Agenda

The phrase “homosexual agenda” amuses me…  Like there is this big conspiracy by gay people to infiltrate and warp the minds of the straight world.  I would be willing to bet most gay people’s “agenda” is to live in peace with their families without having to hear a bunch of shit from everyone or worry about if they will be kicked out of a restaurant or beaten to within an inch of their lives simply for existing.  If that “agenda” frightens you, then you, sir, are an asshole.  IF there were an agenda, the only reason it would exist would be BECAUSE people like you make it so difficult for them to live how they want to, to be accepted without qualifications to make YOU feel better.   How’s that for irony?

People I’d Have An Affair With (Spring 2015)

I haven’t done one of these in a good while.  2012 to be exact.  Since then, a few new worthies have made their way to “the list,” and while I wouldn’t actually have an affair (as in, cheat on the hubs) with all of the people on these lists, the lists are still great fun to make, especially when you factor in cartoon characters, “unlikely crushes,” and sexy “old” men.  So, with only a little of my standard long-winded introductions and/or explanations, I shall unveil the lucky inductees onto this year’s list.

As some of my regular readers may remember, I am somewhat of a TV binge viewer.  I think Netflix is the shit.  Never again will I willingly subject myself to regular cable or network TV.  I barely have patience for the 15 second commercials on YouTube or Hulu now, and when I had to watch the third season of The Walking Dead on “regular” TV, I about died of boredom between commercials, and if the episode was a slow one, I ended up feeling cheated out of an hour of my life.

Anyway, one of my last TV series addictions was Sherlock.  I was hesitant to watch it at first; I don’t even really know why except that maybe I assumed it would be like every other mystery/procedural crime drama.  It wasn’t.  And I spent the rest of the series alternately wishing I could put Martin Freeman in my pocket and trying to figure out if Benedict Cumberbatch was hot or weird looking.  I finally decided he’s both.

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He has a curiously long face and narrow jaw area and his eyebrows border on out of control, but he has the clearest blue eyes, and his character’s simultaneously child-like naivety and arrogant insouciance is at least part of his appeal.  Oh, and brains, of course.  Because we’re not shallow here.  So, maybe given that combination of his oddly appealing face (my best friend’s exact words), and his withering intellect and attitude, it’s not so much Benedict Cumberbatch, as it is Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Alright, moving on…

Again, courtesy of my beloved Netflix, I binge-watched the first three seasons of The Killing, and then after greedily awaiting the fourth, I devoured that too.  It was depressing, by the way, especially the last season.  Depressing, but a very good show, and my favorite part of it was Joel Kinnaman’s portrayal of Det. Stephen Holder.  Again, attitude goes along way for me in terms of sexy, and Holder had attitude in spades.  But what was so unique to me about his performance was that I didn’t feel like I was watching a performance.  I even told my husband, it’s like he was a real person, someone I actually might know.  That feeling of familiarity, of “realness” was in everything from how he talked, to how he carried himself, and even to an extent, in his (scripted) character faults.  Plus, he’s sexy as hell.

Photography by Chris Large

I’m not a big fan of ‘staches on guys, but check out that smolder.  And besides, if you need any other reason to like Kinnaman, he’s also the lead in the new Robocop movie, and he’s buddies with Alexander Skarsgard (who also graces one of these lists. )

That’s a whole lot of hotness in one place, people.

Last but not least, is Eric Balfour, especially in Haven.  I say “especially,” because I’m actually fairly new on the Eric Balfour bandwagon in that while he’s been around a while, in movies and TV series alike, with bit parts and recurring characters, he never did much for me until he played Duke Crocker in the supernatural series Haven.  Again, character personality likely has a lot to do with this.  And the longer hair.  (It’s definitely not that goofy little ‘stache.  Haven’t I already mentioned how I feel about ‘staches?  Well, I guess it just depends on the owner of said ‘stache.)

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Anyhow, that concludes the list for today.  Nothing more to see here, people.  (But, Lisa, I’ll expect your list forthwith.)

On Doggie Separation Anxiety and Socialization in General

Okay, right now I am still in the very initial stages of establishing my new business, getting all the licenses and insurance and preparing for some marketing.  Maybe eventually I will get a separate site up and running just for that, but for now, I think that might be taking too much on, so every once in a while, I may post some dog stuff here.  Here goes.

