Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: It's Now or Never


It's Now or Never
It's Now or Never by Carole Matthews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I loved this book! In typical Carole Matthews fashion, it was filled with twists & turns...Oh no! and Ack! moments! Any Carole Matthews book is always a favorite...but this one for sure! 10 stars!



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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Wayfinder


Wayfinder
Wayfinder by C.E. Murphy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



What to say about this book? It could have been shorter...there was a lot of description about things that she heard/saw/felt that just kept repeating...it wasn't bad...a solid 3 stars, right in line with the first one.

Not a fav. but not one I regret either :c)



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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Dark Time


Dark Time
Dark Time by Dakota Banks

My rating: 1 of 5 stars



I DNF'd this one! The writing style took such a left-turn to the bad I gave-up! I wanted to like this one...I really did!

The first 60 or so pages were great...then it just changed!

Sorry to the author! I really wanted to like this series!



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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Chosen By Sin


Chosen By Sin
Chosen By Sin by Virna DePaul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Wow! This is definately a 4.5!

Lots of twists and turns, will they or won't theys! Definately a must read!

Cannot wait for book #4!



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Friday, June 15, 2012

Vegan Stoner - yummies!



Review: Chosen By Blood


Chosen By Blood
Chosen By Blood by Virna DePaul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Actually should have been 4.5 stars! I really love this series! I am half-way through the second book (realized I forgot the review...oops!)...

This one take you on a ride! I had a few hair-pulling moments, wanting answers before the author was ready to give them...thinking I had it figued out and then oh no...I love books I can't figure out half-way through!

All-in-all though...it's great! Read it! Have the rest of the series handy though...you will not be able to wait for book 2!



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Review: Chosen by Fate


Chosen by Fate
Chosen by Fate by Virna DePaul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I spent this whole book going OMG! OMG! OMG! Every page, every storyline...one twist after another! I love a book that keeps you guessing! 4.5 stars! So glad I have #3!



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How to Give a Dog a Bath


"A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish." - James Gorman

Some dogs, such as the Basenji, are fastidious, almost like cats in their grooming rituals. Most dogs prefer to ignore their growing stench and, in fact, are quite proud of it. They revel in any chance in to increase their foul odor molecules. You've seen your dog do it time and again, rubbing his head into something that was once edible weeks ago, and flailing on his back with his feet in the air as he becomes one with what was once a frog.

It's not that our dogs are crass creatures, though they do lack table manners. Dogs find foul odors more pleasant than we do for a few reasons.

A dog's sense of smell is 100 times greater than a human's so they can smell things of great complexity. They can pick up many odors at once, so that when they smell the stench of the trash, they can also pick up the chicken bone at the bottom of it. It is the more important sense used to interpret a dog's environment. It's thought that a dog tries to camouflage his own smell with stinky things but it's also true that dogs use their smells to communicate with other canines. Some say a dog can smell fear or even cancer. But one thing's for sure - without our intervention dogs will smell bad.

So, what have we humans devised to rid our dogs of their smelliness? The bath. But not just a simple bath. Bathing a dog can be very complex these days with the multitude of choices for bathing tools and techniques.

Why

Ask yourself why you are bathing your dog. If your dog doesn't roll in anything smelly but just has the usual doggy smell, it's recommended that you bathe him once a month. If you are bathing him this often, be sure to use a mild shampoo, such as one which contains oatmeal. Use medicated shampoos only every other time. If your dog has come in contact with something stinky, consider the source of the smell before the bath. A run in with a skunk requires a special shampoo such as one put out by Nature's Miracle or perhaps the time-tested tomato juice bath. A roll in something like feces will require several washings.

Who

Next, decide who is going to give your dog a bath. If you're lucky enough to have a teenager who broke curfew, your answer is right there. You, of course, can choose to take your dog to a groomer or you can tackle it yourself. Ideally two people should be on the crew to make it quicker and less traumatic for your dog.

Where

Some dogs are very comfortable getting washed outside. The downside is the water from your hose will likely be frigid. Most dogs will get used to being bathed in a people tub or a dog tub. Introduce him slowly, giving much praise and some treats when he gets in and stays.

