Relationships and Why We All Need to Mind Our Own Business

A Facebook discussion was the impetus for this post (a RESPECTFUL one, but still, I was a bit annoyed, hence, blogpost).

An article came out talking about what is apparently some sort of trend now – people in relationships that live apart. The article actually made good points for all sides considered, and I’d link to it, but knowing the Internet as I do, the link would go dead in six months and I’d get “I can’t find the article” emails from hell to breakfast. So, just trust me, this is a thing now.

So I’ll say this: I’ve done everything but divorce. I’m going to give you a bit of background to try and explain my reasoning for my opinions.

A) I followed boyfriend #1 from Michigan to Colorado. We lived together for 2.5 years, then got married and were together for 2.5 years before he died.

B) A few years later, I became involved with The Ex. We lived apart. For eleven years. It was AWESOME. He had his house, I had mine, we got together on weekends and the occasional day during the week, took vacations together, and other than that we had our own space and lives. I LOVED it.

So, let me give you Dag’s advice on relationships 101, based on MY personal experience (and you can ignore anything you don’t like, hey it’s your life, after all).

1) Do NOT live with a man without marrying him (or at least having legal documents drawn up).

When my husband died, I rapidly discovered that, had I not been married, his family could have rushed in, taken anything I could not clearly prove was mine, and taken it. Marriage gives right of survivorship. If it was his, it was mine, because I was his wife. That also gave me say over his funeral, etc. DO NOT underestimate this. After he died I heard HORROR stories of women who lived with men for YEARS who were living in a house in his name, and his family, who were all sweetness and light when he was alive, threw them to the curb before they’d even buried the guy. Also, you get NO SAY in medical care if you’re “the girlfriend”. As a wife, you’re the last word. WORD TO THE WISE: if you’re committed to the point you want your significant other to make medical decisions for you and you’re not married, get papers drawn up. RIGHT NOW.

2) Living apart and being committed is NOT less of a commitment than most married people have.

I had an AWESOME eleven-year relationship with a man where he had his house, I had mine, and we saw each other on weekends and occasionally during the week. It rocked. We were both independent people who liked our spaces a certain way and we enjoyed our relationship the way it was. Had we lived together, I’d have killed him. He was perfectly fine with dishes in the sink; not me. I would have lost it. Daily. Also, I had birds, and subsequently a cat, and he was not a “pet person”. He liked my feathered and furry children in the context he could play with them but not have to deal with the care and feeding of them. So this worked out GREAT.

It’s a simple risk/reward formula. If something happens to your significant other, and you have no papers drawn up, and you’re not married, you are at the mercy of his family. This is only something you two can decide and work out, but I beg you to consider it.

Legal considerations aside (and I’m not going into moral considerations, because, frankly, I don’t care) my bottom line is this: if you’re dating, living together, married, polyamorous, or whatever you are or want to be, protect yourselves legally.

I don’t care who (or how many who’s) you love, protect all of yourselves and for fuck’s sake get a lawyer and work it out.

And tell everyone else to get the fuck out of your relationship. It’s no one’s business if you love one person or ten.

Hell, people, this is 2014. Let people love who they love. Married, single, gay, straight, polyamorous, who cares? Love is always a good thing. There should’t be any rules or qualifiers on that.

My Pets are Crazy and I am Their Owner

Someone close to me once (well, many times) made the joke, “pets and their owners” (meaning, I was crazy, so my pets are too. This is not really far from the truth).

My cat thinks she is a dog. She snuggles, she HAS to sleep in my armpit (don’t ask) and she is constantly seeking attention.

Someone apparently forgot to tell her she is a cat. I also got her when she was five years old, so she figured out pretty quickly I was a soft touch. Little furry terrorist.

The dog, however, thinks she’s a cat (well, I guess, all things being equal, this works itself out). She doesn’t climb on the furniture – I don’t think it has occurred to her that a) she could and b) I wouldn’t complain. She comes over for “pets” on her terms, which usually means five minutes, you can scratch my ears, and I’m over you. I’ll be on the floor if you need me.

I live with these little furry conundrums and I wouldn’t trade it for the world – there’s never a dull moment in my household.

Also, the one thing they agree on, is that they are complete and total beggars:

Just look at them. This is the only time they work together. If they actually start holding meetings I am doomed.

