Friday, September 18, 2015

So Excited!

     I'm so excited! I'm heading out today to attend the Central Coast Writer's Conference. It is held annually at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA. I don't go every year because of schedule conflicts but I love to go when I can. It is a weekend of workshops and inspiration.
     I have been writing since I was in 5th grade. My teacher that year, Mrs. Hanabury, gave us a journal book and told us that we have to spend 15 minutes a day writing in the journal. It could be anything we wanted to write about: school, home life, pets, happenings, news, philosophical issues,(yes, even 5th graders wonder about stuff) etc... I remember my journal book. I wrote every day, sometimes, (let's get real here, all the time) more than 15 minutes. I decorated  my book inside and out with cartoons and drawings (heavy on the cartoons as I wasn't then, and am still not, a very good artist.) I loved my book and even on the weekends, I would write.
     In high school, with normal teenage angst, I wrote poetry. I remember sitting on the hill at the park, with the wind in my long hair, writing in a notebook of pink paper. It was all very cosmic and organic and what can I say? It was in the 60's and early 70's and I was living in the East Bay by San Francisco. The hippie movement was inspiring.
     Then for the longest time, I didn't write at all. Until I had my kids. I lost my mom the year my oldest was born and it occurred to me that there was a lot of things I didn't know about her. All the things one doesn't think to ask when you're a kid. Favorite color. What she wanted to be when she was young. So I wrote them letters. I told them about my life as a child and what my favorite color was and what I dreamed about and how I hoped I would always be there for them, even when they became adults.
     Now, for the past 4 years, I have been writing this blog and last year I started another blog about teaching and teenagers. But I have a stash of personal essays I would like to publish and I am working on a novel and a children's book.
     Every time I go to the conference I am inspired. Sometime to persevere with a story line I have and sometimes to try something new. And it's not all about writing. There's agents and publishers and promoting your work and collaborating with and learning from other writers and putting your ideas out into the universe for someone else to listen to and comment on.  Sharing. A lot of information. I've got a new notebook and a new pen! I can't wait!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


          Alright. I'll say it right now. I don't hate dogs. Yes, I own (kind of an interesting thought) a cat now and for the most part I enjoy the company of cats over dogs, mostly because dogs are too needy for me. But the issue I'm having recently really does not have anything to do with dogs. It has to do with the bad owners of dogs. Unfortunately, dogs are getting the brunt of the criticism.
     I not quite sure what is going on in our society.
     For the past year I have noticed an increase in the number of people who think it is ok to take their dogs into public places. I'm not talking the beach or a park here. Target, Michaels, Walmart, post office, convenience stores, and yes, sad but true, the grocery store. I first ran into this problem when Pet Co and Pets Plus decided to allow dogs and other pets into their stores. After all, they are pet stores. But I am uncomfortable with even those stores allowing pets. I have been shopping in one while a dog lifted it's leg on the bottom shelf of merchandise. Had I not been standing right there, who knows how long it would have been there? The owner was oblivious. How many other items on those bottom shelves had been peed on? Disgusting. Again here, I reiterate: it was the problem of the owner, not the dog. The dog was just doing what came naturally.
     In the grocery store last month, a woman had two dogs: one on a leash and one in her arms. She was feeding the dog in her arms from the sample bar that had been set up for customers. When I complained to the manager, he said his hands were tied because she said the dogs were her service dogs. I went home to look up the law. The manager was right. Technically they cannot ask a person to remove their animals unless it attempts to bite or visibly pees on the floor. Really, according to the law, they are not even supposed to ask a person about their dog for fear of embarrassing them. The dogs/animals are not required to wear any type of identification, again because of embarrassment to the owner. The only recourse the store has is to put a sign outside the doors saying that animals, other than service animals, are not allowed. Yeah, that works well.
     No wonder people take advantage of this loop hole in the law. Where are the rights of other people? Where is my right to be able to walk through a grocery, buy food from a salad bar or deli without the chance of a dog being there before me?
     What is wrong with people? Why do so many people think they are above the law? I'm sure the original laws were written to make disabled life easier and non restricted. But I think something should be done to rewrite these laws, so that people cannot take advantage of them. I am not opposed to a disabled person having any kind of a service animal, but I think it would be better for all involved for those service animals to be regulated a little better.
     Feeding a dog from the sample bar...really?