When

If you are going to wash your dog outside, be sure the temperature is as mild as possible. In the winter, wait for a warmer day or consider switching to inside baths for that time. It is best to wash your dog before he's had breakfast or dinner as his food will act as a reward and help him calm down afterward.

Tools

Outside Bathing - You will need a hose that reaches all around your dog as you don't want to have to move him once you've started. Buy a hose attachment so that you can control how much water hits your dog.

The Tub - It is perfectly OK to use your tub, but consider getting an attachment to the shower head made specifically for dog bathing. If you have a shower head with low settings, that will work as well. You can also get dog tubs which come in stainless steel, treated fabric (for the portable ones), and rubber. Make sure the tub is big enough for your dog to lie down in.

Bathing Tether - These can be found at large pet stores.

A Ladle - Many things can serve as a ladle such as a plastic container or a rubber pitcher. Do not use glass.

A Few Bath Mats - Scatter these near the tub and around the bathroom.

Shampoo - Use a mild dog shampoo for your dog's bath, only using medicated ones as needed for conditions such as fleas and psoriasis and as recommended by your vet. A shampoo with oatmeal is soothing for the skin, as is one with chamomile or Aloe Vera. For those really stinky dogs, combine one part vinegar with one part water and pour it over your pooch. Let it stand for a few minutes, then wash.

Conditioner - Want your Golden to have tangle-free locks? Then condition! You can either use a regular dog conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes or try one of the leave-in kinds. In addition to flowing fur, your dog's skin will be further moisturized.

Wash Cloth - Choose a size appropriate for your dog's girth. A porous natural sponge will also work.

Towel - Try a super absorbent towel as this will make drying much quicker.

Hair Driers - If your pooch will tolerate it, use a hair drier on the low settings. Remove your dog from the tub first and do a quick towel dry.

How

The big moment has come and you're ready to begin. Following these instructions will help you bathe your dog quickly and thoroughly and help insure minimal battle shock for your dog.

Organize (Quietly)

Gather your tools and tip toe into the bathroom. It's likely your dog will be curious but wait until you're set up to include him in the mix. Put the shampoo and conditioner to the side which will be near your free hand (the other one will be holding your dog). Have the towel up and away from the water. Place treats in an easily accessible place such as your pocket.

Breathe

Take a moment to breathe and make sure you are in a calm state of mind. Even the best canine bathers can freak out for seemingly no reason. It is important to remember your dog is upset and, though this is a time for commands, it is not the time to lose your temper.

Get Your Dog

Using treats and an encouraging voice, lure your pup into the bathroom. If he shies away, pause and try again. You can use a lead if it's done gently and you also use commands he knows such as "Come!"

Bathing

Ladle warm water over your dog making sure to get the legs and belly. He should be thoroughly wet. When you come to his head, cover his eyes and let the water roll gently down his head and snout. Next place some shampoo in your hands and get a little water, rubbing it into a lather. Begin with his shoulders, gently massaging soap down his back. Continue to replenish your hands with shampoo. Work out to the the tip of his tail, then his back legs, then his tummy, then his front legs and chest. Finish by lightly soaping his head. Immediately rinse his head, covering his eyes, and then continue to rinse, starting with his shoulders again. It is imperative that you get all the soap off as residue can cause an allergic reaction. Condition and rinse if desired.

Drying

Always start with your dog's head as it is uncomfortable for them to have it wet. Towel dry completely or just quickly if you're going to use a hair dryer. Get your dog used to the hair dryer slowly by increasing the amount of time it's on.

Just as breeders and some dog folk claim that there are hypoallergenic dogs, some claim that there are breeds that don't have that doggy smell. While breeds such as the Poodle and the Wheaten Terrier do shed less, there is no guarantee that you won't still have allergies. Likewise, a dog without a doggy smell is nigh impossible. Even Basenjis have bad days. If, after bathing, your dog is still pungent, consider one of the many doggy perfumes and odor controllers on the market. While dogs don't need deodorant, they can stand a little sprucing up now and then.

