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Sam Dobson Writes: March 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who's Feeling Lucky?

Well, I didn't win the lottery last night. I know, surprise, surprise. My chances were pretty much zero, but I couldn't resist. We were talking about it at work over the weekend. The Mega Lotto had gone up to $363 million dollars. Holy crap! I can't even begin to think what I would do with my share after taxes. Of course, I wasn't expecting to win. Especially since the Mega Lotto is not just for California residents but also includes 42 other states. Nevertheless, I scrounged together a couple bucks in change and bought a few tickets when I went to pick up my Redbox movie.

I didn't win, but neither did anyone else. I feel the cat-like smile stretch across my face as I type this. Gambling is fun. Not like the "gamble away your life savings on the horses" type of gambling, just the occasional trip to Vegas with a specified budget or the occasional $1 lotto ticket. It's exciting. Even though I know I am not holding the winning ticket, I carefully check my numbers against the winning numbers. Someone has to win, and since I had bought a ticket, that person could technically be me. So why not buy a ticket now and then?

Can you imagine having that kind of money? I can't even fathom where it would all go. I'm not a greedy person. I don't believe I have to be rich to be happy, financially comfortable will do just fine. But who wouldn't want to win the lotto? I hear that most people who win become bankrupt from over extending their winnings. You know, buying a multi-million dollar house that they can't afford the property taxes on for the rest of their life or falling for the many investment scams that come out of the woodworks to prey on these winners. Stuff like that. I think I would be smart about it, after all, my boyfriend is a financial advisor in training.

A comfortable house that I could buy outright and keep up the tax payments on, even after the winnings are gone. A new car, mine is pretty much a piece of crap. Spoil my family some, who wouldn't? I would definitely donate, maybe buy a ranch somewhere and start a rescue organization. I would save for my future kids' futures. With a couple hundred million dollars, I think I would be able to do a lot. Invest in myself, maybe fund my own publishing company. Ahh, sounds magical!

What would you do with $500 million? That is now the winning pot for the Mega Lotto since no one won last night. Makes you  want to scrounge up some extra change lying around the house and go buy a ticket, doesn't it? I probably will. You can't win if you don't play, ladies and gentlemen.

Good luck!
Sam

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Monday, March 26, 2012

You are Beautiful!

Good Morning Loyal Readers,

I'm sure you are all thrilled to be starting the work week. Just teasing. I hope you had a good weekend. Mine sucked, to be honest. Aside from working all weekend, the only highlight was a date with my boyfriend on Friday night. We had a lovely dinner out, with just the right amount of wine, and we saw 21 Jump Street. I hadn't been out to see a movie in a while, too expensive, but we had been saving two tickets we received over the holidays. It just seemed like a good night to cash them out. I picked the movie, having heard it was really funny. Jonah Hill and Tatum Channing did not let me down. It was very funny and I was laughing for most of the movie.



It was a struggle though, my focus was elsewhere. The opening scene is Jonah Hill getting rejected by a beautiful girl back in high school. My boyfriend leans over to me and whispers that he cannot believe this girl is in a movie. Confused, I ask him who she is. Big mistake. He replies she is a girl he used to "hang out with". He went so far as telling me her name, which of course I internet stalked later and he wasn't mistaken, this was the same girl. Lovely, something for me to mull over for weeks. Nevertheless, the laugh-out-loud movie helped to drown out my misery. The second the movie was over, I was pulled back to reality.


Ugh. There just really isn't another way for me to describe what I was feeling or what I thought about the whole situation. My very sweet boyfriend knew something was wrong, the bubbly ambiance of the date was gone and the quiet brooding had taken its place. During the silent car ride home he apologized for bringing her up and asked if I was mad. Of course I wasn't mad. What was there to be mad about? How dare you have had relations with other girls before you even knew I existed! Ridiculous, but I was hurt and didn't have the energy to attempt to explain it to him.


