Tuesday, March 1, 2016

For A Friend

Sometimes it's easier to write the things you want to say to someone, than it is to say it to them. Whether it's because you're not sure how your words will affect them, or you want how you feel to be a bit more permanent, writing fills in those gaps that are left between spoken words.  With that said, this post is for a friend of mine, Dani Hunter.

Dani is a kind, gentle, very caring person, mixed with a great sense of humor and a deep well of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.  One of Dani's best attributes is his love of animals.  All animals are deserving of Dani's love, and he owns several pets; cats, dogs, and even a sugar glider.
Dani's most beloved pet though was his dog, Indee.

I never had the privilege of actually meeting Indee, but have heard many wonderful stories about this happy little Corgi.

Stories of bravery, strength and always smiling, as in this photo from Dani's Facebook page, that's how Dani always spoke of Indee.

You see, Indee was handicapped.  Though he couldn't run and play the way most dogs do, (his two hind legs didn't work), it never made him a sad puppy.  No, he was always there, according to Dani, to help cheer Dani up on his bad days, and to add extra joy and happiness on his good days.

Despite his disabilities, Indee lived a long life, 13 years, spreading his infectious love and sweetness to all who knew him.  Heck, he even spread it to those of us who never met him; I mean, how could anyone resist a smile like that?!

While other pets of Dani's came and went, leaving holes in Dani's heart at their loss, Indee was always there to help with his grieving.

But then this week came that awful day, that day when all the sunshine went out of Dani's world, that day when he'd be grieving the most, with no help of relieving his pain.

At 13 years old, Indee's paralysis had spread to his neck, and was seriously affecting important aspects of his quality of life.  No one wants to see anyone, human, or animal, suffer, so after some deep soul searching, it was with a heavy heart, that Dani made the decision to have his precious fur baby put to sleep.

Knowing that Indee is no longer in pain; that he's in doggy heaven, running, and playing with all the other doggies, doesn't help with the pain of losing a best friend.  I understand this, as do others who have lost a pet. And though Dani has many friends, who care about him, and his well being, we also know it will take some time for Dani to work through this loss.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, sometimes there aren't enough words, or the right words that can be said to help another in their time of need.  Sometimes writing works better for the person trying to help someone.  That's why I've written this post, because even though Dani knows I'm there for him, to listen, to give hugs, and to understand how he feels; this post is something *I* needed to do, for him, to let him know that I really do care.

Rest in peace Indee, and know that you'll never be forgotten, by Dani, and anyone else who's ever heard about you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thieves & Squatters

I'd hoped in the new year I'd get back to writing more posts to this blog; sadly, so far, that hasn't been the case.

Perhaps I was expecting too much, considering that my family has been dealing with a thief/squatter for awhile now, leaving little time, or energy, to write. Though writing won't help me to escape from the destruction the thief has caused, maybe it will help me to deal with the ongoing issue at hand.

 A while back a thief snuck silently into my parents' home and started taking things.  At first it was sporadic, just here and there, once in a while.  It was just random enough that my parents, as well as my son and myself, questioned whether it was really happening or not.

Then things began missing more and more. Nothing of great monetary value, but things that were sentimental and made of family memories.

Though the theft has affected both my parents, with each of them suffering losses, the thief has singled out my mom for the worst of the attacks.

This thief has no mercy, especially with my mom. The things this thief has done, and continues to do, stresses my mom greatly; which in turn makes the thief steal more and more often. My mom's stress transfers to the rest of us, and the whole situation is a continuing cycle.

The thief my family is dealing with is quite brazen, and has declared squatter's rights in my parents' home, with no intention of leaving. If that's not bad enough, this thief refuses to let them leave their house alone.  Even if my son, or I am taking them somewhere, the thief ALWAYS has to go with us. This thief/squatter is holding my parents hostage in their own home, as well as anywhere they go.

Though we live next door to my parents, the only time my son and I don't deal directly with the thief is when we're at work. Sometimes we try having time away from home for other reasons.  Even then though, we're uneasy leaving my parents to deal with this thief/squatter alone.  Most of the times we've tried, the thief has stirred up trouble, causing more and more stress.  As bold as this thief/squatter has become, my son and I have found it easier if one of us can be home in case my parents need us.  So far this arrangement has appeased the thief/squatter; but not always.  Sometimes nothing works and we just have to ride out whatever comes our way, until the thief/squatter decides to give us a break.