Dog De-Shedding Tools


Densely furred cats and dogs have combination coats made up of longer, coarser top fur and softer, finer inner fur that creates a warm air-trapping blanket for the skin in cold weather. It is the pet's undercoat that tends to tangle, mat and clump as it is shed if it is not groomed carefully. In extreme cases, the unfortunate result is a weakened and dulled coat, or a thick thatch that must be simply shaved.

A de-shedding tool for pet grooming reaches past the longer outside hairs and removes the inner coat hairs before they mat and thatch. It protects the coat for future growth and keeps the skin surface clean and properly aired and stimulated. The de-shedding tool does not cut hair, but it allows hair that has already detached from the hair follicle to be discarded. Most dogs and cats do not find the process uncomfortable and they enjoy the comfort of a coat not bound up with mats.

The de-shedding tool is not analogous to the thinning scissors that stylists use to reduce bulk in human hair. Thinning scissors cut; the de-shedder releases loose hair.

Typical dogs that are good candidates for de-shedding include: Poodles, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Bichons, Portuguese Water Dogs, Malamutes and Irish Water Spaniels.

Similarly, long-haired cats benefit from the de-shedding tool. Because de-shedding helps prevent hairballs, de-shedding is a health enhancement for all cats, especially Himalayan and Persian types. (Rabbits, especially Angoras, also benefit from the de-shedding tool.)

While the de-shedding tool prevents mats and tangles, it does not easily or comfortably remove them, so it should be used regularly, about once a week, in order to maintain a well-groomed coat. Winter and summer, the tool can be used according to schedule, but users will notice that the bulk of fur removal happens in spring and summer when dogs and cats naturally shed. Therefore, users do not need to worry about the de-shedding tool thinning out a thick coat. It will not cut hair that is attached to the follicle.

Pet owners will see less build up of extra hair on furniture, clothing and under the couch if the de-shedding tool is used regularly.

Dog de-shedding tools and cat de-shedding tools are similar, although cat tools tend to be smaller. The "Furminator" is one of the highest-recommended and marketed de-shedding tools with models designed for cats and dogs of all sizes and hair types.

To use a de-shedding tool, separate the coat into layers as you would for a comb-out and run the tool over the layers like a comb. Remove the fur that adheres to the tines regularly to keep the tool easy-to-use and effective.

**About the Author: Helen Fazio and her dog Raja blog on pet travel and related topics at www.traveldogbooks.com. In their first book, "The Journey of the Shih Tzu," Raja tells the wolf to woof story of the development of this amazing breed. They are working on forthcoming titles.

Trimming Dog Nails


Trimming a dog's nails can be dangerous for both dog and human if the dog is afraid. Dogs who fear nail trims can thrash around wildly, increasing the risk of cutting the quick if they are not effectively restrained. Cutting into the quick (the sensitive tissue within the nail) will only exacerbate the dog's fear. Additionally, dogs that are very afraid or in pain are likely to bite, presenting a safety risk to the humans involved. 

Nail trim aversion can result just as easily from improper socialization to husbandry/handling as from "quicking" a dog. Whenever possible, it is best to socialize puppies to all types of handling extensively from 3 to 12 weeks. It is always easier to prevent nail trim aversion (or any fearful behavior) by creating lots of positive experiences during this critical socialization period than to rehabilitate a dog with a well-established history of nail trim aversion.

Regardless of whether you have a young puppy with no nail trimming experience or an adult dog with an existing fear, the answer to the question of "how to trim your dog's nails" is to train your dog to love having her paws and nails handled.

Puppies, being socialization sponges at this age, will likely proceed through the training very quickly. Dogs with established reactivity to the procedure may require more time. Be patient with your dog, and use really yummy treats (cheese, liver, hot dogs, meatballs, or liverwurst, whatever she LOVES).

How To Trim A Dog's Nails

Once you have taught your dog to love having her paws and nails handled, it is time to get clipping! If you have never clipped a dog's nails before, it may be helpful to ask your veterinarian or groomer to demonstrate the correct way to do it. Black nails are a bit trickier than white/clear nails to clip, as you cannot see the quick.

