Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pardon My Rant: Family Planning



The political propaganda machine is (once again) hard at work. Birth control "outrage" sweeps the nation.  But why? Is it women's right's, is it overstepping? Is it even worth discussing? 





Love it or hate it, somebody in a big-government seat (and generally somebody with a penis) is telling you what to do with your uterus --and you are understandably incensed over it. Even so, I'd wager a dollar to doughnuts that you're not seeing the ovaries for the intrauterine device --or forest for the trees, if you need a more literal layout.
 

The "importance" of the issue at hand depends entirely upon whom you ask. If you ask your rank and file Democratic stalwarts, the Republican Party is adjudging warfare on women. Ask a conservative, and she will tell you that the Dems are stomping all over the 1st amendment, by telling Catholic-owned businesses that they have to offer employees birth control free of charge (despite the fact that Catholic dogma declares birth prevention a mortal sin.)

Where do I stand on the issue?
I sincerely and categorically believe everyone still talking about it is a half-wit.


And this is why...

Any and every woman employed by Catholic-owned businesses who want family planning services have never been barred from getting them. In point of fact, these gainfully employed gentlewomen can march on down to our friends at Planned Parenthood, where they will be privy to a mixed bag of oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, prophylactics, shots, implants and all other FDA-approved methods of anti-pregnancy products for a nominal fee. At full price, anti-ovulatory drugs at Planned Parenthood run approximately $15 a pack --a rather standard co-pay for a drug purchase with no insurance-- so the price is not the issue. After all, these women are gainfully employed, remember? You'd pay $15 for aspirin. 

As an added benefit, should these women choose to acquire birth control services at Planned Parenthood, they know that they are supporting a local agency committed to women’s healthcare. That's a obvious win/win.

So, why is the birth control mandate a newsworthy issue?  

It isn't. It never has been. And, I will tell you why. This nonsense is the very same cookie-cutter governmental smoke and mirrors game that it has always been: Look over there, while we screw you from back here. (ACTA, anyone?) And if you are buying into the rhetoric from Dems or the GOP, you are more of a problem than you are a solution.

Whilst all of this hollow public debate carries on during prime time, the U.S. is (today) engrossed in numerous different conflicts throughout the Middle East and now Africa, Congress is salivating over the thought of invading Iran and our economy free falls into financial desolation --ask anyone who isn't Ben Bernake. And even though all of this is going on right under your nose, you are still hung up on $15 packets of anovulants, claiming that women’s rights are being slashed or bitching about the disregard of the 1st amendment. Thankfully, you don't require birth control for the pounding you are fetching from both sides of the policy-making palisade when you take up this banner of utter bullshit. 

The last time I checked, I lived in the U.S.A., dear Comrade, and I (for one) am sick of hearing about government issues that are authentically dead letter; watching taciturnly as those issues are slung to front page news over and over again. It's a dead issue --or, at least, it should be.

To take this ridiculousness even further President Obama is now back peddling on his mandate, supplying “waivers” to Catholic establishments and giving them a choice of opting out of participating in the mandate, making this front of a "triumph" a tiger without any teeth. The entire scandal is little more than a President with crappy approval ratings pandering to an estrogen steeped base, adding fodder to the re-election cannon. It is matched equally by idiotic Republicans who are trying to spin this the other way. Both sides are wrong, and supporters equally. The fact that this non-issue was even allowed to become an issue baffles my mind.

Show me a man (or woman) who would like to serve the people rather than a human being who is only interested in making his or her political mark and earning a place in the history books and I will show you someone worth voting for. Unfortunately, he is most certainly not in the White House, and my ideological candidate (as far as I can tell) is not running in 2012, but I have hopes that he (or she) is out there and will make an appearance before long. From there, I only hope that the public stops being so stupid that they are able to recognize a true leader as opposed to another bullshit maestro and puppet master.
 

Complex problems are not complicated problems unless we make them that way. If our government is going to bamboozle you into believing that it's somehow your responsibility to financially support someone else's sex life (please ponder on that one), entertain what else they might be hoodwinking you on before you get your panties in a knot over it. Get concerned about what is going on behind the curtain and quit worrying about what politicians want to make center stage and you will find a whole lot more valid issues to be upset about. And then, just maybe, you'll do something about it. 

