Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Make a Wish

Here is the new short story called Make a Wish. It's around 3,000 words so it's not as short as the other one. You can get it at Amazon for 99 cents by clicking here or if you don't want to pay it's on Smashwords, here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Outside of our Window on the Cruise

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Forgot Some Photos

Here's the photos of the hotel, leaving port, etc. I totally forgot these but there's only a few.

Cruise 2011 (hotel, birds, cruise ships)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Photos

Cruise 2011 (Bahamas & Key West)

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Wouldn’t Keep Your Pet in Substandard Conditions: Why Buy From Someone Who Would?

You Wouldn’t Keep Your Pet in Substandard Conditions: Why Buy From Someone Who Would?

Going to the mall can be a drag. Except, after a long day of shopping, that pet store with all the cute little puppies and kittens sounds like a nice place to stop in before heading home. The puppies are tiny and rambunctious, the kittens wide-eyed and curious, and they could be great spirit-lifters. Yet, how do you know these animals are well taken care of? Recent investigations have shown that pet stores, especially major corporate chains, often, even usually, get their stock of puppies and kittens from horrible places called “puppy mills” or “breeding farms.” It’s very important to understand, why, if you’re looking to add a bouncing new ball of energy to the family, puppy mills are the very worst sort to buy from, and how to avoid them.

Puppy mills started after WWII, when crops in the Midwest weren’t producing as well as they used to. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began encouraging failing farmers to start breeding pedigree puppies instead, and when this turned out to be a huge source of income, the craze caught on. Yet, mass production doesn’t work as well for animals as it does for, say, potato chips.

The problem with most puppy mills is that, like a farm or a factory, the biggest factor is the bottom line, and other factors, like the animals’ safety, well-being, health and happiness are often disregarded. Puppy mill puppies and breeding mothers aren’t loved, they aren’t taken to a veterinary technician, and they aren’t given adequate nutrition, living spaces or exercise. Puppy mill puppies generally live in miserable conditions, sometimes never seeing the light of day, sometimes infested with disease, and sometimes stuck in a tiny wire cage that cuts up their tender paws. And once a breeding mother is no longer reproductively viable, she is either killed or sold to an even lower-quality mill to try and squeeze one more litter out of her.

Though it’s not always easy to tell which puppies come from where, major pet stores often buy their puppies at a low cost from large-scale commercial breeders. In 2008, the Humane Society tracked 17,000 puppies bred in illegitimate conditions to 21 Petland stores across the country. Because it’s highly likely for puppy mills to be in cahoots with corporate pet stores and national chains, it’s best to avoid buying animals from them altogether.

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) defines a puppy mill as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs,” but unfortunately, there is no legal definition, making persecution of perpetrators especially difficult. There are also very few laws regulating breeding facilities; these are divided between the federal government and states and often riddled with loopholes. For example, it’s just as difficult to trace online puppy retailers to their breeding source as it is physical retail stores, because puppy websites often fall into a regulatory loophole, where they are classified as “retailers” by the federal government and “breeders” by states, leaving them regulated by no one.

The best option, in order to avoid supporting puppy mills altogether, is to adopt a rescue animal. There are currently about 3.7 million unwanted pets euthanized every year in the U.S., mostly because they could not find loving homes. Worries of behavioral problems or poor health of rescue animals might be easily quelled by the sobering fact that puppy mill puppies often experience these problems themselves because of inadequate living conditions and poor socialization. By adopting a rescue animal, you would be giving an ill cared for pet a loving home to thrive in, and simultaneously moving business away from large-scale puppy mills.

Also, some, usually smaller, local, pet stores make it a point to announce where they get their animals. One such business is Jack’s Pets, which claims 27 stores throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Though they were never suspected of being linked to puppy mills, they have just recently stopped selling animals, and instead offer in-house adoptions from nearby animal shelters. This sort of humane awareness on the part of pet stores is exactly the sort of thing to support when looking for a new pet to bring home.

However, if a particular breed of dog is something you are looking for, some breeding facilities are perfectly legitimate. Responsible breeders are ones that ensure both parents and litter are loved and cared for, raised with plenty of food, water and space to roam, and taken to the veterinary technician to administer the appropriate shots and vaccinations. Locating responsible breeders may seem daunting at first, but local kennel clubs, ads in newspapers, dog shows, human societies or even friends may be able to pave the way to finding legitimate breeding operations.

Whether opting to do the research necessary to find a responsible breeder, visiting a pet store with in-house adoption, or going down to the local animal shelter, anything is better than buying puppies from major pet stores, where it is more likely that you would be supporting a puppy mill operation. The reason why puppy mills continue to operate is because they prey on unsuspecting consumers; just being aware that these practices are ongoing is the first step to lessening the power of puppy mills.

Author Bio:
Nancy Woo is a freelance writer covering various topics from art and music to health, media and technology.

