30 April 2013

Alert Annoyance

The other night we were awakened by alarms on our phones.  It was disorienting because it wasn't the alarm clock sound nor text alert noise.  It turns out that it was an Amber Alert that a child had been abducted in Montana but the car had Washington State plates.

My first thought was "REALLY? Who is able to be 'alert' at four in the morning?"  My second thought was "Well, there *are* people up and on the roads at this hour and what if they did see them?"

As we live near the Canadian border, I imagine we will get these texts from time-to-time but in this instance, we weren't near where the people were headed/lived.  (They were caught in Pierce County, three, almost four counties away = 150 + miles)

I felt a little selfish for being annoyed, as these texts do mean that a CHILD is MISSING.  But certainly, there has to be a better way.

This morning, an article talking about this very thing was in the local newspaper:

State Patrol officials concede that the timing of an Amber Alert text message sent to cell phones across Washington early Sunday wasn’t ideal, but the outcome was.  A 1-year-old boy whom authorities said was taken by his biological parents from his custodial grandparents’ Montana home Saturday night was found safe in Fife Sunday morning, and was scheduled to be retrieved by his grandmother from Child Protective Services Monday.

“We’ve gotten probably about a dozen or so emails or phone calls from people who are unhappy with the timing of (the text alert), and I’m sympathetic with those concerns,” State Patrol Lt. Ron Mead said. “It’s still emerging technology that is far from perfect.” That technology is the federal Wireless Emergency Alert system, which started sending Amber Alerts Jan. 1 in areas where authorities think a missing child might be. Sunday was the first time it’s been used in Washington for that purpose, Mead said.

Sending the new federal alerts is a joint effort between federal, state and local agencies, as well as wireless carriers.
When the State Patrol approves an Amber Alert in Washington, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sends a statewide wireless alert.  Other states have guidelines for which hours of the day the text alerts can be sent, but Washington authorities haven’t yet set such a policy.

They will now, Mead said. “Erring on the side of having no guidance, (the national center) pushed the button,” Mead said. “We hope to have it in place that (future alerts) won’t be going out at 3:30 in the morning.”
The exact restraints are a work in progress, but Mead said a more likely time for messages would be around 6:30 a.m., he said.“The whole purpose of the alert is so we can get the public’s help, and when the vast majority of the public is fast asleep ... the last thing we want to do is give people incentive to opt out of it,” Mead said.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/04/29/2988787/amber-alert-texts-wont-arrive.html#storylink=cpy

I guess it's a good thing in the long run.  The child was quickly found, crackhead parents are in jail (yea!) and we went back to sleep. 

Have you received these alerts?  Are they a hassle or a good idea?

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/04/29/2988787/amber-alert-texts-wont-arrive.html#storylink=cpy

23 April 2013

Things that Make Me Happy

Things that make me happy right now:

Disney Print Ads using famous people portrayed as fairy tale characters, so beautiful and dreamy.
Click Here for more

C'mon, David Beckham. What more do you need?

Also in the commercial category: the AT&T ads with the kids.  I told Kevin if he ever wonders what he sounds like with the Littles, it's like that.  I can watch the werewolf one a hundred times, it reminds me of girl little SO MUCH.

Also, look up "Fresh Perspectives" on the youtube.  It's where the idea originated.

Kevin and I went to a birthday dinner a few weeks ago and we were LOVING the music that was playing.  It was all singer-songwriter stuff that wasn't Barry Manilow and Karen Carpenter and we kept saying "Oh, I haven't heard this in forever."  Kevin finally asked and it's The Bridge channel on Sirius/XM.  Totally worth a listen when you need to just relax or feel confident because you know all the words.

Even though I don't wear dresses at all, I am so enjoying the resurgence of the 1960's dresses!  They look good on everyone, it seems.  It's nice to see everyone covered and not shabby as well.