2013 Reading List

Well, here it is, the entire list of books I read in 2013:

A Hard Day’s Knight – Simon R. Green
The Slow Burn Revolution – Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades, Fredrick Hahn
Harbingers – F. Paul Wilson
Winds of Change – Jason Brannon
The Bride Wore Black Leather – Simon R. Green
A Fistful of Charms – Kim Harrison
Bloodline – F. Paul Wilson
Midnight Riot – Ben Aaronovitch
Eaters – Michelle DePaepe
Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter – Brian P. Easton
For a Few Demons More – Kim Harrison
The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies – Kevin Burke
By the Sword – F. Paul Wilson
Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch
The Outlaw Demon Wails – Kim Harrison
The Stand – Stephen King (reread)
Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch
Heart of Scars – Brian P. Easton
Ground Zero – F. Paul Wilson
White Witch, Black Curse – Kim Harrison
Fatal Error – F. Paul Wilson
The Tommyknockers – Stephen King (reread)
Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris
Black Magic Sanction – Kim Harrison
The Dark at the End – F. Paul Wilson
NOS4A2 – Joe Hill
Pale Demon – Kim Harrison
Nightworld – F. Paul Wilson
A Perfect Blood – Kim Harrison
Throttle – Joe Hill and Stephen King
The Dracula Tape – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
The Holmes-Dracula File – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
An Old Friend of the Family – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
Thorn – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
Dominion – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
A Matter of Taste – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
A Question of Time – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Séance for a Vampire – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
A Sharpness on the Neck – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
A Coldness in the Blood – Fred Saberhagen (reread)
Ever After – Kim Harrison
In the Tall Grass – Stephen King and Joe Hill
Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography – Victoria Price
Storm Front – Jim Butcher (reread)
Fool Moon – Jim Butcher (reread)
Grave Peril – Jim Butcher (reread)
Summer Knight – Jim Butcher (reread)
Death Masks – Jim Butcher (reread)
Blood Rites – Jim Butcher (reread)
Dead Beat – Jim Butcher (reread)
Proven Guilty – Jim Butcher (reread)
White Night – Jim Butcher (reread)
Small Favor – Jim Butcher (reread)
Turn Coat – Jim Butcher (reread)
Changes – Jim Butcher (reread)
Ghost Story – Jim Butcher (reread)
Cold Days – Jim Butcher (reread)
Side Jobs – Jim Butcher (reread)
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe
Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
Craved – Stephanie Nelson
Death Has a Name – Jerry Hanel
Hostile Witness – Rebecca Forster
Fever – Mary Beth Keane
After Dead – Charlaine Harris
Bloodlines – Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Summer I Died – Ryan C. Thomas
Deceived – Stephanie Nelson
Chaos Born – Rebekah Turner
Born to Bleed – Ryan C. Thomas
Village Books – Craig McLay
Hunter – Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Rock Star’s Daughter – Caitlyn Duffy
Survival Instinct – Declan Conner
Road from ar Ramadi – Carlos Mejia
Wool – Part 1 – Hugh Howey
To Kill a Warlock – H.P. Mallory
Whispers in Autumn – Trisha Leigh
Dead, But Not for Long – Matthew Kinney & Lesa Anders

As you can see, I’ve been busy, even rereading some old favorites (I see a Dark Tower reread in 2014, oh yes I do). I also discovered Pixel of Ink, and signing up for their emails to get links to free Kindle books has turned me on to a lot of good authors I otherwise wouldn’t have tried (and a couple of really horrible ones, but I’m about 90% to the good). I recommend giving it a try.

What are you reading? Post it in the comments.

Coursera

A lot of you love to expand your horizons.

Have I got a horizon for you. Many thanks to my friend Toni for turning me on to this treasure trove of awesomeness.

Check out Coursera. It’s a bunch of MOOCs – Massive Online Open Course(s) – online classes from reputable universities for your personal edification and amusement. Seriously, I’m finding this lots of fun.

You can get a certificate of completion, which I personally could care less about, but, more to the point: FREE CLASSES!

I am feeding my inner English major right now on Plagues, Witches and War and I am LOVING it.

Seriously, if you’re into self improvement, this is the place to be. There are courses for every interest. You don’t have to be a college student to enrich your mind.
Give it a look-see. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Why I Love My Dog

So, about three months ago I added a dog to my family. Pixel, the cat, was less than enthused about this, but she seems to be coming around. Then again, she’s a cat. And a calico cat, at that. Time will tell.

Anyway. I had been toying with the idea of getting a dog for a long time. I never did, because I was in a long term relationship with someone who liked to travel, and I just could not board a dog as easily as I could get a sitter for the cat. So, the idea sat on the back burner.

Then I ended that relationship. I spent probably nine months toying with the idea of getting a dog. I was really worried about the cat; I did not want to “ruin her life” so to speak, but she had been raised with dogs (I got her when she was five) so I thought she’d eventually come around.