By now you've probably wondered why my parents, or my son, or I haven't called the police to have this thief/squatter taken care of once and for all; we obviously have plenty of evidence to get a conviction in court, right?  Heck we even know the thief/squatter's name, that should make things even simpler, right?  If only it was that easy.

 No one in our family has actually seen this thief/squatter that's been holding my parents hostage.  There's no physical being that we can have arrested to end all the chaos we're going through.  There's no simple ending to the situation before us.  All we can do is muddle through the best we can, looking towards those who have the knowledge to help us do so.  Why?  Because the thief/squatter that's taken over my parents' home, preying on both of them, but mainly my mom, is named Alzheimer's Disease. 
 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Two Days Until Christmas




Two shopping days until Christmas.

With that said, I ask that everyone keep this in mind:  Though presents are nice to give and to receive, they are NOT the end all and be all of Christmas.  

Christmas isn't just about stuff.  Arguably, it's not necessarily about the birth of Christ either, (but that's something to ponder at a later date).  For now, let's concentrate on today, the second to last shopping day before Christmas.

This is the question I pose to anyone out there feeling the need to find that "perfect" Christmas gift:  why?

It's not a tangible object that makes Christmas Christmas.  There's nothing that can be sold in a store that will automatically make Christmas "perfect", nothing.

Though it's fun to receive, and give, gifts, the ones we can see and hold aren't always the best ones to give or get.  Sometimes it's a warm hug, or a phone call, even something as simple as a smile, that's worth more than anything money can buy from a store.

Also, when did we as people decide it was okay to make this particular day more about what we get and give one another, rather than about just being together with family and friends to celebrate however we've chosen to do so?

It's not that any of us needs to walk around being all "bah humbug" about Christmas, quite the contrary.  We should not only indulge, but overindulge, in the joy and wonderment of the day.  All I'm saying is, what we shouldn't do is fabricate that joy and wonder using gifts as the base to build our happiness on.

As usual, I'm rambling, and not sure I've quite gotten my point across.  I guess, over all I feel like maybe the Whos in Whoville had it right all along.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Bring On The Christmas Music!

Though Christmas comes but once a year, the plethora of Christmas songs that have been written over the years would lead one to believe that its a year-round event.

Whether the songs are from generations past, or new to the year at hand; whether they're traditional, or barely resemble a holiday tune, they're all out there, just waiting for someone to come along and have a listen.

Sometimes the old is meshed with the new, literally, and those old songs get a breath of life and return to the airwaves during the holidays.

A couple of great examples, (at least in my opinion), are "Baby It's Cold Outside", originally recorded by Dean Martin, and years later, re-released as a duet with country artist, Martina McBride; and Frank Sinatra's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", updated as a duet with Cyndi Lauper.

Rather than being re-recordings of these songs, Martina and Cyndi's vocals were actually recorded, then blended with Martin's and Sinatra's original recordings.


It seems that every year I hear a new song, or version of a song, that catches my attention, and becomes a new favorite.  And each time I think, "I've never heard that before, it must be brand new", only to find out it *isn't* brand new at all; it's usually been out a few years, and I'm just hearing it for the first time.

The 2015 holiday season is no different for this happening to me.  In the past month I've heard two remakes of songs that I hadn't heard before; and each has actually been around a few years.

The first song is the John Lennon classic, "Happy Christmas".  While I've heard several versions of the tune, none have quite lived up to the original.  Then I heard Maroon 5 do the song, and wow!  Still maybe not quite as good as Lennon, but still the only other version I've liked well enough to want to hear again and again.

The second song is "Mele Kalikimaka", written by Robert Alex Anderson in 1949.

While there have been many versions of this song over the decades, my current favorite is by country artist, Jake Owen. Like with Maroon 5, Jake's rendition has been around for a while, and I'm just now hearing it.

Funny thing too, as a fan, I usually can recognize Jake's voice, but I didn't, and was surprised to hear the DJ on the radio say it was him.

With only a few more days until Christmas, I'm not sure I'll hear anything new  this season.  I look forward already to next year though, to see what treasures will be unearthed for my listening pleasure.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Skeptical Believer

Anyone who knows me knows I trust very little in life, and that I'm highly skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true.

