it. Sometimes I think I am cruising and not letting life touch me- then I realize I’m just so used to it I don’t really feel it all the time.  I’m feeling it this week- so thanks for reading. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Creeping Democracy

Perhaps, I am connecting dots that aren’t there, but lately I’ve been thinking about the rise of democracy or semblance thereof, in the Middle East and Arab countries and wondering if maybe- just maybe, the small acts of kindness many of our troops have made towards the predominantly Muslim people in countries we have been at war - have actually had some impact on a world-wide basis.

It could be a mother’s wishful thinking. It could be that I would like to be able to say to my son- See? Look what you started when you asked me to send you medicine for the Iraqi kids. Look what happened when you helped the tribal, western Iraqi’s living on the Syrian border get rid of the gun smugglers and al qaeda thugs? And see? Candy and stuffed animals were a good idea too.

Maybe it’s not such a stretch though.

Here is an excerpt from an article written about Nick’s unit (3/4) and company (Kilo) in 2006.
Story by Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes, Combat Correspondent
3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment

Col. William B. Crowe and Sgt. Maj. Jimmy D. Mashburn spent Thanksgiving Day visiting the Marines of the southern Calif.-based 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, who are based in outposts in the northwest region of Al Anbar Province, Iraq. 
They’re foremost message was simply "thank you for what you are doing for this region."

"I know it’s tough being away from your homes and families" said Mashburn to a group of Marines with 3/4. "But, you are doing an outstanding job here and we’re watching you from afar in Al Asad. 

RCT-7 is the Coalition Forces unit responsible for providing security to more than 30,000 square miles in western Anbar, stretching from the Syrian and Jordan borders, east to the Euphrates River. 

The sergeant major and colonel are based at the regimental headquarters in Al Asad. 3rd Battalion is one of RCT-7’s subordinate units in western Al Anbar Province.

The battalion is three months into a seven month Iraq deployment. They are tasked with patrolling the streets of the many cities that lie along this Euphrates River region, just miles east of the Iraq-Syria border. The Marines here face threats such as small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) every day while operating in the region. 

The battalion also works with Iraqi soldiers and police, mentoring them so Iraqi Security Forces can eventually provide security to their own country.

"It’s good to see Marines with aggression and control," said Mashburn. "You are allowing the Iraqi citizens to taste freedom more and more, and at the same time, keeping them safe from the insurgency." 

Since ¾’s arrival here in September, the Marines have successfully disarmed IEDs, captured wanted individuals and found weapons caches in their area of operation.

"‘No better friend, no worse enemy" holds true with [you all]," said Mashburn, quoting the 1st Marine Division"s motto. 

Along with securing the streets from adversaries, the Marines here have built a good rapport with its civilians. Husaybah, a city that borders Syria and was the setting of Operation Steel Curtain - a 2005 operation which pitted U.S. Marines and local Iraqi tribesmen against hundreds of insurgents - now hosts a flow of business in its market street, clear of insurgent activity. 

"If we can maintain security of their streets, we will have their [local populaces] support," said Cpl. Carl G. Williams, a squad leader with the battalion’s Kilo Company. "They want the insurgency out just as much as we do, so our relationship with them is more of a ‘business" relationship."          
The Good Guys

I met Col. Crowe at homecoming and spoke to him and his wife while we were excitedly waiting for the buses of Marines coming home from Iraq, after what turned into an 8 month, not 7-month deployment. He reiterated to me the incredible job the ¾ did, making headway with the locals and securing what was once known as the wild west.

Since they were so close to Syria, maybe it’s not so far fetched to think that word could travel from one positively affected person to another. My son told me in Husaybah, there were people who intermarried with Syrian citizens, so I know word could spread family to family.  It would take a while, with no facebook or cell phones at hand. But it’s been almost five years since this article was written- more than enough time to spread the word.

I think what we have to remember is- that our brand of democracy may not work for them. But if they manage to shift some thinking and attain some understanding of human rights, maybe some middle ground will be okay for them.