Lots of dogs follow their humans around the house.  They like to be close, sometimes inconveniently so.  On your heels.  Sitting on your foot.  Or in your lap.  Most humans, for their part, don’t mind and actually enjoy the close bond they have with their dog, even if he is the canine version of a helicopter parent.  So how do you know if your dog is simply a doting canine companion who worships the ground you walk on (especially if you have treats,) or is suffering from bonafide separation anxiety.  What’s the difference?

  Dogs with separation anxiety tend to bark, howl, whine, or even yelp while the owner is not home. They tend to be destructive, and will chew up just about anything, including door frames, clothing, couches, pillows, or even their own crate. When they chew their crate it is usually in attempt to escape, which dogs with separation anxiety are good at doing.  (source)

Sometimes, a dog who chews furniture or tears up the house when the owners leave him home alone may be simply bored or possessed of excess energy (due usually to the owner underestimating the amount of physical or mental stimulation their dog requires.)  Or he may be suffering from the more insidious separation anxiety.  Now that I know a little more than I used to (I still have a lot to learn, but who doesn’t?) I think people take it for granted when they have had an “easy” dog.  They have maybe had a dog that had no behavioral trait that they considered problematic.  Then they are surprised/dismayed when they get a dog that has behavioral issues they don’t like or have never encountered with their previous dogs. Some people, even people who have had dogs before, don’t always realize that a lot of the things we expect of dogs (like long periods of isolation/separation from their “pack”, which would be their human family in this case) are not a natural part of doggie genetic make-up, and sometimes need to be taught or socialized into the dog.  If you think your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you may want to contact a vet or trainer for help dealing with the issue.

To sum up, the best thing a dog lover (owner) can do for their dog is to get them used to all types of people, places, things, and circumstances as early as possible.  This is your best defense against not only common behavioral complaints, but also against more serious issues like separation anxiety and even unexpected dog bites!

Also keep in  mind, dogs typically don’t generalize well.  Often, when someone claims their dog doesn’t like a certain “type” of person (a person of a particular sex, race, age, etc.) it is simply because the dog was simply not exposed to this type of person enough, especially during the most formative socialization period.  Take your puppy or dog with you whenever you can, and try to make the experiences he has with new people, places, and things good experiences so he can build good associations.  This is a very basic tenet of Learning Theory (Behaviorism) and how dogs learn.

Puppies are not only widely believed to be in a sensitive period, biologically, but are encountering many very important things – people of all types, dogs apart from their littermates, sights, sounds etc. – for the first time, which, from a Pavlovian conditioning perspective, is noteworthy, as significant experiences of both negative and positive variety are sometimes indelible. So it behooves us to “pad” puppies with good experiences regarding things we want them to like, because inevitably life will throw them bad experiences. (Jean Donaldson, source)

So just bear these things in mind the next time you see your dog do something you may not like.  He was not born with a built-in set of rules for living with humans.  He may need to be taught what you expect of him, (and to do that it helps to have a basic understanding of how dogs learn.)  And it bears repeating: socialize, socialize, socialize!

Return to Sender

Today I got a package in the mail from a lady I have never met.  Let me clarify that.  I didn’t order anything from anyone and I wasn’t expecting a package.  But there it was, with my name and address and a return name and address I didn’t know.

It sort of rattled, and I was kinda worried it might blow up in my face or contain an envelope of anthrax or maybe a rattlesnake.  XD  But I was curious and I love getting packages.  SO I opened it.

Inside was four boxes of Frontline for Cats and a note (names changed to protect the innocent*):

Lupee* told me about your cats.  >^..^< Please don’t wash them in Dawn  :)
Use this instead!  :)  Once a month.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Consuela*

Yeah, all those emojis were in there.  Still smiling, I immediately looked up the name on the package on FB, found our mutual friend, Lupee to confirm, and sent Consuela a thank you message.  I assured her that sufficient blood and tears had been shed that I would never again attempt to bathe the cats, and I thanked her for her gift.   I told her, (and now you guys) just how happy it made me that there are still genuinely nice people in the world that would do things for even complete strangers with no expectation of recompense.  It should also be noted, Lupee and Consuela live a continent apart and have never met either.   This was all done long distance.  Apparently they are both fellow animal lovers though, and Consuela had mentioned that DH and I were having a time of it getting rid of our cats fleas.

So today I just want to bask in this little warmness that comes from having good friends- even ones I have never met- and try to pass it on one day.  Return to Sender.  

Peace

 

Shut up…You don’t have OCD

I have written about OCD before…quite a bit, since I have lived with it in varying degrees since I was a child.  I’m not talking cutesy perfectionist shit.  Real obsessive compulsive disorder requiring real treatment.

