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Sam Dobson Writes: April 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Everyone has a Secret

Happy Sunday Funday Everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday, whether you're church going or bar hopping. Unfortunately, I am busy catering to seventy or so dogs today. Lucky for me, I can enjoy my favorite part about Sundays no matter where I am as long as I have internet access: Post Secret. Every Sunday a fresh batch of wonderfully unique secrets are posted on postsecret.com. If you aren't already aware of this site, I suggest you check it out.

I was first introduced to this site about five years ago by my creative writing teacher. He was hopeful it would bring us some inspiration. Ever since then I have given the site my undivided attention every Sunday. I very carefully read each secret, taking it all in. I find it all very fascinating, the public declaration of people's most private thoughts and actions. Of course, the only reason this public display of secrets works is because it is anonymous.

Every Sunday I read the secrets. Some are sad and heartbreaking, others are hopeful and uplifting. There are plenty that make me cringe or feel sick to my stomach, especially the ones that are just disgusting in nature. I am a sucker for the romantic ones, and find a slight satisfaction in the spiteful ones. Some make me laugh out loud, while others leave me jaw dropped.  Frequently I will contemplate which secret I would dare to send in. Despite the ponderings, I have never actually sent in a secret. What secret would I even allow to leave my private thoughts through my pen? What kind of pretty design would get my secret posted for the entire world to see, making me feel incredibly vulnerable?

It never happens though. Instead, I revel in all the other secrets and wonder who the people are behind them. The idea is genius; giving people an outlet to where they can anonymously reveal their deepest, darkest, and most intimate secrets. It's beautiful in a way, this collection of private thoughts. I would argue that it may even be therapeutic. In that case, I urge you all to not only check out the site when you have a minute (Sunday secrets are kept up all week until a new batch is posted the next Sunday), but maybe even to send in a secret of your own if you're brave enough.
I'm off to indulge in the wonderfully, mysterious secrets of others.

Your secrets are safe with me,
Sam



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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adoption is for Lovers

Happy news people! My handful of readers out there who actually read each post (props to you guys!) may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted about one of my favorite creatures in the world, dogs, and a potential threat from Governor Brown's proposed California State Budget. In case you need a refresher or if you just clicked the "like" button instead of reading it (still appreciated, by the way) Gov. Brown proposed a reversal of Hayden Law in order to "save" the state some more money. Currently, Hayden Law protects our homeless animal friends by, among other things, requiring shelters to provide medical care to the sick or injured and ensure that the animals get at least four to six days before being euthanized.

Talk about Douche Bag of the Year!!! As if four to six days wasn't enough of a death sentence, the Gov. has the audacity to allow stressed and overcrowded shelters to euthanize after just a couple of days of receiving an animal. Can you imagine being on vacation and by some unfortunate accident, the pet sitter lets your dog out? The pup ends up at the shelter and by the time you have come home, they have euthanized your best friend at the "okay" from Douche Bag Brown. Anyways, thanks to all the dog and cat lovers out there who wrote angry emails and called assembly members to scold them, both the state Senate and the California Assembly Budget Committees have rejected Douche Bag Brown's proposed repeal of the Hayden Law and will not be included in the budget currently being considered for California.

This is just a small victory for our animal friends. The real battle is public awareness. A lot of people are up in arms because the cities of Orange County are one by one starting to ban pet stores selling dogs and cats. To clarify, businesses that sell puppies for profit are getting the boot. Shelters and licensed breeders are in the clear. Many argue that this ban on retail pet stores is "putting people out of business". This is in no way the intention of these new city ordinances. The reasoning behind these bans stems back to a darker truth. Most of the puppies that end up in the windows of pet stores are purchased by the store owner from puppy mills. The conditions in puppy mills are horrific. The ones that survive to be shipped to upscale pet stores end up cramped in tiny cages until they are purchased for a hefty price. Dogs purchased from pet stores often contract illnesses from being in such tight proximity with dozens of other puppies, all too young to have received more than a vaccine or two.

I support these ordinances. I have always been the one to stop by Wretzel's Pretzels while my friends went to "ooh" and "ahh" at all the cute pups. It just depressed me. I wish I could take them all just give them a better life. Back up to my lottery post...I will buy a huge ranch some day and rescue as many dogs as I can! Many people may even assume they are doing good by "rescuing" a pup from his tiny cage at a pet store, but in reality they are putting money into the puppy mill system. Unfortunately, when you buy a retail puppy your money is most likely funding those awful conditions many come from. Besides, adopting is the better way to go. It's always cheaper than buying from a breeder or retail and you know your money is going back into the shelter or rescue. The dogs from shelters have to be up to date on their shots and spayed or neutered, meaning less work for you! I can't tell you how often we get customers at the boarding facility who have purchased a pup from a pet store and have no knowledge of the puppy vaccines they are supposed to be getting every other week. The best part of adopting is that you can find one-of-a-kind pups with awesome personalities!