Universal Life Insurance

It can be hard to think about needing life insurance but what would you do if one of your loved ones passed away or you left behind a ton of bills for your own loved ones?

That is what it is good to be able to find out about universal life insurance and what options are available for you. Maybe you think that you have something set up with your job and that's all well and good but many people don't think to change the situation if they change jobs or lose their current job. By having an outside party take care of your insurance needs then you either have more life insurance or can be sure that you have some at all.

You can click here and find out how to get life insurance quotes online for term life insurance and whole life insurance. By taking care of the future, you won't have to worry about the present.

Last Day and Ship Life

We sailed home on Wed and came back Thursday. During our time on the ship we saw some shows as usual. The variety show had the cutest dancer but don't they always have one very hot dancer? He was adorable! We saw a couple of comedians and that was fun. At the R Rated comedy show one of the comedians told Rich he looked like Ron Jeremy. Poor Rich! He doesn't but it was still funny.

The last day the waves were pretty high but not super high, just high for what I like. I never got sick since I had my patches but the first day I was a tad woozy. Once you get used to it it's fine. I took some video of the waves and will post it when I have time. And again, they weren't that huge but big enough that it was hard to walk on the boat at times but it's always like that in the Atlantic when we have gone.

The food was good as usual but it seemed like on other cruises there was more to do. Maybe they changed some stuff. They still had variety shows, comedy shows, game shows, etc just not as many it seemed. The private party for past cruisers was nice because you get free hors devours and drinks. I think I had like 6 drinks and I rarely drink anymore. Rich had a couple or so but made the joke that he was the designated driver. That was fun. I also finished the new Stephen King book on my Kindle. I could barely put it down!

We drove home today and it's sure nice to be here. I have a ton of stuff to get caught up on but it's nice to be back. Pictures to come when I have time. :)

Day Three - Key West

We have never been to Key West and Monday that is where we went. I would honestly move there if I could afford it. The homes are gorgeous but a fixer upper with no paint will cost you around $3 million. One reason they don't paint is because there is a tax loophole there where painting is the last thing you do so if you don't paint, you don't pay property taxes cause your house isn't finished.

We saw the Hemingway House with the six-toed cats, the southern most point in America, a Key West sunset and took a tour of the city. Duvall Street alone has 300 bars on it and that was neat. We had key lime pie and a key lime float and watched the sunset at the marina where there are street performers.

We learned that most of the trees are from other countries and how Key West was so rich because ships crashed at the rate of 2-3 per month back many years ago and once you salvaged it the stuff was yours so people would wait till one sank and go get all the stuff from it. We also learned that on this one street the houses are so close and must have tin roofs so if there is a fire it won't jump from house to house.

The people are very casual and in full party mode but not too friendly to be honest. However, that was not a big deal since we had such a good time there. It's actually cooler there than Miami due to the trade winds, which we had plenty off. It made the temperatures a pleasant 70 - 75 or so degrees. Oh and Key West seceded from the United States in 1982. Here's a link about that. It is also the only city in the USA that has never had frost. On a side note, Key West is closer to Cuba than to Miami.

I can't wait to go back there sometime and have more time to visit. We had quite a few hours but coming from a foreign port to the US, we had to go through Immigration before disembarking and that took a while. Then we had to take a shuttle from the port, through the military area and into the city.

Day Three- Nassau Bahamas

On Monday we sailed to Nassau. Again, we have been there numerous times but I absolutely love the Straw Market. The only deal I could not make was this one lady had Gucci shoes and wanted $70 and that was way too high. However, we got the usual Rolex watches, a couple of Breitlings and an awesome Louis Vitton hand bag I liked. Rich got some hand carved sharks that are gorgeous and again, we had to head back on board. We did have time to stop by the Starbucks there and have some much-missed coffee. I always forget how many different languages you hear while in another country and that is pretty cool.

Day Two - Freeport Bahamas

On Sunday we sailed to Freeport Bahamas. Now we have been there three times but this time we went to a different beach area than we normally go to and the water was breathtaking. I got in for a few minutes and after I was out Rich spotted a big sting ray swimming by. He took pictures but they are hard to make out. The other pictures are beautiful though. I love Freeport's beaches but you have to take a long cab ride into town. So $20 poorer and 20 minutes later we got to the main area of Freeport. The beach was a long walk but totally worth it and the weather was gorgeous. We were there a few hours then had to board to set sail to Nassau Bahamas. Pictures coming soon when we have time to get caught up.

Trip - Day one, etc.

We finally made it back off of our trip. The day we drove down was a pain because I hate that long drive but we made it. I think we left around 1 or 2 and got there about 10 pm. That's with stopping here and there too.