I came across this article on Facebook today, and I only hope it gets the reads it deserves.  As I have mentioned before, and what is concisely stated in the article by an actual doctor  (if my word isn’t enough):  OCD differs from idiosyncratic quirks and/or having an obsessive personality in that it causes actual distress to the sufferer and oftentimes interferes with their ability to function on a day to day basis in a normal fashion. (One example-which is not to say all people with OCD would manifest in this way: have you ever been late to work because you wanted to be sure the stove was off even though you stood there looking at the stove knob clearly in the off position?  Your brain still sends you signals of doubt and stress so much so that you can’t even believe your eyes.)

“‘Obsessive’ is a personality trait. It doesn’t get in the way of your functioning, it’s something you prefer. What people are meaning to say is, ‘I am obsessive rather than OCD,’ ” says Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International OCD Foundation. “You’re now mixing a distressing psychological disorder with a personality preference, and when you mix them, you lose the severity of the disorder.”

With OCD, there are obsessions (unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that repeat in a person’s mind) and compulsions (acts that a person repeats in order to “get rid” of these obsessions). These compulsions are often done in a desperate attempt to protect oneself from the wave of anxiety the obsessions bring, not because the person actually wants engage in the compulsion. (source)

It’s not even about being oversensitive (although it is insensitive to downplay someone else’s suffering.)  It’s also about awareness.  As stated, there are varying degrees of this illness, and some people can live with it untreated (although they likely have their own personal rituals or adjustments to their lives that allow them to do so, some people may benefit from behavioral modification techniques (supervised by a professional,) and some, like myself, may never feel comfortable enough to be off medication.   Some people suffer in silence for years, ashamed, afraid…generally miserable captives of their own runaway anxiety and relate compulsions designed to alleviate said anxiety.  Howard Hughes, American aviator, engineer, industrialist, film producer and director (1) (2), was notorious for his bizarre behavior which was eventually attributed to OCD.

People with OCD, we’re not crazy (although we certainly feel like we are going crazy sometimes.)  There is nothing “wrong” with us, at least nothing that should be stigmatized or judged.  I really view it as no different from someone who must take insulin everyday to survive.  My body lacks a specific chemical/chemical reaction that most “normal” people have.  It may not be preferable, but it’s how it is, and I feel lucky to live in a time where there are medications to help me manage this issue.  However, even in this age, there are some people that have a startling lack of knowledge about a fairly prevalent illness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD affects about 2.3% of the United States population age 18 to 54 years (ie, approximately Americans). An additional 1 million children and adolescents have the disorder. (source)

The point is that, undiagnosed people who suffer from this likely feel alone, confused, and afraid, so instead of people being glib or using OCD as the punchline in some kind of joke, wouldn’t it be better to try to help by spreading awareness and offering assistance?

I’d also like to point out that as with many “mental illnesses” in this country, people who suffer from OCD are not usually a danger to anyone, except for maybe themselves if they feel they can no longer handle their anxiety and the resultant compulsive behaviors.

Anyway, I can’t think of a neat way to wrap this up so I’ll just say, unless you’re feeling particularly distressed by your obsessions or quirks, (in which case, I feel for you and the are people who can help,) you don’t have OCD so stop telling people you do.

What’s in a name?

I’ve been preparing to get my business license and launch my dog training business.  But I am finding myself stumped when it comes to choosing a name.  It should be easy, right?  Some people said just use my name (Jane Smith’s* Dog Training.)  Not only is that kinda boring, but I have other reasons for not wanting to do so.  I have, however, been advised not to choose anything to generic or general (a friend of mine who is also a trainer is constantly having to threaten other people who “come up with” and try to use her business’s name because it is so obvious.  For this reason, I have considered including just my initials in the name.  I have come up with some possibilities– one that may appeal to my area’s demographic in terms of southern appeal (Downhome Dog Training), and some that sound very high brow, albeit still rather generic, (Excel Dog Training), some designed to elicit a sort of emotional connection with the increasing desire for more progressive dog trainers over traditional compulsion based training, while also implying a manageable basic level training (KinderTrain (Is it Kinder with a short vowel or long?)) and even some that are supposed to appeal mainly to people’s sense of whimsy (Hot Diggity Dawg Training.)

Maybe I should just call it Cujo Academy.  Can I get sued for that?

XD

This dog is ready to learn!

This dog is ready to learn!