Both of my dogs, Ignatius and Hades, are rescues. Wouldn't change a thing about them!

My intention is not to leave you on a depressing note, remember the good we just accomplished! We have saved Hayden Law, ensuring that homeless cats and dogs will have a better chance at finding a forever home. Take that, Governor Douche Bag!

Spread the word: adoption is for lovers,
Sam

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Memories of Home

As those of you who have read my last post already know, I am moving this weekend...again! I have a complicated, love-hate relationship with the act of moving. I hate packing and I absolutely hate having to physically lug heavy stuff from one place to another; however, I love the excitement of moving into a new place. I have fun making it mine, or ours (can't forget about the boy). I don't mind unpacking and organizing because that is the part that makes the new place home. Placing our belongings accordingly and dressing the walls in our photos gives it a touch of our personalities. That is the part I enjoy.

Over the past couple of weeks, once the packing started, I have declared several times that I would be happy if our stuff would somehow teleport to the new place. We would sign papers, write a check, get the keys, and viola! The first night would consist of toasting to new beginnings while cozying up on the couch instead of cleaning and unpacking in sweaty clothes. I guess the work that goes into moving makes it more meaningful, like you've earned it. Moving so many times over the past decade has given me a profound appreciation for the effort and energy that goes into picking your life up and placing it in a different location.

Packing also gives you the opportunity to really go through your stuff. It's a good time to throw away the useless and, quite frankly, just plain trash you have lying around the house. You know you will never see me on an episode of Hoarders. I've moved too many times, made too many trips to the dump and Salvation Army. Another positive of moving, you end up giving to the needy, at least I do. Every time I move I sort through all my clothes, kitchen stuff, etc. Anything that is in good shape and unwanted by myself gets donated. Most of the time it's a good-sized pile of never-been-worn clothes. My houses are always free of clutter.

I wrote a post a little under a year ago about how I am always moving. I was complaining about how I am always under a temporary roof for about a year and then I'm packing again. This roof, I hope to stay under for at least two years. I can't complain, especially about the house we are getting ready to leave. I have always had a roof over my head and sometimes (like the Laguna Beach house we are in now) it's a spectacular house. I have been fortunate enough to live a comfortable life. The many places I've lived are the homes of a lot of good memories. I guess that is why I accept the act of moving. We have a new home waiting for us. Waiting for us to meticulously place our furniture, hang our pictures, and make more memories.

On to the next one,
Sam

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Dysfunctional is Normal

Good Afternoon Friends and Family,

My thoughts have primarily been focused on family lately. Mine is never short on drama, whether it's a petty spat between relatives or a full blown war. I have to believe that every family has some degree of dysfunction. Sure, some are more severe than others but we all have family baggage. I'd say about half the time my family rates a little higher than most on the crazy-scale. No one is to blame, at least not one single person. I'd say the amount of crazy depends on the family as a whole.

How can anyone expect larger families to be lacking of crazy? There is bound to be conflict within large groups of individuals with different personalities, especially those who are forever linked by blood. There is something about family that makes conflict more volatile, not to mention complicated. Alliances form and secrets are told. Bridges are burned and trust broken. Family conflict can do years worth of damage.



The common phrase is "you can't pick your family". This is true, you don't have the power to change your blood line or choose your ancestors. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you don't have options. You do have the decision of how to handle the craziness that is your family. You can humor your crazy, yet charming, aunt who gives you unwarranted relationship advice. You can ignore the snarky comments made by your cynical uncle. You can engage in an all out screaming match with your mother. You make participate in some good old fashion sibling rivalry. You can do what I do, constantly struggle to keep the peace.

Not saying that I am innocent. I've had my fair share of boxing matches with my brother and sister. I've let plenty of bitchy remarks slip past my tongue. I have been involved in more than one major family war. Mostly I keep to myself and when I do become involuntarily involved, I intend to pacify things. Intentions are what really count, right?