My boyfriend is not only incredibly sweet and thoughtful, but he is also very good looking. He has been described by some of my friends as a Ken doll. In the past I have always steered clear of pretty guys. I never wanted to be in one of those mismatched relationships where clearly one partner is no where near as good looking as the other. Sounds very shallow, doesn't it? Well, I am being honest. I am one of those people who believes everyone is beautiful, that beauty is more about who the person is rather than what they look like. However, I am much harder on myself. I have never felt pretty enough to be on my boyfriend's arm. I know, woe is me. Get over it, Sam! That's what I keep telling myself, but I never listen. I will dwell on it until it slowly fades away to the back of my mind, then something will happen and it will pop right back up again.


I know it's pathetic to compare myself to his previous girlfriends, who all appear to be the complete opposite of me. I should look in the mirror and be happy with that girl staring back at me. When my boyfriend tells me that I am beautiful and that he doesn't want anybody else, I should believe him. My insecurities need to take the back seat and let me enjoy my relationship and my life. We all have our insecurities, whatever they may be, and we all struggle to overcome them. I need to learn to let the past go and stop comparing myself to girls who have failed where I am currently succeeding. You don't have to tell me, I know it's unhealthy to constantly focus on your self percieved flaws. We should be focusing on our strengths.


We are all beautiful in our own unique ways. It's about recognizing it in ourselves. Look in the mirror and give props to that beautiful person smiling back at you!


Stay beautiful,
Sam

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Why You Should Be Celebrating Champagne Friday

Happy Champagne Friday Everyone!

Champagne Friday? I'm glad you asked. It all started with my husband's new job he started at the beginning of the year. He came home on the Friday of his first week all excited to tell me about what would be our new tradition. His bosses, a married couple, have traditionally done Champagne Friday for years and years, and we have since adopted the concept. Quite simply, Champagne Friday is a celebration.



champagne friday


Some may dislike the idea, stating that champagne is meant for special occasions like engagements or promotions. While I agree that such occasions should be toasted to with champagne, I will argue that champagne shouldn't be limited to such few events. The point of Champagne Friday is to acknowledge your weekly achievements while celebrating the beginning of the weekend. We pop the bubbly, well we saber the bubbly since my aunt has taught us how, and we take turns announcing one accomplishment of the week. This is how we start every Friday night, even if we are planning on simply cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie. 



Champagne Friday is a great way to recognize the hard work and positive outcomes of the dreaded work week, even if the positive is that you simply survived to see another weekend. Some weeks I have a lot to brag about, most weeks I'm just glad it's over and I made it through without pulling my hair out. It's important that we give ourselves credit on a regular basis. Even if sometimes it feels like you aren't doing the best you can, Champagne Friday is a motivator. When I have accomplished something noteworthy, I can't wait to announce it and raise my glass. It's a weekly reminder that I can do better, and that I will do bigger things. And who wouldn't want to start the weekend in such a way?

So, I invite you to adopt our tradition, if even just once. I promise it will make you feel inspired and truly motivated. Pop that champagne and give yourself the credit you deserve. (Click here for a list of my favorite affordable champagnes.)

Cheers to us,
Sam

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Monday, March 12, 2012

It's all about the Money, Honey!

  Happy Monday everyone! I know, I know, Monday's suck. Saying "goodbye" to the weekend and "hello" to the work week is not fun, especially when you had as good of a weekend as I had. It wasn't an extraordinary weekend. There was no big event or crazy partying; I just had a good weekend. Friday night consisted of a failed attempt at a dinner date with my boyfriend. Upon realizing that we would have to wait at least an hour to be seated at any restaurant at 8pm on a Friday night, we went on a mission to find In & Out. Exhausted by our frivolous expedition, we ended the night cuddled up on the couch with a movie. Saturday was a gorgeous day, made complete by barbequing some delicious carne asada on our patio, with an ocean view. We took the dogs to the beach on Sunday, which made for great entertainment. Wrapped up the weekend by attending a comedy show Sunday night. Like I said, nothing spectacular, but a great weekend nevertheless.                  
           