Unless I've seen proof first hand that something is legitimate, I'm not going to believe it's real, or that I can trust it to live up to it's hype, or my expectations of the product.

The price of any item under my scrutiny doesn't matter, if anything it feeds my skepticism.  If the price is fairly inexpensive, my mind figures the product won't be that great, because you'll get what you pay for.  Yet, if an item is fairly high priced, my thought is that the product will probably fall short of actually being worth the cost.

Unfair?  Yes, I would say I can be that way. I do *try* to give the benefit of the doubt to most things, but that doesn't always work.

One of my most recent moments of skepticism has to do with cannabidiol, (CBD), creams and ointments.

There are several brands of CBD products available, and are touted as being able to relieve all types of pain, from aching joints, to fibromyalgia, and everything in between.

In addition to doubting if these products can really do what they say, most have what seems to be  hefty price tags that go along with them. Then along came Lola's Rapid Relief.

I've known the creator of Lola's Rapid Relief, Lola Montgomery, for awhile, from her time working at 98.7 The Bull, (KUPL while she was there).



Lola now does radio in Bend, Oregon, and along with her boyfriend, Sean, has just started making and selling Lola's Rapid Relief.

As her website, (www.lolasrapidrelief.com), states, she wanted to make a cream that would help her family and friends with daily aches and pains. The idea is to get people off of pain medications, be pain free, and enjoy a better quality of life. It also states that the cream is made by hand and with love.

For those who don't know Lola, that description fits her completely.  She's a very kind, compassionate woman, who wants the best for herself and those around her.

With that said, you probably think this was my breakthrough on being more trusting about a product; not the case.

Don't get me wrong, I know in my heart that Lola would never say, do, or sell anything she didn't wholeheartedly believe in; it's not how she is.  My hang up, for lack of a better word at the moment, was more about not trusting that the product would be as good as it seemed.  I definitely was more curious about this type of cream, now that someone I knew was making and selling it; just not totally sold on how good it was.  I wondered if this type of cream could help my elderly parents with their daily pain, but still wasn't sure I could afford to pay the asking price of a 2 oz. bottle.

Then something great happened, that allowed me to satisfy my curiosity; Lola announced on her Facebook page, that anyone who wanted a free sample of Lola's Rapid Relief, could private message her with their address, and she'd send one out to them.

Free?  Free is always good in my opinion, so I messaged Lola immediately, explaining about my parents, and how I'd like a sample so they could try it.

Got the sample almost the next day, and couldn't wait to have my parents try it.  In the meantime, though, I was having pain in my knees, and decided to try a bit of the cream on myself.

Truthfully, I didn't expect it to work, even though it was from Lola, I just still didn't believe anything could be as good as this cream seemed to be. Boy was I wrong!

Almost as soon as I put a very thin coating on my left knee, the pain subsided to almost nothing. We're talking a coating so thin, it was barely there, and the pain was gone.  As an extra added bonus, where most creams and ointments leave a greasy feeling on your skin, Lola's Rapid Relief didn't. Almost as quickly as I applied it to my skin, it was absorbed, leaving no residue behind.  A second bonus was that, even after taking a shower, the cream had absorbed into my skin enough, that it took a couple of days before I felt any real pain in my knees.

I was so excited after first applying Lola's Rapid Relief, that I immediately posted to Lola's Facebook page, (so everyone could read about my results), letting her know how well her pain relief cream had worked for me.  I also said that I still had to have my parents try it, and would let Lola know the results from them as well.

Unfortunately, the cream didn't work for my parents.  I was devastated, especially when I had to let Lola know the news.  Ever the optimist she is, Lola was okay with the news, and assured me it was okay; that she was happy that it had worked for me at least.  I did see posts on Lola's Facebook page, ranging from how the cream worked for some people almost immediately, to those who, like my parents, saw no difference in their pain.

And this is why I've written this blog post.  While I'm still a skeptic about most things, I felt I needed to share my story, and let others know, while it may not work for everyone, Lola's Rapid Relief did work for me; enough so that it turned this skeptic into a believer of the product.

Anyone interested in learning more about Lola's Rapid Relief, or buying a jar, can check it out here:
Lola's Rapid Relief website:  http://lolasrapidrelief.com/

At this time, samples are no longer available.

