Guest Blog Post: “How Pets Help Raise Kids” in Emily Parker’s exact words

Emily Parker and Gus
Emily Parker and Gus

Blogger Emily Parker describes herself as, “A proud cat parent of two black cats, Gus and Louis (even though Gus only has one eye!). I help cat parents love their cats better by providing helpful articles on my website.”

Click here for her “How Pets Help Raise Kids” infographic.

Have pets helped raise kids you know?

Guest Blog Post: “How to Be All Classy and Shit,” in DGGYST’s exact words

Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

What’s classy to you? Here’s how ‘Damn, Girl Get Your Shit Together: Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong’ defines it…

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

I have been thinking a lot about class lately. My thirtieth birthday is right around the corner and I have really been trying to hone my style. I’ve always been horrified by my mother’s butterfly bedazzled bell bottoms and the ever presence of “big gulps, tractors, and pink camo” in my sordid memory bank. But what makes someone classy? The internet has nearly convinced me that the whole of classiness is kept in the human cuticles and if they aren’t on point, I should just hang myself with a length of the Confederate flag while standing on a crate of Pabst.

Not one to believe everything the internet tells me, I thought about real life. Who was the classiest person I know?

For me, that person is my dear friend Betty. Betty is a landscaper and ironically has the most mangled cuticles I have ever seen. When she comes by…

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Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…

Guest Blog Post: “Open Me First,” in Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt’s exact words

Drawing of a wrapped present6 tips for heartfelt giving by writer and fellow blogger Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt

Sharon Bonin-Pratt's Ink Flare

The holiday dilemma: what do you get for the person who has everything?

Perhaps something goofy like slippers that sing Rock Around the Clock, or something extravagant like a set of diamond encrusted napkins rings, the kind of thing that becomes an expensive party joke. Maybe a bauble like a garden statue of lighted snowmen or a set of holiday themed coffee mugs, useless most of the year because, well, they’re holiday themed and who wants to drink coffee in July with Rudolph’s red nose stenciled on it? We can get truly original: a dozen bottles of wine with personalized labels, Humphrey Malarkey Family Reserve Chardonnay, so it looks like Uncle Humph became a boutique vintner on Christmas Eve.  Another possibility is the very exclusive Himalayan Cilantro Sea Salt Spa Scrub with Acai Crystals – imagine how much fun Great Aunt Agnes will have trying to figure out…

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Guest Blog Post: “Five Across, Four Down,” in Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt’s exact words

Art by Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt
Art by Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt

Love words? So do I! No matter how hard we try to be precise though, verbal communication can be confusing. Here fellow blogger, Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt, shows us one example of how when we combine our actions with our words, magic can result…

Sharon Bonin-Pratt's Ink Flare

That which we encounter everyday should be that which we celebrate. That which we celebrate can be that which teaches us how better to do what we love. And that which we love can inspire us to write, even when we think our inspiration took off with the last Mongol invasion of Central Asia.

Crossword puzzles occupy a lot of my time, especially true in the last eight years. I don’t have an obsessive love of crosswords, but my mom always did. A pop-in visit to see my folks was as likely to be met with the urgently asked, “What’s a seven letter word for something important?” (gravity) as a heartfelt, “Glad you came by.” Right there, the beginning of a story for NaNoWriMo. Whose mom wants the right puzzle word more than a visit from her progeny? Yours, course. (Well, mine, but you know what I mean.) You thought…

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Be Your Own Best Role Model – & – Guest Blog Post: “Learning to make homes,” in Elizabeth Semende’s exact words

Thank you, Ryan McGuire.

Role models can be great. They provide wisdom for how to get where we’d like to be.

Take care, though.

In our eagerness, we risk blindness and deafness to how sometimes they’re better examples of what not to do. Of the ones we love, those who are closest to us, their familiarity can feel like normalcy.

The amazing poem posted by afroliz of Zimbabwe that follows illustrates what I’m trying to say.

I believe we must all continually work to be our own best role models. Let us be lighthearted in working toward that goal. Let us be as serious as happiness when it comes to understanding which role models we might already have unwittingly chosen.

flowers and poems 🌼

In these places where women come to die

My mother’s words take turns to hit my ears:

“When you find a man, carve a home beneath his pride and

learn to make homes from nothing.”
Then I screamed: Mother this is not my home!

This is not a home!

It carries the weight of a man’s pride

the same way corpses carry the weight of tombstones​

In silence.