Our country may have been founded on Christian doctrine, but their countries were not. In civilizations as old as these, I don’t think we can expect thinking to change drastically in 10 years or even 20. We can all see a chink in the fragile glass though.  I would really like to think that US troops (in spite of Abu  Ghraib which set us back at least two years) made a difference- and that all of  the families who have sacrificed loved one’s, and all the troops who have sacrificed body parts and mental health, can look back on this time and see that what they did has made a difference and will continue to make a difference as long as the US supports freedom with the right mix of “aggression and control.”
Afghanistan will be a harder nut to crack. It faces warring tribes, corrupt government, and distrust of everyone, a strong Taliban influence and a wavering American ally, more than ready to leave the poppy fields and come home.  The recent assassination of Karzai’s corrupt brother spoke volumes if we were listening. Afghanistan is a war torn country whose opium trade is 1/3 of it’s GDP and no one is really ready to give up that source of income. According to a report by the CIA only about 28 percent of Afghans over age 15 can read and write, so training them to take care of their own country will be at the very least- slow and challenging.

If the same tactics are applied to Afghanistan, that were applied to Iraq, I think there will be hope that someday there will be a meeting of the minds. People will agree to disagree and find common ground. But I think it’s a long way off.  

Maybe it’s the mother coming out of me to be hopeful. Maybe not.  I’d like to think that I base my ideas on more than emotions and wishes. Maybe we will never know if the cases of Children’s Tylenol made a difference in that country- I know it made a difference in how I looked at my son when in the middle of the war- he worried about someone else more than he worried about himself.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I feel like the Roadrunner who has taken a detour drawn by Wile E. Coyote, off a big old cliff. I landed flat, picked myself up, and started going 100 MPH all over again.

I’m constantly taking detours. Daily, weekly, yearly… life long detours. And yes I do realize that is what life is about- the journey, the trip, the bumps in the road and all that.

I refrain from New Year’s resolutions because I know I will break them- but this last new year I actually had set some goals for myself. By January 7th- the day Nicks dad died-so shockingly young, I knew things would not go as planned. Then in February frozen shoulder- literally my shoulder froze and it was extremely painful- knocked the sassy crap out of me. No one-liners, no jokes, no writing, no real estate studies, no gym, no dog walks, just pain medication and leftover tears from January. My roots grew out, my face found some more lines, my energy waned and I gained even more weight.

Those that know me- know I am always a little grouchy. I’m dissatisfied with the world the way it is. I think we can do better. I know I can do better. I see so many things that I would change if I could- but then I always get sidetracked- like I have ADD- which I do, but I thought I managed it better than this.

While my life was between standstill and broken, I read the news and scoured the internet for information on various subjects. I read numerous books and if nothing else fed my brain with better literature. (as opposed to drug store novels).

I managed to work through the complex and often annoying heath care system for people with no insurance. I paid 185.00 a visit for several visits until they actually referred me to a specialist that was able to give me a shot of cortisone. It was a 5-month ordeal. I realized later- I could have probably gotten on the phone, made a few calls and made an appointment with any Ortho, paid my cash and probably would have saved myself about 800.00. Aside from the out of pocket cash, I glimpsed the frustration my son must feel when he goes to the VA. Only I just had frozen shoulder. I can’t really imagine how the veterans with real health and/or mental issues navigate that system.

The beginning of last month I decided I need to finish a couple of things and get some stuff off my over-flowing plate. So far… I have been sidetracked a few times with things more important than my immediate plans. That’s okay, I tell myself. I don’t know anyone better than me at starting over, picking up where I left off and just writing a whole new playbook.

One of these days I will take the RE exam. I’ll finish any of the three novels I have started, and start any one of the three non-fictions in notebooks and my head. I will get my office cleaned, I will get to the gym and I will lose weight.

Really- all I need is for my family and friends to be okay. I need my son to be happy, healthy and safe- and my nieces and nephews to be happy, healthy and safe. I need my siblings to be okay and get old with me- and I really need my friends to do the same. Everything else is extra.

So if you see me running 100 MPH on a fake road- off a cliff- don’t worry- I’ll be back as fast as you can say Wile E. Coyote.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do... Sometimes

Part 3 of Auntie Katie's Free Advise

I’m skipping ahead to break-ups before we even get into the whole relationship conversation, because, well, they usually come sooner than we are expecting them – and whether initiated by you or them- you should be prepared.

