Monday, February 27, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What have I learned from being broke?

So having been virtually unemployed  for the past 3 years, feeling isolated from everyone I was almost in disbelief when things changed.

When I found out that I was officially going to begin my part time job I was overcome with thoughts of "Wow, now you will have money, now what??"

For me when I am suddenly faced with an influx of wealth the first things I used to think of was "What thing have I always wanted?" or "What would be fun?"  then the fiance and I were forced to live on 1500 a month and 200 dollars a month food budget for two people, a dog, three elder cats, and a foster cat.

Needless to say we had to get cheap and creative FAST.

Suddenly any influx of money was now "Cat food, Dog food, oil change, repairs" things like haircuts, gym memberships, clothes, dining out, and amusements simply were not part of the budget.

Date nights became making home made dinner and watching free episodes of south park online.

Haircuts became standing over newspaper while using clippers, scissors, and a ruler to cut each others hair.

Gym memberships became yoga while fighting for floor space from a 70 pound bulldog.

After about a year although I couldn't go out with friends to the bar (having long since deciding drinking was a luxury we could not afford) a year of home made birthday cakes, cheap but fun gifts for holidays (Like the paw print in home made play dough I made for my fiance's fathers day plaque)

Instead of becoming more and more frustrated with our lack of funds I found myself really seeing more "crap" I could do without.  I spent time donating bags and bags of old clothing to charity, went through all our old documents and papers to weed out what we had just kept "in case" threw out broken gadgets, toys, and chotchki's that we had held on to because someone gave them to us (I found a rooster from the dollar store and thought WHY did I keep this?) I gave away yarn, books, food, games, puzzles and more.

We started cutting out more things like driving by walking to the local coop for groceries.  Or using the bus to save gas, best yet riding our bikes to places within 3 miles of our house.

With the money we saved we survived the economic crisis.  Our animals ate better than we did, and we still managed to have fun and do nice things for each other.

So now that I have a job my friends ask me "What are you going to buy first!?"  I was speechless.

My answer?  Nothing.  I am happy that I learned to live so simply and frugally.  I like having my fiance cut my hair, I enjoy hunting at thrift stores for clothing, and I love having friends over for a home made meal on my vintage plates and stem wear that I inherited from my Nana. 

I am glad that I learned what really matters and how to recognize quality over quantity.  I don't think I would have ever been as grateful for what we have without having to had done without for so long.

Although, I would like to trade a certain outdated gazelle for a recumbent bike.  I guess no one is perfect.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Man shoots daughters LapTop

Full Episode here

This is a small Op-Ed piece in response to the viral video of a man shooting his daughters laptop.  There have been 50/50 responses to this video.  Some applaud the man and approve of his message to his daughter and means of conveyance.
Others like myself feel that there is a message here that is not being addressed.

The man begins by talking about how disrespectful and rude his daughter is.  Then goes on to be angered by her insensitivity, callousness, and language.  He appears to be in disbelief over his daughters sense of entitlement and stretching of truth.

He finally responds to her behavior by using a gun to shoot holes in her lap top.  He goes on to compares his own early life experiences as a model to show how grateful she should be that her life doesn't mirror his.

So why does this trouble myself and several other people?  First his daughter did not become a foul mouthed, spoiled, disrespectful young lady in a vacuum.  He himself is shown smoking, swearing, and publicly disparaging his daughter and responding to her relatively teen like behavior with violence.

He had parents I assume, and I also assume that those parents instilled a sense of money management, responsibility, and decorum.  I would also go as far as to hypothesize that his parents were much stricter and that he considers himself a better person for the experience.

My point is all the negative behaviors that seem to shock and amaze this father are learned behaviors.  Behaviors that this girl had to have exhibited before and not had proper parental parameters to correct them.

Further I would surmise that the daughters behavior is in fact a direct result of your parenting, and would suggest that the blame be at the minimum absorbed 50/50.

This father says after all he has done for his child he is angered and offended by her response.  I wonder if her response is that much different than any other teenagers.  I also wonder how many times in her life the father has indulged the child's whims.  She appears to have serious expectations, and in children, expectations are learned from our parents/role models.