Won't you? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dog Project: These Boots are Made for Walking



Are these boots made for walking? In my dog’s case…they probably are. I am pretty sure Aradia has a pair of Gestapo for all four paws…because she has made a habit of walking all over me this week.

I think my problem is tools; I need better ones. I have a very strong-willed, perky German Shepherd that is driving me absolutely batty when it comes to her nightly walks. Instead of getting progressively better, she is actually getting progressively worse.

I went to Caesar Milan’s (aka the Dog Whisperer) website for some tips. I’m trying everything the guru suggests and am crossing my fingers for a positive and speedy resolution. The biggest problem I have when I walk Aradia? Other dogs.

I can tell that she wants to socialize, but there is a thin line between socialization and choking on a Chihuahua, so I’m a bit hesitant to give her the green light. Instead, I let her visit her ‘smexy’ doggy boyfriend, Bruno, through the fence. So far, that relationship is going better than any relationship  of mine ever has, so I am hopeful that a doggie park is in our future --sans puppy flavored appetizer.

My biggest problem is keeping my dastardly dog from pulling on the leash. I have the reticent choke collar and nylon leash that all the experts say is “da bomb”, but she is as stubborn as I am (yes, I do believe dogs take after their owners).

Since I like food, I incorporated treats into her walks, which seem to help – but only a little. Last night, I started the brief poking in the neck technique I saw Caesar implement, to display my dominance in the pack and get her attention --because I swear she has a wicked case of ADD. So far, she seems to respond better to that than she does to positive reinforcement. I guess a good poke really does do wonders.

On the training side of things she is improving in leaps and bounds. She is incredibly clever. She mastered sit, stay and lay down (also staying) with minimal effort. Next, we will move on to “roll over," which I am also certain she will master in no time at all.

Every day is a journey with Aradia as a solo pup. Some days it’s great, others not so dandy. Anyone out there in Internet land have any suggestions on keeping her cool, calm and collected on walks? Because I’m (literally) all ears.

More on the Dog Project

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

iHappy: Week 2


Progress: the notion that everything and everyone must move forward. However, forward mobility is impossible unless you know where you’ve been, right? I took this week to look in the rear view, because you can’t figure out how to get happy unless you understand what makes you unhappy. The trouble is that you may not always like the answer.

My Plan
I can’t say exactly what my plan is yet, even though I’ve made it. I’ not quite ready to put it out into the universe via the world wide web. However, I can say that I plan to be somewhere very different in five years and I plan for that somewhere to be a place that makes me happy.

How I Made It
Over the weekend, I sat down and wrote out my goals. I wrote the goals for my life and then broke down how I was going to reach them. I wrote down what I wanted in five years, broke that down into action steps for one year, then further down to one month and finally one week. The direction I got from this exercise is uncanny, but it so powerful. Basically, I wrote myself a pretty bitchin’ road map.

Sure, some people do vision boards or just write down goals, but I don’t think that’s enough. At least, it isn’t enough for me. You have to figure out when you’re going, but you have to figure out how you are going to get there and in what vehicle. Having that behind me and as I look forward, iHappy. Because those objects are a lot smaller than what’s ahead.

Are you interested in my iHappy project? Find out more at the Happiness Project or leave me a love note below. 


 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Boys Is Dumb…And So are Fake Profiles

Image Credit PC News
I don’t know what it is lately, but I have been inundated with friend requests on Facebook – and roped into some major drama – from people who have nothing better to do than create fake profiles. And I, for one, am sick of it.

To you ‘fakers’ out there, I want to know three things:
1. How in the blue hell do you find time to have an entirely fake personality?
2. Why bother?
3. Are you related to Sybil?

Sybil
With that said, let me say this: I am on to you. Not only am I on to you, I’m going to help other people get on to you as well.

Things that indicate your “new buddy” is a fake profile:
1. The profile is brand new –let’s face it, unless you were Osama Bin Laden’s roommate, everyone has a Facebook by now.