My two favorite songs right now:

(we cranked this song in the van on the way back from the Grand Canyon. I think we scared my brother and sister-in-law a bit.  
One of my favorite memories now)

Chocolate Doughnut holes, specifically Franz brand.  They're like a little treat and one doesn't feel guilty because "I ate a whole doughnut!"  Kevin thought the logic was crazy but guess what he had for breakfast on Sunday. Yep.

When Swistle live-tweets reading People magazine, there are few more enjoyable things on the interwebs when that happens.

The 80's documentary series on the National Geographic channel.  I binge watched it all at once and have rewatched a bit of it again already.  Even though I was alive during that time, it's remarkable what a little perspective does.  Also: what a person forgets.

Sweet Caroline.

Patton Oswalt:
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

13 April 2013

A Little Bit of Shiny

The cause of my sister-in-law's accident was determined to be an "unsafe lane change" by a car that was unscathed during the accident.

Whilst traveling southbound, car A made a lane change from the right lane to the left lane to accommodate for entering traffic.  She accidentally cut off car B in the left lane, who then over-reacted and swerved, traveled across the median, and striking the sister-in-law.

So: horrible. For everyone involved.

Here is the most lovely thing:

The woman in Car A saw what she had caused and stopped her car.  Instead of going on and hoping for the best and forgetting it ever happened, she stopped her car.

AND THEN, she ran across the median to the s-i-l's car and CLIMBED INSIDE to comfort and care for her.  She sat in the backseat amongst broken glass and broken debris to hold her hand while apologizing and promising that she would not leave her side until she left in the ambulance.

Sidenote: to show how "lucky" my s-i-l is, there was a conference for EMT's and ER nurses that had just let out so there were a crazy amount of nurses & EMT's with her seconds after her accident happened because they were traveling home.

The other day, I was over at the house visiting and the s-i-l showed me a get well card.  It was a really pretty one with a really nice sentiment, someone had clearly taken their time in choosing it.

It was from the woman that had caused the accident and she had written a long personal note apologizing for causing the accident and stating that she was praying for her recovery and offered to help her in any way that she possibly could.

I just thought that was so kind and thoughtful. It gives a person a little faith in humanity and a little bit of shiny in a dark time.

10 April 2013

A Good Idea Indeed

The wisdom of getting a puppy when everything else has been falling apart is to be questioned, for sure.  That being said, with each day I feel more confident in our decision.

It gives Kevin and I something to look forward to and focus on.  The puppy is fun for the sister-in-law and the nephew.  She gives them wiggles and nose boops galore.

But this happy little incident happened the other day and made me think "This is perfect timing."

We have an outdoor space for the puppy that has a dog house, grass, and a run.  After much discussing, Kevin and his dad decided that a fence is a better idea.  I won't say they were *wrong* but they were technically incorrect in their decision. 

I put the puppy out there the first morning and went to work.  I was at work just a few minutes when my mother-in-law phoned wondering if I was home. The puppy was at her house as she is a ninja and tunneled out of her space in mere minutes.

The in-laws agreed to babysit the puppy for the remainder of the week until we can anti-ninja her space.  She spent her time in their house and in her crate at our house while we were gone. 

The puppy LOVES, LOVES!!!! Kevin's dad.  OMG they are besties forever.  She jumps on his lap and gives him kisses and wiggles and plays and they are both just joyous together. 

I come home nearly the same time every day. On this afternoon, I stopped at the sister-in-laws first (clearly visible & audible from the in-laws) for a few minutes then came home.  As I am pulling up the road to our driveway, I see Kev's dad hurriedly rushing toward our house to break out the puppy.

By the time I parked and gathered my things, out comes one excited puppy and very happy father-in-law.  They took a walk together and had a grand old time.

So, yes, getting the puppy was a good idea after all. For everyone.

"I have no idea what you're talking about.  I would never tunnel out because I am a good girl"

08 April 2013

25 Pounds of Happy

Hi, My name is Lucy but they also call me Missy and Lucky and sometimes all three

Because we don't have near ENOUGH going on right now and because we really shouldn't be in charge of our own lives, we got a puppy.