There are a million different reasons why people break up with each other. Since we are talking about going “out”  here and not marriage, I’ll only cover some of them. (We’ll get to marriages later.)  

First, I should tell you that sometimes there is no reason. It’s more like you should have never gotten together in the first place. It’s like writing the wrong thing on the chalk board- then trying to erase it, but part of it still shows through. You can’t really undo anything in life. (Another reason to choose wisely.) But clean the chalk board best you can and move on.

Breaking up usually has a few emotions involved. First, you are hurt or shocked (if someone else is doing the dumping) then you are sad for a while then you are mad. I personally always found mad to be better than sad. Sad is: you mope around, sleep too much, eat too much ice cream. Mad: You get a new hairstyle, lose a few pounds, start running, play some sports , hang out with your buddies again and possibly clean your room – maybe even your closet too. Mad is more productive.

The writing is on the wall.

Usually, there are some signs of things to come. If you have been together more than a week, there is a pattern of communication. He or she calls you everyday, you call him /her everyday, you text constantly, you go to a movie, dinner, a ball game- whatever. When there is a variance in the pattern, you should pay attention.  

I wouldn’t worry too much about things being off one day, or even two- but if it is off three days in a row, something is up. (Auntie Katie could be wrong- but it’s rare.) Now the variety of reasons this starts to happen are too many to go into here. I’ll name a few top ones though.

  1. They realized you don’t have enough in common.
  2. They actually like someone else.
  3. They heard you like someone else.
  4. They think you didn’t pay enough attention to them.
  5. They thought you needed more attention then they could give you.

If you or they are on the younger side, it could be that you or they are just not ready for this kind of relationship. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.

Reasons I think you should break up immediately.  Let me just say here- this is my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me- but I’m right.

  1. They physically hurt you.
  2. They cheated on you with your best friend.
  3. They kicked or otherwise abused your pet.
  4. They are into drugs, drinking or any illegal activities.
  5. They are needy to point of aggravation.

I can tell you right off the bat if any of these things are an issue you will be breaking up sooner or later and you – YOU should make it sooner.

Most of the time, after a break up, when the dust settles, you can still be friends. Occasionally, you have to cut all ties.

NEVER be a victim. Never let anyone manipulate you into doing anything you don’t want to do, anything illegal, dangerous or otherwise stupid. If someone is trying to control you, DUMP THEM.

If they don’t want you hanging out with your friends: DUMP THEM.

If they say bad things about your family: DUMP THEM.

There are plenty of nice people out there. But don’t forget, it’s okay to be by yourself too. If you can learn to be happy with yourself, by yourself, then you will be much more secure in your relationships.

Next week we’ll look a little closer at going “out” and what that is all about and expectations and how to manage them.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Auntie Katie's Free Advise Part 2

Part II

Embarrassing Moments: To Pee or Not to Pee.

As you start out in the “dating” world and by that, I mean hanging out with the opposite sex, you may find yourself in some embarrassing situations. Hopefully, none of you are as socially backwards as I was and you will not find yourself holding your pee for 12 hours because you are too embarrassed to go when the boyfriend/girlfriend is there.

I doubt boys have this problem and actually doubt if many girls do- but I sure did. Everything embarrassed me. I hated my teeth so I tried not to smile. (Apparently, I smiled anyway because people tell me they remember my laughing and smiling as a teen- I think they have faulty memories.) If anyone mentioned my teeth were crooked- I turned beet red and died right there. If anyone mentioned the zit on my face- or even dared to look at it I would be mortified. I usually stayed home from school because of zits.

I once went out with a boy who decided to take me to China Town for a late night bite. We went to some downstairs off the beaten track kind of place that was real Chinese food. He ordered for us. Up until that evening, the only Chinese I had ever eaten was Sweet & Sour Pork and Fried Rice. Our soup comes and I take a big spoon full- and IMMEDIATELY spit it out and exclaimed, “I could feel the testicles.”    Well he burst out laughing and told me the word was tentacles. Then he told me what testicles were. I was very embarrassed. Still, I think, anything with testicles or tentacles, should not be in your soup.