2. They "live" far away, but all of their friends are in your area. For instance, I had someone from California friend me, and all of their mutual friends were in San Antonio. Same thing with some dude in New York, another in Madrid, Paris, Nigeria…well, you get the idea.

3. They look REALLY good in their photos…and I mean REALLY good, model good. Fellas, I hate to break it to you, but boys is dumb. I have seen more guys fall for the fake profile bit with some bimbo impersonating a pretty face more times than I can count on both hands, two feet and all the hairs on my head. The most recent was a young lady with the initials of BM…which could easily stand for bowel movement because she was so clearly full of ca-ca…but I digress.

Instead of commenting on said hottie’s new profile photo, Tineye it. Chances are, she stole a model’s photo and is using it to get attention from dimwits just like you. The reality is that you are probably chatting with a 40-year-old cat lady who smokes heavily and allowed personality number four to be in charge today --and probably drink all her gin. Sorry, but that’s the God’s honest.





Personally, I’m reporting every single faked profile I come across, and I’ve gotten rather astute at spotting them. I’ve also gotten into the habit of alerting over 3,000 people on my page when I do. So, before you waste my time with a friend request, make sure you want to keep your fake profile, because I promise you that if you friend me, everyone within my network everyone will report you and your fake profile, and your fake profile will be history.

What can I say? I’m just keepin’ it real. 



How do you feel about fake profiles? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Dog Project, Week 1

Walking: 6 – 7 times per week 30 – 40 minutes

Progress: Negligible.

Aradia loves to go on walks, but she is a little out of synch when it comes to “heeling”. We are working on that. I am using a choke chain –for training only. However, I don’t over use the chain. Often, I stop the walk until she gets the message –which seems to be most effective. She is clever, so I don’t think it will take too long for her to “get it”.

Next week, I am going to implement some treats and see if that doesn’t do the “trick”.

I have found some really great information on heeling here.

Sit: Daily training 15 minutes

Progress: Mastered

Aradia mastered “sit” in a week…or rather, should I say, “re-mastered”. Now, we are working on “stay.”

If you are having some issues training your dog on how to sit, check out this website.

Shauna’s weekly 'pet' peeve:
This has NOTHING to do with my dog, but everything to do with other dog owners. Leash laws exist, and are enforced, for a reason. They are designed for the safety of you and your pet. As I have been walking Aradia this week around my neighborhood, I have had to adjust my route several times because of careless owners allowing their dogs to roam in the front yards without a leash on.

In fact, this week Aradia was bitten by a smaller dog, when the unleashed animal was in his frong yard, being territorial. Aradia was not hurt, but she definitely wanted to defend herself, and, had I not been in control of my animal, would have likely killed that smaller dog. Yet, she would have been the “bad guy”. This is why I have big issues with many small dog owners.

I see many smaller dog owners guilty of not treating their dog like a dog. They allow their animals to run around at home, and think nothing of it when the dog runs around in the front yard, sans a leash. This is wrong.

Even the smallest of dogs will get territorial when they see another animal in (or near) their yard. Further, allowing your dog to run around outdoors unleashed increases the possibility of your pup getting run over, or some other harm coming to him. Put your pet on a leash when he or she is not confined to the safety of your home or backyard. It’s the right thing to do for you and for your pet. Otherwise, I might have to feed your little mongrel to my monster. (Kidding).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

iHappy: Happily Ever After Planning

WEEK 1

I’m a planner. And, by planner, I mean I have spreadsheets to organize my spreadsheets. It’s my forte. Don’t judge me.

A week ago, I started the iHappy Project. And now, seven days later, iNotHappy because I don’t have a new iPhone (yet), but I do have a plan.

Color me eternal optimist.
 

The first thing on my agenda was to make my list. So, I sat down and wrote a list of things that make me happy.

My iHappy List

  • Belting out tunes in the car, in the shower…everywhere 
  • Dancing –but only around my house 
  • Day dreaming –and writing down what I day dream about 
  • Creating something: music, art or writing 
  • Giggling until I snort 
  • Making someone else giggle until they snort 
  • Going on an adventure…without my GPS 
  • Trying new food
  • Talking trash on Words with Friends 
  • Taking random photos
  • Editing and adding groovy quotes to random photos I take 
  • Rain --of the torrential downpour variety
    Next, I wrote down my Commandments –you know, the jazz keeping the rest of you on the straight and narrow. I didn’t want to compete with the “big” list on the nifty tablets, so I scaled mine down to eight.