I hope anyone who tries this has as excellent results as I did.










Saturday, November 28, 2015

It's That Crazy Christmas Time of Year

Well, it's that time of year again; Thanksgiving has passed and it's the Christmas season, officially.

I say "officially", because we all know that the Christmas "season" comes around earlier and earlier every year; usually once Halloween is over. This year though, not only did the Christmas season start at the beginning of November, so did all the controversy over the holiday.

By now, I doubt there are many people who haven't heard about the 2015  red Starbuck's cups.
Every year during the Christmas season, Starbucks serves their hot beverages in special holiday cups.  In the past, the cups have featured ornaments, snowmen, etc. for the holidays.

This year however, the company decided to go with a plain red cup.  The next thing you know, there's a media frenzy about how Starbucks is against Christmas, and Jesus, you name it.

What a lot of people don't know is, this probably wouldn't have been such a big deal, had it not been for one man,  Josh, Feurstein. Feurstein is a self proclaimed disciple of Jesus, and he's the person who declared that Starbucks was anti-Christmas.

Funny thing is, when I saw the red cup, *my* first thought was, "ah, more corporate greed; less printing on the cups saves money for Starbucks, and makes them more profits".

Back to what was happening in the public eye though.  People everywhere were buying into the idea that Starbucks was anti-Christmas. There were those who boycotted the franchise because of the cups, as well as those who thought it was okay that the company took a somewhat "neutral" approach to the season.

In between all the yays and nays were those, (myself included), who just didn't care one way or the other about the color and design, or the lack of one.  It's a cup, you use it, it gets thrown away.
 
To me, that was the bigger concern. Even with recycling and all, it's still a cup that gets tossed after one use.  And though some are recycled, most just get thrown into trash cans at home or work, or on a street corner, to be added to landfills.

 Others took a humorous approach to the cup controversy.  Weird Al posted a pic of a Starbucks cup in a sleeve with a sticker added, suggesting the paganism of Starbucks.

 To me, it was funny, because, though Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it *is* attached to a pagan holiday.  That's a whole other story though, so we'll skip that for now.

 One of the DJ's, Chunky, from "Chunky Mckinzie & Jake" on The Bull in Portland, Oregon made a great point about the Starbucks cup situation.

Chunky is Jewish, and posed the question of why doesn't Starbucks have blue cups for Hanukkah?  He was being lighthearted about the whole thing of course, but again, in my opinion, he did make a great point about how people aren't getting all up in arms about not having Hanukkah cups and other items in honor of their holiday; why are Christians making such a big deal over a cup?

By now you're probably wondering why I've brought all this up again, since it seems to have finally calmed down and gone away.  Truth is, I wouldn't have brought it up at all, except it kind of helps set things up for why I'm writing this post now.

It seems now that there's no longer a huge issue about Starbucks red cups, the focus has turned to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; specifically their tree shaped offering for the holidays.

Yes, you read that last paragraph correctly.  People are all bent out of shape because it seems this year's Reese's peanut butter trees are more blobs than trees.


Okay, I get it, people buy these specifically because they're tree shaped, for the holidays.  But really, is someone's entire holiday going to be ruined because a piece of candy isn't tree shaped?

My warped sense of humor kicked in when I saw this latest uproar in the media.  I looked at the pic of the tree blob and thought, "hmmm...Reese's Easter Egg candy must not have sold well, they're repackaging them for Christmas".  It makes sense to me anyway:  Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Easter is to celebrate his rising; the two holidays are connected in that way at least.

As with the Starbucks cups though, I really don't care about this latest issue with Reese's Peanut Butter Trees.  It's a peanut butter cup that's been shaped into a tree.  The two items taste the same, the candy company just makes an extra profit by charging more for the special shape.

 It's going to be fun to sit back and watch though, to see if this latest controversy will have the longevity the Starbucks one had. 







Thursday, November 26, 2015

It's Been Awhile

Wow!

I had no idea until just a couple days ago that it's been a YEAR since I've posted anything to this blog!  Not cool!  I've decided it's time to fire up the keyboard and start posting again, hopefully on a more regular basis, like in the past.

With that said, I'll start right now with where I left off last year, wishing everyone and their family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!