Mother did not listen.
She too found a home

In these places where nothing remains

but a swam of men urinating on the flame of our souls

She said: that is how we make homes out of nothing

By carrying the weight of a man’s pride

In silence.

© Elizabeth Semende

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Guest Blog Post: “I Lost Focus and How I Gain It Back,” in Kally’s exact words

Blogger Kally offers tried and true advice for work.
Blogger Kally offers on-the-job advice.

Exhausted inside and out? From skin to soul? Blogger Kally, who currently lives in Kuala Lampur, shares how she found her way back to wholeness …

MiddleMe

Exhausted without sleeping for anything more than 4 hours a day, physically and mentally I must admit I wasn’t ready to go through 7 months of sleepless nights. Oh, I don’t have a problem sleeping, if that is what you are thinking. Give me a room with soft pillows and queen sized bed, I’ll knock out as soon as you leave the room. My problem is the nightly feeds that I am fully in charge of. My little one feeds every 3 hours, hence the minute my body relaxes into the deep sleep, I am woken up by her hunger cries again.

Stubborn as I was, I’m still going on a full charge in accepting projects from my clients and handling housework on my own. At some point, I begin to lose focus. I went into the supermarket one day and totally forgotten what I need to buy. I nearly…

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Guest Blog Post: “Dogs and Babies,” in imhavingadadday’s exact words

Unexpected life turns can be wonderful:

“… here I am…almost 30, married nearly 4 years with a baby and another on the way, living in my hometown and yep…BACK in school for engineering.  And I couldn’t be happier … “

They can bring out the best in us:

“In a sea of mom blogs, I am hoping that this blog can shed some light on many of the same topics but from a dad’s perspective.  It can be stressful when everything is happening at once, but I always try to remember that I’m just having a dad day.”

Enjoy …

I'm Having A Dad Day

I’m a dog person.  Hands down.  Growing up we had a couple of cats (RIP Molly and CoCo), but we always had dogs.  In fact, I don’t think that there was ever a day that went by throughout my life that we were dog-less.  There was Chelsea, Belle, Jessie, and Bella (as you can see, my two brothers and I were very creative dog naming children).  So when I moved away for college, I did what any responsible 19 year old does…get a puppy!  This puppy, Tank (in the photo), now nearly 10 years old, is the greatest dog known to mankind and currently lives with my parents and good old sweet Bella; his best dog friend and window watching, old lady in the street barking, life companion.

My wife grew up like me, with dogs.  So like any responsible 20 year old, what did she do when she was…

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Guest Blog Post: “My Mum, the Pilot,” in Hey Loons exact words

I love true stories about courageous women, don’t you? Enjoy this thanks to fellow blogger Hey Loons …

Hey Loons

Once upon a time, a little girl was told that women shouldn’t fly airplanes …

I grew up knowing ‘mum flew planes’. This was one of a series of simple facts in my childhood: my sister and I were born in London; our parents came from India; dad sang; mum flew.

She told us stories about her teenage flying days ‘looping the loop’ above the clouds and performing steep dives towards the ground. She’d show us her album filled with old sepia photos of her standing proudly next to a small airplane.

The logbook pages had rows of handwritten entries of all her flights, each a flying adventure and she spoke about them with excitement and emotion, tinged with a hint of longing to be up amongst the clouds again.

Our mum, Dhira Chaliha, got her flying wings in 1961, at the age of 21, in India and to us as…

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Guest Blog Post: “Postpartum Education and Support,” a video by David Hunt

Another informative guest post to da-AL’s blog by good friend, David Hunt …

About 30 percent of new mothers experience postpartum mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. Because women experiencing these symptoms often feel stigmatized or ashamed, and because health providers often fail to screen for maternal mental health issues, many women suffer in silence. For my final project for a master of arts in liberal studies at North Carolina State, I partnered with a nonprofit community organization, Postpartum Education and Support of North Carolina, to raise awareness of this issue and to promote the organization’s free peer support groups. I produced a short documentary-style video featuring the personal stories of four survivors of postpartum mood disorders. This video provides the organization with a new outreach tool that can be posted online and shared via social media and other electronic communication channels. This project was influenced by my coursework in multiple disciplines, including communication, political science, history, and gender studies.

Postpartum Education and Support of North Carolina offers a range of peer support services for women and families confronting postpartum mood disorders.

Call the Moms Supporting Moms Warmline at (919) 454-6946 or email support@pesnc.org.

David Hunt has produced documentaries and educational media for over 30 years. Clients have included the Leukemia Society of America, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Body Glove International.

David’s blog

David’s Linkedin