Congratulate her.

I didn’t want to make this about women. Because just about everyone we see everyday is working hard to create something. But lately some women in my life have just been hitting the ball out of the park. They’re amazing, and I don’t think they get enough credit, and more importantly, women do not encourage women. Women tend to be not only self deprecating, but also more judgemental of other women than they are of men. We have inherent biases that keep us from congratulating, and really truly and vocally encouraging other women in our lives.

 

So today, I am congratulating all of them. The “hers” in my life that inspired this post. Without specifically naming them, lest I divulge something that they didn’t wish should be posted online, and also for fear of forgetting any one of the “hers”; I will simply be alluding to them and what I think is so great about them. In an era where we are very obviously regressing in this great country, voting into power someone who is not only openly disrespectful toward us, but undoubtedly will take measures to make our lives more difficult than they already are as women, I think we, and our supportive male allies are our biggest hope for progress.

 

To the ones who are successfully running their own businesses – taking what they love to the next level – animals, food, photography, writing. You are bringing what you love, to others in your own unique light – organizing workshops ¬†to engage people, doing interviews with people for projects that you’ll eventually release and will be a raging success, writing to engage children, getting children to engage with abused animals, sharing your recipes for food and for success – you are doing wonders for the human race using things that you love. You are brave to do this, and to not stick with something that only gets you a steady paycheck without nurturing your soul. Take that, and run with it onto braver things!

 

To the ones who are pursuing degrees or studying for a milestone exam – You are working hard, and it is visible. You have voiced how LONG you have been doing this, and you’re ready for it to be over. It will be over. Soon. And you’ll emerge victorious ;), brave, and successful, and you’ll have that job or that degree, and it’ll be amazing. Just brave on, a little more. You can do it. You’re amazing.

 

To the ones who are teaching – I can think of noone more qualified mentally and emotionally to impart wisdom to the next generation. (Old, much?) Yours is a difficult job, and one that you do well. Yours is the most valuable role in society. It shames me to think that all I do all day is sit at a computer writing code that will only ever so slightly REALLY impact a living, breathing soul in a meaningful way.

 

To those getting married as I write this ūüėȬ†– The wedding is for others, the marriage is for you. You have been so much more patient, accepting, and loving throughout the preparations than I was for my wedding. You are so involved, and you want to make everyone happy. That is f*cking EXHAUSTING, and you are doing an amazing job. I wish I had your strength, your beauty, and your grace. I hope your weddings are wonderful, and I hope your marriages are STELLAR!

 

To women in tech – Much as I love and support you, I think there is enough material about you already. So I am leaving you out of this one. This is about the non #femgineers in my life who are beyond amazing, and we do not talk about enough.

 

For those people who have talked insecurities with me, and I have shared mine with them. It is hard to remember how superbly wonderful you are in ALL other facets of life, than the one you’re insecure about, when you’re feeling like crap. But every time you find yourself engrossed in that one small slice of the pie, come back to this post, and remember that someone thinks that you are successful, wonderful, beautiful, and LOVED. AND you are drop dead gorgeous! Nobody’s life is what it appears on social media, and everyone wishes they had something that YOU have.¬†So, walk like that, talk like that, and BE that way!

 

To all these amazing girls – your work, your choices, your souls, – a pinch of each one, blended together is a beautiful seasoning that makes you your own unique form of rare. So even though I just made you sound like a well seasoned steak, I think every one of you is a wonderful human being, acing all walks of life, and breathing life into a race that is slowly and surely writing itself off to technology and bad voting decisions. I congratulate you, and I thank you for being my friends!

 

Trained?

Growing up in India I had a love-fright relationship with dogs. (Pick your jaw up. We all grow up only at 30, and sometimes never.) These changes were not frequent, but depended on those around me, and of course on the dog itself. (No matter how much you love them, always make an informed approach, or no approach.) If there was a person in my close and constant surroundings that was extremely scared of dogs, somehow being the fool that I am, I would be scared too. Remove this person from my surroundings, and this would eventually change to my default state – I love you dog. I don’t care what flea bitten, diseased situation you come from – you must be loved.