 This was my first stand up comedy show and it was a woman-themed show. There were five female comedians who were all "funny housewives". I wasn't expecting too much, but it was actually pee-your-pants-funny at times. Of course, most of the jokes only women would understand. The last comedian of the night was making jokes about money and the economy. She began to persuade the audience to not worry about money so much, instead go out and have some fun. This notion can be controversial at times. As Americans, we are taught that our goal should be to get a good job where we can make a lot of money so we can have nice things. Saving money is something I battle with constantly. My savings account has experienced a yo-yo effect over the past seven years or so.
           
 I try to save, but life gets in the way sometimes. Having been on my own since I was eighteen, there hasn't been a whole lot of extra money lying around. Aside from the never-ending bills, my savings also falls victim to opportunity. I guess I live my life somewhat according to the motto of the last comedian of the night. If all of my girl friends are going to a concert or going wine tasting, I'll scrap together the cash so I don't miss out. Sometimes you need to go out and dance the night away, not think about money when you hand the bartender another twenty bucks. The experiences you will never forget, like a weekend in Vegas, are worth the extra dough.
           
  I would say that I spend within reason. It's not every weekend I'm out spending tons of money on extracurricular activities. Case in point, the weekend I just had did not consist of any expensive late nights. It also helps that I get buyer's remorse for almost any purchase I make, even the necessary purchases get me worrying. Our clothes dryer died on us and after months of painstakingly hang drying all of our clothes we finally bit the bullet and bought a dryer. I couldn't afford a brand new one so we turned to Craigslist.com. I found a dryer in good condition for a hundred dollars and still it gave me a pang in my side to spend the money. I think I inherited this trait from my financially savvy, penny-pinching grandpa. I am thankful for this though, I'm sure my financial situation would be far worse off if I was not, for the most part, cautious with my money.
           
 I guess it’s about balance. You might not want to blow all your cash if you are planning on living tomorrow and the next day. We need to have financial stability to fund our futures, i.e. getting married, buying a house, having kids. We also need to enjoy ourselves. Don’t be afraid to buy those tickets to see your favorite band or to purchase admission to the amusement park you’ve wanted to visit since you were a kid. Don’t waste your whole life feeling guilty for having a life.


Enjoy yourselves,
Sam

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Man's Best Friend...

     I’ve worked with dogs for about six years now. Not only are we a boarding and daycare facility, we also function as a rescue. We take in homeless dogs and foster them until we can find them forever homes. We pick families based on best fit and the impression that they will care for and love these animals as long as they live. Unfortunately, even the seemingly perfect family can decide to give up their pet for a trivial reason.
           
      When did pets become temporary and disposable? It makes me sad to hear some of the excuses people give to explain why they cannot keep their pet. I have rescued both of my pups, one from a local animal shelter and the other from our rescue group. Under no circumstances would I give up my dogs. A common excuse we hear within the dog community is the loss of a home. While I appreciate the severity of the housing crisis, I can without a doubt say that if I were ever in that predicament, I would be in the back seat of my car, spooning my dogs at night. They are essentially my children. It is my job to protect and care for them and in return, they provide me with unconditional love.
          
     I'm sure some of you may be wondering if I am one of those crazy ladies who dresses up her dogs and feeds them people food from a fork. While I have dressed my little one in a sweater to keep him warm and I do make rice for my boxer when her tummy acts up, I can assure you that I am not one of the crazy ones. In defense of the super neurotic dog owners, although they may be a pain for me to deal with when taking care of their dogs at work, they do take amazing care of their pets. These are not the pet owners who get fed up with their dog's high energy, and instead of exercising him more, they just drop him off at a shelter. These are the people who would pay the $2,000 vet bill if some unexpected illness fell upon their dog. I applaud these dog owners for taking their responsibilities seriously, and then some.
            