It's best to make sure your nail clippers are sharp. Dull, old nail clipping blades should be replaced before nail trimming as they are more prone to crush the nail than give a nice, clean clip.

Here is a great article from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University on nail clipping. It describes the two most common types of clippers (guillotine style and scissors style), along with tips on how to hold and use each of these tools. Using lots of photos, the entire process of a nail trim is described. If you have done the training laid out in Laura's videos, you will likely not need to restrain the dog as is mentioned in the WSU article.

Non-Clipper Techniques For Nail Trimming

Dogs that live in urban environments and are walked frequently on pavement may require nail trims very rarely, as the pavement acts as a nail file during walking. However, these dogs will likely require trimming of the dewclaws, as these nails are higher up on the foot and do not make contact with the asphalt. The article from WSU gives great advice on using the scissors style clipper to trim lengthy dewclaws.


Also popular are Dremel-type tools for nail clipping. Dremels should be introduced slowly (as should the clippers), and Laura's video above will work well for getting a dog to like having her paws handled regardless of the tool you use. Here is a great article on how to get your dog used to the nail clipper and eventually, use the Dremel to trim nails.

Finally, clicker-savvy dogs can be shaped to use a "scratchy board." You'll need a sturdy board, some sandpaper, and a staple gun to create your scratchy board. Staple the sandpaper so that it surrounds the boards, and shape for paw contact and eventually, scratching against the board. (Here is a video demonstrating a dog trimming his own nails with a scratchy board.) Whichever method you choose, with a little time and effort your canine can be well on her way to calm, safe nail trims. Good luck and happy trimming!

Dog Grooming Basics - Tools and Techniques

A dog of any breed will need grooming to look and feel her best. Grooming your dog appropriately may take a few minutes to quite a few hours each week, depending on breed and coat type.

Not all pet owners may have the time, skill, desire, or expertise needed to keep their dog's coat, nails, skin, teeth, and ears in the best possible shape. For these owners, it is best to hire a dog groomer.

Evaluating A Dog Grooming Business

What are your grooming goals - a well-trimmed family dog or preparing a dog for conformation showing? Finding a talented show groomer may be much more difficult than finding a wonderful groomer who specializes in fabulous cuts for pet dogs. If you are looking for a show groomer, contact your breeder or breed club for recommendations.

The internet and phonebook can be helpful in locating a dog groomer, but even better is a satisfied friend or trusted professional's reference. Ask your vet, trainer, breeder or rescue organization, and friends if they can recommend any good groomers in your area. Also ask about typical rates for services in your area. (Prices may vary depending upon a dog's breed, special health, behavior, or grooming situations, type of products used, etc.)

Prepare a list of questions (some are suggested below), and begin interviewing!

How long have you been in business? How did you learn to groom? Has an animal ever been injured in your care? What experience do you have grooming dogs of this breed? Can you provide references from other area pet professionals (vets, trainers, etc.) and from clients? (Follow up on these!)

If your pet has special coat and grooming requirements, health or behavioral problems (hot spots, existing fear of groomer, corded coats, mange, severe/extensive matting, need for anal gland expression, separation anxiety, ear plucking, fear biting during nail clipping, etc.), ask what type of experience the groomer has working with animals with the same needs.

After you've found the right answers to your questions from one or more professionals, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company has no complaints on file; and make sure that they carry an active insurance policy. If all that checks out, schedule a visit to the facility.

The facility should be clean, well-lit, and inviting. Do the dogs look happy and well cared for? Is the staff friendly and helpful?

If you feel good about a potential dog groomer, schedule an appointment. If you are uncomfortable leaving your dog alone the first time, ask if you can attend during the grooming - this is a valuable training opportunity for you to teach your dog that the groomer's can be a great experience with lots of yummy treats! If the groomer refuses, look elsewhere for services.

Whomever you choose as your groomer should recommend dog grooming tools and supplies to help you maintain the dog's coat and good condition in between grooming visits.

Dog Grooming Tips

You may decide that you do not need the assistance of a groomer, at least not regularly; and that you prefer to do most of your dog's grooming at home. Here are some tips on ways to maximize your grooming success!