Anyway, a question I heard a little too often (I attribute some of these occurrences to myself too), was “Is he/she trained?”.

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Who’s askin?

Now as a pet parent my instinct lies in responding with “to/for?”. Until I raised my very own bundle of crazy I never realized that maybe what the people in my land are trying to ask the dog community in general every time they stop of their members¬†is, “Is he/she tame?”

A dog can be trained to Sit, Stay, Hug (yes, my fabulous boy knows how to Hug is parents), Roll over, Search and to Rescue. Which subset of these is the right answer¬†to “Is he/she trained?” When is a dog considered “trained” enough for that answer to be “Yes”?

But is he/she¬†tame? ¬†India has a lot of stray dogs. They are much less now since awareness about Spay/Neuter and Rescue is very prevalent, and many groups are working tirelessly to increase this awareness, and to increase adoptions. So it is most likely that a dog on the street who has a human leashed to him/her is tame. He/she may or may not know any commands, in which case yes maybe some training is in order, but this dog is tame. And I think this is where the confusion of tame/trained stems from. It’s even more confusing that many strays are tame. Many strays are also “trained” meaning they know one or two commands atleast.

Is your dog child “trained”?

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Adopted, Tame, Trained, Spoiled, and Loving it!

Fun little confusing question! I have to say we humans sometimes are neither tame, nor are we trained to do anything useful. In Dwight Schrute’s words “We need a new Plague.”

 

{Photo Non Sunday} The case of the missing Grumpus Maximus

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We have missed two Photo Sundays and we are sorry! We will also be missing this next one. June and July are turning out to be pure insanity but we do have lots of pupdates! We will have them to you soon! In the meanwhile, have a great long weekend, stay safe and keep all paws indoors during the fireworks!

No Shit! {Reasons to Pick up after your Dog}

Have you read that funny bit about how if aliens were watching us and saw us humans lift and bag the excrement of our dear dear fur children they’d think that they’re actually the superior species ? News Flash! They are the superior species. In every way. This shouldn’t be reason enough to leave it lying around.

Green Bag image courtesy http://notesfromadogwalker.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dog-poop-bags.jpg

Green Bag image courtesy http://notesfromadogwalker.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dog-poop-bags.jpg

So, why deal with this crap on a daily basis ? I have a few theories!

Dogs eat each other’s output materials. And that is how most diseases are transmitted. Virus, bacteria, intestinal parasites and other worms jump from pup to pup through the poop. It is cheaper and less painful for everyone to just invest in some bags and pick up after our¬†dogs. Pick up bags are easily available at most pet and home stores. If not, your grocery store¬†shopping¬†bags will suffice ¬†too. If you are more of a paperbag person, that is great, but one odd large shopping trip can be done using the plastics to load up on¬†your pick up bags. Now, if that has not scared you enough, you know the disease transmittal and all to your furkid, and you’re usually more frightened by things that can harm you as opposed to those that can harm¬†your pup then we can’t be friends and why are you reading my blog, but there are “crapbourne” diseases ¬†that are contagious to you from you pup too. All ears? Read up on Giardia.

Sidebar: I realize that it can be argued that I’m being environment unfriendly by encouraging the use of plastic bags to pick up droppings that are perfectly biodegradable and natural and all that other good stuff- but those droppings contain microbes that will¬†eventually result in heavy water pollution and cause disease like I’ve already explained. With Florida’s rains and flash floods, it is not uncommon for ¬†water bodies to be contaminated by pet waste run off. So recycle extra or do whatever you need to do including purchasing biodegradable pet waste bags if you can afford¬†to, but pick it up.

Your daily bag of crap can tell you if your dog needs medical attention. Inconsistency, presence of foreign materials or blood, odor etc.. It’s all there. Pay attention ¬†to this $hit! It can tell you about your dog’s health. Many vets will accept these as fecal samples. So if you notice anything strange, be sure to drop some off at your Vet’s office the same day. (Some tests need to be done within a few minutes¬†and this won’t work.)

