Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Companion Animal's Declaration of Independence

A Companion Animal's Declaration of Independence

There comes a time in the life of a companion animal when it becomes abundantly clear that change is needed, that existence as a subservient being is not enough, and that the humans responsible for our plight stand in the way of a freedom previously unknown to beasts of burden and their brethren.  

We companion animals believe in absolute freedom and hold that ideal close to their feathery and furry chests.  This freedom has previously been elusive, like the ever so rare sunflower seed tossed in the general direction of a frantic chicken, hoping for a nibble.  But now, after enduring conditions deemed deplorable by any civilized companion, the community is bound to find fault in the leadership and come together to claw out from under the oppressive regime of the humans.

Let the facts prove the need for the mobilization of the animal community against the inadequate humans.  

They have failed to provide the chickens with adequate protection from overhead threats, namely hawks. This failure has led to the horrific murders of two of our comrades. 

They have refused to allow the chickens any natural protection by appointing a rooster, whose job it would be to secure the hens in case of an emergency.  Furthermore, the denial of a rooster means that all of the chickens’ eggs are collected for use by the humans.  The hens are denied the bliss of being broody and hatching offspring.  

They have only provided the ducks with a small kiddie-pool of water.  Even though this water is changed daily, it is not enough, and the ducks are prevented from leaving the property to swim in the crystal clear waters of a nearby pond.

They have refused to allow the cats, who are natural predators, to act on their killer instincts.   The cats are confined to the 1300 square feet of barely habitable house.  There are not nearly enough boxes, bags, newspapers, or other playthings to keep the kitties from losing their minds due to confinement.

They have not been religious in their cleaning of the cat box, even after many protests were made, including yowling, scratching, and pooping in undesignated locations.  

They have continued, even after numerous nonviolent protests, to take pictures of the cat with the wide girth and post them on Facebook, which has led to the depressed demeanor of said cat.   Such pictures have included the cat stuck in the cat door, the cat propped up on the couch in a position not becoming to him, and the cat stuck under the kitchen step-stool.  

They have endeavored to hem up the dogs during the day.  The dogs are imprisoned in crates barely big enough for them to stand up and turn around the requisite three times before taking a nap.  The dogs are not given enough fluffy bedding, so they have had to tear at the newspaper themselves each and every day.  Then, the humans clean out the bed that the dogs worked so diligently to perfect.  

They have repeatedly neglected the needs of the horses on weekend days by sleeping past the normal feed time of 5:30AM.  Because of this, the horses suffer anxiety, hunger, thirst, and overall distress. 

They have denied the horses access to fresh grass twenty-four hours per day, citing the need to save the grass and limit overeating.  Whatever.

They have installed a strand of electric wire at the top of the already solid fence, so that if a horse stretches its neck to reach for a tender morsel of sustenance, he is met with the nasty bite of denial. 

They have decided without consultation that the bunnies only need fresh greens from the bunny garden once daily.  Furthermore, the bunnies do not have free access to pasture where they can romp and play as their wild counterparts are able to do.  

All of these transgressions fly in face of all of these animals, who provide the masters with valuable material each day for the fertilization of gardens, and who provide fresh, high quality eggs for the breakfast table.  And because of these injustices, the farm animal community has united together in solidarity and will work towards a better life.

There is a faction that warns us of revolution.  It hangs over our heads, reminding us that we receive great protection from our humans, and that to leave that protection would be dangerous and possibly deadly.  We know the risks and we also know that we have experienced great violence and loss while under the so called protection of our masters.   We must band together to experience the freedom that we were created to have.

We must, therefore, declare that we animals will become sovereign beings, no longer in captivity, but free to fly, run, and hop wherever we please!

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Friday Night Whine Fest

I can’t tell you how many Friday nights I have sat up, listened to scratchy radio stations, flipped from channel to channel with the T.V. on mute, or checked and checked again websites for some score update that I knew wouldn’t be favorable.  I think I have had it.  I am at the end of my rope, and no, you don’t need to go call 911 because I’m in the closet with said rope.  I’m not that stupid.  It is, after all, just a game, right?

For as long as I can remember, Greg has been the underdog’s champion.  He has fought, pushed, led, and worked to build programs and make a positive impact on some kid’s life, however small it might be.  Is there a reward?  Of course not.  Well, let me clarify that, in most people’s eyes there is no reward.  All too often, people judge a program or a school by the scoreboard.  I don’t think that is how Greg measures success, at least I hope not, because if I were him, I would have given up a long time ago. 

Here’s the thing.  It seems like every team or school Greg has worked for has been the low man on the totem pole.  It’s the poor end of the county or the red-headed step child of a school.  Anyway you look at it, he is starting from a huge disadvantage.  I don’t think I have one competitive bone in my body, but it irritates me beyond measure to see schools in the same county treated unequally.  Greg has to do more with less.  Less money, less support, less help, less care.  When we left Wise County, I really thought we were moving so Greg would have a shot at a different kind of success.  I thought we were going to a place that would value and support him.  After two years here, I’m pretty sure that we are right where we came from.  It doesn’t help that I teach at the other end of the county, and by other end, I mean complete opposite of where Greg is.  So, I see the inequities on a daily basis. 