It's very soon, as an old friend wisely asked, but we've been talking about getting a new puppy for months.  Also, if we were to get another dog, it would have to be now or it will be the busy part of the summer when we wouldn't have the time to devote to training a puppy or if we wait then it would be too close to Winter. So: now.

We stopped by the humane society where we got Aussie and Missy "just to look" (according to Kevin) and it turned a bit into a therapy session.  The wonderful lady in charge asked if we had any dogs and Kevin explained what happened to Missy.

To me, there was a glimmer of doubt that she was going to say Nope, you can't have a dog.  Instead she said that it happens so much more often than people think.  She then asked if Missy had been losing her hearing.  When Kevin said yes, she gestured "Well, there you go then.  That's usually what happens."


Lucy is a hound.  Not a colloquial hound but an actual hound.  Everyone says she is part Beagle but she doesn't have the traditional markings of one beyond a baying ability that can be heard for counties.  And those floppy ears.  She looks like a miniature shepherd.  She weighs 25 pounds, is about a foot tall, and doesn't seem to have much more growth left.  Compared to Missy, who was 80 lbs and Aussie who was almost 100 lbs. she seems tiny.

She has some training, thank god.  She comes when called unless she sees Kevin's dad Who Is Her Bestest Friend EVER OMG, she sits, she lays down and she's considering working on staying.

She isn't a ball dog but she does like toys.  Neither of our dogs have liked toys so this is new territory for us.  Sidenote: pet stores has chew toys that look like real animals.  Give me a moment while I just say EEEWWW.  She does like to chew a bit but stops as soon as she knows you've seen her.  This makes me wonder what will find that I haven't seen her chewing.

Originally we were considering Abby as a name but Kevin woke up the first morning and chose Lucy.  It's turned into Lucy Loo and Lucky, Missy, Lucy.
Mostly we like people names for dogs and names that we aren't going to feel stupid yelling.

Welcome Home Lucy!

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04 April 2013

News & Notes Family Edition

I have decided that if anyone played an April Fool Day prank on anyone in the family, they are going to get socked in the nose, because really.

Family update:
Sister-in-law is freaking indestructible.  She went to the store with the parents to get supplies for Easter.  She did a load of laundry.  She is in a wheelchair AND only can use one hand. She has surgery on Tuesday to repair her shoulder.

Nephew...sigh...The Nephew is okay.  Just okay.  He's not gaining weight and he's been home for a week and a half.  They've been adjusting his TPN (iv food) and he's on a clear foods diet but alas, not so much on gaining weight.  150 lbs. is where he is hovering.  We are trying not to freak out.  Also, he was briefly hospitalized for blood clots in his leg.  Now the lucky boy gets to give himself shots.

My father-in-law has decided to work in our rock garden by adding a new rock wall.  75 years old and can kick all of our asses.

I spent some time on Friday washing the dog bowls and her bed.  I put them all away because it was a little too much for the both of us.  I left out the outside bowls because Lucky will empty Missy's water bowl on a daily basis.  We gave our adirondack chairs to the family.  I think seeing the chairs she laid in all day empty was the hardest part for me.

Over the weekend I was able to work in the yard, deck, and rock garden.  I haven't done that in a year so that felt good.  A little stiff today and that's okay.  *Someone* will be happy to hear that the fake flowers are removed, they were looking a little weather beaten and sad.

We didn't have the monkeys on Easter, they were at their dads so Easter was low key.  We'll have them next weekend and then the festivities will commence. They're looking forward to the egg hunt because Uncle Kevin, Uncle Christopher, and Daddy make it challenging.

Work has ramped up as this is the fundraising season.  Every year I forget how crazy-making March, April, and May are.  Every year I forget how mind-numbingly boring the summer is.  It's been six years and one would think I'd have this figured out by now.

Okay poppets.  I have a little good news but it warrants it's own post so tune in tomorrow.