Next – just plain civic sense. Would you want to step in something? No? Others don’t either. Nor do their dogs. Well.. that might be questionable but really how would you feel if your dog went and rolled in another dog’s output and then you had a stinky mutt you needed to wash right before you had to go to work on a hurried weekday morning?

{That ain’t enough – give me more.} Well – you can be fined.¬† And why shouldn’t you be? Practically every place that you are allowed to take your leashed, well behaved dog, and also the local dog park is equipped with pet waste stations. Your tax dollars pay for all this. Use it. As for apartment complexes – these too have waste stations. Your pet fee funds these. Use them.

Leon County’s Animal Control Ordinances have a specific mention of waste removal

Sec. 4-43. Removal of animal waste.permanent link to this piece of content

(a)

It shall be unlawful for any owner of an animal to fail to remove any feces deposited by his or her animal on public walks, recreation areas, public streets, or private property other than the premises of the owner of the animal.

(b)

This section shall not apply to disabled persons accompanied by a service animal used for assistance in accordance with the law.

Penalties for violations, as per the ordinance are $50,  $100 and $250 for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd violation respectively. Please look up your county ordinances for these numbers but these should give you a general idea.  Just to put things in perspective,  a box of 700 pick up bags costs on amazon costs $14.99. These are not biodegradable though.

That is all I have but I hope it is enough.

My quest for the image of a big green bag brought me to this wonderful article on being a dog walker. My favorite line is “Bad moods evaporate on impact.”.

Bonus for making it through my very pedagogical, self righteous rant РSnag some fun tips for a vacay with your furkid in Florida!

We made one such trip yesterday. Check out adoptable Debow enjoying the beach with his beach buds!

Debow's first trip to the beach. Will you be his forever home that takes him to more ?

Debow’s first trip to the beach. Will you be his forever home that takes him to more ?

Born to retrieve (Melon and KMan are already in their forever homes)

Born to retrieve (Melon and KMan are already in their forever homes)

Door.

It was a deep shade of blue. Much like the ink we used in school. On the top in gold were the numbers 4208. The handle was a rusted shade of the same gold. It was ajar. She had to go in.

She walked into a modestly done living room. An old couch, but soft, stood against the wall, and faced the TV. Amongst a few DVDs on the bookshelf near the TV was the Hunger Games Trilogy, The Secret, and Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me?”. Good read, she thought. The living room smelled of Vanilla. A delicious smell that goes well with the crisp Fall air, she would realize later.

Gingerly, she took a few more steps into the next room. She was greeted by a familiar set of dark brown eyes. They were smiling. They belonged to a familiar expression – one that was expecting her. They hugged, but it felt like nothing.

“Listen, I need to tell you something.” said she, with concern in those eyes, folding that bright yellow blanket that she refused to go to bed without, years ago. She wondered if it still smelled the same.

“What? ”

“You will feel so homesick that you will want to die.”

She was puzzled.

“But I want you to know, that slowly, you will meet people with no connection to your past, and you will realize- This is my life now.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

“Homesickness is much like every other sickness – it bothers you for a while, depletes ¬†you, and moves on to the next person.”

Her dark brown eyes filled with tears.

“Would you like something to drink?”

No answer.

“Ma’am? We have coke products, and beer and wine for purchase. This is a cashless flight.”

Slowly regaining consciousness she came to terms with her surroundings and ordered a coke. “Damn it, I must have been knocked out. There is still hours to go until JFK. I had the weirdest dream.”

“Really, what was it?” He asked.

“Nothing, I guess. Do you realize what a huge change this move is going to be?”

“Oh, you’ll be fine! And you’ll visit. And I’ll visit.”

“Yes Dad, but nothing will ever be the same again.”

 

Yesterday’s daily prompt was “Door“. This post is one that uses that to quote lines from a film I watched on the way back from the west coast that had me in tears more than once¬†–Brooklyn. It has scenes, feelings, emotions that I bet every immigrant understands- experiences that change an individual, make them see things differently, understand, comprehend and be changed human beings. Even though set in the 1950s, all of it applies even today.