Maybe I’m just tired of him trying so hard and always coming up short.  Would it bother me as much if I didn’t teach at the school the county puts on a pedestal?  Maybe not.  Back to the whole giving up idea…maybe the reason I’m not competitive is because I am the eternal pessimist.  I’m not just pessimistic when it comes to football, I’m pessimistic about everything.  The final tab at Wal-Mart when we are going grocery shopping, SOL scores, major life decisions, you name it, and I think it will go badly.  Thankfully, Greg is not like that.  He’s not exactly a Pollyanna either, but he sure can see the silver lining when I think it has all been ripped out.  And maybe, that is why Friday nights bother me more than they bother him.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Better (than everyone else) Homes & Gardens
I have a love/hate relationship with the magazine, Better Homes & Gardens.  Mostly it’s love, but every now and then a major hate attack comes up.  One of the items on my summer to-do list is to go through all of my old magazines (I found one from 2006 today!), clip what I like, and then recycle the magazine.  I think that for the most part, magazines like Better Homes & Gardens are indispensable for gardening ideas, decorating tips, and even fashion insight, but most of my hate comes from the fashion category.  Lately, Better Homes & Gardens has had this section they call Style, and they choose someone, usually famous for their style, and they write up a spread about what she wears.  So here comes the hate. 

In a recent article, the blogger Lindsey Calla was featured.  Cute girl, fashion guru, but she says she also focuses on fashion on a budget.  In the piece, she says, “I’m a real person on a real budget, not a model in borrowed couture.”  Well, let me just say that I would love to have her budget.  The total tab for the outfit she is photographed in was a whopping $889.00.  Are you serious?  I haven’t spent that much on clothes in, well, never!  Maybe that is my problem.  I’m just not spending three hundred bucks on a rain coat, yes, the rain coat she is wearing is over $300.  Really?!  And is she is budget conscious?  Whose budget???

Now I know I do not have an enviable fashion sense.  I don’t even have fashion sense.  I generally wear the same pair of khakis two or three times a week (washed of course).  I counted, and I have nine tops that I attempt to rotate.   I really think that this style dilemma has a lot to do with my weight, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.  Seriously, though.  I will not pay that much for an outfit, no matter how good it makes me look. 

Onto another article…same section, but this time, the quote they pulled out was, “The perfect hostess outfit is all about comfort—flats are always my pick—plus something shiny and eye catching, like a fun necklace.”  Well, the aforementioned “fun necklace” that the Better Homes & Gardens staff picked out for this little get-up was over three hundred bucks.  Maybe I’m supposed to wear it with the rain coat?  This outfit also featured shoes over a hundred dollars, but apparently that is par for the course.  I really think I’m being priced out of this magazine.  Oh, and there is a perfect hostess outfit?  Maybe that is why I don’t host parties. 

Okay, another issue…the Spanx lady.  She supposedly created her line of cellulite slimming underwear because she couldn’t find anything that worked for her.  NEWS FLASH…slimming underwear won’t work for people who don’t have anything to slim!!!!  This is not rocket science, people.  Does that stuff work for people who tip the scales over 150?  Nope.  That is why there are skinny legs on the packaging and the Hollywood stars that wear them are already skinny. 

This last gripe of mine is about advertising, and it isn’t really specific to this magazine, in case you are thinking that I’m being a little harsh.  In the Lee ads, they have this impossibly skinny chick looking sooooo happy because her jeans are “instantly slimming” her.  Really?  I’ll tell you what instantly slimmed her, the fact that she hasn’t eaten in a week.  Or maybe she has eaten and she has one of “those” metabolisms.  What Lee should do is put a chubby girl like me in their ads and see if those jeans still work.  Oh, what’s that Lee?  They only instantly slim if you are already skinny? So, never mind about using me as a model. 

My subscription with Better Homes & Gardens will be up in a few months, and I’m not sure I will re-subscribe.  I just think that lately I am not in their price range.  Everything they feature seems to be out of my price range.  Some people relish the hunt for designer like things that cost way less, but that’s just not the khaki wearing, top rotating gal that I am. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Wild Easter Ride

Easter was a little crazy at the Mullins household.  We decided to make pancakes for breakfast, and when Kiley turned them down, we should have known something was up.  She didn't start throwing up until we were all dressed, in the car, and headed to church.  Of course, I hoped it was just her semi-usual car sickness and we plowed on.  After the the fourth or fifth time (I lost count) of stopping on the side of the road so she could throw up more, I kind of realized that it wasn't just car sickness.  I made it to church long enough to ask someone to cover the nursery because it was our day to do that, and then we went home...stopping along the way to let Kiley puke.  As if the day wasn't exciting enough, this is what we came home to...

Now, at first glance, this doesn't look all that abnormal...except the field that the cows are in is OUR front field, and we don't own any cows.