When family drama is weighing heavy on your heart, I suggest trying to douse the fire instead of fueling it. Rather than engaging in the madness, help find sanity. It will make your life a little less stressful. Forgive your relatives when they hurt you, they are family after all.  

Dysfunctionally yours,
Sam

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Always Point Pepper Spray AWAY from your Face!

Good Morning Readers,

It's that time again, the time I dread more than anything....moving time. For those of you that know me on a more personal level, you know that I have moved about eleven times over the past seven years!!! I cannot wait until I put the down payment on my first house that I will live in for at least five years. Anyways, we move out by the end of the month. Naturally, I have already started to pack so I don't get overwhelmed with trying to shove everything in boxes at the last minute.

I started yesterday with random stuff, decorations on the fireplace mantel, magnets off the fridge, and cleaning out that junk drawer that everyone has in their kitchen. In the junk drawer I came across a decent sized can of pepper spray. Some of you may be thinking that is strange, but I was the one who had put it there. A year ago, I caught an employee stealing money and upon being fired, he and his girlfriend didn't take it well. My car got keyed several times and I received threats from the girlfriend. So, I bought pepper spray from Big 5 just incase the crazy bitch actually did try to attack me (she was easily twice my size). It was a two pack, one for my key chain and a slightly bigger one that I decided belonged in the junk drawer.

Aside from having crazy people threatening me, that year I was also in class at Cal State Fullerton until 10pm. Walking a mile to your car at 10pm in Fullerton is just sketchy, so the pepper spray had duel purpose. I have always believed in being prepared. My girlfriends have always laughed at me for notoriously carrying a pocket knife in my purse. Some of you may be thinking to yourself right now that I am a crazy lady wielding a knife. Not true, I had a reason for that too. When I was eighteen years old I worked as a waitress at a bar and restaurant called Dukes in San Clemente. Not only did it attract a rather rowdy crowd that would sometimes break out into massive brawls, but I often got off very late and had to weed through the drunks outside to get to my car. So, my boyfriend at the time gave me his pocket knife to carry in my apron...he also taught me how to use it. I got in the habit of keeping it on me, but when I got the pepper spray I decided I could retire the knife. Pepper spray is safer for me to use...or so I thought.

Back to the present, I was cleaning out the junk drawer and came across the industrial-sized pepper spray. I realized that it didn't appear to be locked and thought it was necessary before packing it away in a box. I pushed the trigger on the side, meaning to slide into the locked position. My finger slipped and the next thing I know I have pepper sprayed my kitchen wall. Surprised, yet glad I had it pointed away from me, I grabbed a paper towel and simply wiped down the tiled wall that had been assaulted with the peppery substance. I went back to what I was doing until I realized that I indeed had managed to mess myself up with pepper spray. First, my throat got a tingling sensation and I began to cough uncontrollably. I quickly grabbed a bottle of water and started to chug. Feeling a bit of relief, I locked the pups outside on the patio so they wouldn't inhale the spray as I had done. Soon, my nose started to profusively run and upon wiping it, started to burn! The burning sensation was so bad that I was sure I would have a bright red nose for days! I let the house air out and kept clear of the area until the effects had disappeared.

Well, we know pepper spray straight to the face would be highly effective! I recommend every woman carry one, just as a precaution. You never know when some psycho straight out of Criminal Minds or Laws and Order: SVU will attack you on your way to your car at night. Not trying to freak anyone out, but its true. I took a self defense class the same semester that I had class until 10pm and the teacher did a great job at scaring the hell out of us. Too bad I can barely remember any of the techniques he taught us. I do remember his key phrase, "awareness". He drilled it in our heads to get off our phones and pay attention to what is going on around us. When I made the scary journey from my classroom to my car at 10pm, you can bet I had my pepper spray in my hand and kept my eyes open, scanning my surroundings. Sounds crazy, but I was always prepared for someone to jump out of the bushes. Pepper spray in one hand and car keys in the other.

So a dousing of pepper spray reminded me of why I carry it. It wasn't a fun experience, but after I could breathe again I realized it was kind of a funny story. A funny story with a lesson, always point pepper spray AWAY from your face!

Remember to always be aware,
Sam

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Douche Bag of the Week

Good Afternoon People,

Hope you are all having, or will have once you get off work, a happy Champagne Friday. Mine is going pretty good, except for one little annoyance. It's my day off today, which means I am busy with errands and house cleaning. One of my errands to day consisted of getting dog food, the pups were on empty. Usually I buy my dog food at the small, family-owned pet stores, but today I just happened to be right next to a Petsmart. I parked my car and as I was getting out I immediately hear a yippy sounding bark. I look around to see if someone is walking in with a pooch, but I realize the car to my right has a Miniature Schnauzer inside.