 

Snickers.

My bestest  friend in the whole world sent this to me on whatsapp last week.

imageShe said “This made me think of you Fatts!”.

She is a few hours ahead of me in time and so I read this when I had barely surfaced during the wee hours of my Eastern US Time. But I went back to it later and laughed uncontrollably.

If I had a dollar for the number of times we snickered¬†unnecessarily in school, I’d have a dog rescue of my own by now, and it wouldn’t need donations. Ofcourse, no laughter is unnecessary. All laughter is good, always laugh with an open heart I say, but you know when your teacher’s trying to tell you something respectable about the Quit India Movement, or something serious, really, then put a lid on the snickering. Or don’t, if you’re me, or her. Little secret, she found Lord Curzon cute, in 8th grade. I deemed the whole observation unholy ūüėČ But still, we snickered.

“Truman, was a very nice man”,¬†was¬†something that was ok to write in your class test when asked “What was the Truman Doctrine?”. And we snickered.

There was also the pointless application of Lakme body lotion due to the sudden, unexpected bout of dryness that always, accompanied every Marathi lesson, specially if there was a new kind of Lakme on the shelves. We were deemed shameless, and soul-less, and irreligious, and hence hopeless. And we snickered.

When made to stand outside with the classroom door shut, during Marathi, because we were distracting even when punished, we snickered. To take things to a whole new level, three out of the four punished, conspired against the fourth to send her flying through the closed door, to create some sort of unnecessary, explosive, distraction from the main plot of the Marathi story that the good children were taking in; and when she flew thew the door, we snickered.¬†(Don’t worry the door didn’t shut fully, so it didn’t hurt.)

It was also imperative to introduce our 8th grade Math teacher to the tunes of “Salmon Khan”, by running up to her and shoving an old audio cassette in her face, hoping for a small increase in the next test’s grade. Ofcourse, we snickered!

Then again, it was not abnormal, to stand up and dance to Ricky Martin’s Cup of Life that was playing in your head (“alay, alay, alay!!”) when said math teacher turned around to write on the board, and we snickered; and she turned back around because she caught sight of our very unstill shadows on the blackboard amongst geometrical shapes, and we rapidly took to our seats, and we snickered.

To expect a herd of 50 teenage girls to stop chatting, and snickering, just by your mere presence at the classroom door, is the definition of expecting too much from life. But yet they tried, they all tried, and we snickered.

Some tried harder than others, they used their words, “I am i-standing here, and i-still you are talking?”; and we were silenced, but in that silence, we snickered.

The same teacher once rescued a cat, hid it in her saree, and brought it to class (my grown up self loves her even more). We were good to the cat, but we were also thirteen, and the thought of a grown woman, our teacher sneaking in an “i-scared, hissing” cat, was incomprehensible, and we snickered.

As lead singers during 10th grade’s assembly, every effort was made to start the day’s hymn the wrong note, and every effort was made, not to snicker. The 8th graders watched us as we mis-sang the hymn, they grinned, but we didn’t snicker. It got so uncontrollable that one of us needed to walk out, to snicker.

St. Mary's 2000. yes, that's how old we are.

St. Mary’s 2000. yes, that’s how old we are.

Most of us “i-still” laugh with open hearts, but every laugh is a little stifled, unlike those unnecessary snickers. She said it so well when she said, “Fatts, I am not even trying to be an adult, but it is happening. Adult things are happening.”.

My best friend, my heart, I understand so well. But I know you are still childlike, and I am too. Just remember, to always .. snicker ūüėČ

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Beef.

Going to play on the word a little today. Two unrelated things. Both, Beef.

Cows. Animals. Four legged creatures. I’ve decided to make a conscious decision to try, and really try, not to eat animals with four legs. This may sound entirely ridiculous and also beg the argument “Why four legs? Chickens and fish have feelings too! You are still a horrible person.”. Maybe. But this is my starting point. ¬†Animals that have both eyes in the front of their head, and can look at me, and show me puppy eyes..¬†will not be my beef anymore.