Another time I was out to lunch with someone and read the menu... Hors d'œuvre. I read it aloud pronouncing that H. Horsedevores. He laughed too. I died. Somehow, I lived through these moments and got a little smarter. I stopped eating anything I couldn’t say or didn’t know what the word meant and eventually learned to ask questions like : How do you say this word?

I have more embarrassing moments – but I think you get the drift. We do live through these things and outgrow most of them. Half the battle is learning to laugh at yourself. I didn’t do that when I was really young but I eventually learned that things are pretty funny if you loosen up a little.

So my advise for embarrassing moments? Laugh it off. Try not to be so self -conscious, and for God’s sake- go pee if you have to go pee.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Auntie Katie's Free Advise

If you are one of my older blog readers- you might want to pass this on to anyone just starting out in the teen years.

Here are some things everyone should know when they start dating, having boyfriends or girlfriends and everything that goes along with that completely new world.

If you think my advice doesn’t pertain to your situation- file it for later- it probably will.

Part I

That first kiss…

My first kiss was horrible. He smashed my face and hit his teeth on my teeth. It was as they say, “the kiss of death”,  since it was also my last kiss from that boy. It was my last kiss from him not because it was a horrible kiss, which it was, but because I was too embarrassed to look at him afterwards. He gave me his ring that night at a school dance and I gave it back to him, via his sister the following Monday. I was in 6th grade and too young.

Six months later, I kissed another boy and it was much nicer, softer – almost professional in my thinking. (I’m sure he did not say the same for me). Unfortunately, he was quite a bit older than me and had no intention of making me his girlfriend. Lesson learned there: If they won’t be seen in public with you dump them.

Maybe some people think a kiss is not important-but it is. It’s the kiss, that connects you the first time. It’s the kiss, that (if you are paying attention) will tell you how they feel: if they are sad, happy, preoccupied or even cheating on you- you’ll know from that kiss if you let yourself.  (More on letting yourself know things later)

If your first kiss is also their first kiss, then you can learn together. All I can tell you is it should not hurt, or break your teeth. It should not be slobbery like a St. Bernard drooling all over you. It should be like kissing a big soft pillow. Their breath should be nice and since they are being up close and personal, they should smell clean. (If your first kiss takes place in a sewer and everyone smells bad, you have much bigger problems than kissing.)  

Remember: Don’t ever do anything you don’t want to do. And if you can’t both discuss it first, honestly and intellectually then you are not ready.

Okay- so once you are passed the whole first kiss thing- you actually move on to real relationships. Boyfriend – girlfriend stuff. 

Number one rule:  for both sexes, all ages and even if you are married… do not drop all your friends. This is the biggest mistake people make when they are in a relationship. Sometimes it happens because you are insecure and think you have to spend a million hours a week with someone and sometimes it happens because they are insecure and they think you should spend a million hours a week with them. In any case, it is one of worst things you can do in a relationship. (And we all do it at least once.)

Make sure he/she has some friends:  If the person you like has no friends and they are not new to the area- that is a red flag. It means they are either in the Witness Protection Program, or, they are too selfish to be a friend, or, they are a sociopath. Oh sure- every now and then you may find a real loner- but trust me – people with no friends are a problem.

Make sure he/she has a hobby (other than you). You don’t have to share the hobby- and maybe it’s better if you don’t- though you will want to refrain from insulting their hobby if you hate it.

It’s all about balance.  Here are some bad combinations

Caveman/ Professor of English
Social Consciousness /Oil Tycoon
Dudley Do-Right/ Holly the Hooker

You can usually spot a mistake the minute you see it- but for some reason- unknown to all of us with a brain- we ignore it.

Listen to me. If you get a feeling that someone is not right for you. YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT. Don’t give up two years of your life (or 15 minutes) trying to make something work- that was never going to work. It’s OKAY to be alone once in a while.

The number one quality you should look for in a human being is that they are a good human being. And that does not mean they would be good if … that means in spite of everything, all the hard knocks, all the bad hands dealt- they are stand up people and do the right thing no matter what. They are good friends, good fathers, good mothers, good sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. If it turns out that they are not a good boyfriend /girlfriend for you- chances are, if they are good people to start with that you will remain friends for life.

Be your own person. Don’t change for anyone. If you need to change... do it for yourself.

Look for Part II soon