Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Wanna Be a Tough B....

I've been reading Tara Janzen's books. I am absolutely in love with all the Steele Streets guys and want to be one of the girls. Like my semi-namesake Skeeter Jeanne Bang Hart. She's tough, buff and kick ass. It's been 20+ years since I spent my brief time in the Marine Corps and could qualify as any of those things. I've become the biggest, fattest couch potato. So much so that I'm embarrassed to tell people I'm a former Marine.

Can I, at far too close to fifty years old, become a kick ass woman? And if I did what would I do with it? The Marines don't want old women no matter how buff. Maybe I could become a cop but they typically don't have the kind of challenges the Steele Street gang faces and again age is a big negative. The Steele Street guys aren't answering barking dog calls, stopping drunk drivers or breaking up bar fights. They're running secret operations - spy type stuff.

So, I'm working out but have a long way to buff. I'm anxious to get some time in firing my weapons (at least I know how to do that!). But for what purpose?

Is being 50 just the ultimate indication that I have no chance of a life of intrigue, excitement and challenge? I'm so afraid that it is. Is there is no real future even if I get back in shape? God, I hate getting old.

(There Mary, something to read!)

Romance Novels and Real Life

An acquaintance, Kathryn Caskie, who writes wonderful romance novels asked in her blog recently for her readers to share their romance a-ha moments, the moment they knew they were in love. I wrote the following.

Sadly, I don't remember an a-ha moment from when my husband and I first dated and married but after more than 18 years, I've recently had a knocked you down/oh my gosh/true epiphany “a-ha” moment. I read a lot of romances and always wondered why my hubby was never as romantic as the guys in the books. It was depressing that maybe I hadn't waited for the "perfect guy". Maybe another man would always remember my birthday, get along with my family better, know when I was sad and needed a hug without me having to ask, say the perfect thing to restore my ailing self-esteem when appropriate, etc. One day, I got the slap on the face I needed. I'm not sure where it came from and I'm not ruling out divine intervention or some similar phenomenon. I realized that those guys in the books are only perfect because we believe. The authors write them perfect and more importantly we READ them perfect. (Romance is easy on paper when real life isn't getting in the way.) The real question is why we don’t see our guys as perfect, or more perfect. Like Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, the bad stuff is easier to believe. It was suddenly so simple. If I changed my focus to my hubby’s best qualities, he too would look amazing. If I fawn over the things he does for me for no special reason or that he is loving, faithful, responsible, sometimes funny and always sexy, then he IS my Prince Charming. All it takes to have the man of your dreams is to define the man you have by his qualities, those you most treasure, and quit worrying about the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Subsequently, I am more in love with my hubby now than ever.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jeanne Hunter is now a REALTOR e-PRO® Agent Utilizing Technology To Provide Consumers With State-of-the-Art Services

As more and more consumers begin their search for real estate-related information on the Internet, it is critical that real estate professionals are well educated in the use of technology to the benefit of both the consumer and the agent and/or broker.

Realizing the importance of technology training, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) now offers its members the e-PRO certification course -- the only technology certification program offered by NAR. The program is designed to prepare real estate professionals to make the most of Internet technology and to identify, evaluate, and implement new Internet business models. The elite group of course graduates represents only one percent of all REALTORS in the country including Jeanne Hunter.

“The real estate industry has undergone a fundamental change over the past five years,” Hunter said. “Today, more than 70% of all buyers and sellers begin their search online. As an e-PRO certified agent, I have knowledge and tools needed to provide my clients with the information they need and the customer service they demand. It’s both hi-tech and hi-touch.”

The REALTOR e-PRO® certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and interactive. It is specifically designed to provide real estate professionals with the technology tools needed to assist consumers in the purchase or sale of a home.

The exclusive REALTOR e-PRO® certification course is presented entirely online and certifies real estate agents and brokers as Internet professionals. The course is designed to help REALTORS® stay at the leading edge of technology and identify, evaluate and implement new Internet business models.

Once completed, the e-PRO certified real estate professional joins the ranks of a special community of highly skilled and continuously trained professionals who provide high quality and innovative online-based real estate services. Consumers can identify the e-PRO through the exclusive e-PRO Internet Professional logo.