Research your dog's breed or coat type online to see what tools are recommended. You may also consider contacting a local groomer for a one-time consultation on the right tools for your dog's coat.

Make grooming sessions pleasant and short. Use lots of yummy treats, play soothing music or light a lavender candle for calming.

The best time to begin training a dog to enjoy grooming is early puppyhood.

If your dog is afraid of being groomed and will bite or struggle, you may want to consider hiring a local dog trainer to teach you how to make grooming an enjoyable experience for your dog through a systematic desensitization protocol.


Many trainers offer classes specifically on how to use positive reinforcement techniques to teach your dog to love both grooming and veterinary husbandry procedures.

Avoid bathing your dog too frequently. Most dogs need not be bathed more than once every 4-6 weeks.

Brush your dog's teeth every day.

Trim dog's nails weekly.

Some procedures are best left to the pros - do not clip your dog's nails if you are afraid she will bite you, do not pluck a dog's ear hair, hand strip the coat, express anal glands, shave a dog (believe it or not, not all long or double-coated breeds will benefit from shaving in summer months - on the contrary, their coats can serve as protection from the heat as well as cold), clip a severely matted dog, etc, if you don't know what you are doing.

Visit a veterinarian if you see any signs of an unhealthy coat or skin problems - bald spots, scaly patches, excessive dryness or oiliness, open sores of any kind, hot spots, etc. These coat problems can be symptoms of underlying problems ranging from dietary deficiencies to allergies, extreme stress, or hypothyroidism.

Cleaning Dog Ears


In a 2008 pet health study conducted by the VPI pet insurance company, ear infections were the number one reason dog owners sought veterinary care. Thorough and regular ear cleaning and maintenance can help your dog avoid ear problems and infections.

Many dogs do not like having their ears cleaned, which makes doing a good job very difficult. It is helpful, before you even begin cleaning your dog's ears that you learn how to make this grooming experience pleasurable for your dog.

Handling Your Dog's Ears

Practice handling your dog's ears gently. Give delicious treats while you massage the outside of and eventually the inside of the ear. Repeat this until your dog really enjoys having his ears handled. Once your dog accepts all kinds of ear manipulation with your hands, repeat the procedure using a cloth and then with cotton balls.

Your Dog's Ears

Dogs with heavy, floppy ears generally need to have their ears cleaned more frequently than dogs with prick ears (which stand upright and allow for better air circulation), and dogs that have a lot of hair in the inside of their ears may require additional maintenance (increased cleaning and for some, plucking of hair growing in the ear).

If your dog is itching his ears a lot, if the ears smell funny, are very red or inflamed, if your dog is constantly shaking his head, it is best to visit your veterinarian as these may be indications of an existing ear infection or other ear problem.

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Frequent ear cleanings (weekly) will keep the ears free of wax and debris, and will also allow you to understand what your dog's ears look like when they are healthy. This enables you to more easily recognize any abnormalities in the ear should they arise.

Consult with your veterinarian about recommended dog ear cleaning products. To clean your dog's ears well, you will need an appropriate ear cleaner, a number of cotton balls, and if possible, a helper - someone who can feed the dog treats and keep him calm during the process.

Some dogs have a lot of hair on the inside of the ear. This hair can serve as a reservoir for dirt, debris, and accumulations of earwax. Ask your veterinarian or groomer whether plucking is recommended for your dog. Plucking takes a bit of skill and finesse and can cause discomfort when done incorrectly, so is best left to professionals who have experience on plucking ear hair in dogs. Watch your vet or groomer closely as they pluck the dog's ears, asking any questions you may have about the procedure. Be well prepared with some yummy treats while the vet is plucking the ears, to make this a positive experience for your dog.

Once the ears are free of hair, it is time to begin cleaning. Wash your hands well before and after ear cleaning, and have your supplies ready.

Squirt a small amount of ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Do not force the nozzle of the bottle into the ear canal as you can cause significant damage this way - only the tip of the bottle should be inserted into the canal. Once you have the solution in the ear, massage the base of the ear to encourage distribution throughout the canal. Be prepared for your dog to shake his head after you apply the solution.