I did extensive Internet research on dog-cat relations as well as what breed of dog would be good for me, as I live in an apartment and would have to walk the dog vs. letting it out into a yard.

I settled on a Shiba Inu. Turns out, they are “dogs for cat people”. Well, COUNT ME IN!!!

I found an awesome rescue in my area: Shiba Scout Rescue. They raise funds to buy Shibas from puppy mills to adopt out to individuals. What a worthy cause. I sent in an application, was approved for a home visit, and subsequently ran into some life events that prevented me from getting a dog. I had to beg off. I was sad about that.

Probably three months later, I got a fat raise at work, things were going well, and I applied again. I got a home visit from two dogs: Buta and Keiko. Buta was VERY shy, and I was afraid the cat would just eat her lunch. Keiko, however, walked in like, “Oh, so this is my house? I’m going to sleep here? This is the cat? The cat is interesting. Is this the bathroom? Oh, wow!” Yeah, she just kind of moved herself in.

And now, she lives here.

Look at this cutie:

She LOVES snow. Crazy dog.

At first I had a bit of “buyer’s remorse” thinking, “OMG I have to walk this dog (I live in an apartment) three times a day, it’s going to be a trainwreck, OMG, what have I signed on for?” But, I’m a big believer in fulfilling your commitments, so NO WAY was I going to just throw up my hands, declare her too much work, and walk off. NO WAY.

And we worked it out. Now, three months later, I can’t imagine my life without her. Even the cat has (mostly) gotten on board. She is the sweetest, most well-behaved dog I know (I wish I could take credit, but it’s 90% her) and I am madly in love with her.

Shibas really are “dogs for cat people”. Mine is happy to be in the same room as me, comes up for the occasional ear scritchie, and goes to lay down in the room. The cat is more of a dog than my dog. Keiko loves her crate and has no problem going in there when I leave the house or at bedtime. She loves her morning walks (and I have to say, I have benefitted from this as well, having explored WAY more of downtown Loveland than I ever would have on my own) and she’s really a great addition to the family.

Just look at this face. I defy you to refuse her anything:

I love this dog. And people, I know the puppies in the pet store are really, REALLY cute, but don’t buy them. You are perpetuating the horrible existence my dog had as a breeder in a puppy mill, confined to a crate and shoving out litter after litter. It’s wrong. It won’t stop until we stop funding it.

Please, please, PLEASE, adopt from a shelter or a rescue. And PLEASE, spay or neuter your pet.

Half Year Book List

So, it’s June again, time for the reading list update. I’ve been introduced to a lot of cool authors lately – you may want to check some of them out. The Easton and Aaronovitch books are my latest finds, but stay away from Brannon – not a fan of the story or the writing. If I hadn’t picked it up for free, I would be really ticked.

Also, WHEN IS THE NEXT HARRY DRESDEN BOOK COMING OUT???? Jim Butcher, I’m looking at YOU.

Here’s the list:

A Hard Day’s Knight – Simon R. Green
The Slow Burn Revolution – Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades, Fredrick Hahn
Harbingers – F. Paul Wilson
Winds of Change – Jason Brannon
The Bride Wore Black Leather – Simon R. Green
A Fistful of Charms – Kim Harrison
Bloodline – F. Paul Wilson
Midnight Riot – Ben Aaronovitch
Eaters – Michelle DePaepe
Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter – Brian P. Easton
For a Few Demons More – Kim Harrison
The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies – Kevin Burke
By the Sword – F. Paul Wilson
Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch
The Outlaw Demon Wails – Kim Harrison
The Stand – Stephen King (reread)
Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch
Heart of Scars – Brian P. Easton
Ground Zero – F. Paul Wilson
White Witch, Black Curse – Kim Harrison
Fatal Error – F. Paul Wilson
The Tommyknockers – Stephen King (reread)
Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris
Black Magic Sanction – Kim Harrison
The Dark at the End – F. Paul Wilson
NOS4A2 – Joe Hill
Pale Demon – Kim Harrison

What are you reading?

I Believe

I believe in equal marriage rights for all, regardless of gender.

I believe in tattoos, body art, and piercing whatever body part you can stand to be pierced. Your body, your rules.

I believe in you believing in whatever deity you believe in…as long as your deity believes in leaving everyone else alone.

I believe in letting you believe in whatever makes you happy, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

I believe that people who feel the need to tell everyone else what is “right” have a very narrow world view. That’s sad.

I believe if everyone tended their own personal gardens and stopped sticking their noses in their neighbors’ gardens, everyone would be much happier.

I believe I’m pretty much right in this.