Both the content and the delivery platform were created by San Diego-based technology company InternetCrusade®. Graduates use the skills they've acquired to provide clients information on properties for sale, local communities, and the local real estate market.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why do you expect me to take much more care with my dog that’s in heat than my neighbor does of her sixteen year old daughter?
My dog is in heat. She’s sticking her swollen, throbbing vejayjay (like that? I stole it from Grey’s Anatomy) in our other dog’s (also a female) face. I’ve seen her trying to temp the cat, at least he’s male. She’s so desperate to get laid. Of course, as a conscientious pet-mom, I am making sure she doesn’t wantonly breed with any male that will have her.
Yesterday, I saw a TV ad to spay or neuter your pets. You’ve seen those dozens, hundreds, even thousands of times. Have you ever seen these ads and thought, “Hey that’s a horrible idea? How can you take that poor bitch’s right to chose from her?” No, I’d venture you never have. I haven’t either. You probably thought to yourself, “Hey, that’s a really good idea, very responsible dog-parenting.” Because, after all, we have too many strays running around, abandoned by their owners and their communities. A quick Google search, brought up numerous articles, blogs and op-eds on the topic of mandatory spay/neuter programs. As a rule, people who work in animal shelters complain of irresponsible pet owners who allow their animals to have unwanted litters and end up in these shelters. Cities across the nation have instituted 100% spay/neutering laws or are considering them. Reports indicate drastic decreases in unwanted animal populations since San Francisco instituted its law.
I’m still not going to have my dog spade. Why do we assume the only way to keep a dog or cat from having unwanted offspring is to spay or neuter? Why not institute a hefty fine for people who do not ensure their pets remain celibate? Why not run dozens, hundreds, even thousands of ads imploring people to not let their animals breed randomly? Where is the human responsibility in all this?
My idea of being a responsible pet owner is to keep vigilant eye on my little girl the entire time she’s in heat. For those two miserable weeks, two or three times a year, I’ll let her out of the house only when necessary, in our fenced back yard and never without me here to watch her. Through this attentiveness, I will ensure that she doesn’t run out of the fence and does not invite unwanted males in to play. I am 100% certain I can prevent her from ever having an unwanted litter of little bastard puppies through my constant vigilance.
In a recent blog over the controversy in Chicago to legally mandate pet neutering one writer opined – “No pet "needs" to reproduce to live a long and healthy life. In fact, with both dogs and cats, many undesirable behaviors go away when they are neutered or spayed. Most animal shelters offer low to no fee neuter/spay and often the animal is fully recovered in a day or two.”
But alas, my little bitch is only a small part of my frustration. My real anger comes from that fact that I take far better care of my dog than my neighbor does her teenage daughter. Not only is she allowed to breed wantonly, but her mother has allowed the sixteen year old girl’s twenty-three year old boyfriend to move into their home, into her daughter’s bedroom. Rumor and speculation, this is not. She told me outright. She showed no hint of moral dilemma over the situation despite teaching Sunday School each week at a very orthodox Christian church. Why am I careful whom I admit I’ve not had my dog spade when it’s perfectly acceptable in today’s society to all our young daughters to run around randy and unsupervised? Why does society look at me and “tsk, tsk” my pet-parenting and not a soul will stand up to this woman and protest her situation? Honestly, I didn’t say a word to her. I hoped my face projected a somewhat stern disapproval that remained unspoken as I told her we didn’t even allow our adult daughter’s fiancĂ© of three years to sleep in her room.
In this particular case, I believe the single mother of four is trying too hard to not “lose” her daughter. Her eldest child, a son, is now married and doesn’t speak to her. According to her, he feels his mother was a bad parent and therefore he wants nothing to do with her. Her fear of losing her three other children, guilt over marrying the wrong men, guilt over not giving them a stable home, frustration at their low standard of living or other things I can’t even imagine may play into her decision. Her reasons are superfluous though.
If our parents and grandparents are to be believed, this poor mother’s family, friends and acquaintances would have pointed out the errors in her moral judgment in times so not long past. Today, we consider it nosy and judgmental to voice an opinion.
Where is the outrage that 40% of births last year were out of wedlock? Where are the crusaders, arguing to have all teenage girls and boys “fixed”? Am I being absurd? I’m sure most of you think so but think about it.
On the August 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz described "single mothers receiving public assistance" as "welfare broodmares." Boortz made the comment while discussing a report that women in Georgia who received public assistance gave birth at more than three times the rate of women who did not receive public assistance, according to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau figures.
From another article – “Typical is the view expressed by a Brooklyn woman in a recent letter to The New York Times: ‘Let's stop moralizing or blaming single parents and unwed mothers, and give them the respect they have earned and the support they deserve.’”
While the children of these children are not often given up in the same fashion as a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens, they are a huge burden on society. Children of unwed mothers are disproportionately on public assistance, are far more likely to spend their lives in poverty, have an elevated risk of emotional and/or behavioral problems, drop out of school far more often, use drugs and themselves give birth out of wedlock at far higher rates than children of two parent homes. The cost of the societal ills caused by out of wedlock births is astronomically higher than running animal shelters.
Why is it then completely acceptable to expect me to take better care with my dog than my neighbor does with her child? Why is it not only acceptable but DESIRABLE in our society, for people to gently remind me to be a good pet owner and take my dog to the vet? Maybe it’s just me, but I see a huge problem here.
And don’t even get me started on the way we treat our terminally ill versus a pet at the end of his/her life!

Mood Swings

The snow started about nine last. I left my curtain open so I could watch from bed where I lay reading a romantic love story. I took periodic breaks from the trials and tribulations of being a teenager in love with a vampire to watch the large, soft flakes fly on their indirect journeys to the ground. They drifted back and forth, up and down in an un-orchestrated, impromptu ballet. I pictured myself weightlessly suspended in air with such freedom of movement and was envious. True, pure love must be like this.

This morning the flakes bear no resemblance to last night’s. The micro-pellets of frozen precipitation seek any living thing into which to fling themselves with enough force to cause pain and endanger the being's life. Given enough time, these flakes, with the wind as accomplice, will murder all within their path and quickly descend in impossibly large numbers to cover the evidence of their crime. Within minutes the corpse will be covered with a fine layer of white oblivion. In a quarter hour, only a slight lump in the surrounding terrain will belie death's presence. An hour later no visual evidence will reveal the murder. Only days later, when the sun comes back out, murdering the microscopic murders, will their horrid crime be revealed.

My minuscule inspirations have me contemplating a life of control, revenge and freedom. I'm no longer the sweet human. I'm now the violent, fearsome vampire and I want to be untouchable by societal consequences. The sun will not even be powerful enough to end my existence for I am omnipotent. True, pure power must be like this.