Take a cotton ball and rub the inside of the ear to remove any discharge or any accumulated wax. You may use a Q-tip to get in the crevices at the base of the ear, but do not insert the Q-tip into the ear canal itself. When the base of the ear is clean, you may use soaked cotton balls or a soaked wet cloth to clean the ear flap out toward the tip.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University has published great how-to instructions with photos. The restraint methods shown at the top of the article will likely be unnecessary if you have trained your dog to love having his ears manipulated in advance.

If your dog will not tolerate ear cleaning or if you are unsure of how to go about cleaning your dog's ears, you may want to consult with your veterinarian and have her do the cleaning for you. It's always easiest to learn a new skill if you have someone well experienced in its practice to coach and guide you so that you can learn the correct way to implement the task.

Dog Days of Summer

Christian Conservatives Slam Carrie Underwood’s Pro Gay Marriage Stance


Conservative Christians are criticizing country music icon Carrie Underwood after she announced her support for marriage equality this week.

Underwood, who is a strongly believing Christian herself, spoke to the British newspaper the Independent about why she endorses marriage equality.

"As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry," Underwood said. "I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."

The 29-year-old "American Idol" winner also told the publication that she was brought up as a Baptist but now goes to a non-denominational church with her husband, Mike Fisher, a hockey player.

"Our church is gay friendly," the "Jesus, Take the Wheel" singer said. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ’everyone has to be like me’. No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody."

Many fans that don’t share the same views as Underwood have turned their backs on the country star, however. Some have taken to social media to attack the star, Gay Star News notes.

"I warned @carrieunderwood fans that their idol was going to get backlash for her support of marriage perversion and I was right! #asusual," one person tweeted.

"@carrieunderwood Is a disgrace. Being vegan and supporting gay marriage doesn’t seem very country at all," another said.

"Another day, and a another ’gospel’ artist signed to ’EMI’ comes out supporting gay marriage.@carrieunderwood Unequally signed to the devil," someone wrote.


GLAAD also launched a Twitter campaign in order to support Underwood. The organization wants supporters to tweet words of encouragement to the singer with the hash tag #supportcarrie.

Not only did fans slam the country singer for her pro-gay stance but also a pastor from Franklin, Tenn. did, as Crushable.com points out. Scotty Smith, the pastor of Franklin’s Christ Community Church, talked about Underwood’s statements on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"What she said in that interview, unfortunately, has increasingly become a pretty broken understanding of what the Bible is saying. You want to listen to the Scripture in terms of what it says about everything, including marriage, including sexuality."

When the ultra conservative websites Life Site News and Free Republic reported the story swarms of readers voiced their disapproval of Underwood’s support for same-sex marriage.

"Using Christianity to defend and promote homosexuality is insulting. Ugh," someone said. "Being Saved doesn’t stop you from being dumb," another wrote. "Jesus just let go of the wheel," a commenter said.

The LA Times reports, however, that the singer is getting praise from one conservative group - GOProud, an organization for gay Republicans.

"Good for her," said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of GOProud. "You know, Carrie Underwood isn’t any different from anyone else in America," LaSalvia said in an email to the Times. "The more Americans think about how issues affect their gay friends and family the more they come to realize that supporting same-sex civil marriage is the right thing to do. More and more people are coming to that conclusion - and that includes conservative Christians."

Going against the down-home grain usually doesn’t play well with country music fans. In 2003, the Dixie Chicks faced boycotts after a member criticized President George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq in a concert.

Popular country star Chely Wright made headlines as well as some enemies when she came out as a lesbian in 2010. Wright is the first major country singer to publically come out as gay, which many conservative fans of the genre saw as an issue. Last year a documentary called "Wish Me Away" chronicled Wright’s coming out story and her role as a gay rights activist.

Same-Sex Parents Sue North Carolina


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (CN) - Six same-sex couples raising children claim in Federal Court that North Carolina's ban on second-parent adoption violates their civil rights and deprives their children of benefits.