   As I said, I would never give up my dogs. I can't imagine dropping them off at a county shelter where they would be given about three days to get adopted before they were euthanized. That is what happens to dogs who wind up at the county shelters for one reason or another. If the shelter employees decide a dog is "too aggressive" they move that dog to the top of the euthanasia list. Because of the ever lacking space for these dogs, even a dog who is simply shy can be labeled "too aggressive" in order to free up more space. The blame is not to be laid on the shelters; they simply don't have enough funding to create more space or to put more effort in to getting these dogs adopted. It's a sad reality that won't be changing anytime soon. I always remind our customers to keep a collar with current contact information on their pets at all times. You don't want your pup getting lost in the shelter system.
           
    Listening to a talk radio station one night last week on my way home from work, Governor Jerry Brown's new California budget plan was being discussed. Of the many funding cuts he has proposed, one will directly affect the animal community. Working for a rescue, this information immediately caught my attention. I decided to feature this information in our monthly newsletter. I have included the blurb from the newsletter in this post so you can educate yourself and others about this potential threat. If you would like to help put a stop to Gov. Brown’s repeal of Hayden Law, go to my facebook.com page for a direct link to the petition.
         
     So, with all of this being said, go home and give your pet a little extra loving tonight, maybe a special treat or an extra belly rub.

Sincerely,
Sam, Hades (the boxer), and Ignatius (the little mutt)

From the Paws March Newsletter:

              The animal community needs your help. For those of you that haven’t kept up on local politics, Governor Jerry Brown is attempting to repeal SB 1785, better known as Hayden Law, which requires shelters to keep stray or lost pets for four to six days before they can be euthanized. This California legislation that went into effect in 1999 does more than just require a holding period. This legislation also requires that shelters post lost-and-found lists for owners who may be searching for their pet. Shelters are also currently required to provide veterinary care for injured or sick animals and mandates that other animals, such as rabbits, be given the same protection and care as dogs and cats. These segments of Hayden Law face the threat of being removed by Governor Brown’s repeal for the 2012-13 California budget.

              If you love animals as much as we do, visit our Facebook.com page for a direct link to the petition to help stop this repeal from happening. It is up to us to protect and fight our animal friends. They give us unconditional love and comfort, the least we can do is sign a petition. Spread the word to fellow animal lovers. Make sure your friends and family are aware of the impending danger to our animal community.

            This is also an important reminder to always keep a collar with identification on your pup! Contact your vet for information about getting your pup chipped to ensure they can be identified by a shelter if they ever become lost. Please don’t allow your pup to become one of the countless dogs to be lost in the shelter system. It’s time for the animal community to take a stand and protect our loyal, animal friends.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Warning: High Maintenance

Good Morning Ladies,

Some may be wondering why I would address this post to "ladies" instead of "ladies and gentlemen". Well, this post is dedicated to ladies everywhere. Still confused? Let me explain...

Chit-chatting with my coworkers yesterday, we were discussing haircuts. A male employee was complaining that he went to a new place to get his hair cut and it cost him $20 instead of the normal $10 range he is used to paying. Of course, we ladies in the room look at each other and simultaneously roll our eyes. If only our haircuts were $20! If you want your hair done right and don't want to risk going to a cheap, chain of hair salons, you will be paying no less than $60 for a simple hair cut. I am not complaining, I love getting my hair done and think it's worth the money if it makes me feel that much prettier.

This talk of male versus female haircuts got me thinking about how much more work it is to be a woman than it is to be a man. If any men are reading this, they are sighing and saying "Oh, please!" My ladies reading this are saying "I know, right?!" I watch my boyfriend get ready for his grown up job and find myself envious of how effortless it is for him to look simply dashing. He showers and shaves whatever stubble may be growing on his face, puts on his suit and spritz on cologne, brushes his teeth and he is out the door. If only it were that easy!

For women, it's a whole other story. Women are high maintenance. I'm sorry girls, there is just no other way to put it. In general, we take a lot of maintenance. Like I was saying earlier, a woman's hair needs up keep. Aside from getting a cut, if you are like me, you require some highlights for added definition. Those highlights need to be touched up about every six weeks. Once you've paid an arm and a leg to get the perfect cut and color, you still have to style it every day at home: curling, straightening, ponytail, up-do, etc. It all takes time and effort.