    My Commandments

    1. Be Shauna.
    2. Keep it simple, stupid. 
    3. Say yes more.
    4. Say no more.
    5. Live the list.
    6. Tell someone “I love you,” every day. Mean it. 
    7. Succeed, even in the tiniest of ways. 
    8. Make someone else happy.
    “That’s all well and good, but what does all of it mean?” –That’s what you would be saying if you didn’t follow the blog. But, since you do, I won’t have to tell you that the premise is simple.

    Every day, I try to do as many things on “the list” as possible, using my commandments as my guide. Each time I do something on the list, it invokes a sense of joy, making me an all around happier person. But, you already knew that.

    This week, my assignment is to map out my goals and next week, I’ll blog about it. Then, I’ll put it all together. My plan is to break down the elements of my list and my commandments for you so that you can follow along and (hopefully) play along at home or start a project of your very own. (And I will do my utmost to make it entertaining...pinky swear).

    Are you starting a iHappy project? Have you finished an iHappy project of your own? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment or a link to your blog.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    iHappy: The Flow Chart

    Yes, I am a charts and spreadsheets kind of girl. I found this, and even made it my desktop background. It's a great reminder for my Happiness Project, iHappy.


    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    iBroken, but iFixable

    Broken phone - Epic edits done with Picnik
    Awhile back, I posted a Facebook status update that read, “My life is like an iPhone. iEat, iSleep, iWork, iHydrate, iWorkout.” Yet, as I am sure you can surmise, my life is comprised of a lot more than just the sum of a few parts –or a simple status update. Yet, when my iPhone got busted iThought a little deeper.

    I stared at my broken iPhone screen for a few minutes, fuming that it was broken and incensed at the replacement cost. Then, it came to me, washing over me like some tidal epiphany. I realized that, just like my fragmented phone, iBroken. At the same time, just like my phone, iFixable.

    I figured that the best fix for whatever was broken in my heart was to get happy and make sure I stayed that way.


    I Googled the word “happy”. My skin-deep research revealed that many folks have a loose definition of the word “happy”, and some of them have a very loose, well….never mind. Do your own Googling.

    Eventually, as I added some more words, intensifying my search, I unearthed “The Happiness Project”.

    iRead. iRuminated.

    After a whole 22-seconds of deliberation, I decided to start my own “Happiness Project” and combine that with my “Dog Project” and my “365 Project”. I can, after all, handle more than one project. (Pray for me.)

    If you are in my inner circle, or if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am not into the warm fuzzy, so my taking on a Happiness Project might leave you scratching your head. You might assume that my Happiness Project involves kicking puppies and taking candy from babies while simultaneously plotting to take over the world. You would be wrong –at least about the first two things. The project is a daily search for simple bliss.

    Step 1: Write a list of the things that make me happy. No, kicking puppies and stealing lollipops from toddlers has not made it to my list just yet. Plutonium on the other hand…

    Step 2: Do something everyday that is on my “list”.

    Step 3: Record that something.

    Step 4: Write my (10) Happiness Commandments. (I am working on this.) These are the daily reminders I would keep, subtly referencing my happy and keeping me on the straight and narrow each day.

    Step 5: Spread the happy by being a joy to someone else.

    It might sound simple, but writing down a list of things that truly make me happy can get a little trite and clich├ęd if I am not careful. I mean, “the smell of fresh towels” is honestly cheating. And if it isn’t cheating, it’s horribly lame. Therefore, I have been doing some trimming and editing and will post my happiness project list soon, once it does not sound like Stewart Smalley authored it.

    Stay tuned and watch the blog for updates about iHappy –which is what I aptly named my Happiness Project. Of course, you can also follow iHappy for daily updates on my Facebook page. You don’t even have to friend me either, you can just subscribe.

    I also believe that there is power (and accountability –I’m big on accountability) in numbers. If you would like to join me on my Happiness Project, I would be happy to have you –no pun intended.

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