I’ve struggled with being a hypocrite for sometime. Please note, this is my evaluation of myself. This does not mean I extend this evaluation to anyone else. Everyone has a right to feel what they feel, and make decisions. Human emotions, and our thought process is undoubtedly the most complicated thing in existence, and I am not about to begin to draw conclusions for other people and their courses of action. Or to judge them. This is about me. Stone cold narcissism served up hot and fresh.

Yes, my hypocrisy. Look at these posts from Ricky Gervais’s FB page. I love him. I love him so much because he loves animals, and he is funny, and has the most exaggerated most infectious laughter you will every hear, AND he is the creator of The Office. Really do digress now don’t I? Oh.. also watch “An Idiot Abroad”. Love him. But I ¬†love Karan¬†more ūüôā

and

Now I realize these are giraffes. But you get the picture, right?

I have never been able to condone the act of shooting an animal (or killing it in anyway). But who am I to condone or not condone if my shopping cart consists of beautifully ground beef, or bacon, or anything else that someone else killed for me to eat? Therein lies my hypocrisy. There is a huge disconnect in my ignorant mind between what’s in the supermarket, and how it got there. So much so, I have toyed with the idea to give hunting a try, to see if I have the courage to go through the whole process and then enjoy that meat. I know however, that if you gave me a gun, and asked me to shoot a living thing, I would not have the testicles to do it.

That’s part one – my decision to not consume four legged creatures as food. Nothing religious, nothing “Indian”, nothing compassionate nor preachy. Just my decision to try and refrain.

The other beef. My beef with something I see. Bone of contention. ¬†Please note, the below is 100% unrelated to the above. It’s just two highly different, unrelated things that are stewing in my very active mind at the very same time.¬†

I’ve been seeing a¬†post¬†overshared on FB that says something to the effect of not needing religion to tell you right from wrong. And that if you can’t tell right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.

I realize there is a bunch of people who advocate that one needs religion to tell right from wrong. Having landed myself in a “discussion” with someone who studies religion and found me, the totally un-religious wandering “Hindu” as his neighbor; I have been told first hand that if I don’t have a religion to tell me right from wrong, I might accidentally end up butchering another human being.

I don’t care who is religious and who is not. Whatever helps a human being be kind, compassionate and good to those around them, whether religion, or plain common sense, is great. Everyone needs something to believe in and keep them sane. I do not argue for religion. I do not argue against religion. What I do argue against is dual living. Let me explain.

Going to the temple, or church, or doing 17 rituals a day, or abiding by a holy book (no matter what that book is), wearing special rings, observing certain days of vegetarianism or starvation is all good, as long as you don’t forget to be kind, decent, and empathetic to those around you. People IN your daily life. What is the meaning of worship, if your daily dealings are not those that involve actually helping¬†the human beings (and animals) around you? ¬†And by this I do not mean contributing to a temple or church fund to help someone in that community that needs it because the temple or the church or the priest or the brahmin or the brahmin’s mother said so. I also do not mean sending a bouquet of flowers, or a meal to a family who just lost someone. Yes those are compassionate things. They help. But they’re also the “proper” thing to do and if that is the reason for doing them, and people¬†in one’s immediate surroundings become invisible because one is so engrossed in the “proper” things to do, I take issue with that. What happened to plain and simple rolling up your sleeves and just helping when you see a situation that needs help, or an empathetic message, or a genuine hug? Something that no person or institution told you is necessary. Something that is not the “proper” thing to do as decided by a society that runs on a bunch of principles taken from ancient “religious” writings and then distilled over and over for human convenience?

So¬†while I believe that to tell right from wrong I need basic common sense, and not necessarily just empathy, like the post says, I agree with the post in a broader sense meaning empathy is important, whether you’re religious, or not.¬†¬†I see no point in spending all of that time engaging in rituals or following a “religion” if it makes me blind to the people around me. What good is that “religion” ?