Our hotel was beautiful. They had upgraded us to a King suite so we had a jacuzzi, separate living room and dining room and all for the same price. We were able to park there and take a shuttle to the port. The Orlando port is my favorite (other than the drive) but this time we were at a temporary port area since they are building a new one.

We got on the ship and was supposed to sail out at 4 PM but there was a lot of port traffic so I think we didn't leave till around 6 PM or later. After we got our luggage we had one bag missing and come to find out it was confiscated by security. It turns out that we had brought bottled water, which is fine. They had tagged it to make sure it wasn't liquor. LOL I was annoyed though cause they go through your bag then you have to pack it back and take it to your room. Let's just say that security was a little over zealous this time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Border Wars

Authored by Oswaldo Blackburn

My husband and I are totally into our new direct TV service. We can’t get enough of this show we started watching, Border Wars. The show is mainly about crime on the U.S.-Mexico border. We live in San Antonio, so we aren’t right on the border, but we’re pretty close. It’s amazing to see that only a few hours away there are people risking their lives to cross the border illegally. Sometimes when they catch people, they tell their stories, and some of them are really interesting. The show doesn’t focus on that though, it mostly shows drugs being trafficked across the border. On one episode we saw the El PasoPolice department seize a whole eighteen-wheeler filled with marijuana and cocaine! When we moved down here I thought it would be fun to be so close to Mexico and experience another culture. Once we started meeting people and asking about places to go, they started telling us that it wasn’t safe to cross the border. I had no idea how bad it has gotten down there. It’s sad to see that our southern border has become so dangerous.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Devil's Double

I found this movie, The Devil's Double while watching trailers on Apple and was intrigued. It turned out to be absolutely awesome. It's about the "double" of Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein. A double is a person that helps ensure that the person is not assassinated, kind of like extra security. This guy had no choice in becoming the double and really saw horrific things.

Back in the 80's I was quite younger and I remember when I heard that Saddam Hussein's sons were killed I thought it was sad that they were killed over their father. Well, who knew that Uday was just as bad, if not worse than his father? He would torture people, kidnap very young girls from school and rape and murder them and was just your basic psychopath. He deserved what he got and too bad it wasn't sooner. In my defense, I was young and didn't know his history.

If you like movies like The Last King of Scotland, you'll most likely love this film. Be warned, it's full of depravity included scenes of torture, rape, murder, graphic nudity and violence. It's not rated R for nothing.

Awesome Scrubs

You all know how I feel about Blue Sky Scrubs but honestly, if you work in the medical field then you really must check them out. They're not only professional looking and affordable, you can't go wrong with the product line since they are of the best quality. You get gorgeous scrubs or just about anything you need to wear in a doctor's office or even the ER.

Blue Sky Scrubs are all tested three times before they are shipped out so that you know the quality is the most important feature in their custom scrubs. Combined with impeccable, stylish scrubs, you have a product line that is top notch. Why not make an impression in the hospital, doctor's office or ER and show your colleagues that you mean business when it comes to healthcare. Check them out! http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/Scrubs-for-Women/Original-Scrubs/

Calgary apartments and houses for rent

If you live near Calgary, Alberta then you may be looking for Calgary apartments and houses for rent. Don't worry, there are plenty of apartments and houses to choose from. Whether you want to live near High River or Bragg Creek, there are almost 20 convenient locations in the North West, North East, South West and South East areas.

What is really convenient is that you can search a variety of ways. Let's say you want to look by price first because that is what is important to you - you can do that. Or you can search by the size such as with square footage and even the number of bedrooms that you need. Check out Rent Calgary and see how easy it is to find the home that you want.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My New Job

I started my new job at Lowes on Wed and Thurs. Those two days were spent in training classes but for the most part, those were pretty fun. Everyone there seems friendly and nice and the benefits are pretty awesome. I haven't worked in my section yet except for a little over an hour so I'm not sure how that will go but years ago I worked in retail and loved it. I go back to work on Monday through Thursday and we leave out for our trip on Friday. It'll sure be a busy week but followed by some pretty relaxing time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shenandoah Junk Removal

If you live in Texas and live near the Shenandoah area then you may be interested in Shenandoah junk removal services. We all sometimes end up with a lot of extra stuff in our homes that is not needed but is hard to get rid of. In fact, I think we have all seen shows like Hoarders where the junk seems to take over. Why even have that in your life when you can have it easily and affordably removed?

They offer convenient pick up, pricing that is given up front, junk removal and disposal. For instance, they will take things like appliances, furniture, mattresses, leaves and garbage. There is no need to rent a dumpster when you can have someone do it all for you and yes, they even pick up the junk and take it away; you don’t even have to throw the stuff into a bin or find somewhere that will accept what you have. 

Another thing to consider is that your junk is not part of the problem in our environment. The junk is recycled or donated as often as possible so you do not have to think about things going to waste. Check them out and have them stop by for a free and friendly quote on your junk.


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