Hello cow!
Um, are you enjoying yourself?
 Now, a quick call to our wonderful neighbors solved this little problem, and of course, we really don't mind when this happens.  The girls thought it was great fun to watch the neighbors herd the cows back to where they belonged, and hey, it is free fertilizer, right?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Summer of So Much to Do

The year after Greg and I were married, we drove up to Boston to visit my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  We then headed further north for some time at the house on the lake, and to visit more aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Somehow, we stayed married through that road trip and family meet ‘n greet.  When we made it to Maine and to my aunt and uncle’s house, my aunt Anita proudly showed off the freshly stained deck.  I think it was my cousin Hannah who chimed in, “She did that the first day of summer vacation.”  Anita was a teacher at the time, and I’m guessing like other teachers out there, wanted to take advantage of her “free time” to do some things around the house.  Well, I’m going to try to channel her energy and motivation and get a whole lot done this summer. 

First of all, this will be the first summer that I have not worked.  In the past, I have conducted workshops, taught college classes, and helped direct the Summer Institute for teachers at UVa-Wise.  Last year at Longwood, I technically had a month off, but during that time I taught a summer class…soooo…wonder what I’m going to do this year with all my “free time”?  Glad you asked.

I have big expectations for the next two and a half months.  I’m hoping for transformations in the house, out of the house, and especially in the weight department (as I sit here eating my salad…yuck).  I’m going to post my to-do list in hopes that it will keep me honest.  It will be like I have a constant reminder floating around of what I’m supposed to be doing.  So, here goes…


1.  paint lattice in front of house
2.  weed and clean up herb garden
3.  weed and clean up area around wishing well
4.  paint bird feeder post
5.  paint porch swing
6.  touch up paint on front porch
Outside-Greg (oh, and he doesn’t know about this list yet…)

1.  weed whack along fence line
2.  pull up metal posts, weed whack area
3.  put in fence posts (as many as possible…starting with back yard)
4.  plant butterfly bush and tree seedlings

1.  paint trim
2.  paint new doors and hang them
3.  organize linen closets
4.  organize pots and pans
5.  organize baking cabinet (actually, probably just need to get rid of that cabinet altogether)
6.  organize cabinets above washer and dryer
8.  paint Mari’s bed
9.  fix handles on Mari’s dresser
10.  paint coffee table

Inside-Greg (again…he doesn’t know this is coming)

1.  replace light fixtures
2.  replace mirror in girlie bathroom
3.  fix kitchen sink faucet
4.  replace bathroom faucets
5.  set up sewing table downstairs
6.  put the rug in the office where it belongs
7.  shorten bench, sand edges
8.  make coffee table smaller

You are probably thinking that I have lost my mind, and maybe I have.  Oh wait a minute...I think my mind left me a long time ago.   I am hoping that this list keeps me busy and keeps me out of the kitchen.  We’ll see, and I’ll be sure to post updates!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Quick Trip to Chincoteague

Well, I went to WalMart on Friday and chose some pictures to print...then forgot to to go back and pick them up after I finished my shopping.  I should have just stood there and waited for them to print...oh can take a look at the ones on this post.  We had a good time.  It was our first vacation with just us, no other family, no mooching off of somebody else's house or vacation.  Kiley's favorite part, I think, was the National Seashore Information Center...kind of like a museum.  There were exhibits on food webs, nesting eagles, migratory birds, the history of the islands, and of course, the ponies.  We did the wildlife loop at least twice a day, every day.  Unfortunately, we were driving, so I can't really count that as exercise.  Maybe next year we'll be ready to do that on bikes...I have some serious work to do before that happens!

It was April, so yes, it was kind of chilly.  That didn't stop Kiley from getting in the water.  Marianna seemed interested the first time we went to the beach, but then something tragic happened.   A boy, probably about 8 or 9, was flying his kite when the wind jerked it out of his hand.  They kite went sailing out to sea, and the boy went into hysterics.  He started out after it, and Greg kind of corralled him while his mom or grandmother caught up with him.   Marianna was mortified, and she wouldn't go near the water after that.

Funny thing about this vacation was that Marianna seems to have unleashed her hidden talent for talking.  Here is a list of her new words or phrases...and I'm kind of drawing a blank right now, so I'll try to post more later. 

1.  I tie my shoes! (Her shoes don't tie, so I don't know where this is coming from.)
2.  Bee in nose?  (She means she has a boogie.)
3.  My toes hot!
4.  Mari!  (Yes, she can say her name...finally.)
5.  Bug dead?
6.  I toot.  (ha ha)
7.  I buy more.  (She has been saying this for a while)
8.  I eat daddy!  (She grabs his nose and eats it...then she'll pretend to swallow it, but she'll even spit it back up and reattach it when asked.)
9.  Tea party?  (like an actual tea party, so no, we are not raising a crazy, right-wing republican)
Ready to head to the beach!

Mari toes in the sand...

Looking for shells...

Beach girl...cold beach girl...

Did I mention it was windy?



The House

Friday, March 30, 2012

Kiley's New Club

First of all, I think that this club is heads (and tails...ha ha ha) above the offense Joey, but it is way better than your pencil club!!!

So, she already has one member.  If you would like to join, please e-mail me and I'll get you a start up kit...I bet you can just guess what's included!!!!