Lead plaintiffs Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne and their child claim the state's prohibition perpetuates historical discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

"Plaintiffs are six North Carolina families," the complaint states. "Each plaintiff is a member of a family that consists of a child or children being raised by two gay or lesbian parents who are in a committed, long-term relationship with each other. In each of these loving families, the child plaintiff has a legally recognized parent-child relationship with only one parent (either through birth or adoption), although, in reality, the child is being raised by both parents. Because of the numerous financial, psychological, and social benefits that flow from a legally recognized parent-child relationship, each of the plaintiff families wishes to apply to establish via adoption a full, legal parental relationship between the child and the second parent. Specifically, in each of the plaintiff families, the non-legal parent wishes to apply to adopt the child or children he or she is currently raising as the partner of the legal parent (a process that is often referred to as 'second parent adoption')." (Parentheses in complaint).

The couples claim other states allow second-parent adoptions to protect children's best interests, but North Carolina prohibits them, depriving children of health and life insurance benefits, veteran benefits, disability and Social Security benefits and other rights and privileges.

Though North Carolina allows unmarried people to adopt children, regardless of their sexual orientation, the law prohibits joint adoption by unmarried couples.

The state does not recognize same-sex marriage, making it impossible for gay and lesbian couples to adopt jointly.

North Carolina voters in May approved an amendment to add the ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.

The plaintiffs claim the state allows stepparents to adopt their spouses' children, but denies same-sex partners the privilege.

"Because the second-parent plaintiffs are not considered to be 'spouses' of the legal parent plaintiffs under North Carolina law and cannot become 'spouses' under North Carolina law even if they were to marry in another state, they are unable to use the stepparent adoption statute to adopt the children they are raising with their partners, without terminating the parental rights of their co-parents, the legal parent plaintiffs," according to the complaint.

The North Carolina Supreme Court in December 2010 reversed adoptions by unmarried second parents, saying family court lacked jurisdiction to approve them.

According to the complaint, 20 states and the District of Columbia allow second-parent adoptions, including adoptions by the legal parent's gay or lesbian partner.

"In summarizing the benefits of second parent adoption, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that '[a]llowing a second parent to share legal responsibility for the financial, spiritual, educational, and emotional well-being of the child in a stable, supportive, and nurturing environment can only be in the best interest of that child,'" the complaint states.

The plaintiffs, many of whom are certified as foster parents, claim the ban does not make sense, since North Carolina recognizes them as legitimate parents. The state also grants second parents limited rights, such as custody and visitation.

The couples say the ban deprives their children of many rights and benefits they would otherwise receive, threatens their families' stability, and limits the second parents' ability to make important decisions about their children, such as authorizing emergency medical treatment.

They say they have spent thousands of dollars on legal fees to create documents meant to bring their families some legal security.

They want the state enjoined from enforcing the ban.

They are represented by Jonathan Sasser with Ellis & Winters, of Raleigh, and by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Good Thing Just Got Better!


Good morning readers!

I am here this morning with VERY exciting news!

My favorite organizer software "All My Movies" has a new version!  CLICK HERE to download and try it free for 30 days!


With All My Movies you can:
- Catalog your movies with almost no typing
- Get movie and TV series details automatically from internet movie database (www.imdb.com)
- Organize movies on your internal/external hard drive(s)
-S tore extended cast details like actor's photo, biography, etc
- Know how many movies you have
- Keep track of the movies you've seen and write your own impressions of them
- Become a movie expert :c)

All My Movies has way too many features to list them all here...but here are a few of my favs.:
- Easily import details/episode information from www.imdb.com
- Export collection to pdf (and other formats) so you can print a list to have with you (I mean really, who hasn't been at the store, found a great deal on DVD's and not know exactly what you already have?)...
- Loan manager, lets you mark who has your movies and when they borrowed them!

Seriously folks...this is amazing software!  Try the free trial and you will definitely want to buy it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Am...


• I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

• I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

• I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

• We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

• I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

• I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.

• I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

• I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

• We are the couple who had the Realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

• I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

• I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

• I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

• I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

• I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

• I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

• I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

• I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I did not have to always deal with society hating me.

• I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don’t believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

• I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

• I am the person who is afraid of telling his loving Christian parents he loves another male.

• I am the boy kicked out of his home because I am gay.