Next, we work on the face. This is real life, not a romantic comedy where the lead female wakes up looking oh-so-gorgeous. No, real women have to start over every day. Aside from daily maintenance of your skin such as scrubbing, masking, and moisturizing, there comes the appliance of make-up. Whether it's a natural, casual look or a dramatic, out-on-the-town look, it takes time and sometimes talent. Oh, and of course we can't forget to pluck our eyebrows.

If any guys have even bothered to read this far, I am sure they are running away now. Well boys, that's just scrapping the surface of all the work we do to keep ourselves feeling pretty. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. Heck, I don't even bother with half of the ritualistic procedures I have mentioned. I would love to style my hair in those whimsical waves that make any woman look beautiful, but for the life of me, I cannot successfully curl my hair. My current occupation does not require professional attire, so I have taken on a very laidback, even lazy on some days, look. I wear jeans and any t-shirt I don't mind getting dirty. I barely ever do my hair, usually resorting to throwing it up in a bun. I have completely weaned my face off of make-up during the work week. I don't even bother putting my contacts in; I rock my glasses all week long. However, when the weekend comes and plans are made, the glasses come off and the heels come out.

I like to feel pretty, as I am sure most girls do. I don't mind all the work, especially when I know my best friend is going to take on her role as paparazzi all night long. While I find myself complaining now and then about the work it takes to get myself ready to walk out the front door, I will admit that I wouldn't have it any other way. I want to feel comfortable when I am out and about, not wish I had actually plucked my eyebrows when its too late to do anything about it. I guess that's why we torture ourselves. It's not for our men, okay maybe a little bit for them, but more importantly, it's for us. If it takes a little eye make up and a rockin' pair of heels to make you feel pretty, then rock on sister.

So, again, this one is for my fellow women. I salute you ladies who curl your hair every morning, plan out your outfits the night before, and actually shave your legs routinely. Cheers to you girls, for doing what it takes to make yourselves feel beautiful!

Much respect,
Sam

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Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm back!

       Let me start with an apology, to myself and to the very few readers I actually had. When I started this blog it was simply a place to write down what was on my mind when I felt like it. I wasn't very disciplined with it and in no way consistent. Eventually, I hadn't written anything in months. Having felt unaccomplished lately, I was checking up on Facebook when I came across an old friend who regularly posted links to her own blog. Curious, I followed the link and found myself catching up on her well maintained and very entertaining blog. Like turning on a light bulb, I suddenly had a rush of inspiration.


       I have been trying to get a job in the seemingly shrinking publishing industry since I graduated college last May. The few jobs available that I send my resume to, I never hear a peep from. The hopeless feeling had started to set in and upon reading my friends blog I realized that I am going to have to make things happen for myself. My generation of college graduates doesn't have the luxury of a bountiful job market. Many of my fellow graduates have had to find success on their own, many becoming entrepreneurs. I may be following in their footsteps.


       The first step for me is to write, write, and write some more. You would think that four years of writing college papers would have engrained the principle of discipline in my brain, but it looks like I am going to have to learn those good habits all over again. I spend countless hours browsing Pinterest and stalking old classmates on Facebook. I need to be taking advantage of those outlets instead of becoming a slave to them. Look at me, getting all preachy.


       Maybe one day I will look back on this part of my life and laugh. Maybe all it takes is initiative and perseverance. I imagine I'd feel ever more accomplished if I achieved my goals on my own. Graduating college felt absolutely amazing. I doubt I would have felt as much joy as I did if I hadn't done it on my own, without any help from my parents. I can't wait to have that feeling again, to be proud of myself.


      So, again, I am sorry to my very few readers and to myself. I will strive to be the writer I know I can become. I hope to better myself as a writer and entertain my handful of readers. Feedback is always welcomed.


Cheers to moving forward,
Sam
      

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