To summarize, you reap what you sow.  However, what message  does shooting a laptop proves besides "If someone makes you angry, destroy something they care about".  It seems to me that this parental message may be similar reactions to his daughters.  Not the best lesson for what a person should do when faced with a frustrating situation.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Future of Movement

I am one of those people who will watch people dance for hours at a time. I am fortunate enough that my household growing up was one filled with music of all genres and involvement in music was mandatory.

The one thing that I never explored as a child was dance. I was an active child, embracing martial arts, and sports at a young age.

I always loved watching the dance team and competitve cheer leaders. Many times I would suggest music, do their makeup, and watch them perform silently wishing that I had the guts to learn some dance moves myself.

Years later I am still able to pick out runs, beats, and rhythems modern music has borrowed from the music I grew up appreciating. However I never did learn to dance.

Luckily having been thoroughly ensconced in the african american and gay community I began to see paralells between modern Hip Hop, and Afro Cuban dance that is becoming more and more popular as a medium. With shows such as “So you think you can dance” and international competitions celebrating Hip Hip, Beat Boys, House, Waacking, Punking, and Fusion styles it makes me wonder where is the future of dance? Is the future of movement in our past?

When I was working with some young artists they did everything they could to turn me on to new styles such as “Dub Step” and “Krunking” when I asked if it was similar to Hip Hop the look of pure confusion was comical.

The earliest forms of movement Afro Cuban celebrations religious or otherwise show examples of dance and movement that echo even to modern dance styles today. Waacking and Punking found in their infancy by early “Balls” held in the close knit gay community featured Vogueing, a dance style borrowed by such famous personalities as Madonna.

Even Krunking and Dub Step show moves that mirror traditional dances by peoples such as the Xhosa and Congolese.

Can one even dare make the connection between ballet and lyrical dance? I see similiarities.

So where does that lead us? Is the future of dance embracing singular styles of the past or fusing them together?

I can't answer definitively, I think it is like musical taste, a personal choice up to each individual to follow their heart.

Who knows what form of movement the future brings, as long as it celebrates music, tells a story, and brings joy I am just happy to sit back and watch what comes up.

Dog bits NBC reporter

OK.  I really did NOT want to go into this despite getting several phone calls begging me to “Call about the dog”
There are at least 3 people who have already agreed to take the dog and either rehabilitate him or let him live out his life in a controlled environment.
A news reporter friend who knows that I am a dog trainer who specializes in “at risk” dogs asked me my opinion.  And seriously I didn’t WANT to voice my opinion because so many famous trainers are already using this terrible accident to promote their own dog training and training accessories!

However, as someone who not only works with troubled animals but OWNS a dog who has serious anxiety issues I can’t stay quiet.

First, this owner had no sense taking a dog that had had such a traumatic event less than 24 hours previously, and take it to a crowded, unfamiliar, sound stage with people who had no clue about dog behavior.

Second, this dog gave more than adequate warning that he was not only riddled with anxiety but that something about the reporter was placing him on edge.

And finally, Who gets down on a dogs level, and sticks their face in a dogs face, then reaches for its throat area, and ignores every single warning sign from the dog?
So whose fault is this?  The humans.  ALL the humans.

Max will be taken care of and there is no way euthanasia is in his future.  However, there is a lesson here.
I myself was bitten in the face by a dog (in fact I have been bitten several times by a plethora of animals). 

As soon as it happened I wanted to punch myself for being such a pushy, cocky, idiot.  Dogs are not infants, they are not humans, they are dogs and as such they follow dog hierarchy, rules and behavior, not those anthropomorphic attributes we place on them

So Max, on behalf of trainers and dog lovers every where I apologize for your being put in this situation and we are on your side.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

American Bulldogs

I always say if I get another dog after Kayne Michael I will get a smaller dog.  But honestly I can't imagine haviing a small dog, or any other dog than another Bully.

But since Chris is certain Kayne is immortal we won't have to worry about that for a LONG time :)