I sigh and walk over to the car. I stick my hand through the inch-sized crack in the window to feel how warm it is inside. Now, I know it's not a hundred degrees out, but it is a nice seventy-two degrees. On a day such as today that feels cool and breezy with just the right amount of sun, the inside of a vehicle with very little air circulation can get very hot. I eye the poor pup who is heavily panting and make a mental note to myself.

The car was already there for who knows how long before I parked next to it. I was in the store for about ten to fifteen minutes, longer than it usually takes me to grab a bag of dog food. However, I have been thinking about switching it up and was browsing through my choices. Once I had decided on a brand worthy of my pup's stomachs, I headed toward the cash register. I politely asked the check out girl if they do anything about dogs being left in cars, perhaps make an announcement to the store that someone's dog is slowly dying in their car. Okay, that may be an exaggeration for this case, but the girl did respond to my apology for being nosey that it is illegal in California to leave your dog in a car. She assured me they would take necessary steps if the owner still hadn't returned to rescue it's dog within a few minutes.

Only slightly satisfied, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I loaded the dog food in my car and thought for a moment. I briefly contemplated smashing the window so the Mini Schnauzer would have all the air he needed. I quickly reminded myself that I didn't want to go to jail and decided on a more civilized course of action. I grabbed a pen and a blank, empty envelope that had at one time contained my pay check. I wrote down the following:

"It's a little too hot to leave your poor dog in the car with only an inch of air. :( Next time I will call animal control."

I placed the nasty note under the windshield wiper where the culprit would be sure to find it. Next, I grabbed a half-empty water bottle from my car and slowly poured some water into the car through the inch-sized opening. The dog quickly came to taste some of the refreshing liquid. Feeling a little more relieved for the trapped dog, I got into my car and carried on my day.  

Some may wonder why I would care so much. It's not like the dog is going to die. Yes, that's true. I'm sure the dog was and will be fine. It's just such a douche bag move. You are parked outside of a Petsmart for crying out loud! One of the few stores that actually welcomes your dog!!!! Why would you leave him out in the car, in the heat with the windows barely cracked when you could take him inside with you while you browsed the toy aisle? It baffles me. I have left my dogs in the car plenty of times. However, the windows are pretty much all the way down and it's never when my car is parked under the sun on a hot day. It has never been more than five minutes, usually to run in and pay at the gas station. Think people! If you wouldn't leave your baby in the car, don't leave your dog in the car!

Class adjourned,
Sam

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keep Calm and Write On

Good Morning Friends,

Not sure if any of you have ever wondered where I got the title for my blog, or even cared, but I am going to explain to you either way. Maybe you thought I was just being clever, simply titling my blog so that it would act as an introduction to each new post. In a way, I sort of was but the title isn't mine. I borrowed the title from one of my favorite Williams Carlos Williams poems:

This is Just to Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I have had this poem come up in a few of my college courses. Amongst all of the famous, intense, and complicated poetry, this one really stuck with me. It's a simple poem and yet there is something so beautiful about it. I have always said it's the small things in life that really count, like a simple note from a man to his wife apologizing for eating what would have been her breakfast. That is my take on literature, poetry, and my blog. I am simply writing what I think and how I feel. There is nothing complicated or drawn out about it. It was one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, who put it best, "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way".  

This is why I love to read and write, why I am a big fan of those important communication units we call "words". There is so much potential in a word, or better yet, in a combination of words. Words can teach a child something new. They can keep track of history and inform on important matters. Of course, they can tell a story or create a new one. Words give us a way to attempt to explain ourselves, our emotions, and our actions. Words are the basis of our communication. Think of how much your brain would hurt if you had all those thoughts building up inside with no way to express them. I'm guessing that would cause quite the headache.

So, I encourage you all to pick up a pen and paper every now and then and just write, whatever is on your mind at that very moment. That is when it works best, when you can write something beautiful. Fresh thoughts work best on paper, it's when you have to force an idea that you usually get crap. What's the best way to do this? Get yourself a journal. I know, it sounds so middle school, but it is the best therapy you can buy for about ten bucks. Use those skills you were first taught back in first grade, when you had to trace the letters on that tan paper. That is one of the most important skills you have, simply to write. Grab a pen, buy a journal, and start writing.

Your welcome,
Sam

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